Friday, April 9, 2021

Loom Adds Transcriptions and Captions

Loom is one of my favorite Chrome extensions for making short tutorial videos. In the last year I've made a few tutorials about different ways to use Loom. Some of those include recording videos from your Gmail inbox and making whiteboard videos

Loom recently added two new features. Those are a transcription/ captions tool and an Android app. 

Loom's transcription tool will automatically create an English transcript of your videos. Any videos that are transcribed will also have captions added to them when viewed. Transcriptions and captions are a beta feature right now so not all accounts have them at this time. You can read more about the transcription and caption feature here

Loom also introduced a new Android app at the end of March. I have now installed it and uninstalled it twice. It is supposed to to make it easy to record screencasts on your Android phone. However, both times that I tried it the log-in function didn't work if I used Google single sign-on (it put me into an infinite loop of asking to verify my log-in with my phone). Once I finally signed in by creating a completely new account without the use of Google single sign-on the recording function was clunky at best. The recording would start, but it wasn't obvious that it had started and it wasn't obvious how to stop the recording. When it did stop, I couldn't find the recording anywhere. In short, Loom's Android app is not something I'd recommend using at this time. Perhaps you'll have better luck than I did on my Pixel 5

Applications for Education
The new transcription and captions option in Loom could be helpful to teachers who are already using Loom and want to improve the accessibility of their instructional videos. The captions are helpful to students who have hearing impairments but also to students who might be watching the videos in a place where they cannot play the videos aloud and don't have ready access to headphones.

On a related note, Loom is one of the tools that is featured and utilized in my self-paced Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video course.

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin , 711Web, and Today Headline.

ICYMI - Intro to Teaching History With Technology - Webinar Recording

Earlier this week I hosted a free webinar titled Intro to Teaching History With Technology. In the webinar I introduced my Discovery, Discussion, Demonstration framework and how it can be applied to developing interesting history and geography lessons. More than 100 people joined the webinar. If you missed it, you can watch the recording right here on my YouTube channel or as embedded below. 

The slides that I used during the webinar can be viewed on this Canva page.

My full Teaching History With Technology course begins on Tuesday. You can get the full details of the course and register for the course right here. Register before Saturday using the code THWT2021 to save 10%.

Intro to Teaching History With Technology 2021 by Richard Byrne

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Five Collections of Historical Maps

As I mentioned in my previous post, reading this new BBC article about the rediscovery of the first 3D map in Europe prompted me to look through my archives for collections of historical maps. Here are some collections of historical maps that I've featured in the past and used in my classroom and or in Teaching History With Technology workshops over the years. 

The King's Topographical Collection hosted on the Flick Commons contains more than 17,000 historical maps and images related to maps. The King's Topographical Collection is comprised of maps and drawings produced between 1500 and 1824. You can browse through, view, and download all of the maps and drawings in the collection. Unfortunately, the ability to search within the collection on Flickr is limited to just using "control+F" to search for words on the displayed page. When you do find something you like, click the download button on the image to save it in resolution of your choice. 

Maps of Cities, hosted by the Library of Congress is one of two sets of historic maps available through the Free to Use and Reuse collections on the LOC's website. The other set of maps is called Discovery and Exploration. Both the Maps of Cities and the Discovery and Exploration collections contain about two dozen historic maps that you can download and reuse for free in any classroom project. All of the maps can be downloaded as JPEG files (three sizes available) and as GIFs.

topoView is a good place to find historical maps. topoView is a USGS website that provides historical maps dating back to 1880. You can download the maps in variety of file formats including JPG and KMZ. In the following video I demonstrate how to find and download historical maps on the topoView website.

LOC's online historical map collection, different from the use & re-use collection listed above, has nearly 38,000 items for visitors to view. Many of the maps are in the public domain or have Creative Commons licenses. You can browse and search for maps in the collection according to date, location, subject, language, collection, and contributor.

Even though it hasn't been updated in a decade, Florida's Educational Technology Clearinghouse's collection of more than 5,000 historical maps is still worth noting. The maps are licensed for free download and reuse by teachers and students. The collection is organized by continent and country. The US category is further broken down and organized by state and by historical theme.

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin , 711Web, and Today Headline.

A Video Tour of 17th Century London in 3D

This morning I read a BBC article about the rediscovery of the oldest 3D map in Europe. The map is a roughly 5 x 6.5 foot slab of carved rock. Reading that article prompted me to start looking in my archives for collections of historical maps. While doing that I came across a video that I shared back in 2013. That video is an animated 3D tour of 17th Century London

Pudding Lane Productions created a three and one half minute video tour to show viewers what London may have looked like prior to the Great Fire. The tour is based upon historical drawings and maps that the Pudding Lane Productions team researched. The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
This video could be a good supplement to lessons about British history to show students a slightly different perspective of an overview of London that they may have read about or seen drawings of in textbooks.

