Sunday, October 16, 2022

Five Ways QR Codes Can Be Helpful in Your School

Last week I was looking through my YouTube Studio analytics and noticed that once again my video about creating QR codes for Google Forms was trending upward. Searches on my blog for "QR code generator" were up last week as well. If you were one of those people searching for information about QR codes, here are five ways to use them in your school and a few tools for making them. 

Five Uses for QR Codes in School Settings
QR codes are easy to make and easy to scan with mobile phones and tablets, they can be helpful in accomplishing a lot of things in school settings. Here's a short list of ways to consider using QR codes in your school. 
  • Share sign-in/sign-out sheets via QR code. If you're using Google Forms or Microsoft Forms to maintain sign-in/sign-out sheets, post a QR code on the wall of the room to be signed into or out of to make it easy for students or colleagues to access those forms. Here's a demonstration of using QR Code Monkey for that purpose. 

  • Share links to important and frequently updated webpages like the school lunch menu. Last year the daily lunch menu was plastered all over my school in the form of a QR code that students could scan to get the day's menu and place orders in advance. One of the easiest ways to make a QR code for that purpose is to use the QR code generator that is built into Google Chrome. Here's a demo how that works

  • Create QR codes to access voice messages. With the Mote Chrome extension installed you can simply click the Mote icon to record voice notes. When you're done speaking simply click the share button and you'll have an option to view and download a QR code. Anyone who scans your QR code will be able to listen to your voice recording. Watch this short video to learn how you can share voice notes via Mote QR codes.  

  • QR codes can be useful for distributing important contact information to parents and students. QR Code Monkey lets you not only create QR codes for URLs, but also create QR codes to distribute contact information like phone numbers and email addresses. 

  • I forget which school I that I first saw it in, but a handful of years ago I visited a school library in which there was a selection of books that had QR codes inside the dust jacket. The QR codes linked to book trailer videos that students had made about those books. 
How to Make QR Codes
There is no shortage of tools available on the web for creating QR codes. I have three that are my favorite go-to options. For simplicity, I like the QR code generator built into Google Chrome. For adding a fun aspect to QR codes, I like to use QR Toon. And for the ultimate in design flexibility, I like QR Code Monkey. In the following video I demonstrate how to use all three of those tools.   

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Voices, Search, and Bare Trees - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the leaves are falling faster than ever. A couple nights ago a big rain storm through and some of our trees lost all of their leaves. I love the beauty of the changing leaves of autumn. I don't, however, enjoy raking all of the leaves that fall as I will be doing for part of the day today. The upside to raking all of the leaves is seeing how much my daughters enjoy jumping into the piles of leaves. I hope that you have as much fun this weekend as my daughters will have jumping into leaf piles. 

This week I spent a lot of time rebuilding my Practical Ed Tech website. It's still not exactly what I want to look like, but it's much improved in terms of function and aesthetics. Please take a look and let me know what you think of it.  

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Three Alternatives to ViewPure for Distraction-free YouTube Viewing
2. How to Create Your Own Search Engine
3. Why Our Voices Sounds Different to Us Than to Others
4. Grid Views and Timelines in Google Slides
5. How to Add Background Music to PowerPoint Presentations
6. Animations of Historical Movements and Patterns
7. This Little Trick Makes Podcast Editing Easier

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.

50 Tech Tuesday Tips for You

Are you a new tech coach, tech integrator, or media specialist who has been asked to run a little tech workshop? Do you need some ideas for it? If so, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips is for you! 

50 Tech Tuesday Tips was curated from more than 400 editions of The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. In 50 Tech Tuesday Tips you will find ideas for lots of helpful things that you can teach to your colleagues and to students. Throughout the eBook you'll find tutorials and handouts that you can pass along in your school. 

Some of the many things you'll find in 50 Tech Tuesday Tips include:

  • What to do when a web app isn't working as you expect.
  • Building your own search engine.
  • How to create green screen videos.
  • Improving instructional videos. 
  • Streamlining email management.
  • Creating educational games. 
  • DIY app creation.
  • Podcasting tips for teachers and students. 



Get your copy of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips right here!

Friday, October 14, 2022

A Fun Timeline Game for History Students

Play Your Dates Right is another great game template developed by Russel Tarr at ClassTools.net. The concept of Play Your Dates Right is that students have to pick the correct sequence of three historical events. The event in the middle of the game template is always the event that actually did come second. Students have to guess if the first and third events are in the proper sequence. Watch my short video that is embedded below to see how the game is played and how you can create your own version of it. 



You can create and publish your own version of Play Your Dates Right by using the free template provided through ClassTools. To get the template all that you need to do is click the "edit" link that appears in the lower, right corner of Play Your Dates Right. Then you can enter a list of events with their corresponding dates. When you publish your game ClassTools will randomly select from your list to be displayed.

Applications for Education
I've always stressed to my history students the importance of sequence. Play Your Dates Right could be a fun way for students to review the sequence of events in a unit of study. An obvious case use is in reviewing the causes of the outbreak of a war.

How to Print Guest Lists for Google Calendar Events

Google Calendar, like most products in Google Workspace, has lots of little features that are often overlooked. Just because those features are overlooked doesn't mean that they're not useful. For example, you can print a guest list from an event on any of your Google Calendars. In the short video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to print guest lists for Google Calendar events


I use printed guest lists for meetings because it's often faster for me to take attendance on paper than it is to toggle between tabs or screens (especially when hosting virtual meetings). 

Watch this video for five more Google Calendar features that you should know how to use. 

The settings and features demonstrated in the video below include:

  • How to create a Google Calendar.
  • How to share a Google Calendar.
  • How to invite colleagues to collaborate on a Google Calendar.
  • How to create appointment slots in Google Calendar.
  • How to create task reminders in Google Calendar.