Monday, February 28, 2022

Canva, Groundhogs, and Docs - The Month in Review

Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Maine. The sun has set on last day of February, 2022. As I do at the end of every month I look in my Google Analytics account to find out which blog posts were the most popular during the month. As you'll see below, two of them were about Canva, one was about Groundhog Day, and two were about Google Docs. Take a look at the full list below. 

These were the most popular posts in February:
1. My Big Playlist of Canva Tutorials
2. Groundhog Day Explained
3. Ten Overlooked Google Docs Features for Students and Teachers
4. Math, Science, and Philosophy Lessons for Valentine's Day
5. How to Use Canva Designs in Google Slides
6. Map Puzzle - Test Your Knowledge of World Geography
7. Use TinyTap to Create Interactive Lessons and Games With Soundboards
8. New Lesson Plans from DocsTeach
9. How to Prevent Printing of Shared Google Documents
10. How to Add Watermarks to Google Docs

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This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include Icons Daily and Daily Dose. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Create Drag and Drop Activities With TeacherMade

Disclosure: TeacherMade is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

At the end of January TeacherMade added a bunch of new features to their popular platform for creating online activities for students. Last week they added perhaps the best feature yet, that is the ability to create  drag-and-drop activities with your existing PDFs and Word docs. Additionally, you can create an entire drag-and-drop activity from scratch in the TeacherMade activity editor. 

Creating drag-and-drop map activities was the first thing that I thought of when I saw TeacherMade's new activity creation option. So the first drag-and-drop activity that I made in TeacherMade was based on a map of New England. To make the activity I used a map and a list of states that I already had in a Google Document. I downloaded that Google Doc as a PDF then uploaded to TeacherMade where I then use the editing tools to create boxes around each state's name and a box (TeacherMade calls them landing zones) on each state to which the names should be dragged. A complete overview of this short process is available in this video



Like all TeacherMade activities, drag-and-drop activities can be automatically scored for you. To do that just set and answer key and point values for each "landing zone" in the drag-and-drop activities that you create. That process is outlined in the video above.

Finally, it's worth noting that you don't have to be a great graphic designer to make good-looking activities in TeacherMade. You can use something like Canva to find a great worksheet template and then import it into TeacherMade to create an online activity to share with your students. My demonstration of how to use Canva templates in TeacherMade can be watched right here.

New Spaces Digital Portfolio Features

Spaces is a digital portfolio tool that I first covered around this time last year. Since then it has steadily grown in popularity. As it has grown in popularity it has steadily responded to teachers' feedback and suggestions for improvement. The latest example of that is found in the latest batch of updates. 

In the latest batch of updates Spaces has increased the number of media files that you can attach to a post. The previous limit was three and now it is ten. Two other significant updates are the ability to add private comments to posts to in group Spaces (portfolios) and the ability to review and publish students' submissions to group Spaces. You can read more about all of the updates right here on the Spaces product roadmap site

Applications for Education
One of the features of Spaces that I have liked from the start is the "asynchronous breakout room" functionality. This allows your students to work together on collaborative projects and also participate in whole-class activities. Learn more about that aspect of Spaces in this blog post.

Learn how to get started with Spaces by watching the following videos.
How to create digital portfolios with Spaces - Part 1


How to create digital portfolios with Spaces - Part 2