Wednesday, September 26, 2018

5 Ways to Use Google Slides Besides Making Presentations

Google Slides has come a long way since the first time that I had students use it a decade ago. Many features have been added in that time. Many of those features make it possible to use Google Slides for more than just making slideshows. Here are five ways that you and your students can use Google Slides besides making presentations.

1. Create Comic Strips


2. Create Jeopardy-style games.


3. Create Choose-Your-Own Adventure Stories.
By using the same logic that is applied in making a Jeopardy-style game in Google Slides, students can create choose-your-own adventure stories. Have students publish the presentation to the web so that their classmates can interact with their stories.

4. Create and Printable Storyboards.

5. Make Certificates.
Open the template gallery at slides.google.com and you will find a template for making certificates. You can use those certificates as is (obviously altering names and descriptions) or customize the colors and font styles before downloading them as PDFs or printing them.

Learn more about how to use Google Slides by participating in my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

5 VR Projects for Students

Google's VR Tour Creator is one of my favorite media creation tools. Since its launch in May of this year I have shown it to hundreds of teachers in-person and even more in videos and webinars. I love it because it empowers students to make their own virtual reality experiences rather than just consuming virtual reality content. Here are five ideas for VR creation projects for students.

5 VR Creation Projects for Students
  • Virtual reality tours based upon students’ favorite books. (On a similar note, VR to illustrate stories that students have written.)
  • VR tours about places students study in geography / history lessons.
  • VR tours to illustrate examples of math and science used in the design and construction of landmarks. 
  • VR tours to illustrate examples of types of landforms, rocks, waterways, and bodies of water.
  • VR tours to illustrate examples of an animal’s natural habitat and range.
Google VR Tour Creator Tutorial Videos

Tour Creator basics.

Adding points of interest to tours.


Learn more about how to use VR tours in social studies by taking my online course, Teaching History With Technology

8 Tools for Making Multimedia Timelines

Creating timelines has been a go-to activity for history teachers since the beginning of history. When I made timelines as a student and in my first year or two of teaching, timelines were made on paper. Today, there are better ways to have students create timelines. In fact, in Teaching History With Technology I feature a couple of my favorite timeline tools for use in high school, middle school, and elementary school classrooms. In the chart embedded below I highlight the main features of eight free multimedia timeline creation tools.


Click here for a Google Docs copy of the chart.

A Timeline Game!
Play Your Dates Right is a templates that I like to use to create a game that is focused on helping students recall the sequence of historical events. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a simple timeline-based game with the Play Your Dates Right template from ClassTools.net.


Learn more about these tools and other strategies for using technology in social studies classes in my upcoming course, Teaching History With Technology.

Creative Storm - A Next Vista Video Contest

Next Vista for Learning is a great place for teachers and students to share short video lessons that they create. I have been recommending the service for almost ten years now. One of the aspects of Next Vista for Learning that I particularly like is the video contests that are run a couple of times each year. The current contest, open to entries now through December 14th, is called Creative Storm.

Creative Storm is a video creation contest that has three categories. There is a category for student-produced videos, a category for teacher-produced videos, and a category for videos created through the collaborative efforts of teachers and students. Regardless of the category, all videos must teach a lesson in 90 seconds or less. The lesson can be about almost any concept a person would learn about in elementary, middle, or high school. Take a look at this video made by a Kindergarten class or any of the previous contest's finalists here for some inspiration.

Contest winners receive iTunes gift cards and the pride of showcasing their videos for a larger audience.

Applications for Education
I've been recommending Next Vista for Learning for many years because it solves two problems. First, Next Vista provides an excellent alternative to posting students' videos on sites like YouTube or Vimeo. Second, Next Vista can be a great source of inspiration for creating a video project.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Why Should You Read Poe? - A TED-Ed Lesson

Halloween is a little more than a month away. It is during these next five weeks that a lot of students will be introduced to the work of Edgar Allan Poe. A new TED-Ed lesson examines what made Poe's macabre work timeless classics.

In Why Should You Read Edgar Allan Poe? students can learn about Poe's guiding principles for writing, the recurring themes of his work, and the personal factors in his life that contributed to his writing. Find the complete lesson here or watch the video as embedded below.



Here are a couple of other Poe-related resources:

Introduce The Pit and the Pendulum to students is through Flocabulary's rap of the story. That video is embedded below.


Here is an animated telling of Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart.