Friday, September 13, 2019

Now You Can Share a Link to Jump to a Scene in Google Expeditions

In a Tweet yesterday afternoon Google announced a neat little addition to Google Expeditions. You can now share a link to a specific scene within an Expedition.

Previously if you wanted to get all of your students onto the same scene at the same time you had to guide them through the whole Expedition. Now you can just give them a link (posting it in Google Classroom would be a convenient option) and they can click it to jump to the scene. And just like any other URL, you could share it via QR code. My tool of choice for making QR codes is QR Droid, but any QR code generator should work for you.

If you're looking for some help getting started with Google Expeditions, I have a collection of tutorial videos here.

How to Apply Custom Sizing Including Portrait Mode to Google Slides

A couple of days ago someone sent me a Tweet asking if it was possible to arrange Google Slides presentations in portrait mode instead of the default landscape mode. It is possible to do that even though Google Slides doesn't contain a standard "portrait layout" option in any of the editing menus. To put Google Slides into portrait mode you have to apply custom sizing. That option is found when you open the File drop-down menu and select Page Setup. In Page Setup you can apply any size and aspect ratio of your choosing. Watch my short video below to learn how to apply custom sizing to Google Slides.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

One of My Favorite Tools for Quickly Creating Audio Slideshows

Whether it's for an open house night, an awards night, or another school event I'm often asked for a recommendation on a quick and easy way to create an audio slideshow. When the requirement doesn't call for spoken words, my usual recommendation is to try Sharalike.

Making an audio slideshow video on Sharalike is an easy three step process. First, import some pictures into your account. Second, put the pictures into the order in which you want them to appear. Third, select a sound track. Sharalike will do the rest of the video production process for you. When your video is ready you can view it on Sharalike, post it to the social media sites of your choosing, and embed it into a blog post or web page.

Sharalike can be used in your web browser or you can use their free Android app or free iOS app to make a video.

Watch my video that is embedded below to learn how easy it is to create a video with Sharalike.

How to Use Rubrics in Google Classroom

Earlier this year Google announced a beta test of rubrics feature in Google Classroom. Schools that applied to participate in that program have now started to see the rubrics feature appear. If your domain doesn't have it, watch my video below to see how it works.

As I point out in the video there are a couple of things that could be improved to make Google Classroom rubrics better. First, Google needs to add a way to re-use rubrics from assignment to assignment. Currently, you have to create a new rubric for every assignment. Second, I'd like to see an option to have rubric scores automatically tallied and averaged into the assignment score.

Reminder - Google is Closing Fusion Tables

When it was launched almost a decade ago Google's Fusion Tables was an amazing service for creating data visualizations. Over the years other, better tools emerged for creating data visualizations including Google's own Explore features in Google Sheets. That's why at the end of last year Google announced that Fusion Tables would be shuttered at the end of this year. Google just sent out an email to all Fusion Tables users reminding them that the end is near and that they should use Google Takeout to download any data that they want to save.

One of the things that you could do with Fusion Tables was create maps that were representative of data sets. You can also do that by importing a Google Sheet into Google's My Maps tool. Watch this video to learn how to do that.