Thursday, April 14, 2022

Three Good Tools for Creating Infographics

Yesterday morning I got an email from a reader who was looking for some suggestions for tools that her eighth grade students could use to create infographics. Specifically, she wanted them to create infographics about data the class collected in a survey of their peers' thoughts about a variety of news topics. I thought it sounded like a great social studies project and I was happy to make some suggestions. 

The tools that I suggested were Adobe Creative Cloud Express, Visme, and Canva. They all offer hundreds of good templates for creating infographics. All three offer online collaboration options for students. Despite those similarities there some features of each that are worth noting when trying to pick one for your students to use. 

Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly known as Adobe Spark) has a free version for schools. The education infographics collection isn't as large as what you'll find in Canva, but it does have one editing feature that isn't found in Canva. That feature is the ability to change the whole color scheme of an infographic in one click. That color scheme selector will change font, graphic, and background colors in one click without changing any other element of the infographic you're working on. See this feature in action in my video below. offers more than 1300 infographic templates. Rather than having a catch-all "education" category, you'll find the templates are categorized according to display style like "timeline" and "comparison." The shortcoming of Visme is that you need to have one of their paid accounts in order to download your finished infographic as a PDF (online display is free). 

Canva offers nearly 1,800 infographic templates of which almost 600 are education infographic templates. Canva includes access to thousands of pieces of drawings, illustrations, and photographs that can be used in your infographic. And as you'll see in my video below, you can even import Bitmojis into your infographic designs on Canva. 

Watch this short video for an overview of all three infographic design tools

A Good Source of U.S. History Lesson Starters

When I taught U.S. History one of my go-to methods for starting classroom conversations about a new topic or unit was to give my students an interesting image or a short primary source document to review and ask questions about. A great place to find those conversation starters is the National Archive's Today's Document website

Every day Today's Document features a new image or document from the archives. The documents and images are from that day in history. Each one is accompanied by some additional research links and lesson plan resources.

In this short video I provide an overview of Today's Document and the related resources that it provides for U.S. History teachers. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

How to Host Online Brainstorming Sessions on Padlet

Padlet is a tool that I've used for well over a decade to conduct all kinds of online activities including making digital KWL charts, hosting backchannel discussions, building multimedia maps, and holding online brainstorming sessions. The "like" function is one of the aspects of Padlet that I like to use when hosting online brainstorming sessions with students. By enabling that function I can have students vote for their favorite ideas that appear on the digital wall that all students have access to write on. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to use Padlet to host online brainstorming sessions

Applications for Education
In the video above I demonstrated using Padlet to brainstorm ideas for podcast guests and voting for a favorite suggestion. That same concept could be applied to hosting brainstorming sessions about story starters, research prompts, or ideas for extracurricular club fundraisers.

On a related note, sometimes the terms brainstorming and mind mapping get used interchangeably. As I wrote last summer, there is a difference between the two activities.

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.