Friday, May 22, 2020

A Handful of Video Lessons About Memorial Day

This is Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. Monday is actually Memorial Day. Students often confuse the origin and purpose of Memorial Day with those of Veterans Day. The following videos can help students understand the origins and meanings of Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

The Meaning of Memorial Day is a two minute video covering the origins of the holiday in the United States. The video is embedded below.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers the following video overview of the history of Memorial Day.

Jocko Willink isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoy his podcast and found this video that he released two years ago to be quite moving.

To find more resources for teaching about Memorial Day, visit Larry Ferlazzo's list of resources.

Try using EDpuzzle to add questions into these videos and distribute them to your students.

Another Whiteboard Option for Google Meet Users

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to use a whiteboard in Google Meet without screensharing. That method featured using a neat tool called Whiteboard Fi. Some people have had great success using that method and others have asked me for other options. That's what this post will address.

Google's Jamboard is available to use online for free at You can also access it through your Google Drive. Jamboard provides an online whiteboard that you can use for freehand drawings. Like all Google products connected to Google Drive, Jamboard can be used collaboratively. Unlike Google Drawings, Jamboard lets you have multiple pages within the same project. 

How to Use Jamboard and Google Meet Together

If you're using Google Meet to host online classes and need a whiteboard to draw on, Jamboard is a good option. Just open it in a new tab then screenshare with your students. They'll be able to see everything you draw. You can even invite them to draw on a different page in the Jamboard session. Watch my video below to learn how to use Jamboard and Google Meet together.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Pixabay Offers Free Music to Use and Reuse

Pixabay is one of the resources that I frequently include in my recommendations for sources of images and video clips to use in slideshow and video projects. This morning I got a notice from Pixabay informing me of Pixabay's audio collection. I'm not sure how long it has been there, but I didn't notice it until I got the notification.

Pixabay's audio collection features instrumental recordings across a wide range of genres. You can listen to the tracks in their entirety before downloading them. Like all other media on Pixabay, you can download and reuse the sound tracks for free. And as they state in the terms of use, you don't have to cite them but it is appreciated.

I plan to add Pixabay's audio collection to my Practical Ed Tech Guide to Finding Media for Classroom Projects.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some background music for an end-of-year slideshow or video, take a look at Pixabay's collection of free and royalty-free music.

Tactiq - Record the Captions in Google Meet

Tactiq is a new Google Chrome extension that lets you record the captions generated by the automatic captioning tool in Google Meet. You can use it to record and save all captions or select just some captions to save. When the conversation in Google Meet is over, you can save the captions as a text file on your computer or in Google Drive.

Applications for Education
Tactiq could be a good extension to use if you need to generate a transcript of a Google Meet to share with your students. Students could also use the extension to extract and save in their notes parts of what you say during a lesson conducted via Google Meet.

How to Quickly Create a Slideshow With Google Photos and Slides

Earlier this week someone sent me a question on Twitter seeking information about an add-on that lets you import batches of photos into Google Slides and have those photos automatically placed onto individual slides. The add-on that I've used for this in the past is called Photos to Slides. Photos to Slides lets you import an album from your Google Photos account into a slideshow in Google Slides.

Photos to Slides is quick and easy to use but there are a couple of things that you should note before you try it. First, you need to make albums in Google Photos before you use the add-on. Second, the free version of add-on limits you to 50 images imported at a time. Third, the reviews of the add-on are mixed, but I haven't had problem using it. 

Applications for Education
The person who asked me about this add-on was making an end-of-year slideshow for his school. That's a common use for Photos to Slides at this time of year as it could be a big time-saver for anyone charged with making end-of-year slideshows.