Monday, May 6, 2019

Three Ways to Create Digital Collages to Summarize the School Year

The sun is shining, the weather is warming, and kids are getting antsy. That combination means that the end of the school year is drawing near. Last week I shared five ways to quickly create audio slideshow videos for end-of-year events. I wrote that thinking about teachers making the videos to play at events at the end of the school year. Students could also use make the videos. Or you might have students make digital collages to showcase their personal highlights of the school year. These are my three favorite tools for creating digital collages.

Pic Collage & Pic Collage Edu
Pic Collage is a free app that I have had on my phone and iPad for many years. The app provides lots of free, customizable templates for making collages. To create a collage simply open the app, choose a template, and import pictures from your phone or tablet's camera roll. You can pinch and zoom to change the size of your pictures, you can add digital stickers, and you can draw or type on your collage.

There is an EDU version of the Pic Collage iPad app, but that version costs $1.99.

For the last five or six years Canva has been my go-to online tool for making graphics and collages. Canva offers tons of free templates for making collages that you can post online and or download as PDFs to print. Canva can even make people like me who have no graphic design skills look good.

Adobe Spark Web Page
Web Page is a part of the Adobe Spark suite of tools. With Adobe Spark Web Page your students could create a simple web page to showcase their personal highlights of the school year. Adobe Spark Web Pages are displayed in a simple linear view. The pages that students create can include pictures, text, and videos.

How to Add a Calendar to an Edublogs Page or Post

Having a calendar page on your classroom blog is a good way to help keep your students and their parents informed about upcoming events and due dates. Google Calendar is the tool that I prefer for making public event calendars because whenever I update the calendar it is automatically updated wherever it is displayed including in blog pages and posts. In the following video I demonstrate how to add a Google Calendar to an Edublogs page or post.

As I explained in the video, I prefer to add the calendar to a page rather than a post. The reason for that is that if you add it to a post, it will be treated just like any other post and will fall off the homepage after you add a few more posts to your blog. If you add the calendar to a page, that page will always be present on your homepage where parents and students can quickly locate it.

Learn more about Google Calendar in my online course, Getting Going With G Suite. The next course starts on June 3rd. Register early for a discount. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Forms, Expeditions, and RSS - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where I'm looking forward to a fun day of playing outside with my daughters. Earlier this week I took a day off to take them to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. They love seeing all of the animals there so much that we have an annual pass to the park (thanks mom/ grammie). I hope that you had a good week and something fun planned for the weekend too. If part of your plans include catching up on some reading, take a look at this week's most popular posts on Free Technology for Teachers.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Re-use a Google Forms Quiz
2. 5 Tips for New Google Expeditions Users
3. Taskade 2.0 - Collaborative Notes + Video Chat
4. What is RSS? How Can You Use It?
5. Live Nature Webcams - Lambs, Eaglets, Piglets, and Calves, Oh My!
6. 5 Google Earth Pro Tips for Teachers and Students
7. Checkology - Lessons in Being Discerning Media Consumers

Thank You for Your Support!

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).