Monday, May 7, 2018

Capsure - Share Collections of Images With Audio Notes

Capsure is a photo sharing service that lets you create private and public collections of photographs. Lots of other services do the same thing. What makes Capsure a little bit different is that you can add audio notes to your collections.

To add audio notes to image collections in Capsure you have to use either the free Android app or the free iPhone app. Within the app you can tap on any of the pictures that you add to a collection to launch the option to record an audio message. Then anyone who views the collection within the Capsure app can hear your audio message when they view the images.

Applications for Education
At this time of year there are lots of opportunities for taking pictures at special school events like field trips, community service projects, and graduation events. Capsure could provide a nice way for parents to capture those events and share them with family. Teachers could also use Capsure for capturing images and sounds of events to share with parents in a private Capsure collection.

What's Going On With Flippity? - I Found Out for You

A few weeks ago I was giving a presentation that included a demonstration of Flippity's Google Sheets Add-on. A few minutes after the presentation a bunch of people told me that they received a security warning when they tried to install the Add-on. (I hadn't seen the message because it was a new development since I installed the Add-on). Since then I've fielded a bunch of emails and Facebook messages from folks who were experiencing the same thing.

I reached out to Flippity's developer to find out what was going on. In short, he is aware of the issue of the app not being verified and is working on resolving it (like many of our favorite tools, Flippity is developed by one person).

In the meantime you can still use all of the Flippity templates by just going to and then making a copy of any of the templates. Flippity currently offers sixteen Google Sheets templates that you can use for things like making multimedia flashcards, creating progress trackers, developing quiz games, and writing Mad Libs.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

History and Literature Text Messages is one of my favorite places to find templates for online activities for middle school and high school students. One of the templates on that I've recommended for years is the Fake SMS Generator. Watch my following video to learn how to use the SMS Generator on ClassTools.

Applications for Education
You could have students use the Classtools SMS Generator to create simple conversations between historical characters as way to get them to think about those peoples' lives and the conversations that they might have had. Another way to use the SMS Generator is have students create exchanges based on characters in a favorite book.

Easy Accents for Google Slides

For the last couple of years I have recommended the Easy Accents Add-on for Google Docs. It's a free Add-on that gives you access to a virtual keyboard to use to write non-English characters in your Google Documents. Recently, the Easy Accents Add-on became available in a version for Google Slides.

Easy Accents for Google Slides is easy to use. Install the Add-on from the Add-ons menu in Google Slides. Once installed you can launch it on any slide. Type as you normally would until you need to add an accent mark that isn't easy to create on your keyboard. Then just insert the letter and accent mark that you need from the Easy Accents keyboard. After inserting the letter and accent mark you can go back to typing on your physical keyboard.  Easy Accents for Google Slides currently supports twenty-four languages.

Applications for Education
Easy Accents is a good tool for students who need to make presentations in world languages class. The Easy Accents virtual keyboard makes it quick and easy to insert accents and then get right back to creating the presentation.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Create a Video Lesson Completely In PowerPoint

One of the easier ways to get started making your own video lessons is found within a tool that some of us have been using for decades. That tool is PowerPoint.

There is a screen recorder built into the current Windows desktop version of PowerPoint. The screen recorder will capture anything that you display on your screen and will record you talking about what is displayed on your screen. You can specify how much of your screen you want to have recorded. This means that you could use the screen recorder to record yourself talking over the slides that you have in a PowerPoint presentation.

Follow these steps to create a simple video lesson in PowerPoint:

  1. Create your slides in PowerPoint or open an existing PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Create a blank slide then select "screen recording" from within the "insert" menu.
  3. Drag and drop the "select area" tool to select the amount of screen space you want to have recorded. If you want to record your full screen, just drag the "select area" to the edge of your screen. (The select area tool launches automatically when you select "screen recording" as directed in step 2).
  4. Make sure that you have turned on the audio recording option and that your computer's audio input is working.
  5. Click the record button. All actions on your screen will be recorded including transitions between slides.
  6. When you stop recording, the video will be saved in your PowerPoint presentation. When you share your PowerPoint presentation anyone who has the current version of PowerPoint will be able to view the video. 

This post was updated on May 7th to reflect that these steps only work for the current Windows version of PowerPoint. It doesn't work on PowerPoint for Mac.