Monday, November 25, 2019

Three Videos for Thanksgiving Lessons

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. If you find yourself looking for a quick, Thanksgiving-themed video lesson to use this week, take a look at the following three options.

The Chemistry of Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving Turkey Compilation from the Reactions YouTube channel explains two concepts related to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. First, it explains how the deep-frying process works and how it helps to make a turkey more flavorful. Second, the video explains why turkey isn't the primary culprit in making you drowsy after devouring your Thanksgiving meal.

The Origins of Thanksgiving Foods
The Surprising Origins of Thanksgiving Foods is an educational video from It's Okay to Be Smart. Through the video students can learn how the most common, traditional Thanksgiving foods originated and evolved to what they are today. This lesson includes an explanation of how archaeologists and scientists determined that turkeys were one of the first animals to be domesticated in North America. We also learn why the turkeys we find in the grocery store today are so much bigger than those of just a few generations ago.

Canadian vs. American Thanksgiving
I've shared this one a few times over the years. The following, entertaining video that explains the differences between Thanksgiving in Canada and Thanksgiving in the United States.

Just a reminder, you should always preview videos before showing them in your classroom. I know many high school teachers who will not have a problem sharing this video, but teachers of younger students may want to proceed with caution.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

How to Create a Multimedia Map on Padlet

Last week I shared the news that Padlet now includes multimedia map creation options. Like all other Padlet layouts, the map option includes the capability to collaborate. The maps that you create on Padlet can have placemarkers that include pictures, videos, links, text, and audio files. You can even record audio and video within the map. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a multimedia map on Padlet.

Applications for Education
Some of the things that students can do with Padlet's mapping tool include making maps of landmarks they've researched, creating maps of the locations of historically significant events, and developing maps based on some of their favorite stories.

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.

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

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
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  • 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
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  • The Practical Ed Tech Podcast is where I answer questions from readers, share news and notes, and occasionally talk to interesting people in education. 
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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: