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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Grids, Timelines, and Notes in Google Slides

This week Google added a handful of new features to Google Slides. Some of them are features that teachers and students have been requesting for years.

Please note that some of the following new features may not appear in your G Suite for Education account for a couple of weeks. All of these features are available now for users logged-in with a Gmail address.

1. Quickly insert pre-formatted timelines and other diagrams.
Now when you open the "insert" drop-down menu you will see an option for diagrams. Choose that option and you'll be able to insert a variety of pre-formatted diagrams including timelines. All of the content within the diagrams can be edited.

2. Add-ons for Google Slides.
There are now seven Add-ons available in Google Slides. Those of interest to teachers and students include Lucidchart, Pear Deck, and Unsplash. Unsplash provides high resolution photographs to re-use for free.

3. Grid view of presentations.
There is now a grid option under the "view" drop-down menu. This lets you see all of your slides in a grid and re-arrange slides by dragging them into different sequences in the grid.

4. Google Keep notes integrated into slides.
Google Docs integrated Google Keep notes earlier this year. That allowed you to drag your Google Keep notes directly into a document. Now you can do the same in Google Slides.

5. Skip a slide without deleting it. 
If you are in the habit of duplicating your own presentations then deleting a slide or two for different audiences, the new "skip slide" function could appeal to you. This function lets you specify a slide or slides to be skipped in a version of a presentation. Skipping a slide doesn't delete it, it just prevents it from being displayed when you're in the full screen presentation display.

Blogging, Math, and Character Scrapbooks - The Week in Review

Good evening from chilly Paris Hill, Maine. The falling leaves, shorter days, and cooler weather remind me of all the chores I need to do outside before the snow flies (the local ski resort made snow this week). One of those chores is touching up some paint around my window dormers. So that's how it came to be that I was on my roof as the moon rose last night. I thought it made a nice picture. As always whether you're doing chores or just relaxing this weekend, I hope that you get some time outdoors too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Three Thoughts About Making Time to Blog
2. Character Scrapbook Helps Students Analyze Stories
3. 5 Free Resources for Math Teachers Using Chromebooks
4. A Chemistry Rap and Five Resources to Help Students Learn the Periodic Table
5. How to Create a Simple Timeline-based Game
6. How Deep Is the Ocean? - This Video Puts It Into Perspective
7. Turn a Blog Into a Book

This week I will be speaking at the Alabama Independent Schools Association conference. If you're going to be there too, please say hello. And click here to learn how to bring me to your conference.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
SeeSaw is my favorite digital portfolio tool.
Metaverse enables anyone to create amazing things.
Kids Discover provides fantastic tools for helping kids discover new information. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

Extreme Planet Makeover

Extreme Planet Makeover is an interactive activity produced by NASA as a part of the Exoplanet Exploration website. Extreme Planet Makeover lets students choose the size of a planet, position relative to the largest and nearest star, and planet age. Students instantly get feedback on the characteristics of the planets they create. For example, if it is too small and too far from a star students will see that they created an iceball planet.

Extreme Planet Makeover is one of four Exoplanet Exploration interactive activities. The other three are Interstellar Trip Planner, Alien Safari (I previously featured these here), and Five Ways to Find a Planet (review coming next week).

Applications for Education
Extreme Planet Makeover is a simple interactive that students could use for a few minutes to see how the relative size and position of planets contribute to their characteristics.