Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where I'm up before the sun to get a little work done before starting a day of play with my kids and dogs. Much of the snow that covered our yard just last week melted away in the spring-like temperatures that we had twice this week. In other words, mud season has started!

This week I had the privilege to speak at the Inspired Learning Convention in Upton, Massachusetts. Thank you to Dave Quinn and his staff who put that event together. If you'd like to have me speak at your school or conference, please get in touch by sending an email to richardbyrne (at)

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. An Easy Way to Create Your Own Online Jigsaw Puzzles
2. Tips and Tools for Teaching Remotely
3. How to Search the Smithsonian's Open Access Collection
4. The Tower of Epiphany - A New "Think Like a Coder" Lesson
5. Gribrouillon - Freehand Drawing on Online Maps
6. How to Use Mixkit to Find Free Audio and Video Clips for Your Projects
7. Quillionz - Quiz and Discussion Questions Automatically Generated from Documents

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.

Classroom Podcasting 101
Join me on Tuesday for a new Practical Ed Tech webinar titled Classroom Podcasting 101.

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.

Classroom Podcasting 101

Podcasting is more popular than ever and growing every day. If you have thought about trying to make a podcast of your own, join me next Tuesday at 7pm ET for a Practical Ed Tech webinar titled Classroom Podcasting 101.

Classroom Podcasting 101 will teach you how you can start a podcast in your classroom. The webinar will cover the nuts and bolts of making a podcast. More importantly, this webinar will provide you with ideas for podcasts that students can record on their own, with their classmates, or with their families.

Five Things You’ll Learn in This Webinar:

  • How to record and edit audio on Windows, Mac, iPad, Android, and Chromebooks.
  • How to publish podcasts to all major podcast networks including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify.
  • Strategies for encouraging natural conversation on podcasts.
  • Tools you can use to enhance sound quality.
  • How to record with remote podcast guests.


  • Tuesday, March 10th at 7pm ET
  • It will be recorded for those who register but cannot attend the live broadcast. 

The sales of my Practical Ed Tech webinars helps to keep Free Technology for Teachers running. Thank you for your support. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Ugh! It's Time to Spring Forward - Here's Why We Do It

As I Tweeted earlier today, it's a deflating feeling when you realize that you have to move your clocks forward this weekend. That's especially true of you're the parent of toddlers who have been on a sleep strike for a few weeks.

If you or your students are wondering why we (most of us in North America) have to change our clocks this weekend, here are few short explanations.

Even though it is not about daylight saving time, this TED-Ed lesson about the standardization of timezones is worth watching.

Sweet Lessons on the Making of Maple Syrup

This week we had a couple of relatively warm days here in Maine. In fact it was so warm (40F) that I rode my bike outside on Thursday. It was on that ride that I noticed sap buckets and hoses on some maple trees. That reminded me of some videos about making maple syrup that I shared last year and prompted me to look for some new ones too.

Ever Wonder How Maple Syrup is Made? is a new video from Highlights. The succinct video shows a mix of the old way of using buckets to collect sap and the modern method of using hoses.

My friend Gardner Waldeier AKA Bus Huxley on YouTube collects maple sap to make maple syrup. He does it the old fashioned way and he made a video about the process. Gardner's video shows viewers how he collects maple sap and turns it into maple syrup. In the video he explains why maple sap is collected at this time of year, how much sap he'll collect from a large tree, and just how much sap it takes to make a gallon of maple syrup. You also get a nice tour of Gardner's woodlot.

Maple Syrup the Modern Way is a three minute video about the process commercial producers use to make syrup.

How to Schedule, Host, and Customize Google Hangouts Meet Events

Last night I published Tips and Tools for Teaching Remotely. This morning I had an email from someone who read that and wanted to know if I had any tutorials on using Google Hangouts Meet. I didn't so I quickly made the following set of screenshots before my own class starts today. I'll try to make a video of this process later today, but for now these screenshots should get you started.

Step 1: Create a new event in Google Calendar. 

Step 2: Enable Hangouts Meet in your Google Calendar event. 

Step 3: Share the details for joining your Hangouts Meet event. Hangouts Meet should give you a link as well as a pin code for those who want to dial into your meeting. An easy way to do this is to post the link in Google Classroom.

Step 4: At the scheduled time go to and launch your meeting. 

You can share your meeting details with anyone even after the meeting has started. 

Step 5: Make sure your camera and microphone are working. 

Step 6: Enable captions for your meeting. You'll find this option by clicking on the little menu that appears in the upper, right corner of your webcam screen. 

Step 7: Customize the layout for your meeting or let Google automatically adjust it as people join. 

Step 8: Click "Present" to share your screen. 

Step 9: Click the red hang-up button to end the meeting.