Thursday, April 19, 2018

Guides and Rulers for Google Slides

If you're like me, you might need a little help making things line up the way they should in your presentations. If you're a Google Slides user, one of the things that can help you with that is using the guides and rulers. This week Google updated the guides option so that you can add your own guidelines for placement of objects in your slides. The rulers tool was updated with finer controls and indentations.

You will find guides and rulers in Google Slides in the "view" drop-down menu in Google Slides. Select "show ruler" to display the updated ruler on your slide editor. Select "guides" to view the pre-defined guidelines and or add your own guidelines.


Applications for Education
Whether we're teachers, administrators, or students we all want to make our presentations look good. The updated guides and rulers options in Google Slides can help everyone make their presentations a little bit better.

Learn more about Google Slides in my online course, G Suite for Teachers. The course is on sale now through Monday. 

Now You Can Include Google Slides In a Google Document

Inserting charts from Google Sheets has been an option in Google Documents for quite a while. This week Google added the option to add a slide from Google Slides into a document. Your chosen slide essentially appears as an image within your document. Once it is inserted into your document you can resize your slide and text wrap just as you would an image.

To insert a slide from Google Slides into your Google Documents select the "copy" option on the slide that you want to insert and then use the "paste" option in your document.

As with almost all new features, Google is rolling this one out over the course of a couple of weeks. If you don't see the new option today or it doesn't work as you expected, give it a day or two and then try again.

Applications for Education
I can see this new option being useful to students who have used Google Slides to create charts and diagrams for a presentation. Those charts and diagrams from the presentation could also be useful in writing a corresponding paper.

Animated Map of First Foliage Appearances

Last Friday I was in Greenwich, Connecticut to give a presentation. Greenwich is roughly 300 miles south of my home in Maine. Greenwich was in full spring bloom with green grass and foliage starting to bud on the trees. Meanwhile back home in Maine my yard was covered in snow. In making that drive I saw what The New York Times has illustrated in a new animated map of spring foliage. The map, put together by Henry Fountain and Jeremy White, is a time-lapse map that shows when, on average, the "first leaf" appears in each state. The data represented in the map comes from the USA National Phenology Network. The animation moves quickly, but you can pause it by clicking on it.

Applications for Education
Autumn is when most of us in New England think of and take notice of the changes in foliage. But the spring has just as many changes in foliage even if those changes are quite as colorful. None-the-less, the changes throughout the season are the perfect subject for a timelapse video project. You could have students take one picture per day of their backyards or your school yard for a month. Then at the end of the month stitch those pictures together to create a timelapse video by using a tool like Jellycam or Stop Motion Animator.

H/T to Cool Infographics for the map. 

Enable These Google Forms Settings to Save Time When Making Quizzes

Making quizzes and giving quizzes is a common use of Google Forms. If you have ever built a quiz and given it to your students only to notice after the fact that you forgot to assign a point value to a question, then you need to watch my video about setting Forms preferences. If you've ever forgotten to make a question required, you need to watch my video about setting Forms preferences. In the following video I demonstrate how to set your Forms preferences so that you always have a point value assigned to your questions and made every question required.



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

5 Good Resources for Teaching & Learning About Mount Everest

April and May is considered to be the peak climbing season in the Himalaya Mountains. Of course, the most famous of those mountains is Everest. As long-time readers of this blog may recall, one of my bucket list items is seeing Mount Everest in person. Until then I have to entertain myself with books, videos, and imagery of the mountain. Here are some of the resources that I like to consult when teaching students about Mount Everest and the area surrounding it.

Why is Mount Everest so Tall? is a TED-Ed lesson in which students learn why the peak of Everest is so high, why other mountains are longer from base to summit, and how mountains in general are formed. Through the lesson students can also learn why the heights of mountains change and why Everest may not be the tallest mountain forever.



Through Google's Street View imagery of Mount Everest Basecamp (south side) students can zoom and pan around the foothills of Mount Everest. Students viewing that imagery for the first time might be surprised at how different the view is compared the to the typical pictures of Everest. After viewing the imagery students can click forward to see Street View imagery of other places in the region.

Scaling Everest is an infographic that goes beyond the usual scale of Everest comparisons to buildings and jet flight paths. In the infographic you will find audio of three Everest climbers talking about the approach to Everest basecamp and the nuances of the climb itself. The infographic also provides some interesting facts about plants and animals in the region.

Snow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Everest by Ed Webster (a fellow Mainer) is one of the best books ever written about Mount Everest. If you enjoy good adventure stories and or stories about overcoming personal struggles, I think you will enjoy Webster's book. For my money, and I own two copies of it, it does a far better job of explaining how it feels to be on Mount Everest than any of the two dozen or so books that I've read about Mount Everest and the Himalaya.

The Rest of Everest video podcast provides more than 100 hours of video and commentary from expeditions to the Himalayas. If you're looking for a way to show students what life on a mountain climbing trip is really like from start to finish, the Rest of Everest is the place to go.