Sunday, May 15, 2022

Add Dropdown Menus Into Sentences In Google Docs

A couple of weeks ago I shared some information about the new project planning templates in Google Docs that include dropdown menus. Today, I'd like to share how you can also insert dropdown menus into any part of a Google Document without using a template. 

It is possible to add a dropdown menu into any sentence in a Google Document. To do that simply write a sentence as you normally would until you get to the place where you want to insert a dropdown menu. You will then want to use the Insert menu in Google Docs to select "dropdown." Once you've selected "dropdown" you can customize the options that appear in the menu that you insert into your document. Watch my new video to learn how to add dropdown menus into Google Documents. 

Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video above, adding dropdown menus into Google Documents could be a good way to create Mad Libs-style writing activities for your students or to create activities in which students practice identifying past, present, and future tenses of words.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Videos, Certificates, and Birds - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we have gone from it feeling like it was barely spring to feeling like it's the middle of summer in the span of one week. The temperature got up to 86F yesterday and it's going to be even warmer today. It's going to be great for playing outside, riding bikes, and having fun wearing shorts and tee shirts for the first time in 2022. 

Another sign that spring is quickly turning into summer is the increasing number of bird nests around our house. We even have a grosbeak nesting on our property. This week a male grosbeak started visiting our window bird feeder during our dinner time. We enjoy the show that nature provides. I hope that you're able to do the same wherever you live. Speaking of which, Steven Rinella has published a new book that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in getting kids outside and engaged with nature. It's titled Outdoor Kids in an Inside World

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Three Tools for Quickly & Easily Creating End-of-Year Slideshow Videos
2. How to Create and Send Personalized Certificates in Google Workspace
3. Quick and Easy Ways to Remove Image Backgrounds
4. Create Location-based Reminders in Google Keep
5. Living Wage vs. Minimum Wage
6. How to Create Your Own Virtual Reality Tours
7. SplashLearn - More Than Just Fun Math and ELA Practice

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.

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 41,000 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.

A Cool Lesson for a Hot Spring Day - How the Popsicle Was Invented

It was 86F here in Maine yesterday. In the afternoon my kids had popsicles outside for the first time in 2022! That prompted my five-year-old to ask, "why are they called popsicles?" I didn't have a good answer despite the fact that I did recall watching a TED-Ed lesson about popsicles a few years ago. So I went and looked it up. 

How the Popsicle Was Invented explains the origin of the tasty treat itself as well as the name "Popsicle." This TED-Ed lesson doesn't include any multiple choice or discussion questions. It's just a fun little lesson for students to think about as the weather warms and ice cream trucks start to appear in neighborhoods (side note, ice cream trucks is one of the few things I miss about living in a suburb).

Applications for Education
You could extend this lesson by doing a little kitchen science lesson with elementary school students. They could experiment with sugar content and flavoring. And they could compare the time it takes for a Popsicle to freeze to the time it takes for an equal amount of water without sugar or flavoring to freeze.

Friday, May 13, 2022

The Season Finale of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions

In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon Rushton Hurley and I hosted the season finale of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff! This was the second full school of hosting these free webinars. If you're so inclined, you can go back and watch all of the episodes here on the Next Vista for Learning website. Or if you just want to watch yesterday's episode you can do so right here

All of the links and resources we mentioned in the webinar can be seen in this Google Doc.

We'll back in the fall with new episodes. Until then you can always email your questions to me and I'll be happy to try to answer them for you.

WeVideo and Vimeo Offer Great Tips for Recording and Editing Videos

Thanks to mobile devices and wealth of video editing tools we can all be video producers today. But creating a good video requires more than just having access to the tools of production. Creating good videos begins with some basic steps like holding your phone or camera the right way and knowing when to zoom with a lens or zoom with your feet.

In this short video WeVideo offers three key tips for shooting better videos.

The Vimeo Video School offers more than five dozen videos about creating better videos. Two of their videos are embedded below.

Quick Focusing Tips from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

Zoom vs. Moving Camera from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

This older post on the TED Blog offers a list of ten tips for editing video. The tips focus on when and where to cut videos for creating the smoothest video you can. Each tip is accompanied by "before" and "after" samples.

Applications for Education
Between commencements, spring sporting events, banquets, and award ceremonies as the end of the school year approaches there will be lots of occasions for capturing videos of school events. Take advantage of these tips to capture better raw footage that will in turn help you and your students edit better videos.

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