Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spring & Summer Online PD Opportunities With Me

As spring arrives in North America many of us are thinking about summer professional development opportunities. If you're looking for a great hands-on professional development opportunity, join me in beautiful Portland, Maine this summer. I am hosting two Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps in July in Portland, Maine just a few blocks from the ocean, lighthouses, and all the lobster you could ever want. The BYOD camp on July 11th and 12th and the Chromebook camp on July 18th and 19th have registrations starting to roll-in. Discounted early registration is available through the end of April. You can learn more about both Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps here.

If you cannot make it to Maine this summer, I am offering a slate of online courses that could meet your professional development needs.

Getting Going With GAFE

Getting Going With GAFE is a webinar series designed for teachers and administrators who are new to using Google Apps for Education. Getting Going With GAFE is a five week course covering everything you need to know to integrate Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Calendar, and Google Sites into your practice. Click here to learn more about the course including how to earn 3 graduate credits.

Spring section I: April 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, and May 3rd at 7pm Eastern Time. Click here to register.

Spring section II: May 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st, and June 7th at 7pm Eastern Time. Click here to register

Summer section: July 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, and August 2nd at 7pm Eastern Time. Click here to register

Click here to learn more about the course including how to earn 3 graduate credits.

Blogs & Social Media for Teachers & School Leaders

Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is a five week webinar series during which teachers and school administrators will learn the how to choose the best blogging platform for their situations, how to set-up a blog for classroom and school-wide use, and learn about strategies on how to manage blogs in classroom and school-wide settings. Participants will also learn how to avoid the mistakes that often lead to blogging endeavors being abandoned.  After establishing blogs we’ll jump into using social networks like Twitter, Google+, and Instagram to reach out to parents, students, and other members of school communities. Click here to learn more about the course including how to earn 3 graduate credits.

Spring section dates:  April 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, and May 5th at 7pm EST. Click here to register.

Summer section dates: July 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, and August 4th at 7pm EST. Click here to register

Click here to learn more about the course including how to earn 3 graduate credits.


Teaching History With Technology 

In Teaching History With Technology you will learn how to develop engaging and challenging learning activities through the use tools like Google Earth and Maps, video production tools, primary source databases, and how to help your students become better researchers. This course features three interactive online meetings along with a discussion forum in which you can further interact with me and your classmates. See the course highlights here.

Spring section dates: May 2nd, 9th, and 16th at 7pm EST. Click here to register.

Summer section dates: July 11th, 18th, and 25th at 7pm EST. Click here to register.


Subscribers to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter can receive a discount on the registration for any or all of these courses by using the code "subscriber" during online registration.

If you have more than two people from the same school district attending either of the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps, send me an email richardbyrne (at) for details on group registration discounts.

Schedule a private webinar for your school. If you have ten or more teachers from the same district interested in a webinar, I can schedule a course tailored to your needs.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where the last of the ice is melting from the pond near my house. My dogs and I had a full day of visiting the vet's office, walking in the woods, and doing some early spring landscaping. It was a relaxing way to spend the day. I hope that you had a relaxing weekend day too.

More registrations for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps arrived this week. One month is left to grab your seat at the discounted rate. If coming to Maine isn't an option for you, take a look at the online workshops I'm hosting throughout the spring and summer.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Skip the Spreadsheet, Use This Add-on to Create Google Docs Word Clouds
2. Ten Things You Can Learn at the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp
3. By Search Request - Bibliography Tools for Students
4. Try the New Padlet Android App
5. A Mapped & Searchable Archive of American Newspapers
6. Six Tools for Creating Videos on Chromebooks
7. Storyboard That Offers Earth Day Lesson Plans

Professional Development Opportunities!
There will be two Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps this year. There will be one tailored to schools that have 1:1 Chromebook programs and one for everyone else. Both Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps will be held in July. You can learn more about them here. Discounted early registration is available now. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp has sold out every year for the last three years.

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Cloudschool is a great online LMS and course creation tool. 
Google Forms in the Classroom is a good book on all things Google Forms. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.

Try the Google Newspaper Archive to Locate Old Articles and Images

Earlier this week I shared the U.S. News Map which is a database of newspapers that displays search results on a map of the United States. The U.S. News Map is limited to the years of 1836 to 1925 and is limited to U.S. newspapers. The Google News Newspaper archive offers a larger selection of newspapers both in terms of years and geography. In the Google News Newspaper archive you can search for a specific newspaper, search for article titles, or as demonstrated below you can search for a topic.

XtraMath Helps Teachers Help Students Learn Math in ASL

XtraMath is a free service designed to help teachers and parents help their students learn basic mathematics skills. The service provides an online environment in which students complete practice activities that are recorded and shared with their teachers and parents. The lessons provided by XtraMath come in video format. Recently, XtraMath added support for ASL. This is in addition to the six other languages previously supported by XtraMath.

Learn more about XtraMath in the videos below.

XtraMath Overview from XtraMath on Vimeo.

XtraMath in the Classroom from XtraMath on Vimeo.

Applications for Education 
XtraMath does not remove the need for students to learn directly from teachers and parents. It's not trying to be like Khan Academy. The purpose of XtraMath is to help teachers and parents monitor the progress that their students are making and prepare lessons that meet students where they are.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Storyboard That Offers Earth Day Lesson Plans

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on

Earth Day 2016 is three weeks away. If you're trying to develop a lesson plan to correspond with Earth Day, take a look at what Storyboard That is offering this month. Storyboard That's Earth Day Activities page offers eleven lesson plan ideas appropriate for elementary school and middle school classrooms. Some of the featured plans on Storyboard That's Earth Day Activity page include creating "cool Earth facts" storyboards, creating comics about how to help the Earth, and creating public service announcements about pollution and pollution prevention.

Applications for Education
Storyboard That's Earth Day activities are short enough to be completed in 30-60 minutes. The activities are also written in such a way that they can easily be modified to fit the specific needs of your curriculum.