Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the the air is cool and crisp, the leaves are colorful, and everyone is dressed in their favorite flannel. These are the days that everyone pictures when they think about New England in the fall. I can't wait to get outside! I hope that wherever you are this weekend that you can get outside too.

This week was my first full week back in the classroom on a full-time basis. That's my reason for having fewer blog posts that usual. But I'll get back up to speed after I get my classroom on track. I took over a computer science program that had an instructor quit in the first week of school so I'm trying to fill in a lot of gaps right now.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 15 Digital Citizenship Resources for K-12
2. Fraidy Cats' Book of Courage - An eBook of Writing Prompts
3. 7 Styles of Classroom Video Projects - Tools and Tips for Making Them
4. How to Find and Create Primary Source Lessons With DocsTeach
5. Loop - A Nice System for Gathering Feedback from Students
6. How to Create a Transcript of Any YouTube Video
7. The Practical Ed Tech Podcast Episode #10 Featuring Adam Bellow

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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. 

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode #11 - Reflections, News & Notes, Q&A

Last night I released the eleventh episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. In this episode I shared some reflections on my first full week of teaching computer science in a full-time role, shared some news and notes from the world of education, and answered a handful of questions from readers and listeners. The complete show notes with links to all of the resources that I mentioned can be found in this Google Doc.

You can listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Get Your Copy of the Free Practical Ed Tech Handbook

Last Sunday I published the updated 2019-20 version of my popular Practical Ed Tech Handbook. I started publishing one every school year in the fall of 2015. Each fall since then I've published an updated version. All together they've been downloaded more than 100,000 times. If you haven't gotten your copy yet, you can download it right here from Or if you want to view it before downloading it, take look at it as embedded below.

This year's Practical Ed Tech Handbook has nine sections:

  1. Communication with students and parents.
  2. Backchannels & informal assessment
  3. Learning to Program
  4. Augmented and Virtual Reality
  5. Digital portfolios
  6. Audio recording and publishing
  7. Video creation and flipped lessons
  8. Digital citizenship
  9. Web search strategies

Common Craft Explains Incognito or Private Browser Windows

Common Craft has been producing unique explanatory videos for more than a decade. I've been using them in my classroom and workshops for nearly as long. Common Craft videos provide clear and concise explanations of nuanced topics ranging from the Electoral College to copyright to digital citizenship. Their latest video explains incognito or "private" mode in your web browser.

Private or Incognito Browsing Explained by Common Craft teaches viewers what the incognito or private browser function does, what it doesn't do, and the legitimate reasons for using it.

Applications for Education
This video does a good job of dispelling the mistaken belief that some students have that using incognito or private browser windows hide all of their online activities. The video also does a good job providing examples of legitimate uses for incognito windows. In fact, I often tell teachers to use incognito windows when they want to see the student view of an assignment or website without signing out of their teacher accounts.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

How to Create Whiteboard Videos in Wakelet Collections

A couple of months ago Flipgrid introduced a new feature that enables you to create whiteboard-style instructional videos to share with your students. That feature is called Flipgrid Shorts. Wakelet has integrated the Flipgrid camera into their service so that now you can create whiteboard-style instructional videos directly within your Wakelet collections. Watch my video below to see how that process works.

If you're not familiar with Wakelet, it's a free service that lets you create and share visual collections of notes, bookmarks, pictures, videos, and documents. In the video that is embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to get started with Wakelet.