Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Tower of Epiphany - A New "Think Like a Coder" Lesson

A month ago I wrote about how much my freshmen computer science students are enjoying TED-Ed's Think Like a Coder series. The latest installment in the series was published last week and my students watched it on Friday morning. They enjoyed it as much as the previous installments.

Like the previous episodes of Think Like a Coder, the new episode titled The Tower of Epiphany features the main characters Ethic and Hedge having to solve a puzzle using the logic that a coder would use. At the first pause prompt in the episode two of my students blurted out, "use a loop!" and they were right.

I had planned to make my students watch The Tower of Epiphany in an Edpuzzle lesson, but I ended up just playing it on the big screen in my classroom instead. They had finished everything else for the day a little early so watching the video together was a good way to end the day.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where I'm up before most reasonable are awake on a weekend. Getting a few minutes alone to think and write requires me to get up before 5am. Having two toddlers will do that to a person. Before everyone starts stirring, I have this week's list of the most popular posts to share with you.

This week I wrapped-up my online course titled Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom. I'll be offering some new online PD opportunities in March so check the blog on Monday for those. I also like to remind you that registration is now open for the 2020 Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Quickly Turn a Blog Post Into a Video
2. Ten Fun and Challenging Geography Games for Students of All Ages
3. Mixkit - Hundreds of Free Music and Video Clips for Multimedia Presentations
4. Three Good Ways to Create Rubrics - Tutorials Included
5. How to Quickly Turn a Podcast Into a Video
6. Rubrics for Videos, Podcasts, Blogs, and More
7. The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 34 Featuring Dr. La'Tonya Rease Miles

2020 Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp!
Registration is open for the 2020 Practical Ed Tech Summer. Head here to learn more and score a discount code.

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.

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 it includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from
  • My YouTube Channel - More than 17,000 people subscribe 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.

How to Search the Smithsonian's Open Access Collection

Earlier this week the Smithsonian launched a new open access collection. Smithsonian Open Access contains more than 2.8 million digital artifacts that you can view and download for free. While the Smithsonian Open Access homepage does have a couple of introductory videos, they're more promotional than they are instructional. That's why I created the following short video overview of how to search Smithsonian Open Access.

How to Use Mixkit to Find Free Audio and Video Clips for Your Projects

Mixkit is a good place to find free video clips and audio clips to use in your multimedia projects. I wrote about it earlier this week and mentioned it on my podcast. For those who would prefer a visual overview of how to use Mixkit to find free audio an video clips, I offer the following tutorial video.

As I mentioned in the video, the licensing terms for assets on Mixkit are pretty clear. You can download videos and audio files from Mixkit to re-use and remix. You don't have to credit Mixkit, but they will appreciate it if you do.

If you're looking for more places to find free audio files to use in classroom projects, check out this list that I published on Practical Ed Tech.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Join Me This Summer for Two Days of Hands-on PD

The days are getting longer and even though we had a snow day yesterday, today is a beautiful day here in Maine. Before we know it kids will be showing up to school in shorts and tee-shirts again. And although the summer might feel far away, it will be here sooner than later. I'm looking forward to doing a lot of things this summer including hosting the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp for the seventh time.

What is it?
The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is a hands-on professional development workshop that I host here in Maine. This year we'll be back at the Bethel Inn Resort.

Registration is limited to 25 people so that everyone can get the attention and time they need to dive into a variety of topics in educational technology. This year I'll be leading the group through activities in search strategies, video creation, podcasting, Arduino and simple electronics, app design for beginners, and AR & VR in the classroom.

When and where?
July 13th and 14th at the Bethel Inn Resort in Bethel, Maine (about an hour northwest of Portland).

In previous years people have turned their trips to the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp into vacations by spending additional time touring western Maine, the White Mountain National Forest, coastal Maine, and other parts of northern New England.

Is it a conference? 
You can call it that if that's what it takes to get your school to pay for your registration. But it's not a conference, it's a two-day workshop. It's 25 dedicated educators who come together to learn, talk, and explore new ways to use technology in their classrooms and libraries.

Who should attend?
Anyone who has an interest in learning and developing new ways to use technology in her or his practice should attend the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. You don't have to be a "techy" to participate. Teachers of all subjects and grade levels are welcome to participate. Whether you're just starting on your technology integration journey or you're a veteran tech coach, your participation is valuable. That's what has brought some people back for two, three, and four years in a row!

Get a registration discount code and more information right here!