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Thursday, November 17, 2016

G Suite for Education Has a New Templates Option

On Wednesday Google announced some changes to the Google Docs, Slides, Forms, and Sheets templates galleries. The old version of the templates gallery found at drive.google.com/templates will be going away at the end of the year. It will be replaced by the templates that you currently see when you go to docs.google.com, slides.google.com, sheets.google.com, or forms.google.com. These template galleries can be enhanced by G Suite for Education users. 

Beginning today and rolling out over the next couple of weeks there is a new option for G Suite for Education users to share templates to a domain-wide gallery. G Suite administrators should already see an option to submit templates to a domain-wide gallery (admins, you must enable the feature if you had disabled the old template gallery option). Beginning later this week and throughout the next couple of weeks end-users (teachers and students) will be able to submit templates to your domain gallery. Those templates will be available to anyone in the domain when they go to create a new document, forms, spreadsheet, or slide presentation. 

Applications for Education
Creating and distributing templates is a great option for teachers who want their students to follow a prescribed format for things like lab reports or research outlines. 

You can learn more about creating and using templates in my online course Getting Going With G Suite.

EDpuzzle Offers an Android App for Students

Thanks to David Kapuler I have just learned that EDpuzzle now offers an Android app for students. The EDpuzzle Android app lets students join your EDpuzzle classroom, find assignments, watch videos, and answer the questions that you have added into videos in your EDpuzzle classroom. Students who have more than one teacher using EDpuzzle can join and receive updates from multiple courses within the app.

At this time the EDpuzzle Android app is only available in a student version. According to their description on the Google Play Store, a version for teachers is on its way.

For folks who are not familiar with EDpuzzle it is a service that lets you create video-based lessons by adding multiple choice, true/false, and open response questions to videos that you have created as well as to videos you find on YouTube. One of the great features of EDpuzzle is that you can require students to answer a question in a video before being allowed to proceed to the next part of the video. In the videos embedded below I demonstrate how to use the main features of EDpuzzle including how to integrate EDpuzzle into your Google Classroom.




EDpuzzle also offers an iOS app and a Chrome app.

C-SPAN StudentCam 2017 - Student Messages for Washington

C-SPAN's StudentCam contest is an annual event that invites students to produce short videos about current issues related to United States government. The 2016-17 version of the contest asks students to deliver a message to Washington about the most urgent issues for the new President and Congress to address.

The StudentCam contest is open to U.S. students in grades six through twelve. The contest deadline is January 20, 2017. Students' videos should be five to seven minutes long. Students can work individually or in teams of two or three. All videos must include some C-SPAN footage. This year more than $100,000 will be awarded. There are separate judging categories for middle school and high school submissions. Complete contest rules can be found on the C-SPAN StudentCam homepage.

Applications for Education
Even if your students don't enter the contest, the topic of the contest does make for great discussion topic in a social studies lesson. You could use the topic, "what is the most urgent issue for the new President and Congress," to host your small video contest in your school or school district.

Six Ways to Create Videos on Chromebooks - Updated

Last night on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page someone asked me for recommendations for creating videos on Chromebooks. Back in March I published a review of six tools for creating videos on Chromebooks. Since then a new tool has emerged, Adobe Spark, and one has been removed from the Chrome store, Snagit for Chrome. Here is my updated list of tools for creating videos on Chromebooks.

Adobe Spark is a suite of free tools for creating images, videos, and simple web pages. Key features of Adobe Spark's web app include an integrated Creative Commons image search tool, the option to download images as JPEGs, and the option to download your videos as MP4 files. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create images, web pages, and videos with Adobe Spark in your web browser.


WeVideo offers the most features of any of the tools in this list. It is an online video creation tool that I have written about many times over the last few years. WeVideo offers templates that new users can follow to create their first videos. Advanced WeVideo users can skip the templates, use the full editor, and apply themes to their videos by choosing them from the themes menu in the editor. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. WeVideo's Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account. WeVideo also offers an Android app and an iPhone app that students can use to capture images and video footage to add to their projects.

Wideo is a neat video creation service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online through a simple drag-and-drop process. Earlier this year Wideo started offering templates to help users start their video projects. Wideo templates provide a basic framework for a video's theme. A couple of the templates that might be of interest to teachers are the slideshow template and the curriculum template. Wideo also includes options for creating interactive videos. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to do that.


PowToon is similar to Wideo and is also a great tool for creating animated videos online. PowToon provides a drag-and-drop editor for creating animated videos. The videos that you create feature digital paper cut-outs on a colorful background. Think of PowToon as an online tool for creating videos in the style made popular by Common Craft. PowToon provides drawings of people and objects that you can arrange on blank canvas. After adding your narration to the arrangement you can publish your video.

Within YouTube there is a free tool for creating audio slideshows. You supply the images and YouTube supplies the audio track. You can pick from thousands of audio tracks to match to your slides. After adding your slides and selecting an audio track you can add speech bubbles to your slides. I demonstrate all of these steps in the video embedded below.



Nimbus Screenshot is my favorite tool for creating screencast videos on Chromebooks. It is easy to install, includes customizable countdown timer, and offers multiple ways to save and share your videos. Screencasts recorded with Nimbus Screenshot can be saved to your local drive or to an online Nimbus account. I chose to save to my local drive then upload to my YouTube channel. You could also save to your local drive then share to Google Drive or another online storage service.

Take a look at the video I created with Nimbus Screenshot.