Sunday, April 17, 2022

How to Record a Google Earth Tour in Your Web Browser

The online version of Google Earth has improved a lot since it was first launched back in 2017. Unfortunately, it still doesn't have a built-in recording tool like the one found in the desktop version of Google Earth. The solution to that problem is to create a project in the web version of Google Earth and then use a screencasting tool like Screencastify to record while you navigate to each placemarker in your Google Earth project. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to record a Google Earth tour in your web browser by using Screencastify. 

Applications for Education
At the end of my Around the World With Google Earth activity I ask students to record a short tour of all of the places that they add to their Google Earth projects. The directions that I provide in the video above show students exactly how to do that.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Poetry, Design, and SEL - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where overcast April weather has returned after a beautiful Friday afternoon of riding bikes with my kids. Despite the weather we're still going to play outside for a little while with our Tinkergarten group. I think some cookie decorating and other fun indoor activities are also on the agenda for the day. I hope that you also have something fun planned for your weekend. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Seven Activities for National Poetry Month
2. Three Good Tools for Creating Infographics
3. A Calendar of Social Emotional Learning Activities
4. Three Ways to Create Simple Portfolio Websites
5. Thank Your School Librarians! And Ask Them for Help!
6. Tract Offers Fun Ways to Wrap-up the School Year
7. A Free Design Skills Course for Students

Summer Workshops for Your School!
I'm going back on the road this summer to host professional development workshops in-person! If you'd like to have me come to your school, please get in touch with me soon.

Spring and Summer Webinars
I conduct professional development webinars throughout the year. I'll host a free one-hour webinar for any school or group that purchases ten or more copies of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips.

On-demand Professional Development
Thanks to This Month's Banner Advertisers!
  • Kikori App offers a huge library of SEL activities for all ages. 
  • WriteReader is a great tool for multimedia writing. 
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 40,000 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 Icons Daily and Daily Dose. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Eight Good Tools for Hosting Online Brainstorming Sessions

Earlier this week I shared a new video that I made about hosting online brainstorming sessions on Padlet. Of course, there are other good tools for hosting collaborative brainstorming sessions including physical sticky notes. Here are some other tools that I've used to facilitate and record group brainstorming sessions over the years. 

Canva offers a selection of brainstorming templates that can be used collaboratively. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Canva's real-time collaboration function for an online brainstorming session. In the video I also demonstrate how you can tell if the template support real-time collaboration or not.

Post-it offers a free iPhone and iPad app and an Android version of the same app. Both versions of the Post-it app let you snap a picture of a collection of sticky notes that you want to digitize. After snapping the picture you'll be able to sort and group the digitized version of your sticky notes. You can export your digitized stickies and groups of stickies as PDF, PowerPoint, and Excel files. Watch the video below to see how the Post-it app works.

Google's Jamboard can be used to host group brainstorming sessions. In larger classes I break students into smaller groups and have each group work on a specific page within the Jamboard session. At the end of the session we review the ideas from each page and put the most popular ones on a final page. Here's an overview of how to use Jamboard in Google Classroom


I started using Padlet more than ten years ago to host collaborative brainstorming sessions with my students. My favorite way to use it is to have students share ideas for research prompts related to a larger topic. For example, I'd give my students a broad topic like World War II and then have them add their ideas for topics to research that are connected to World War II.

Brainstormer is a free, registration-free tool for hosting online brainstorming sessions. It has two noteworthy features. First, it doesn't require any kind of registration in order to use it. Second, at the end of every brainstorming session students can vote for their favorite ideas that were submitted during the session. In this short video I provide a demonstration of how Brainstormer works. The video includes the perspective of a teacher using it and the perspective of a student using Brainstormer. 

Dotstorming is a collaborative brainstorming tool that I've used and written about for half of a decade or more. One of its key features is the option to have participants in a brainstorming session vote for their favorite ideas submitted during the session. The value of Dotstorming in an online or in-person classroom is that it allows you to gather ideas or answers to a problem from your students and then have your students vote for the favorite idea or answer. Those vote totals can then be the basis for discussions with the whole class or in small groups.

Rye Board provides you with a blank canvas on which you can place text notes, images, and drawings. Notes and pictures can be dragged and dropped into any arrangement that you like. Drawings can be added in the spaces between notes and or directly on top of images on your Rye Board. Rye Board allows for two collaborators at a time. Watch my video that is embedded below to see how Rye Board works.

Lumio has an activity template called Shout It Out that is perfect for hosting online brainstorming sessions with your students. You can learn more about that and other Lumio features in this video.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Create Audio Slideshow Videos With Phideo - No Registration Required

Phideo is a new online tool for creating audio slideshow videos. As the title of this post states, registration is not required in order to use Phideo to create and save your video. Using Phideo to make your own audio slideshow video is quick and easy. 

To create a video on Phideo simply head to the site then click the create button. You'll then upload the pictures that you want to use in your video. Once your pictures are uploaded you can drag and drop to put them into the order in which you want them to appear in your video. Phideo provides tools for editing each image that you upload. Those tools include cropping your images and writing on your images. 

Phideo provides a library of audio tracks that you can use as background music in your videos. Alternatively, you can upload your own audio files (just remember to be mindful of copyright restrictions). When you're happy with your image and audio selections, you can preview your video before downloading it in MPF format. 

All of the Phideo video creation options that I mentioned above are demonstrated in my tutorial video included below. 

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a free and easy way to create an audio slideshow video to show highlights of your school year, Phideo could be the tool for you. It could also be a good option for introducing students to some basic video creation and editing functions.

Phideo was created by the same person who developed ToonyTool and Here's my review of ToonyTool and here's my review of

We've Got Worms! And More Questions from My Daughters

Earlier this week we had some relatively warm days and were able to do a little spring yard work. My daughters like to try to help with some of it. But like most four and five year old kids, they quickly get distracted. Such was the case when they discovered some worms under some leaves in our yard. 

One of the worms my daughters found this week was picked up by my five year old who put it in bucket. Her younger sister then named the worm Suzy. Now for the last few days they've been adding dirt, water, and grass into the bucket to take care of Suzy every morning and afternoon. 

Suzy has been the inspiration for a bunch of questions about worms this week. I've had to try to explain answers to the following:

  • What do worms eat?
  • Do worms have babies?
  • Do worms hibernate?
For a general overview of the answers to these questions, SciShow Kids has a good video lesson about worms.  

For a more specific answer about worm reproduction, take a look at this short video from the Natural History Museum

And for more about what worms eat, watch this Reactions video titled How Do Worms Turn Garbage Into Compost?