Saturday, August 8, 2020

Zoom from Teacher and Student Perspectives

As the new school year gets closer I'm getting a lot of requests for help with Zoom. I have published a few video tutorials about Zoom including this one that covers the basics of setting up a meeting with students. I've also published this one about how students see Zoom meetings on Android phones. But until this week I hadn't put the teacher and student perspectives together in one video. That's what I did in this new video that is embedded below.

I have always found it helpful to look at tools from the students' perspectives as well as my teacher perspective. Doing that helps me better understand how students will use the tools and better prepares me to help them troubleshoot problems that they run into when using the tools.

Intro to Simple Electronics in Makerspaces

Yesterday morning I gave a short virtual presentation for the New Jersey TeachMeet. The topic of my presentation was an introduction to using simple electronics in makerspaces. The presentation focused on three main resources. Those resources are Microsoft's Hacking STEM, Exploratorium's Science Snacks, and TinkerCad. The slides from my presentation are embedded below and can also be seen here.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the sun is yet to come up and the air feels cool. I hate to say it, but those are reminders that summer won't last forever and fall will be here soon. I plan to soak up what's left of summer before school starts in a couple of weeks. I hope that you are doing the same this weekend.

This week the remnants of Hurricane Isaias hit Maine. Other than the electricity being knocked out for about 20 hours, no damage was done. I hope that those of you south of me were just as fortunate.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Ways to Make Whiteboard Instructional Videos in Your Web Browser
2. Don't Fall for This Image Attribution Scam
3. A New Way to Make Sure People Can View Your Videos in Google Slides
4. Stream Multiple Sources at Once With OBS Studio
5. What You Need to Know About the Latest Version of Flipgrid
6. Phidgets - A Fun, Free, Hands-on Way to Learn Python, Java, and More
7. How to Improve Reverse Image Search Results

Back to School PD Opportunities
This week I hosted a few PD webinars for schools for the start of the school year. If you'd like to have me host a PD session for your school, 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 26,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 400 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, August 7, 2020

A Handy Tool for Picking Accessible Color Schemes

Earlier today I hosted a webinar about tools that teachers can use to improve the accessibility of the slides, documents, and videos that they create for their students. In that webinar I shared a simple tool that is quite helpful when trying to determine what color combinations you should use on your slides or documents. That tool is the Accessible Color Matrix hosted on Github. As you can see my demo video, the Accessible Color Matrix provides a quick and easy way to see which color combinations do and don't work from an accessibility standpoint.

What You Need to Know About the Latest Version of Flipgrid

Earlier this week Flipgrid published a slew of updates and had a big online event to hype it up showcase those new features. A lot of the updates were largely cosmetic. From what I've seen so far, nothing fundamentally changed with the way that Flipgrid works. What did change and is worth noting is some of the terminology that is now used in Flipgrid. In the following video I explained that change and a couple of other minor updates that you should be aware.