Saturday, April 10, 2021

Photos, Poetry, and History - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it is going to be another gorgeous spring day. We've been lucky to have a bunch of nice days this week. My family has been soaking up every minute of nice weather by riding bikes, cleaning out garden beds, and generally playing outside as much as we can. And that's what we're going to do today. I hope that you also have some fun things planned for your weekend. 

This week I hosted Intro to Teaching History With Technology. If you missed it, you can watch the recording and see the slides here. That webinar was an introduction to my full Teaching History With Technology course that begins on Tuesday. You can register for that course here

As I mentioned last week, I'm starting to put more blog posts on my other site, Practical Ed Tech. I'm doing that because all of my blog posts on Free Technology for Teachers are getting scraped (stolen) by shady websites faster than I can keep up with. I simply don't have enough time in my day to file all of the DMCA notices with hosting companies (some of which don't care anyway) that it takes to shut down those sites. That's why you'll see that my week-in-review lists now include some posts from Practical Ed Tech

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. TeacherMade Adds More Features to Make Your Online Lessons Better
2. How to Move from Google Photos to Amazon Photos
3. Activities for National Poetry Month
4. Intro to Teaching History With Technology – Webinar Recording
5. Two New Google Workspace Features for Students - Including Saving Google Forms in Progress!
6. Everything You Need to Know to Create Quizzes With Microsoft Forms
7. Five Collections of Historical Maps

On-demand Professional Development
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 35,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and 711Web.

12 Fun, Challenging, and Interesting Geography Games for Students

Last year I published a list of geography games for students. Since then I've come across a few more interesting geography games and one that I used for years has disappeared. Here's my updated list of fun, challenging, and interesting geography games for students. 

Map Quiz is exactly what its name implies. It's a quiz game in which you're shown a country or territory on a map and have to identify its name. The questions on Map Quiz are multiple choice so you have at least a 25% chance of getting it right. Whether you answer the question right or wrong you'll be shown the right answer and be given some basic information about the country or territory. When you're shown a question on Map Quiz the map may be oriented in way that is unusual for some people. You can spin the map by using the compass icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. Zooming in and zooming out is also possible in the game. 

GeoQuiz is a simple game that just asks you to try to name as many countries as you can in fifteen minutes. As soon as you enter a country's name the globe on the screen spins to center on that country. If you misspell a country the globe doesn't spin and your entry doesn't count. You can play GeoQuiz on your own or you can compete against other players in online rooms. Either way, you don't need to register or enter any personal information in order to play GeoQuiz. To play against others you can join an existing room or create your own and invite people to join it. To have others join your room all you have to do is pick a name for your room and tell people to join it in the "online mode" on the GeoQuiz homepage. 

In City Guesser 2.0 players are shown video clips (silent or with background noise) and have to guess the location of the city they're seeing. After each guess players are shown how close or far their guesses were from the actual city location. It's a simple game while also being a challenging game. City Guesser 2.0 offers games based on cities of the whole world and landmarks of the whole world. There are also country-specific versions of the game for the United States, Canada, Russia, England, France, Japan, India, Brazil, Australia, and Argentina. Additionally, there is a version of the game covering all of Asia and a version covering all of Europe.  

WikiWhere is a neat map-based trivia game. The goal of the game is to identify cities based on their descriptions. The descriptions come from Wikipedia entries. You can get up to three clues before you have to answer by clicking on the map to identify the city that you think is described by the excerpts. When you click on the map you'll be shown the correct answer and how far away you were from the correct answer.

The browser-based version of Google Earth has a bunch of geography games for students to play including a few versions of Where In the World is Carmen San Diego? If you go into the Voyager mode in Google Earth you will find other games and quizzes to try. The quizzes are neat because when you answer a question correctly you automatically zoom to the Street View imagery of the location. Check it out in my video below.

GameOn World is a multiplayer geography game developed by a high school teacher and his student in Portland, Maine. The game is similar in structure to that of Kahoot. In GameOn World the teacher selects a game category (cities, places, and timeline are three of the nine categories) and starts the game. The students join the game by going to GameOn.World and entering a game pin. In the location and timeline games, students answer the questions by moving a placemark on a map or selecting a date on a timeline. In some of the other games students answer by choosing a number on a sliding scale.

GeoGuessr shows you a Google Street View image and a clue to try to guess where in the world the imagery was captured. Playing GeoGuessr is a fun way to get students to look at all of the visual and text clues they have in order to form a good guess as to where in the world they think the imagery came from. This used to be completely free, but it moved to a freemium model in 2020 which limits how many games you can play for free.

Quizzity is an online geography game that uses a familiar concept. Quizzity presents you with the name of a city and you have to click on the map where you think that city is in the world. Quizzity quizzes you on cities all over the world. To increase the accuracy of your guesses you should zoom-in on a region before clicking the map. Each round of Quizzity presents you with six city names. Points are awarded for accuracy and speed.

Step Right Up States & Capitals is a free geography game from ABCya. It's based on an older version of the game that was called Capital Toss. The new version of the game only has U.S. states and capitals while the old version also had a country mode. In the game the name of a U.S. state capital appears at the bottom of the screen and two rows of state names scroll across the top. When the correct state name appears players virtually toss a ball at it. Three consecutive incorrect answers ends the game.

How Many European Cities Can You Name? and How Many US Cities Can You Name? are game developed by Ian Fisher who is a software engineer at Google. Both of the games are played the same way. Simply open the game map and start typing the names of cities. When you enter a city it will appear on the map. The object is to name as many cities as you can without stopping. When you're done you'll see a list of the cities that you named and the populations of the five biggest cities and the five smallest cities that you named.

Seterra offers hundreds of geography games in 39 languages. You can play the games online in your web browser or download the apps to play on a phone or tablet. In the following video I demonstrate four ways that you can play the online version of Seterra's geography games.

You can learn more about how get the most out of Google Earth and Maps in my self-paced Crash Course in Google Earth and Maps for Social Studies 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.

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.

Popular Posts