Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Week in Review - Feels Like Fall

Good morning from Maine where it looks and feels like fall. This week we were blessed with great weather to enjoy the outdoors.

This was a busy week of online instruction. On Monday and Tuesday nights I started new professional development courses. This week I also provided webinar instruction for two schools during the day. Learn more about my webinars for schools here or contact me at richardbyrne (at)

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Zing! - Thousands of Free eBooks for Students
2. How to Use Voice Typing in Google Documents
3. How to Use the New Explore Function in Google Slides
4. 5 Types of Stories Students Can Tell With Digital Maps
5. 5 Formative Assessment Tools You Can Embed Into Your Website or Blog
6. - Save Time, Shorten URLs, and Track Interactions
7. A Cute Video About Email Etiquette for Students

Need a keynote for your conference? 
Click here to learn about my keynotes and workshops.

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.
Pixton provides a great way to create comics. 
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
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.

Friday, October 7, 2016

How to Password-protect Shortened URLs

Earlier this week I posted a tutorial on how to use to create, distribute, and track use of shortened URLs. After posting that tutorial on Facebook someone asked if it was possible to make the shortened URL private. Unfortunately, doesn't let you do that, but there are services that will let you do that. Thinfi is one of those services that lets you create shortened, password-protected URLs. In the video embedded below I provide a short demonstration of how to use Thinfi.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video, Thinfi could be a good tool to use when you want to share a preview of a project before it is ready for public consumption. For example, if my students are working on developing websites and they want to gather feedback before showing the site to the whole world, sharing a password-protected URL could be a good way to do that.

How to Create Google Alerts

In one of yesterday's posts I mentioned using Google Alerts to track a topic on the web. A few hours after I published that post I was asked for clarification about how to create a Google Alert. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a Google Alert.

Differences Between American & Canadian Thanksgiving

This coming Monday in the United States is generally referred to as Columbus Day. In Canada this coming Monday is Thanksgiving. Start your Friday morning on a lighter note by watching one or both of the following humorous videos that explain the differences between Thanksgiving in Canada and Thanksgiving in the United States.

Definitely preview these videos and decide for yourself if they're appropriate for your classroom. I know a lot of high school teachers who will have no problem sharing these, but teachers of younger students probably won't want to share them.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Use Feedly & Google Keep to Keep Track of Your Favorite Blogs

A few months ago Evernote made changes to their free plan that essentially made it worthless. At that time I completely switched all of my bookmarking and mobile note-taking activities to Google Keep. It has been a few months now and I can honestly say that I don't miss Evernote one bit.

The primary way that I use Google Keep is to bookmark things that I find while reading through my favorite blogs in Feedly. Feedly is the RSS reader that I have used since Google shuttered Google Reader. In the videos embedded below I demonstrate how to use Feedly and Google Keep together. The first video is a demonstration of using the two tools on my desktop. The second video is a demonstration on my Android phone.

Applications for Education
Feedly provides a great way to keep up with your favorite blogs about education. It also provides a good way for students to track topics that they are researching. One way that students can do this is by creating a Google Alert then subscribing to that Alert in Feedly. Of course, they can also just follow a some blogs about the same topic in Feedly.

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