Create Google Jamboard Backgrounds in Google Slides

Google Jamboard is a good tool for collaborative activities in the classroom or virtual learning environment, but it’s missing some features that could make it an amazing tool. Among those absent features is the ability to design your frames (the “slides” in a “Jam”) in ways that you might design a Google Slide.

Well, don’t let that stop you! You can create your backgrounds and templates in Google Slides and then turn them into Jamboard backgrounds!

And, here’s a little bonus: You could have one Slides file with all of your Jamboard backgrounds and templates in it! Oooh – organized!

Check out the process – and a bonus tip for a quicker way to upload the image –  in the #EduGIF below and then, under the animation, check out some step-by-step instructions! You can also view a video, with explanations here.

This animation shows the process of creating a Google Jamboard background in Google Slides. The steps are written out below the animation.
Check out a Pausable version of this #EduGIF here or a video version with an explanation here.

Continue reading Create Google Jamboard Backgrounds in Google Slides

Easily Add Audio in Google Slides with mote!

This is NOT a sponsored post. However, when it was initially posted, mote did provide me with access to an Unlimited account to try it out + is gave away FREE 1-year Unlimited licenses to 5 of my readers! (those prizes have already been given out) All opinions in the post, however, are my own.

🗣️ U!
🗣️ D!
🗣️ L!

UDL, or Universal Design for Learning, is the practice of making your students’ learning experiences–the content delivery, the demonstrations of learning, all of it–universally accessible.

And that means that we need to deliver content in as many modalities as possible. This is why I was super excited when Google unveiled the ability to add audio in Google Slides. However, my excitement was dampened by the lack of a straightforward process to adding said audio.

Record the audio here, save it there, upload it here, then add it to your Slides.

Can’t we just record the audio in Slides and have it appear in Slides? Please!?

Well, the team at mote has our back on this. Their awesome Chrome extension has been rocking feedback and other classroom processes with the superpower of adding audio comments in Google Classroom, Google Docs, and more. Then they let us use mote while we were surfing the web in Chrome. But now they’ve really outdone themselves . . .

👉 Use the extension to record while you’re in Google Slides and it pops it right onto your Slide. 🤯

Check it out in the #EduGIF below and then, at the bottom, enter to win one of 5 FREE Unlimited mote licenses!

This animated GIF shows the process of using the mote Chrome Extension to add audio to Google Slides!

Isn’t that awesome? So slick, so easy, and so good for tons of different learning scenarios.

While the super generous free version gives you these capabilities with audio recordings of up to 30 seconds in length, some of you Chatty Cathys and Talkative Tommys may need a few more ticks of the Apple Watch. That’s where the Essential and Unlimited plans and their 90 second-limit come in. You can learn more about the plans here.

16+ Formative Assessment Tools for #RemoteLearning!

Title Image for Post. Reads: 16+ Formative Assessment Tools for #RemoteLearning and includes the URL for the post.Wow. March 2020 has been quite a month. And buckle up, folks, because it looks like April is going to be more of the same.

For many educators, that means screencasts of lessons, assignments in learning management systems, and lots of time on Zoom or Google Meet.

But what about Formative Assessment? If we’re going to teach new content during these extended school closures caused by the coronavirus and COVID-19 (I’m not sure if we should, but that’s another post) then we need to know if students are comprehending that new content!

So, I put that question out to the Duct Tapers (listeners to my podcast, the Educational Duct Tape Podcast). I got a handful of answers, which I featured in Episode 39b of the podcast.

A week later, I reached out for even more ideas! On Wednesday 3.25.2020, I hosted a #EduDuctTape Twitter chat focused on this and 2 other #RemoteLearning concepts. So, based on the thoughts shared in the episode and the ideas shared in the Twitter chat, I’ve got a BUNCH to share with you! So let’s dig into it! Continue reading 16+ Formative Assessment Tools for #RemoteLearning!

Slides Timer Extension

Two and a half years ago, I made an #EduGIF about adding timers to Google Slides using YouTube Videos and posted it on my site. Well, it’s time to introduce a new option.

Clay Smith is an educator in New York City. He’s also a talented coder. And that coding talent extends to gSuite Add-Ons and Chrome Extensions.  The newest in his repertoire of projects is Slides Timer, an extension that makes certain text placeholders in Google Slides text boxes come to life as timers when in present mode.

As Clay’s site explains, the extension accepts 3 different placeholders:

  • <<5:00->> will count down starting at 5 minutes.
  • <<2:00+>> will count up starting at 2 minutes
  • <<time>> will display the current time in AMPM format

Judging by the feedback form on Clay’s site, I’ll guess that this extension is still a work in progress. There are a few things that I’d change, if I could, but it’s already an awesome option as it is!

Check it out in the #EduGIF below!

Animation shows the use of Clay's Slides Timer Extension in action.
Pausable version of this #EduGIF available here: youtube.com/watch?v=16iqS5cWVZ0

Strategies for “Sticky” Vocab Learning!

Header Image for Post, contains post title and a picture of a dictionary

If you could be a fly on the wall of an average classroom, it’d be pretty likely that you’d hear something like “Don’t forget to study your vocab words tonight!” or “Remember to review your flashcards tonight!”

While there’s been a move away from the rote learning of yesteryear, most educators agree that having a firm grasp of content area vocabulary is still an important piece to the learning process.  I think that there are two important goals for learning vocabulary in content areas: (1) retention of the words (sticky learning) and (2) application of the words.

In Episode 34 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast, I spoke with Dr. Jared Cooney Horvath, author of Stop Talking, Start Influencing, about both of these goals.

A week after that episode came out, I was joined by dozens of “Duct Tapers” in the #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat to discuss the podcast episode, including these two goals.