This video might also inspire some ambitious students to create their own historical video tours of other cities they're studying in history and geography classes. It's possible to do that with the tour creation tool that is built into Google Earth Pro.

On a related note, in A Crash Course on Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies I teach how to make tours in Google Earth and how to overlay historical maps onto current Google Earth imagery.

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin , 711Web, and Today Headline.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

TeacherMade Adds More Features to Make Your Online Lessons Better

Disclosure: TeacherMade is an advertiser on

Back in September I wrote a lengthy piece about a new service called TeacherMade that was made by a teacher for teachers like you and me. Since then I’ve mentioned it in a few webinars and published a video about it. Every time I mention it I hear back from people saying how much they use it and love it! According to TeacherMade, more than 200,000 teachers have used it this year! 

TeacherMade continues to improve every month. In this post I’ll highlight some of the features of TeacherMade that are new since the last time I wrote about it.

What is Teachermade? 
Before jumping into what’s new with TeacherMade, let’s recap the core functions of the service.

You can use TeacherMade to turn your PDFs, Word docs, Google Docs, and pictures into online activities. And if you choose to make your activity a graded one, TeacherMade will automatically score responses for you. There are thirteen question or prompt formats that you can add to your TeacherMade activities. My favorite of those are the “Hotspots” and matching responses. Some of the other response types include typical multiple choice, true/false, and short answers. There’s also an option to have students respond to questions with fractions, mixed fractions, numbers, formulas, and Algebraic expressions.

My Favorite TeacherMade question types.
Hotspots allow you to have your students click on an image or document to identify things in response to your question. One example of this from my own classroom is having students click on an image of the inside of a computer to identify parts that I have listed. Another example, not from my classroom, is having students click on words in a document to identify parts of speech that are listed by their teacher.

The matching responses option in TeacherMade is my other favorite response type. I like using that option to have students match event names to sequences. For example, in my PC repair class students need to know the boot order of a Windows 10 computer. In a TeacherMade activity I can list the steps of the boot order then have students match them to their numbers 1-10. Literature teachers could use that approach for designing an activity in which students match excerpts of a novel to its place in the story arc.


New TeacherMade Features!
TeacherMade recently introduced a Pro version of their service. The Pro version is free to all registered users for the rest of this school year (ending July 1, 2021). TeacherMade Pro builds upon and enhances all of the core features of TeacherMade that I outlined above and in this blog post back in September.

Highlights of TeacherMade Pro include:
  • Audio recording.
  • New highlighter and drawing tools.
  • Annotating/ marking student responses.
  • Teacher/ Student feedback threads.
  • Integration with Learning Management Systems
  • Integration with Google Classroom
  • Integration with Canvas
  • Integration with Schoology

Of all of the new features available in TeacherMade Pro, the ones that I’m most excited about are audio recording, Google Classroom integration, and drawing/annotating student submissions.

Audio Recording in TeacherMade
The audio recording function in TeacherMade Pro enables you and your students to make short recordings directly inside of TeacherMade activities. You can use it to record yourself giving directions, clarifying comments, or even as a prompt for students to respond to. Students can use the audio recording function to respond to prompts in TeacherMade activities. For some students that will be a lot easier than writing responses or trying to click the correct response.

The new audio recording function in TeacherMade Pro opens up the possibility of having students in world language courses respond with audio that you can listen to and then provide with feedback.

LMS Integration
The Google Classroom integration, like the other LMS integrations, just makes life easier for teachers and students. It’s a lot easier to share an assignment directly to Google Classroom and have students access it from there than it is to direct them to yet another website that they have to use for your class. The Google Classroom integration also pulls-in your rosters so that you can quickly find your students’ TeacherMade activity submissions in TeacherMade and in Google Classroom.

Draw/ Annotate Submissions
The new option to draw/ annotate student submissions in TeacherMade is one that I can see myself using when looking at long answer responses to TeacherMade activities. For example, when looking at lines of code that students have written I’ll use the drawing tool to point to errors or places for improvement.

A complete list of all of the TeacherMade Pro features is available right here. Again, I’ll point out, the core features of TeacherMade that have been available to all users since the fall are not changing. The TeacherMade Pro is just an add-on that you can use now through July 1st and then will become a paid option.

There are more TeacherMade features in the works. You can see that list here. Some of the highlights are listed below.

New TeacherMade Pro features coming soon:
  • Audio uploads
  • Embedding videos
  • Timed activities
  • Clever integration
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams
  • Real-time student progress monitoring
  • Co-teacher access to activity scores
Finally, if you haven’t tried TeacherMade this year, give it go before the end of the school year. If you’re like me, you’re probably starting to think about end-of-year review activities before final exams. TeacherMade makes it easy to take some of your documents and diagrams from earlier in the year and build review activities on top of them. This video that I made in the fall shows you how to do that.