Wednesday, November 2, 2022

A New Primary Source Crowd-sourcing Project from the Library of Congress

By the People is a crowd-sourcing project that enlists the help of the public to transcribe thousands of primary source documents that are housed by and have been scanned by the Library of Congress. Over the years there have been collections of documents from the American Civil War, papers from the American Revolution, presidential papers, documents about suffrage, and documents about the integration of Major League Baseball. A collection of nearly 6,000 documents written by President James A. Garfield is the latest addition to By the People.

Today, James Garfield is one of the lesser-known former Presidents of the United States. That's partly due to his short time in office before he was assassinated in 1881. His papers in the By the People collection provide insight into who he was and what he thought about a wide range of topics from business to marriage to politics.

Applications for Education
Anyone can participate in the LOC's By the People project to transcribe documents in the Garfield collection of notes and diaries. Having high school students attempt to transcribe some of the documents could be a good way for them to learn about the 20th President of the United States and learn about the value of primary sources. 

To get started transcribing documents in the the By the People project simply go to the collection and choose a document. Your chosen document will appear on the left side of the screen and a field for writing your transcription appears on the right side of the screen. After you have completed your transcription it is submitted for peer review. A demonstration of the process is included in the video below.

How to Make Multimedia Maps on Padlet

Geography Awareness Week is coming up in a couple of weeks. In preparation for my favorite academic week of the year, I've recorded an updated tutorial on how to make multimedia maps with Padlet

Padlet is one of the most versatile tools you can put in your digital toolbox. Creating multimedia maps is just one of the many things that you can do with Padlet. In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate creating a multimedia map by using Padlet's built-in maps. The video also covers how to share your Padlet maps, how to add collaborators to the map, and settings you need to know before inviting students to be collaborators on your Padlet maps. 

Applications for Education
In the video above I used Padlet to create a multimedia map of the birthplaces of U.S. Vice Presidents. Your students can do a similar thing for any list of famous (or not so famous) people that you give to them. 

During Geography Awareness Week creating multimedia maps in Padlet could be a good way to help students develop an understanding of where places are relative to each other. For a little deeper lesson on geography awareness, give students a list of places to locate and then list in the placemarks aspects of the five themes of geography for each place.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The End of Daylight Saving Time is Near...for this year

This coming Saturday night is the end of Daylight Saving Time for this year in North America. I'm excited to turn the clocks back one hour because it means the sunrise will be earlier in the day. As someone who gets up at 5am or earlier every day and lives in a northern latitude, I welcome the change as I'll see the sun an hour earlier. And as the dad of two little kids I welcome the time change in autumn because it means there's a chance my kids will sleep in and I'll get some extra time to drink my coffee in silence on Sunday morning. 

As I do almost every time Daylight Saving Time begins or ends, I have gathered together a handful of short video explanations about why we have Daylight Saving Time. Take a look and see if there is one that can help you explain Daylight Saving Time to your students. 

National Geographic has two videos titled Daylight Saving Time 101. The first one, published in 2015, is a bit more upbeat than the second one that was published in 2019. Both versions are embedded below. 

The Telegraph has a 90 second explanation of Daylight Saving Time. The video doesn't have any narration so it can be watched without sound.

CGP Grey's video explanation of Daylight Saving Time is still a good one even if it isn't as succinct as the videos above.

Has someone told you that Daylight Saving Time was ended by Congress? If so, I'm sorry to tell you that only the Senate has moved to enact law to end Daylight Saving Time. The bill hasn't reached the House and is still a long way from becoming an enacted law. WXYZ-TV in Detroit has a good explanation of the process and of the potential impact of the end of DST in northern cities like Detroit. Watch the video here or as embedded below.

TED-Ed has two lessons that aren't specifically about Daylight Saving Time but are related to the topic. First, The History of Keeping Time explains sundials, hourglasses, and the development of timezones. Second, How Did Trains Standardize Time in the United States? explains the role of railroads in the development of the timezones used in the United States (and most of Canada) today.

A Webinar (or Workshop) and an eBook for Your School

Last December I published the first edition of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips. When I did that I made the offer of hosting a free webinar for any school or group that purchases ten or more copies. So far I've had a handful of people take me up on that offer. That offer is still good and I'd be happy to host a webinar for your school. And now I'm going to extend the offer a bit further. 

For the rest of this school year (2022 through May 31, 2023) any school, conference, or library that hires me for an in-person workshop or in-person keynote will given copies of 50 Tech Tuesday Tips for all attendees. 

About the eBook

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!

Monday, October 31, 2022

Candy, Pizza, and Games - The Month in Review

Good evening from Maine where the sun has set on the month of October and my daughters have finally fallen asleep after the excitement of trick o' treating. As I do at the end of every month, I've taken a few minutes to look at the analytics for Free Technology for Teachers for the month to see what was popular with all of you. Take a look at the list and see if there is something interesting that you missed during the month. 

These were the most popular posts in October:
1. Three Alternatives to ViewPure for Distraction-free YouTube Viewing
2. Tutorials for Getting Started With the Smithsonian Learning Lab
3. GeoGeek AR - An Augmented Reality Geography Game
4. How to Catch Monsters - A Halloween Play Script
5. How to Create Green Screen Videos in Canva
6. Halloween-themed Physical Education Lesson Plans
7. C-SPAN Offers a Free Electoral College Poster
8. Five Google Workspace Tips That Can Make Your Day Better
9. A Great Alternative to Quizlet
10. The Science of Pizza, Diets, and the Esophagus

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.