Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

My vacation reading list.
Good morning from Maine where the ground is covered with snow and it's going to be a great vacation week for those of us who like to ski. Vacation is also a great time to do some reading. I have a few books that I'll be trying to read or re-read during vacation. What about you? I hope that you have some fun plans for winter (or summer) vacation.

If your plans include reading some blog posts or watching some tutorial videos, take a look at this week's most popular posts. For more in-depth materials take a look at the on-demand webinars I have available on Practical Ed Tech.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Add a Countdown Timer to Google Slides
2. How to Disable and Remove Chrome Extensions - And Why You Should
3. My Primary Tools for Making Tutorial Videos
4. Dozens of Outline Maps You Can Print for Free
5. Need Some Classroom Blog Ideas? Try These Edublogs Resources
6. How to Create a Video With Canva
7. White Christmas Probability Map

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.

Thank You for Your Support!
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.

An Overview of Google Docs Accessibility Options

A couple of weeks ago I published an overview of tools to improve the accessibility of websites, videos, and slides. I thought that I should expand on that article by creating an overview of accessibility options available in Google Documents. To that end, I made the following video overview of Google Docs accessibility options.

In the video I demonstrated how to enable voice typing, how to select fonts designed to improve accessibility, and where to enable third-party accessibility tools like screen readers. I also demonstrated how to run the Grackle add-on to evaluate the accessibility of your documents as well as how to add alt-text to images in Google Docs.

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 24 - Vacation!

I've just published the 24th episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. People are still listening to it so I keep recording it. In this week's episode I shared a new augmented reality app that I've been testing, shared some updates from Canva, and shared a new word game that you can play whenever you open a new Chrome tab. As usual I also answered a handful of questions from readers and listeners. I hope that you enjoy this episode as you head into winter break (or summer break).

Get the show notes here. Listen to the new episode here or on your favorite podcast network.

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

Four Interesting Lessons About Winter Weather

When I got up to let my dogs out yesterday morning it was a brisk -10f with the windchill. When I got in my car an hour later the thermometer had reached a balmy 4f. The chill in the air prompted me to look back at some of my favorite videos for learning about winter weather. Here they are...

How windchill is calculated:
The windchill was -20F last night at my house. The following video explains how windchill is calculated. The video comes from Presh Talwalkar.

The psychology of extreme weather:
Television news reporters like to use the word "extreme" whenever we have a lot of rain or snow in a short amount of time. Is the weather really "extreme" or is that just our impression of it? The following Minute Earth video takes on the topic of how extreme weather affects our thinking about weather patterns in general. I found the video to be interesting from a psychology perspective. The video is embedded below.

How snowflakes are created:
The following episode of Bytesize Science embedded below explains how snowflakes are created.

Thundersnow is a video from UNC-TV that explains how thunder sometimes, though rarely, coincides with snowstorms. PBS Learning Media has a set of corresponding lesson materials that you can use with this video.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

How to Embed Books Into Your Blog

Google Books is one of my favorite tools for research. It's also a great place to find all kinds of free books that you can read online and or download to read offline. Google Books also provides tools for embedding free books into your blog posts and webpages. These tools are available in both the classic version of Google Books and the new version of Google Books. In the following video I demonstrate how to find free books on Google Books and how to embed those free books into your blog posts or any other place that accepts iframes.