Saturday, November 12, 2022

Keep, Quiz, and Templates - The Week in Review

Good evening from Banner County, Nebraska! I'm here for the next few days to visit my good friends Kris and Beth Still. Those of you who have followed by blog since its early days may recall that Beth is the person who organized the NECC Newbie project way back in 2009. It was through her initiative that I was able to attend my first NECC (now ISTE) conference. For that, I am eternally grateful to Beth and all of you who supported that project because it dramatically altered the course of my career for the better. 

This week I wrote a few blog posts related to Geography Awareness Week that starts next week. I'll have more posts about it during the next few days including some posts about Google Earth and Google Maps. If you want to dive deeper into those areas, my course about Google Earth and Maps is 50% off for the rest of month when you use the code GEOAWARENESS22 on the registration page. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Is This the End of the Google Keep Chrome Extension?
2. GeoQuiz History Edition - A Fun and Challenging Geography Game
3. 30+ Activity Templates to Use in Google Classroom
4. CollegeLab - A Tool to Help Students Find Colleges They May Like
5. Math and Geography
6. 5 Things You Can Make With Microsoft Flip Besides Selfie Videos
7. How Focusable Helps Me Stop Procrastinating

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!

Workshops and eBooks
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. Book me for this school year and I'll include copies of my eBook for all of the teachers in your school. 

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.

Free, Customizable Clip Art

CoCoMaterial is an online library of almost 2,500 drawings that you can download and re-use for free. I've been using it for about a month and I really like the style of the artwork found on CoCoMaterial. It has been a hit with the folks participating in my Animated Explanations course this month. This week one of those people, Sarah G, pointed out that the drawings in CoCoMaterial can be customized before you download them. I'm not sure if this is a new development or just something that I've been overlooking. Either way, it's awesome!

In this brief video I demonstrate how you can use CoCoMaterial to find, customize, and download free clip art to use in your multimedia projects. 

Applications for Education
The drawings that are available on CocoMaterial are clean, simple, and easy to see. They could be great for use in classroom projects like simple web design, infographic design, or to just brighten-up the newsletters that you send home to parents.

Friday, November 11, 2022

YouTube Studio Settings for Teachers

Many years ago I was at the annual ISTE conference when I heard a speaker say, "if you want the biggest authentic audience for your students' work, put it on YouTube." I think he had a good point because it is possible for your students' work be seen by millions of people if it's really good and it fits the algorithm-of-the-day at YouTube. The reality is that using YouTube is just a convenient way for you to share your videos with the your students and for them to share with you. 

There are a few YouTube settings you need to know how to use before you use YouTube to publish school-related videos. Those settings are explained and demonstrated in this updated video that I recently recorded. 

In the video you'll learn:

  • How to upload to YouTube.
  • Privacy settings for your uploads.
  • How to control comments.
  • How to blur faces and objects in your uploaded videos.

(Although I think I remember who made that statement at ISTE, I don't want to misattribute it).

Making and Leading Virtual Tours With Expeditions Pro

Many of us lamented the loss of Google Expeditions because it was a great tool for leading students on virtual reality tours of all kinds of interesting places around the world. Similarly, many of us were disappointed when Google shuttered Tour Creator because it was a great tool for students to use to create their own virtual tours. Fortunately, earlier this year a good alternative to Google Expeditions and Tour Creator emerged in the form of Expeditions Pro

Expeditions Pro can be used on your iOS or Android device to guide students on a virtual reality tour.To lead students on guided VR tours in Expeditions Pro, you have to download the tours to your phone or tablet. Your students don't need to download the tours in order to follow along with you. Expeditions Pro offers a growing gallery of virtual reality tours. It is also possible to create and use your own VR tours in Expeditions Pro (more about that in a moment). 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Expeditions on an Android phone and on an iPad. In the video I also show you the teacher and student perspectives of guiding and following virtual reality tours in Expeditions Pro.

As I mentioned above, Expeditions Pro can also be used to create your own virtual reality tours. Watch this video to learn how you can create your own virtual reality tours with Expeditions Pro

There are a few things to note from this video before you try creating your own virtual reality tours with Expeditions Pro. 

  • First, in the demo I used 360 degree imagery that I captured with my Android phone (Pixel 5) and saved in Google Photos. 
  • Second, I downloaded my 360 imagery from my Google Photos account then imported it into my tour. 
  • Third, I used to record the audio narration for the each view in my tour. I downloaded my audio from Vocaroo as an MP3 file then imported it into my tour on Expeditions Pro.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Now You Can Use Focusable Without Registering for an Account

I have been using Focusable since September to help me stop procrastinating and focus on the work that I need to get done when I'd rather be doing something else. Focusable isn't just for adults. In fact, it was created for classroom use. However, Focusable has always required that users register for an account in order to use the platform. That can be an obstacle to using it in some school settings. Focusable has remedied that problem by now offering an option to use the platform without registering for an account. 

Anyone can now use Focusable by simply going to When you use that link you'll be directed to Focusable's countdown timer page. You set the timer for the length of time you need. Once the timer has started you can access the breathing and visualization activities that Focusable offers. 

When you use Focusable without an account you don't have access to the video journaling feature. Nor do you have access to a record of how many Focusable sessions you've done. 

Watch my new video that is embedded below to learn how to use Focusable without registering for an account.