Sunday, December 15, 2019

How to Add a Countdown Timer to Google Slides

In the latest episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast I shared an idea for adding a countdown timer to Google Slides. To my knowledge there isn't an add-on that has a countdown timer. My solution is to insert into a slide a video that displays a countdown timer. In the following video I demonstrate how to add a countdown timer to Google Slides.

My Primary Tools for Making Tutorial Videos

I'm often asked what I use for making the tutorial videos that I publish on my YouTube channel. With the exception of a handful that I published a few years ago, all of the tutorial videos on my YouTube channel are recorded in the same way using two primary tools. Those tools are Screencast-o-matic and a Blue Snowball microphone (I like them so much that I own two).

Screencast-o-matic is available in a free version and in a paid version. The free version is more than adequate for most classroom settings as long as you're willing to accept a Screencast-o-matic watermark on your videos. The paid version ($18/year) grants you access to Screencast-o-matic's desktop tool which is what I use. The desktop version lets you record and edit on your desktop instead of in your web browser. The desktop version also lets you edit videos that you recorded with other tools. And the desktop version has many other features including green screen editing, video annotation, and lighting adjustments. But you really don't need those features for the type of tutorial videos that I make. Therefore, give the free version a try if you need a quick and easy way to create a tutorial video.

I've been using Blue Snowball microphones since two of my early podcast hero, Jeff and Dan at Wicked Decent Learning, recommended them. Blue Snowball microphones represent an inexpensive way to drastically improve the quality of audio that you record. As mentioned above, I own two of these microphones. One of which is the one that goes on the road with me and has taken more drops than I care to admit. (Travel tip, take the microphone out of your bag before going through a TSA scanner or you'll spend lots of time with a TSA agent swabbing it down for traces of explosives).


Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 23 - Not Pink Eye!

In this episode of the Practical Ed Tech Podcast I shared some highlights from the Creativity Conference, shared some neat new ed tech tools, and answered a handful of questions from viewers, readers, and listeners. Oh, and I don't have pink eye, I just have an irritation from scratching my eyelid.

Listen to the episode here or on your favorite podcast network. The complete show notes can be found here.



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

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Found on the vending machine
in the teachers' room at my school.
Good morning from rainy Maine. Rain in December in Maine is always a bummer because it washes away the know which means we can't ski, sled, or make a snowman. But we'll find something else fun to do today. I hope that you get to do something fun this weekend too.

This week I hosted the Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference. If you missed one of the presentations, you can watch it on my YouTube channel. All of the presentations are available there.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Tools to Improve the Accessibility of Websites, Videos, and Slides
2. Add Interactive Annotations to Images With a New Classtools Tool
3. Lesson Plan, Meal Plan, and Fitness Plan Templates
4. Easy Ways to Make Your Own Apps - Webinar Recording
5. Coding + Drones = 100% Engagement - Webinar Recording
6. How to Create Interactive Images With Classtools
7. ScriptSlide - A Google Slides Add-on for Pacing Presentations

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) freetech4teachers.com to learn more about how we can work together.

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides FreeTech4Teachers.com 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 FreeTech4Teachers.com.
  • 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 FreeTech4Teachers.com Facebook page has nearly 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last twelve years at twitter.com/rmbyrne
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Why Should You Read Lord of the Flies - A New TED-Ed Lesson

Why You Should Read Lord of the Flies is the latest video added to TED-Ed's "why should you read..." series. There are now more than thirty videos in that series. Why You Should Read Lord of the Flies follows the same pattern as the other videos in the series. The video covers the major plot points of the story and provides a bit of background on the author and the writing of the story. Those who are looking for discussion questions to use with the video will find them here.


Applications for Education
Why Should You Read Lord of the Flies doesn't reveal anything new or particularly insightful about the story or William Golding. That said, if you're having students read the book, this video provides a nice little introduction to the story.