Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Icelandic & 17 Other Languages Added to Google Drive

This afternoon on the Google Drive blog it was announced that 65 languages are now supported in Google Drive. That total includes 18 languages that were added today. You can switch between languages by opening the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your Google Drive home screen and selecting "language" under the "settings" menu. Click here for more directions.

The announcement on the Google Drive blog also reminded me that you can share documents, slides, and sheets with people who use a different language in their Google Drive accounts.

Three Things to Consider When Planning Video Projects

This afternoon at the TICL conference I gave a short presentation about classroom video projects. Part of that presentation is a short list of things to consider when planning a video project.

1. The first consideration is what you want your students to demonstrate through their videos. This will help to determine which video production tools your students will use. For example, if you want your students to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of Manifest Destiny then you'll probably want them to create longer documentary-style videos by using a tool like WeVideo. On the other hand, if you just want your students to share some highlights of their field trips then a simple tool like Animoto might be adequate.

2. Your students' skill level with video editing tools. Early in the school year when my students don't have a lot of experience with video production tools, I like to start them out with relatively simple tools. Then as they year progresses I introduce them to move complex tools.

3. Be concise. Last year Wistia published some interesting data that revealed that people are more likely to watch multiple short videos all the way through than one longer video of equivalent length. Consider having your students use the YouTube annotations tool to create a series of linked, short videos about a topic rather than one long video. Directions for doing this can be found here.

Four Google+ How-to Videos

Last month I wrote 5 Things I Like About Building a PLN on Google+. Over the last ten days I've had four opportunities to talk with teachers about personal learning networks. In each of those presentations I've introduced Google+. One of the things that I like about Google+ is the ease with which you can start and follow conversations. If you've been considering trying Google+ or you've tried and didn't quite get it, take a look at the following videos from Google about how to get started on Google+.

GoSoapBox - Survey Your Audience In a Variety of Ways

GoSoapBox is a nice tool for surveying your audience on realtime. I first tried the service a couple of years ago when it was still in beta. GoSoapBox allows you to have your audience respond to questions through their laptops, tablets, and phones.

This morning I saw Doug Johnson use it during his presentation at the TICL conference in Storm Lake, Iowa. Doug used a couple of the handy features in GoSoapBox to get the audience involved in his presentation. The tools that he used were Polls and Discussions. The Polls tool allows you to survey your audience by having them select an answer choice in response to a question. The Discussions tool allows you to have audience members reply to open-ended questions.

GoSoapBox has a handy option called a Confusion Meter. The Confusion Meter allows members of your audience to simply say, "yes, I get it" or "no, I don't get it." The Confusion Meter, like all of the GoSoapBox survey tools, can accept anonymous feedback.

Applications for Education
GoSoapBox allows you to create an event prior to your presentation or lesson. You can select all of the questions and question formats ahead of time. When your presentation or lesson starts, give your students the link to the event and they can access respond to the questions when you prompt them to respond. The Confusion Meter is the simplest tool in the GoSoapBox collection, but might be the most useful for some teachers.