Saturday, February 12, 2022

Puzzles, Hearts, and Sounds - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it is going to a relatively warm (35f) and sunny day. In fact, it's going to be almost spring-like today before the cold returns tomorrow. We're looking forward to a fun weekend of skiing and playing outside. I hope that you also have some fun things that you're looking forward to this weekend. 

This week I co-hosted another edition of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here. Next week I'm hosting a webinar all about search strategies for history students and teachers. You can register for that one right here

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Map Puzzle - Test Your Knowledge of World Geography
2. Math, Science, and Philosophy Lessons for Valentine's Day
3. Use TinyTap to Create Interactive Lessons and Games With Soundboards
4. New Lesson Plans from DocsTeach
5. How to Create VR Tours of Local Landmarks
6. Ten Overlooked Google Docs Features for Students and Teachers
7. Try Tract to Find Inspiration for Fun Lessons

Thank you for your support!
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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.

A Neat Site for Comparisons of Economic Information Between Countries

Seven years ago I wrote about a neat site called If It Were My Home. I came across it again while looking for something else in my archives earlier this week. It still works and still does the same interesting thing that it did when I first tried it.  

If It Were My Home will show you a comparison of economics and demographic data of your country with that of another of your choosing. The purpose is to show give visitors a sense of the health and economics differences of living in different countries. The data shown on the site is drawn from the CIA World Factbook and the World Health Organization. In this short video I demonstrate how the site works. 

Applications for Education
The data that is provided on If It Were My Home could be found by visiting the sources that it lists. Using If It Were My Home just makes those comparisons a little quicker. After students use the site I'd ask them to choose what they think would be good indicators of differences between where they live and another country. I'd then have them research that information and prepare it in an infographic using one of the templates that Canva offers. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Three Common Google Forms Mistakes - And How to Avoid Them

I've been helping teachers create quizzes with Google Forms for well over a decade. And over that time there's a pattern to the Google Forms problems that teachers bring to me. My completely unscientific data on this tells me that about 90% of all problems with Google Forms quizzes come down to one of three issues. 

The most common mistakes I see teachers make when creating quizzes with Google Forms are:

  • Releasing answers right away. 
    • That's a problem if you don't want students to know the answers before the whole class has had a chance to complete the quiz. 

  • Forgetting to assign point values. 
    • This is an annoying issue because then you have to manually update scores. 

  • Forgetting to collect student information. 
    • This can be avoided by using Google Classroom. 
Watch this short video to learn how to avoid these common Google Forms mistakes. 

Bonus! Watch to the end of the video to learn how to avoid a common "bonus question" mistake in Google Forms.

A New Academic Feature in YouTube Studio

Yesterday morning I uploaded a new video to my YouTube account and noticed a new set of options that appeared when I selected the education category. Now when you upload a video to your YouTube account and select the education category you can also add additional subcategory labels to your video. Those options include academic system (by country), grade level, and content standards. If you haven't seen these new options, watch this short video that I made about them. 

Applications for Education
It's too early to tell, but I hope that these new categorization options for academic videos on YouTube will make it easier for students and teachers to locate helpful academic videos.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Ten Overlooked Google Docs Features for Students and Teachers

As Google Docs has improved and added more features over the years some of those features get forgotten or just plain overlooked. Just because those features don't jump out, doesn't mean they're not helpful to students and teachers. In this new video I highlight ten of my favorite "overlooked" Google Docs features for students and teachers. 

  • These are great for organizing group notes.
Special Characters.
  • These provide an easy way to add accent marks, math symbols, arrows, and emojis to documents.
Task lists.
  • These are different from checklists and are accessible regardless of which Google Doc you're currently viewing in your account.
Changing Default Text.
  • Tired of the standard 11 point Arial font? Change the default font to anything you like.
Table of Contents.
  • This is a great way to link and jump to sections of long documents. The table of contents works even if you export the document to PDF.
  • Change the default substitution settings so your name is never misspelled again. Or change the settings to disable some of the automatic features in Google Docs.
  • Teach kids where this is so they can find definitions and synonyms without leaving Google Docs.
  • Students can use the built-in camera option to add pictures of handwritten work to their Google Docs.
  • Mark a document as confidential or draft.

Are you a tech coach or media specialist looking for some new ideas to share with your colleagues? If so, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook you need. You can get it right here.

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