Follow Feature in Google Slides

“Which Slide?” is OUT, “Follow” is IN!

“I think we should change this slide’s background to white.””
Wait, which slide are you on?”
“Slide 17.”
“Oh, ok, let me jump to that slide.”
“OK, and then on this slide I think we should change it to bullet points.”
“Which Slide?”
“Slide 20.”
“Ok, hold on.”

We’ve all done this before – right? Anyone who has ever collaborated on Google Slides has said “What slide are you on?” like a billion times. You’ve long been able to jump to the slide a collaborator is on by clicking on their icon by the share button, but now you can do even better…..

Google Slides has added a FOLLOW option. Now you can click on a collaborator and select Follow. As they move through slides, you’ll follow right along with them!

Screenshot shows the top bar of Google Slides with Jake's profile picture circled in purple with the word "Following" underneath it.

Students Follow Teacher

They’re selling this as a way to collaborate with someone, which is great, but I think this has some superpowers for the classroom. If you’ve ever used Pear Deck or Nearpod, you know how nice it is to be able to guide your students through a slideshow with you. You move to slide 6 and they automatically follow right behind you. But what if you don’t use Pear Deck or Nearpod? With this feature, you could mimic that same experience. If all of your students click on your icon and then follow you, they’ll follow advance through the slides with you! If you try it out, I’d love to hear what you think of this experience! This Google Slides feature is available on all Google accounts.In this GIF, two Google Slides screens are show. In one, the user is clicking forward in Google Slides. In the other, the user has clicked Follow and they are automatically following the other user.

Continue reading Follow Feature in Google Slides

AI Detection Tools

AI & Plagiarism

As you’re certainly aware, many educators are concerned about students using OpenAI’s artificial intelligence conversational chatbot ChatGPT for plagiarism or to cheat on their work. So, what should we do about it?

AI Detection Tools

The first question that many asked was “Can we detect when a student has used ChatGPT or other AI tools?” Well, a number of different tools claim that they can. Let’s see if they’re right. Continue reading AI Detection Tools

ChatGPT Adds a Paid Plan

ChatGPT Changes

On February 10th, Open AI announced that there are now two different ChatGPT plans – a free plan and a $ 20-a-month ChatGPT Plus plan. For those of you bummed to lose full access, look on the bright side – I really expected them to take away the free plan entirely.

How are the plans different?

Free Plan:

  • only available when demand is low 
  • standard response speed
  • will receive regular model updates

Plus Plan:

  • will always be available
  • will have a faster response speed
  • will get you priority access to new features.

A few minor ChatGPT updates:

They’ve made a few updates to the model since it first launched and, recently, they added the ability to stop generating a response. This is nice when ChatGPT is giving you a long-winded answer that you don’t need.

[ Image(s) Source: Getty Images/NurPhoto] Continue reading ChatGPT Adds a Paid Plan

Canva for Campus

Bringing Canva to the Dorm Rooms

Canva recently announced Canva for Campus, a new offering geared to college and other post-secondary educational institutions. They have already launched Canva for Campus with a handful of colleges and universities and have opened it up to others. It’s not free like the K-12 Canva for Education, but when the institution purchases Canva for Campus licenses for staff it unlocks free access to Canva for their learners.


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Canva Docs

Canva Docs vs. Google Docs

Image shows Canva homepage

A while back, I shared about Canva’s Visual Worksuite. At that time, they showed us some previews of Canva Docs and let us apply for a beta, but now… it’s out!

I hate to do the “it’s a mix of blank and blank” thing, but this really is a mix of Google Docs and Canva’s original graphic tool. It kind of looks like you have a Google Doc inside of the Canva window. 

So how does it compare to a tool like Google Docs?

Well, if your goal is basicImage shows Canva options typing and text document formatting, then Google Docs — and Microsoft Word — are slightly better, but it’s close. The Canva Docs toolbar has most of what you need:

  • font types
  • font formatting
  • text alignment
  • bullets
  • indents
  • line spacing

You might be wondering, what about numbered lists and checklists? If you click the bullet button, it toggles between bullets, numbers, and checkboxes.  You can scan the toolbar in Google Docs or Word and list things that I didn’t mention – tables, insert images, comments, and others – they are there, but most of them are just housed elsewhere.

