Saturday, April 9, 2022

Librarians, Logic, and Learning - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're excited for the first day of Tinkergarten even though the weather forecast has some rain in it. Tinkergarten is a fun program for little kids like mine to have some fun outdoor learning experiences. Classes happen regardless of the weather which is fine because part of being a Mainer is being able to have fun outside in all kinds of conditions. I hope that wherever you are this weekend that you have something fun to look forward to like we do. 

This week I joined my pal Rushton Hurley to host another episode of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions. The recording can be seen here. This week I also put together an update to one of my all-time favorite social studies lessons plans. And I answered a bunch of questions from readers like you. If you have a question for me, don't hesitate to send me an email. I do my best to answer all questions. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Thank Your School Librarians! And Ask Them for Help!
2. A Calendar of Social Emotional Learning Activities
3. Using Branching Logic in Microsoft Forms to Provide Directions
4. My Five Favorite Flipgrid Video Features
5. Annotate PDFs With Lumin PDF - Free for Teachers
6. A Few Good Resources for Learning How Blockchain Works
7. Five Helpful WriteReader Features for Teachers and Students

Summer Workshops for Your School!
I'm going back on the road this summer to host professional development workshops in-person! If you'd like to have me come to your school, please get in touch with me soon.

Spring and Summer Webinars
I conduct professional development webinars throughout the year. I'll host a free one-hour webinar for any school or group that purchases ten or more copies of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips.

On-demand Professional Development
Thanks to This Month's Banner Advertisers!
  • Kikori App offers a huge library of SEL activities for all ages. 
  • WriteReader is a great tool for multimedia writing. 
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 40,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fifteen 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 Icons Daily and Daily Dose. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Three Ways to Create Simple Portfolio Websites

We're nearing the point in the school year that many of us start to think about activities for students to do to summarize their highlights of the school year. One way to do that is to create simple portfolio websites. These are sites that have just one page that features only the best work that students are proud to share. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use three different platforms to create simple portfolio websites. In the video you'll see me use Carrd.co, Adobe Creative Cloud Express, and Canva to create simple websites. 


Applications for Education
Some examples of the things you might have students include in a simple portfolio website are pictures (either of their work or as examples of their work), videos they've made in your class, slide presentations, and documents they've written. 

Friday, April 8, 2022

The Geography of Baseball Fans

The Major League Baseball season started yesterday. This morning while I was flipping through some highlights of yesterday's games, I was reminded of a neat map that I cam across a few years ago. 

SeatGeek's interactive map titled Where do MLB Fans Live? is an interactive map that shows which teams are the most popular teams in each county in the United States. A few things found through the map were not surprising at all. For example, every county in Maine and New Hampshire the Red Sox are the most popular team. And a few things revealed in the map did surprise me. For example, growing up in Connecticut I always felt like the state was evenly divided between Yankees and Red Sox fans (with a few oddball Mets fans sprinkled in), but according to this map the state is predominantly a Red Sox state.

There are a couple of flaws with the data interpretation on SeatGeek's Where do MLB Fans Live? The data is drawn from analyzing the behavior of shoppers on SeatGeek. So it is entirely possible that a team is more popular in a county than another but the fans of that team are more active shoppers. Another flaw is that the map only shows which team is most popular in the county but doesn't show how much more popular it is than another team. So it is possible that a county could be split 49% to 51% in favor of one team. Most statisticians would not consider that difference to be significant.

Applications for Education
I'm sharing this map because I think that it could be a good tool for introducing students to the nuance of data interpretation and manipulation. The map could also be used as a model for how to represent data through maps or through infographics.

Create Your Own USGS Maps

Earlier this year I highlighted the galleries of free to use and re-use media that the USGS hosts. Earlier this week I was back on the USGS site looking in those galleries when I noticed something new to me. That something is the USGS National Map Viewer

Don't the name fool you, the USGS National Map Viewer is more than just a place to look at a map. The USGS National Map Viewer lets you choose from a huge library of datasets to display on a map. You can view the source information for each dataset. Additionally, you can choose the base map on which the datasets are displayed. If that's not enough to get you to try the USGS National Map Viewer, I should also tell you that you can draw on the maps, measure on the maps, and print your customized map displays. Watch this short video to get an idea of what is possible with the USGS National Map Viewer



Applications for Education
The USGS National Map Viewer could be a great tool for students to use to make visual connections between the information provided in a dataset and the locations referenced in those datasets. For example, in the video above I applied the earthquake faults dataset to the map so that students can see where there is more or less seismic activity in the United States. On a related note, here's a nearly realtime USGS map of the latest seismic activity around the world.

50 Tech Tips and a Tech Tuesday Webinar

Every month this year I've hosted a webinar for people who have purchased a copy of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips. I'm doing the same again next week. 

On April 12th at 4pm ET I'm hosting A Framework for Technology Integration. Anyone who purchases a copy of my eBook between now and midnight (Eastern Time) on April 11th will get a link to join the webinar. And if you previously purchased a copy and want to join this webinar, just send me a note and I'll register you. 

In A Framework for Technology Integration I'll share my framework for helping teachers use technology in meaningful ways in their classrooms. I'll also provide some examples of how I've done it in the past and how you can replicate them in your school. 

About the eBook:

50 Tech Tuesday Tips was 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.