Sunday, April 21, 2019

4 Free and Easy Audio Recording Tools for Google Slides

The ability to add audio to Google Slides has been one of the most requested features for many years. Being creative, we have worked around this limitation in the past by embedding YouTube videos in Slides, or using a tool like Screencastify to record a video of the Slides while speaking. Although those workarounds still have their place, it is wonderful that we finally have the option to add audio directly to a slide!

Note: This feature is still rolling out to all Google accounts, so if you do not see it in your account yet, you should see it soon!

Being able to add audio to Google Slides can be used in so many ways in school:
  • Narrating a slideshow
  • Reading a story
  • Making an instructional presentation
  • Providing spoken feedback on writing
  • Having student explain a solution
  • Giving directions for a HyperSlides project
  • And much more!

The only big pain point still left is the actual recording of the audio. You see, even though we can now add audio to a Google slideshow, there isn't a simple built-in recording button. Instead you need to record the audio separately with another program, then save it to Drive, and then add it to a slide.

So that brings up the big question… What are some easy ways to record audio? When using my Windows PC, I can use a free program such as Audacity, but many times our students will be using Chromebooks, so we need some web-based options. In this post we are going to take a look at four excellent, free options for recording audio right in your web browser, and how to add that audio to Google Slides.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Hipster Google 2 - Even More Google Tools You Probably Never Heard Of

A couple years ago I shared my original "Hipster Google" post, where I listed a collection of lesser known Google tools. The idea was to have some fun with the "hipster" theme, where something is cool because very few people know about it. Like a band that hasn't become popular yet, or a restaurant that is hidden away, or a style that is not mainstream.

At that time I put together a collection of Hipster Google tools that weren't as popular as the "big ones" such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, and such. Even though these Google tools may have flown under the radar, they were still valuable for use in the classroom.

Well since then, so many new unique Google tools have come out! I have done my best to grab these new tools as they came out and add them to my ever-growing list in Google Docs. However, I did not update my original blog post to share these new tools in detail. So I figured it was time for a new entry to share all of the awesome new Hipster Google resources!

You can see the original list of Hipster Google tools in my blog post from a couple years back: "Hipster Google - Google Tools You Probably Never Heard Of".

And below you can see a new collection of lesser know, but awesome, tools. As always, chances are you will have heard of some of these, but hopefully there will be a few new ones on the list for you to explore. If we all try hard enough we can get schools using these all around the world, and they won't be Hipster anymore. But for now they are, so put on your slouchy beanie and thick-framed glasses and have fun!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

What's New in Google - March 2019

Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from March 2019, and see great ideas and resources!

Because of a number of conferences and trainings in the last few weeks, we did not hold our normal monthly Google User Meeting. However, I still wanted to share out all of the new updates from the month, so I have included them below.

We will be back on track with live Google Hangout meetings at the end of April. 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
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below for 17 new Google updates and 27 Google resources for your class from March 2019.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Introducing the Control Alt Achieve Podcast

I am so excited to announce the launch of the Control Alt Achieve podcast!

Most anyone who knows me well, knows I am a big fan of podcasts. At the moment I am subscribed to over 200 podcasts on a wide range of topics from educational technology to science to movie reviews to "The Weirdest Thing I Learned this Week". Now obviously I can't listen to them all, but it is great to know there is always a good episode of something available anytime I want.

As much as I love listening to podcasts, I have also enjoyed making them. I have actually been part of two shows in the past.

A few years ago, from 2011 to 2013 I joined up with my friends Eric Griffith and Sean Beavers to record "The State of Tech" podcast where we explored a different edtech topic each episode, and highlighted awesome things happening around Ohio (the "State" of tech, get it?)

Even further back, from 2007 to 2009 I did "The Treasure Chest" podcast where I shared technology resources and websites aligned to the Ohio Academic Content Standards. To keep with the theme of the title, I started each episode with a hearty "Ahoy there mateys! This be the Treasure Chest. Arrrrrr!"

As you can see, the bar has been set high.

Well I am so excited to be back with a new podcast. See below for details on what the Control Alt Achieve podcast will be, and information on how to subscribe and stay in touch.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

My NETA 2019 Sessions

I am excited and honored to present at the 2019 Nebraska Educational Technology Association (NETA) Spring Conference in Omaha on March 28th.

I always look forward to an opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at NETA 2019, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Graph a Pi-Line Skyline with Google Sheets

Pi Day is March 14th each year (since the date is 3/14 and Pi starts out with 3.14). As a previous middle school math teacher, this is always a fun day to be a math nerd, do Pi-themed educational activities, and of course eat some real pie!

Over the years I have shared a couple technology activities for celebrating Pi Day. These include:

  • Create "Pi Poems" with Google Sheets - A fun creative writing project where students make a poem where the length of each word corresponds to each digit in Pi.
  • Discovering Pi with Google Sheets - An interactive hands-on activity where students measure real world circular objects, compile their data in a shared collaborative Sheet, then looks for patterns to discover Pi.

This year I wanted to add another tech activity and was inspired by a creative project where students make Pi-themed artwork. The idea is for students to create a vertical bar graph, where each bar's height corresponds to each digit of Pi. This gives the impression of a city skyline, which the students them color in to make their own art piece.

Although this is a fantastic paper and pencil activity, it could also translate over to a fun technology version. This project can be done with Google Sheets to add in an element of learning how to use a spreadsheet to make a bar graph, while still having fun and making a colorful creative work of art.

See below for details on how this can be done, as well as a template you can use (if you would like) to help your students with this project.

Monday, March 11, 2019

15 More Instant Google Searches for You and your Students

A while back I shared a post on 20 of my favorite instant Google searches (you can see that post and those resources at this link.)

The idea is that when you do a Google search, sometimes Google goes above and beyond the normal list of search results and provides instant search cards at the top of the page. These cards contain the information you searched for, but also include interactive controls to let you dig deeper, branch off, or experience the information in a more engaging manner, which can be valuable for both teachers and students.

In my earlier blog post we explored search tools for rolling a die, setting a timer, defining a word, calculating areas, running a metronome, and more! Since then Google has added many new interactive instant searches, so I thought it was time to share a second installment. See below for 15 new searches with details on how they work and how they can be used in school.