Monday, December 26, 2016

3 Hours of On-Demand PD

In December I hosted three one-hour webinars on Wednesday afternoons. The first was Quick & Powerful Video Projects, the second was Winning Blog Strategies, and the third was YouTube, It's Not Just Cats & Khan Academy. Each webinar features five take-aways that you can use in your classroom in a relatively short amount of time.

All of my December webinars are now available on-demand. You can choose an individual webinar or get a bundle of all three webinars.  Learn more about the recorded webinars and all of the webinars I'm offering in January on the Practical Ed Tech Wednesday Webinar page.

5 Tips for New Chromebook Users - Best of 2016

As I usually do during this week, I'm taking some time off to relax, ski, and work on some long-term projects for the next year. This week I will be re-publishing the most popular posts of 2016.

The new year isn't far away now. For some teachers that could mean it's time to start getting accustomed to using a Chromebook for the first time. If your school has decided to start using Chromebooks and you're using one for the first time, check out my video embedded below to learn the answers to five questions that first-time Chromebook users frequently ask. Those questions are:

1. How do I change the background picture on my Chromebook?
2. Where do files go when I save them on my Chromebook?
3. How do I access files without an internet connection?
4. Where do I find the app for X on my Chromebook?
5. How do I add new apps to my Chromebook?

On a related note, I recorded this video on my Chromebook by using the CaptureCast Chrome extension.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Week in Review - Christmas Eve Edition

Good morning from Maine where vacation will begin when this post is complete. This week was full of my typical scramble to buy Christmas presents at the last minute. But I still made plenty of time to take my dogs for fun walks, play with my daughter, and lead a couple of webinars. Now it's time to relax for a few days. I hope that all of you enjoy the next week or two of school vacation too. Happy Holidays!

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 8 Ways to Create Videos on Chromebooks
2. My Go-to Google Tools for Social Studies Classrooms
3. Chronas - Interactive Historical Map and Data Sets
4. Three Ways to Create Image-based Formative Assessments
5. Five Strategies to Help Students Conduct Better Informational Searches
6. Math Vocabulary Cards in English and Spanish
7. Online Activities for Teaching With Primary Sources

I'll be offering more professional development webinars in January including one designed for Google Forms and Sheets beginners. And if you're looking for in-person professional development, please get in touch with me at richardbyrne (at)

Need a speaker 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.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
Math Playground offers hundreds of math games and tutorial videos. 
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.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosts workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.

Track Santa and Learn About Christmas Traditions Around the World

If your family celebrates Christmas and you're looking for a nice activity to do with young kids at home, take a look Google's annual Santa Tracker website. The site lets kids see when and where Santa is traveling from his home at the North Pole. The Santa Tracker site shows you where Santa is in relation to your location at any given time. One of the neat educational tie-ins is that you can click on Santa's current location to learn more about the Christmas traditions in that place.

The Santa Tracker site also has a little geography quiz based on Santa's travels around the globe.

Explore Maps of Historical Sites in Every U.S. State

The Traveling Salesman Problem is a website developed by William Cook at the University of Waterloo. The site features interactive maps that chart the short distance between a series of places. One of those maps is of all of the places in the United States National Register of Historic Places, all 49,603 of them.You can view the whole country in one map or visit each state's individual map.

Naturally, I jumped to the map of Maine's historic places to see how many I was familiar with. One that's close to my home is this old cattle pound that I often stop at while riding my bike in the summer. I clicked on the image on the map and was able to click through to the asset detail provided by the National Parks service. The asset detail includes when the site was added to the national registry and why it is significant.

Applications for Education
These maps of the National Register of Historic Places could be useful assets for teachers developing lessons on state history. You might ask students to look at the images and try to determine the significance of the sites before looking at the site asset details.