Monday, January 23, 2023

A Classic Search Lesson from My Archives

The "memories" feature is just about the only thing I like about Facebook these days. This morning Facebook reminded me of a memory from my first time attending the BETT Show in London back in 2014. That memory included a first-hand reminder of why you should consider other words and phrases when conducting research. Here's what I wrote about the experience nine years ago...

I’m currently in London, England for the BETT Show and TeachMeet BETT 2014. As is the case with most flights going to Europe from the east coast of the U.S. my flight left in the evening and arrived in London in the middle of the morning. This meant that I was too early to check into my hotel. I knew this ahead of time and figured that I could probably check my luggage at the ExCel Conference Center where the BETT Show is being held. I wanted to confirm this ahead of time so I spent some time searching on the BETT and ExCel websites for “coat check,” “bag check,” “coat room,” and “bag storage” in the hopes of confirming my assumption. My searches were fruitless.

Eventually I confirmed my assumption about a baggage check when I stumbled upon a map of the conference center. In browsing around the map I discovered a “cloakroom.” When I hear “cloak” I instantly think of the Count Chocula character from the cereal boxes of the 1980’s (my mother never let us eat that kind of cereal despite our pleas). I never thought to use the word “cloak” in any of my searches for information about storing my jacket and small bag for the afternoon. Cloak is just not a regular part of my American vernacular.

I have no doubt that students sometimes run into roadblocks in their searches for the same reason that I didn’t find anything in my searches; we’re stuck in our own vernacular. Had I used a thesaurus when I got stuck, I probably would have found the word cloak and confirmed my assumptions about checking my luggage for the day. The lesson here is when your search has hit a roadblock, try a thesaurus to find words that might lead you to better search results.

P.S. that trip to the BETT Show also lead me to meeting Sophie Ellis-Bextor without knowing that she was famous. That's a story for another time. 

Using Google Slides to Organize Research

Like many of you, when I was in middle school and high school I was taught to create index cards to organize our research. After creating the cards we sorted them into an order to support writing our research papers. That same concept can be applied to organizing research with Google Slides. In the video below I demonstrate how this is done.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

What Are Carbohydrates and How Do They Impact Your Health?

One of my goals for early part of 2023 is to set a new personal best time at a bike race that I'm entered in for the third year in a row. To do that I'm watching my diet much more carefully than I typically do at this time of year. Like many people, foods that contain lots of cheap carbohydrates are my Achilles heal when it comes to sticking to my nutrition plan. Why is that? And what impact does that have on my body? Those questions and more are answered in a TED-Ed lesson titled How Do Carbohydrates Impact Your Health? 

How Do Carbohydrates Impact Your Health? explains what carbohydrates are, common food sources of carbohydrates, and how are bodies use carbohydrates. The lesson also explains what can happen to our bodies when we consume too many carbohydrates.

eSkeletons - Digital Comparisons of Mammal Skeletons

eSkeletons is a great website produced by the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. eSkeletons features interactive models of mammal skeletons. Select a model from the menu on the home page then click on any bone in the model to view it in detail. After select a bone to view you can choose from a menu of viewing angles. In many cases eSkeletons offers a short video display of the bone you've selected from the menu.

eSkeletons gives students the option to compare bones across models. Select two or more animals from the menu then select a bone and a small gallery of comparative images will be generated. eSkeletons offers a glossary of terms and a legend to help students understand what they are viewing. Even without the models, the glossary is a good resource for anatomy students.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Slides, Apps, and Adventure - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where yesterday's snow storm has coating the ground with about eight inches of fluffy snow. Everyone in my house is excited to go play in it! We're going skiing! 

Earlier this week my older daughter's school was closed for the day so we had a little daddy-daughter day in which we explored the beach. If you've never taken a winter day to explore the beach, do it. We found all kinds of neat seashells and driftwood. 

I hope that you had a great week and that you have a great weekend!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 27 Google Drive Tips and Tricks
2. Dozens of PowerPoint Tips & Tricks
3. Dozens of Google Slides Tutorials
4. Three Ways to Create Your Own Mobile App
5. Why You Should Clean Your Phone
6. Tools for Teaching Adventure - A New OPEN Phys Ed Resource
7. Students Can Create Their Own Video Games With Construct 3

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. 

50 Tech Tuesday Tips!
50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook that I created with busy tech coaches, tech integration specialists, 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 44,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fifteen years. 
  • I update my LinkedIn profile a time or two every week.
  • 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.