Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trace Product Developments Through Google Scholar Patent Search

Last week I was on Facebook chatting with an old friend about an older friend of ours who passed away almost a decade ago now. His name was Steve Gibbs and he owned a successful business that manufactured archery products. Steve's company sponsored me when I was attempting to make the 2000 U.S. Olympic Archery Team. (I didn't qualify, but that's a story for another place and time).

Steve and his company developed a bunch of innovative, patented products. Many of those innovations have been improved upon since his passing. Thinking about Steve and his innovations prompted me to do a little digging in Google Scholar. Specifically, digging into the patent search in Google Scholar. Through my digging in Google Scholar I was able to see who has used and or referenced my friend's patent in the development of subsequent, similar products.

In Google Scholar you can search for patent filings as well as literature about patents and their respective holders. What's interesting about patent search in Google Scholar is that once you've located a filing you can then read the abstract of the filing, view drawings associated with the filing, and read the claims made by the patent holder. Further more, at the bottom of the filing page in Google Scholar you will find a list of citations to related patents referenced in the filing along with a list of other patent filings referencing the one that you're currently viewing. Most of those references include direct links that you can follow back to their respective patent filings.

Applications for Education
Conducting a patent search in Google Scholar and or on Google Patents (a subsection of Scholar) could be a good way for students to trace the development of innovations on a product or process. You could have students create a timeline of development. In that timeline ask them to summarize how each new, related patent was influenced by prior developments.

We will explore this idea and many others in Teaching History With Technology starting in October. 

How to Insert Columns Into Google Docs

Yesterday, Google announced a change to the way in which search works in Google Drive. Buried at the bottom of that announcement was a note about column formatting in Google Docs. For years the only way to create columns in Google Docs has been to insert a table. That finally changed yesterday with the addition of new column formatting option.

To insert columns into your Google Documents you now simply open the "format" drop-down menu and select "columns." In the video embedded below I demonstrate this new feature of Google Docs.

In October you can earn three graduate credits while learning more about Google Docs and all aspects of Google Apps for Education. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How to Create Comic Strips in Google Slides

Earlier today I published a post listing a handful of tools that students can use to create comic strips. Google Slides is one tool that wasn't in that list. With a little creativity your students can create comic strips in Google Slides. Google Slides contains all of the tools that students need in order to create, share, and print comic strips. The best part of creating a comic strip in Google Slides is that students can collaborate on the process of making a comic strip story.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a comic strip in Google Slides.

In October you can earn graduate credits while learning more about Google Slides and all aspects of Google Apps for Education.

Draw and Tell: Create Animated Screencasts with Elementary Students

This is a guest post from Tom Daccord (@thomasdaccord) of EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

Thanks to a recent partnership with Khan Academy, Duck Duck Moose has made its terrific Draw and Tell iOS app completely FREE. With Draw and Tell, young students can easily create an animated screencast complete with voice, drawings, images, and objects. As a result, it's simple for emerging learners to create digital stories or presentations on any number of topics.

With Draw and Tell, students can draw, color, and insert stickers or stencils onto a scene. They can do so on a blank scene, or a formatted coloring scene, and have a wide variety of colors, objects, and backgrounds from which to choose. Students can even record themselves while they move objects on the screen and the end result is an animated screencast. Once complete, students can save their screencast as a video file to the iPad’s Camera Roll. From here, the video can now be “app smashed” (inserted into another app) into Book Creator, iMovie, or any number of apps.

As shown in the adjacent image, students can choose stickers, stencils, a pencil, a coloring brush, or coloring pens from menu items in the right column. The sticker option provides a range of cartoon animals, vehicles, clothing, foods, household items, buttons, and cutouts, as well as numbers and letters, that appear at the bottom of the scene. Simply tap on a sticker and then tap on the scene to make that sticker appear. Once in place, an object can be moved, resized or deleted (by swiping it off the scene).

At the top of the scene, a microphone is available for students to record themselves.  If students record as they move an object on the scene, they could, for instance, show and describe the movement of a truck, bird, or ship. Or, they could simply explain how and why they created a particular scene. For example, students might draw their favorite animals and then record their explanation of what they are and why they drew them. They might describe a pattern they see in a series of objects, such as a color pattern or geometric pattern. Students might draw a poster, an avatar, a costume, or any number of objects. They might describe a procedure, such as cleaning leaves in their yard, or they might draw their home, neighborhood, or family and explain what each means to them. Each of these activities can help teachers better understand what students know, think, feel, and understand about a particular topic.

Very young students might simply color. Draw and Tell provides dozens of templates, and children can draw to their heart’s content.  Students can choose from different coloring pens and crayons not only to draw figures but also to color a background or fill in a particular space on a template. The templates also serve as prompts to encourage students to develop a story.

Though screencasts are limited to one scene, it’s possible to combines scenes to create an extended story. Simply drag your created scenes to reorder them or drag one on top of another to create a group. In this way, students could create an extended story about, say, what they did over the summer or their favorite superhero’s activities.

At its heart, Draw and Tell is self-directed storytelling and exploration tool, so it doesn’t come with a user guide. Personally, I certainly could have used help getting the pencil tool to work, but I figure the 7-year old me would have figured that out sooner.

It would also be helpful if Draw and Tell provided ready access to the Camera Roll to insert video into animations. Yet, despite a few limitations, Draw and Tell is an engaging and intuitive app that helps prompts students to think, imagine, and nurture their creative spirit and energies. It’s well worth the exploration.

Get More Creative iPad Ideas from Tom Daccord at the November 3-4, EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit.

4 Browser-based Tools for Creating Comic Strips

Lately, I've published quite a bit about Pixton and Storyboard That. Both of those services provide good platforms for creating comic strips. Those aren't the only tools that you can use to create comic strips with your students. Here are some other browser-based tools that your students can use to create comic strips.

Make Beliefs Comix offers comic strip templates and writing prompts in up to seven languages. The templates and prompts can be completed online or you can print them out to give to your students. Make Beliefs Comix also offers a free iPad app. Make Beliefs Comix iPad app supports the creation of comics in seven languages; English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Latin. The free Make Beliefs Comix iPad app allows students to create two, three, and four panel comic strips. To create comics in the Make Beliefs Comix iPad app you simply select the number of frames you want to use then choose the characters that you want to feature in your story. After choosing your frames and characters you can type text into speech bubbles to tell your story.

Comic Master is a free tool designed for students to use to create comics in the "graphic novel style" that is popular with a lot of kids in the ten to fourteen years old age range. Comic Master provides a drag and drop interface for students to build their comics on. Students using Comic Master can select from a variety of layouts, backgrounds, characters, effects, and fonts. Students can create free accounts on Comic Master to save their works and edit them whenever they like. Comic Master gives students the option to create and print multiple page stories.

Witty Comics provides a simple platform that students can use to create two character dialogues. To use Witty Comics students just need to select the pre-drawn background scenes and the pre-drawn characters they want to feature in their comics. Writing the dialogues is the creative element that is left to the students.

Write Comics is a free, simple tool for creating comic strips. Write Comics doesn't require any registration to use. In fact, registration is not even an option. To create a comic on Write Comics just select a background from the menu, choose some characters, and add some speech bubbles. You can continue adding frames until you've completed your story. Write Comics is quite easy to use, but there is one short-coming and that is the only way you can save your work is to save it to your local hard drive.

Popular Posts