Starting in ChromeOS version 104, users can now edit PDF documents using the built-in Gallery app.
For us adults, that’s great for adding a signature to a document and then sending it in. In the classroom, though, it lets students complete activities or digital worksheets and then submit them in their LMS.
So, if you open the document from the Chromebook Files app, you’ll see a text annotation option, for typing into the PDF, and a drawing option for, obviously, drawing on the PDF. It’s also got a highlighter and eraser in there too. Then you can save the completed document and submit it, send it, or whatever. This provides an additional option for those of you who haven’t found a satisfactory alternative for using fillable PDFs in the Classroom.
Sure, we could use Kami, or use the Google Classroom mobile app or put screenshot the PDF and put it in Google Slides or use Pear Deck or Nearpod or a number of other options, but if none of those work or are ideal for you: here’s another option.
Once upon a time, the market for screencasting on Chromebooks was a 1-app game – Screencastify. But later others came on the scene, Screencast-o-matic, Loom, Flipgrid, and way too many for me to list here.
Well, better late than never, Google has joined this party! I’m not sure what took them so long, but Google is adding a Screencast app, built into Chrome OS in M103. 🎉
It will let you record your entire screen or a portion of your screen along with your webcam and your voice. Like most screencast solutions, it also lets you annotate on the screen while recording. Up to that point, it’s pretty similar to the other Chromebook screencasting options. What sets Google’s native option apart are a few things.
First, the recordings are automatically stored in your Drive and, therefore, are easily shared with your colleagues and students. Likewise, it’s easy for your students to record things and submit them to you, plus it means student data is going to fewer servers since it’s staying within the Google ecosystem.
My favorite part, though, is the automated transcript created with your recording. 📝
It is auto-generated but you can edit the text as needed. The viewer sees that transcript alongside the video, they can use the transcript to jump to specific spots in the video, and they can even search the transcript for certain words.
You can also translate that transcript into any Google Translate-supported language. The UDL (Universal Design for Learning) here is off the charts. But, my favorite part, is that you can also edit out parts of the recording by clicking on parts of the transcript and clicking “skip.” That edits them right out of the video.
Now, the catch here is that’s as far as your editing can go. If you want to fine-tune your video and become a YouTuber, this is not the tool for you. But if you want a screencasting tool for your classroom this may be the right one for you.
I should note that the transcript is only there for viewers who are also using Chromebooks. You can share the video with a non-Chromebook user. They’ll be able to see the raw video, but it won’t include the transcript and it won’t skip any sections that you opted for to skip.
⭐ This tool is really only optimized for people recording on Chromebooks for viewers who will watch on Chromebooks, so keep that in mind.
📹 Here is Eric Curts’ video demo of the tool which does a great job showing what it can do. This feature, by the way, should be available in all Google accounts when using a Chromebook that’s on Version 103.
It’s safe to say that most educators agree that feedback should be given to students not just at the end of an assignment, but also during. Many educators would even say that the “during” feedback is more important, especially in writing. But, how do we do that efficiently? Reading & assessing student work twice takes up lots of time.
Well, I have 4 tips that I think can help.
By comparing a rough draft (or earlier draft) to the final draft (or most current draft), the teacher can assess the changes being made and decide if additional changes are necessary. It’s also a great way for teachers to see what areas for improvement students are and are not catching.
Google Docs offers some great functions for doing this. In this post, I’ll share 3 tips with you to help with this process.
Adjacent Possible. Have you heard of it? If you listen to the Educational Duct Tape Podcast, you probably have. It’s this theory that a new set of possibilities is enabled by taking one step beyond the current state of things. Every step opens up new possibilities, just like every conversation with a person can lead to new possibilities that you had not considered.
Well, I had an Adjacent Possible experience a few days ago while interviewing Tony Vincent for Episode 26 of the Educational Duct Tape podcast. Tony was responding to a question about how to help students get to know each other. He shared with me about this activity that he had done where his students took side profile pictures of themselves and then turned them into silhouettes of in Google Slides. They then added in images and words that showed their interests. The students presented their slides to their classmates and, later, those same slides were played on a loop on a screen in the room. What I love about this activity is that, on the surface, it’s a great “getting to know each other” activity. But, underneath that, it’s also a fantastic way to teacher kids some new skills with a tool that the teacher planned on using in class.
This is actually an activity that Tony teaches participants in his fantastic Classy Graphics course. If you’re interested in learning Graphic Design with Google Tools, you should check it out!
There are certainly ways to make these silhouettes that would be easier. But that’s not the point. The point is, opening students’ eyes to the possibilities within the tools that they have access to. As Tony shared in the episode, his students became highly capable at using Slides to create all sorts of things. I don’t know about you, but I’m not surprised. By doing this activity, his students saw slides as more than just a tool for presentations. They saw it as a creation space.
