Using EquatIO® to Support Digital Math Instruction

This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.

For years, one of the most common questions that I heard as an educational technology trainer, speaker, and coach was “I’m a math teacher. How can I use edtech in my class?”

I had lots of answers that I was excited about. I advocated for Desmos activities, Flipgrid topics for sharing strategies, spreadsheets for investigating patterns, and more. One thing that was always tough, though, was actually entering mathematical representations into digital spaces. Some spaces were built for it, like Desmos, and some spaces had a pen tool, like Flipgrid, but others were not set up well for it, like Google Docs, Slides, and Forms.

Until EquatIO® came along. With its “Make math digital” tagline, Texthelp’s tool gave teachers and students the ability to easily enter equations and graphs into Docs, Slides, Forms, and more. At that time, there were quite a few math and science teachers who were very excited about the capabilities that EquatIO gave them. They enjoyed using them to create content, activities, and assignments for their students. And, for some of them, they even had their students use EquatIO to respond or create content of their own.

From my observations, some math teachers may have thought that EquatIO was a misspelling of equation. Until early 2020, that is. When math classes, along with all of the other classes in schools, moved online, educators needed a way to create, as EquatIO calls it, “Make math digital.”

And I think that EquatIO is one tool that they should consider to support their digital math instruction.

EquatIO–which is free for teachers–has 8 main features that I’d like to share with you.  The first 5 relate to entering math and science expressions into digital spaces. Let’s look at those first.

Entering Math and Science Expressions with EquatIO

Check out these input options in the EduGIF below and then read on to learn more about each.

This animated GIF shows a handful of ways that math and science expressions can be entered into a Google Form.
Note that while this EduGIF shows EquatIO being used in Google Forms, it also works in Slides, Docs, Sheets, and Drawings, as well as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Office 365 applications.

Continue reading Using EquatIO® to Support Digital Math Instruction

16 types of Media you can add in Book Creator!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions, however, are my own.

Did you know that Book Creator books could contain more than just text? Like, way more?

Back in the day, when I first saw Jon Smith present about Book Creator, I was so jealous that it wouldn’t work with my classroom-cart of Chromebooks. Nowadays, you can use Book Creator on just about any device, and better yet, they have added tons of different types of media options that weren’t there before!

Check out this #EduGIF to see the 16 types of media that you and your students can add to your creations! Then read on to learn a little about each! As you’ll discover, there are actually way more than 16 types that’ll work!

This animated GIF shows 16 types of media that can be added to a Book Creator creation. Continue reading 16 types of Media you can add in Book Creator!

Make #EduGIFs in WeVideo!

For years, people have asked me how they can make #EduGIFs like mine. When I respond and say “I make them in Camtasia,” there’s normally a 2-3 minute delay while they look up the cost of Camtasia. Then, there’s another question:

“Any less expensive options?”

Camtasia is a fantastic piece of software and is 100% worth the cost if you plan to use it a lot. For video creators, I highly recommend it. But I understand why people are looking for a less expensive choice. Unfortunately, I’ve never had a great answer for them. While I have this post that goes over alternative options, none of the free or low-cost options allow much editing. In that very same post, I go over some of the things that I value in Camtasia, and as you can see, the other tools have few (if any) of those features.

Check out my “Awesome Classroom Uses of #EduGIFs Created with Screencastify” post to see 19 ways that you can use GIFs.

Enter WeVideo!

Well, now I’ve got a new tool to suggest. If you have a WeVideo for Education account (they’re currently free until 6-30-2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic school closures), you can now make GIFs within WeVideo!!

Check it out in the #EduGIF below and then, under the GIF, I’ll share some of my thoughts on this new option.

This animated GIF shows the process of creating a screencast GIF, what I call an EduGIF, in WeVideo.
Pausable version of this #EduGIF available here.
Note: This GIF was created in Camtasia as its still a better tool if you have access to it.

Things that I’m excited about:

Continue reading Make #EduGIFs in WeVideo!

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

My Top 5 Instagram Posts!

In 2019, I started ramping up my use of Instagram.  I don’t use it nearly as often as I use Twitter, but I’ve really grown to like its format.  Here are my 5 most viewed posts from Instagram!

I’ve even had some #BookSnaps that got lots of love in 2019!

 

My Top 5 Tweets of 2019

love Twitter and I love sharing on Twitter.  But the best part is seeing other people get excited about what I share.  Here are my 5 tweets that were seen the most times on Twitter:

SCRATCHing the Surface: Trying Out Scratch

Scratch is a block-based programming tool from the MIT Media Lab that gets pigeon-holed as a tool for introducing students to coding & programming.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tool for that, but it’s oooohhhh sooo much more!  In my mind–and in the minds of many students who have used it–Scratch is a place with infinite possibilities for creation.

That creation can be, well… just about anything. And that anything could relate to games or music or jokes or…. science, math, social studies, language arts, world languages…. you get the picture.  ANYTHING.  It could be a great classroom tool.  Especially when put in the hands of students.

So, let me give you a little intro to Scratch.  Let’s SCRATCH the Surface.

I’ll update this post periodically, adding a few new #EduGIFs at a time.  If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll know when new #EduGIFs are added.

First Steps

Continue reading SCRATCHing the Surface: Trying Out Scratch

4 Tips for Assessing Growth in Student Writing in Google Docs

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.

Continue reading 4 Tips for Assessing Growth in Student Writing in Google Docs

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