Friday, October 1, 2021

How to Add Watermarks to Google Documents

Earlier this week Google announced that a new watermark feature would soon be added to Google Documents. That new feature appeared in one of my Google accounts this morning so I immediately gave it a try. The new watermark feature in Google Docs is very easy to use. In this short video I demonstrate how it works. 

How to add a watermark to a Google Document:
1. Open your document. 
2. Open the "insert" drop-down menu. 
3. Select "watermark" from the drop-down menu. 
4. Click "select image" to choose an image to use as the watermark on your document. You can upload images, choose from Google Drive or Google Photos, or conduct a Google Images search to apply an image as your watermark.
5. Choose the size of your watermark. 
6. The watermark will appear on all pages of your document. 

Applications for Education
Applying a watermark to a Google Document could be an easy way to include your school or school district's branding on documents that you plan to print and send to parents. It's also helpful to anyone who is creating materials like lesson plans that they plan to distribute for others to use but want to make sure that credit is given to them. For example, I plan to use the watermark feature on documents that I create for distribution during my webinars and workshops

How to Turn a Spreadsheet Into Multimedia Flashcards

This fall I've answered more questions about creating flashcards than I have in the previous few years. In almost every instance Flippity has been my suggestion for a free tool to create sets of multimedia flashcards. 

Flippity's flashcard template lets you create multimedia flashcards by simply entering terms into a Google Sheet. Your flashcards can include audio, video, images, and text. In this new video I demonstrate how to create a set of multimedia flashcards by using Flippity's Google Sheets template. 

A bonus of using Flippity is that, as I point out at the end of the video, when you create a set of flashcards with Flippity's template you're also creating matching activities and practice quizzes at the same time.

Applications for Education
You could make flashcards for your students or students can use this template on their own. As the template is a Google Sheets template, you could have students collaborate to create a set of flashcards together. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Fall, Forms, and Games - The Month in Review

The sun has set on a cool, crisp evening here in Maine. The maple leaves are changing colors from green to amazing shades of red and orange. In short, my favorite season of the year is here! 

As September ends and October begins it feels like all of the commotion of the beginning of the school year is over and we're now settled in. This is a good time to take a look back and see if there's anything you missed in September that could help you moving forward through October and the rest of the school year. An easy way to do that is to take a quick look at the most popular posts on Free Technology for Teachers in the month of September. That list is included below. 

These were the most popular posts of the month:
1. Five Fun Breakout Games for Online and In-person Classrooms
2. Ziplet - A Good Way to Share Digital Exit Tickets
3. Save Google Forms Responses in Progress
4. Five Ideas for Using Google Jamboard This Fall
5. Tract - Project-based, Peer-to-Peer Learning
6. 21 Canva Tutorials for Teachers
7. Five Helpful YouTube Features for Teachers
8. How to Make Chrome Run a Little Faster
9. The Difference Between a Chrome Profile and a Google Account
10. 700+ Free Typing Games for Kids

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 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 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.

Search Strategies Students Need to Know - A New Practical Ed Tech Course

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a live Practical Ed Tech webinar titled Search Strategies Students Need to Know! I've now taken the content and concepts of that webinar and broken into a self-paced mini course.

Search Strategies Students Need to Know contains ten self-paced modules, templates for helping students conduct better online research, and materials for developing search practice activities for your students.

Course highlights include:
  • Search refinement strategies and tools for all students.
  • Alternatives to Google search.
  • How to save and organize search results.
  • Developing your own school-safe search engine.
Course materials include templates that you can use and modify for your needs.
  • Creating search challenges for students
  • Pre-search checklists for students
  • Paired search activities for students
  • Research documentation templates
What's included in your registration?
  • Ten self-paced modules.
    • Each module will take ten to twenty minutes to complete.
  • Templates and handouts to download.
  • Direct access to me for Q&A.
  • Certificate of completion.

Getting Started With Padlet - What You Need to Know

Padlet is a tool that I've been using and recommending to others for more than a decade. I started using it back when it was known as Wall Wisher. I often used it to create digital KLW charts with my U.S. History students. Over the years Padlet has evolved by adding more features, updates to the user interface, and updates to privacy and sharing options. If you haven't tried Padlet or you're looking for a tutorial to share with others who are new to using Padlet, take a look at my new video that covers all of the basics that you need to know to get started using Padlet with students.

Some other ideas for using Padlet in your classroom include: