Tuesday, December 28, 2021

50 Tech Tuesday Tips - My eBook for Busy Tech Coaches

I interupt this week's "best of series" to bring you something from the shameless commerce division of my life...

Are you a tech coach, a tech integrator, a media specialist, or a teacher who gets asked to put on workshops after school or on staff development days? Do you need ideas for what to do during those workshops? If so, my new ebook is for you!

Curated from more than 400 editions of The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips provides you with ideas for lots of helpful things that you can teach to your colleagues and to students. Throughout the ebook you'll find tutorials and handouts that you can pass along in your school. 

Some of the many things you'll find in 50 Tech Tuesday Tips include:

  • What to do when a web app isn't working as you expect.
  • Building your own search engine.
  • How to create green screen videos.
  • Improving instructional videos. 
  • Streamlining email management.
  • Creating educational games. 
  • DIY app creation.
  • Podcasting tips for teachers and students. 



Get your copy of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips right here!

No, this ebook isn't free but the tools that feature within it is free to use. Creating something like this takes many, many hours but reading it can save you many, many hours. Purchases of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips make it possible for me to create other free resources like The Practical Ed Tech Handbook that I update and give away to thousands of teachers every year.

Best of 2021 - Email Addresses for Cats and Dogs

As I do every year, I'm taking this week as a break from publishing new blog posts and will be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year. Here's one from March.

People often get a kick out of learning that my dogs have their own email addresses. You can send them email at Mason or Fionn (at) freetech4teachers.com and they'll get back to you as soon as they learn to type.

My dogs have email addresses because I conduct a lot of workshops throughout the year and I don't always want to use my personal email account to either register for a service or to demonstrate a function on a big screen. By using the fake email accounts that I've created for my dogs I don't have to clutter my personal email with lots of account registrations that I may or may not use again. Likewise, I don't have to open my personal accounts on a big screen in front of a group.

The other reason that I use my dogs' email accounts to register for services is so that I can demonstrate how to use a site or app from square one. For example, when I conduct Google Workspaces workshops I will use Mason's email account to demonstrate all facets of setting-up an account, adjusting settings, and adding new content to the account. By doing it this way new users see all steps on my screen the same as they will on their own screens.

If you find yourself conducting a lot of training sessions for colleagues or students, take a minute or two to create a fake email account for demonstration purposes.

Best of 2021 - Five Helpful PowerPoint Features You Might Be Overlooking

As I do every year, I'm taking this week as a break from publishing new blog posts and will be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year. Here's one from November. 

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.

Best of 2021 - Fling the Teacher!

As I do every year, I'm taking this week as a break from publishing new blog posts and will be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year. Here's one about a fun game created by Russel Tarr. 

Fling the Teacher is a game that I mentioned briefly in this week's Practical Ed Tech newsletter. If you're not subscribed, here's a recap of what Fling the Teacher is.

Fling the Teacher lets students fling or slingshot their teachers across the screen for up to sixty seconds after they correctly answer fifteen consecutive multiple choice questions. Try it for yourself with this demo game.

You can create your own Fling the Teacher game by simply going to Classtools.net and then choosing the Fling the Teacher template. You'll then have the option to click "create your own" (bottom, left corner of the screen) where you can write your own questions and answer choices. Classtools will automatically shuffle answer choices when the questions are presented to students.

Your complete Fling the Teacher game will be assigned a unique URL for you to give to your students. Classtools will also generate a QR code and an embed code for you to use. Fling the Teacher games can be played on computers, tablets, and phones.

Here's a video demonstration of how to create your own Fling the Teacher game. 



Applications for Education
Fling the Teacher could provide students with a fun reward for successfully completing a review quiz. Of course, you could also have your students make their own review games with the Fling the Teacher template.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Best of 2021 - Combine Canva and TeacherMade to Create Online Activities

As I do every year, I'm taking this week as a break from publishing new blog posts and will be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year. Here's one from May. 

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. 

With 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 latest 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. Featured graphic created by Richard Byrne.