Monday, February 13, 2023

Concise Explanations of DNS & IP

One of the things that quickly became clear when I started teaching an introduction to computer science course for high school freshmen was that while they are happy to use the Internet, they don't really understand how the Internet works. I suppose the same can be said for lots of adults too. The Domain Name Systems is the most important or at least most frequently used part of how people use the Internet today. PowerCert Videos, has a good video that explains how a DNS server works. I used this video in my classroom. offers a video on the same topic.'s video gets into a bit more of the history of the development of the Internet. I also showed this video to my students, but I didn't find it nearly as effective as the PowerCert video.

Applications for Education
If you have never built a website from scratch without the use of a service like Weebly or Google Sites, you may not have ever thought about the role of IP addresses and the domain name system in getting a website online. These videos can help students understand how that process happens and how DNS makes it easy to navigate the web today.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Science, Math, and Philosophy Lessons for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just a couple of days away. If you teach primary grades, your students may be excited about exchanging little cards and candies (my daughters have been talking about it for weeks). If you teach middle school or high school students, you're probably bracing yourself for a few days filled with extra teenage drama. Either way, you may be interested in the following Valentine's Day-themed science, math, and philosophy lessons.  

Late last week SciShow Kids released a compilation video featuring five Valentine's Day-themed lessons and projects. Creating edible glass hearts is my favorite one in the compilation video.

Creating edible glass hearts is the topic of a fun SciShow Kids video. The video begins by explaining how glass is made before moving into an explanation of how sugar, like sand, can be melted. The video then explains why isomalt is used to make edible glass hearts (melting point) and how it can be done at home with the supervision of a parent. Like all SciShow Kids videos the description includes lots of links to additional resources including this one that has written directions

If you're looking to work a little Valentine's Day themed activity into your middle school or high school classes in the next couple of days, here are three good videos to consider viewing.

Why Do We Love? is a TED-Ed lesson that explores some philosophies on why people love. The lesson won't provide you with any clear answers, but it will make you think. And isn't that what philosophers want you to do?

The following video from It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS Digital Studios) explains why humans kiss, the history of symbols associated with kissing, and some cultural views of kissing. When I saw this video I immediately thought of my friends who teach middle school and high school health classes.

The following fun video, also from It's Okay to Smart, attempts to use math to determine the odds of a 25 year old woman finding love in New York. (Remember, the video is just for fun).

And if you're looking for a last-minute card-making activity, try having kids create animated Valentine's Day cards in Canva.  Canva offers free templates for creating greeting cards for all occasions including Valentine's Day. Many of those templates can be quickly turned into animated GIFs with just one click. In this short video I demonstrate how to create an animated Valentine's Day card by using Canva's free greeting card templates. 

More Than 19,000 Teachers Get Their Tech Tips This Way

At about this time nine years ago I created the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter as a way to provide a summary of my most popular daily posts along with a featured tip of the week. Today, more than 19,000 educators are subscribed to the newsletter. You can do the same right here.

The Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter features my favorite tip of the week along with a summary of the most popular blog posts from my blogs and The newsletter is emailed on Sunday evening/ Monday morning (depends on your timezone). I'll often include things that aren't published elsewhere. For example, next week's newsletter will include access to an updated document featuring a collection of my favorite resources for public domain and Creative Commons audio files.

Those of you who read via email will be pleased to know that the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week email is published manually which means that unlike the daily emails, you can read the entire article in your inbox.

Sign up for the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter right here.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Feedback, AI, and Language - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it is roughly 50 degrees warmer than it was at this time last week! One thing that hasn't changed since last week is that AI is the still the hot topic in education. I think I've fielded more questions related to AI in the last week than I have about anything else all year! 

This week my daughter's school was unexpectedly closed for a day. I took the day off and we went skiing at a new-to-her mountain. It was a learning experience for both of us. And we both ended up having a lot of fun by the end of the day. I hope that you had a fun learning experience this week as well. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 10 Tools for Gathering Real-time Feedback From Students
2. Three Tools for Detecting Writing Created by AI
3. New Padlet Feature! Present Padlet Walls as Slideshows
4. The Makers of ChatGPT Have Launched a Tool to Detect Text Written With AI
5. 75 Google Documents Tutorials
6. How to Set Expiration Dates for Google Docs
7. Learning About Languages and The Mysteries of Vernacular

Learn How to Create and Sell Digital Products!
If you're looking for a way to put a little more money in your pocket this year, my self-paced course How to Create and Sell Digital Products in 2023 is for you! It's one of three on-demand courses that I currently offer.

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.

25 Gmail Tips for Teachers and Students

As part of my on-going quest to bring some organization to the more than 1,500 videos on my YouTube channel, I've created a new playlist of 25 Gmail tips for teachers and students. The playlist includes everything from how to sort your Gmail messages to filtering and blocking senders to email etiquette tips we all need to be reminded of from time to time. Some highlights of the playlist are embedded below. 

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