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Monday, October 6, 2014

Now You Add Color Filters to Images In Your Google Slides

A few months ago Google added the option to crop and add borders to images within your Google Slides. Beginning today you can now add color filters to your images within your Google Slides. To add these Instagram-like filters to your images insert your images as you always have. After inserting an image click on it and you will see a new "image options" menu in the Slides editing toolbar. See my screenshots below for a visual of where to find the new "image options" menu.



In addition to the color filter options, you can now adjust the transparency, contrast, and brightness of the images that you insert into your Google Slides.

FlipQuiz Adds a New Timer Display Option

FlipQuiz is a nice tool designed to make it easy for teachers to create and display Jeopardy-style review games. I initially reviewed FlipQuiz last spring. This fall FlipQuiz added a couple of handy new options.

First, you can now display a timer along with your FlipQuiz game board. The timer's default setting is to count down for 30 seconds, but you can set it for any length of time. Displaying the time will make it easy for students to see that they are all getting equal amounts of time to answer a question during the review game.

The second free enhancement added to FlipQuiz this fall is the addition of game board sharing options. Previously you could embed your game board into a webpage. Now you can also share a direct link to your game board through email, Facebook, and Twitter.

Getting started with FlipQuiz:
To create a FlipQuiz game just register for a free account then select "new board." Your new board will have six columns and five rows, but you do not have to use all of the columns and rows and you can add or subtract questions at any time. To create your questions simply type in the question and answer boxes. When you're ready to use your game click the "presentation view" to display it through a projector. Try a demo quiz on the FlipQuiz homepage to see how the presentation view works.

FlipQuiz is free to use for text-based questions. A premium plan is available if you want to use images in your questions or answers. FlipQuizzes that you create in the free plan are automatically shared into the public gallery of quizzes.

Use LOC Subject Headings In Google Books Searches

Google Books is one of the under-utilized search tools that I like to share with teachers and students. I offer an overview of how to use it here. Last week I read Daniel Russell's search challenge of the week and learned to use Library of Congress subject headings in my Google Books searches.

In his post Dr. Russell explains that by using LOC subject headings in your Google Books searches you can use fairly generic terms and get results in the context of the subject heading. He gave the example of using the subject heading "World War, 1939-1945" in his search for book content addressing armor in World War II. Once you have your Google Books search results you can use the built-in search refinement tools to identify content published during a range of dates and to find content that is freely available online (not everything returned in a Google Books search is freely available online). Click here for Dr. Russell's full explanation and visuals of the ins and outs of using LOC subject headings in Google Books searches.

If you visit his post, you will see that Dr. Russell also demonstrates the method with BISAC subject headings. I chose to focus on just the LOC headings for this post because I think that more teachers and students will feel comfortable with the Library of Congress than with the Book Industry Study Group

Applications for Education
Using LOC subject headings in Google Books searches is a bit of an advanced strategy, but one that high school students could add to their search strategies toolboxes. The hardest part of this strategy for many students will be locating the LOC subject headings that are appropriate for their searches. They can search for subject headings here.

My example of using an LOC subject heading in a Google Books search.

Tips and Resources for Finding Free Images for Your Projects

Tony Vincent is a great person to turn to for advice on multimedia projects. Tony is particularly good when you need advice on elementary school projects involving iPads and Android tablets. Tony recently published the 29th episode of his Learning in Hand video series. In this episode Tony reviews three good places for finding free images to use in multimedia projects. Further, he shares some good tips image search tips to try when you're not finding exactly the right image for your project. Watch the video below or click here to read the transcript on Tony's website.

How to Insert Special Characters Into Google Documents

I recently received a question from a reader who was asking how her students can insert special characters into their Google Documents. My suggestion is to use the "special characters" menu in Google Documents. Using that menu eliminates the need for remembering quirky keyboard combinations. I demonstrate the process in the video below.