Monday, September 24, 2018

Two Online PD Courses Starting Next Week

Throughout 2018 I have offered various one-hour professional development webinars through Those have proven to be popular, but some people have been asking if I plan to go back to offering full, live PD courses like I did from 2013 through 2017. I'm happy to announce that I am offering live, online courses through in October. Those courses are Getting Going With G Suite and Teaching History With Technology.

Getting Going With G Suite
This course offers everything you need to know to take advantage of the great things that G Suite for Education offers to teachers and students. Getting Going With G Suite is a webinar series designed for teachers and administrators who are new to using G Suite for Education. This is a five week course covering everything you need to know to integrate Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Calendar, and Google Sites into your practice. This course begins on October 2nd at 7pm Eastern Time. Learn more and register here.

Teaching History With Technology
This has been one of my favorite courses for many years. For the fall of 2018 I have completely updated it with new topics and new resources. In this course you will learn how to develop engaging and challenging learning activities through the use of tools like Google Earth and Maps, video production tools, and virtual reality. You will also learn how to help your students become better researchers. Each interactive webinar in the course features practical ideas for using technology to create new, engaging lessons or to update some of your existing “go-to” history lessons. This course begins on October 4th at 7pm Eastern Time. Learn more and register here.

About this post: The sale of my professional development, webinars, online courses, and my on-site professional development services provides the funding to keep Free Technology for Teachers running. The resources that I feature in my online courses and webinars are free. However, there is a significant cost associated with creating, hosting, and managing the courses and webinars which is why I am not able to provide them for free.  

Create Flipgrid Mixtapes to Showcase Grid Highlights

Flipgrid continues to add new features for teachers. The latest feature is the option to combine videos from multiple grids. Flipgrid calls this new feature Mixtapes. Mixtapes was created so that you can pull videos from multiple grids to create things like digital portfolios, summaries of a semester's discussions, and presentation highlights. Watch my video to see how you can create a Flipgrid mixtape.

5 Ways to Use Google Sheets in Your Classroom

Last week I posted a video about how to use pivot tables in Google Sheets. Manipulating the way that data is displayed is one of many ways that you can use Google Sheets in your classroom. Here are five other ways to use Google Sheets in your classroom.

Build Multimedia Timelines
The timeline project is as old as history classes. Today, you can put a modern spin on that project by having students build timelines that include videos, audio recordings, pictures, and interactive maps. Timeline JS is a service that students can use to turn a spreadsheet of dates, text, and media links into a timeline. Watch the following video to learn how to use Timeline JS.

Create Rubrics
Online Rubric is a free Google Sheets Add-on makes it easy to create a rubric. This Add-on does more than just format your Google Sheet into a rubric template. With Online Rubric you can enter scores, write comments for your students, and email your students directly from the Sheet. When you send an email from the Sheet your students receive a copy of their scores, your comments, and the descriptors from the rubric.

Schedule Reminder Emails
Add Reminders is a Google Sheets add-on that you can use to schedule reminder emails to be sent to your students, their parents, to colleagues, or anyone else. To use this Add-on just fill in the template with email addresses, recipient names, the tasks they need to be reminded of, and the due dates for the tasks.

Create a Random Name Selector offers eighteen Google Sheets templates. One of those templates is a random name selector. Simply make a copy of the name selector template, insert your class roster, and then publish your spreadsheet to use Flippity's random name selector.

Graph Data
One of the frequently overlooked features of Google Sheets is buried in the lower, right corner of your Google Sheets. That feature is the "Explore" function. Click on Explore to see the graphs that Google makes and suggests based on the data in your spreadsheet.

Learn more about these features in my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Three Lessons About Why Leaves Change Color

Every autumn people tour Maine just to see the leaves changing color. Seeing the leaves change is one of my favorite things about the fall too. Here are three good videos that explain why leaves change color in the fall.

Untamed Science offers a good, partially animated, explanation of why leaves change colors, what produces the colors, and why bright and sunny days are best for viewing red leaves. The video is embedded below.

Reactions, a great YouTube channel from the American Chemical Society, offers a nice video about the chemistry involved in the process of leaves changing color. The videos explains how chlorophyll and the glucose stored inside trees help reveal the reds, yellows and, browns of fall foliage.

SciShow Kids offers the following video about the science of changing leaves.

Facebook, Backchannels, and Math - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it feels like fall. Starting on Monday week I'll be working with the Sigsbee Charter School in Key West, Florida for most of the next few weeks which means that I'll miss a good chunk of my favorite season here in Maine. That's why today I plan to soak up the fall weather by playing outside with my daughters and my dogs. As always, I hope that wherever you are you get to spend some time enjoying the weekend too.

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. If You Manage a School Facebook Page, Watch Out for This Scam
2. Why We Say "OK" - And Other Lessons on the Origins of Words
3. How to Create a Progress Tracker With Google Forms and Sheets
4. Seven Ways to Create Screencasts on Chromebooks
5. Math Playground - Hundreds of Math Games & Instructional Videos
6. Use Flippity to Make a Multimedia Timeline
7. 7 Reasons to Try Using Backchannels in Your Classroom

I'll Come to Your School This Year!
If you would like to have me lead a professional development day at your school during this school year, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) - or click here for more information about my professional development services.

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.
Book Creator is a great tool for creating multimedia books.
Kami is a great tool for annotating and collaborating on PDFs. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students.