Monday, May 16, 2022

A Crash Course in Decisions About College

The folks at Crash Course have developed a new channel and series of courses called Study Hall. One of those courses is called How to College

How to College is a great series for high school students and first year college students. The course covers everything from deciding to go to college to picking a college to picking a major and how to pay for it all. It's a series that could be particularly useful to first generation college students who don't have anyone to rely on who has gone through the process before them.

I watched the How to Choose a Major video this morning. And while I can't say that it would have stopped me from changing majors a couple of times, it would have given me more ideas about what could be done with the degrees associated with those other majors I tried before getting a degree in history. 

If you're curious about the picture I selected for this blog post, it represents what drew me to Maine when I was a college student, fly fishing. For someone like me who didn't have the grades or the money to go to an elite university, picking a school based on my hobbies was about as good a selection criteria as any 25 years ago.

Two Easy Ways to Support This Blog

The popularity of my blog has waxed and waned over the years. But for nearly fifteen years I've published new blog posts almost every day. New blog posts even appeared on the days my daughters were born (no, I didn't write blog posts on those days, I just had them scheduled in advance). I've been fortunate to have the support of many great folks over the years. Some of that support has been financial by hiring me to speak at your conferences or to run workshops in your schools. But most of the support has come through folks just sharing my blog posts and videos with their colleagues. 

Creating new blog posts, recording new videos, and answering lots of questions from readers takes a lot of time and, in the case of delivering my newsletters, a lot of money. If you're interested in helping to support my work, there are two easy ways to do that.

Respectfully Share My Work
If you have a friend or colleague who you think could benefit from something I've written or recorded, please share it with that person. Tell them why you're sharing it and let them know where they can find more of my work. 

Grab a Copy of my eBook
50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook that I created by combing through more than 400 editions of my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. In the eBook you'll find ideas for interesting ways to use technology in your classroom, school, and library. 

How to Use Google Maps and Street View in Canva Presentations

This blog post and video is the result of my failure to get another service, that won't be named, to do what I hoped it would. I was trying to come up with a way for students to create online, interactive atlases. After banging my head against my keyboard for a while I finally said to myself, "hey, see if you can do this in Canva?" So I did and it works!

In this new video I demonstrate how to embed Google Maps and Google Street View imagery into Canva designs. There are a few things that are notable about this. First, you can interact with the map and the Street View imagery directly inside of your Canva design. Second, you can publish and share your design as a website where others can also interact with the map and Street View imagery. Third, the method that I demonstrate in the video works with any Canva design template. 

Applications for Education
Embedding working Google Maps and Street View imagery into a presentation could be a great way for students to build online atlases. It's a good way for you as a teacher to have a set of maps and images ready to go when teaching a lesson. Rather than searching in Google Maps in front of the class, you can have the exact map views that you want to share ready to go in a set of slides.

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.

Popular Posts