Saturday, June 22, 2019

Immersive Reader, Carmen Sandiego, and Fire Alarms - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where it was a beautiful summer day. It was perfect for playing outside and that's exactly what we did. I hope that you were able to do something fun today too.

This week I had the privilege to spend two days with tech coaches and teachers in the Portsmouth, Virginia school district. It was great to see so many teachers (nearly 200) come in for an optional professional development day. For me the first day started out a little earlier than I expected when the fire alarm went off in my hotel at 4:30am. There's nothing like having to evacuate a hotel first thing in the morning to get your blood flowing. Fortunately, it was just a faulty sensor that triggered the alarm.

As you look through this week's most popular posts you may notice that they all feature updates to some of the most popular educational technology services and tools. That's because next week is the annual ISTE conference where all of the big companies will have their latest developments on display. I won't be attending this year, but I am bombarded with press releases from the companies that will be there. I'll be sure to pass along the updates that I find most interesting throughout the week.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Immersive Reader is Being Added to Microsoft Forms
2. The Third "Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego?" Game is Now Available
3. Create Rubrics in Google Classroom - Coming Soon!
4. Kahoot Adds New Game Creation Options
5. 5 New SeeSaw Features for Teachers and Students Creating Digital Portfolios
6. How to Automatically Caption and Translate PowerPoint Presentations
7. Adobe Spark Now Has a Collaboration Option

Thank You for Your Support!

How to Make Digital Collages in SeeSaw

Yesterday, I shared five highlights from SeeSaw's update in advance of next week's ISTE conference. One of those highlights is a new drag-and-drop digital collage creation tool. Students can use the new collage tool with pictures, text, speech and thought bubbles, drawings, and digital stickers. Students can also use SeeSaw to record themselves talking about the elements of their collages. In the following video I demonstrate how to use the digital collage tools in SeeSaw.

Friday, June 21, 2019

How to Automatically Caption and Translate PowerPoint Presentations

Late last year Microsoft introduced real-time captioning and translation of PowerPoint presentations. At that time it wasn't available in all versions of PowerPoint. That changed this week when Mike Tholfsen, product manager for Microsoft EDU, Tweeted that real-time captioning and translation is now available in all versions of PowerPoint for Windows, Mac, and Web. Watch the following video to learn how to enable real-time translation and captioning of your presentations.

Applications for Education
Real-time captioning and translation could be a great feature to turn on when giving presentations to groups of parents whose first language isn't English. The automatic captioning function will also be useful in making presentations accessible to students who have hearing impairments.

How to Make Your Font Stand Out on Canva Graphics

Canva is a great tool for creating all kinds of graphics for social media, for videos, for newsletters, for infographics, or for just about anything else that needs a nice graphic. Even if you don't have any graphic design skills (like me) you can still create nice graphics by using one of Canva's free templates. There are a lot of obvious design customization elements that every Canva user can use. Then there are some that are a little less obvious. In the following video I demonstrate how to use one of those "hidden" design tools in Canva.

5 New SeeSaw Features for Teachers and Students Creating Digital Portfolios

SeeSaw is a digital portfolio tool that I have used and recommended since shortly after its launch in 2014. After initially launching as an iPad app it quickly evolved to become tool that can be used on Android devices, on laptops, on desktops, and on Chromebooks. This week SeeSaw added more features designed with Chromebook users in mind, but will also be beneficial to those who use iPads, laptops, and Android tablets.

1. Import Google Classroom Rosters
Teachers have always been able to manually create class rosters in SeeSaw. Now there's an easier way to create a roster in SeeSaw. That way is connecting your Google account and importing your Google Classroom rosters into your SeeSaw account.

2. Chromebook, touchscreen optimized user interface.
In speaking with Carl Sjogreen, co-founder of SeeSaw, I learned that one of the things they get a lot of requests for was to make the Student Journal tools easier to use on small screens like those found in Chromebooks. To meet that request SeeSaw updated the Student Journal tools to make them easier to find and use on smaller screens.

3. Drag and Drop Collage Creation
In their SeeSaw journals students can now add multiple images into one entry. Those images can be dragged and dropped into any arrangement on the screen. Students can use the text tools to caption or label images. Students can also add digital stickers to their collages.

4. Math Manipulatives & Graph Paper
Now when students choose the drawing option in their SeeSaw student journals they can change the background to a graph paper background. That could be great for drawing solutions to math problems. Now there is also a collection of math manipulatives that students can add to their drawings in their journals.

5. Draw and Talk
Students have always been able to make video and audio recordings in SeeSaw. Now they can make whiteboard videos in which they talk while drawing and highlighting on a blank canvas or while drawing and highlighting over an image or document.