Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How to Add and Edit Alt Text in PowerPoint Presentations

A few weeks ago I published a video about how to add alt text to pictures in Google Slides. That video was prompted by a friend's request for help. This morning a reader asked me about using alt text in PowerPoint. So I recorded the following short video to demonstrate how you can add alt text and edit alt text in PowerPoint. The video includes instructions for the browser version  of PowerPoint and for the desktop version of PowerPoint (thankfully, the two versions are getting more similar all the time).

Applications for Education
After I published my last video about alt text I had a few people ask what purpose it served. The purpose of alt text is to convey the purpose of an image in a presentation or online document. This is done to help students who use screen readers access the full content and purpose of the presentation.

For more information about the purpose of alt text and what alt text should entail, read How to Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the Visually Impaired published by the Perkins School for the Blind eLearning.

Unsplash for Education - Free Photos for Your Lessons

Unsplash is one of my go-to recommendations for finding public domain pictures for classroom projects. Thanks to Rushton Hurley's latest Next Vista for Education newsletter I just learned that Unsplash now has an Unsplash for Education section.

Unsplash for Education is comprised of ten curated collections of images for teachers and students to use in their projects. Those ten collections are math & science, art, space, politics & current events, geography, health, history, tech, nature, and a catch-all education collection.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a dedicated search tool for the Unsplash for Education collections so you just have to browse through them to find pictures that you like. When you do find a picture that you like you can download it for free without having to register on the Unsplash site. And while Unsplash does encourage giving attribution for images, it clearly states that you don't have to give attribution for the images.

On a related note, Unsplash offers a free Google Slides add-on that makes it easy to find and use public domain images in your slides without ever leaving your Google Slides editor. Watch the video embedded below to learn how to use the Unsplash Google Slides add-on.

Image credit: Javier Quesada

A New Crowdsourcing Project from the Library of Congress

Last year the Library of Congress introduced a new online project called Crowd. The project invites teachers, students, and anyone interested in history to contribute to the transcription of primary source documents. The documents are arranged in thematic collections that the LOC calls "campaigns."

This week the Library of Congress added a new campaign to Crowd. The latest campaign is called Suffrage: Women Fight for the Vote. As of this morning the campaign has nearly 24,000 documents that need to be transcribed. Included amongst those 24,000 documents are letters, journals, and never-before-published works from Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Church Terrell, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Anna E. Dickinson.

Applications for Education
As I've written before, participating in one of the LOC's Crowd campaigns could be a good opportunity for high school students and some middle school students to learn through primary source documents while contributing to a national project. Getting started on a Crowd campaign is fairly easy. In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to participate in a Crowd campaign.

Monday, August 12, 2019

How to Add Video and Audio Comments to Google Docs

The comment bank feature in Google Classroom is nice for quickly adding text comments to your students' Google Documents. But there are times when hearing your voice and or seeing your face can make the feedback that you give to kids a little bit more memorable than just a text comment. That's why I'm a fan of the e-Comments Chrome extension.

e-Comments lets you add voice and video comments to your students' Google Documents. You can also use it to add canned text comments to your students' Google Documents. All of those features are demonstrated in the new video that I published this afternoon. You can see the video on my YouTube channel or as embedded below.

Certify'em Now Has a BCC Option for Distributing Certificates

Certify'em is one of my favorite Google Forms add-ons. It lets you automatically distribute personalized certificates to students when they pass a quiz in Google Forms. I use it at the end of all of my PD webinars as a way to distribute certificates to attendees. You can use Certify'em to distribute one of the standard certificates or you can design your own certificate in Google Slides and have that be the template used when certificates are distributed to your students. A complete Certify'em tutorial is available here.

Over the weekend Certify'em added a convenient BCC feature. This feature allows you have a certificate automatically sent to your student when he/she passes a quiz and have a copy of that certificate sent to a parent, another teacher, a classroom aide, or to anyone else that might want to see the certificate that a student has just received. You can find the BCC option in the advanced options section of Certify'em.