Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 30 - New Game Templates and More

I usually publish The Practical Ed Tech Podcast on Friday or Saturday, but this weekend I got a little sidetracked by a couple of other projects and didn't record until Sunday night. In this episode I highlighted some Microsoft and Google EDU product updates that were announced in conjunction with the BETT show. More interesting to me were the new tools that I tried this week and highlighted in the podcast. Those new tools included two game builders, a collaborative mapping tool, and a new brainstorming tool.

As I always do, I wrapped up the episode by answering a handful of questions from readers.

You can listen to the latest episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast right here or on your favorite podcast platform.

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

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Three Neat Things You Can Do With Google Sheets

Earlier this week my friend Beth asked me for some tutorials on Google Forms for beginners. As a follow up to that I've selected three Google Sheets tutorials from my library. These tutorials are for doing some interesting things with Google Sheets besides just looking at information collected through Google Forms.

Create a Random Name Picker in Google Sheets.

Create a Progress Tracker With Google Sheets

Create a Map of Spreadsheet Data

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it's nearly forty degrees warmer than last week. It almost felt like March weather when I went out with my dogs this morning. It's going to be a great day for taking my toddlers skiing. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you get to do something fun too. If that means catching up on some reading, take a look at this week's list of the most popular posts.

This week I hosted the third installment of Teaching History With Technology. A few folks have asked if I'll be offering the course again. I will be hosting it again in the spring after I wrap up Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Quickly Create Collaborative Maps With Ethermap
2. How to Use Microsoft Forms to Collect Files
3. Rubrics and Originality Reports in Google Classroom
4. Three Google Forms Tutorials for Beginners
5. A Tip for Your Colleagues Who Unneccesarily Use "Reply All"
6. Vortex by ClassTools - Create Your Own Sorting Game
7. How to Create an Online Sorting Activity Using Google Sheets

I'll come to your school in 2020! 
Send me an email at richardbyrne (at) to learn more about how we can work together. This year I'm offering an opportunity to bring me to your school for free! Ask me for details.

Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom
Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom starts next week! You can get more information and a discount code right here.

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. 
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  • 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, January 24, 2020

Book Creator Adds New Accessibility Features

Book Creator is a tool that I have been using and recommending for years for making multimedia ebooks. You can use it as an iPad app or in your web browser. This week Book Creator announced that it now works in Microsoft Edge as well as Chrome and Safari. That's not the only product enhancement Book Creator released this week.

Some of the other Book Creator enhancements made this week include support for dictation in 120 languages, auto-generating captions on videos, and auto transcription of audio recordings. Automatic captioning of videos can be activated for videos that are recorded directly through the Book Creator app as well as videos that are uploaded to Book Creator pages. Likewise, automatic transcription of audio can be activated for files recorded directly in Book Creator as well as files that are added from external sources. Captions and transcripts are available in 120 languages.

Applications for Education
Students can use Book Creator to create ebooks that contain pictures, videos, audio recordings, drawings, and text. Those are just some of the types of the things that students can add to their Book Creator books. That flexibility is what has made Book Creator a popular choice for making ebooks to tell fiction and non-fiction stories. And lately I've seen teachers using Book Creator to develop professional development training materials.

How to Embed Google Calendar Into Blogger, WordPress, and Google Sites

Last week I got a couple of questions about an old video of mine in which I demonstrated embedding Google Calendar into Blogger. Google Calendar and Blogger have changed in the years since I made that video. That's why last night I decided to create the following new video about how to embed Google Calendar into Blogger, WordPress, and Google Sites.

Applications for Education
Putting a Google Calendar into your classroom blog or school website can be a good way to provide parents with a go-to place for information about upcoming assignments and events. A couple of years ago I worked with a school that used Google Calendar embedded into their website to display the school lunch menu.