Sunday, September 11, 2022

Two Tips to Make Chrome Run a Little Faster

There was a time when Google Chrome was the new kid on the block and promised faster browsing and faster page load time. That hasn't been the case for many years now. In fact, now when I hear colleagues, students, or others complain about their computers or Chromebooks running slowly the first thing I do is check their Chrome settings. 

There are two little Chrome settings that can make it run faster on your Windows computer or on your Chrome book. Those settings are found under "system" in the "advanced" menu. Those settings are:

  • Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed.
  • Use hardware acceleration when available.
The speed with which Chrome runs should improve if you turn off the two options listed above. In the video below I demonstrate how to find those settings. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Flashcards, Games, and Phys Ed - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it is going to be a beautiful early fall day. By the time that most of you read this I'll be racing my bike on some of the prettiest dirt roads in all of New England. I don't harbor any illusions of winning the Northwoods Gravel Grind today, I just hope to have fun and go a little faster than the last time I pedaled over those roads. Bonus! There's a fun Grateful Dead cover band playing at the end. I hope you have something equally fun on tap for your weekend. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. A Great Alternative to Quizlet
2. A Free STEM Toolkit for Librarians
3. Quizalize Games - Turn Any Quiz Into an Epic Game
4. vs. Blackbird Code - Which One Should You Use?
5. Fun With Soda Pop - A Nice Weekend Science Experiment
6. Great Resources for Family Phys Ed Week
7. Free Webinar and 5 Posters to Help Students Learn to Read Like a Historian

I'll Come You!
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. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

2022 Fall Foliage Prediction Map - And Why Leaves Change Color in the Fall

The 2022 Fall Foliage Prediction Map is a feature of the website. The map displays a week-by-week prediction of when leaves in the continental United States will be changing colors from now through the end of November. You can see the predictions change by moving the timeline at the bottom of the map.

On the same page as the 2022 Fall Foliage Prediction Map there is a place to report the foliage changes in your area to help improve the accuracy of the map. You'll also find some succinct explanations of what makes leaves change color in the fall. 

Applications for Education
The 2022 Fall Foliage Prediction Map doesn't tell the whole story of why leaves change colors at different times in different parts of the country. I'd use the incomplete nature of the map's explanation as a jumping-off point for students to hypothesize and investigate why leaves change colors at different times in different parts of the country. I might also have them investigate why some trees have brighter leaves than others in the fall. 

Additional Resources for Teaching and Learning About Fall Foliage
Last year I shared a handful of videos that explain why leaves change colors in the fall. A couple of those videos are included below.

For an explanation of why leaves change colors that elementary school students can understand, watch the following SciShow Kids video.

Friday, September 9, 2022

A New Kind of Flashcard - Flexcards!

I started this week by sharing my favorite alternative to Quizlet. To end the school week I have a new kind of flashcard to share with you as an alternative to Quizlet. That new kind of flashcard is called Flexcards by Flippity

Flexcards are multimedia flashcards that can have up to ten sides. You can display videos, pictures, links, and text on your Flexcards. For example, in this demo you'll see that the Flexcards for ten countries of the world include the capital of those countries, maps of each, images of the flags for each, YouTube videos about the countries, brief summaries of each, and links to additional information. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to create your own Flexcards by using the Google Sheets template provided by Flippity. 

Applications for Education
Regular two-sided flashcards are fine for practicing recall of definitions or math facts. Flexcards are something that students should try when they need to study a bit more than just definitions or simple facts. 

The Differences Between England, Great Britain, United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth Explained

Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday. The news broke after most on the east coast of the U.S. were out of school for the day. If you find your students asking questions about about her passing, the monarchy, or Great Britain in general, here are some videos that you might find helpful. 

The Washington Post published a short video that uses a lot of archival pictures and newsreels to tell the story of her 70 year reign

The Washington Post also published a two minute compilation of how the news of Queen Elizabeth II's death was reported by news outlets around the world.

A decade ago C.G.P. Grey published The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained. It's a still a great video that explains the differences between the three, and why some people incorrectly use them interchangeably.

Many of the news stories about Queen Elizabeth II's passing make references to the Commonwealth. If you find yourself trying to explain what that is to your students, here's a brief explanation from the BBC that could help.

Popular Posts