Friday, July 9, 2021

Join Me on Monday!

The July session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp begins on Monday at 10am ET. If you haven't registered, you can do so up until an hour before it starts. 

There is a July session and an August session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. In all both sessions we'll cover ten key topics over the course of ten live webinars (recordings will also be available). 

These are the topics for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp:
  • Teaching Search Strategies & Digital Citizenship
  • Video Projects for Every Classroom
  • Classroom Podcasting 101
  • Building Digital Portfolios
  • Fun Formative Assessment Methods
  • Using AR & VR in Your Classroom
  • Making Virtual Tours
  • Easy Ways to Make Your Own Apps
  • Simple and Fun Makerspaces Projects
  • Blending Technology Into Outdoor Lessons

Register online or email me to register your group of five or more. 


Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a group discount?
Yes, there is a group discount available. You can save $50/person if you have five or more people registering from your school district. Email me for a discount code to apply to online group registrations or to initiate a PO registration.

Can I register with a purchase order or check?
Yes, you can certainly register with a purchase order. Send me an email or have your business office send me an email to initiate that process. Because of the additional paperwork and delay in receiving funds, the early registration discount doesn't apply to purchase order registrations.

Can I get CEUs/ contact hours?
You will receive a certificate from me indicating that you participated in ten hours of professional development time. Whether or not your school, state, or province will accept it for license/ certificate renewal is a determination that you will have to make. The rules about CEUs vary widely from state-to-state and I can't possibly keep track of them all.

What platform are you using for the webinars?
All of the webinars will be conducted through the GoToWebinar platform. I've tried many other webinar services, but I keep coming back to GoToWebinar because of it's reliability. I've used it for almost a decade for hundreds of webinars. You can access GoToWebinar on any computer or tablet.

Will the sessions be recorded?
Yes, all of the live webinars will be recorded. If you have to miss a session, you'll be able to watch the recording. That said, I find that people get the most out of webinars when they can attend live broadcasts and ask questions in real-time. Therefore, I encourage you to pick the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp session that works best with your schedule.

TeacherMade - One of My New Favorites in 2021

I'm taking this week to recharge and get ready for the next session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. For the next few days I'm going to highlight some of my favorite new and new-to-me tools so far this year. 

Canva offers nearly two thousand worksheet templates for teachers to copy and modify. All of the templates can be downloaded as PDFs. You could print them and give them to your students to complete. But who wants another thing to have to print and keep track of? So instead of printing worksheets made with Canva's templates, download the PDF and then upload it to TeacherMade where you can quickly turn that PDF into an online activity. 

On TeacherMade you can upload a PDF then add to it fillable text boxes, lines for matching activities, multiple choice questions, and interactive hotspots to highlight specific points in the PDF. You can also use TeacherMade to add audio to an uploaded PDF. Depending upon the type of questions that you select, TeacherMade will automatically score assignments for you. 

Watch my video to see how you can use Canva and TeacherMade together to create online worksheets for your students. The video also shows how a student can access the online activities that you create with TeacherMade. 


You can learn more about using TeacherMade in this video and in this video. I also have nearly two dozen Canva tutorials listed here

Applications for Education
I'm always apprehensive to write about worksheets because a lot of people hear or read "worksheet" and think that it's just a time-filler for rote practice. Canva offers worksheet templates that aren't just rote practice activities. For example, in the video above I used a worksheet template for evaluating writing. When you browse through Canva's worksheet templates gallery you'll find lots of templates that have a similar goal of providing guidance for an activity rather than rote practice of skills or facts.

The thing that I've always appreciated about Canva is that it enables people like me who don't have a natural knack for graphic design to create good-looking graphics, presentations, and PDFs. Looking through Canva's worksheet templates I found plenty of templates that I would snap-up if I was teaching social studies or language arts today. Unfortunately, I didn't see any good templates for computer science so I guess I'll have to make my own.

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, TodayHeadline, and 711Web. Featured graphic created by Richard Byrne.

