I’ve done a number of posts about Screencastify, but recently I was reading a blog post that presented an idea that I had not previously thought of. In it, the author talks about using a screencasting tool to give both visual and auditory feedback on a student’s work. It seems to me that this would be so much more useful for a student than just comments on the doc. Plus they’d be more likely to view it.
Add in the ease of use with Screencastify – quickly sharing in Google Drive – and you’ve got a win-win. Below is a GIF I made to share the process. In the GIF, I am giving (fake) feedback on a Google Doc, but it could be anything. I could even show how it falls on a rubric within the video!
You could even have students give each other feedback this way!
One last note – if you start doing this regularly, you could create one folder in your Drive for each of your students and then drag the videos into those folders for the students to view.
Need slides running on loop during an Open House or other event? Here’s how to do it!
It’s super simple!
File > Publish to the Web
Link (not embed)
Select the amount of time between slides (unfortunately, all slides have to be same length. Need some slides to show for longer? Duplicate them so that they show twice.)
Decide if you want it to start playing as soon as you open it.
Decide if you want it to loop (restart).
Access the link. Hit the full screen button. That’s it!
Note: If you’d like it to be a slideshow of pictures that are in your drive, I recommend the Drive Slides extension (by Matt Miller & Alice Keeler) for getting those images quickly into a slideshow. It’s limited to 50 images/slides, but you could always make separate slideshows and then import the slides from one into the other.
Note: if this is for a permanent hallway display or sign, you should try out Chrome Sign Builder.
You can also select embed to easily embed the auto-playing, auto-looping slides into a non-Google Sites webpage, like this:
This post by Meghan Zigmund calls App Smashing “The art of imaginatively using multiple apps to create an enhanced project.”
Two of my favorite edtech tools right now are Screencastify and FlipGrid. One missing feature in Screencastify is an easy platform for students seeing each other’s recordings. One missing feature in FlipGrid is including screen recordings, rather than just webcam recordings.
Enter App Smashing. On a Chromebook, it’s pretty easy to record in Screencastify and then post in FlipGrid. Check out how in the GIF below. After the GIF, check out a list of possible applications of this. (Did I leave something out? Feel free to share it in the comments or on Twitter!)
Tons of ideas for how to use this . . .
Narrate Google Slides, like the example above.
Show how to do something on the computer.
Share a piece of writing in Google Docs, like a poem.
Google Sites are an awesome tool for teachers to make sites, for students to make digital portfolios, for students to create projects and more! One of the best features is the ease of embedding Google files into them. The most important thing to keep in mind when doing so, is to make sure that the Doc, Slides or whatever you’re hoping to embed has the appropriate sharing settings. If they don’t, they might not be seen by your audience. Check out in the GIF below what happens when you embed a private Google Doc onto a public Google Site.
Note: In the animation, I use an Incognito Tab to test the site. If your site is intended for the public, this is a great way to make sure it’s set right!
On Twitter, Micah Carlin-Goldberg reminded me of a great way to make sure that your docs are always “Anyone with the Link Can View” prior to putting them on your site:
I prevent the problem by adding (Shift+Z) all website items to a folder that has anyone with the link permissions. Because Drive permissions of a folder apply to the contents adding them to the folder makes them visible on the website.
One function in Google Slides that most people don’t notice is there is “Edit Master.” This option is great for adding branding to your slides and much more. Here are some of the things that you can do in there, followed by a GIF of how to do it:
Change the font style for all of your slides
Add a logo or watermark
Change background colors
Make all slides match the theme of a lesson or presentation
Change the layout (find that you’re always moving the title up to give more space to type? Do it here)
Add new slide layouts (need a 3-column layout?)
Change layout of all of your slides at once
Lock objects in place (the pictures become part of the background!) for activities with students
Create layouts for certain uses (i.e., Yearbooks, eBooks, etc.)
Arial 11!? Seriously, Google!? Does anyone like their Docs to be typed in Arial 11?
Here’s how to change your default font style so that it’s what you typically use, so that you don’t have to do it each time. In the GIF below, I show how to change your “Normal Text.” Note that you can follow the same steps to change the default formatting for titles, headings, etc.
Here’s the animated process, followed by the step-by-step directions
I’ve gotta admit, I was apprehensive when Google renamed my beloved Revision History as the Version History. I thought “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But there is an added value in the format change – and that value rests mainly in the Writing classroom, but it applies in any classroom.
Now, you can name the versions in the Version History. Pre-writing, First Draft, Peer Revision, Second Draft, Teacher Feedback, Final Draft, Published Version, you name it. Students can now represent the stages of the Writing process with the names of their document versions. With Writers’ Workshop being the trend in our writing classrooms, this seems like a no-brainer.
When I recommend Google Sites to people, it’s typically because it’s so easy to embed so many of the things that we regularly use. Google Slides is no exception. Here are a few notes about it, followed by a GIF animation of how to do it.
Be sure that the Google Slides file has sharing settings that will allow the appropriate people to see it on the site. If your file is private and someone goes to your site, they’ll see a blank box where the slides should be.
You can set the slides to auto-play when the site loads!
With auto-play on, you can set the slides to auto-loop and modify the amount of time that each slide plays for.
You can change the size and position of the embedded Google Slides presentation.
With as fast as technology moves nowadays, you can’t really call the “New” Google Sites new – I mean, it’s been more than a year since the upgrade was announced. But still, you have to manually select to jump to the New Google Sites. The GIF below shows how and, like Nike says, “Just Do It” – the kinda New Google Sites is much better than the “Classic” Google Sites.
We all have our irrational pet peeves. Our things that are “small potatoes” but make us want to gouge someone’s eyeballs out.
One of mine is people who don’t know how to drive in a traffic circle. You know the guy. That doofus that stays on the outside of the circle even though they’re going 75% of the way around the darn thing. Everyone sits waiting in suspense at the entrances to the circle, wondering “Will this be the lucky street that this fantastic driver turns on?” No one can tell. It literally could be any exit. And we all have to stay out of Captain Doofus’ way because you just… don’t… know.
Anyhow, I digress. One day I was entering a traffic circle and there he was. Captain Doofus. I started to mutter driving instructions for him. “Stay to the inside until you near your exit, dude!” At one point, while starting to yell out, “How do you not know how a traffic circle works, doofus!?” I realized . . . a lot of people do it wrong. And if that many people don’t follow the same process that I follow in a traffic circle, are they wrong . . . or is the traffic circle itself wrong?
If like 25% of users can’t use something correctly, the design itself needs to be reevaluated. This reminded me of education (as things tend to do). I can remember grading tests and groaning “ugh, they all got this question wrong!” After further reflection, I’d often realize that either the question was unintentionally confusing or my instruction had led them astray.
That’s an oft-forgotten reason that we do formative assessment. Not just to assess our learners, but to assess our instruction and content. If a large portion of our learners are confused, we need to re-think our strategies, design and assessment.
Unsurprisingly, there are a few recently built traffic circles in my area that have signs, lanes and arrows painted in the lanes. If the drivers were using the traffic circle wrong, you’ve got to change the traffic circle . . . because you can’t change all of the drivers! And these newer circles changed to accommodate the users.
The moral of the story – Captain Doofus may not be a doofus. You may have just designed a really confusing traffic circle. Or he may have attended a crumby driving school. But your best move is to design a more doofus-friendly traffic circle.