Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A New Way to Add Images to Google Sheets

Frequent Google Sheets users got a bit of welcome news yesterday. Google has added a new way to insert images into Google Sheets. Previously, the only images that you could add into a cell were those that were hosted online and publicly available for hotlinking. That has changed because the latest update to Google Sheets allows you to upload images to insert into cells in your spreadsheet.

This new feature is available now for some Google Sheets users and will be rolling out to other users over the next two weeks.

Applications for Education
This update probably won't mean much to most students. But for those students who do use Google Sheets to create data visualizations or to maintain databases that have a lot of visual components, this update could be helpful.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Join Me Tomorrow for a Live Q&A

Tomorrow at 5pm Eastern Time I'll be going live on my YouTube channel to answer another round of questions from readers like you. If you have a question about educational technology that you'd like me to answer you can put in the form below or just join the live broadcast and submit your question tomorrow. Those of you who submitted questions via Facebook last week, I answer those this week. Last week's Facebook outage made it impossible for me to read your messages.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified when the broadcast starts. I'll also broadcast on the Practical Ed Tech Facebook page.


Google Drive Will Soon Have a Priority Page

In case you haven't noticed, Google knows a lot about what you're doing in Google Drive. In fact, according to their latest announcement about Google Drive, Google knows which files in your Google Drive are most important to you right now. These will be shown to you on a new page in Google Drive that Google is calling the "priority page." Priority page will start rolling out to users this week.

Priority page in Google Drive will show you what Google identifies as the documents most relevant to you at any given time. On the Priority page you will be able to view documents, review edits, and reply to comments.

Will Priority page annoy users or be helpful? That's to be determined. I was so annoyed by the "quick access" suggestions that I disabled them a while ago. I have a hunch that I'll do the same with Priority page too.

Short Lessons for the Arrival of Spring

The first chickadees and ducks of the spring have started to arrive in my neighborhood. Aside from the calendar, hearing the birds reminds us all that spring is almost here. If you're tired of winter and looking for some spring-themed lesson ideas, take a look at the following resources.

Last year The New York Times published an animated map of spring foliage. The map, put together by Henry Fountain and Jeremy White, is a time-lapse map that shows when the "first leaf" of spring typically 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.

Why do birds sing? And how do they learn the songs that they sing? The answers to those questions and more are revealed in a new TED-Ed Lesson titled How Do Birds Learn to Sing?


After learning how birds learn to sing, have your students explore The Wall of Birds interactive mural produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The mural features a variety of birds that when clicked on reveal information about that bird, audio of that bird's call, and a map of that bird's natural range.



Why do we have seasons? What causes the changes in weather patterns throughout the seasons? The answers to those questions and more are found in the following SciShow Kids video and Crash Course Kids video.




Try one of these tools for creating flipped lessons out of these videos. 

5 Ways to Tell Stories With Maps

Maps can be great tools for supporting nonfiction and fiction stories. Being able to see the greater context of a location can go a long way toward helping students see the complete overview of a story. This can be helpful for learning about historical events, for supporting biographies, or for seeing the settings of fiction stories. Those are just a few of the types of stories that can be told with maps.

Yesterday, I featured a video about making map-based stories with StoryMap JS. That video is included at the end of this post. Here are four other ways that students can create map-based stories.

Google Earth - Desktop Version
The desktop version of Google Earth provides one of the classic ways to create a map-based, multimedia story. Students can add pictures, text, and videos to the placemarkers in their Google Earth tours. And students can use the built-in recording tools to make tours that viewers can watch on their own. Here's a short overview of how to make a Google Earth tour. Check out Google Lit Trips for ideas on using Google Earth for literature lessons.



VR Tour Creator
Google's VR Tour Creator lets anyone make a virtual reality tour that can be played back in your web browser and or in the Google Expeditions app. Don't limit use of VR Tour Creator to geography lessons. You can have students use it to make virtual reality book tours. Here's an introduction to using VR Tour Creator.


ESRI Story Maps
ESRI Story Maps is a tool that you can use to create a variety of map-based stories. The basic ESRI Story Map lets you combine pictures and locations to playback as a series of slides. Here's a good example of an ESRI Story Map.

Google My Maps
My Maps is a free Google service for creating interactive maps that are similar in style to Google Maps. My Maps lets you add placemarkers that contain pictures and videos. Here's a set of videos detailing every part of using Google's My Maps.

Storymap JS
As I wrote yesterday, Storymap JS has you match slides to locations to tell a story. Here's an overview of how it works.