Sunday, October 24, 2021

A Video Project for the Week - Halloween Safety

Halloween is just seven days away. Ten days ago I shared my updated list of Halloween-themed activities and resources. In that list I included playing a Halloween safety review game from Kahoot. Keeping with the idea of Halloween safety, consider having students create a short video about trick o' treat safety. 

There are a lot of tools and ways that student could create a short video about trick o' treating safety. They could make a quick one-take video in Flipgrid in which they share a Halloween safety tip. Another option is to use Adobe Spark to make a little audio slideshow about Halloween safety. And my favorite option would be to use Canva's video editor to make a little animated video about Halloween safety. 

A quick search for "Halloween" in Canva will provide you with templates for making Halloween-themed videos and lots of Halloween-themed animated GIFs and drawings. Here's a demonstration of how to create an animated video by using Canva's video editor. 


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Forms, Earth, and STEM - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it is still dark as I draft this blog post. In fact, it will be dark for at least another hour. The late sunrise is the only thing that I dislike about this time of year in Maine. Except for the big oak tree in my front yard, all of the leaves on the trees have changed color, the temperatures are a pleasant range of 50-60F, and there's lots of fun to be had outside. We'll be playing in the big leaf piles in our yard today. I hope that you do something fun today too. 

As I do every week, I've assembled a list of the most popular posts of the week. Take a look and see if there's something interesting that you missed earlier in the week. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. An Overview of Google Forms Quiz Settings
2. Samsung Solve for Tomorrow - A Great STEM Contest for Students!
3. Life on Minimum Wage - A Personal Economics Simulation Game
4. Ten Skills Students Can Learn from Google's Applied Digital Skills Lessons
5. The United Nations Explained for Kids
6. Gary Paulsen Talks About Reading and Writing
7. I'm Feeling Lucky - A Google Earth Lesson

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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 CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Tips on Word Art, Fonts, and Special Characters in Google Docs and Slides

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who wanted some advice to pass along to colleagues about using custom fonts in Google Docs. I made this short video to lend some assistance. Before you watch the video there are a few things to note about fonts in Google Docs and Slides. 

Unfortunately, without using a third-party add-on there isn't a way to upload fonts into Google Docs and Slides from outside of the Google Workspace ecosystem. That said, there are more than 400 fonts available in the fonts drop-down menu in Google Docs and Slides. 

Word Art in Google Slides lets you create text that automatically resizes when you click and drag on the corners around it. Word Art can also be customized with border and fill colors as well as border dashes and dots. 

Special characters in Google Docs and Slides are found in the "insert" drop-down menu. This is where you can find things like emoticons, musical symbols, accent marks, and lots of little icons. 

Watch this video to learn more about using Word Art, fonts, and special characters in Google Docs and Slides. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Create a Portfolio With Carrd.co

I often get asked for recommendations for simple website builders that teachers and students can use to create small websites. Google Sites is fine, but the aesthetics still have a long way to go. Services like WordPress and Weebly are great, but have way more menus and options than what's needed for a quick and simple site. Carrd.co is a new service that just might fill the need for an easy-to-use tool to quickly create good-looking, simple websites. 

I gave Carrd.co a try this afternoon. In ten minutes I created a little photography portfolio site that looks way better than anything I could have created with Google Sites or WordPress. Watch this short demo video to see how you can create a portfolio site with Carrd.co.



Applications for Education
Carrd.co could be a good little tool for high school or college students to use to create simple websites to share information about themselves and their work. They can create sites that are useful to have and share when applying for an internship, a scholarship, or a job.

A Helpful New Feature for Formatting Google Docs

Google Docs users who regularly create multiple page documents will be happy to learn that Google is adding a new page break feature to Google Docs. The new page break option will let you insert a page break before any new paragraph. This means that you'll no longer have to manually insert spaces to create a page break. Likewise, your formatting of the page break will be preserved if you have to later add more text or images to a page within your document. 

Applications for Education
This new page break will be welcomed by anyone who uses Google Docs to create long documents like worksheets that incorporate a lot of images, charts, or special text formatting. The new page break option should make it easier to preserve the formatting of pages without having to manually insert or delete spaces.