Saturday, September 5, 2015

Have You Tried Voice Typing In Google Docs? - It's Easy to Use

A bunch of new features were added to Google Apps this week. The latest one that I have tried is voice typing in Google Docs. In the past there were some Chrome extensions that could enable you to do that, but now voice typing is a native feature of Google Docs. To use voice typing in Google Docs simply open the "tools" drop-down menu and select "voice typing." When you make that selection a microphone icon will appear in the margin of your document. Once the icon appears, click it, allow Google to access your microphone, and start talking. Your spoken words will almost instantly appear on in the document.

I tested voice typing in Google Docs and was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy. I was also pleased with how it responded to my prompts to insert punctuation. A complete set of voice typing functions is available here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Find and Create Graphing Problems in the Desmos Teacher Resources

Desmos is a free graphing calculator that is available to use in your web browser and as an Android and iPad app. The Desmos calculator performs all of the functions you would expect to see in a graphing calculator with a couple of extras that you don't find in typical graphing calculators. Desmos allows you to share your equations and graphs. Desmos graphs your equations as you type them and redraws them as you alter your equations.

Applications for Education
Desmos offers a good collection of resources for teachers. The teacher resources page features a dozen pre-made activities that you can distribute to students. The activities take advantage of the functions in Desmos while helping your students learn about graphing, problem modeling, algebra, and geometry. Once you've reviewed some of the pre-made activities in Desmos you can use the Desmos activity builder to create your own lessons and distribute them to your students.

New Video Series Coming Soon - #askRichardByrne

One of the things that I've been doing since joining MindRocket Media Group in late June is getting things in order for a video series that will be appearing on EdCircuit. Every week I'll be answering some of the questions that I get asked on Twitter, Facebook, and in my email. While the series will mostly be focused on technology, I'll take on some other questions too. If you have a question for me Tweet it with the hashtag #askRichardByrne or send it to me on the EdCircuit Facebook page.

I attempted to do a series like this on my own a couple of years ago and found that I didn't have the time to do all of the video editing that was necessary. By working with MindRocket Media Group I don't have to worry about that and I can just focus on answering your questions. So if you have an ed tech question for me use the hashtag #askRichardByrne or send it through the EdCircuit Facebook page.

And, of course, you're still welcome to email me anytime at richardbyrne (at)

How to Use the Google Drive Templates Gallery

The Google Drive templates gallery is a good place to find designs for slides, documents, and spreadsheets. As someone who gets frustrated by manipulating spreadsheets, I find the Sheets templates to be particularly useful. The Docs and Slides templates are also helpful when I need inspiration for layouts and color schemes. In the short video embedded below I provide an overview of how to access and use the Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides templates.

Google Docs for Android Now Includes a Research Tool

This post originally appeared on one of my other blogs,

The research tool within Google Documents is one of my favorite features for students. That research tool has been available in the browser-based version of Google Docs for years. Now that same feature is available in the Google Docs for Android app.

The research function in Google Documents allows students to conduct Google searches without leaving the Android app. When students find links, pictures, or quotes that they want to include in their documents they can simply tap the insert button to place it in their documents. For students who are using Android tablets or phones as their primary devices, the research function should make the process of writing research papers a bit more efficient.