Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cisco Makes Webex Free and Publishes Guides for Teachers and Students

In amongst a wave of email related to COVID-19 I found a message from my local Cisco contact (my school licenses their NetAcad program) that Webex is now free to any school that needs it to conduct classes online.

To support a quick transition to using Webex for classes, Cisco has published some short guides to getting started with Webex. There are guides made for teachers, guides made for students, and guides made for parents. The target audience for the student guides appears to be middle school age and older. All of the guides can be downloaded as PDFs.

For those who would like a little more guidance on how to use Webex, Cisco has two recorded webinars available. This is the one for teachers and this is the one for students. Again, the student audience should be middle school or older. I'd say that if you're a middle school teacher you should encourage parents to watch the student webinar.

Slido for PowerPoint - Create and Run Polls Within Your Presentation

Slido for Google Slides was one of my favorite new tools in 2019. That's why I'm excited that it's now available for PowerPoint and Zoom too! As part of Slido for Education Slido now lets you create polls and run polls within Google Slides, PowerPoint, and Zoom presentations. Slido is hosting a free webinar next Thursday about how to use their product, but I couldn't wait so I went ahead and attempted to test Slido's PowerPoint integration for myself.

Slido's new PowerPoint integration works on the Windows 10 version of PowerPoint. At this time it doesn't appear to work with the Mac or web versions of PowerPoint. Additionally, you have to use a school-issued email account to sign into Slido within PowerPoint. If you can meet all of those requirements then you can go ahead and download Slido for PowerPoint.

To be fair to Slido, their PowerPoint integration is in beta so it's not unusual to find some quirks. That said, I found it to be exceptionally quirky just to set it up. First, I had to manually extract all of the files from the installation zip file. Then once I ran that gauntlet I was able to sign-in using my G Suite for Education account or so I thought. Unfortunately, when I logged in with my G Suite for Education account Slido put up a message that said "only available to those in education." So that's where my test of Slido's PowerPoint integration ended. Hopefully, the webinar that they're hosting next week explains how to actually use Slido's PowerPoint integration.

If you want to see how Slido's PowerPoint integration is supposed to work, you can watch this video that they published.



Slido for Google Slides works very well and I'm very happy with it. Hopefully, once they get the kinks worked out the Slido PowerPoint integration works just as well as the Google Slides integration.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Save and Use Multiple Signatures in Gmail

Google has introduced a new Gmail feature that could be helpful to anyone who has ever struggled with choosing what to put in his or her email signature. Gmail will now let you create multiple signatures, save them, and pick the one you want to use on each of the messages you send. For example, you could create one signature for emails that you're sending to your students and one signature for emails that you're sending to colleagues.

The new multiple signature feature is going to be rolled-out over the course of the next couple of weeks.

Applications for Education
I see a lot of email signatures in emails from teachers. Some use signatures to remind students of norms and protocols while others use the signature to remind students about important school events. Some teachers use the signature to provide a motivational quote. While that's a great for students to read, it might not always give the impression wanted in communicating with people other than students. Gmail's new multiple signatures feature could be useful in letting you create a signature for emails you send to students and one for emails that you send to colleagues and or parents.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Now You Can Fix Images in Google Docs

Google Docs has offered handy image editing tools for years. But until this week Google Docs hasn't offered a good way to fix images in place. On Monday Google announced an update to the image editing tools in Google Docs. That update includes the ability to fix or lock an image in place in your documents.

The option to fix an image in place in Google Docs can be found when you highlight an image and then select "image options."

As is the case for most updates to G Suite products, this Google Docs update will roll out over a couple of weeks. If you don't see it today, you will see it soon.

Teamimg - Collaborate to Make Interactive Images

Teamimg is a free tool that is a bit like Thinglink and Classtools' Image Annotator without the hyperlinks. Teamimg lets you upload an image and share it. Once uploaded you can click on the image to write comments and reply to the comments that other people have written. The comment threads can be expanded or collapsed to depending on your viewing needs.

In the following video I demonstrate how to use Teamimg to collaboratively comment on images.


Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for sharing Teamimg in one of his recent Ed Tech Digest posts.

Applications for Education
Teamimg could be a good tool for students to use to annotate all kinds of images, diagrams, and maps. As it doesn't require an email address or any student information, it can be used at any grade level. I can see Teamimg being used in a geography lesson to have students create annotated maps. In a biology lesson students could use Teamimg to make interactive diagrams of cells. In an art lesson students might use Teamimg to identify and label techniques or important aspects of a work of art.