This idea–a true moment of educational duct tape (using technology to solve a classroom problem or goal)–actually came to me while recording an episode of my Educational Duct Tape Podcast!
In Episode 5, I played a question that Linda Hummer shared to the Educational Duct Tape Community FlipGrid along with Abbey Thomas’ answer. Linda’s question was, essentially, what is an alternative to Chatterpix that works on Chromebooks? Abbey’s answer was Blabberize. And the question was answered! Or, so I thought…
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.
Continue reading A Google Slides Hack to Replace ChatterPix or Blabberize
On 1/7/19, Google announced that you could now embed previously created Google Drawings into Google Docs. Before this announcement, you could create new Drawings from within a Doc, but you could not pull in Drawings created in the regular Drawings platform.
This was limiting, because the Drawings tool within Docs was only provided a small workspace and had less tools. It was also frustrating that a Drawing couldn’t be in both places – a Drawing and Doc – without copying and pasting or using the following workaround.
Up to this point, the best workaround was to download the Drawing as an image and then insert that image into the Doc. This was frustrating for a few reasons: it involved inconvenient extra steps and it meant that the Drawing in the Doc would not update if the actual Drawing was updated.
Well, now Google has made good on fixing this. In the Google Docs Insert menu, go to Drawing and now you can select New to create a new one or From Drive to select one that you created in the Google Drawings platform. When the drawing is changed in Drawings, you’ll see an Update option in the Doc to show the changes (unless you selected Unlink when you added the Drawing). Check it out in the animated GIF below:
Sometimes, I think a trick, hack or shortcut that I do with technology is unimpressive and something that everyone either knows or doesn’t care about. But then, when I mention it to someone, and they’re like “Whoa!” I think “Welp, this should be an EduGIF.”
Recently, I had the good fortune to be recording a guest appearance on the Shukes & Giff Podcast (er, maybe it’s the Shukes & Jake Podcast, now!? Kidding!). When I was chatting about Emoji Bullets with Kim Pollishuke (a.k.a. “Shukes”), I mentioned, “So, I’ll just click Shift+Command+8 and then…” and she said “Wait, What!?” And then I knew it, EduGIF time. So here it is . . .
in most Google Tools:
- Click CTRL (Command on Mac) + Shift + 7 for Numbering
- Click it again to undo numbering
- Click CTRL (Command on Mac) + Shift + 8 for Bullets
- Click it again to undo bullets
Here’s the EduGIF!
Want to add a little flair to your HyperDocs and some fun to your lesson plans? Ditch those boring bullets for some emoji bullets!
In many cases, this can obviously lead to a less-professional looking document or slideshow, but in the classroom . . . why not add a little fun? Our learners l-o-v-e emoji and it may just make schoolwork look a little more inviting. So, here’s how to use them as bullets in Google Docs & Slides. First up: a GIF animation, followed by the step-by-step.
- Click the appropriate button to add bullets.
- Add any of the default bullet styles.
- Right-Click (or two-finger click) on the first bullet and select More bullets.
- In the first dropdown menu, select Emoji.
- Now select your emoji!
- Right-click (or two-finger click) on the first emoji bullet if you’d like to change the size of the bullets.
Did you ever really, really, really want a student (or colleague) to understand your feedback on a portion of a Google Doc? Well, my friend, I have got news for you. Surround a word (or group of words) in a Google Docs (or Slides, Sheets, Drawings…) Comment with asterisks (*) and you’ve got bold text. 💥Boom💥 Surround them with underscores ( _ ) and you’ve got italicized text. 💥Boom💥
🤔❓Why does using the underscore lead to italicized text instead of underlined text!? I have no idea. Ask the Googs.❓🤔
Even more puzzling, there’s no option to create underlined text. But hey, 3 minutes ago, you didn’t know about how to do bold or italics, so calm it down, buddy.
Here’s the real head-scratcher: some people seem to want strikethrough text in a comment. 🤷🏻♂️ Why? I dunno. But it’s possible. Just surround your text with hyphens (-) and you’ve got strikethrough. Medium-half-excited-don’t-know-why-anyone-wants-this-feature-💥Boom💥. But again, 4 minutes ago, you were clueless that this was even within the realm of possibility, so turn your snark dial down, Francis. Anyhow, here’s a GIF. Please enjoy.
A few weeks ago, I posted a little hack that I like to use for making student answers in Google Docs easier to find. You can see that post here. Multiple people reminded me of a practice that many elementary educators love using:
Instead of just pre-formatting the answer space, actually create an answer table. This makes it less likely that students accidentally mess up the pre-existing content in the doc and makes their answers easier to find. This is a great practice when assigning these Docs as Make a Copy for Each Student in Google Classroom.
There are 3 different ways to do this. I’ll show each in the GIF below and then go over them in some additional detail below the GIF.
More details on what you see in the GIF below . . . Continue reading Using Answer Tables in Google Docs
A few weeks ago, I shared a post about putting Drawings in Google Docs that are assigned in Google Classroom. After seeing some of the reactions, I realized that some educators either weren’t aware of the powers of Google Drawings or had never thought of using them in assignments with Google Classroom. I was all “whaaaaat!?” So, now I’m here to dial it back a notch… Let’s talk about assigning Google Drawings (not Drawings in Docs, just Drawings) in Google Classroom. First up: an animated GIF for your viewing pleasure; and then: a quick step-by-step of how to use Drawings in Classroom.
Continue reading Google Drawings in Google Classroom
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).
When given the chance, I’m always going to pick an assignment where students are creating their own representations of their mastery of learning standards. However, I know that it’s not realistic to expect this all the time. So, I can see the value in annotating images rather than just typing. Google Drawings and Google Slides are great platforms for this . . . but what if it’s part of a bigger activity that does involve typing? Well, insert a drawing into a document, put the picture in, and tell the students to annotate it! Check it out in the animated GIF below (typed instructions follow the GIF).
- In the Google Docs menu, click Insert > Drawing.
- In the Drawing that pops up, copy and paste in an image (or drag it in from a separate tab as I did in the GIF).
- Add instructions within the Drawing as needed.
- Click Save and Close to finish preparing the drawing.
- Assign the document in Google Classroom as Make a Copy for Each Student.
- When students open the document, instruct them to double-click on the image that they see to open up the drawing and annotate it.
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 . . .