Wednesday, July 1, 2020

How to Turn PowerPoint and Google Slides Into Narrated Videos

We're halfway through 2020. This week I'm taking some time off from the blog to work on some other projects. The rest of this week I'm going to re-run some of the most popular posts and videos of the year so far. 

Video Puppet is a new service that launched in late March. It turns your PowerPoint slides into narrated videos. 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.

How to Use Zoom and Adobe Spark to Make Green Screen Videos

We're halfway through 2020. This week I'm taking some time off from the blog to work on some other projects. The rest of this week I'm going to re-run some of the most popular posts and videos of the year so far.

This year more of us used Zoom than ever before. As is the case with many tools, the more that I used Zoom and answered questions about Zoom, the more I developed new ways to use it. One of those ways was to take advantage of the custom backgrounds option to make green screen videos. In the following video I demonstrate how you can use Zoom and Adobe Spark together to create a green screen video.

Zoom's desktop client has an option to replace your background with any picture that you want to upload to your Zoom account. Host a Zoom meeting without any participants in it, replace the background, and start talking. When you end the meeting you'll have an MP4 that you can import in Adobe Spark for further editing and or combine with other video clips.

Watch my video embedded below to see how you can create a green screen video with Zoom and Adobe Spark.



The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms

We're halfway through 2020. This week I'm taking some time off from the blog to work on some other projects. The rest of this week I'm going to re-run some of the most popular posts and videos of the year so far. 

The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms has been the most watched video on my YouTube channel in 2020 so far. The video is almost two years old, but it only became popular when teachers found themselves quickly transitioning to online instruction. That said, as you plan for the fall, please remember that online instruction is about much more than just giving quizzes to see if kids have been reading or watching your assignments.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

How to Record a Screencast With Flipgrid

We're halfway through 2020. This week I'm taking some time off from the blog to work on some other projects. The rest of this week I'm going to re-run some of the most popular posts and videos of the year so far. 

Flipgrid continues to evolve with new features seemingly appearing every quarter. Screencast recording was one of the new features added to Flipgrid this spring. This feature can pair nicely with the whiteboard feature that Flipgrid added in the fall of 2019. Watch my short video below to see how you can record a screencast with Flipgrid.

10 Fun & Challenging Geography Games for Students of All Ages

We're halfway through 2020. This week I'm taking some time off from the blog to work on some other projects. The rest of this week I'm going to re-run some of the most popular posts and videos of the year so far. 

Making lists like this isn't my favorite thing to do nor is it my favorite thing to post. However, lists like this always prove to be popular so I write them. Here's a list of geography games that I published earlier this year.

Ten Fun and Challenging Geography Games
WikiWhere is a neat map-based trivia game. The goal of the game is to identify cities based on their descriptions. The descriptions come from Wikipedia entries. You can get up to three clues before you have to answer by clicking on the map to identify the city that you think is described by the excerpts. When you click on the map you'll be shown the correct answer and how far away you were from the correct answer.

The browser-based version of Google Earth has a bunch of geography games for students to play including a few versions of Where In the World is Carmen San Diego? If you go into the Voyager mode in Google Earth you will find other games and quizzes to try. The quizzes are neat because when you answer a question correctly you automatically zoom to the Street View imagery of the location. Check it out in my video below.


GameOn World is a multiplayer geography game developed by a high school teacher and his student in Portland, Maine. The game is similar in structure to that of Kahoot. In GameOn World the teacher selects a game category (cities, places, and timeline are three of the nine categories) and starts the game. The students join the game by going to GameOn.World and entering a game pin. In the location and timeline games, students answer the questions by moving a placemark on a map or selecting a date on a timeline. In some of the other games students answer by choosing a number on a sliding scale.


GeoGuessr shows you a Google Street View image and a clue to try to guess where in the world the imagery was captured. Playing GeoGuessr is a fun way to get students to look at all of the visual and text clues they have in order to form a good guess as to where in the world they think the imagery came from. This used to be completely free, but it moved to a freemium model in 2020 which limits how many games you can play for free.

Quizzity is an online geography game that uses a familiar concept. Quizzity presents you with the name of a city and you have to click on the map where you think that city is in the world. Quizzity quizzes you on cities all over the world. To increase the accuracy of your guesses you should zoom-in on a region before clicking the map. Each round of Quizzity presents you with six city names. Points are awarded for accuracy and speed.


City-Guesser is a challenging map-based game. The game shows you a section of a map centered over a city. The labels are removed from the map so you have to guess the city's name based on other clues like bodies of water and orientation. City-Guesser gives you four answer choices to choose from. If you choose correctly, you move to the next level. If you choose incorrectly, the game is over and you have to start again from the beginning.

Capital Toss is a free geography game from ABCya. The game has a state capitals mode and a country capitals mode. In both modes of the game works the same way. The name of a state or country appears at the bottom of the screen and three rows of capital names scroll across the top. When the correct capital name appears players virtually toss a ball at it. After ten correct answers players can choose a new ball. Three consecutive incorrect answers ends the game.

Spacehopper is a game based on Google Maps Street View imagery. Spacehopper shows you a Street View image and you have to guess where in the world the image was captured. You can click the clue button to have the country identified before making a guess. After three incorrect guesses the correct answer will be revealed to you. You can play Spacehopper on a global level or you can specify that you only want to see images from a particular continent.

How Many European Cities Can You Name? and How Many US Cities Can You Name? are game developed by Ian Fisher who is a software engineer at Google. Both of the games are played the same way. Simply open the game map and start typing the names of cities. When you enter a city it will appear on the map. The object is to name as many cities as you can without stopping. When you're done you'll see a list of the cities that you named and the populations of the five biggest cities and the five smallest cities that you named.

Bonus: Make Your Own Game!
Mission Map Quest is a free tool for creating geography games. The concept is simple, you create a series of clues that your students need to follow to identify places around the world. You can add as few or as many clues to your Map Quest as you like. When you're ready to have students try your Quest just give them the web address of the challenge or have them scan the QR code assigned to your Quest. Watch my video below to see how to make your own Mission Map Quest game.