Monday, August 5, 2019

Create a Directory App for Your School

Last week's most popular post was Dozens of Apps for Physical Education. In that post I highlighted the work that Kevin Shephard at Support REAL Teachers has done to develop apps through the free Glide service. Glide enables anyone who can create a Google Sheet to create a mobile app. You can start building an app from scratch or you can use one Glide's free templates to get started.

One of the templates that Glide offers is for building a staff directory app. The directory template can be used to include pictures of staff members, contact information, and brief bios of staff members.

You can find more Glide tutorials here.

Applications for Education
My first thought when seeing the directory template was to create a staff directory app that included not only the basic contact information for staff members but also where students and parents can find teachers' websites and supply/ materials lists. Depending upon the school you might also add teaching or course schedules to the directory app.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Phys Ed, Notes, and Updates - The Week in Review

Good afternoon from sunny Paris, Maine. The summer is passing too quickly now as evidenced by the sudden reappearance of "back to school" commercials on television and on the Internet. If you're in the northern hemisphere like me, I hope that you're enjoying the summer as much as you can. To that end, this week I took a day off to take my daughters to their favorite place, the Maine Wildlife Park where they were able to see three fawns get hand fed.

The most popular posts of the week:
1. Dozens of Apps for Physical Education
2. Five Google Product Updates for Teachers to Note
3. Knowt - Quickly Turn Notes Into Practice Quizzes
4. Great New Features Added to Flipgrid
5. Seven Microsoft Product Updates for Teachers to Note
6. ClassHook Gets a New Look
7. How to Use the Read-aloud Function in Microsoft Edge

Live PD in August!
In August I'm hosting some new and updated professional development webinars through Those webinars are:
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides and the daily email digest, there are other ways to keep up with what I'm publishing. 
  • Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - This comes out once per week (Sunday night/ Monday morning) and includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from
  • My YouTube Channel - More than 15,000 are subscribed to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 300 Google tools tutorials. 
  • Facebook - The Facebook page has nearly 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last twelve years at
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing. 

Thank You for Your Support!

Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep

The primary way that Free Technology for Teachers stays afloat is through the sale of my on-site professional development workshops and professional development webinars. As of this morning, more than 300 of you have purchased and participated in one of my Practical Ed Tech online webinars in 2019. Thank you!

The next professional development webinar that I'm offering is an updated version of Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep. In this webinar on August 8th at 4pm you will learn how to use Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep to streamline your workflow when it comes to distributing assignments and tasks. You'll also learn how to use Google Classroom and Keep to efficiently provide feedback to your students. And you'll discover how Google Calendar and Keep can be used in setting goals and staying on track to reach them.


  • Live at 4pm ET on August 8th (click here for your local time) 
    • It will be recorded for those who cannot attend live. 
Who is it for?
  • This webinar is intended for those who are new to using Google Classroom, Google Calendar, and Google Keep. It’s also a good refresher for those who haven’t used Classroom, Calendar, or Keep in a while and want to see what’s new and helpful.

How to Embed Google Docs Into Your Blog Posts

One of the things that makes Google Documents popular is that you can easily publish your documents for anyone to read online even if they don't have Google accounts of their own.

How to Embed a Google Doc Into Your Blog
You can do this by choosing the "publish to the web" option found in the "file" drop-down menu in your Google Document. When you open that menu you'll also see an option to get an embed code to place in blog posts to display your documents. That's where a lot of people get stumped. In fact, this morning I received an email from a reader who was having trouble with that last step. The embed code that Google Docs provided wouldn't render her document in an easy-to-read format in her blog. Like many questions that I get, the best way to explain the solution is to show it. That's what I do in the following video.

Applications for Education
You might be wondering why would anyone want to do this when Google Docs can easily be shared in Google Classroom, emailed to others, or added to Google Sites. The answer is that some people (parents) who need to read your document might not have access to Google Classroom or don't want to be bothered with email. Another reason is that if you're already using a tool like Blogger or Edublogs, it's easier to keep using those services than to transition everything to Google Sites.

How to Use Flipgrid to Create Whiteboard Videos

A couple of days ago Flipgrid released some new features that all teachers can use in the new school year. Those new features include tools for creating whiteboard-style instructional videos. You can use this feature to create whiteboard videos for your students to watch in Flipgrid. You can also have your students use the whiteboard tools to reply to a prompt that you have given to them. In my video that is embedded below I provide an overview of how to use the new whiteboard function and a couple of other new functions in Flipgrid.

What is Flipgrid?
In short, Flipgrid is a free service that you can use to post prompts for your students to respond to with short videos that they record through their laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, or phones. Your prompts and your students' replies can be kept private or you can make them public. I have a complete set of Flipgrid tutorial videos available here.

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