Thursday, November 7, 2019

Create Random Story Starters With This Flippity Template

This morning I answered an email from a reader named Brian who wrote,
"I’m looking for a way to upload photos of my students so I can randomly have the site select a photo. (The students are learning how to use adjectives to describe themselves and I would like to project a face onto the screen randomly) I can’t seem to find a site or a method that makes it easy to accomplish this feat... Any ideas?"
I think Brian's idea is a good one and one that can be accomplished with the random name picker template offered by Flippity.

Flippity's random name picker template lets you enter a list of names and a list of pictures into a Google Sheet to then randomly select names with corresponding pictures. The trick of adding pictures to the template is that the pictures must be hosted online so that you can link to them in your Google Sheet.

While Flippity's random name picker template was designed for randomly selecting a student from a list, you could substitute any words or phrases in place of names and insert pictures of anything that you like. You could insert a list of story starter words and pictures for your students to write about. Run the picker whenever you want students to see a new writing prompt.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

How to Randomly Shuffle Google Slides Presentations

Last week I wrote a short blog post about a neat Google Slides add-on called Slides Randomizer. The add-on will randomly shuffle a Google Slides presentation for you. It's easy to use and, as I explain the video below, it could be a good tool to use to have students practice putting a sequence of events or steps of process into the correct order. Watch my video below to see how Slides Randomizer works.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Three Tools for Recording The Great Thanksgiving Listen

Last week I shared the news that StoryCorps is once again hosting The Great Thanksgiving Listen. This is an annual event intended to encourage people to record family stories during the month of November. StoryCorps offers a free mobile app that you can use to record interviews with family members. That's not the only tool that students can use to record stories during The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Here are some other good options for recording interviews.

Anchor.fm
Anchor offers recording and editing tools that you can use in your web browser for free. One of the convenient aspects of Anchor's browser-based tool is that you can combine multiple clips into one final product. That means that you can take breaks during the recording and come back to finish later if you want to. You can also use that feature to combine multiple interviews into one final audio recording. Here's a tutorial to help you get started using Anchor.fm.

Audacity and GarageBand
If you're looking to use a tool that doesn't require constant internet access then you'll want to try Audacity (Windows) or GarageBand (Mac). Both of these tools offer everything you could ever need for a classroom audio production project. Tutorials to help you get started with both tools are embedded below.






Microphones for Audio Recording
You could use the internal microphone on your computer, tablet, or phone. You'll get a better sound quality if you record with an external microphone. There are two microphones that I use and recommend. The first is the Snowball ICE Microphone from Blue Designs. For a much cheaper option I use and recommend this three pack of lapel microphones for $7.

Webinar Tomorrow - Five Fun Formative Assessment Methods

One of the ways that I am able to keep Free Technology for Teachers afloat is through the in-person and online training services that I offer. On that note, tomorrow afternoon I'm hosting a new webinar titled Five Fun Formative Assessment Methods.

This webinar will go beyond the typical Kahoot and Gimkit type of games that are probably already prevalent in your school. In this webinar you will learn how to use free tech tools to create and conduct fun, engaging, and informative formative assessments. Whether you teach elementary school, middle school, or high school, you will come away from this webinar with fun formative assessment activities that you can do tomorrow.

Five Things You Can Learn In This Webinar:
1. What makes a formative assessment valuable to you while also fun for students.
2. How to create fun formative assessments for classrooms that aren’t 1:1.
3. Why you should leverage students’ picture-taking habits for formative assessment.
4. Development of engaging formative assessment activities that use a variety of question formats.
5. How to include students in the creation of formative assessments.

Register here.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

My Updated Five Favorite Google Slides Add-ons

Earlier this year I published a rundown of my five favorite Google Slides add-ons. Since then a couple of those add-ons have gone the way of the 5.25" floppy disk. Fortunately, I've recently discovered a couple of new Google Slides add-ons that I really like. Here's the updated list of my five favorite Google Slides add-ons.


Slido Polls
Slido is a polling service that offers a free Google Slides add-on and companion Chrome extension. The combination of the two tools makes it easy for anyone who uses Google Slides to quickly create and launch polls directly within the Google Slides editor. The thing that I like about Slido is that you can see your students' responses without having to toggle between presentation and editing modes in Google Slides. Your students' responses pop-up on the screen in realtime. Your students respond to your Slido poll or survey by simply going to Slido.com on their laptops or phones and then entering the code that appears on your polling slide. Watch my short video below to see how easy it is to create, run, and respond to a poll made with Slido in Google Slides.



Grackle
Grackle is a service that will check your Google Documents, Slides, and Sheets for accessibility. It is available as an Add-on for Google Docs, for Google Slides, and for Google Sheets. When you run Grackle's accessibility checker it will identify places where your slide doesn't meet accessibility standards. It makes suggestions for improvement on the areas in which your document, slide, or sheet doesn't meet accessibility standards. Some of the suggestions can be implemented with just a click from the Grackle Add-on menu while others are changes that you will have to make yourself.

Slides Randomizer
Slides Randomizer is a Google Slides add-on that will randomly shuffle a set of Google Slides. It's easy to use the Slides Randomizer add-on. Once you've installed the add-on simply select Slides Randomizer from the add-ons drop-down menu while viewing your slides then click on "randomize presentation." Right before the slides shuffle you'll be asked if you want to include the title slide in the shuffle or leave it at the beginning of the presentation. You can always undo the shuffling of your presentation by reverting to the previous version in the "version history" menu found in the "File" drop-down menu.

Unsplash Photos for Google Slides
Unsplash Photos Google Slides add-on gives you instant access to Unsplash's collection of free, royalty-free photographs. In the following video I demonstrate how to add the Add-on to your Google Slides, how to use Unsplash Photos, and I explain the licensing of Unsplash Photos.



Easy Accents
This add-on appeared in my list of recommended Google Docs add-ons. I recommend the Google Slides version of it too. Easy Accents for Google Slides is easy to use. When you have it installed you can launch it on any slide. Type as you normally would until you need to add an accent mark that isn't easy to create on your keyboard. Then just insert the letter and accent mark that you need from the Easy Accents keyboard. After inserting the letter and accent mark you can go back to typing on your physical keyboard.  Easy Accents for Google Slides currently supports more than twenty languages.