Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Lessons About Income Taxes

In most years today would be the deadline for Americans to file their income tax returns. This year that deadline has been extended to July 15th because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I already had these resources ready to go for this week so I'm going to share them now rather than wait until July.

What are tax brackets?
Tax brackets are not as straight-forward as they seem on paper or in political debates. Vox offers a concise explanation of what tax brackets are and how they work. Money Coach also provides a good explanation of tax brackets although that explanation is longer with a bit more nuance.

Do you need to file a tax return?
If you teach high school students like I do, some of them may be filing taxes (or having parents do it on their behalf) for the first time. Doing that can lead to all kinds of questions about why we have taxes, the way taxes are calculated, and types of taxes. Money Coach has two videos that do a good job of explaining why you have to file a tax return and how to do it.

The concept of an income tax.
Crash Course offers a video that explains the origins of income taxes and a general explanation of how money collected from income taxes is used.

Income tax lesson plans.
PBS Learning Media offers a free lesson plan through which students learn about reasons for taxes being withheld from paychecks, where the withholdings go, and why some people have more or less withheld than others. In addition to helping students understand taxes withheld from paychecks Taxes - Where Does Your Money Go? introduces students to concepts related to saving for retirements. To that end, the lesson plan includes a video about how a self-employed person handles budgeting for taxes and retirement.

Create Lessons With These Videos
EDpuzzle is my favorite tool for creating lessons with videos that I find on YouTube. In the video below I demonstrate how you can use EDpuzzle to create your own lessons with videos that you find on YouTube.

The Student View of Comments on Google Classroom Assignments

One of the things that I've always recommended doing when using a new-to-you web tool in your classroom is to look at the students' perspective as well as your own. Unfortunately, that's not always easy to do. In the case of Google Classroom this can be hard to do if you only have a teacher account and don't have access to a student account. That's probably why lately I have received a lot of questions about what assignments look like to students in Google Classroom. I made the following short video to demonstrate how Google Classroom assignments look to students.

In the video below I demonstrate how to give an assignment, how students view an assignment, how to give feedback on a student's assignment, and what that feedback looks like to a student. My example features a student uploading a picture of a math assignment completed on paper for his teacher to review. The concept in the example can be applied to PDFs and any other document that you have your students complete and return in Google Classroom.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

How to Quickly Create a Narrated Video from PowerPoint or Google Slides

Last week I published a short post about a neat new service called Video Puppet. Video Puppet will take your PowerPoint slides and convert them into a narrated video for you. If you're a Google Slides user you can download your slides as a PowerPoint file to then use in Video Puppet.

You can use Video Puppet for free without registering on the site. The limitation on the free plan is that your slideshow can have a maximum of twenty slides. That should be more than adequate for most classroom applications. Anything longer than that and students will probably tune out anyway. You're probably better off making two videos that have ten slides than one video that has twenty slides.

In the following video I demonstrate how you can use Video Puppet to quickly create a video from your PowerPoint slides.

Three Ways to Use Audio With Google Slides

"How can I use audio in Google Slides?" is one of the perennial FAQs that I receive. In fact, just yesterday I had two people send me emails with variations on that question.

There are three methods that I typically recommend to people who want to use audio with Google Slides. All three of those methods are demonstrated in the video in this post.

Method 1:
Use the built-in "insert audio" function in Google Slides. This requires you to have audio files stored in your Google Drive account. You have to insert audio into each slide in your presentation. There is not a native recording function in Google Slides so you will have to record any narration that you want to use in a third-party tool. In the video I demonstrated using Online Voice Recorder, but any audio recording tool that generates an MP3 will work.

Method 2: 
Use a screencasting tool like Screencastify to record yourself talking while presenting your slides. This method will generate a video file that you can then share with your students. In the video below I demonstrated using Screencastify.

Method 3:
Insert a music video into your slides then shrink it down to the smallest possible size so as to "hide" it on the slide. Then use the formatting options in Google Slides to have the music video automatically play when presenting.

Monday, April 13, 2020

How to Use Google Hangouts Meet in Google Classroom

Last week Google introduced a new way to incorporate Google Meet (AKA Google Hangouts Meet) into Google Classroom. The old method still works as well. In fact, I had already scheduled some meetings with the old method so that's what I used with my students this morning. Moving forward I'll be using the new method. Both methods for scheduling and hosting Google Hangouts Meet events are featured in my new video that is embedded below.

Answers to FAQs about Google Meet in Google Classroom:
  • With the new permanent Google Meet link your students cannot join before you (if you're using G Suite for Edu). 
  • You can reset the link if you need to. 
  • Students can't rejoin after you close the meeting. 
  • Yes, you can re-use the links within the same classroom. 
  • No, it is not the same link for all Classrooms within your G Suite for Edu account. 
    • If you have five Classrooms, you'll have five links.