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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Tip for Unorganized Google Drive Users Like Me

There are some people who use folders with a strict system and order. This blog post is not for them. Then there are those of us who know we should use folders, use them when remember to use them, and then forget what went in the folders during our moments of "getting organized." If that describes your folder use in Google Drive, you're like me and you need to use this Google Drive search tip. Watch my video embedded below and gain a little sanity for your next search through your Google Drive folders.


Learn more than just handy tips in my on-demand course G Suite for Teachers starting in January. 

Three Good Ways to Create Instructional Animations

Earlier this week I shared five ways to create animated movies on Chromebooks. Creating animated movies can be a lot of fun for you and your students. But sometimes you just need a short animation to get your point across or to remind students about an important point. That's when the following three tools are handy.

Flip Anim provides possibly the easiest way draw and create an animated GIF. In the following short video I demonstrate how to create animated GIFs by using Flip Anim.



Loopy is a free tool for creating your own animated simulations or illustrations of a concept. This free animation tool is designed to showing relationships between two or more parts of a system. It's perfect for showing cause and effect or for showing a workflow system. To create an animation on Loopy you simply have to click on the blank canvas to place a circle that represents the start of a system. Then click on the canvas again to add another element to your system animation. To connect the two (or more) pieces you use a drawing tool to connect them. Once you've drawn the connections you can add cause and effect commands by selecting them from the Loopy editor.

Parapara Animation is a free animation creation tool developed and hosted by Mozilla. The tool is easy to use and it does not require registration in order to use it. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create an animation with ParaPara Animation.



Storyboard - Create Cartoons from Your Videos

Storyboard is a new Android app produced by Google. The app will let you select a video that you have recorded on your phone and then have a cartoon storyboard of the video automatically created for you. I tried Storyboard yesterday and found it easy to use. That ease of use is partly due to the lack of customization options found in the app. All you can do in the app is select a video and then swipe through layouts until you find one that you like. You can't customize the layouts. Customizing the cartoon effects is also not an option.

Applications for Education
I think there is some use for the Storyboard app in school settings. The app could be useful for generating cover images for digital portfolios that include videos recorded by students.

The app might also be useful for extracting pictures from a video. Students could then caption those images to practice writing stories or writing directions for a process.

Fun & Educational Activities In the Snow

We have just had our second snowstorm of the year here in Maine. It is around this time every year that I share some educational activities that you and your students can do in the snow. Some of these activities have connections with math and physics concepts.

NOVA, as a part of their program on Denali, has directions for building a snow cave and directions for building an Igloo.

Boys' Life offers a list of outdoor winter games as well as directions for building igloos and snow shelters.

Making your own snowshoes is an activity that can be done indoors with the final product enjoyed outdoors. Mother Earth News offers directions for making your own snowshoes. How Cast has video directions for making an emergency pair of snowshoes.

In the video below BBC Survival Expert Ray Mears teaches viewers how to make an igloo and what igloos were traditionally used for.


When I was about seven or eight I was given a copy of The American Boy's Handy Book. The book is filled with fun hands-on indoor and outdoor activities including an entire section devoted to snow forts and other snow-related activities. When my daughters are a little older, we'll use my copy of the book to find snow day activities.