Saturday, October 29, 2022

How to Create a Digital Map Collection in Wakelet

Wakelet is a free, collaborative bookmarking and file organization tool that puts things into a nice visual display. So when a former colleague emailed me a couple of days ago to ask for help creating a collection of digital maps Wakelet was one of the first tools to come to mind (Padlet was the other). To a Wakelet collection you can add links (with previews) for Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Street View imagery, and Bing Maps. 

Watch this short video to learn how to create a digital map collection in Wakelet

Applications for Education
My former colleague who emailed me for help (and inspired this blog post) was looking for a way to create a collection of maps views of landmarks related to the American Revolution. He wanted his students to simply click and be taken to the exact view that he had selected. You could do the exact same thing or make your Wakelet collection collaborative to allow students to add map links to places that they investigated on their own.

Chrome, Crows, and Games - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sunrise is still more than an hour away as I drink my first cup of coffee. It's going to be an exciting day in our house because we're going to see Disney Frozen on Ice! To say that my daughters are excited about it would be an understatement. They would have slept in their Frozen costumes last night if we had let them. The rest of the weekend will be a more mundane schedule of raking leaves and riding bikes. I hope that you have a fun and relaxing weekend. 

This week more people registered for Animated Explanations which begins on November 1st. Register by midnight (ET) on October 31st to be a part of the inaugural class!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Five Great Chrome Extensions for Teachers
2. TED-Ed Lessons With a Halloween Theme
3. A Fun Tool for Creating Avatars
4. How to Set Notifications for Individual Google Documents
5. Trick O' Treat Safety Review Games
6. The Differences Between Crows and Ravens
7. Five More Things Students Can Explain With Simple Animations

Workshops and Keynotes
If you'd like to have me speak at 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.

Friday, October 28, 2022

How to Import PDFs Into Book Creator Projects

About a week ago Book Creator rolled-out the third or fourth new feature of this school year. That feature is the ability to import PDFs to use in your Book Creator projects. I had a cold and couldn't speak well last week so I had to wait until this week to give Book Creator's new feature a try and record a video about it. The new feature works well and as I demonstrate in this new video, importing a PDF into Book Creator can be a good way to turn a boring document into a multimedia booklet. 

One of the other new features added to Book Creator for this school year include audio, video, and text commenting. Watch this video to see how that works.

How to Adjust Playback Volume in Google Slides

Support for audio files was welcome addition to Google Slides when it was announced in the fall of 2019. But four years later there are still some quirks to it to watch out for. And sometimes the setting you need isn't quickly found. That was the case a few days ago when someone emailed me to ask about adjusting the volume of audio playback in Google Slides.

In this brief video I demonstrate how to adjust the volume of the audio playback in a Google Slides presentation. In the video I also demonstrate how to hide the playback icon. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Make Green Screen Videos With Zoom and Adobe Express

A few weeks ago I shared directions for creating green screen videos in Canva. That method is great because it doesn't require you to record in front of a physical green screen. Today, I'd like to share another method that doesn't require you to record in front of a physical green screen. That method uses a combination of Zoom and Adobe Express

Zoom's desktop client has an option to replace your background with any picture that you want to upload to your Zoom account. Host a Zoom meeting without any participants in it, replace the background, and start talking. When you end the meeting you'll have an MP4 that you can import in Adobe Express for further editing and or combine with other video clips.

In this short video I demonstrate how to create a green screen video by using a combination of Zoom and Adobe Express. 

Applications for Education
As someone who spent years teaching world geography classes, one of my favorite uses of green screens is to have students create "on location" video reports about places they've researched. This combination of Zoom and Adobe Express makes it easy to make those videos without the need for a physical green screen.