Free Technology For Teachers

A Guide to Blogging Terminology – Education Article

In my previous post I shared some information about the upcoming Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge. If you’re new to blogging or it has been a long time since you did any blogging, it can be helpful to have a glossary of terms that are frequently used when writing and talking about blogging. That’s why I put together the following glossary of terms. (Access the glossary as a Google Doc here). Before you jump into the glossary, watch Common Craft’s explanation…

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How to Use Keynote to Create Choose Your Own Adventure Stories – Education Article

Last week I published a video about using Google Slides to create choose your own adventure stories. That prompted a couple of people to ask if Keynote and or PowerPoint can be used in the same manner. The answer to that question is yes. In the following video I demonstrate how you can use Keynote to create choose your own adventure stories. The concept used to create a choose your own adventure story in Google Slides or Keynote can be…

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How to Use Google Slides to Create Choose Your Own Adventure Stories – Education Article

Google Slides has lots of little hidden features and overlooked tools that students can use to make all kinds creative presentations. One of those overlooked features is linking slides to other slides. If used correctly and with a little planning students can create choose-your-own-adventure stories by using the slide linking feature in Google Slides. That’s what I explain and demonstrate in the following video. This is only a snippet of a Education Article written by noreply@blogger.com (Richard Byrne) Read Full…

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Six Online Whiteboard Drawing Tools – Education Article

Thanks to an email from a reader I was alerted that a few of the online whiteboard tools that I have reviewed in the past are no longer working. Here’s an updated list of online whiteboard tools that you and your students can use for free. Scratchwork is an online whiteboard and video conferencing tool designed with math students in mind. The platform works like many similar services as it provides you with a whiteboard on which you can draw, type,…

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Free Technology for Teachers: Search, AR, VR, and Stories – Education Article

Good morning from cold and windy Maine. How windy? In the words of my two-year-old, “soooo windy!” Before sharing the list of the week’s most popular posts, I have an update about Free Technology for Teachers that will answer some of the questions that I’ve received lately. The reason for the lighter posting over the last week is three fold. First, and the biggest reason, is that I’m determined to finally finish writing a book that I started almost 18…

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Anchor Has Been Acquired by Spotify – Education Article

Anchor, one of the best new podcast creation tools to emerge in the last few years, has been acquired by Spotify. In an email sent to users and in this blog post Anchor’s founders announced the acquisition. According to Anchor’s announcement the acquisition by Spotify won’t change how you can use Anchor to record, edit, and publish podcasts through Anchor’s apps and browser tools. That is good news because Anchor provides one of the two best ways for students to…

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What is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality? – Education Article

Go to any educational technology conference or ed tech blog today and you are bound to encounter augmented reality and virtual reality products. They’re the hot topics of the day in the educational technology industry. Every week I answer questions from readers about AR and VR. One of the patterns I’ve discerned from answering those questions is that a lot of people aren’t clear on what AR and VR really are what is different about the two technologies. Here’s a…

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How to Use Location-based Reminders – Education Article

I started this year with a goal of improving my fitness. As I wrote on January 2nd, I use Google Keep to set reminders to do things that will help me reach my goals. I use Google Keep to get reminders on my phone at various points in my day. Those reminders are time-based. But there is another way to get reminder notifications in Google Keep. That way is through location services. When you create a location-based reminder in Google…

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A Couple of Free Online Alternatives to Audacity – Education Article

On Monday someone Tweeted at me a request for an alternative to Audacity that his students could use online to record and edit audio tracks. My first thought was to try SoundTrap, but they no longer offer a free version of their product. So my next suggestion was to try Twisted Wave. This morning I started searching my archives and recalled another online alternative to Audacity. That tool is Beautiful Audio Editor. Twisted Wave is a browser-based audio recording and editing…

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Two Image-based Search Challenges to Use With Your Students – Education Article

One of my favorite ways to reinforce the use of good search strategies to students is to show interesting pictures and have students try to make a long list of questions about what they see. Then I let the students try to find the answers to those questions. When they get stuck, I intervene to remind them of one of the search strategies that they have been taught. The other method that I use is to give students a bit…

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Free Technology for Teachers: Videos, Image Editing, and G Suite – Education Article

