Saturday, April 29, 2017

My 2017 ITIP Google Summit Sessions

I am excited and honored to once again present at the 2017 ITIP Ohio Summit Featuring Google for Education in Sandusky this May 1st and 2nd.

I always look forward to this 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 the ITIP Google Summit, 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!

What's New in Google - April 2017

Catch up on everything new in Google Apps over the last month, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our April 2017 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda and all the awesome resources and Google Apps updates from the last month. This includes 18 new Google updates and 29 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
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the April 2017 meeting:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Creative Google Slides Uses for Students

We all know Google Slides is an excellent multimedia presentation tool. But it can be so much more than that. There are many non-traditional ways students can use Google Slides for learning, creating, and expressing their understanding.

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

Lit Trips on Chromebooks with the New Google Earth

Google Lit Trips have been a popular learning activity for many years. With the new version of Google Earth, they are now available for Chromebooks!

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.

Update: If you are interested in having you or your students create your own Lit Trips (or other tours), see my new blog post: Create your own Lit Trips (and more) for Google Earth and my 1-hour recorded webinar on "Google Tour Builder for any Subject".

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Pattern Block Templates and Activities with Google Drawings

Pattern Blocks are popular math manipulatives that seem to have been around forever (at least they were around when I started teaching math 25 years ago.) The standard set includes:
  • 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

Using Google AutoDraw for Sketchnotes, Infographics, Drawings, and More

A while back, Google launched a fun tool called "Quick Draw" where you drew pictures on your computer or device, and Google's AI tried to guess what you were drawing.

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

Create Cloze Reading Activities with Google Sheets and Other Tools

A "Cloze Test" is a reading activity where a student is given a reading passage with certain words removed. Sometimes the student is also provided with a word bank, listing the missing words, while other times they are not. The task is for the student to fill in the missing words.

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

Stop Motion Animation with Google Slides

I have always been a giant fan of stop motion animation. As a child I grew up on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "The Year Without a Santa Claus". In more recent years I have enjoyed "The Nightmare Before Christmas", "Fantastic Mr. Fox", and "Kubo and the Two Strings".

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
See below for examples of stop motion animations with Google Slides, as well as detailed directions on how to make your own.