Saturday, February 5, 2022

Groundhogs, Hamsters, and Snowcats - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where more than a foot of fresh snow has fallen in the last 24 hours. According to the snowcat, we have at least 20" of snow in our yard. What's a snowcat? It's a board that has a ruler on it and has been cut to look like the silhouette of a cat. It was in the barn (along with a bunch of other junk) when I bought the house. Only 25 years of mortgage payments and I'll own that snowcat free and clear!

This week was an exciting one in our house as my five year old finished her first chapter book! She loved Winter According to Humphrey and can't wait to read some more books about Humphrey the hamster. 

I hope that you had an equally good week and have a great weekend! My family will be playing in the fresh snow. Before doing that I have this week's list of the most popular posts to share.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Groundhog Day Explained
2. How to Prevent Printing of Shared Google Documents
3. How to Create Custom Valentine's Day Cards for Kids to Share
4. How to Add Watermarks to Google Docs
5. Build Talk or Type Educational Games on TinyTap
6. Educational Resources With a Super Bowl Theme
7. Three Ways to Use Lumio for Collaborative Learning Right Now

Thank you for your support!
Your registrations in Practical Ed Tech courses (listed below) and purchases of my ebook help me keep Free Technology for Teachers going.

On-demand Professional DevelopmentOther 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 39,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fifteen 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.

Yellowstone Distance Learning Opportunities

A couple of weeks ago I shared some information about Denali's Distance Learning Program for K-12 classrooms. This week I learned that Yellowstone National Park offers a similar program. 

Yellowstone National Park's distance learning program lets you schedule a twenty to forty minute virtual presentation with a Yellowstone Park ranger. Presentations can be scheduled for students to learn about geology of the park, the animals of the park, and the history of the park. Rangers are also available to talk about careers in the National Parks Service and more. 

Yellowstone National Park is in the mountain time zone. If mountain time presents a scheduling challenge for you, there are also recordings of ranger's presentations that are available right here on Yellowstone's Distance Learning page. Handouts and worksheets to use with the virtual presentations are available here

Here's a video of a Yellowstone distance learning presentation about bears

Friday, February 4, 2022

Search Strategies for History Students and Teachers

If a student has ever said to you, “I can’t find anything about this,” the webinar that I’m hosting on February 15th is for you.

On February 15th at 4pm ET I’m hosting Search Strategies for History Students and Teachers.

In this one hour webinar I’ll share the strategies and techniques that I’ve used with my own students to help them get beyond the first few pages of Google search results and dive deep into the research process. Learn more about it in the following video.

Key points of the webinar include:
  • How to craft interesting search lessons.
  • Getting students beyond the first page of search results.
  • Alternative search engines for history students.
  • Accessing and utilizing local, state, provincial and national archives.
  • Guiding students through source evaluation.
Free eBook!
Everyone who registers for the webinar will get a copy of my eBook, Search Strategies for History Students and Teachers.

Live and recorded access!
This will be hosted live at 4pm ET on February 15th! It will also be recorded for everyone who registers in advance.

No, this webinar isn't free but the tools featured and techniques within it are free to use. Purchases of this webinar make it possible for me to create other free resources like The Practical Ed Tech Handbook that I update and give away to thousands of teachers every year.

Experiment and Create New Sounds on WolframTones

Wolfram Tones is a neat offering from Wolfram that students can use to can play with sample sounds and rhythms to create new own sounds. Wolfram Tones uses algorithms, music theory, and sound samples to generate new collections of sounds. Wolfram Tones allows visitors to choose samples from fifteen different genres of music on which to build their own sounds. Once a genre is selected visitors can then alter the rhythms, instrumentation, and pitch mapping of their sounds. When satisfied with their creations, users can download their sounds as MP3 files.

Watch this short video to learn how to use WolframTones.

Applications for Education
Wolfram Tones might be a nice little resource for a music theory lesson. Wolfram Tones could be a fun way for students to experiment with rhythms and instrumentation to make unique sounds.

Prompt Conversations With Google Drawings

One of the lesser-utilized features of Google Drawings is the ability to comment on images. Drawings allows you to collaboratively create drawings from scratch and or alter images that you upload to Drawings. By uploading an image you can draw on it and write on it to add labels. Google Drive Drawings supports commenting just like Google Documents. The sharing options in Drawings are the same as those of Documents too.

By using the collaborative drawing tools you could start online image-based conversations with your students. You could also use these tools to have your student collaboratively label diagrams. Directions for these processes are included in the screenshots in the slides below.

Watch this video for five more neat things you can do with Google Drawings.