Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Best of 2022 So Far - Mote

With the exception of the webinar I'm hosting tomorrow, I'm taking the rest of the week off. While I'm gone I'll be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year so far. 

One of my absolute favorite new tools in 2021 was a Chrome extension called Mote. With Mote installed you can add audio comments to Google Docs, Google Classroom, and Google Slides. You can also use Mote to add audio to Google Forms and insert audio into Google Slides with just one click. Mote also lets you record audio messages to share directly in Gmail and or via QR codes. All of those things are featured in this Mote compilation video that I put together earlier this week. 


Applications for Education
As I've been saying since the first day that I tried Mote, the thing that I like the best about it is ability to give students feedback in your own voice. There's a comfort in hearing feedback instead of just reading it that a lot of students benefit from. That's especially true when the feedback is being provided to students who might struggle to understand your feedback when they're just reading it instead of hearing it. 

Best of 2022 So Far - QRToon

With the exception of the webinar I'm hosting tomorrow, I'm taking the rest of the week off. While I'm gone I'll be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year so far. 

QR codes are handy for making long URLs easy to access on mobile devices. Last year I used QR codes to make my classroom sign-in/sign-out forms easy for students to access on their phones. I typically use either QRCode Monkey or the QR code generator built into Chrome. Recently, I discovered another neat QR code generator called QRToon

Like all QR code generators, QRToon will create a QR code for any URL that you specify. The difference between QRToon and other QR code creators that you might have tried is that QRToon will let you upload a picture to use in your QR code. That picture is then turned into a cartoon version. The QR code in this post includes a cartoon version of a headshot of myself that I uploaded to QRToon. 

Using QRToon is easy and it does not require registration. Simply head to the site, enter the URL that you want to turn into a QR code, and then upload a picture. QRToon will generate the QR code with your cartoonized portrait in it. You can download your QR code as PNG file to print and use wherever you like. 

It's worth noting that QRToon will only work with pictures that have just one human face in them. It didn't work when I tried to use it with pictures that had me and my kids in it. It also didn't work when I tried to use pictures of my dogs and cats.

Applications for Education
Does the world need another QR code generator? Probably not. Is it nice to have a personalized QR code that includes your likeness? Sure. The utility of QRToon is probably in just being able to personalize your QR codes to include your likeness in them for your students to recognize.

By the way, the QR code in this post will direct you to my eBook, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips

Monday, July 4, 2022

Summer Reading, Notebooks, and Thinking

If you've joined one of my webinars about search strategies or taken my Teaching History With Technology course, you probably know that I advocate for two very non-techy activities. Those things are reading physical books and writing in a physical notebook. 

I have always found that when I read physical books, regardless of whether they're fiction or nonfiction, there at least three things that happen. I get new ideas to dabble with in my head. I have ideas that I want to remember. I have to stop and write my ideas down. All of those things are similar and all of those contribute to making me a bit of a slow reader if your only gauge for reading speed is how many pages you turn in a given timeframe. 

A physical notebook is almost always within my reach throughout the day. I start my day writing in a notebook (goals for the day, to-do list, reminders). During the day when I need to puzzle through an idea I write in my notebook. And when I'm stuck and can't think of anything to blog about or make videos about, I turn back through the pages of my notebooks (in my office I have notebooks going back at least ten years). 

This summer I'm reading The Last King of America and re-reading Twenty Things to Do With a Computer. Both books are quickly filling with notes. Both have given me ideas that I wouldn't have found through scrolling social media accounts or through Google search. I wouldn't have those notes and ideas through a Google search because I wouldn't have known what I didn't know until I read the books. Those notes then prompt and form my later Google searches. In other words, the books start me down the rabbit hole of investigating more ideas.

Is there a point to this post? Yes, it's to remind you to pick up a good book this summer and take notes. And in the fall, do the same for your students. 

What I Do When a Website Steals My Work

I've been writing this blog for fifteen years this year. For most of those years I have been battling with people about copyright. Some people think that because it says "Free Technology for Teachers" that they can take anything they want and republish it wherever they want. Other people have a misunderstanding of what fair use means. And some people simply don't care about copyright at all. That's often the case with super scuzzy and slimy websites that use automated scripts to take all of my blog posts and republish them. 

Unfortunately, over the last fifteen years I've become rather adept at finding out where websites that steal my work are hosted and how to file copyright infringement notices with those web hosting providers. I spent a good deal of time doing that last week (it puts me in foul mood) so I decided to try to make something useful with my time and recorded this video about how to file a DMCA takedown request with a web host. In this case the web host was Name Cheap. The process is largely the same regardless of the web hosting provider. 

Hopefully, you never have to go through the annoyance and frustration of dealing with people stealing your work. But if you do, I hope my video is helpful to you. 



p.s. I can't wait to see this blog post get stolen by one of the aforementioned spammy, slimy, scuzzy websites like Daily Dose, Trident of CNC, World New 5, and Star Kids Learn.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Geo Artwork - A Fun Game About Geography and Art

If you and or your students enjoy online geography games like GeoGuessr, you need to try Geo Artwork from Google Arts & Culture. 

Geo Artwork is a game in which you view an image of an artwork and then have to guess where in the world that artwork belongs. There are categories for visual arts, sculpture, textiles, books, and places. The places category is based on Google Street View imagery of places associated with or featuring an art work. 

Geo Artwork is played by looking at the image and then placing a pin on a map to guess at the answer. Once the pin is placed you're shown how close or far you were from the correct answer. After viewing the accuracy of your guess you can click through to learn more about the artwork. 

Watch my short video to learn how to play Geo Artwork