Saturday, June 3, 2023

Rebound - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it feels more like late April than early June. After a few days of temperatures in the 80's (Fahrenheit) I awoke to a damp 47F this morning. 

By the time that most of you read this I will be riding my bike on the dirt roads around Mooselookmeguntic Lake. I'm doing a Rebound challenge ride. It's an event that was created as a spin-off of the Unbound Gravel 200 ride that I completed on this weekend two years ago. It should be fun day on my bike. If you follow me on Strava you'll be able to see the route I complete and some pictures from the day. 

I hope that you have something fun planned for your weekend. If your weekend includes catching up on some reading, take a look at this week's list of the most popular posts of the week. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. The Effects of Talking to Yourself
2. 57 Google Earth & Maps Tutorials for Teachers and Students
3. New Microsoft Word Features to Note
4. 225 NASA Infographics
5. How to Use Google Takeout 2023
6. Five Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About Copyright
7. Ten Ways to Use Adobe Express in School

Self-paced Courses You Can Start Today

On Practical Ed Tech I have self-paced courses that you can start today and finish at your own pace. 
Workshops and Keynotes
If you'd like to have me speak at your school or conference, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) or fill out the form on this page.  

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 46,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fifteen years. 
  • I update my LinkedIn profile a time or two every week.
  • 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 If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Five Ways You Can Edit Images in Google Slides

When I started using Google Slides fifteen+ years ago it was a rather bare bones alternative to PowerPoint. That is no longer the case. Today, there are tons neat little features that you can use in Google Slides to improve the appearance of your presentations. Some of those things are found in the image formatting and editing functions that are built into Google Slides.

In the following video I demonstrate five ways that you can edit your images in Google Slides. Take a look and see if there is a feature you've been overlooking when creating presentations in Google Slides.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Three Tools for Making Short Audio Recordings - No Accounts Required

There are three tools that I typically recommend to those who are looking to just record short spoken audio tracks and don't require additional editing functions. Those three tools are Vocaroo, Online Voice Recorder, and Twisted Wave.

All three of these tools don't require students to have email addresses or create any kind of account in order to make a short audio recording then download it as an MP3.

I've been using Vocaroo for more than a decade. It's incredibly simple to use. Just head to the site, click the record button, and start talking. When you're finished recording hit the stop button. You can listen to your recording before downloading it as an MP3. If you don't like your recording you can create a new one by just refreshing the homepage and starting again. Here's my recent demo of how to use Vocaroo.

Online Voice Recorder offers the same simplicity of Vocaroo plus a couple of features that I've always wished Vocaroo had. One of those features is the ability to pause a recording in progress and resume it when I want to. The other feature is the option to trim the dead air at the beginning and end of a recording. Watch my video to see those features in action.

Twisted Wave
Twisted Wave offers many more features than either of the tools mentioned above. But at it's most basic level you can still just head to the site, launch the recorder, start talking, and then export your recording as an MP3 all without creating an account on the site. For those who are looking for a way to save audio directly into Google Drive, Twisted Wave offers that capability. Watch my short video below to see how you can use Twisted Wave to make an audio recording and save it directly to your Google Drive.

Searching for Images in Google Bard

Last month Google introduced a new Bard feature that makes it easy to copy the text of a chat to a Google Document. To start this month Google has added another new feature to Bard. That feature is the ability to conduct image searches. I gave it a try on Thursday. The results were interesting. 

Searching for images in Google Bard is easy to do. Simply type something like "images of a happy person with a dog" and you'll see a selection of about a half dozen images appear. But you can't necessarily use those images for your own projects because there isn't a filter in place for Creative Commons or Public Domain search. You have to click through each image to try to find the usage rights. 

You can refine a Google Bard search for images by writing something like "public domain images of a happy person with a dog." When you do that you will get another set of about a half dozen images from websites around the Web that claim to be hosting public domain images. In my testing I found that when I clicked through to the image source, I couldn't always verify the usage rights for the images. 

There is a third way to use Bard to find images that are free to use and re-use. You'll have to watch my short video that is embedded below to find out what that method is. 

Video - Another New Google Bard Feature

On a related note, take a look at my guide to finding classroom-friendly media

Thursday, June 1, 2023

EconEdLink's Most Popular Economics Games of the Year

Over the years I've referenced hundreds of EconEdLink's resources for teachers. That's because EconEdLink is a great resource for any teacher who needs ideas, lesson plans, games, and other resources for teaching economics lessons. On the site you'll find resources for everything from teaching basic personal finance lessons to elementary students through resources for teaching macro economic theory to high school students. 

This week EconEdLink published a list (via their newsletter) of their most popular economics games of the 2022-2023 school year. That list included a game for elementary school students, a game for middle school students, and a game for high school students. Those games are listed below.

Elementary School: Goods and Services Lightning Round

In this game students have to identify and sort items according to whether they represent a good or a service. 

Middle School: Taxes Tic Tac Toe

This game requires students to answer questions about types of taxes. When they answer correctly students can mark an X or an O on the Tic Tac Toe board. 

High School: The Money Multiplier and the Gigantic $100,000 Bill 

This is a game that teaches students how money supply is created and managed through the Federal Reserve system. 

Compound Interest Calculator

The Compound Interest Calculator is the most popular resource on EconEdLink. 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.

On a related note, Common Craft has a great video that explains compound interest. If you have a subscription to Common Craft you can access the video for classroom use and access the accompanying lesson resources. 

Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft.

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