Monday, April 29, 2019

Google Slides Short and Long Vowel Sounds Audio Activity

In my most recent post I shared a collection of web-based audio recording tools that you and your students can use to record and add your voice to Google Slides, or any project. There are many fun and engaging ways this new feature for Slides could be used for teaching and learning.

In the past I have had a lot of fun making drag and drop manipulative activities such as the Build a Snowman, Build a Jack-o-Lantern, and One Fish Two Fish templates. My plan was to combine that sort of activity with the new audio feature in Slides.

To try this out I created an interactive, audio-based activity in Google Slides for practicing short and long vowel sounds. In this slideshow, students are presented with clipart images that have attached audio files with each word spoken aloud. The students can then drag and drop the images to a box with the corresponding vowel sound. (Even if you are not a primary teacher, you can learn a lot about grouping items for any audio activities you might want to make.)

To make this work well, I had to take advantage of a neat option in Slides for grouping items. This allowed me to combine each piece of clipart with its associated audio file. In this blog post we will take a look at how this is done, so you can use this trick to create similar multimedia activities. You can also get a copy of the final template below for short and long vowel sounds to use with your students if you would like.

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.