Saturday, July 28, 2018

GIFs, Whiteboards, and Slides - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the heat, humidity, and rain combined to cancel our morning plans. Mason doesn't even want to go outside. In the picture to the left he had just looked at me as if to say, "I'm not leaving the air conditioning?" Hopefully, we can all get outside to play a bit later. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you can get outside to play too.

Back to school season is almost here. I'm going to prepare for it by taking a few days off (completely offline) next week. Next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I'll be re-running some of the most popular posts of the year so far. But just before that little break I'm hosting a webinar titled 5 Ways to Blend Technology Into Outdoor Lessons.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A New Grammar Checker is Coming to Google Docs
2. Say Goodbye to Old Google Forms
3. More Than 5,000 Historical Maps for Teachers and Students
4. How to Create an Animated GIF
5. Promethean Grant - Win an Interactive Whiteboard for Your Classroom
6. Editing PDFs and Nine Other Microsoft Word Tutorials
7. How to Annotate Your Google Slides

Bring Me to Your School
My fall calendar is almost full! If you would like to bring me to your school for a professional development day, please get in touch. I offer professional development workshops on G Suite for Education, Teaching History With Technology, and many other topicsClick here to learn more or send an email to richardbyrne (at) to book me today.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Kami is a great tool for annotating and collaborating on PDFs. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
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.

150+ Tips for New Teachers

One of the best things about being a teacher is the support that you can often find from colleagues in your own building and, increasingly, through online professional groups. That collegiality can be a huge asset to teachers who are new to the profession. That's why five years ago I started to collect and publish tips from veteran teachers for new teachers. That collection now contains more than 150 tips for new teachers. The collection is displayed in the slides embedded below.

If you have a tip of your own that you want included in the slides above, please add it to the following Google Form.

Friday, July 27, 2018

How Does Air Conditioning Work? - A Lesson for the Dog Days of Summer

Here in northern New England we don't handle hot and humid weather well. The first heat wave of the summer always sends people scrambling to buy the few air conditioners that are in stock at Home Depot or Walmart. In fact, I was one of those scramblers a couple of weeks ago. This leads me to a new video from Reactions titled How Air Conditioning Works.

How Air Conditioning Works uses excellent drawings and narration to explain the inner workings of air conditioners. The video also explains the environmental impact of the chemicals that are used in air conditioners and the alternatives that are currently being explored.

Brush Ninja - Make Animated GIFs on Your Desktop or Mobile Device

Brush Ninja is a free tool for creating animated GIFs. Unlike some similar tools, Brush Ninja works equally well in the web browser on a Chromebook, Windows or Mac laptop, iPads, Android tablets, and iOS and Android phones.

To make an animated GIF on Brush Ninja simply go to the website and start drawing on the blank scene editor. You can draw as many scenes as you like in Brush Ninja. When you have drawn all of the scenes for your animation press the play button to preview your animation. If you are happy with your animation, you can download it by clicking the export option. If you don't like a part of your animation, you can go back and edit any of the scenes that you need to adjust. Watch my video that is embedded below to see the whole process in action.

Applications for Education
Animated GIFs can be a good for displaying the steps of a solving a math problem. I’ve also seen them used to illustrate parts of speech. And my friends who teach physics can use animated GIFs to illustrate key physics concepts. Those are just a few of the ways that you could use animated GIFs in your classroom.

Take a Look at TypingClub's Unique Approach to Typing Practice

TypingClub is a site that offers an extensive set of typing lessons for students. On TypingClub you'll find lessons that use a traditional approach to typing practice as well as lessons that use a rather novel approach to typing practice. That novel unique approach to typing practice is found in TypingClub's story-based typing practice. This approach presents typing practice as a story for students to write. Watch my video that is embedded below to see TypingClub's story-based typing practice in action.

As you can see in the video above, the story unfolds as students type. They type the letters that appear on the page. More of the story is revealed as students type. Feedback is provided in the form of letters changing color when students type incorrectly. Additionally, the story pauses until students type the correct letters.

Disclosure: TypingClub is an advertiser on

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