Friday, May 3, 2019

5 Ways to Quickly Create Audio Slideshows for End-of-Year Events

Around this time every year I start to field a bunch of emails from readers who are looking for advice on how to quickly create audio slideshow videos for end-of-year events. Here are five options that I like for making audio slideshow videos. This list is arranged according to my preference for the quickest way to create an audio slideshow video. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these, but as you read below, there are some small things that I like or don't about each the move them up or down this list for the purpose of making audio slideshow videos.

Sharalike is a free video creation tool that I've been using for the last four years. It can be used in your web browser, as an iOS app, or as an Android app. All three versions let you bulk upload/ import a collection of pictures then drag and drop those pictures into the sequence in which you want them to appear. Once you've arranged your images you can add music from Sharalike's library of free, royalty-free music. Sharalike will then create the video for you. I've successfully uploaded as many as 45 pictures at once to Sharalike to make a video. The only downside to Sharalike is that you can't download your video, you have to watch it online.

Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark Video is designed for making audio slideshows. You can download your finished video as an MP4 and or share it online. There is a nice library of free, royalty-free music that you can use. And you can mix some of your existing video clips into your audio slideshow video. The downside to Adobe Spark is that you can't do a bulk upload of images and have those images instantly rendered as individual slides. You have to manually place each image on each slide. Fortunately, you can import a folder from Google Drive, Google Photos, and Dropbox.

WeVideo and iMovie
For the purpose of making an audio slideshow video, I consider WeVideo and iMovie to be equals (both have many more uses than making simple audio slideshow videos). If I'm using a Chromebook or a Windows computer, WeVideo is my choice. If I'm using a Mac or an iPad, iMovie is my choice. Both services will let you add pictures in bulk, both have a good selection of templates to follow, and both will provide options for adding free, royalty-free music to your audio slideshow video.

Photo Slideshow for Google Slides + Audio + Autoplay
This solution is a bit clunky, but it works.
There is a Google Slides called Photo Slideshow that you can use to import a Google Drive folder full of images and have each image added to its own slide. After you have imported all of your pictures you will need to make sure that they appear on the slides without being off center or cropped in weird ways.

Once your Google Slides are arranged you can add audio to your slideshow in one of two manners. If your G Suite domain has the new audio option in your Insert menu, that's the way to go. Otherwise, use the method I have outlined in this video. After adding your music set your slideshow to automatically advance (see screenshot below for directions).

Invite a Friend to to Win an Amazon Gift Card

Disclosure: is currently an advertiser on this blog.

Last week I wrote about a newer service for finding and sharing standards-aligned teaching materials. That service is called For those who didn't see the post, the short version is that provides a place for sharing teaching materials in a way that is similar to Teachers Pay Teachers but without the buying and selling aspects. You can upload PDFs and documents to the site as well as link to other online resources.

Next week, May 6th through 13th, is giving away twenty $10 Amazon gift cards to members who invite a friend to join the site. If your friend joins, both of you receive a gift card. You have to notify that you referred a friend and provide your email and that of your friend. Complete promotion details are available here (if you're already a member you should have received details in your inbox).

Thursday, May 2, 2019

5 Google Earth Pro Tips for Teachers and Students

Google Earth is currently available in a few different versions. There is the web browser version that was built for use in Chrome and Chromebooks. There is an iOS version and an Android version for use on tablets and phones. And then there is the original version made for use as desktop software on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. That version is now known as Google Earth Pro. Despite the "Pro" label, the software is free to install on your computer.

Google Earth Pro has more features than any of the other versions of Google Earth. If you haven't tried Google Earth Pro and you have a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, here are five things you should know that you and your students can do with it.

Create Narrated, Guided Tours
Google Earth Pro makes it easy to create a narrated tour of a set of placemarks, a region, or the whole world. The recording tools are built right into the software. Watch my video to learn how you can create a narrated Google Earth tour.

Create a Tour of the Moon or Mars
Not only can you create a tour of Earth in Google Earth, you can also create a tour of the moon and a tour of Mars. Watch the following video to see how to do that.

Find Google Earth Tours Through Google Search
Google Earth Pro has a lot of content available within it as soon as you install it and open it. But you can find even more great Google Earth content by conducting a Google search that you file according to file types .KML and .KMZ. That process is outlined in the following video.

Find Historical Imagery in Google Earth
Google Earth Pro has a timeslider that lets you view historical satellite imagery and some historical photographs. That process is outlined in the video below. You can also find historical maps in Google Earth Pro by opening the Rumsey Historical Maps collection in the Layers section of Google Earth Pro.

Make Google Earth Pro Load Faster
One of the common complaints about Google Earth Pro is that it can take a long time to load and or can make a computer run slowly. There is a simple solution to that problem. The solution is to turn off any layers that you aren't currently using. There is a handful of layers that are on by default in the standard installation of Google Earth Pro. You can turn those off by simply unchecking them in the Layers menu. See the screenshot below for a visual.
Click to view in full size. 

What is RSS? How Can You Use It?

This is the last thing that I'm going to publish about this ridiculous copyright infringement debacle I've been dealing with for a week. But as I said earlier today, I am going to try to make the best of it by sharing some pertinent and related resources about copyright.

The owner of the site that was republishing all of my posts has been infuriatingly persistent in saying that her copyright infringement was my fault because my RSS feed had too many characters (see the screenshot in this post). Just because you can read something on the Internet doesn't mean that  you can republish it in its entirety without permission (possible exceptions for a Fair Use critique).

If you're wondering what RSS is, Common Craft explained it very well in this video released twelve years ago. With the exception of the mention of Google Reader, the information in the video is still accurate today. Today, your RSS reader options include popular sites and apps like Feedly and Flipboard. (Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft).

RSS feeds make it easy to follow your favorite websites in one convenient place. When you follow a site in an RSS reader, you're reading that site's original content with full attribution and full links back to the original source. And if the owner of the site chooses to monetize the RSS feed with advertising, that site gets the benefit of ad revenue (I've made the choice not to include advertising in the RSS feed for Free Technology for Teachers because I think it muddies the reading experience).

Unfortunately, RSS feeds also make it easy for people to republish a site's work in full violation of copyright. Just because a feed exists doesn't mean that you can republish a site's entire content without permission. As Haje Jan Kamps rightly explains in his analogy comparing stealing from a blind shopkeeper to copying content via RSS, just because something is easy to do doesn't make it right or legal.

How to File a Copyright Claim With Google

In my previous post I detailed the copyright debacle that has consumed way too much of my mental energy and way too much of time over the last week. As I mentioned in that post, I am trying to make something good out of it by creating and sharing resources about what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation. To that end, I made a video about how to file a copyright complaint with Google.

You can find Google's copyright complaint form here.

As more than a few of you have said to me, this debacle has served as an example that you can use with your students and colleagues when discussing copyright issues.