Saturday, July 11, 2020

How to Collaborate on Word Documents Online

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who wanted to know how her students could see and comment on Google Docs if they only had Microsoft 365 accounts. While that could be done with a couple of clever workarounds, the simpler solution is to just use Word online.

Just like with Google Docs, with Word online you can share documents, comment on documents, and make editing suggestions. And a bonus feature is being able to set passwords and expiration dates on shared Word documents. In the following short video I demonstrate how to collaborate on Word documents online.

On a related note, I'm working on developing a playlist of new Microsoft product tutorials to complement the extensive playlist of more than 400 Google product tutorials on my YouTube channel.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it is pouring rain. It was a busy week here as I hosted the second session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. Today, I'm going to relax a bit by splashing in puddles and doing some arts and crafts with my daughters. I hope that you're also planning to something fun and relaxing this weekend.

Before I jump to the list of this week's most popular posts I want to remind you that in addition to the daily email newsletter from Free Technology for Teachers, I also offer a weekly Practical Ed Tech newsletter. That newsletter comes out on Sunday evening. It features my favorite tip of the week and the list of the week's most popular posts. Sign up here.

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. How to Use Kahoot With Google Classroom
2. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
3. Three Alternatives to Smore
4. Three New Flippity Templates to Try
5. 7 New Google Meet Features for Teachers
6. Three Interesting Resources for Students to Learn About Career Fields
7. How to Selectively Copy Google Slides

Two PD Opportunities in July
The Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp will be held one more time this summer. Register here for the session starting on July 20th.

Starting on Monday 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 - more than 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, July 10, 2020

How to Annotate PDFs in OneNote

This past spring I published a video about using PDFs in Google Classroom and a video about converting PDFs into Google Docs. One of the things that I'm working on before the next school year starts is to produce some more videos about using Microsoft products. To that end, this morning I made the following short video on how to annotate PDFs by using the online version of Microsoft OneNote. The video also covers how to share the notebook in which you annotated your PDF.

Applications for Education
Annotating PDFs in OneNote could be a good way to have students highlight parts of speech in a document that they share with you. It could also be a good way to draw attention to a particular passage in a text or make suggestions or improvement.

How to Embed Padlet Walls Into Google Sites

This morning I responded to a Tweet from a follower who was having a little trouble embedding Padlet walls into her Google Site. To help her out I recorded a short screencast video. This is an update to a video that I made on the same topic a few years ago.

The key thing to remember when embedding Padlet walls into Google Sites or any other website is that your Padlet wall can't be private if you want it to properly display when embedded.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

A Dozen Lessons About Inventions That "Changed the World"

It was a hot and humid afternoon here in Maine. In fact, the weather app on my phone said that it was "oppressively humid." I'd say that was right. The only good thing about the heat and humidity is that it provides the perfect reason to enjoy a popsicle with my toddlers. Having that popsicle reminded of a TED-Ed lesson that I came across a few years ago.

How the Popsicle Was Invented is one of twelve lessons in a TED-Ed series titled Moments of Vision. The videos in the series teach short lessons about inventions that have "changed the world" in serious and not-so-serious ways. For example, the invention of the stethoscope did change health care. The invention of the Popsicle, however, just makes summer days a little more enjoyable.

Ask your students to look around their homes or around your school for everyday items that many of us use. Then send them off to research and present the origins of those everyday items. An item that come to mind as I look at my desk is the tab on soda pop cans.

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