Friday, November 10, 2017

Earth View from Google Earth

The Earth View from Google Earth Chrome extension allows you to view a different vibrant image from Google Earth each time you open a new tab. Each of the 1500 images in the gallery are unique and incredible. You have the option of sharing the image to Google+, Facebook, or Twitter or grabbing the link to share in an email. You can also view the last ten images in a tray at the bottom of your screen.

When you click on the globe feature in the lower right corner of your screen, the image will open to the location where it was taken in Google Earth. When you are in Google Earth you will be able to view the location in 2D or 3D and in some instances you can use Pegman to explore at streetview level.

Applications for Education
The Earth View extension is a great conversation starter. You could use an image from this extension as the basis for a descriptive writing assignment. It could also be used as a way to fill a few minutes here and there during the day. Students love the ability to explore different places and this extension allows you to visit beautiful places from around the world.

Seven Tips for Getting More Out of Google Slides

Google Slides are a great tool for creating presentations. They are simple to use, provide us with a way to collaborate, and are easy to share. I'd like to share a few tips and tricks I have learned over the years that might help you get even more out of Google Slides.
  • Start with a template- Google has provided us with dozens of templates to help us create beautiful presentations. Why not use them? There are templates for photo books, recipes, case studies, science project, lesson plans, and so much more!
  • Explore button- This button lives on the lower right corner of your slides. Really cool things happen when you click it! If you have added an image or two and some text, Google will automagically provide you with several suggestions for layouts that might look better than what you have created. This is super helpful for students who believe that neon yellow text looks awesome on a hot pink background.
  • Resize your slides- Sometimes the size of your slides isn't what you want. Maybe it would work better if they were taller or a specific size. What if you resized them to 8.5x11? When you resize to these dimensions (or to 11x8.5) your slides will be the same size as a sheet of paper. Think of the possibilities! Students could create posters and print them! To resize to to file, page setup, custom, then enter your desired dimensions.
  • Fun fonts- By default, there are only a dozen or so fonts that are available in Google Slides. Did you know there are hundreds of fonts that you can add with just a couple of clicks? When you click on the font menu in slides it will open a drop down menu where you can add as many additional fonts as you wish. When you add a new font in one type of Google Doc it will transfer to the others.
  • Edit photos- Slides has some really cool built in photo editing tools. You can adjust the transparency, brightness, and contrast of images as well as recolor them. Slides also has tools that allow you to create shadows and reflections.
  • Mask image- If you find the perfect image, but you wish to change the shape of it you can mask it. Perhaps you want to change a square picture into a circle or heart. It is easy to do inside of Google Slides with just a couple of clicks.
  • Duplicate slides- Perhaps you want students (or audience) to fill in specific information on a slide. All you need to do is create a single slide with the information you want then duplicate the slide so there is a slide for each person. If there are special instructions or links you want to share with your students then add them in the speaker notes before you create the duplicates. 
These tips and tricks should help save you time and get more out of Google Slides. Click the following links to learn more about Google Slides. 

Two Good Tools for Creating Interactive Timelines

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader named Ashley who wrote, "My classes have been reading Girl in Hyacinth Blue, a reverse chronology of the history of an art work. I would like them to do an interactive timeline to show their understanding of the text. I have never done something like this before. Any suggestions?"

I gave Ashley two suggestions that I will share with any high school teacher who is interested in doing something like what Ashley is going to have her students do. First, Timeline JS offers an excellent way to make multimedia timelines through Google Sheets. Students enter dates, event descriptions, links to images, and links to videos into a Google Sheets template provided by Timeline JS. The timeline is then displayed in full screen with a horizontal scroll. The videos that students link to in the template are played directly in the timeline. And as an added bonus, your students can even include links to Google Maps locations in their timelines.

The second suggestion that I gave to Ashley was to try Sutori, formerly known as, is a complete multimedia timeline creation service. Students can build timelines that include pictures, videos, and text. As a benefit for teachers, not only can you include media like pictures and videos, you can also include quiz questions in your timeline. So if you wanted to have students view a few events on a timeline and then answer a few comprehension questions, you can build those questions right into the timeline.

Timelines are a staple of the history teacher's playbook. In Teaching History With Technology I provide detailed tutorials on making multimedia timelines along with seven other lessons on using technology in your history lessons.