Sunday, April 23, 2017
I recently had the privilege and pleasure of joining Thomas Rup and Eric Lawson for a YouTube Live event to discuss "Souped-Up Slides". Thomas is the Network Administrator and Eric is the Director of Technology & Libraries for the York School Department in York, Maine. Together they are "The Blended EdTech Guys" and they create and share educational technology videos that are just as funny as they are informative.
See below for the recorded video where we talk about loads of creative ways students can use Google Slides, as well as other tech topics that came up in the process. You will also find links to all of the resources discussed.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
If you are not familiar with them, a Lit Trip plots locations from a novel on Google Earth to create a 3D geographic tour of the story. At each location the Lit Trip can also include annotations, web links, images, videos, activities, and more, all related to that part of the story. This is a great way to put students in the story, helping them see where the events took place, and bring the story to life.
Lit Trips run in Google Earth, so unfortunately for years this has meant you could not run them on a Chromebook. Google Earth has always needed to be installed on a traditional computer, such as a Mac or PC.
However, Google has now released their new version of Earth which runs entirely inside of your Chrome web browser. This means Chromebooks can now run Google Earth, and take advantage of awesome activities such as Lit Trips.
See below for a brief video explaining how to do this, along with written directions and links.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
- Yellow hexagons
- Red trapezoids
- Blue thick rhombi
- Tan thin rhombi
- Green triangles
- Orange squares
There are loads of fun learning activities that can be done with pattern blocks, including exploration of symmetry, fractions, tessellations, angles, and more. Pattern blocks can also be used outside of math for creativity, art, writing, and such.
As useful as pattern blocks are, the physical versions have a few drawbacks:
- They cost money to buy.
- You will always have a limited amount.
- They can get lost.
One alternative is to use digital pattern blocks. Although there is nothing quite like handling the plastic blocks in real life, students can still do loads of activities with the virtual version.
To help with this, I have created a free Google Drawings template with virtual pattern blocks. In addition to the blank template, I have also made several sample activities to show some ideas for how these could be used. See below to get more details and to get your own copies of all these resources.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Well it turns out that wasn't just a game, but was a way for Google to test out and improve the ability of its artificial intelligence to interpret doodles. One of the first applications of this has now been released in the form of AutoDraw.
AutoDraw is a very simple and easy to use drawing tool, with most of the normal features such as drawing, filling colors, resizing, adding text, and more. However, there is one big twist. AutoDraw includes Google's artificial intelligence to help you draw by taking your squiggles and doodles, and offering to replace them with professional images.
Can't draw a dog? If you can sort of doodle a poodle, AutoDraw will try to recognize what you drew and let you replace your questionable canine with a cute clipart version.
See below for more details about AutoDraw and how it works, as well as ideas for how teachers and students could use this tool for creating and learning.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
This is a great activity to help the student develop reading comprehension skills. It is necessary for the student to read the passage carefully and consider the context to try to determine what words would best fill in the blanks. This also helps develop and assess the student's understanding of parts of speech and vocabulary.
There are a lot of pre-made cloze activities and worksheets to be found, but what can be really useful is the ability to create these yourself. This will allow you to select your own reading passages that may be a better match for your students' reading levels and interests.
Thankfully there are several free online tools you can use to generate your own cloze activities. These include websites, and even a Google Sheets template. See below for details on these tools and how to use them.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
As much as I enjoy watching stop motion movies, it can also be fun to create your own. With technology there are many programs and apps to make the process much easier, so that anyone can make a stop motion animation.
One easy tool to use for this is Google Slides. Many times we think of Slides as just a program for creating multimedia presentations. However, with just a few tricks you and your students can actually use Google Slides to make stop motion movies.
This can be a creative and fun way to:
- Tell a new story
- Retell a story read in class
- Reenact a historical event
- Demonstrate a scientific concept
- Explain how to solve a math problem
- Define a vocabulary term
- And much more
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Below is the recorded video from our March 2017 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda and all the awesome resources and Google Apps updates from the last month. This includes 17 new Google updates and 25 Google resources for your class.
The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
- Connect Google-using educators
- Share the latest Google Apps news and features
- Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
- Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
- Ask questions and get answers