Monday, May 24, 2021

One Week Left!

The first session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp is just a month away. If you haven't registered for the session of your choice, you can do so up until the day before it starts. However, there is only one week left to complete the early-bird registration

There is a June session, a July session, and an August session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. In all three sessions we'll cover ten key topics over the course of ten live webinars (recordings will also be available). 

These are the topics for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp:
  • Teaching Search Strategies & Digital Citizenship
  • Video Projects for Every Classroom
  • Classroom Podcasting 101
  • Building Digital Portfolios
  • Fun Formative Assessment Methods
  • Using AR & VR in Your Classroom
  • Making Virtual Tours
  • Easy Ways to Make Your Own Apps
  • Simple and Fun Makerspaces Projects
  • Blending Technology Into Outdoor Lessons

Register online by May 31st to save $50 on registration for the session of your choice. 

Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a group discount?
Yes, there is a group discount available. You can save $50/person if you have five or more people registering from your school district. Email me for a discount code to apply to online group registrations or to initiate a PO registration.

Can I register with a purchase order or check?
Yes, you can certainly register with a purchase order. Send me an email or have your business office send me an email to initiate that process. Because of the additional paperwork and delay in receiving funds, the early registration discount doesn't apply to purchase order registrations.

Can I get CEUs/ contact hours?
You will receive a certificate from me indicating that you participated in ten hours of professional development time. Whether or not your school, state, or province will accept it for license/ certificate renewal is a determination that you will have to make. The rules about CEUs vary widely from state-to-state and I can't possibly keep track of them all.

What platform are you using for the webinars?
All of the webinars will be conducted through the GoToWebinar platform. I've tried many other webinar services, but I keep coming back to GoToWebinar because of it's reliability. I've used it for almost a decade for hundreds of webinars. You can access GoToWebinar on any computer or tablet.

Will the sessions be recorded?
Yes, all of the live webinars will be recorded. If you have to miss a session, you'll be able to watch the recording. That said, I find that people get the most out of webinars when they can attend live broadcasts and ask questions in real-time. Therefore, I encourage you to pick the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp session that works best with your schedule.

Grackle - Check Slide and Document Accessibility

This spring we have some grackles nesting in our hanging plants and in the eve of our covered back porch. Every morning I take a quick look at them when I'm drinking my coffee and letting our dogs out. This morning, looking at one of the mother grackles reminded me of a Google Docs and Slides add-on of the same name. 

Grackle Slides is a Google Slides add-on that will evaluate the accessibility of your presentation and give you suggestions on how to improve the accessibility of your presentation. Watch the short video below to see how it works.

Grackle Slides is a companion to the Grackle Docs add-on for Google Documents that I featured last December. Watch my video about Grackle Docs as embedded below.

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Running Free Rivers

River Runner is a neat website that shows you how a drop of water travels from anywhere in the United States to the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico. To use River Runner simply go to the site and click on any location in the United States. As soon as you click on the map, River Runner will generate and play an animation of the path that a drop of water would travel from that location to get to the ocean. You can stop the animation, rewind it, and fast forward it if you like. The animation is based on data collected from the USGS. The code for the site can be found here on GitHub

Applications for Education
When I was in elementary school my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Gessay, had us draw the path that water would take from our school to Long Island Sound. I'm pretty sure that related to our field trip to Rocky Neck State Park later in the year. River Runner does essentially the same thing for students. Today, I'd have students do the same thing then use River Runner to check the accuracy of the paths they draw on their maps. 

Using the River Runner site reminded me of the World Wildlife Fund's Free Rivers appWWF Free Rivers is a free augmented reality app produced by the World Wildlife Foundation. The app uses augmented reality to present a story about rivers. WWF Free Rivers tells students stories about the implications of changes in weather patterns, damming rivers, and pollution on river ecosystems. Students interact with these stories by moving their iPads and or by pinching and zooming on elements in the stories. Unlike some other AR apps the animations within WWF Free Rivers can be experienced by students from a variety of angles. A great example of this is found early in the app when students can see what a dam does to a river. During that experience students can see the dam from above, from below, and from the sides.

H/T to Maps Mania for the River Runner site.

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

ICYMI - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff - Episode 37

Earlier this week Rushton Hurley and I hosted the 37th episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. It was our last episode of this school year. We'll be back at the start of the next school year. In the meantime, if you missed this week's episode or any other episode, you can watch it right here

Highlights of this week's episode: 

  • A cool tool for hosting online brainstorming sessions. 
  • A neat art project. 
  • Ideas for recording and adding audio to slides. 
  • Alternatives to Google Calendar. 
  • Unusual things that can be patented. 
The episode is embedded below. 

All of the episode recordings are also available on Rushton's YouTube channel.

Maps, Certificates, and Brainstorms - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it is going to be a warm and sunny day. Most importantly, the worst of the black fly (gnats) swarms have passed. And the most exciting news in our house is that we're going to see my mother for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic reached New England. I hope that you have something equally exciting planned for your weekend. 

This week I co-hosted the last episode of this year's Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff series. We'll return at the start of the next school year. We're going on hiatus as Rushton has a busy summer planned and I do as well. I'll be hosting the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp and working on some other projects. I also have this idea for a possible late-July/ early August PD experience. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. - A New Way to Quickly Make an Animated Map
2. Two Ways to Automatically Generate Certificates for Students
3. Fling the Teacher! - A Fun Review Game
4. Brainstormer - A Collaborative Brainstorming and Voting Tool
5. Three Good Ways to Make Online Word Games
6. Combine Canva and TeacherMade to Create Online Activities
7. How to Find Public Google Docs, Slides, Forms, Sheets, and Drawings

On-demand Professional Development
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 35,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.