Monday, October 22, 2018

Make Mondrian Art with Google Sheets

Although you might not recognize the name, you most likely will recognize the look. Mondrian Art is an abstract form of art that uses a creative layout of squares and rectangles, often filled in with primary colors.

This style of painting was popularized by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian during the early 1900's. In addition to influencing art, the Mondrian look has shown up in fashion, architecture, advertising, design, and more.

Because Mondrian Art is composed of lots of different sized rectangles and squares, it is the perfect style to be created with digital tools... specifically with Google Sheets!

As we have explored in many previous posts, Google Sheets can do much more than just crunch numbers. Sheets is a fantastic tool for writing prompts, online games, interactive learning databases, and more. Mondrian Art is just one more project to add to the list.

In this post we will take a look at how to create Mondrian Art with Google Sheets. While doing so, we will learn several cool Sheets features such as merging cells, fillings cells with color, and more.

Monday, October 15, 2018

360 Degree Learning with Google Tour Creator

Google has a rich history of creating map-related tools that can be used across all subject areas for engaging, immersive learning experiences. Some of these include Tour Builder, Earth, Expeditions, My Maps, and many more (see my slideshow on Google mapping tools).

Recently Google has launched a new tool called Google Tour Creator. This tool allows you and your students to create 360 degree tours, which can then be shared with and viewed by others. It is very much like creating your own Google Expeditions.

Don't have a 360 degree camera? That's ok! Although you can use a 360 degree camera to take pictures for Tour Creator, you can also just use the images from Google's Street View, or you can use a free mobile app such as Cardboard Camera to take the photos.

Tour Creator can be a powerful way for students to demonstrate their understanding, learn from others, and put themselves inside of a virtual experience. Tours could cover:
  • Scenes from a novel
  • Locations from a historical event
  • Biomes from around the world
  • Highlights of a city in a different country
  • Biographical information from a person's life
  • A student-written fictional story
  • And much more!

In this post we will explore Google Tour Creator and detailed directions on how you and your students can create your own tours today.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

EdTech Podcast Spotlight - Edufuturists

Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love podcasts. Pretty much any subject that comes up leads to me saying "I was just listening to a podcast on that the other day!"

In the past I have shared posts on "12 Terrific Podcasts to Learn Something New Everyday" and "11 Great EdTech Podcasts". Well I have come across a new great podcast to add to that list… the "Edufuturists Podcast".

The Edufuturists podcast is a weekly show hosted by Ben Whitaker and Dan Fitzpatrick, and focuses on the future of education and the impact of technology. They have one guest on each week for an interview that is limited to exactly 15 minutes. As much as I appreciate podcasts of all different lengths, it is exciting to find one that packs so much great content into only 15 minutes (or about 10 minutes for me since I listen to everything on fast speed.)

I recently had the honor and pleasure to be a guest on Ben and Dan's podcast. Even though my voice sounds terrible from a rough cold I was fighting, the show is still excellent! You can access the episode with the link below:
Edufuturists Episode 4 - Eric Curts

And you can find all of the other episodes, and links to subscribe to the podcast at:

A big thanks to Ben and Dan for creating and sharing this valuable show!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Turn Google Slides into an Animated GIF with this Free Tool

I recently came across an awesome tool that can take a Google Slideshow and save it as an animated GIF (thanks to Infinitely Teaching for the tip!) This free tool is called Tall Tweets (odd name, I know) and is created by the awesome Amit Agarwal.

With Tall Tweets you can import a Google Slideshow, set the duration for each slide (as well as some other options), and then create and download an animated GIF version of your slideshow.

This can be used with many Google Slides projects to export the final product, including:

  • Creating Stop Motion Animation with Google Slides - Resource link
  • Creating Online Comic Strips with Google Slides - Resource link
  • Student Created Storybooks with Google Slides - Resource link
  • Or just saving any slideshow as a GIF!

There are many tools that can make animated GIFs, but it is always helpful to find one that is free and super easy to use. See below for detailed directions on how to use this great tool…

Monday, October 1, 2018

Create Halloween Rebus Stories with Emojis and Google Docs

In earlier posts I have shared Google Docs templates for creating Emoji Rebus Stories for both Wintertime and Valentine's Day. With Fall coming soon, I have put together a Halloween-themed version.

Anyone who grew up reading Highlights magazine in the dentist waiting room will quickly recognize a rebus. Basically it is a story where some of the words are replaced by images. This can be a fun activity for students, both to create and to read. It may even help with younger students who are not proficient at spelling but can choose the image for the word they want.

See below to get a copy of the template, as well as detailed directions for how to use it.