Saturday, February 18, 2023

Brainstorms, Pictures, and Videos - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where winter weather has returned after a brief respite on Thursday. It was sunny, dry, and warm enough to ride my bike outside for the first time since the start of the year. This weekend, I'm back to skiing and teaching skiing. I hope that you have something equally fun planned for your weekend. And if you're starting a long weekend or vacation week, I hope you enjoy the extra time off. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. 10 Tools for Gathering Real-time Feedback From Students
2. Three Good Tools for Recording Brainstorming Sessions
3. Concise Explanations of DNS & IP
4. Two Ways to Use Pictures in Formative Assessment
5. Lumen5 - Quickly Turn Your Writing Into Videos
6. Free Shapegrams from Tony Vincent!
7. 25 Gmail Tips for Teachers and Students

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 nearly 45,000 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.

Free Course on ChatGPT and AI in Education

Do you have questions and concerns about artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT and their potential impact on schools? Have you heard of ChatGPT, but haven't tried it because you're not sure if it's a fad or something you should learn about? If you answered "yes" to either of those questions, Rushton Hurley's new course ChatGPT: Boom or Our Doom? is for you. 

ChatGPT: Boom or Our Doom? is a free, self-paced course in which Rushton leads you through five lessons about ChatGPT and its implications for classrooms. Each lesson features a five minute video and a suggested practice or reflection activity. The lessons cover what ChatGPT is and how it works, how to handle concerns about cheating, and using ChatGPT to create materials and activities for your classes. 

The course is hosted by an organization called Warm Demanders. The sign-up process does require you to enter your email address then check your email to access the actual course materials. 

If you're looking for a good, concise overview of ChatGPT and it's implications for your classroom, taking Rushton's free course is a great place to start. 

On a related note, I've made a couple of videos about ChatGPT and AI. Those videos are included below. 

A Short Overview of ChatGPT

How to Detect Articles Written by ChatGPT

Friday, February 17, 2023

An Overview of Microsoft's Search Coach

Last summer Microsoft announced a new Teams product that would be rolling to education users over the coming school year. That product is called Search Coach and it appears to now be widely available to all Microsoft Teams education users

As its name implies, Search Coach in Microsoft Teams provides students with tips to improve their search methods. The tips provided are based on students' search behaviors. 

There's more to Search Coach than just providing search tips to students. Teachers can use Search Coach to get insight into their students' search behaviors. The insights provided to teachers include number of searches attempted, links opened, and search terms used. 

Another notable aspect of Search Coach is the ability to restrict search results according to domain type, file type, and date. Teachers can also enable restrictions on search operators. 

Mike Tholfsen recently published a detailed video overview of all aspects of Search Coach. You can watch his video here or as embedded below. 

Applications for Education
Microsoft currently offers a half-dozen lesson plans that incorporate the use of Search Coach.

I think Search Coach could be a valuable tool for coaching students through the search process. That said, I'm afraid that some people might use it as a tool to simply block students' access to some parts of the Internet without teaching them how to improve their search behaviour. But the same could be said for just about any web filtering tools.

If you're interested in learning even more about search and teaching search there are two resources I recommend. First, Dan Russell's The Joy of Search should be in every school's library of resources for teachers. Second, I offer a self-paced course on search strategies students need to know.

Q&A With Two Ed Tech Guys

Three years ago Rushton Hurley and I started a series of live Q&A webinars titled Two EdTech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. While we've stopped hosting live webinars, we are still answering lots of questions and still sharing cool stuff. Now we're doing that in a recorded format. The first episode of the recorded series is now available to view right here and as embedded below. 

In the episode we tackled questions about ChatGPT and educational games. We also shared a cool thing from our pal Tony Vincent and took a look at "Uber for tractors." You can find all of the resources from all of the episodes of the series right here on Next Vista for Learning

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Three Good Tools for Recording Brainstorming Sessions

Earlier this week on Practical Ed Tech I published an article about using the Nominal Group Technique for classroom brainstorming sessions. What follows is an excerpt from that article. 

Even if you host your NGT brainstorming sessions in person, you’ll want to create a record of the ideas shared by students. Here are some tools that you can use to have students share their ideas with the group and create a record of those ideas. 

Post-it Mobile Apps
The Post-it mobile apps for Android and iOS let you take a picture of physical sticky notes and then sort them on a digital canvas. This is a great tool for those who want to use the traditional paper-based method of having students write notes on paper and then post them to a bulletin board for review by the whole class. 

Padlet is a tool that I’ve been using for more than a decade. It enables you to create a digital bulletin board or cork board to which your students can add digital sticky notes. Their notes can include text, pictures, video, and audio files. If you enable the options for it, you can let your students indicate which notes are their favorites by using little stars and thumbs-up icons. Watch this video for an overview of hosting brainstorming sessions on Padlet.

The whiteboard templates in Canva are intended to be used collaboratively. They can be used for a variety of purposes including hosting brainstorming sessions, designing flowcharts, and making KWL charts. To help you and your collaborators focus on the task at hand, Canva has added a timer option to the whiteboard templates. The timer is found in the bottom, left corner of the templates. You can set the timer of any interval that works for your group. Watch the following video to learn how to use Canva's whiteboard templates.

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