Saturday, October 1, 2016

How to Use the New Explore Function in Google Slides

Earlier this week Google introduced a new feature to Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets that they are calling "Explore." The Explore function in Google Slides can help you find a better layout for each slide in your presentation, help you find previous work that you've done about the topic of your presentation, and help you find information from the web about your topic. In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of the new Explore function in Google Slides.

Click here to learn how to earn graduate credits while learning more about Google Apps for Education.

Other Places We Can Connect

I receive a healthy amount of requests on my personal Facebook account every week. I decline most of them because I like to keep my personal Facebook account for interactions with family and friends that I've interacted with in person in some significant way (working together, going to school together, sharing meals, etc). But there are other places where I am happy to connect with you.

We can connect on Twitter. I post there almost every hour of the day. I'm most active during the day (Eastern Time).

I'm on Instagram. I mostly post pictures of my dogs, my daughter, and trees.

I'm on LinkedIn. I update that sporadically.

The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page is updated a few times a day.

My YouTube channel has more than 400 ed tech tutorial videos.

If you want fewer updates from me, the Practical Ed Tech newsletter is sent out just once per week on Sunday evenings.

I also have a few Pinterest boards that I try to update when I remember to do so.

Finally, you can always send me an email at richardbyrne (at) 

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Most Popular Posts of the Month on Free Technology for Teachers

The end of September is here and by now we're settled into the the new school year. I hope that the first month or so of the new school year has gone well for you. As I do at the end of every month, I have compiled a list of the most popular posts of the month. The list is determined by the number of clicks, pageviews, and shares for each post.

I've recently rediscovered the benefits of planning my editorial and work calendar for the weeks and months ahead. Looking toward October I'll be focused on publishing more tutorial videos on my YouTube channel, creating a couple of new PDF hand-outs like the Practical Ed Tech Handbook, and teaching three online courses that start next week.

Here are September's most popular posts:
1. Five Good Digital Exit Ticket Tools
2. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
3. How to Create a Check-in/ Check-out System In Google Forms
4. My Go-to Google Tools for Social Studies Classrooms
5. Flubaroo Compared to the New Google Forms Auto-grading Feature
6. Practical Ed Tech Handbook - Updated for 2016-17
7. 7 Good Tools for Creating Timelines
8. How to Create Comic Strips in Google Slides
9. How to Insert Columns Into Google Docs
10. Try My Simpleshow for Creating Explanatory Videos

Getting Going With GAFE, Teaching History With Technology, and Blogs & Social Media for Teachers will start in October. Graduate credits are available. 

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.
Haiku Deck offers the best alternative to PowerPoint.  
Pixton provides a create way to create comics. 
SeeSaw is the best platform for creating digital portfolios with K-8 students. 
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.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.

5 Neat Things Students Can Do With Google Drawings

Google Drawings is one of the tools in the Google Drive suite that often gets overlooked by students and teachers. It can be a handy tool if you know how to use it. In the short video embedded below I provide a demonstration of five things that students can do with Google Drawings.

The five things featured in the video above are:
1. Image cropping
2. Image filtering
3. Image labeling & commenting
4. Creating custom word art
5. Creating & customizing charts and graphs.

A Short Overview of PrepFactory for Middle School

Last week I shared the news about PrepFactory updating its offerings to include language arts and math practice exercises for middle school students. The new exercises include written and video tutorials that students can consult before, during, or after a round of practice exercises. In the short video embedded below I provide an overview of the new features of PrepFactory for middle school students.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on

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