Saturday, September 4, 2021

Fish, Moose, Jam, and Drawings - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're getting ready for a day of outdoor fun. My youngest daughter wants to go catch a fish and my oldest daughter wants to see a moose. Fortunately, a little time in the boat on Mooselookmeguntic Lake provides a great opportunity to make both of my daughters happy. I hope that you have a happy weekend as well.

As I do early every Saturday morning, I've compiled a list of the most popular posts of the week. Take a look and see if there's something new or interesting that you can apply to your classroom.

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. Five Ideas for Using Google Jamboard This Fall
2. Five Google Forms Refreshers for the New School Year
3. Five Benefits of Conducting Mind Mapping Activities
4. 11 Search Tips and Tools for Teachers and Students
5. Add Your Voice to Google Forms
6. Five Ideas for Using Google Earth & Maps for More Than Social Studies Lessons
7. Five Ideas for Using Google Drawings This Fall

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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 37,000 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. 
  • If you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. 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.

Friday, September 3, 2021

21 Canva Tutorials for Teachers

This is an update to a post that I published earlier this year. Since the original publication I've created a couple more Canva tutorials to bring the list to 21. 

I've been using Canva to make all kinds of graphics and presentations almost since the day it was first available to the public. Over the years I've used to make greeting cards, videos, infographics, presentations, posters, timelines, comics, and many other graphics. And, at one point or another in the last five years, I've made videos about how to make all of those graphics. In not particular order, here's my complete list of Canva tutorials for teachers and students. 



Create Interactive Worksheets With Canva and TeacherMade



How to Create a Timeline on Canva



How to Create Collages on Canva



How to Create a Greeting Card on Canva



How to Use Canva to Create Social Media Graphics



Host Live Q&A in Canva Presentations



How to Customize Icons in Canva



How to Create & Publish Comics in Canva



How to Record a Video Presentation in Canva



How to Use Canva for Online Brainstorming Sessions



How to Create an Audio Slideshow Video With Canva



How to Publish Canva Designs as Websites



How to Create and Publish a Multimedia Poster With Canva



How to Make an Interactive Graphic With Canva



How to Create a Video With Canva



How to Create a Great Presentation With Canva



How to Make Your Font Stand Out in Canva



How to Create a Certificate in Canva



How to Use Canva to Create Webpages



How to Collaborate in Canva


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, Today Headline, and 711Web.

Three Good Places to Find Ideas for Makerspaces

Makerspaces can be a great place for students to tinker and experiment with desgins for all kinds of things from 3D printed objects to wind-powered model cars to cardboard robots. The possibilities seem limited only by the budget and materials you have available. However, while some students are naturally inclined to come up with all kinds of ideas for makerspace projects, other students need some inspiration. Here are three good places to find ideas for makerspace projects. 

Hacking STEM is a Microsoft website that offers about two dozen hands-on science and engineering lessons. The activities are a mix of things that students can probably do on their own and some that probably can't be done without the supervision of a teacher or parent with working knowledge of the concept(s) being taught. For example, the mini solar house project that I'm having my ninth grade students do can be done safely without my direct supervision (I'm removing the glue gun component and having them use tape). But the "party lights" activity on the same page is not something they'll be able to do on their own. 

Exploratorium's Science Snacks website has dozens and dozens of hands-on science and engineering projects for students of all ages. There is a subsection of the site called Family-Friendly Snacks that offers activities specifically designed for parents to do at home with their kids. The vast majority of the projects can be done with common household items. And in response to the COVID-19 outbreak Exploratorium has a selection of activities and videos about viruses.

Tinkercad is an online program that students can use to create designs for 3D printable objects. It can also be used to design simple circuits and Arduino projects. Students can safely design and test circuits and Arduino projects completely online through the use of Tinkercad’s online simulator. Tinkercad includes a large gallery of project ideas that students can mix and remix in their online accounts. As a teacher you can create a free classroom account in which you can see your students’ work.

This blog post was excerpted from my 2021-22 version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. A copy will be emailed to you when register for my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Three Good Tools for Recording and Publishing Audio Conversations

This is an excerpt from the latest version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. You can get your own copy for free when you sign-up for my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter

Synth is a free service that was designed for classroom use. It has had some significant updates in 2021. Originally, Synth limited recordings to 256 seconds. Now you can record for up to 30 minutes. As before you can post your recordings for students to listen to and respond to with recordings of their own. Likewise, students can create a recording, post it, and get responses from you and their classmates. A video overview of Synth is available here.



Anchor is a simple and free platform for recording, editing, and distributing podcasts. Recording on Anchor can be as simple as just holding down the record button on your phone or on your laptop and then releasing it when you're done talking. Anchor lets you upload external audio files to include in your podcast. Finally, if you want to distribute your podcast to Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, Spotify (Anchor’s parent company) or any other large podcast networks, Anchor simplifies that process for you. Watch the video here to learn how to publish a podcast through Anchor.



Flipgrid made its name as a service for teachers and students to use to record and share short videos with each other. But there were some teachers and students who preferred not to appear on camera. To remedy that, for a few years I would recommend that people just cover the webcam when recording. But now Flipgrid has an audio-only recording option. You'll find that option in the "options" menu that appears when you launch the recorder that is built into Flipgrid. See the screenshot below to locate the audio-only option in Flipgrid.

Add Your Voice to Google Forms

Yesterday I shared five Google Forms refreshers for the new school year. That post focused on settings that are built into Google Forms. You can do even more with Google Forms when you install Google Forms add-ons and or Chrome extensions. For example, you can add voice recordings to your Google Forms through the use of a Chrome extension called Mote

Mote is my favorite new Chrome extension in 2021. It can be used to add audio to Google Forms as well as audio to comments in Google Docs, Slides, and Classroom. In this short video I demonstrate how to use Mote to add audio to Google Forms.