Well, as you have probably already guessed, I was compelled to turn this into an #EduGIF, so here it is. After the GIF, I’ll share step-by-step instructions for making these. By the way, I’d be honored if you used this GIF and these instructions with your own students in class. You can repay me by showing me some of their creations!
***In order for this process to work, you have to make sure the Tasks checkbox on the left is checked.***
Not too long ago, us Google-fans celebrated the arrival of the sidebar that we see alongside most gSuite apps. That sidebar, which features access to Google Calendar, Keep & Tasks, made things much more convenient for users. But, one thing that wasn’t convenient was how we assigned due dates & times to items in Google Tasks. click. click. click. click. click. Count ’em… 5 clicks for each task!
And this frustrated me, because I had just recently adopted Google Tasks as my to-do list management strategy. I love how I can see them across all of my devices. But, what to do about all of those clicks? Well, I’ve got ya…
Open up the Tasks sidebar while in Google Calendar and navigate to the date and/or time that you want a task to be due on. Then, just drag the task onto the date and/or time that you’d like to it to be due and… BAM! How many clicks was that? 1 click. 1 drag. Done.
BTW – don’t see tasks? I’ve seen 2 possible reasons for that. Here they are:
1. You have Reminders enabled instead of Tasks. Click the small menu to the right of Reminders (should be in the LEFT sidebar) and then choose Switch to Tasks.
2. You have multiple Google Accounts logged in within the same Chrome window. Check this post from Kasey Bell or this post from Eric Curts to resolve that.
Grading stinks. Anything that we can do to make it better–without sacrificing the quality of the pedagogy or feedback–is worth doing! Here’s a little trick to make it easier to locate student answers in Google Docs (or other files) that you assign in Google Classroom . . .
Ever need to play a video during an Open House or another event where you want people to be able to see the video at various times throughout a time period? Just right-click on the video and click Loop!
The new school year started for my colleagues and I a few weeks ago. One process that I have to go through at the beginning of each school year is getting all of the year’s events onto my Google Calendar. This is a tedious process, but it’s an important one for me. The main task here is copying events from our school’s calendar onto my calendar. The school calendar is jam-packed with stuff and I only need a subset of those events.
While going week-by-week through the school year, I thought “There has got to be a quicker way to navigate through this!” Well, I did a little poking around and found my answer! Keyboard Shortcuts!
If you go into Settings, you can turn on Keyboard shortcuts. First, let’s look at how to do this and then I’ll share some of my favorite shortcuts.
So, that animation showed you our first 2 keyboard shortcuts:
– / brings up the search, all ready for you to find that special event you were looking for.
– ? brings up all of the keyboard shortcuts, for when you forget some of them (which you will).
Here are the other ones that I’ve added to my repertoire:
It was a pickle that I had been in before, but I had never known the solution. You’re preparing something–a lesson, a blog post, whatever–and you need a picture. Not just any picture, but a picture that you’ve used before. It’s in that one Google Doc, but you can’t get to the picture from anywhere else. So, you right-click on it in that Google Doc . . . but there’s no Save Image option.
There are a handful of ways that you can get that image saved as a file on your computer, but the one that Matt sent to me is pretty awesome. It’s just a few steps and super easy. And it’s even more convenient if you have multiple images that you need from the same Google Doc. So, let’s get to it – first an animated #EduGIF and then the steps for those of you who like to read words.
Open the Google Doc
Select File > Download As > Web Page (.html, zipped)
Locate the saved file on your computer
Unzip the file (on my Mac, all that I have to do is double-click)
A new folder should have been created. Inside of that folder will be all of the images that are in that Google Doc. Feel free to move your image out of there and delete the other files as well as the zipped file.
When presenting about #StopMotionSlides, someone inevitably asks about cutting the background out of a picture so that it has a transparent background. Up to this point, my answer has been Microsoft Word, but I wasn’t satisfied with that since it wouldn’t work on Chromebooks or on computers without Microsoft Word. And then I listened to Episode 13 of the Shukes and Giff Podcast. In it, Kim Pollishuke shared about Lunapic.
Lunapic is a free, web-based photo editing platform. Along with a lot of other features (seriously, go to it and explore!), is the ability to make the background transparent. If it’s a solid colored background (i.e., green screen), there are tools that automate it. For images that don’t have a solid colored background (or have backgrounds that include colors that are in the main part of the image), you can also do it manually. Check it out in the animated GIF below! Side note: there’s even a Chrome extension so that you can edit images you find online more conveniently.