Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the sun is still below the horizon and the wind is making it feel colder than the thermometer's reading of 22F. Before the sun comes up and my kids wake up, I have this week's list of the most popular posts of the week to share with you.

Thanksgiving is next week. On Monday I'll have one more roundup of last-minute Thanksgiving lesson activities. Later in the week, like everyone who sells things online, I'll have a sale on my Practical Ed Tech PD webinars.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Collaboratively Create Maps on Padlet
2. Three Thanksgiving Lessons You Can Do in the Next Week
3. A New Way to Collect Feedback Through Google Sites
4. 7 Great Places to Make and Find Story Starters
5. Microsoft Forms Now Supports File Collection
6. Now You Can Reuse Google Classroom Rubrics
7. 5 Google Product Updates for Teachers to Note This Weekend

I'll come to your school in 2020! 
2020 will be my tenth year of speaking at schools and conferences. Send me an email at richardbyrne (at) to learn more about how we can work together.

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On I have seven professional development webinars available to view whenever you like.

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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 16,000 are subscribed to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 300 Google tools tutorials. 
  • The Practical Ed Tech Podcast is where I answer questions from readers, share news and notes, and occasionally talk to interesting people in education. 
  • 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. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

5 Google Product Updates for Teachers to Note This Weekend

As I mentioned in this week's episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast, Google released a handful of updates to products that teachers and students frequently use. A few of those I reported on earlier in the week and a couple I haven't mentioned except on the podcast. If you missed the podcast or the posts earlier this week, here's a rundown of the things that Google announced this week that could impact you.

Smart Compose in Google Docs
Much like Smart Compose in Gmail, Smart Compose in Google Docs will try to predict what you want to write in a sentence. If the prediction is correct you can hit the tab key to complete the sentence. To use this feature you will have to register to be a part of the beta test. To register for the beta you must be a domain administrator. Read more information here.

Different Page Numbers for Different Sections of Google Docs
This is a small, but welcome update for Google Docs users. You can now specify the page numbers that apply to a section of a Google Doc instead of being stuck with the default sequence of page numbers. More details here.

Create Tours in the Web Version of Google Earth
This is a feature that we've been waiting two years to see add to the web version of Google Earth. Now you can add your own sequence of multimedia placemarks to Google Earth. Read more or watch my demo to see how it works.

A New Way to Gather Feedback in Google Sites
Google Sites users now have a new option for getting feedback through their sites. Instead of creating then embedding a Google Form, you can use a native feedback form in the footer of Google Sites. Learn more about how that works by reading this announcement from Google.

Reuse Rubrics in Google Classroom
Earlier this fall Google introduced a beta test of a rubrics feature in Google Classroom. My feedback, as well as that of many others, was that an option to reuse rubrics was needed. Google listened and added that option this week.

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 20 - Cool Updates and Q&A

This afternoon I recorded the twentieth episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. In this podcast I shared five Google product updates teachers should note, a Microsoft Forms update that should prove to be super handy, and a new way to use Padlet. As always, the episode concludes with me answering a handful of questions from readers, listeners, and viewers like you.

You can listen to the episode here or on your favorite podcast network.

The complete show notes are available here.

Listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Quick & Easy Way to Combine Audio Tracks

Last week I published a video that outlines how I produce my podcast. Within that video I included some tips about using Garage Band to extract audio from a video and how to combine audio clips in This morning I had an email from a reader who wanted to know what her students could on their Chromebooks to combine audio files because Garage Band is a Mac-only product. My suggestion was to try Audio Joiner from 123APPS.

Audio Joiner is a free tool that anyone can use to combine audio clips. Audio Joiner works entirely in your web browser. No registration is required to use the free tool. To use Audio Joiner simply go to the site, upload the MP3s that you want to combine, then click the "join" button. When the clips are joined you'll have a new MP3 to download. Watch my short video to see how easy it is to use Audio Joiner.

A New Way to Collect Feedback Through Google Sites

Google Sites has always made it easy to insert Google Forms into the pages of your Google Sites websites. Embedding a Google Form into a page can be a good way to gather feedback from students, parents, and other website visitors. This week Google announced that there will soon be another way to collect feedback through Google Sites.

Soon you'll be able to add a feedback form to the footer of all pages of your Google Sites website. When you add the feedback form it will be distributed across all pages of your site. To add the feedback form you'll enable it in the site info menu in the Google Sites editor. Viewers of your site will then be able to click a small feedback icon to open a dialogue box that they can enter their messages into.

The new Google Sites feedback tool will be available only in sites created within G Suite domains and not those created with generic Gmail addresses.

If you're new to using Google Sites, take a look at my tutorial below to learn how to get started.