Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Quickly Turn Articles Into Videos With InVideo

This morning I was browsing Product Hunt when I saw a new product that was promoting itself as a way to create "insanely good social videos." The service is called InVideo. While it is fairly easy to use to make audio slideshow-style videos, that's not why I'm mentioning it today. The reason I'm mentioning it is that contains a feature to convert written articles into videos.

InVideo offers lots of tools and templates for making audio slideshow videos to share on social media and elsewhere. One of those tools lets you copy the text of an article into a template then have InVideo automatically select images to match the text of the article. A similar InVideo template lets you enter the URL of an article and have a video made with images that are automatically selected to make the text of the article. In both cases parts of the text appear on the slides with the images. And in both cases you can manually override the automatic image selections.

When your InVideo video is complete you can download it for free with a watermark applied to it. Alternatively, you can invite other people to join InVideo and the watermark is removed. Or you can purchase an InVideo subscription to have all watermarks removed.

Applications for Education
InVideo probably isn't a tool that students can use because it does require a phone number in order to sign up. That said, it could be useful for teachers who want to provide their students with a visual summary of the key points of a long passage of text.

Convert PDF to Word and More

I don't get nearly as many requests for help with file conversion as I did 5-10 years ago, but I still do get them from time to time. Last week I was asked for help converting a PDF into Word for editing. My immediate suggestion was to try the conversion tool available from Online Convert.

Online Convert offers a dozen tools for converting all kinds of files from one format to another. That includes a free tool for converting PDFs into Word documents. To use the PDF to Word conversion tool simply upload your PDF or import it from your Dropbox account. Once your PDF is uploaded just hit the "start conversion" button and your file will be converted. You can wait on the Online Convert screen for the file conversion process to happen or you can enter your email address to be notified when your converted file is ready to download.

In addition to the PDF to Word conversion tool, Online Convert offers tools for converting video files, audio files, image files, ebook files, and a handful of other file types.

Online Convert also offers a Chrome extension and a Firefox add-on for converting files without having to visit the Online Convert homepage in a new tab or window.

Applications for Education
Thanks to services like Google Docs and Microsoft 365 we no longer have the problem of years ago when students would email assignment submissions as file attachments that couldn't be read because they were in the wrong file format. Today, the utility of a tool like Online Convert is in converting our older documents and files into formats that we can edit and update. The last person who asked me about converting PDF to Word was trying to do so that he could update some older handouts that he still wanted to use with students.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

5 Google Slides Features New Users Should Know - Updated

One of the things that I've been reminded of a few times in the last month is to revisit the basics even if you're working with people who have had access to G Suite for a long time. On that note, here are five Google Slides features that all users should know how to use.

How to Add Images to Google Slides

How to Add Videos to Google Slides

How to Import PowerPoint Slides Into Google Slides

How to Insert Audio Into Google Slides

How to Print Google Slides

Write Faster With These Two New Google Docs Features

Two new Google Docs features are rolling out to all G Suite users beginning today. Today, Google announced the addition of Smart Compose in Google Docs for G Suite users. Earlier today, Google also announced that autocorrect is being added to Google Docs for all users.

Smart Compose in Google Docs works much like Smart Compose in Gmail. As you type, suggests for completing your sentences appear in light gray text. If you like the suggestion, just hit the tab key to accept the suggestion and continue typing your next sentence. Smart Compose in Google Docs is available only to G Suite users and not to those using personal Google accounts.

Autocorrect in Google Docs is available in G Suite accounts and personal Google accounts. Autocorrect in Google Docs works like that in Gmail. Suggested changes to your spelling are made as you type.

Both of these new features should make it possible to accurately create documents more quickly than before. Smart Compose and Autocorrect in Google Docs is appearing in accounts now and will be rolled out to users over the next few weeks.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode 32 - Back from the Flu

Last week I had the flu and lost my voice so I wasn't able to record the Practical Ed Tech Podcast. But after a week I'm back to full strength and have a new episode of the Practical Ed Tech Podcast.

In this episode of the podcast I shared a neat new stop motion video tool and a handy update to Wakelet. I also explained a new tool called that I'm trying with my freshmen. And in the Q&A I answered a tricky Creative Commons license question.

You can listen to episode 32 of the Practical Ed Tech Podcast right here or on your favorite podcast network. The complete show notes can be read here.

Listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

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