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Friday, November 3, 2017

Document Studio - The Google Sheets Add-on You've Been Waiting For

Document Studio is a new Google Sheets Add-on developed by Amit Agarwal. Document Studio will create documents based on the data that you have stored in Google Sheets. And because Google Forms will feed data directly into Google Sheets, you can use Document Studio to automatically create documents from Google Forms submissions. Document Studio can create one document for every row in a Google Sheet.



Applications for Education
Watch this video to see how you can collect data through a Google Form then use that information to generate personalized documents. The video, embedded below, uses business letters for the model. Those letters could easily be modified to be permission slips or personalized letters to parents.

Big Huge Labs: Do Cool Stuff with Digital Photos

Big Huge Labs has been around since 2005. In internet years, that is an incredibly long time! There is a good reason this site has been around for over a decade. It is free, easy to use, and it doesn't require an account to use it. However, Big Huge Labs does have an option to create a free education account which provides an ad-free experience and allows students to send their creations directly to their teacher.

Big Huge Labs lets you upload images directly from your computer  or upload them from Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, or Dropbox. Once you've uploaded an image you can use them to create motivational posters, pop art posters, vintage photo booth strips, movie posters, calendars, and so much more!

Applications for Education
Students could create a magazine poster to summarize a novel or make a profile of a character from a book. They could make trading cards of historical figures or make pocket albums of projects they have created in class. There are really no limits on what students across grade levels can do with Big Huge Labs. 

Pop Art Poster 

5 Ways to Use Comic Creation in Elementary School Classrooms

This is a guest post from Stephanie Krisulevicz

For the last few years I’ve been using cartoons in my classroom to assess my students knowledge. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Yeah, yeah, my principal would think I’ve lost my mind letting them play like that.” Don’t discredit the idea just yet! I’ve found that it’s quite possible to work comics into multiple disciplines effectively and creatively. Bonus, it also creates a fabulous, quick, and colorful bulletin boards.

Here’s two of favorite apps for creating comics. Make Beliefs Comix and Storyboard That

Makebeliefscomix.com is totally free, but the site has somewhat limited graphics. It’s drag and drop, easy to move, resize, or delete the options. The kids pick it up rather quickly and have a blast with it. Also, the children don’t need to make an account.

My newest choice of comic creator is Storyboardthat.com. There is a limited free version, or an unlimited paid version. The nice thing with the paid version is that you can set up classes, push assignments from your dashboard, and keep track of student progress.

Now, how about some great ways to use comics!

English class is a no-brainer. Jazz up that grammar lesson you presented. Instead of a worksheet, I assign a particular grammar component, punctuation, and/or sentence type that I want them to practice. Conversely, I create the comic and they have to identify the different grammar concepts or identify mistakes, as in the example above.

Reading and writing are another great subject. We can use different literary elements that we’re discussing. Metaphors and similes are great in comics! Plus you can't create comics without onomatopoeia! Want your students to get better at summarizing a book? Have them do it in a three or four panel comic. That truly makes them think!

Bet you’re wondering how I use them in math? Word stories! It can be just as challenging to write a word problem as it is to solve it. What better way to see if your students understand how to apply a concept than to write a word problem for it? It also creates discussion about how the problems need to be worded, and how critical math terminology can be. This is a great way to assess their skills both as the writer and the solver. Check out the example I included above.

Social Studies is another fun topic. Have historical figures converse about an event or discuss the reasons why something happened. Usually we use Fakebook for this one, but you can also use comic strips as well.

While I don’t teach a foreign language, I know that Make Beliefs Comix can help if you do! They offer several different language options to create topics. Foreign language students can practice conjugating verbs, sentence structure, or vocabulary while showing their creativity.

I’m certain you can think of many more ways to incorporate comics into your lessons. I’ve just listed a few. I hope you give them a try! Your students will surprise you with their creativity and sense of humor!

Happy creating!

About the author:
Stephanie is currently a 5th grade academics and 4th grade tech teacher at The Salisbury School on the Eastern Shore of Md. She often leads professional developments sessions for integrating technology to her colleagues and has presented at the Thinking and Learning with iPads conference and the ERB National Conference. You can follow her on Twitter at @MrsKris5

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Crowdsourcing Digital Breakouts - Get Paid for Your Contributions

Earlier this week I shared Metaverse's directions for creating digital breakout games. Yesterday, I had a conversation with Johnathan Miller, one of the founders of Metaverse, who was excited to share that they are now paying teachers for making digital breakout games. Use the free Metaverse platform to create a digital breakout game to use in your classroom. If your game meets the criteria that Metaverse has outlined here, you can submit it to be included in Metaverse's database of breakout games.



Disclosure: Metaverse is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Keeping Up With Google

Google is constantly releasing updates to its products. Trying to keep up with all of the changes isn't as difficult as you might think. These are eight official Twitter accounts from Google and they will keep you informed of changes from everything from Docs to Arts& Culture and everything in between.

  • Google- News and updates from Google.
  • Google Chrome- The official Twitter account for the Google Chrome browser, OS, Chromebooks, Chromecast, and Web Store
  • Google Drive- Google Drive is a safe place for all of your files. Use Drive for free on all of your devices.
  • Google for Education- Helping prepare students to create the future. The best of Google, for education. Follow for product announcements, program updates, and news.
  • Google Facts- Learn new things every day. When you doubt our facts, Google is your friend.
  • Google Calendar- The official Twitter home of Google calendar.
  • Google Arts&Culture- Where arts and culture meet technology.
  • Google Docs- News and updates about Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Keep, and more. 
Applications for Education
Keep up with changes to Google is important, especially in schools that rely on Google and Chromebooks.