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.
One of the most important tools in remote learning, face-to-face blended learning, or a hybrid setting is a tool for recording videos in order to deliver content to students. While there are a handful of great options, Screencastify is one of the most commonly used, especially in gSuite for Education schools.
Check out the video below to learn about using the free version of Screencastify in your classroom!
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 uses: student 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.
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.
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.
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!
After the episode aired, Dan Gallagher shared on that same grid some words of caution: Blabberize’s Terms of Service indicate that it’s not appropriate for all ages. So, in Episode 6, I shared this and then, on the spot, found a hack for a solution:
I’ve posted about #StopMotionSlides a number of times (here are my tips for making them) and they make a pretty good solution for this. Put a picture into a slide, use some careful cropping and then leverage a stop motion technique. Not only can you make the mouth move up and down, but you can then publish the animation (#13 in these tips) and then record them with Screencastify (or your screencasting tool of choice) with a voiceover (#14 in these tips)!
Voila! Not as easy as Chatterpix, but at least it eliminates the need of adding another tool and another set of terms of service to what you use with your students: you likely already use Google Slides & Screencastify!
Plus, unlike ChatterPix or Blabberize, you can have multiple characters, your characters can move, the scene change… You–and your students–can get super creative!
Here’s an animated GIF of the process, followed by a step-by-step breakdown.
If you’ve ever created assignments in Google Docs, Slides or Drawings for students to complete, you’re all too familiar with this struggle: students accidentally deleting, moving or modifying elements of the assignment.
Well, in Google Slides, there are 2 ways to prevent this from happening and here’s the easier of the two: put the content of the assignment in as a background. Then, the only way a student can delete, move or modify it would be to actually go into the background settings and change it…. which can’t be done by accident.
Let me show you how, first with an animated GIF and then with step-by-step instructions.
Set up your slide with any text, images, etc.
File > Download as > PNG Image (JPEG will work too)
Clear off the slide.
Click Background, then, next to Image, click Choose.
Click the downloaded image file from Step 2.
Voila! Send your assignment out in Classroom (or share it with students or have them make a copy).