Take a look under the hovering plus button and you will find:

  • Magic Write
  • heading and subheading formatting
  • tables
  • graphs
  • charts

and even some exciting additions like:

  • a code embed box
  • a timer
  • a button for creating visual designs within the document
  • an emoji picker

Magic Write?

You might be thinking, “Jake, you said Magic Write. What is that!?” Well, I bet you can guess. It’s 2023 and we’re talking about a feature in a tech tool.  If you just guessed AI, you’re right. Canva bills Magic Write as “your AI-powered writing assistant.” If you’re battling writer’s block, Magic Write will help you generate some writing–a sentence, paragraph, list, or outline–and help you start brainstorming. It’s pretty much ChatGPT, but inside of your document.

And, whatever you can’t find in that + menu, you can probably find in the left menu, which is the same pane that you’ll likely remember from creating graphics in Canva. You can also embed other Canva creations–graphics, presentations, videos, and more–into your Canva Docs.

Just a little fun…

Oh – a final little fun feature, like in Google Docs, you can easily add emojis into your Canva Doc by typing a colon and then a word to describe the emoji you want. I, of course, started by testing it with :poop.


Like the rest of Canva, it comes stocked with tons of great templates and assets that can be added to your creations. Plus, you can edit those assets and templates from within your Canva Doc. So if you’ve ever wished that you could add cool design elements and headings to your Google Docs or Word Docs, you may want to try this out.


Like Google Docs, Canva Docs gives you real-time collaboration and easy file sharing, but it adds some great insights like who has viewed, engaged with, or collaborated in the doc. And, like Google Docs, there’s a version history that has the option to restore previous versions.


And, if all of that is not enough, Canva added a convert feature that they call “Docs to Decks”. It uses AI to turn your Canva Doc into an editable Canva Presentation! Don’t you wish you could do this with Google Docs and Google Slides? Me too!

Who Can Use Canva Docs?

Like the rest of Canva, this is all free for education users. On your personal accounts, you’ll be able to access and create Canva Docs, but you’ll have to pay in order to add some of the assets.


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Open AI Announces GPT-4

 Improved & Multimodal

On March 14th, OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT and DALL-E announced GPT-4. The ChatGPT that you’ve all probably tried out was built on the GPT-3.5 language model. Not only is GPT-4 much more capable than 3.5 it’s also a multimodal modal, meaning that it can accept image inputs as well. The image feature is in preview right now, but yes: you’ll be able to input text or images. If you haven’t watched the Developer Livestream video from the launch, you missed out on some serious amazingness. I’ll summarize it here. 

First, in the video, Greg Brockman, President and co-founder of OpenAI, demonstrated how much more capable GPT-4 is, especially in handling more complex and nuanced instructions.

Is GPT-4 is Smarter Than a Lawyer?

In the associated blog post, they showed off this increased capability by showing how well it scored on a series of publicly-available or practice versions of tests. For example:

  • GPT-3.5 scored in the 10th percentile on the bar exam, GPT-4 scored in the 90th. The top 10% of test takers! 
  • GPT-3.5 scored in the 25th percentile on the Quantitative section of the GRE, while GPT-4 was in the 80th
  • It also boasted 4’s and 5’s on most AP exams, while GPT-3.5 had a significant number of 1s, 2s, and 3s.

Image shows a stacked bar graph depicting scores that GPT-3.5 achieved with scores that GPT-4 scored above them. In general, GPT-4 is substantially higher.

More Text:

This version accepts larger sets of text than GPT-3.5 does. Whereas GPT 3.5 could do 3,000 words of text, GPT-4 can do 25,000. In fact, in the video, Brockman inserts two different articles and asks GPT-4 to find a common theme between them. He also pastes in 16 pages of tax code and asks GPT-4 to identify a fictional couple’s standard deduction.