Good morning from frigid South Paris, Maine. As I posted in an Instagram story, this morning it’s so cold that even in my office I’m wearing a down jacket. Like every January in Maine we’ve had a lovely mix of frigid days and snowy days. I like the winter, but these frigid days just make me appreciate summer days even more. Speaking of summer, this week I opened the registration for the 2019 Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. As I…

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Search Strategies, PDFs, and the Super Bowl – Education Article

Good morning from Maine where I’m not doing anything particularly exciting other than brewing up a batch of chili to have during the Super Bowl tomorrow night. Between stirs of the chili I’m working on materials for a bunch of workshops and keynotes that I have coming up over the next three months. The first is next week and then I have at least one every week for through the April. When those are over it will almost be summer.…

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Free Technology for Teachers: Taskade – Education Article

Taskade is a task management tool that you can use on your computer, phone, or tablet. The service is collaborative because you can invite other people to join you to work on lists and notes in the same online space. The best part of Taskade is the selection of templates that you can use to organize notes, calendars, and to-do lists. Watch my video to see how you can use Taskade to create a collaborative meeting plan. This is only…

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Ten Search Strategies Students Should Try – Education Article

Students often think that because they can type a phrase into Google or saying something aloud to Siri they know how to search. Of course, any teacher who has heard a student say “Google has nothing on this” or “there’s no information about my topic” knows that students don’t inherently know how to search despite growing up in a world filled with Google and Siri. When your students need help formulating or refining a search, have them review the following…

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How to Use Audio or Video in Your Sub Plans – Education Article

The other day I saw a meme that read, “a teacher never realizes how much they do until it’s written down in sub plans.” Many of the the comments written under that meme said things like, “that’s why I go in when I’m sick” and “it takes forever to write sub plans.” I felt that way for a long time too. Then one day about nine years ago I was so sick that the idea of writing a sub plan…

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Six Educational Activities That Have a Super Bowl Theme – Education Article

The Super Bowl is this weekend. My prediction is that the Patriots will win. I’m guessing that my American readers have a student or two who has an interest in the game too. Try one of the following resources to turn your students’ enthusiasm for the Super Bowl into a fun lesson. NBC’s Science of Football is a series of ten videos from NBC Learn explaining and demonstrating math and science concepts as they relate to football. The list of topics…

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What’s the Difference Between England, Great Britain, and United Kingdom? – Education Article

Since I’ve just returned from a trip to London, I figure it’s a good time to revisit one of my favorite geography videos. That video is The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained. The video explains name refers to, the differences between the three, and why some people incorrectly use them interchangeably. Applications for EducationWhen I taught World Geography one of the things that occasionally baffled and or annoyed my students was my insistence that they…

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Free Technology for Teachers: More Good News for Remind Users – Education Article

Last night I shared the great news that Verizon has reversed their policy on the fee that they were going to start charging Remind to deliver free text messages. That means that the 7 million Remind users who were due to stop receiving texts via Remind will not experience any service disruptions. This morning in my inbox I got more good news about Remind. Thanks to Tracy Zordan who forwarded to me an email from Remind to Canadian Remind users,…

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Free PDF Containing 30 Pages of Illustrated Vocabulary Lessons – Education Article

I get what feels like zillions of emails every day from companies that I have never heard of. 90% of them go straight to the trash bin after a three second glance. But then every once in a while I get one that is useful. Today’s random, but useful email came from a company called Mrs. Wordsmith. The email that received contained a link to this free 30 page PDF of vocabulary building activities (clicking link will open or download PDF…

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Free Technology for Teachers: PhotoScissors, STEM, and BETT – Education Article

Good evening from terminal five in Heathrow airport. I’m waiting for my flight home after spending a couple of days in London for the annual BETT Show. For my U.S. readers who might not be familiar with BETT, it’s a bit like ISTE without all of the breakout sessions. Basically, it’s all vendors, all the time which is why admission to the show is free. Some of the vendors do put on useful presentations. I saw excellent and useful presentations…

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Immersive Reader in Virtual Reality – Education Article

