Saturday, September 24, 2022

Social Studies, Soccer, and Search - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it's going to be a beautiful autumn weekend. As I write this I'm sipping my coffee while the sun is rising on what is going to be a fun and busy weekend for me and my little family. We have soccer practice, fishing, bike rides, and a trip to Storyland to see Daniel Tiger on our schedule for the next couple of days. I hope that you have an equally fun weekend planned for yourself. 

This week I hosted professional development webinars for two different groups and was a guest speaker for another group. Please click here or send me an email if you'd like to have me conduct a webinar, a workshop, or give a keynote at your next professional development.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. My Top Ten Tools for Social Studies Teachers and Students
2. A Great Alternative to Quizlet
3. The Physics of Soccer Kicks
4. How to Create PDFs in Google Classroom
5. A Great Place to Find Free Images for School Projects
6. Five Google Search Products Students Overlook
7. Three Ways Focusable is Helping Me Be More Productive

I'll Come You!
If you'd like me to come to your school or conference, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com or fill out the form on this page

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!

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 43,000 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 Strava.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

43,000+ People Get Their Ed Tech Tips This Way

This morning when I logged into my YouTube account I noticed that my little channel now has more than 43,000 subscribers for the first time. I've never had a video go viral nor have I tried to make one for that purpose. Instead, all of my videos are just simple how-to videos about a wide range of educational technology topics like the basics of making Google Forms, how to see what's hidden behind a TinyURL, and how to create a video with Adobe Express

If you're interested in subscribing to my YouTube channel, you can do so here (here's a video about how to subscribe to a YouTube channel). And if you already have subscribed, thank you! 

Here's one of my favorite videos from my channel. 



And here's another favorite on a very different topic from the one above.
 

Is a Website Down or Is It You? Here's How to Find Out

Earlier this week a reader emailed me looking for a video that I made a couple of years ago. The video she was looking for was this video that shows two ways to check if a website is down of if it's just you.

The first method demonstrated in the video uses a website called Down for Everyone or Just Me. The second method shows you how to ping a website from the command prompt in Windows 10. The ping method will make you look super techy in front of your non-techy friends.
 

Google Workspace Status Dashboard
If you're having trouble accessing a Google Workspace tool like Classroom, Docs, or Calendar, check the Google Workspace Status Dashboard to see if Google is reporting any outages within the Workspace suite. 


Friday, September 23, 2022

The Descent of the Serpent - A New Google Arts and Culture Game

This week Google Arts and Culture released a new game for students. The game is called The Descent of the Serpent and it's available to play in your web browser or in the Google Arts and Culture apps for Android and iOS. 

The Descent of the Serpent is a game through which students can learn about civilizations of ancient Mesoamerica. Students play the game from the perspective of one of four characters representative of mythological figures in Mesoamerican culture. Students then navigate through four levels of the game in a quest to find and recover twenty lost objects and return them to Chichen Itza before the solar equinox. 

The game play of The Descent of the Serpent is a little reminiscent of Legend of Zelda (yes, I realize that's a reference point that dates me as a late Gen-Xer). Players navigate through scenes while trying to dodge obstacles and objects in their quest to find the missing artifacts. When players find an artifact they are shown a little bit of information about its history and significance. 

The Descent of the Serpent can be played in story mode or in challenge mode. The story mode allows players to keep playing regardless of how many times they hit a dead-end or get hit by an object. The challenge mode gives players just five "lives" before they lose the game and have to start over. 


Applications for Education

I played The Descent of the Serpent for about 15 minutes this morning then had to force myself to stop because I could have easily gone down a rabbit hole of playing it for much longer (note, I'm not skillful when it comes playing video games in general). I found the little pop-ups of information after finding each artifact interesting. That said, I look at the game as a fun way to introduce students to ancient Mesoamerican history and not as a replacement for complete lessons.


A Helpful Sheet of Google Search Modifiers

A few days ago I highlighted five Google search products that students often overlook. While it is important for students to know about those tools, they first need to know some basics like how to modify their search terms to get different results. 

Years ago Vicki Davis tipped me off to a search modifiers poster published by Google. Yesterday, I checked to see if it is still available online and found that anyone can still download it and print it. This Google Search Modifiers Poster (link opens a PDF) could be a great resource to print and hang in your classroom or library.

Applications for Education
This infographic that I published years ago and the search modifiers poster together make a good set of reminders for students. Print them out and post them in your library, computer lab, or classroom. It should be noted that many of the modifiers featured in the poster can also be found by opening the advanced search menu in Google.