Sunday, August 14, 2022

New Readlee Features for the New School Year

Readlee was one of my favorite new tools in the last school year. The basic concept of Readlee is your students complete assignments by reading to their computers then Readlee uses artificial intelligence to provide you and your students will feedback on their reading. For the new school year Readlee has added some new features. 

The biggest update to Readlee for the 2022-23 school year is the addition of a Free Read option. This means that instead of you having to assign something to students to read, they pick what they want to read. When students use the Free Read option they can read anything from an article they've found online to a passage from Adventure According to Humphrey or a classic work like The Grapes of Wrath. The Free Read option still provides you and your students with information about how many words were read, time spent reading, reading speed, and unique words read. And passages read in a Free Read count toward another of Readlee's new features, Streaks. 

Streaks is a new feature in Readlee that simply keeps track of how many days in a row a student has done any reading in Readlee. A little flame icon appear next to their names and avatars in their Readlee accounts to show students how long their current streak is. A little timer icon warns them when they're in danger of losing a streak. 

The third update to Readlee is a new option to customize student avatars. Rather than just seeing initials in a little box or circle, students now have a customizable little avatars in their Readlee accounts. See my screenshot above for an example of an avatar and a streak. 

Watch the video embedded below for an overview of the new Readlee features

Watch the video embedded below of a complete overview of how Readlee works from a teacher's perspective and from a student's perspective

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Airplanes, Screens, and Search - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining and cool breeze is blowing while I drink my morning coffee. It was a long week and I'm going to savor one of the last weekends of the summer by spending today exploring a little beach with my little family. I hope that you also have a coffee in your favorite mug instead of travel mug, go for a walk in the woods, or do something equally fun and relaxing this weekend. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Five Good Resources for Learning About Airplanes and Airlines
2. How to Quickly Broadcast Your Screen to Your Students' Screens
3. Five Interesting Ways to Use Screencastify in Your Classroom
4. Google Search Tools Students Often Overlook
5. Lessons on Compound Interest, Rent, and Mittens
6. PrepFactory’s New Online Algebra Program Features 100 Interactive Lessons
7. Blackbird Provides a Great Environment for Teaching Coding

I'll Come to Your School!
Due to the pandemic, for the last two years all of my work with schools has been remote. This year I'm back to offering in-person workshops and presentations. If you'd like me to come to your school or conference, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) or fill out the form on this page

50 Tech Tuesday Tips!
50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook that I created with busy tech coaches, tech integrators, and media specialists in mind. In it you'll find 50 ideas and tutorials that you can use as the basis of your own short PD sessions. Get a copy today!

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 42,000 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.

NOAA Sea to Sky - 1000+ Resources for Science Teachers

Earlier this week I was checking my local weather forecast on when I noticed a back-to-school announcement. The announcement highlighted some lesson plans and multimedia resources for teaching about things like hurricanes, changing sea levels, and climate resilience. The announcement also drew attention to an updated database of resources for teachers. That database is called NOAA Sea to Sky.

NOAA Sea to Sky currently contains 1239 resources that can be used to teach a wide variety of topics in science to students from Kindergarten through college. You can search and sort the database according to grade level, subject, topic, resource type, and NGSS standard. The results of a search on NOAA Sea to Sky can include full lesson plans published as PDFs, videos, and interactive media.

In the short video that is embedded below I provide a brief demonstration of how to find free lesson plans and more on NOAA Sea to Sky

Friday, August 12, 2022

How to Loop Videos in Google Slides

Yesterday I published a blog post about playing Google Slides on an automatically advancing loop. That blog post prompted a question from a reader about playing videos on a loop within a Google Slides presentation. Specifically, she wanted to know if she could have a video play on a loop. The answer is yes, and it's rather easy to do. 

To make a video loop in Google Slides all you have to do is present your slides then right-click on the video. When you right-click on it you'll be able to choose an option to loop the video. Watch my short video to see how it's done.

Applications for Education
Playing a video on a loop in a slide could be useful when you want to play a video to use as a welcome announcement in a virtual meeting or in a physical meeting as students are slowly joining in.

A Webinar and eBook for New Tech Coaches and Integrators

Are you new to the role of tech coach or tech integrator this fall? If so, I have an eBook and webinar for you!

On August 30th at 3pm ET I'm hosting A Framework for Technology Integration. Anyone who purchases a copy of my eBook 50 Tech Tuesday Tips between now and midnight (Eastern Time) on August 29th will get a link to join the webinar. And if you previously purchased a copy and want to join this webinar, just send me a note and I'll register you. 

In A Framework for Technology Integration I'll share my framework for helping teachers use technology in meaningful ways in their classrooms. I'll also provide some examples of how I've done it in the past and how you can replicate them in your school. 

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.

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