Friday, January 29, 2016

Today I Learned - Fun Facts Featured in National Geographic Videos

National Geographic's YouTube channel includes a fun playlist of short videos about interesting science facts. The playlist, called Today I Learned or TIL for short, is comprised of 60 to 90 second videos on things like "why is the ocean salty?" and "how chameleons change color." The playlist is embedded below.


Applications for Education
The videos in Today I Learned aren't long enough to be full flipped lessons, but they could be useful as warm-up material to spark your students' curiosities about a topic.

New Commenting Options in Google Slides, Sheets, Docs Mobile Apps

If you have run updates on your iPad or Android tablet in the last 24 hours you might have noticed some new commenting options in Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. If you haven't run updates, you will want to after learning about the new commenting features.

Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets for iOS and Android now have instant mentions in comments. Simply start typing a contact's name in a comment box and you will see a list of suggested names to mention in your comments. Anyone you select from that list will be notified of being mentioned in your comment.

One of my favorite features of Google Docs comments is the ability to reply to someone else's comment. Now you can do that in the Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets mobile apps too. And to make it easier to sort through comments all of the Docs, Slides, and Sheets apps have comment swiping enabled.


Applications for Education
The latest updates to the Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets mobile apps bring the experience on a tablet closer to that of using Docs, Slides, and Sheets in your web browser. For schools that have BYOD programs these updates should help streamline your workflow throughout the Google Apps suite.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

How to Create a Classroom Blog on Weebly for Education

Weebly for Education offers a good platform for creating a classroom blog. One of the perks of Weebly for Education is that you can create and manage your students' accounts from one central dashboard. Weebly for Education also offers all of the great templates and content management tools that has made Weebly one of the most popular tools on the web for creating blogs and websites.

In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to create student accounts in Weebly for Education and how to create a blog in your Weebly for Education account.


The following video shows you how to create a video blog through YouTube and Weebly.

How to Set a Time Limit on Google Forms

This morning I received a question from a teacher who was looking for a way to impose a time limit on a quiz or test administered through Google Forms. My suggestion was to try using the Google Forms Add-on called Form Limiter. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to install and use Form Limiter.


If you wanted to break your test into multiple sections in Google Forms, you could impose a time limit on each section. For example, let's say that you want to give a 30 question test. You could break that test into three sections of ten questions by making three separate Forms. At the end of each Form include a link to proceed to the next Form in the series. You would place the link in the "response accepted" message at the bottom of the Forms that you publish.

For more Google Forms tips and tricks, check out my playlist of more than 80 Google Apps Tutorials.

Free PowerPoint Templates for Teachers and Students

We've all seen plenty of poorly designed slides that have harsh color schemes, fonts that are too small, or otherwise just don't look quite right. Fortunately, there is help for those of us who struggle with visual design. Sites like SlideModel, SlideHunter, and FPPT offer slide design templates that we can use in PowerPoint, OpenOffice Impress, and Google Slides.

SlideHunter is a free website containing a collection of free slide decks. These slides can be downloaded then imported into PowerPoint, OpenOffice Impress, or Google Slides. Pro tip for Google Slides users, you can import all of the slides or select just the ones that have the layout you want. Once you've imported the slide templates you can modify them to fit your needs. And if you don't need complete slides, but just a piece of artwork or a diagram template, you can find those on SlideHunter too. I'm a big fan of this design that I found on SlideHunter.

FPPT is another site that offers free PowerPoint templates for teachers and students. You can search for templates on FPPT according to category, tag, or even color scheme. There is an education section on the site. In the education section I found this neat template for a history presentation.

SlideModel is a website that offers professionally designed PowerPoint slide templates. When converted, the templates also work in OpenOffice and Google Slides. You can register for a free account on SlideModel to receive their free template of the week. There is also an option to upgrade to plans with unlimited slide template access.

Disclosure: SlideModel is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com