Saturday, December 8, 2018

How to Download Google Docs

It is not a secret that I'm a devoted Google Docs user. Since the first time that I tried it, I've done nearly all of my writing in Google Documents. Even when I was writing for a magazine that required all submissions to be in Word format, I wrote in Google Documents. I was able to do that because Google makes it easy to download your Google Docs in Word, PDF, TXT, HTML, and EPUB format. To download a Google Document in one of those formats simply open the File drop-down menu in Google Docs then select "Download as..." This short video that I made demonstrates how to download Google Documents.


Applications for Education
If you ever find yourself needing to send a document to someone who refuses to use Google Documents, downloading that document as a PDF or Word file is a simple solution. I often use the "Download as PDF" option for easier printing and distribution of handouts.

Learn more about Google Docs in my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite in 2019.

This TED-Ed Lesson Explains What Causes Heartburn - No, It's Not Your Kids

At one time or another we've all suffered from a bout of heartburn. It usually happens to me if I drink soda pop (sometime the allure of a cold can of Coke on a hot day is too strong to resist). What else can cause heartburn? And what is actually happening in your body when you experience heartburn? Those are the questions that are answered the TED-Ed lesson What Causes Heartburn? The lesson includes excellent drawings that illustrate how stomach acid gets back up into your esophagus. The lesson also covers the lifestyle habits and diets that contribute to heartburn.


Applications for Education
This lesson could be a good fit for a health class in which students are learning about the effects of diet and nutrition. The lesson could also be a good fit in a science class in which students are studying anatomy and physiology.

Friday, December 7, 2018

An Easy Way to Convert PDFs Into Word Documents

From time to time we all need to convert a document from one format to another. There are lots of online tools that will do that for you. Perhaps the simplest one that I've tried is a service called Easy PDF. To use Easy PDF you do not need to register on the site, there is not any advertising on the site, and Easy PDF does not watermark your converted documents. Watch my video to see how easy it is to convert a PDF into a Word document with Easy PDF.


Applications for Education
If you work in a school or school district in capacity that has you filling out lots of forms from various agencies, you've probably found yourself dealing with files in multiple formats. A tool like Easy PDF can be a good one to keep bookmarked and handy for those times when you need to quickly convert something into Word format.

Nominate Your Favorite Ed Tech Tools for a Readers' Choice Award

As the end of 2018 approaches I thought it would be fun to see what you think are the best educational technology apps, sites, and services. For the next week I'll leave this Google Form open for you to nominate your favorite educational technology app, site, or service. You can make nominations in one category or all of the categories. Please make only one nomination per category. At this time next week I'll tally all of the nominations and open up voting on the finalists (the top five in each category).

If you are a representative of a company (including compensated brand ambassadors) please do not nominate your company. I would like for this nomination process to be as genuine as possible.

Four Podcasting Tutorials - From Basic to Robust

Earlier this morning I shared news about NPR's Student Podcast Challenge that starts in January. While NPR does provide some good guides for students and teachers to use to plan podcasts, those guides don't include tutorials on specific podcast recording and editing tools. If you're thinking about having students create podcasts either for NPR's contest or for any other purpose, take a look at the podcasting tools tutorial videos that I have embedded below.

Two Simple Podcasting Tools
If you're new to podcasting and want to get started as quickly as possible, I recommend trying either Anchor.fm or GoSynth. Both are very easy to use and you could be recording in less than five minutes from the time that you register on their respective sites.

GoSynth Tutorial



Anchor.fm Tutorial



Two Robust Podcasting Tools
If you use Anchor or GoSynth for a while, you'll eventually want more editing features to make your podcasts sound a bit more polished. Or perhaps you're not afraid a little steeper learning curve at the start. In either case you can't go wrong with GarageBand or Audacity.

Audacity Tutorial


GarageBand Tips


Microphones for Podcasting
You could use the internal microphone on your computer, tablet, or phone. You'll get a better sound quality if you record with an external microphone. There are two microphones that I use and recommend. The first is the Snowball ICE Microphone from Blue Designs. For a much cheaper option I use and recommend this three pack of lapel microphones for $7.