Saturday, October 15, 2022

Voices, Search, and Bare Trees - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the leaves are falling faster than ever. A couple nights ago a big rain storm through and some of our trees lost all of their leaves. I love the beauty of the changing leaves of autumn. I don't, however, enjoy raking all of the leaves that fall as I will be doing for part of the day today. The upside to raking all of the leaves is seeing how much my daughters enjoy jumping into the piles of leaves. I hope that you have as much fun this weekend as my daughters will have jumping into leaf piles. 

This week I spent a lot of time rebuilding my Practical Ed Tech website. It's still not exactly what I want to look like, but it's much improved in terms of function and aesthetics. Please take a look and let me know what you think of it.  

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Three Alternatives to ViewPure for Distraction-free YouTube Viewing
2. How to Create Your Own Search Engine
3. Why Our Voices Sounds Different to Us Than to Others
4. Grid Views and Timelines in Google Slides
5. How to Add Background Music to PowerPoint Presentations
6. Animations of Historical Movements and Patterns
7. This Little Trick Makes Podcast Editing Easier

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 43,000 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 Strava.
This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

50 Tech Tuesday Tips for You

Are you a new tech coach, tech integrator, or media specialist who has been asked to run a little tech workshop? Do you need some ideas for it? If so, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips is for you! 

50 Tech Tuesday Tips was curated from more than 400 editions of The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. In 50 Tech Tuesday Tips you will find 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!

Friday, October 14, 2022

A Fun Timeline Game for History Students

Play Your Dates Right is another great game template developed by Russel Tarr at The concept of Play Your Dates Right is that students have to pick the correct sequence of three historical events. The event in the middle of the game template is always the event that actually did come second. Students have to guess if the first and third events are in the proper sequence. Watch my short video that is embedded below to see how the game is played and how you can create your own version of it. 

You can create and publish your own version of Play Your Dates Right by using the free template provided through ClassTools. To get the template all that you need to do is click the "edit" link that appears in the lower, right corner of Play Your Dates Right. Then you can enter a list of events with their corresponding dates. When you publish your game ClassTools will randomly select from your list to be displayed.

Applications for Education
I've always stressed to my history students the importance of sequence. Play Your Dates Right could be a fun way for students to review the sequence of events in a unit of study. An obvious case use is in reviewing the causes of the outbreak of a war.

How to Print Guest Lists for Google Calendar Events

Google Calendar, like most products in Google Workspace, has lots of little features that are often overlooked. Just because those features are overlooked doesn't mean that they're not useful. For example, you can print a guest list from an event on any of your Google Calendars. In the short video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to print guest lists for Google Calendar events

I use printed guest lists for meetings because it's often faster for me to take attendance on paper than it is to toggle between tabs or screens (especially when hosting virtual meetings). 

Watch this video for five more Google Calendar features that you should know how to use. 

The settings and features demonstrated in the video below include:

  • How to create a Google Calendar.
  • How to share a Google Calendar.
  • How to invite colleagues to collaborate on a Google Calendar.
  • How to create appointment slots in Google Calendar.
  • How to create task reminders in Google Calendar. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Explore the K-12 Section of The Open Library

The Open Library is a part of the Internet Archive that provides vistors with the opportunity to search for, browse through, and read eBooks. The Open Library is a collection of more than one million ebook titles. I recently revisited the Open Library and noticed a couple of new-to-me things. First, there is now a virtual bookshelf explorer that you can use to browse through books much like wandering through a library's bookshelves. Second, there is now a dedicated K-12 section of The Open Library

The collection is cataloged by a community of volunteer online librarians. The eBooks in the Open Library can be read on your computer, tablet, and some eReader devices. Most of the books can be digitally borrowed in increments of one hour or up to fourteen days (it is possible to renew the borrowing period). If a book isn't available when you find it in The Open Library, you can add your name to a waitlist for it and or use the library's integrated WorldCat search to find a copy in a physical library near you. 

Applications for Education
The Open Library could be a good place for students to find books that they want to read on their own. The dedicated K-12 section could be helpful to middle school and high school students. Unfortunately, The Open Library requires an email address in order to borrow books so it's utility is limited for younger students.