Friday, March 11, 2022

How to Manage Browser Pop-ups - Not All of Them Are Bad

Yesterday morning I answered a question from a reader who was having a little trouble accessing the sharing function on a website. From the description she gave me, the solution was to enable to pop-ups for that particular website. I sent her a screenshot of how to enable pop-ups and then created this short demonstration video.

In the following video I demonstrate how to change pop-up settings in Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

The default setting in most browsers these days is to automatically block all pop-up windows. That's generally a good thing. However, there are times when pop-ups are necessary. For example, some websites' sharing menus (like mine) utilize pop-ups for sharing blog posts to social media sites. Some websites' log-in screens utilize pop-ups as well. So if you're experiencing problems with a site not working exactly as you expected, try enabling pop-ups for just that site and see if the problem is resolved.

Actionable Insights for Reading Progress in Microsoft Teams

Last week Microsoft added some new aspects to the Reading Progress tools in Microsoft Teams. One of those new features is called Actionable Insights. As the name implies, it provides you with information about your students' reading progress and lets you create assignments based on those insights. The means that after you have reviewed the reading progress data for your students you can create differentiated assignments based on that data. 

As I expected, Mike Tholfsen created a video that highlights the features of Actionable Insights and other recently updated features of Reading Progress in Microsoft Teams. Watch the video on his YouTube channel or as embedded below.

For those of you who are not Microsoft Teams users, check back on Monday for a blog post about a cool tool that does a similar thing as Reading Progress but works without the need for a Microsoft account. 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

How to Share Your TinyTap Courses

Disclosure: TinyTap is currently an advertiser on

Earlier this week I published a lengthy blog post and video about creating and selling TinyTap courses. It has been pointed out to me that there was one thing missing from that post and video. That was how to share your courses. Whether you create a free TinyTap course or a premium course, all courses are shared the same way. This short video shows you how to share your TinyTap courses

Watch this video to learn how to create a TinyTap course in five minutes.

How to Quickly Create and Share Narrated Presentations

Yesterday afternoon I published a video highlighting my five favorite features of Canva. After I published it I thought about it some more and decided that one of the features needed to be explained a bit more. That's why I created this video to demonstrate how to create a narrated presentation by using Canva's built-in recording studio. 

In How to Quickly Record Narrated Presentations in Canva I demonstrate how to access the recording tool, what actually gets recorded, how to download your recorded presentation, and how to share your recorded presentation. 

My favorite aspect of Canva's presentation recording tool is that your speaker notes appear on the screen when you're recording but don't appear on screen in the final recording. This can make it easier to make sure you include all of your important points without having to use a second screen or written notes while recording.

Pi Day is Coming!

Pi Day (March 14th or 3.14) is next week. If you're looking for some Pi Day activities to do or some videos to share about pi, take a look at this list of resources that I've compiled over the years.

Numberphile has a few good videos about pi and Pi Day. Pi with real pies is a three minutes and fourteen seconds video that explains Pi and how it can be calculated.

After showing the video above, you might want to follow up with this video, How Pi Was Nearly Changed to 3.2.

A Mile of Pi, as you might guess, is about a mile of digits.

Exploratorium's Science Snacks site has three hands-on activities that you can do on Pi Day (or any other day of the year).
  • Pi Toss is an activity in which students toss tooth picks is a physical recreation of Buffon's Needle Problem.

  • Pi Graph is an activity in which students graph the diameter and circumference of a series of objects in order to see the linear relationship between any circle’s diameter and circumference.

  • Cutting Pi is an activity in which students use string to measure the circumference of an object and then attempt to cut the diameter of the object from the string as many times as possible. In other words, it's a physical way to divide the circumference by the diameter.
Tynker is a service that offers programming lessons for elementary school and middle school students. For Pi Day Tynker has a free lesson plan in which students practice their programming skills by making art based on Pi. The free lesson plan has students use Tynker's block programming interface to create art and animations featuring the digits of Pi. 

Pi Skyline is an art project that has a Pi Day theme. In the project students shade graph paper to correspond to the digits in pi. Then they cut out the graph and place it on a shaded background to create a city skyline effect. Watch this one minute video to see how the project comes together. 

Finally, if you want to give your students a Pi Day ear worm, play the Pi Day Song for them.