Friday, December 2, 2022

Two Ways to Make Timelines With Adobe Express

A couple of days ago I read a Book Widgets blog post about fun ways to use timelines in your lessons. Reading that blog post inspired me to create a new video about another tool that students can use to create timelines. That tool is Adobe Express

In Adobe Express there are two ways that students can create timelines. The first is to use one the more than 250 timeline infographic templates that Adobe Express offers. Students can customize those templates by changing the font, color scheme, and graphics. They can also use the integrated image search to find pictures to use in their timelines. Completed timelines can be downloaded as PDFs and as PNG files. 

The other way that students can create timelines in Adobe Express is by creating a simple web page in a linear format. When using that option students can include videos and hyperlinks in their timelines as well as pictures and text. 

Video - Two Ways to Make Timelines in Adobe Express

Applications for Education
If you and your students are already using Adobe Express for other things like making videos and editing images, Adobe Express provides a convenient way to build a printable timeline. If you're not already using Adobe Express and you're looking for a tool that is specifically designed for building timelines, I would try Timeline JS or Sutori first.

Image Candy - A Free Suite of Image Editing Tools

Image Candy is a free set of image editing tools that you can use without having to register for any kind of account. In all there are thirteen free image editing tools included in Image Candy. All of them are quick and easy to use. 

Some of the free image editing tools that you'll find on Image Candy include a background remover, watermark tool, meme generator, and image file-type converter. In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate a few of the easy-to-use features of Image Candy. 

Video - Remove Backgrounds, Make Memes, and More With Image Candy

Applications for Education
One of the first things that I thought of when trying Image Candy was to use the background remover to strip the background from a photograph and then use the new image as an overlay on another background like a famous landmark. Another way that you might have students use Image Candy is to create memes based on images of historical events and notable people in history. 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The True Costs of Owning a Car - A Lesson Plan for High School Students

I paid $1500 for my first car. That was a hefty sum for me back in the fall of 1996. That car needed a little bit of brake work to pass the state's safety inspection and then it needed about a dozen other little repairs over the next two years. Fortunately, I had someone in my life who taught me a lot about working on cars and saved me lots of money in the process. I made the same mistake that many young people make in believing that saving money to purchase the car was all that I needed. That's why I like EconEdLink's free lesson plan titled Owning a Car.

Owning a Car is a free lesson plan that is designed as a personal finance lesson for high school students. The lesson is based around a video titled What are the True Costs of Car Ownership? The video was produced as a collaboration between Bank of America and Khan Academy. The lesson plan has students first estimate what they think the costs of car ownership are then watch the video while taking notes (template provided) about the actual costs of car ownership. The follow-up activity has students comparing ownership costs for a variety of vehicle types.

To build upon EconEdLink's Owning a Car lesson plan consider showing your students Common Craft's videos about insurance and borrowing money. You can preview both of those videos as embedded below.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

How Airplanes Fly - And Other Good Resources for Learning About Flying

I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's book, One Summer: America, 1927. The book is centered around significant events of that summer including Charles Lindbergh's crossing of the Atlantic. Airplanes have come a long way since Lindbergh flew in the Spirit of St. Louis, an airplane that he couldn't see out of when looking forward. The physics of how an airplane gets airborne and stays airborne are still the same as they were 1927. A newly released video SciShow Kids uses excellent visuals to explain how an airplane flies today. The video uses both jet-powered airplanes and prop-powered airplanes to show the key concepts. 

How Airplanes Fly is the latest video that I'm adding to my growing list of resources for teaching and learning about airplanes and airlines. Those resources are included below.  

Turbulence: One of the Great Unsolved Mysteries of Physics is a TED-Ed lesson that explains what turbulence is and the forces that create it. The lesson explains that even though we typically associate turbulence with flying in airplanes, turbulence exists in many other places including oceans.

The Wright Brothers - The Invention of the Aerial Age offers timelines for teaching about the developments made by the Wright Brothers. Dig into the Interactive Experiments section of the timeline and you'll find Engineering the Wright WayEngineering the Wright Way offers interactive simulations in which students learn about wing design by joining the Wright Brothers for test flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

How Things Fly hosted by the Smithsonian features an interactive module in which students design their own airplanes. The activity starts with a simple and slow airplane that students have to modify until it reaches a target speed and altitude. As students modify the wings, fuselage, and engines of their airplanes they are given instant feedback on the effects of those modifications. In some cases the feedback includes the airplane crashing and the students having to start over again.

TED-Ed offers a lesson about breaking the sound barrier. The lesson is called The Sonic Boom Problem and it explains how a sonic boom is created and how math is used to predict the path of a sonic boom in the atmosphere. 

Here's some archival footage of Yeager's flight in the Bell X-1.

If you have ever wondered why airlines sell more tickets than they have seats on an airplane, the TED-Ed lesson Why Do Airlines Sell Too Many Tickets? is for you. In Why Do Airlines Sell Too Many Tickets? you can learn about the mathematics that airlines use to maximize the revenue that they can generate from each flight. That math includes calculating the probability that everyone who holds a ticket for a flight will actually show up for the flight. The way that probability is calculated is explained in the video. Finally, the lesson asks students to consider the ethics of overbooking flights. Watch the video below or go here to see the entire lesson.

Image source: SDASM Archives, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

Good evening from Maine where the sun has set on the month of November. At this time of year sunset is a rather early 4:04pm and it feels even earlier than that. Ice is forming on the ponds around my home and I hope that we get some more snow soon because my daughters and I are itching to go skiing. 

As I do at the end of every month, I've compiled a list of the most popular posts of the last thirty days. Take a look and see if there is anything interesting that you missed earlier in November. 

These were the most popular posts of the month:
1. Is This the End of the Google Keep Chrome Extension?
2. 30+ Activity Templates to Use in Google Classroom
3. More Than 70,000 Pieces of ClipArt and Pictures for Students
4. C-SPAN Offers a Free Electoral College Poster
5. CollegeLab - A Tool to Help Students Find Colleges They May Like
6. GeoQuiz History Edition - A Fun and Challenging Geography Game
7. How to Add Descriptions to Google Drive Folders
8. Two Good Ways to Create Simple and Focused Websites
9. Math and Geography
10. A New Primary Source Crowd-sourcing Project from the Library of Congress

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.

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