Saturday, September 11, 2021

Typing, Blurring, and Captioning - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining on what should be a gorgeous early autumn day. I would be remiss not to mention that today is the 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I remember it like it was yesterday, part of what I remember is that the weather was strinkingly similar to today's weather. For all of our students 9/11 is now a history lesson. For ideas on teaching about the events of September 11, 2001, take a look at the list of resources Larry Ferlazzo has put together.

On a cheerier note, I hope that you had a great school week and that you have something fun planned for your weekend. We're heading to Story Land for one more day of fun before it closes for the year. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. The Difference Between a Chrome Profile and a Google Account 
Live Webinar Next Week!
On Thursday at 4pm ET I'm hosting a new version of my popular Practical Ed Tech webinar, Search Strategies Students Need to Know. Learn more and register here!

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 37,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
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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.

The 2021 Fall Foliage Map - And Explanations of Why Leaves Change Colors

The 2021 Fall Foliage Prediction Map is a feature of the SmokyMountains.com website. The map displays a week-by-week prediction of when leaves in the continental United States will be changing colors from now through the end of November. You can see the predictions change by moving the timeline at the bottom of the map.

On the same page as the 2021 Fall Foliage Prediction Map there is a graph of average temperatures in the United States since 1900. The graph is accompanied by a short explanation of why leaves change colors in the fall and the relationship to air temperatures.

Applications for Education
The 2021 Fall Foliage Prediction Map doesn't tell the whole story of why leaves change colors at different times in different parts of the country. I'd use the incomplete nature of the map's explanation as a jumping-off point for students to hypothesize and investigate why leaves change colors at different times in different parts of the country. I might also have them investigate why some trees have brighter leaves than others in the fall. 

Additional Resources for Teaching and Learning About Fall Foliage
Ten days ago I shared a handful of videos that explain why leaves change colors in the fall. A couple of those videos are included below.



For an explanation of why leaves change colors that elementary school students can understand, watch the following SciShow Kids video.



Friday, September 10, 2021

Save Google Forms Responses in Progress

About a month ago Google announced that they were finally adding an autosave option to Google Forms. This new features lets students leave a Google Form and then come back to it later to finish answering the questions on it. The option to save work in progress in Google Forms is rolling out to all users over the next few weeks. If you haven't seen it or tried it, take a look at my short video to see how it works. 



Applications for Education
Saving Google Forms responses in progress has been a feature that teachers have requested for as long as I can remember (and I've been teaching with Google Forms longer than most middle school students have been alive). Students will no longer have to start over if they get disconnected from the Internet or the bell rings to end class before they've finished answering all of the questions on a Google Form.

There are some situations in which you may not want students to be able to come back to a Google Form to finish it after they've started. For example, a student intentionally taking a long time to answer quiz questions so that he/she can return to it later after looking up answers. In that case you can disable the autosave option on that particular form.

More Google Forms Tutorials



US News Map - A Great Way to Explore Newspaper Archives

Earlier this summer I shared some ideas for encouraging students to do research in digital archives. The U.S. News Map produced by Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia offers another interesting way to encourage students to explore digital archives.

The U.S. News Map is based on the Chronicling America newspaper collection hosted by the Library of Congress. When you search on the U.S. News Map the results of your search will be displayed on an interactive map. Clicking on a placemarker the map will take you to a list of articles from newspapers in the area around the placemarker. You can then select an article from the list and read it on the Chronicling America website where you can also download a copy of the article. The U.S. News Map will let you search for articles published between 1789 and 1964.

In this short video I provide a demonstration of how to use the U.S. News Map to find historical newspaper articles.

C-SPAN's StudentCam Contest is Back

Every year C-SPAN hosts the StudentCam video contest for middle school and high school students in the United States. The 2021/22 version of the contest has been announced and this year's topic is "How does the federal government impact your life?"

The StudentCam contest is open to students in sixth through twelfth grade. There is a category for middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). Students can submit individual work or work in teams of up to three members. All videos must be between five and six minutes in length. The incoporation of C-SPAN footage is encouraged. 

The StudentCam contest is open to students in the United States. The contest deadline is January 20, 2022. All videos must include some C-SPAN footage. This year more than $100,000 in prizes will be awarded. Complete contest rules can be found here and the prize list can be found here. There are prizes for students as well as for teachers. 

Applications for Education
This year's contest prompt is a great one to incorporate into a government and or U.S. History class. Even if your students don't enter the contest, the question is a good one to ponder. It can also be used ot introduce ideas about state vs. federal powers.

C-SPAN offers some excellent resources to help teachers help their students prepare entries for the StudentCam contest. Those resources include research templates, video script templates, and project checklists. You can find all of the teacher resources here