Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Handy New Way to Create New Google Docs

A few weeks ago I published a chart of G Suite for Education shortcuts that included directions on how to quickly access the various tools within Google Drive. It appears that I need to add onto that chart because a couple of days ago Google introduced a new batch of shortcuts for making new Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Sites. In a Tweet on Thursday Google revealed that you can now simply type "" in your web browser to launch a new blank Google Document. That same structure can be used to create new Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Sites. Take a look at the Tweet embedded below for a visual.

Storyboards, Pictures, and Classics - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it should be a nice morning for playing in leaf piles before the snow flies this evening. But before we go outside to play the sun needs to rise and I need to finish writing this week's week-in-review.

I started this week by speaking at the CECA/CASL annual conference in Connecticut. It was great to meet so many of you and to reconnect with those who I've met before. A huge thank you to Kathy Schrock who gave me one of her Veer VR viewers when I realized that I had forgotten to pack my VR viewer. Speaking of conferences, I will be speaking at the EdTech Teacher Summit in Boston on November 7th and I will be at LACUE on November 28th and 29th.

This week I hosted the fourth of five webinars in my Getting Going With G Suite and Teaching History With Technology courses. Many people have asked if I will be hosting these courses again before the end of the year. Yes, I will host them again. The registration information will be posted on tomorrow evening.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Storyboard Templates in Google Slides or PowerPoint
2. TED-Ed Explains Why Students Should Read Classics
3. Case Maker - Civics Lessons Built on Primary Sources
4. Three Ways to Make Social Media Profiles for Historical and Literary Characters
5. 5 Ways to Display YouTube in Class Without "Related" Content
6. How to Set Start and End Times for Videos in Google Slides
7. PicLits - Using Pictures to Inspire Creative Writing

Now Booking 2019 School Visits
If you would like to have me work with your school this year, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) or click here for more information.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Book Creator is a great tool for creating multimedia books.
Kami is a great tool for annotating and collaborating on PDFs. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

An Easy Way to Create Your Own Captioned Flipped Video Lessons

Two weeks ago I published a video about how to use the automatic captioning feature in Google Slides. A lot of people have asked if there is a way to download the captions that are automatically generated when you speak while presenting your slides. Unfortunately, there isn't a downloadable transcript of the captions. However, you could use a screencasting tool like Screencastify or Screencast-o-matic to easily make a video that includes the captions. And by doing that you would be making a video that could be used as a flipped lesson. Here's the outline of how you can use Google Slides and screencasting to create a captioned flipped lesson.

Google Slides + Captioning + Screencasting
  • Create your slides as you normally would.
  • Turn on your screen recorder. For Chromebooks I like Screencastify. For Windows and Mac I like Screencast-o-matic.
  • Using the Chrome web browser enter presentation mode for your slideshow. 
  • Speak clearly while recording so that Google Slides generates accurate captions. 
  • Save your recorded screencast. 
  • Post your screencast on your preferred hosting service for students to watch. 
Building Questions Into Your Captioned Video
I recommend using EDpuzzle to add questions into the timeline of your video lesson. You can upload your video and then add questions to it. You can use EDpuzzle's question settings to prevent students from skipping questions or fast-forwarding through a video.

How to Use Automatic Captioning in Google Slides
Watch this video to learn how to use automatic captioning in Google Slides.

Can You Trust YouTube "Influencers?" - A Media Literacy Lesson

Talk to almost any teenager and you'll quickly learn that they spend more time watching YouTube videos than they do watching traditional television programming. And many of those teenagers have a favorite YouTube "star" to watch. Some of those stars are being paid thousands of dollars to include products in their videos. That often happens in the lucrative video game and beauty categories. So how can a teenager trust that their favorite YouTube star actually likes a product and isn't just pitching it for money? That's the question that Above the Noise asked during this past summer's VidCon. The answers to that question and more are tackled in Can You Trust Influencers on YouTube?

This video could spark a great classroom discussion about how products end up in videos, how advertising works, and why it is important to watch and read with a critical eye.

My Policy About Paid Endorsements On This Blog
As someone who makes part of my living through online advertising I am occasionally asked to speak to students about issues related to "influencer" marketing. What I tell students is that an online "influencer" who cares about his/her reputation will make clear declarations when talking about or writing about a product they've been paid to endorse. And for myself, my rule about accepting paid placements is that I'll only accept them from companies whose products I would feel comfortable putting into my own classroom. I also always make a clear disclosure in the header or footer of a post.

Storybird - Fantastic Art to Inspire Writing

Earlier this week I was browsing for new Chrome extensions to try when I stumbled upon the Chrome extension for Storybird. The extension itself doesn't do much more than just direct you to the Storybird website. But trying the extension did remind me of the great art that you can find in Storybird. The artwork that is available in Storybird is designed to inspire creative writing.

To create a story on Storybird you simply select a layout then drag and drop the artwork that you like into your story. After selecting art for your story you then write the text of your story. You can create simple one-frame stories, multiple page stories, or chapter stories on Storybird.

Completed Storybird projects can be shared privately or posted publicly. Public stories are moderated before they appear online. Students and teachers can also share their stories through Google Classroom. It is possible to download your stories as PDFs, but you have to earn enough "crowns" (credits) to be able to download your stories. You can earn five crowns per day by logging into Storybird and working on a story.

Applications for Education
Storybird's artwork could inspire students to write poetry and short stories. The crowns program provides an incentive for students to revise their stories until they are as good they can be.