Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Best of the Web - The TLA Edition

Greetings from the Austin, Texas airport where I'm waiting for a flight home after a great three days at the TLA annual conference. I gave three presentations and ran two workshops during the conference. The last of my presentations ended just a couple of hours ago. The room was packed (I was worried about the fire marshal shutting us down) as I shared the latest version of my Best of the Web presentation. This one was different than the others that I have recently shared because it was designed with teacher-librarians in mind and it included some resources that I haven't even written about on this blog, yet. Check it out as embedded below.


A huge thank you to all of the kind folks who came to all of my presentations this week. And especially to those who came up to me after my sessions for selfies or to just say hello. Getting to meet so many passionate teachers and librarians is always the highlight of a conference for me.

If you're interested in the other things that I shared at TLA, you can see them here.

How to Make Your Own Mobile App

On Tuesday morning I published a post about great service called Glide that enables anyone who can make a Google Sheet to make his or her own mobile app. Judging by the volume of emails and Twitter DMs that I received, a lot of people are interested in using Glide. I made the following video to answer many of the questions that I received about Glide and to help more people get started making their own mobile apps in minutes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A New Way to Customize Google Slides

Earlier this month Google announced a huge update to Google Slides in the form of native support for audio files. Yesterday, Google Slides got another update that many users will like. That is the option to customize the color palettes in the themes within Google Slides. In other words, if this is a new way to tweak a theme in Google Slides.

You can access the new color palette customization tool from any of the color picker menus in Google Slides (the one for font colors is probably the easiest one to find). To change the colors open the color picker menu then click on pencil icon next the word theme that appears below the color grid in the menu.

This new feature isn't a groundbreaking feature, but it will be convenient for those teachers and students who want break away from the standard themes of Google Slides.

This feature is rolling out over the next couple of weeks.

Glide - Make Your Own App by Just Making a Spreadsheet

Glide is an amazing free tool that I featured in a presentation during yesterday's TLA Tech Glamp. Glide enables anyone who can make a spreadsheet in Google Sheets to create his or her own mobile app. If that sounds simple, that's because it is just that simple. The headers that you put into your spreadsheet and the data that you enter into your spreadsheet is used by Glide to generate a mobile app for you that will work on Android and iOS devices.

To get started making your first app with Glide you will need to create a spreadsheet in Google Sheets. Your spreadsheet's column headers are what will become the sections your app. The information that you enter into your spreadsheet's columns is what will be displayed within each section your app. You can include links to videos, images, and maps in your spreadsheet and those items will be included in your app too.

After you have created your spreadsheet in Google Sheets, go to Glideapps.com and connect to your Google account. That connection will allow you to import your Google Sheet. Once your spreadsheet is imported you will be able to see a preview of your app. You can change the layout and color scheme of your app in the Glide editor. When you're happy with how it looks, hit the share button to publish your app for others to see. You can share your app publicly via QR code and public URL or you can share your app privately via email.

Applications for Education
Glide could be a fantastic way to have students create simple study guide apps, to create apps for making guides to their favorite video games, or to build apps about their towns.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Few Resources for Learning About Income Taxes

Tomorrow is the deadline to file income taxes in the United States. If you have high school students, some of them may be filing taxes (or having parents do it on their behalf) for the first time. That may lead to all kinds of questions about why we have taxes, the way taxes are calculated, and types of taxes. Crash Course has a twelve and a half minute video in which those questions are addressed.



PBS Learning Media has a free lesson plan through which students learn about reasons for taxes being withheld from paychecks, where the withholdings go, and why some people have more or less withheld than others. In addition to helping students understand taxes withheld from paychecks Taxes - Where Does Your Money Go? introduces students to concepts related to saving for retirements. To that end, the lesson plan includes a video about how a self-employed person handles budgeting for taxes and retirement.

To explain the origins of income taxes in the United States, CBS News hosted author Kenneth Davis. Davis is the author of the popular "Don't Know Much" series of history books.