Thursday, August 13, 2015

Present Google Slides Through Hangouts on Your Android Device

Last week Google introduced a new presentation feature to Google Slides for Android. The latest update to the app enables you to quickly present your slides through a Google Hangout. I finally had a chance to test it this morning and it worked fairly well although not nearly as well as using full webinar service like GoToTraining.

To remotely present your slides through Google Slides for Android simply open your slides and choose the "present" option. After choosing "present" you will be asked to either initiate a new Google Hangout or join one that you have previously scheduled in your Google account. I tried it both ways and found it much easier to just initiate a new Hangout.

Applications for Education
Students who are working with partners to develop a presentation and are Android tablets, might appreciate the new option to quickly share slides remotely.

BBC iWonder - Multimedia Answers to Interesting Questions

The BBC's iWonder website is a neat resource that provides answers to interesting questions. The answers are arranged as multimedia collections of information. For example, one of iWonder collections answers "what were the 20 key events of WW2?" That collection is arranged as a timeline that you can scroll through. Each event in the timeline is accompanied by text, image, and video (some videos might not play in all regions of the world).

In addition to academic questions iWonder tackles some lighter questions like "why can't I resist food cravings?" and "how can I cure hiccups?" Scroll to the bottom of the iWonder homepage and select one of seven categories of questions. The categories are arts, food, science, consumer, earth, history, and religion & ethics.

Applications for Education
The content on iWonder provides good, general overviews of a large assortment of topics. As such, it's not the kind of site that I'll send students to for research so much as for an introduction to a topic. iWonder is also the kind of site that I like to use when I want to find "bonus material" or "general interest" reading to give to students.

How to Create a Progress Chart in Google Sheets

Flippity provides a handful of great Google Sheets templates. I've featured their Random Name Picker, Flashcard, and Jeopardy templates in the past. The latest Flippity template that I've tried is their Progress Indicator template. With that template you can create a progress chart that will update whenever you update the data in the chart. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to use Flippity's Progress Indicator template.

How Would You Like Your Updates?

The question that I am asked more than any other after a workshop or keynote is, "how can I keep up with everything?" Along the same lines, I'm also asked about how I keep with new ed tech information.

To answer those questions I have a few suggestions.
1. If you prefer to receive periodic updates, you might like my weekly newsletter email in which I share one tip and a list of the most popular posts of the week.

2. If you're the type of person who prefers to go to the information rather than have it come to you, I recommend subscribing to a few blogs through Feedly. You can find a short video tutorial on Feedly here.

3. If you like a more social flavor to discovering new ed tech information, jump on Twitter. I offer this list of people to follow on Twitter.

4. For the person who prefers Facebook or Pinterest, I share most of my posts there too. My Facebook page is and my primary Pinterest board can be found here.

Finally, if you're just generally curious about the rest of my life, I am on Instagram and Strava but unless you like dogs, bikes, fishing, or slow runners you'll get bored following me on those services.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Formula for Creating Useful Workshop Materials

I lead a lot of virtual and in-person workshops throughout the course of the year. For each of those workshops I create webpages that contain an outline, handouts in the form of PDFs, and video tutorials. I do this because I've learned over the years that even when people are 100% engaged in the workshop, there are still things that they might miss and or want to have reiterated after the workshop is over. Some people prefer tutorials that are text and image based while others prefer a video in which they can see and hear each step in action.  I make all of the tutorial materials for a workshop available on a webpage that I create for the topic.

My tools for creating and sharing workshop materials:
  1. WordPress: I now use WordPress for all of my online work except this blog and a classroom blog that runs on Blogger. I self-host WordPress through Media Temple. Doing that gives me the ultimate in design flexibility (not that I'm a designer by any means) and control including hiding and password-protecting pages. In the past I've used Google Sites and Wikispaces for workshop webpages. Those are both good choices too.

  2. Skitch: I use Skitch to create screenshots. With Skitch I can draw and type on screenshots. I've also used Jing for the same purpose in the past. 

  3. This is my preferred tool for creating screencast videos. I use the pro version which costs $15. The pro version runs on my desktop instead of in my web browser. The free version is also good and is more than adequate for most situations. When making screencasts about iPad apps I use AirServer (not free, but cheap) to record. On a Chromebook, Screencastify is good option for making screencast videos. 

  4. PDFs: To make my PDF handouts I just create a document in Google Documents then hit "download as PDF." My PDFs will contain a mix of text and screenshots.

  5. Hosting PDFs: I use to host my PDFs that I embed into webpages. You could accomplish the same thing with Google Drive. I use Box because it provides me with information about how many views and downloads each PDF has had. Box also allows me to password protect a file.