Saturday, July 16, 2022

Authentication, Forms, and Research - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining and it's going to be a great midsummer weekend! Today, I'm helping with the car show at our community's Founder's Day celebration. And tomorrow we're going to enjoy some time relaxing in our backyard, riding bikes, and picking wild blackberries (yum!). I hope that you have an equally fun weekend planned for yourself. 

This week I hosted two more webinars in my Practical Ed Tech Summer Webinars series. Thank you to everyone who has joined one so far. I'm hosting two more before the end of July. Learn more about them right here.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Reminder - Two-Factor Authentication Saves Frustration
2. Five Google Forms Features Overlooked by New Users
3. Best of 2022 So Far - Custom USGS Maps
4. Boclips for Teachers is Shutting Down
5. How to Restore the Windows 11 Taskbar
6. Best of 2022 So Far - Brush Ninja Updates
7. Common Craft Explains Research Papers to Students

50 Tech Tuesday Tips!
50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook that I created with busy tech coaches, tech integrators, and media specialists in mind. In it you'll find 50 ideas and tutorials that you can use as the basis of your own short PD sessions. Get a copy today!

July and August Webinars!
Starting this week I'm hosting a series of Practical Ed Tech webinars. You can register for one or all of them. Read about them here or follow the links below to register.
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 42,000 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 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.

Friday, July 15, 2022

A Founder's Day Search Lesson - A Classic from my Archives

Tomorrow I am spending the day helping at one of our local Founder's Day events. Our Founder's Day is in celebration of Hannibal Hamlin. Hamlin was one of Abraham Lincoln's Vice Presidents. The picture in this blog post is of his house. If you have followed my blog for a long time and or participated in one of my past workshops, you've probably seen this picture before. I use the picture as part of search challenge activity for students. 

The challenge that I've created based on this picture is as follows:

  • This house was owned by one of Abraham Lincoln's Vice Presidents. 
  • Your tasks are to identify:
    • Which Vice President owned the house.
    • Does the sun set on the front of back of house?
    • Who owns the house today.
    • The famous "movie car"  that is housed at the house today.
If you can answer all of these questions, send me an email and let me know. If you need help answering the questions, email me for some hints. And if you would like to use this challenge in your own classroom this fall, please feel free to do so. Just give me credit for the photograph. 

On July 27th I'm hosting a webinar all about teaching search strategies to students. You can learn more and register here

A Short Lesson About Concussions

Yesterday morning I had the Tour de France playing in the background while working in my office. I looked up from my laptop when I heard the commentators mention Greg LeMond followed by highlights of the 1986 stage to Alpe d'Huez. One of the things that struck me from those highlights was the lack of helmets. I remember riding my bike as a kid without a helmet, but today I won't go ten feet on my bike without one. One of the reasons for that change is what we know about brain injuries today that we didn't know in the 1980's. So much so that today professional and amateur sports leagues have concussion protocols. 

TED-Ed offers a good lesson about what happens to your brain when you get a concussion. The six minute video explains what a concussion is, the short-term and long-term effects of concussions, and myths about concussions. 

Applications for Education
What Happens When You Have a Concussion? could be a great video lesson to have middle school and high school athletes complete before their fall sports seasons begin. The video could help improve students' awareness of the symptoms and effects of concussions.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

DIY Maps of Bird Migration Patterns

Over the last handful of years I've become more and more fascinated with birds. I think that's due in part to my daughters' enjoyment of watching the many interesting birds that come to the feeders around our house. We've even taken to naming some of the birds that visit the feeders. For example, Hans is the name my oldest daughter gave to one of the rose-breasted grosbeaks that visits our kitchen window every evening. 

It's our fascination with birds that caused me to investigate the eBird Status and Trends map earlier this week. eBird's Status and Trends map lets you select a bird then see where in the world it is found at different times of the year. That's exactly what I did with our friend Hans the rose-breasted grosbeak. Using eBird's Status and Trends map I was able to quickly see where Hans and his friends would be before and after spending the summer with us here in Maine. Watch my short video to see how to use eBird's Status and Trends map to see where different birds are at different times of the year. 

Applications for Education
Create a bird observation chart and have students record some of the birds that they see outside their windows. Then have them use eBird's Status and Trends map to see where those birds came from and where they will go throughout the year. 

H/T to Maps Mania for the link to eBird Status and Trends map. 

How to Change Map Styles in Google Earth - And Why

The web version of Google Earth has improved a lot since its launch five years ago. One of those improvements is found in the number of ways that you can customize the map style displayed when you are viewing and creating projects in Google Earth. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to change the map styles that you see in the web version of Google Earth. The video includes customizing the display of borders, labels, landmarks, landmark types, live cloud cover, and more. 

Applications for Education
One of the benefits of customizing the map style in Google Earth becomes evident when using some inexpensive Chromebooks and or slow Internet connections. Turning off some of the map style features like 3D buildings and live cloud cover can make Google Earth load faster. 

From an instructional standpoint, adjusting the map style in Google Earth can be helpful to you and your students. For example, when starting a geography lesson about a region of the world you may want to turn off the state and province borders to show just the country borders. Or take it step further and turn off all borders and have students attempt to identify a country by the landmarks that are displayed on the map that you're showing to them. 

Learn more about teaching with Google Earth in my upcoming webinar, To Geography & Beyond With Google Earth & Maps. Check out Around the World With Google Earth as an activity for introducing students to finding places in Google Earth and creating placemarks in Google Earth. 

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