Monday, June 28, 2021

Get a Free Chapter of My Favorite Book About Search Strategies

The Joy of Search is a book that I've been recommending for a couple of years now. It's all about search strategies and is a must-read for anyone who wants to develop better search strategies or teach search strategies. The book was written by Dan Russell whose title at Google is Senior Research Scientist for Search Quality and User Happiness. What he does that you, I, and students should care about is craft really interesting lessons on employing a wide variety of search strategies. You can find many of those lessons in his regular series of search challenges on his blog SearchReSearch. And if you get a chance to hear him speak at a conference, take it!

Back to the book, in The Joy of Search you'll find stories used to explain how to employ various search strategies. To get a sense of what the book is about, you can get a free chapter of the book right now from Dan's blog. The chapter that is available is titled Finding a Mysterious Location Somewhere in the World: How to Use Multiple Information Sources to Zero In on a Resource. In the chapter you'll learn about one of my favorite techniques for getting students to look at all of the information that is available to them in order to form a good search strategy and employ good search terms.

On a related note, over on Practical Ed Tech I have an on-demand webinar titled Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Featured image by Richard Byrne.

ChatterPix Kids - Create Talking Pictures for an Educational Purpose

ChatterPix Kids is one of my favorite digital storytelling apps for elementary school students. 

ChatterPix Kids is a free app that students can use to create talking pictures. To use the app students simply open it on their iPads or Android devices and then take a picture. Once they've taken a picture students draw a mouth on their pictures. With the mouth in place students then record themselves talking for up to thirty seconds. The recording is then added to the picture and saved as a video on the students' iPads or Android devices. Watch my tutorial videos below to learn how to use ChatterPix Kids on Android devices and on iPads.



Applications for Education
My all-time favorite example of students using ChatterPix Kids is found in this Next Vista for Learning video titled A Healthy Meal. To create the video students recording a series of ChatterPix Kids talking pictures and then the talking pictures were combined in a sequence in iMovie.

A couple of years ago I worked with a Kindergarten class in which the students used ChatterPix Kids to create talking pictures of characters from their favorite books including Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

The first time I ever saw ChatterPix Kids in use was five or six years ago when an elementary school teacher (I'm sorry, I don't remember her name) gave a poster presentation at ISTE in which she shared examples of her students recording short audio biographies of presidents. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

How to Create Interactive Checklists in Google Docs

This week Google announced more than a dozen updates to Google Workspace products. Included in those updates is a new text box feature in Google Documents. The new text box option can be used to create interactive checklists. Those checklists, just like any other Google Document, can be shared with colleagues and students who can then cross off items as they're completed. 

In this short video I demonstrate how you can create interactive checklists in Google Documents. One of the neat things that you'll see in the video is that you can adjust the size and style of the checkboxes by using the font menus in Google Docs.  



Applications for Education
My first thought when seeing the new checklist option in Google Docs was that it could be great for students to use when planning group projects. The group can have their to-do list and all of the details of their plans on the same document instead of having to use a separate task management tool or having to write/re-write comments when a task is completed.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Feature image created by Richard Byrne using Canva. 

Bikes, Slides, and Summer Reading - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is rising on this summer morning. I'm inside instead of sitting on my porch because I'm eagerly anticipating watching the first stage of the Tour de France. After that we'll head outside to ride our own bikes. And tomorrow we're heading to Storyland! I hope that you also have some fun things scheduling for your weekend. 

This week I hosted the first session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. Two dozen people joined me throughout the week for ten live webinars. A big thank you to those who attended and participated. For those who missed it, registration is still open for the July and August sessions of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp.

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 36,000 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 FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Friday, June 25, 2021

15 Updates Coming to Google Workspace for Education

This week Google announced a bunch of updates that will be coming soon to Google Workspace for Education products. If you missed them, as I did earlier this week, here's a short summary of the key updates to note.

File / Video Security Updates
  • Some shared files in your Google Drive will require using a URL that contains a resource key. This change will impact users who haven't previously viewed a file that you're sharing. As an end-user, this shouldn't change anything for you other than the link that you initially share if you use the "anyone with the link" option to share a file. This change will be implement beginning in late July with full implementation in September. Google Workspace administrators may want to read more about this update on this Google Workspaces Admin Help page.
  • Videos in your YouTube account that were uploaded prior to January 1, 2017 and were marked as "unlisted" will be changed to "private" on July 23rd. You can revert them back to "unlisted" after the 23rd. Read more about this change here. This update doesn't affect videos uploaded after January 1, 2017.


Google Classroom Updates Coming Later This Summer/ Fall
  • Schedule assignments to multiple classes at once. 

  • Offline mode for the Google Classroom Android app. 

  • Student activity view. This will let you see when a student was last active in your Google Classroom. Activity can include accessing assignments and commenting on posts.
All three features listed above will be available in all versions of Google Workspace for Education. The following Google Classroom features will only be available to those using one of the various paid Google Workspace for Education plans. 
  • Roster import via Clever. This will let IT administrators create classes based on classroom rosters as written in Clever. (While great in theory, I wonder if this will impact how much control teachers get over their own Google Classroom rosters. I'd hate to see this turn into a situation where a teacher has to submit an IT help ticket whenever a student needs to be added or removed from a Google Classroom. That could be a nightmare during add/drop periods). 

  • Classroom add-ons. This will let IT administrators add third-party services into Google Classroom. Some of Google's preferred vendors for this include Adobe, Kahoot, and Nearpod. Students will use those tools inside of Google Classroom.  
Google Forms
  • Twenty new font choices are being added to Google Forms. 

  • The settings menu is going to be revamped to "simplify" the application of settings. (I'm not sure what there is to simplify in Google Forms settings, it's pretty simple now). 
Google Docs
  • Create interactive checklists in Google Docs. There's a new checkbox option that you can add in place of bullet points in Google Docs. This is available now. See my screenshot below for an example. 

Google Meet
Hopefully, we can all use Google Meet and Zoom a lot less next year. That said, Google is making some updates to Google Meet for those who are hosting virtual class meetings. 
  • When launching a meeting from Google Classroom teachers and co-teachers will automatically be assigned the roles of host. 

  • Students who are on the Google Classroom roster will automatically be admitted but will be placed in a waiting room until the teacher is ready to admit them. 

  • Anyone not on the Google Classroom roster will have to ask to join and can only be admitted by the teacher or co-teacher. 

  • Hosts can turn off all webcams at once with a "video lock" setting. 

  • New viewing options will let you control how much of a presentation you see compared to how much space is allotted for viewing your students' cameras or profile icons.