Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining and the air has that perfect early summer feel to it. It's going to be a great day for riding bikes and doing all kinds of fun things outside. And it's also a good day for mowing the lawn (something I don't consider to be fun). Before doing all of that I have this week's list of the most popular posts of the week to share with you.

Have a great weekend! Get outside and play...after you read this.

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. Create Virtual Class Pictures With Pixton EDU
2. Seven Ideas for Flipgrid Activities
3. How to Use Kahoot in Google Classroom
4. Five Things You Should Know About Using Audio in Google Slides
5. How to Create an Online Game of Connect Four
6. Sharing vs. Publishing Google Docs
7. Canva Now Has a Desktop App for Windows and Mac

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 sold out! The July sessions have more seats available.

In July I'll 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 - 25,000 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.

Friday, June 12, 2020

How to Create an Approved Senders List in Gmail

Have you ever signed up for a webinar like this one and then wondered why you never got any information about how to join the webinar? Or have you had someone say, "yeah, I emailed that to you yesterday" but you didn't see it in your inbox? If so, you should create an approved senders list in your inbox.

Creating an approved senders list will ensure that email you want to receive from a particular sender or group of senders always ends up in your inbox instead of in your spam folder.

In the following video I demonstrate how to create an approved senders list in Gmail. (Creating an approved sender list is also known as creating a whitelist in your email account).

Create an Approved Senders List in Office 365
If you're an Office 365 or Outlook user, you can also create an approved senders list in your email account. Here are a couple of tutorials on how to do that.

Webinar Recording & Slides - A Framework for Using Educational Technology

Yesterday afternoon I hosted a free webinar titled A Framework for Using Educational Technology. The recording of yesterday's live webinar is now available to view on my YouTube channel and is embedded below.

The slides that I used in the webinar are available to view on this page hosted by Canva.

As I mentioned at the end of the webinar, there are still some seats available in the July sessions of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. If you're interested in learning more or signing up, you can do so here.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Canva Now Has a Desktop App for Windows and Mac

Canva is a tool that I use almost daily for everything from creating YouTube thumbnails to designing full presentations like the one that I'm giving this afternoon. And as I wrote earlier this year, there are at least ten good ways to use Canva in your classroom. That's why I was excited this morning when I read the news that Canva now offers a Windows and Mac desktop app. I've already installed it and it's great! You can get the Windows version here and the Mac version here.

Canva for desktop includes all of the same features that are found in the web browser version. Those features include seemingly endless graphic design templates, image editing tools, animation tools, and simple website publishing tools. You'll also find libraries of high quality pictures, drawings, icons, music, and b-roll video clips.

The aspect of Canva for desktop that I like the most so far is being able to have multiple designs open and quickly switch between them. I'm also excited about being able to run it in the background separate from my web browser. That feature should make it easier to present a slideshow made with Canva and not have to keep flipping between web browser windows when I want to give a demonstration of something outside of the slideshow.

The National Zoo's Activities You Can Do at Home

My daughters are currently obsessed with a book titled On the Loose in Washington D.C. It's a book created in the "Where's Waldo" style, but instead of having to find Waldo you have to find animals. The premise of the book is that all of the animals have escaped from the Smithsonian's National Zoo and you have to find them. The preface to the book encourages readers to visit the National Zoo's website to learn more about the animals. That's what I did this week when I found the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Activities You Can Do at Home.

There are sixteen activities in the Activities You Can Do at Home collection. There are activities suitable for students of all ages. Even though nearly all of the activities could be modified for any age, a target age is listed below each activity in the collection.

Some of the activities in the Activities You Can Do at Home collection include simple games that kids can play on their own, live animal webcams that students can watch and record observations about, and there are some full-blown plans for lessons that you could carry out over the course of a few days.

Here are a few of the activities that stood out to me as I reviewed the Activities You Can Do at Home collection:

  • Rainforest Wonders - this activity features a guide to helping K-2 students explore the world around them through the use of five senses. This could be a great one to recommend to parents who are looking for activities to do at home with their kids.
  • All About Amphibians - this eight-part activity is set-up like a mini online course for elementary school students to learn about the differences between reptiles and amphibians and the role of amphibians in an ecosystem. Kids will also see some neat pictures and videos of amphibians in this activity.
  • National Zoo Webcams - sit back and enjoy watching some of the most popular animals at the zoo. And if you want to encourage kids to document what they see, you can distribute an observation recording sheet. 

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