Tuesday, May 3, 2022

How Not to Cite an Image Source - Eight Years Later

I originally wrote this blog post eight years ago. I was reminded of it yesterday when I saw a similar top ten list to the one mentioned below shared by a former colleague with whom I'm Facebook friends.

This morning one of my Facebook friends posted one of those "ten signs you're from..." Buzzfeed-like articles that sucked me in. As I looked through the article I noticed something strange about the image credits. In fact, they really were not image credits at all. The caption below the images simply reads, "Source: Google Images." Besides not naming the owner of the image, the author of the article didn't link to the source nor indicated that it was used by permission. I took a screenshot and added a comment to it. You can see my screenshot below. 
Click the screenshot to view it in full screen.

(Yes, you can use this screenshot if you want to share it with your students). 

Applications for Education
Between great public domain image sources like Pixabay (click here for other options) and Creative Commons image search tools there are few occasions when students should have to resort to claiming fair use to use a copyrighted image. If they do end up at that step, they should at least give proper credit to the owner of the image.

Visual Dictionaries for Kids

Now that my daughters are learning to read I have a new and better appreciation of importance of good visual aids as they learn new words. Likewise, for kids who are a little older than mine, the right visual aids can make all the difference between them understanding a term or confusion. This pattern is true when students are learning new vocabulary words and or seeing the connections between similar words. To that end, here are four visual dictionaries and a thesaurus that can help your students learn new vocabulary words. 

Kids Wordsmyth is a great visual dictionary in which students can search for words, hear them pronounced, read definitions, and see illustrations of words. Students can search for words or simply browse through the Kids Wordsmyth online dictionary. The dictionary is arranged in a virtual book format with tabs for each letter of the alphabet.

Visuwords uses a web design to show users the definitions of words and the connections between words. To use Visuwords just type a word into the search box and Visuwords will generate a web of related words. Place your cursor over any of the words and the definition appears. Use the color-coded key to understand the connections between the words in any web.

Snappy Words is a free visual dictionary and thesaurus. Enter any word or phrase into the Snappy Words search box and it will create a web of related words, phrases, and definitions. Hover your cursor over any word or phrase in the web to read its definition. Click and drag any node to explore other branches of the web. Double click on a node and it will generate new web branches.

Wili the Word Wizard's Math Dictionary is a glossary of important terms that elementary school and middle school students need to know to be successful in their mathematics classes. The dictionary includes diagrams when appropriate.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Quick and Easy Ways to Remove Image Backgrounds

Removing the background from an image is a good way to protect your privacy and that of people who might unintentionally be in the background of your pictures. Remove image backgrounds is also a good way to get a stand-alone image of yourself to then place in front of a different background. For example, I could take a picture of myself at my local ski mountain then replace the background so that I look like I'm climbing Mount Everest. 

In the following video I provide demonstrations of four quick and easy ways to remove the background from your images. One way to use this with students is to have them place themselves in front of landmarks of the world then write about their virtual visit to those landmarks.

In the video above I demonstrated how to remove image backgrounds with the following free tools:
  • PowerPoint
  • Remove.bg
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Express
  • Canva

Book Widgets Now Offers Digital Rubrics

BookWidgets is a service that I wrote about back in October. When I wrote about it then, it offered dozens of templates for creating interactive lesson activities that you can see your students complete online. Recently, BookWidgets added a new rubrics function that you can use to score your students online and offline work. 

The new BookWidgets rubrics function includes premade rubrics that you can use and templates that you can modify to create your own rubrics. The rubrics can be distributed along with any activity assignment that you give in BookWidgets. 

A few of the features of the rubrics function in BookWidgets that stood out to me were the ability to use the rubrics to give feedback with or without scores attached, an option to use emojis and symbols in your rubrics, and the ease with which you can score assignments with the rubrics. 

Using the BookWidgets rubrics is rather straight-forward. However, if you'd like to see an overview of the process, BookWidgets published the following tutorial videos. 

How to create a rubric in BookWidgets - Part 1

How to grade a rubric in BookWidgets - Part 2

Sunday, May 1, 2022

The Most Popular Posts in April

April 2022 has come and gone. Where there was snow on the ground at the start of the month there is now some green grass poking up. It felt like a busy month for me as I hosted some webinars and started planning for some summer workshops. Stay tuned for some announcements next week about the summer PD events that I'll be hosting. 

As I do at the end of every month, I've compiled a list of the ten most popular posts of the month. Take a look at the list below and see if there's anything interesting that you missed in April. 

These were the most popular posts in April:
1. It's Patriots' Day! Resources for Learning About the Start of the American Revolution
2. Thank Your School Librarians! And Ask Them for Help!
3. A Calendar of Social Emotional Learning Activities
4. Three Good Tools for Creating Infographics
5. Seven Activities for National Poetry Month
6. Using Branching Logic in Microsoft Forms to Provide Directions
7. Annotate PDFs With Lumin PDF - Free for Teachers
8. New Chrome Web Store Badges Might Help You Pick Better Extensions
9. A Few Good Resources for Learning How Blockchain Works
10. Ten Fun Things for Students to Map

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.

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