Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining and it's going to be a great day for bike rides, dog walks, and playing outside with my kids. And I also have the lawn to mow :( But I'll focus on the fun stuff first because it is the weekend after all. I hope that you also have some fun things in store for your weekend.

This week was a busy one at the Byrne Instructional Media World Headquarters as I balanced online meetings with my students with hosting some PD webinars. I also spent a good bit of time preparing materials for the courses I'm teaching this summer. Are you teaching or taking any courses this summer? I'm doing both.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Another Whiteboard Option for Google Meet Users
2. Five Resources for Teaching and Learning About Copyright
3. Google Has Introduced a New Sharing Option in Shared Drives
4. Updated - How to Use EDpuzzle to Create Video Lessons
5. How to Use Kahoot in Google Classroom
6. How to Search for Matching & Similar Documents Submitted in Google Classroom
7. Five Screencastify Settings You Should Know How to Use

Online Summer PD Opportunities
This summer I'm hosting two online professional development courses. I'm hosting the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp three times. The June session is almost full so register soon if you want in on that session. The July sessions have more seats available.

In June and July I'll also be hosting Teaching History With Technology. This is a five part course designed to help you develop new ways to create engaging history lessons and projects. Register now and use the discount code THWT2020.

This summer I'm working with a handful of schools and organizations to develop online professional development for teachers. If you'd like to work with me, please send me a note 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 it includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from
  • My YouTube Channel - More than 23,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 350 Google tools tutorials.  
  • Facebook - The Facebook page has more than 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last thirteen years at
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.

AudioMass - A Free, Registration-free Audio Editor

AudioMass is a new online audio editing tool that I recently learned about on Product Hunt. AudioMass doesn't require any registration in order to use it. In fact, there isn't even an option to register.

To get started using AudioMass just head to the site and click "use a sample" to start exploring the audio editing tools. You can record directly into AudioMass by clicking the red record button at the top of the interface. You can import existing MP3s that you own into AudioMass to edit the audio playback.

There are about a dozen and a half effects that you can edit in AudioMass. Some of those include fade in/ fade out, distortion adjustments, reverb adjustments, and playback speed.

When you are satisfied with your audio file in AudioMass you can export as an MP3 file.

Applications for Education
AudioMass could be a good option for an audio editing tool that you can use on your Chromebook or for an alternative to desktop programs like Garage Band and Audacity.

If you're interested in learning how AudioMass was developed, the developer tells the story here.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Return to Sender - Interactive Map of Postcards from WWI

Return to Sender provides an interesting way for students to find and read postcards sent to and from soldiers during World War I. Return to Sender is an interactive map on which students can see where postcards were sent in Europe during World War I. The postcards displayed through the map are part of the Europeana 1914-18 thematic archive.

There are a few ways that students can explore the Return to Sender map. Probably the easiest option for students is to just select a country from the drop-down menu on the left side of the map. Once a country has been chosen the map will be populated with interactive markers depicting from where the postcards were sent. Clicking on a marker will reveal the postcards. Students can then click on the postcards to read more about them and who archived them. In most cases students can read a little story about the postcard and or read the card itself.

Applications for Education
Return to Sender combines two of my favorite things to use in history lessons. Those things are maps and primary source documents. This combination lets students experience the primary sources in the context of where they were written.

It is possible to create your map in a similar style with Google's My Maps or Google Earth. You could import PDFs or PNGs of primary sources into placemarks on the map. Doing that could make for a nice local history project. I'll show you how to do that in my upcoming course, Teaching History With Technology.

H/T to Maps Mania for the map. 

How to Create Whiteboard Videos With Zoom

One of the things that I often mention in my webinars and workshops is the idea of getting to know an instructional technology tool well so that you can use it in many ways. A good example of that is found when dive into all of the ways that you can use Zoom. For example, last week on Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff Rushton and I mentioned using Zoom to record audio tracks with two narrators. Another way to use Zoom is to create whiteboard videos as I demonstrate in the following video.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Great Sets of Primary Source Documents for U.S. History Lessons

The Digital Public Library of America is a great place to find all kinds of neat digitized historical artifacts. I recently went down a rabbit hole looking at photographs in the baseball collection and the DPLA's Boston Sports Temples exhibit. That happened because I was revisiting the DPLA's Primary Source Sets for teachers and students.

The Digital Public Library of America's Primary Source Sets organized according to themes, eras, and events in United States history. The DPLA primary source sets include documents, drawings, maps, photographs, and film clips. Each set is accompanied by a teaching guide. All of the sets can be shared directly to Google Classroom. And each artifact that students view in the sets is accompanied by some questions or points to ponder while reviewing that artifact.

Applications for Education
The DPLA's primary source sets provide teachers and students with a convenient way to find primary source documents. For teachers it can be a good way to locate resources to use in a lesson plan. For students the sets can provide a good start to a research project.

On a related note, in Teaching History With Technology I'll show you some ways to use primary sources like those from DPLA in online lessons.