Thursday, January 30, 2020

Two Ways to Make Progress Trackers With Google Sheets

In my previous post I mentioned that Google Sheets can be used for all kinds of interesting things. It can also be used for practical things like keeping tally of your progress or that of your students toward a goal. There are two ways that I usually recommend doing this. The simplest way is to use the progress tracker template available at The method that offers more options is to use a pivot table in Google Sheets.

In the video below I demonstrate how to make a progress tracker using the template from Flippity.

In the following video I demonstrate to use pivot tables to make a progress tracker in Google Sheets.

How to Make Timelines With Google Sheets

There was a time when I didn't like working with Google Sheets. That changed about ten years ago after a chat with Kern Kelley who showed me some of the things that he had created with Google Sheets. Since then I've used Google Sheets for all kinds of things from self-grading assessments to data visualizations. But as a history teacher my favorite thing to do with Google Sheets has been making multimedia timelines with the help of templates from Flippity and Timeline JS.

With the Timeline JS template you can make a multimedia timeline that includes pictures, videos, audio, maps, and text. Watch my video below to see how it works.

Flippity's timeline template doesn't have as many options as the Timeline JS template, but it's still a good option for making a timeline. The upside to Flippity's template is that it is a little easier for first-time users to follow than the Timeline JS template. My video embedded below demonstrates how to use Flippity's timeline template.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Three Interesting Ways to Use Google Slides Besides Making Presentations

Google Slides was once a bare-bones alternative to PowerPoint and Keynote. I can still remember when the option to add a video was big news. Fast forward to today and there are lots of things that you can do with Google Slides besides make basic slideshow presentations. Here are three of my favorite ways to use Google Slides for something other than making a presentation.

Create a Jeopardy-style Game 
By inserting a table into your cover slide then using the slide-linking feature in Google Slides you can create a Jeopardy-style game to play in your classroom. The steps for doing that are outlined in the video below.

Create a Multimedia Timeline in Google Slides
A couple of years ago Google added some diagram templates to Google Slides. These templates can be inserted into any of your slides. A timeline is one of the templates that you'll find in the diagrams menu. Watch the following video to learn how to create a timeline in Google Slides.

Make a Common Craft-style Video
You can make simple animated videos with a bit of clip art, the animation tools built into Google Slides, and a free screen recording tool like Screencastify. In the following video I demonstrate how to do that.

It's Not You, It's Me - How to Check If a Website is Working Correctly

Yesterday morning Charles asked me via Twitter about a site I had previously mentioned for checking whether or not a website is up or down. The site Charles was looking for is Down for Everyone or Just Me. It's a simple site that will tell you if a website it is up or if it is down. I find it useful whenever I'm wondering if I'm having trouble accessing a site because of a change on our network filter or if the trouble in on the site's end. Here's a little video that I made about Down for Everyone or Just Me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Quickly Create & Share Transcripts of YouTube Videos

VidReader was one of my favorite new tools in 2019. It's a tool that makes it easy to create an interactive transcript of any YouTube video. This morning I used to to create a transcript of a video. When I used VidReader this morning I noticed two new features that I hadn't previously seen. Those two new-to-me features are the option to share a direct link to the transcription page and the option to download the transcript as a PDF.

To use VidReader to generate a transcript simply head to the site then paste in the URL of the YouTube video that you want to create a transcript of. VidReader will then generate a transcript and display it on a page alongside the original video. The transcript is time-stamped so that you can click on it to jump to a section of the video. Below the video on the transcription page you'll find a link to share the transcript. And if you sign into VidReader (accounts are free) you can download a PDF of the transcript.

Here's the link to try the VidReader page that is pictured above.