Saturday, June 30, 2018

Google Classroom, Flipgrid, and SeeSaw - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining and it is a perfect day to play outside with daughters and my dogs. Before they're awake and we're bounding out the door, I have this week's week-in-review to share.

This week the annual ISTE conference was held in Chicago. I wasn't able to attend this year. Through the zillions of press releases that I was sent and through the #notatiste sharing of so many teachers and administrators, I was able to keep up with most of what was announced during the conference. The one thing that can't be replicated online is the in-person conversations with other passionate educators. Hopefully, I'll get to catch up with many of you at next year's ISTE conference.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Five Google Classroom Improvements Announced During ISTE
2. How to Use Flipgrid to Publish Instructional Videos
3. SeeSaw Unveils a New Activity Library - 1500+ Activities to Use Now
4. How to Create a Virtual Tour That Includes Audio Narration
5. Vynchronize - Watch Videos and Discuss Them in the Same Window
6. A Lesson for Beachcombers - How Seashells Are Made
7. Exciting New Features Coming to Scratch Later This Year

Bring Me to Your School
My fall calendar is almost full! If you would like to bring me to your school for a professional development day, please get in touch. I offer professional development workshops on G Suite for Education, Teaching History With Technology, and many other topicsClick here to learn more or send an email to richardbyrne (at) to book me today.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
MySimpleShow offers a great way to create animated videos for free.
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

How to Find Free Images to Use in Multimedia Projects

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who was seeking clarification on the meaning of "not filtered by license" in the Tools menu in Google Images. I made the following video to answer that question and to show some other places to find free images to use in multimedia projects.

My preferred places to find images for multimedia projects are:
Photos for Class

ABCya's Number Chart Is a Fun Math Activity for Kids

ABCya's Number Chart is a simple but fun online activity for elementary school students. The chart offers "beginner" and "challenge" activities. In both activity levels students have to drag numbers into their proper places on a number line. In the "beginner" level students are shown a number line of ten numbers at a time. In the "challenge" activities students are shown numbers 1-100 and have to drag the missing numbers into place in the number line.

Applications for Education
ABCya's Number Chart isn't a revolutionary online activity by any stretch of the imagination. That said, it is a well-designed and fun little practice activity for young students. ABCya's browser-based activities are now written in HTML5 which means that they will work on iPads and Android tablets.

Last Day to Get Five Practical Ed Tech Webinars in One Package

As many of you know, Practical Ed Tech is the site through which I offer professional development webinars. I host those webinars on a regular basis throughout the school year. For the last week I've offered the five most popular of those webinars in a summer sales pack. Today is the last day to get all five of those webinars in one package for $25.

Five on-demand professional development webinars:
  • 5 Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom
  • Intro to Using Augmented and Virtual Reality in Your Classroom
  • 5 Ways to Blend Technology Into Outdoor Lesson
  • Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners
  • Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know
Purchase here

5 Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom
Learn how to create and complete five video projects that can be done in almost any classroom. You’ll learn how your students can make animated videos, make documentary-style videos, and instructional videos. Examples from real students and teachers are shared in the webinar.

Intro to Using Augmented and Virtual Reality in Your Classroom
Take a look at any ed tech blog or magazine today and you’re bound to see an article about virtual reality or augmented reality. You might think that these are new technologies but they’ve actually been used in education for more than two decades. But today it is easier and cheaper than ever to bring virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into your classroom. In this webinar you will learn how you can use these powerful technologies in your classroom.

5 Ways to Blend Technology Into Outdoor Lessons
In this recorded webinar you’ll learn five ways that you can incorporate technology into outdoor lessons. These strategies can be used in elementary school, middle school, or high school settings. You’ll learn about augmented reality, digital mapping, geocaching, activity tracking, observing and collecting scientific data.

Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners
From creating and scoring meaningful formative assessments to organizing school events, Google Forms and Google Sheets are powerful tools to help you get things done. But you need to know where to start. That’s why I created this webinar. If you’ve ever read about or seen a neat use of Google Forms or Google Sheets and thought, “I want to do that,” this webinar is for you.

Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know
Too often our students don’t get beyond the first few pages of search results before declaring, “Google has nothing about this!” Why? Because the average time spent on a search is just 1 minute! And the average search term only has three words! We can help our students do better than that. In this recorded webinar you will learn why informational searches are the hardest types of Internet searches for students to conduct. You will learn how to help students break-down complex search topics into manageable pieces and then put the whole picture together. You’ll learn how to help your students save students tons of time by thinking before searching. And you’ll learn how to develop instructional search challenge activities to use with students of any age.

Sale Ends Tonight!

Purchase here

Three Random Name Selectors

If your students are like mine, at one point or another you've asked for volunteers and not had any students raise their hands. In that situation using a random name selection tool is an easy way to choose students to call on. And for those times when all of your students raise their hands for something fun like being the line leaders, the a random name selector is a convenient tool to have at your disposal too. Here are three good random name selection tools.

Random Name Picker is a free tool from Russel Tarr at The Random Name Picker lets you input names and spin a virtual wheel to have a name randomly selected from the list. After a name is selected you can remove it from the wheel so that it is not selected again. Random Name Picker is free to use and does not require a registration on You can save your lists by assigning passwords to them. You can re-use your saved lists. The Random Name Picker wheel can be embedded into your blog or website. The Random Name Picker was written in HTML5 so that it will run in the browser of your iPad. offers sixteen Google Sheets templates. One of those templates is a random name selector. Simply make a copy of this template, insert your class roster, and then publish your spreadsheet to use Flippity's random name selector.

The Random Name Selector from Primary Technology is a simple tool for picking names from a list you've created. To use the selector just type in or copy a list of names then hit "go." Once a name is selected you have the option of launching a two minute or seven minute countdown timer. You also have the option to remove a name from the list after it has been selected. Watch the video below to learn a little more and see the Random Name Selector in use.

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