Saturday, November 20, 2021

Docs, Geography, and Videos - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where I'm home after a great trip to Nebraska earlier in the week. It was great to spend time with my friends Kris and Beth Still, but there's nothing like being home with my little family. We're going to make big leaf piles and have fun playing outside today. I hope that you have something fun planned for your weekend as well. 

Many of you took advantage of my Geography Awareness Week special that offered 50% off enrollment in my Practical Ed Tech course, A Crash Course in Google Maps and Earth for Social Studies. I'll have a similar offer for my other courses next week. More information will be included in my weekly newsletter tomorrow evening. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Take a Look at Your Google Docs Activity Dashboard
2. My Big List of Activities and Resources for Geography Awareness Week
3. My Top Three Tools for Creating Audio Slideshow Videos
4. ClassPoint - Turn PowerPoint Into an Interactive Teaching Tool
5. Three Ways to Make Green Screen Videos
6. Seven Good Tools for Making Animations
7. Mapping Where Food Comes From

Thank you for your support!
Your registrations in Practical Ed Tech courses (listed below) help me keep Free Technology for Teachers going.

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 38,000 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 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 Heimlich Manuever Saved My Life

Last Saturday my friend Kris Still saved my life by performing the Heimlich manuever when I was choking on an omelette in a lovely little diner called Laura Lee's. I was actually about to comment on how good the food was when I started choking. Fortunately for me, Kris is a sheriff's deputy and is trained to calmly and quickly react to emergencies. It was still a bit frightening for all involved. 

I've been thinking about my experience all week. If you don't know how to do the Heimlich manuever or you want to teach it to your kids, here are some instructive videos to view. 

How to Give the Heimlich Manuever

How to Give the Heimlich Manuever - LifeBridge Health

Dr. Heimlich Explains His Manuever to Larry King
This one isn't instructional, it's an explanation of how the manuever was created.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Scribble Maps - Draw on Google Maps and More Without an Account

To close out Geography Awareness Week 2021 I have one more cool tool to share. Scribble Maps is a tool that I've used and recommended for years. As the name implies, you can use it to draw on maps. You can also use it to create multimedia map markers. The best part is that you can use it without creating an account or enter any personal information. 

Scribble Maps lets you pick from a variety of base maps on which you can draw and create multimedia markers. The base map collection includes Google Maps, ESRI maps, National Geographic maps, and Open Street Maps. 

In this short video I provide an overview of how to create a multimedia map on Scribble Maps. 

How to Blur Faces in Videos With Screencastify

Screencastify is an excellent tool for quickly creating screencast videos. What you might not know is that you can also use Screencastify's free video editor to edit videos that you've recorded with other tools. For example, I recorded a video on my phone then transferred it to my laptop where I used Screencastify's free video editor to blur things in my video. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Screencastify's free video editor to blur faces and objects in your videos. 

Applications for Education
Blurring faces and objects in videos is a great way to protect students' privacy when sharing video clips online. By using the tools to selectively blur faces you can include the faces of the students who want to be seen in shared videos and blur the faces of those who don't want to appear in shared videos.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Five Helpful PowerPoint Features You Might Be Overlooking

PowerPoint isn't the flashiest ed tech tool on the block and it certainly isn't the newest. In fact, you might have read "PowerPoint" and thought "old." But as old as it is (34 years) there are new things added to it and hidden gems within it that keep it going strong. If it has been a while since you looked at PowerPoint, here are some features you might not be aware of that can be helpful to you and your students. 

Record a Video in PowerPoint
The Windows 10 desktop version of PowerPoint has some neat features including the option to record a video and instantly insert it into your presentation. Watch this tutorial to learn how that's done.

Remove Image Backgrounds
PowerPoint has a handy built-in tool for removing the background from your images. Here's a demonstration of how to use that feature.

Get Instant Feedback on Your Presentation
Presenter Coach is a great tool for getting instant feedback on your presentation pacing and more. It's available in the online version of PowerPoint. This tutorial shows you how it works.

Automatic Captioning of Your Presentation
PowerPoint includes features for automatic captioning of your presentations. Captions appear while you speak. The captioning tool will also translate your presentation while you speak. Watch this video to see how it works.

Accessibility Checker
If you're not sure whether or not your slides will be accessible to all students, you can run an accessibility check on your PowerPoint slides. This video shows you how to run an accessibility check on your PowerPoint presentation and how to add alt text to pictures and videos in your PowerPoint presentation.

Add more features...
Through the use of PowerPoint add-ins you can add even more functionality to your PowerPoint slides. For example, you can quickly add a countdown timer to your slides. Here's a demo of how to add a countdown timer to your slides. This video shows you how to find and install add-ins.

Popular Posts