Sunday, August 1, 2021

July's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Butterfly on a purple flower
July has come and gone. It feels like just yesterday the school year was ending and now it seems we're seeing "back to school" promotions on every website and in every store. With the exception of a few days at the beginning of the month I've been working all summer long on maintaining this blog, hosting the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp, and working on some new materials for the fall. I hope that you've been able to enjoy a little break between school years. 

As I do at the end of every month, I've gone through the analytics for Free Technology for Teachers and compiled a list of the most popular posts of the month. Take a look and see if there's something interesting that you missed in July. 

These were the most popular posts in July:
1. 15 Updates Coming to Google Workspace for Education
2. 21 Google Docs Features You Should Know How to Use
3. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
4. Getting Started With Google Forms - The Basics and More
5. How to Password-protect an Edublogs Blog
6. See the Elements Present in Common Products - The Periodic Table in Pictures and Words
7. How to Create Interactive Checklists in Google Docs
8. Collect Chat - Turn a Google Form Into a Chatbot
9. Free Music for Classroom Projects
10. Three Places to Find Fun and Interesting Math Problems

On-demand Professional Development
On the Road Again!
  • I'm accepting a limited number of invitations to speak at events during the 2021-2022 school year. If you're interested, please send me an email at richard (at) byrne.media for more information. 

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 36,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Patent Search and Five Other Google Scholar Features Students Should Know How to Use

Unlike search results on Google.com, Google Scholar search results isn’t a ranking of websites. Instead, Google Scholar search results are lists of scholarly articles related to your query. Google Scholar can also be used to locate United States patent filings as well as state and federal court cases.

When looking at Google Scholar search results you’ll find that some articles are available to view for free as PDFs and others only allow you to read an abstract before being prompted to purchase access to the full article. Students who use Google Scholar and come across articles that require subscriptions for full access should ask their school’s librarian if the school has access to those articles.

One of the most helpful research features of Google Scholar is found after you’ve located a helpful article. In Google Scholar search results you’ll notice that below each article there is a link labeled “cited by” and one labeled “related articles.” Once you’ve identified a helpful article click on the “cited by” link to see a list of articles that have cited the one you’ve just read. You can also click on the “related articles” link to, as the name implies, find related articles indexed by Google Scholar.

Another handy feature of Google Scholar is found when you click on the quotation mark listed just to the left of the “cited by” link below each article. Clicking on the quotation mark brings up pre-formatted MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and Vancouver style citations for students to copy and paste into their research papers.

All of the features mentioned above and more are demonstrated in this short video.



Patent search in Google Scholar provides an interesting way for students to trace the development of technology. For example, using the patent search feature in Google Scholar can show students the development of telephones from Alexander Graham Bell’s first phone through mobile phones in use today. To do this students will first need to use Google Scholar to locate Bell’s patent filing (found here https://patents.google.com/patent/US244426A/en). Once they’ve found the patent filing they can then scroll down the page to find a list of other patent filings that cited Bell’s and a list of similar patent filings. Students can also click on Bell’s name to see a list of all of his patent filings. A video demonstration of this process is available here.


This blog post was written by Richard Byrne and originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. 

Music, Forms, and Elements - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is rising on what is going to a great day for outdoor play. We'll be riding bikes, going on a little hike, and playing in the water today. I hope that you also have some fun things planned for your weekend. 

This week I did a lot of writing about search tools and strategies. Part of that work was a result of preparation for a couple of upcoming webinars including one during next week's Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. I hope you'll join me!


These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Free Music for Classroom Projects
2. How Excluding Words Helps Narrow the Scope of a Search
3. What Car Did Harry Lyon Drive? - The Answer to Tuesday's Search Challenge
4. Five Google Scholar Features Students Should Know How to Use
5. How to Give Partial Credit in Google Forms
6. See the Elements Present in Common Products - The Periodic Table in Pictures and Words
7. An Itchy Science Lesson

On-demand Professional Development
On the Road Again!
  • I'm accepting a limited number of invitations to speak at events during the 2021-2022 school year. If you're interested, please send me an email at richard (at) byrne.media for more information. 
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 37,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Using Google Books in History Classes

As the name implies, Google Books is a search engine for locating books. Through Google Books you’ll find books that you can read in their entirety for free and books that you can preview for free. Most importantly, Google Books lets you search for keywords within books. Searches on Google Books can be refined according to date of publication, access level (full view vs. preview-only), and publication type (book vs. periodical).

A typical example of using Google Books in a history setting is found in a search for information about the Battle of New Orleans in The War of 1812. Head to Google Books and enter a search for “War of 1812.” Then refine the search to books with a full view published in the 20th Century and you’ll quickly locate The Naval War of 1812, volume 2 authored by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. You can then use the “search inside” function to find every page that makes a reference to New Orleans. You can then quickly jump to each page that references New Orleans because each page in the search result is hyperlinked. You can read those pages online or print them for reading offline.

It should also be noted that you can search within books that are marked as preview-only. The utility in that is identifying how much content there is related to your search term within a chosen book. If that search reveals that there is a substantial amount of useful content, you can then use the “get the book” function in Google Books to locate libraries in your area that have a copy of the book. The “get the book” function will also provide links to places to purchase copies.

A video overview of how to use Google Books is available here and is embedded below.


This blog post was written by Richard Byrne and originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere it has been used without permission. 

My Most Popular Tutorials in July

In July my YouTube my YouTube channel passed the 37,000 subscriber mark. In July I published twenty-three new tutorials including some in-depth guides to getting started with Google Workspace for Education. On my YouTube you'll also find tutorials on a wide variety of topics including making your own Android apps, video creation tips, Microsoft Forms tutorials, podcasting tips, and many other topics suggested by readers and viewers like you. Below are the ten videos on my YouTube channel that were watched the most in July. 

How to Create a Video With Canva


The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms


How to Add a Timer to Your PowerPoint Slides


Wheel of Names - A Random Name Picker and More


How to Draw on Your Screen in Google Meet


How to Create Your Own Online Board Game


How to print a Google Form or save it as PDF


How to Find and Use the Embed Code for YouTube Videos



How to Import and Copy Questions One Google Form to Another



How to Annotate PDFs in OneNote