Below are some strategies that you can use in your classrooms to increase your students’ ability retain and apply their vocabulary learning.  Some come from the chat and others come from the episode. Continue reading Strategies for “Sticky” Vocab Learning!

Adding Audio to Play on a Set of Google Slides

Not long ago, Google finally added the functionality of adding audio to Google Slides for all users.  And, not long thereafter, we started asking for improvements! 😬  Hey, it’s what we do! 😃

In this post, I’m going to share with you a hack to get the most asked for improvement.  It’s not an elegant hack (that’s an oxymoron, I think) but it’ll do until Google adds the actual functionality.

When you add audio, the main choice that you’ll have to make is
– “Do I want this to stop playing when I advance to the next slide…
– or do I want it to continue until the audio ends…
– or do I want it to loop until the end of the slideshow?”
Unfortunately, there’s no option to have it play on Slides 1, 2, 3 and 4 and then stop on Slide 5.

But what if that’s what we want?  In this post, I’ll show you a hack to set your audio to play for a subset of slides, but not for others.

My first idea for a hack was adding a different piece of audio on Slide 5, but that just leads to both audio files playing simultaneously.  Back to the drawing board.

My second idea worked.  So, here it is…  #EduGIF first, step-by-step instructions next.

This animation shows how to add audio for only a subset of the slides in a Google Slides file. The steps are typed out below the image.

Continue reading Adding Audio to Play on a Set of Google Slides

8+ Tools for Developing Learner Profiles

Mike Mohammad joined me in episode 28 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast to discuss 2 questions that an educator might have.  One of the topics that we discussed was learner profiles.  Mike posed the question, “How can students create a profile of themselves as a learner to share with an audience beyond the classroom?

Tools for Learner Profiles Title Image

While Mike and I did not discuss the it during the show, I want to quickly compare and contrast the terms learner profile and digital portfolio.  While there are similarities (both are typically curated by the student, both showcase the students work in school and both are often done digitally) there are also some differences (typically, digital portfolios are a showcase of academic work and growth while learner profiles also often focus on the students’ capabilities, characteristics and aptitudes as a learner).

Regardless of which end result you’re looking to cultivate in your school (learner profile, digital portfolio or a blend of both), there are plenty of tools that you can leverage.

A week after the episode in which Mike and I discusssed this aired, I hosted a Twitter chat about the questions from our talk.

Here are some of the participants’ responses to the question about learner profiles:

Continue reading 8+ Tools for Developing Learner Profiles

Searching for Images with Transparent Backgrounds in Google Image Search

There are lots of reasons that you might need images with transparent backgrounds! Maybe it’s for a #StopMotionSlides project!  Maybe it’s for a graphic design project!  Maybe it’s for a green screen video or image!

No matter what your reason is for wanting an image with a transparent background, the easiest option is the same: do a Google Image Search for images with a transparent background!

There are ways to take images and remove their background, but if we can start with no background, that’s even better!

Search in Google > Images > Tools > Color > Transparent

Note: Unfortunately, this is not a perfect process.  Using this strategy misses some images with transparent backgrounds and includes some images that it should have left out.

Check out the #EduGIF below.  A Pausable #EduGIF is available here.

Google Transparent Image Search Animation

15+ Tools for Student Voice

In episode 28 of the Educational Duct Tape PodcastMike Mohammad joined me for a chit-chat.  One of the topics that we discussed was student voice.  I posed the question, “How can educators provide opportunities for student voice?

Mike promptly made the distinction between student voice and student choice.  While both are powerful things to leverage in the classroom, they are very different (though we often lump them together, as Mike pointed out).

I think that educators’ definitions for the term student voice are inconsistent – some seem to believe that it simply means
– hearing each student’s answer or thinking
– while others believe that it means empowering the students to have a voice in some (or all!) aspects of their education.

Mike made it clear in his response that he subscribes to the 2nd “definition” of student voice.  His response fits with the description that Edutopia usesstudent voice involves letting “students’ input and expertise … help shape their classroom, their school, and ultimately their own learning and growth.”

I definitely believe that that is the type of student voice that we want to strive for.  In a recent #EduDuctTape chat, educators shared their favorite tool for empowering student voice.  It’s important to note that simply using the tool doesn’t provide opportunity for or empowerment of student voice.  It’s all about how you use it.

Here are some of their responses:

Continue reading 15+ Tools for Student Voice

Graphic Design Tools in Google Slides: Align, Distribute & Center

On the Google Teacher Tribe podcast (one of my favorite podcasts) Kasey Bell & Matt Miller often refer to Google Slides as the “Swiss Army Knife of gSuite.”  And I agree!  There are so many things that you can do in Google Slides.  In this post, I’m going to show you 3 super useful Graphic Design tools that are available in Slides.

Align – When you select 2+ objects (images, shapes, text boxes, etc.) you can align them horizontally (left, right or center) or vertically (top, bottom or center) with each other!

Distribute – When you select 3+ objects (images, shapes, text boxes, etc.) you can distribute them horizontally or vertically in relation to each other.  This spaces the objects out evenly.  It’s important to note that it’s based off of the positions of the leftmost and rightmost objects.  So, get your left and right objects into place and then use this tool to distribute everything else out evenly in between.

Center on Page – This tool does exactly what you’d expect it to, but with one nice bonus – if you have multiple objects selected it will center them as a group.  So, the objects themselves may not be in the center of the slide, but they will be arranged with the center of the group at the center of the slide.

A note for the Google Drawings fans out there: each of these items are also available there and work in the same manner.

Check out the EduGIF of these 3 tools in action below and, if it moves too fast, check out the Pausable EduGIF here.

Align, Distribute & Center in Slides Animation