Gif shows GPT4 enhanced word count and image interpretation

Image Prompts

The video also showed GPT-4 accepting image-related prompts. First, Brockman uses it within Discord to have it describe what’s in an image and then identify the funny aspects of another image. The next example is using a photo of a hand-written mockup of a joke website, which GPT-4 then turns into functioning code. In the trailer video about GPT-4, they showed it a set of balloons held in a net and asked GPT-4 what would happen if the string were cut. It successfully identified that the balloons would fly away.


So, how can we try out GPT-4? Well, they say that ChatGPT Plus subscribers will get GPT-4 access, but with a usage cap. If you don’t have a Pro account, you can interact with this language model through Microsoft’s Bing AI Chat. Microsoft announced that it has been using GPT-4 since its release a few weeks ago.

One thing that Brockman says in the video that I think is really important for the implications for our learners’ futures: “It’s not perfect, but neither are you and together it’s this amplifying tool that just lets you reach new heights.”

[ Image(s),–khbXchTeE, ] Continue reading Open AI Announces GPT-4

ChatGPT Reduces Age Limit

Is 13 Old Enough?

For the last few months, I’ve confidently told administrators “Don’t worry, you don’t really have to fret about the decision of whether or not to block ChatGPTChatGPT Image because it’s limited to 18 and over.”  They breathed a sigh of relief, but that relief was short-lived . . .

In early March, OpenAI changed its terms of service. It now says “You must be at least 13 years old to use the Services. If you are under 18, you must have your parent or legal guardian’s permission to use the Services.” Now, of course, we know that kids under 18 and, heck, under 13, have been on ChatGPT already, but now those 13-18-year-olds are actually permitted to be. With that said, your schools’ privacy policies – and CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA laws – probably mean that you can’t encourage students to use it yet. However, the main message remains the same – we have to prepare our learners for a world where they interact with AI regularly.

Check out the terms of use HERE.

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Announcing Sticker Mule Studio

Easily Create Your Own Graphics!

📺 Check this out in video form on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺

Screenshot from Twitter explaining Sticker Mule Studio.

I recently learned from Tony Vincent, one of my favorite people on Twitter, that Sticker Mule, aka my favorite company for getting stickers, also has what’s called Sticker Mule Studio. Not only can we develop our own stickers, but now the Studio is also making PNG, (transparent backgrounds) graphics for us. If you are planning to use a graphic in Google Slides or another platform, you could come into Sticker Mule Studio to create it. You can search for different templates or create your own design. There are many templates to choose from:

  • stickers for packaging Screenshot from Sticker Mule Studio's template choices.
  • t-shirts
  • branding for events
  • social media 
  • something specific that’s based on your needs
  • or, if you’d like to create your own design, you have the space to do that. 

Some of you may be using Canva or Adobe Express, so you might be wondering if you need this. Maybe you don’t, and that’s fine, but many educators like to have different options and like their students to have options too. This is just another great alternative that we can add to our repertoire.

📺 Check this out in video form on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺

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Add Content as a FULL Page in Google Sites

📺 Check this out in video form on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺

“So Much Room for Activities!”

Google announced that we can now embed content as a FULL page in Google Sites. I started thinking about how this can help us in education, and I came up with a few ideas. How about creating a Flip video and embedding it into your Google Site? Or, your students could make a digital portfolio on Google Sites and embed a Flip video, Canva creation, or other content for others to see.  This might not seem totally new, but the BIG update is now your video can be a FULL page!

In the example shown, the teacher has added a map, and the map runs the full width of the page instead of just being in a little box. So maybe this is a minor change, but it does improve the way we can showcase student creations.

📺 Check this out in video form on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺

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Google Classroom Announcement Page Update

📺 Check this out in video form on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺

Google Classroom Update!

My buddy John Sowash, who I love following on Twitter, shared an update for Google Classroom. Ready? Images, including GIFs, can now be shown on the Announcements Page! This is another example of a mind-blowing update that Google should’ve done sooner.  Teachers can record a GIF, place it on the Announcements Page and it will pop up. Students will no longer need to click to open it. At this time, you can only do this with one image or GIF, but it’s easily added. Nice huh?

📺 Check this out in video form on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺

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