Immersive Reader is one of my three favorite Microsoft products (the others others are Hacking STEM and Flipgrid). Today at the BETT Show I got to try a new implementation of Immersive Reader. That implementation is in virtual reality. Immersive Reader in VR is a beta product. In fact, I was told by representatives of Microsoft that Immersive Reader in VR has only been shown to the public this week. Immersive Reader in VR brings the experiences of Immersive Reader…

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Three Good Places to Find Hands-on STEM Activities – Education Article

On a fairly regular basis I’m asked for recommendations for hands-on STEM activities. In fact, just this morning I answered an email from a reader who was seeking that recommendation. Here are three of my go-to recommendations for hands-on STEM activities. Microsoft has two excellent and free resources for those who are seeking ideas for hands-on STEM lessons. The first is MakeCode. MakeCode offers free programs that students can use to develop their programming skills. These include coding with LEGO…

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JotForm Offers a Great Way to Collect Registrations for Summer Camps and Field Trips – Education Article

Summer might feel far away right now, but those of us who organize summer camps and summer field trips are already getting into full planning mode for the summer. If you have organized any kind of camp, field trip, or summer workshop you might have used Google Forms or good old fashioned paper forms to collect registration information. This year there is a better way to collect and organize registration information. That way is to use JotForm to organize camp registrations.…

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How to Change Google Classroom Notification Settings – Education Article

Earlier today a subscriber to my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter asked me if it was possible to change the frequency of Google Classroom notification emails. Yes is the answer to that question. Here’s how to change Google Classroom notification settings:1. Sign into Google Classroom.2. In the upper, left corner of the screen click on the “hamburger” or “three line menu.”3. At the bottom of the menu select “settings.”4. Notifications options will appear in the settings menu.5. Choose your global settings…

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A Master List of Resources About Microsoft’s Inclusive Classroom Tools – Education Article

Microsoft offers many excellent tools that improve the accessibility of documents, web pages, PowerPoint presentations, and other online media. Many of those tools are included in what Microsoft calls Learning Tools. A couple of weeks ago Microsoft announced ten updates to their Learning Tools. Microsoft offers free professional development training packs that you can use to teach others about Learning Tools. Last Friday those training packs in a new master list of links for inclusive classroom experiences. Helpful Links for…

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A Virtual Amusement Park About Molecules – Education Article

The NanoSpace Molecularium is a nice educational game produced by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It is available to play in a web browser and is available as an iOS and Android app. The purpose of the game is to provide elementary school and middle school students with an introduction to the properties of atoms and molecules. The NanoSpace Molecularium is a virtual amusement park that students can click through to find videos, games, and other short lessons about atoms and molecules. Students enter…

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Free Technology for Teachers: New Features Added to Synth – Education Article

Synth is one of my favorite new ed tech tools of the 2018-19 school year. If you’re familiar with what Synth does, it provides a simple way to create short podcasts that people can reply to with their own audio comments. Think of it kind of like Flipgrid for audio. You can experience a Synth podcast by listening to this overview of the service. This week Synth announced a few updates to their service that teachers and students will like.…

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Anyone Can Learn to Type Thanks to Typing Club’s Accessibility Settings – Education Article

Typing Club is a free typing instruction site that offers some unique features for students and teachers. One of those features that I covered in depth last year is the story-based typing practice activities. In those activities, demonstrated here, students unlock stories as they type. Unlocking the next part of the story provides and incentive for students to type accurately and quickly. That’s not the only way to develop and practice typing skills in Typing Club, but it is the…

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How to Use Canva to Create a Timeline – Education Article

Canva is one of those great tools that the more time you spend with it the more cool features you discover in it. One of those features is the ability to create timelines to save as images and PDFs. Canva has about a dozen timeline templates that you can modify by altering the text size and style, inserting images, and dragging-and-dropping other design elements. Watch the following short video to learn how to create a timeline in Canva. This is…

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Free Technology for Teachers: A Huge Change Coming to Remind – Education Article

Many of us woke up to an announcement from Remind that they are going to discontinue text message delivery for teachers, students, and parents who use Verizon Wireless services. As is explained here, Verizon has increased the fee it charges Remind to deliver text messages. That fee will cost Remind eleven times more than it currently does. Therefore, on January 28th Remind will stop delivering text messages to Verizon wireless subscribers. To be clear, Remind is not shutting down or…

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