Mote - One of My New Favorites in 2021

I'm taking this week to recharge and get ready for the next session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. For the next few days I'm going to highlight some of my favorite new and new-to-me tools so far this year. 

Earlier this year I shared a series of videos about how to add voice comments to Google Documents, Google Slides, and Google Classroom. All of those videos featured the use of a free Chrome extension called Mote. Mote also offers teachers the ability to add voice notes to Google Forms. 

With the Mote Chrome extension installed you can now record voice notes directly in Google Forms. Those notes can be played back in Google Forms even if students don't have the Mote extension installed. Of course, if they do have the extension installed students can record audio responses to questions in Google Forms. 

In this video I demonstrate how to add voice recordings to Google Forms. The video shows teacher and student perspectives of using Mote to add voice recordings to Google Forms. 



Applications for Education
My first thought when I saw that Mote would work with Google Forms was to use it in world languages courses. Teachers can now record prompts for students to listen to and speak replies to directly in Google Forms.

As I demonstrated in the video above, adding voice notes to Google Forms could be a good way to provide audio support for students who need it when taking an assessment in Google Forms.


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 711Web.

Blackbird Code - One of My New Favorites in 2021

I'm taking this week to recharge and get ready for the next session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. For the next few days I'm going to highlight some of my favorite new and new-to-me tools so far this year. 

Blackbird is a new platform for teaching programming to middle school and high school students. Blackbird is positioning itself as a platform that fills the gap between using a blocks-based service like Scratch and writing code in an IDE. Blackbird doesn't use blocks or even offer any blocks. Instead, Blackbird provides a series of interactive lessons in which students write JavaScript. 

Blackbird lessons are arranged in progressive units. From the first lesson students are building a game they can customize to their heart's content. When they've finished all of the lessons students can move onto a "workshop" where they can work on independent projects that you can observe from your teacher dashboard in Blackbird. 

There were a few features that stood out to me during my first run-through of Blackbird. First, students can get choose how much guidance they get on each lesson. Second, students' progress is locked in place as they go. Third, from your teacher dashboard you can see how much time your students spend on each activity. 

Students can use just the basic instructions for each lesson or click on the definitions and "deep dives" embedded within the instructions. Those definitions and deep dives give students an explanation of what they're writing and puts the explanation into an applicable context. 

Blackbird units are composed of progressive lesson sequences. When a student completes a lesson with 100% accuracy the code they wrote for that lesson is locked. It's locked because the next lesson will build upon their correctly written code. Locking the previously written code in place prevents students from accidentally changing their existing code and thereby impacting what they're currently working on. 



Applications for Education
While it's helpful to have some prior coding experience, Blackbird can be used by teachers who don't have any prior coding experience. Blackbird provides detailed tutorials and lesson guides for teachers who don't have coding experience. Furthermore, teachers can do the exact same lessons and activities as their students to learn alongside them.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and 711Web. 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Bibcitation for Chrome - One of My New Favorites in 2021

I'm taking this week to recharge and get ready for the next session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. For the next few days I'm going to highlight some of my favorite new and new-to-me tools so far this year. 


Earlier this year Bibcitation launched an update Chrome extension that makes it easy for students to properly cite sources of information. Some of its key features include automatic formatting of citations in dozens of styles, easy transfer of citations to your documents, and one-click addition to your existing Bibcitation bibliographies. Yesterday, I made this short video that demonstrates the key features of Bibcitation's Chrome extension. Take a look and see how easy it is to use Bibcitation. 


Applications for Education
As I wrote earlier in the week, one of the things that I have always liked about Bibcitation is that it provides support for dozens of citation styles in addition to the standard MLA and APA formats. Bibcitation is also easy to edit if students do find a mistake with the formatting. Finally, Bibcitation doesn't require students to register in order to use it. Completed Bibliographies can be downloaded as a document, as a BibTex file, or as HTML.

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 711Web.