Sunday, August 7, 2022

Lessons on Compound Interest, Rent, and Mittens

Last week I got an email from the Council for Economic Education. The email listed the ten most popular resources on their site. Two of them stood out to me and one of them led me to an additional resource that wasn't included in the email. 

The Compound Interest Calculator is the most popular resource on the Council for Economic Education's website. It does exactly what the name states. Students enter age, interest rate, initial investment, and monthly savings to see how much they'll save and earn over time. There are lots of tools like this one on the web. The nice thing about this one is that it's not surrounded by a zillion ads for mortgages and investment brokers. 

Renting a Place to Live is the ninth most popular resource offered by the Council for Economic Education. It is a free lesson plan that is designed to help students understand the process of finding a place to live and the true cost of renting a place to live. The lesson plan includes some handouts for students to use to identify the costs associated with renting. 

A resource not mentioned in the CEE's email was Economics in Children's Literature. I discovered that collection by going down a virtual rabbit hole of related resources after looking at the Renting a Place to Live lesson plan. Economics in Children's Literature is a collection of lesson plans for introducing economics concepts to elementary school students through the use of literature. For example, this lesson plan about scarcity is centered on reading Jan Brett's story, The Mitten (a story my own kids love). 

How to Quickly Broadcast Your Screen to Your Students' Screens

A few months ago I published an overview of DisplayNote Broadcast. It's a tool that you can use to broadcast your screen to your students' laptop or tablet screens. Shortly after I published my initial overview DisplayNote Broadcast added a Google Slides and Classroom integration. The latest update is a Chrome extension that you can use to share your screen with just a couple of clicks

In the short video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to broadcast your screen to your students' screens by using the Display Note Broadcast Chrome extension. 

Applications for Education
DisplayNote Broadcast is the type of tool that is great for getting all of your students to look at the same thing on your computer at the same time. I found this to be particularly useful when giving coding demonstrations to students as they could see things in more detail than just looking up at a projector screen.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Airplanes, Lesson Plans, and Coding - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're hoping the heat and humidity will break today. I write that sentence knowing full well that in a month I'll probably be back to wearing flannel shirts and sweaters. Until then we're going to try to enjoy the last few weeks of summer before school starts. 

This week I held the sixth webinar in my summer webinar series. A big thank you to everyone who has registered for one or all of them. Your support helps me keep the lights on. There is one more webinar in the series. It's Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep

These were the week's most popular posts:
1.Five Good Resources for Learning About Airplanes and Airlines
2. A Great Place to Find Lesson Plan Ideas
3. Google Classroom Now Has Add-ons - For Some Schools
4. Blackbird Provides an Innovative Way for Anyone to Teach Coding
5. Significant Changes to Screencastify's Free Plan
6. How to Make Whiteboard Videos in Microsoft Flip
7. Elinor's Nature Adventure and Hands-on Learning Activities

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!

Webinar on Tuesday!
This summer I'm hosting a series of Practical Ed Tech webinars. There is one left in the series. You learn more and register through the link below.
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.

Win a Classroom Makeover from Lumio

I've never been one to spend much time on classroom decoration (partly because it's not in my nature and partly due to frequently changing classrooms). But I know a lot of teachers who do spend a lot of time and money on classroom decoration. If that's you, you'll want to enter Lumio's $2,500 Classroom Makeover contest

This is one of the easiest contest you could enter. All you have to do is go to Lumio's contest page and enter the email address you use for accessing Lumio by SMART. If you don't have a Lumio account, you can sign up for one for free and then enter the contest. That's it, there's nothing else you have to do to enter. 

What is Lumio?
If you're not sure what Lumio is or how you might use it your classroom, take a look at this blog post that I published earlier this year. Or watch the videos below to learn more about how to use Lumio.

A Quick Guide to Finding, Editing, and Using Lumio Lessons

Lumio - Quickly Create Online Formative Assessments

Friday, August 5, 2022

Five Interesting Ways to Use Screencastify in Your Classroom

A couple of days ago I wrote a short post about the changes to Screencastify's free plan. At the end of that post I included some ideas for using Screencastify in your classroom. If you missed that short list, here are the ideas in more detail. 

Add Interactive Questions Into Your Videos
Adding interactive questions into your instructional videos is a great way to make sure that students actually watch your lesson all the way through. It's also a good way to determine if you need to re-teach something or alter your explanation of a concept. You can do that by looking to see if there is a pattern to the answers your students choose while watching your video. Here's a demo of how to use Screencastify to add questions into your videos.

Blur Faces and Objects in Your Videos
The option to blur things in your videos is a great way to protect your and your students' privacy when publishing a video. Besides blurring faces you may also want to blur names or email addresses if they appear in a screencast video. Watch this video to learn more.

Comment on Google Docs
The process of using Screencastify and Google Keep to create a video comment bank for Google Docs is fairly straight-forward. First, record your short video comments or short lesson with Screencastify. Second, get the "share" link from Screencastify. Third, create a note in Google Keep that contains the link to the video (I recommend giving the notes easy-to-remember names and labels). Finally, whenever you need the video link just open Google Keep in the sidebar of the Google Doc you're viewing and copy the video link from the Google Keep into your comment. Watch this video for a demonstration of the whole process.

Make a Common Craft-style Video
A little more than decade ago Common Craft created a whole new style of explantory video. You and your students can make your own videos in that simple style by using a screencasting tool like Screencastify and Google Slides. Watch this video to see how that's done.

Record a Narrated Google Earth Tour in Your Web Browser
The web version of Google Earth doesn't have the same tour recording tools that are available in Google Earth Pro. The solution to that problem is to use a tool like Screencastify to record your tour. Watch this video to see how you can do that.