Sunday, April 24, 2022

One Simple Tool Streamlined My Appointment Scheduling Process

For as long as it has been available I've used appointment slots in Google Calendar when scheduling meetings with colleagues and or students. That works very well when everyone is in the same Google Workspace domain, but it gets a little quirky when you try to use it with people who are outside of your domain. 

Earlier this month I started to experience the shortcomings of Google Calendar appointment slots when I was scheduling a bunch of meetings with companies who will be announcing new things during the ISTE conference in June. The solution to my problems was to start using Calendly

In Calendly I was able to create a calendar of my meeting availability and let people click on it to book meetings with me. People can book meetings with any email account they want to use. I connected my Zoom account to my Calendly account so that a Zoom meeting is automatically created and scheduled when someone books a meeting. Additionally, I linked Calendly to Google Calendar so that all meetings appear on my Google Calendar as well as in my Calendly calendar. (Calendly can also be used with Outlook and Teams). 

I'm using Calendly's free plan (shocker, I know). There are paid plans that give you more features like the ability to create multiple meeting types, but that would probably just add confusion back into my scheduling process. 

Applications for Education
Appointment slots in Google Calendar is great if you only need to schedule appointments with colleagues and students who are within your Google Workspace domain. But if you need an appointment scheduling tool to use with people who aren't a part of your domain, Calendly is a great tool for that.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Snow, Turtles, and Maps - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining, the grass is starting to turn green, and spring feels like it's here to stay. It didn't feel that way a few days ago when we had snow the day after a beautiful Patriots' Day Monday during which I saw turtles sunning themselves for the first time this year. We hope to see some more turtles today when we go for a little hike. I hope that you have something fun to do this weekend too. 

This week I didn't host any new webinars, but I did work on developing some new materials that I'll be sharing as part of professional development workshops and webinars this summer. If you'd like to have me run a workshop or webinar for your school this summer, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Ten Fun Things for Students to Map
2. It's Patriots' Day! Resources for Learning About the Start of the American Revolution
3. Three Good Tools for Creating Infographics
4. The Best Adobe Spark Alternative
5. Expeditions Pro - Guide Students on Virtual Reality Tours
6. How to Mirror an Android Phone to a PC or Mac
7. How to Record a Google Earth Tour in Your Web Browser

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.

New Chrome Web Store Badges Might Help You Pick Better Extensions

Earlier this week Google announced a new badge program for developers who make Chrome extensions. The program is supposed to make it easier for end-users like you and me to identify extensions that have been created by developers who adhere to Google's standards of best practices and whose identities have been verified. 

There are actually two different badges that Google is giving to developers of Chrome extensions. The first is the featured badge. That badge seems to be reserved for developers who adhere to all best practice guidelines including privacy, user experience, and clarity of listing page. The second badge is the established publisher badge. That badge is for developers who have gone through Google's identity verification process. 

It appears that the purpose of these new badges is to make it easier to identify the more or less trustworthy Chrome extensions. That said, the cynic in me now wonders why Google hasn't required identity verification for developers all along.  

Friday, April 22, 2022

Pickles, Popcorn, and More Food Science

Like many four-year-old children, one of my daughters is a picky eater. Cucumbers are one of the only vegetables that she'll eat these days. She'll also eat pickles. In fact, she loves pickles! That's why I was happy to see SciShow Kids release a new video all about pickles.  

What Are Pickles? is the latest food science video produced by SciShow Kids. They've previously released others about the science of popcorn, the science of cake, and where bananas come from. They also have a compilation video called You Are What You Eat.

What Are Pickles? explains the process of creating pickles with cucumbers and what happens to the cucumber as a result of the pickling process. 



Like all SciShow Kids videos, the videos about food science are great for introducing a new topic to elementary school students in a way that they can understand. I like to read the transcript of the video and ask students some of the questions before playing the video for them. If you're not sure how to get a transcript of a YouTube video, here's a short demonstration of the process.

An Update to Unraveling an Email Scam

About a month ago I published a video and blog post in which I explained the process that I used to unravel an email scam in which someone claimed to be an intellectual property attorney pursuing a case against me. That blog post turned out to be one the most popular things that I've published this year so I thought that I would provide an update on what has happened since then. 

I replied to the email with an explanation of why the claim was bogus and that they could get lost. I never heard back after that. But since the website was still saved my Chrome profile and predicted whenever I entered URLs beginning with the letter A, I kept an eye on the site. Yesterday morning the site went dead. 

Other People Who Exposed the Scam

After seeing that the site had gone offline my curiosity got the best of me and I went down a rabbit hole of looking to see if there are other people like me who got the same scam email and decided to eviscerate the scammers. I did a search on Twitter and quickly found a few others who came to the same conclusion that I did. 

Shawna Newman was the recipient of the same scam email back in February. Apparently, when she called them out on it they changed the address on their website from New York to Boston. Here's her Tweet about it

Ray Alexander got the same scam email and took the approach that I did. He wrote a lengthy blog post detailing how he unraveled the scam. Here's his Tweet and here's his blog post

Ben Dickson also received the email and decided to publish an unraveling of the scam. Here's his Twitter thread on the topic

Lessons for Everyone

1. Don't be a lame SEO backlink scammer.
 
2. If you do get an email from someone claiming to be an attorney (or similarly tries to appear authoritative) and it doesn't seem right, look at all of the context clues. In this case there were a lot of context clues that made it fairly obvious that there was a scam at play. The first of those clues being that the email was addressed to "owner of website" and not to any particular person.
 
3. Don't click on links in emails that you weren't expecting.