Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Few Interesting Ways to Use Google Slides Besides Making Presentations

As I do every year, I'm taking this week off from writing new blog posts. This week I'll be re-running a few of the most popular posts in 2020. 

Google Slides was once a bare-bones alternative to PowerPoint and Keynote. I can still remember when the option to add a video was big news. Fast forward to today and there are lots of things that you can do with Google Slides besides make basic slideshow presentations. Here are three of my favorite ways to use Google Slides for something other than making a presentation.

Create a Jeopardy-style Game 
By inserting a table into your cover slide then using the slide-linking feature in Google Slides you can create a Jeopardy-style game to play in your classroom. The steps for doing that are outlined in the video below.


Create a Multimedia Timeline in Google Slides
A couple of years ago Google added some diagram templates to Google Slides. These templates can be inserted into any of your slides. A timeline is one of the templates that you'll find in the diagrams menu. Watch the following video to learn how to create a timeline in Google Slides.


Make a Common Craft-style Video
You can make simple animated videos with a bit of clip art, the animation tools built into Google Slides, and a free screen recording tool like Screencastify. In the following video I demonstrate how to do that.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where my kids are still basking in the glow of Santa's visit yesterday. We have a full day of unplanned fun ahead of us. I hope that you also have a fun ahead of you. 

I didn't write or publish any blog posts yesterday and I won't be writing anything new next week. I always take the last week of the year off from writing new blog posts. Next week I'll be re-running some of the most popular posts that I published in 2020. Speaking of popular posts, take a look at this week's list below. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. My Current Hybrid Classroom Arrangement and Equipment
2. How to Create Your Own App With the MIT App Inventor
3. My Two Go-to Places for Free Sound Effects and Music
4. Quickly Create Polls and Quizzes in Google Meet With Edu-pal
5. Best Job Ever - National Geographic Stories About Interesting Jobs
6. Vintage Travel Posters and Google Earth
7. Five Ideas for Online Breakout Room Activities

Professional Development Opportunities 
Through Practical Ed Tech I'm currently offering two on-demand learning opportunities:
Thank you for your support! 
  • More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course or webinar this year. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
  • Wakelet is a great tool for making collections of resources, recording video, and more!
  • GAT Labs offers a great, free guide to using Google Workspaces in online classrooms.  
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 32,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of edtech tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for thirteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

How to Create Crossword Puzzles With Google Sheets

My grandmother was a middle school and high school language arts teacher for decades. She loved crossword puzzles. I know that many other teachers still like to use them in one way or another too. If you would like to create your own crossword puzzles for your students or you want them to create crossword puzzles, Flippity has a free Google Sheets template for that purpose. In the following video I demonstrate how to make a crossword puzzle with Flippity's Google Sheets template. 

How to Quickly Create a Transcript of a Google Meet Meeting

CaptionSaver Pro for Google Meet is a free Chrome extension that anyone can use to save a transcript of what is said during a Google Meet meeting. When the extension is installed it will automatically enable captioning of your meeting and it will automatically generate a transcript of those captions. It's easy to install and use. I made this short video to demonstrate how it works

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Fun Facts About Reindeer

My daughters are at the age that they believe in Santa Claus. For weeks they've been talking about snacks for Santa and his reindeer. They're a little too young for this SciShow Kids video about reindeer, but if you have kids who are in elementary school you might want to show them 4 Facts to Know About Reindeer. 

4 Facts to Know About Reindeer explains why reindeer are called caribou in North America. The lesson also teaches students how reindeer have adapted to find food and stay warm in cold weather. The video concludes with an explanation of why reindeer migrate.


Older kids and adults who want to learn a bit more about reindeer should watch this clip from BBC Earth. The video explains how reindeer stay warm in the coldest of conditions.