Thursday, April 20, 2017

Create Sesame Street Fan Fiction on WriteReader

WriteReader recently announced a partnership with Sesame Street that essentially lets students use Sesame Street artwork in their own multimedia stories. As I wrote on Monday, it's essentially fan fiction for elementary school students. Take a look at the following video to see how your students can create their own multimedia Sesame Street stories by using WriteReader.

If you've never tried WriteReader, watch my short video embedded below to learn more about how it works.

Disclosure: WriteReader is currently an advertiser on

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Create Your Own Placemarks in the New Google Earth

A new version of Google Earth was released yesterday. In my initial review of it I was excited that it now works in your web browser while also being disappointed by the lack of creation tools that it contains. Fortunately, you can still put your own multimedia placemarks on Google Earth by importing a KML file In the following video I demonstrate how to create a KML to use in the new version of Google Earth.

Applications for Education
Creating a series of placemarks to display in Google Earth can be a good activity for students that helps them understand the relationship between events and their locations. A classic example of this is having students map the locations of battles of the American Revolution.

I'll be covering how to use Google Earth and Maps on Chromebooks during the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp this summer. Early registration discounts are available for until the end of the month.

Find Inspiration for Video Projects While Judging a Video Contest

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of Next Vista for Learning and the author of Making Your School Something Special

Every year, Next Vista for Learning challenges students at schools around the world to create videos telling about the efforts of those who work to make life better for others. Could you take time, perhaps even with your students, to help us choose the winners?

There are three videos, linked below, and you can follow the link to the ballot to cast a vote. All told, it should take about ten minutes to complete the videos and cast a vote.

Here are the three finalists:

Lake Norman Health Clinic

Shining Hope Farms

Kamloops BC Salvation Army

The deadline for our being able to count your vote is April 30th. Please help!

Service via Video 2017 ballot:

Thanks so much for taking part and helping encourage these students to tell stories of service!

Practical Ed Tech Live Recording

Yesterday afternoon I hosted another edition of Practical Ed Tech Live. The Q&A session was streamed live on the Practical Ed Tech Facebook page and on my YouTube channel. If you missed it, you can watch the recording as embedded below. The text of the questions that I answered can be seen here. As always, if you have a question for me send an email to richardbyrne (at) and I'll be happy to include your question in next week's episode of Practical Ed Tech Live.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Tour of the New Google Earth - Google Earth in Your Browser

This morning Google released a completely new version of Google Earth. The new version is designed to be used in the Chrome web browser or in a new Google Earth Android app (iOS version coming eventually). I spent about an hour trying out the new web version of Google Earth. Then I recorded the video that is embedded below.

A few thoughts about the new version of Google Earth. First, it appears that Google is placing an emphasis on having users view places rather than discover places on their own. Second, while you can create a series of bookmarks that isn't nearly as powerful as creating your own recorded tours as you can in the desktop version of Google Earth (fortunately, that is still available). Third, the option to layer images over locations seems to be missing in the web version of Google Earth. Overall, I'm disappointed that Google seems to have stripped-down Google Earth in the name of making it faster for web use. Of course, I reserve the right to change my opinion on this new version if or when Google makes the new version as robust as the old version.