Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Four Convenient Classroom Timers

I've always taught in schools that use a block schedule. The shortest blocks being 80 minutes and the longest ones being 240 minutes! Therefore, I've always used some type of timer to keep track of how long students were working on an activity and to keep track of break times between activities. When I first started teaching I did that with an actual egg timer like this one. Later I started using online countdown timer tools. The first one being That's one of the four convenient classroom timers that I featured in this short video

In the video above I featured the following four online timer tools:
The one that I use the most is the "set timer" option in Google. 

If you use a lot of slides in your classroom, you might want to include a countdown timer in those slides. In this video I demonstrate how to add a countdown timer to PowerPoint. In this video I show how you can add a countdown timer to Google Slides

Let Me Host Your Next Professional Development Session

Later this month I'm hosting webinars for two organizations that purchased a bunch of copies of my 50 Tech Tuesday Tips eBook. I would be happy to do the same for your school, department, or organization. 

If you purchase ten or more copies of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips I'll host a custom, one hour webinar for your school or department within your school. The webinar can be about any of the topics within the book or I can cover some other topics of interest to you and your colleagues. To get started arranging a custom webinar for your school just send me a note at richardbyrne (at) and we'll get the ball rolling. 

About the eBook:

50 Tech Tuesday Tips was curated from more than 400 editions of The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter 50 Tech Tuesday Tips provides you with ideas for lots of helpful things that you can teach to your colleagues and to students. Throughout the eBook you'll find tutorials and handouts that you can pass along in your school. 

Some of the many things you'll find in 50 Tech Tuesday Tips include:

  • What to do when a web app isn't working as you expect.
  • Building your own search engine.
  • How to create green screen videos.
  • Improving instructional videos. 
  • Streamlining email management.
  • Creating educational games. 
  • DIY app creation.
  • Podcasting tips for teachers and students. 

Get your copy of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips right here!

No, this ebook isn't free but the tools that feature within it is free to use. Creating something like this takes many, many hours but reading it can save you many, many hours. Purchases of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips 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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

How to Create a Professional Development Series in Gmail

As we head into the last part of the school year some of us are starting to think about and plan professional development activities for the summer and the following school year. It's nice to be able to offer in-person PD sessions again and I'm looking forward to facilitating a few of those this summer. There's also still a need to provide professional learning opportunities that don't require everyone to be in one place (physically or virtually) at the same time. It was thinking about that idea that prompted me to think about options for delivering self-paced professional development. 

Gmail's scheduling feature could be used to create a series of timed, progressive emails aligned to a specific topic or theme. For example, you could create a series of four emails that contain directions on how to use features of Google Forms. The series might start with the basics of using Google Forms and then each subsequent email would build upon that. Each email could contain a written overview, a video overview, and a "do now" practice activity. 

Watch this short video to see a demonstration of how to create a professional development series in Gmail. 

Applications for Education
In the video above I used the schedule send function in Gmail to create a professional development series for teachers. The same concept could be applied to creating a mini-course for students to complete over the summer. If you teach an AP course that requires students to complete some assigned reading over the summer, you could create a series of scheduled emails to check in with them and have them reply to a couple of questions. Of course, you might also do that in Google Classroom.

The Mystery Pollinator!

This morning my local television news station broadcast a segment about hummingbirds and when to put out hummingbird feeders. We always put out a few hummingbird feeders every summer so I watched the segment with slightly more interest than some of the other filler stories they show every morning. One little aspect of the story was to remind viewers that hummingbirds play a role in the ecosystem as pollinators. That little fact reminded me of a SciShow Kids video from last spring about flowers and pollination

Flowers and Their Pollinators is a cute video that explains to kids how bees, butterflies, bats, and birds help to pollinate flowers. The video concludes with the revelation that hummingbirds are the mystery pollinator in the story. Click here to jump to that segment of the video. 

Applications for Education
Before showing this video to students I'd ask them to share their ideas about how plants grow and spread to new areas. I'd also ask them think about what makes flowers bloom. As I'm learning from my own kids who wonder about these things, kids come up with some interesting thoughts about these kinds of questions. This video offers answers that little kids can understand.

ICYMI - Two EdTech Guys Take Questions

Last week Rushton Hurley and I hosted another episode of our Two EdTech Guys Take Questions webinar series. If you missed it, you can watch the recording right here or as embedded below. Rushton does a great job of sharing links to all of the resources that we mention in the webinar. That list of resources can along with the slides from the webinar can found right here on the Next Vista website under Season 2, Episode 10. 

The next live episode of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions will be on May 12th at 4pm ET. Register here to join us for the fun.

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