Monday, January 18, 2021

How to Check and Edit the Accessibility of Word Documents

In my previous post I shared directions on how to assess and edit the accessibility of PowerPoint presentations. The tool that I featured in that post, Accessibility Checker, is also available to use in Microsoft Word. 

The accessibility checker that is built into Microsoft Word can be found under the "Review" tab in the desktop version of Word. The accessibility checker will identify any accessibility problems with your document including missing alt text, problems with headers, and problems related to font choices. 

This short video will show you how to use the accessibility checker in Word and how to add alt text to images in Word. 

How to Quickly Check and Improve the Accessibility of Your PowerPoint Slides

In this week's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter I talked about making virtual presentations accessible to those who rely on captioning. Many of us like to share our slides with students and or colleagues to either follow along or to have as reference material after a presentation. If you're sharing your PowerPoint slides, run Microsoft's built-in accessibility checker before sharing your slides. 

The accessibility checker is built right into PowerPoint. You'll find it under the "Review" tab in your PowerPoint editor. Here's my short video overview of how the accessibility checker in PowerPoint works. Additionally, the video following video shows you how to add and edit alt text for images and videos within your PowerPoint slides. 


Free Webinar This Thursday - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Question & Share Cool Stuff

Last spring, summer, and fall Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I hosted a free webinar series called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. This Thursday at 4pm ET we're hosting the first installment of 2021. You can register for free right here

Just like the title says, during the webinar we answer questions from anyone who attends as well as questions that have been sent to us in advance. You can email me or Rushton with your questions. In each episode we also share a couple of interesting apps, websites, or videos that we've found during the week. 

Watch our last episode of 2020 to get a sense of what our first episode of 2021 will be like. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Time, Space, and Exercise - The Week in Review

(Not my house). 
Good morning from Maine where I'm hoping for snow. It has been a couple of weeks since our last snow storm and I'm worried that our ski season will be too short if we don't get more snow soon. Either way, I won't be able to ski today because this afternoon I'm hosting some webinars for the faculty of Coast Community College, California. If you're interested in having me do the same for your school, please get in touch with me here.  

This time of the school year is often the hardest for me. The fun of the winter holidays is gone, the days are short, and spring break is a long way off. For me the best way to deal with that stress is to go outside and exercise by riding my bike, skiing, or just taking long walks with my dogs. I hope that you also have a fun and healthy way of dealing with the stress of this time of school year. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Ten Time-savers for G Suite for Education Users 
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 in 2020. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • BoomWriter is hosting a unique creative writing contest for kids. Check it out!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
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 educational technology 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.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Mote - An Easier Way to Add Audio to Google Slides

Mote is a new Chrome extension that I learned about from one of Greg Kulowiec's Tweets earlier this week. With Mote installed in your Chrome web browser you can quickly record audio and have it inserted into your Google Slides with just one click. 

To use Mote in Google Slides you first have to install the Chrome extension. Once you've installed the Chrome extension you'll then see a Mote icon near the "Present" button in your Google Slides editor. Click that icon to start recording. The free version of Mote lets you record for thirty seconds. After you stop recording you can then play it back. If you like your recording, just click the insert button on the Mote menu to have it added to your slide. If you don't like your recording, just hit the trash icon and try again. 

The first time that you use Mote you will have to grant it access to your Google account. That access will include accessing your Google Drive. That access is necessary because the way that Google Slides handles audio is by playing it back from audio files that are stored in your Google Drive. It's for that reason that you'll find your Mote audio recordings are stored in your Google Drive account. 

Just like inserting any other audio in Google Slides, Mote audio recordings can be set to playback automatically when you are presenting. You can also set the recording to play on a loop. More details about adjust audio playback in Google Slides is available here



Applications for Education
Mote could make it a lot easier for teachers and students to add explanatory audio to Google Slides. Just remember that if you're going to share your slides with students, you'll need to change the access settings for the audio file in Google Drive to "anyone with the link can access" otherwise they won't be able to hear your audio file. I explain and demonstrate that setting in the last portion of the video (about the 3:10 mark) that is embedded above.