Monday, September 27, 2021

Five Google Earth Features for Teachers

Google Earth has been one of my favorite ed tech tools for more than a decade. Over the years it has evolved as a desktop application and as a browser-based application. The web browser version of Google Earth seems to be getting the bulk of development attention from Google these days so I've created a new video that highlights five features of Google Earth (web version) that teachers should know how to use. These features are helpful and can be used in more than just social studies settings. 

In the video I demonstrate how to do the following things in the web version of Google Earth:

  • Locate and share lessons.
  • Share Google Earth games and quizzes via Google Classroom.
  • Create and share collections of placemarks in Google Earth. 
  • Change the base map in Google Earth. 
  • Change the units of measurement in Google Earth.


Learn much more about Google Earth by taking my online course, A Crash Course in Google Earth and Maps for Social Studies.

Family Fun With Make Beliefs Comix

Disclosure: Make Beliefs Comix is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Last month I outlined five ideas for using comics in your classroom. One of those ideas included having students tell stories from their lives outside of school. Continuing on that train of thought, Make Beliefs Comix has a new page of resources designed for families

The Make Beliefs Comix resources for families include creating a memory quilt and telling stories about family pets. The memory quilt activity asks parents and their children to fill in a memory square (templates available here) about things like "happiest day of my life," "favorite family saying," or "favorite achievement." The completed squares are then combined to make a "quilt" of family stories. 

Pet Words is a selection of Make Beliefs Comix story starters all about family pets. Some of these story starters include turning your pet into a superhero, things that people confide in their pets, and things the pets think about when people leave for school or for work for the day. 

Take a look at all of the resources for families on Make Beliefs Comix to find more activities and story starters for parents and their children to do together. 

Watch the video here to learn how you can make comics on Make Beliefs Comix. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Thinking, Blurring, and Coloring - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the humidity is making everything feel wet. That's okay because I'm going fishing and will get wet anyway. It's the last weekend of the fishing season on my favorite river and I'm hoping to catch a few landlocked salmon to end the year. I hope that you have something fun planned for your weekend as well. 

This week I co-hosted the latest installment of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the live session. If you missed it, you can catch the replay right here and register for the next session on that same page. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. A Critical Thinking Quiz
2. Five Fun Breakout Games for Online and In-person Classrooms
3. Ziplet - A Good Way to Share Digital Exit Tickets
4. Tract - Project-based, Peer-to-Peer Learning
5. Two Easy Ways to Blur Faces and Objects in Your Videos
6. How to Create Custom Coloring Maps
7. Free Presidential Timeline Poster for Your Classroom Courtesy of C-SPAN

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 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. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • 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.

Questions from My Daughters - Why Do We Sneeze?

My daughters ask me lots of questions that I haven't thought about since I was their age (4 and 5). Many of those questions I write in a list titled Questions from My Daughters that I have saved on my phone via Google Keep. "Why do we sneeze?" is one of the questions that my youngest daughter recently asked me. My answer was "because something tickles the hair inside your nose." Of course, I then had to do a little more research about her question. That brought me to SciShow and SciShow Kids which both tackled the question. 

Why Do We Sneeze? is a SciShow video that dives into some research that was done by scientists who created a simulated nose to determine why humans sneeze. 

All About Sneezes! is a SciShow Kids video that takes a little less scientific approach to answering the question "why do we sneeze?" while also reminding kids why it is important to cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze. 



Friday, September 24, 2021

Five Helpful YouTube Features for Teachers

YouTube offers a bunch of features that are sometimes overlooked or under-utilized despite being quite helpful when sharing videos in your classroom. In this new video I demonstrate five of those features. 

Playlists
By default your Google/ YouTube account has a playlist titled "watch later." That's a private playlist to which you can save any video. You can also create custom playlists to share or to keep private. In the video below I demonstrate how to create an unlisted playlist. 

Transcripts
YouTube will automatically generate a transcript for almost all videos that have spoken narration. You can copy the transcript and save it in a Google Document. 

Caption display settings
Any video can have subtitles or captions displayed. You can adjust the size and color of the font used in the caption display. Adjusting the size and color scheme can make it easier for some students to see the captions. 

Sharing sections
Rather than sharing a video and telling students to fast forward to specific section, you can share the video so that it automatically starts at a specific timestamp of your choosing. 

Searching within channels
When you've found a video producer that you like take a look at their channel and search within it for more helpful videos they've produced.