Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Annotations, Expeditions, and Summer - The Month in Review

Good evening from Maine where a line of strong thunderstorms is a hopeful signal that our heatwave is about to break. June was the busiest month I've had in more than a year. Between end-of-school activities, hosting webinars, training for bike races, and trying to be the best dad I can be it felt like I never relaxed. This week, I'm doing that. I hope that you are also enjoying some rest after a long school year. 

In July I'm hosting the next section of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. There is still time to register to join me for ten hours of live webinars with me during the week of July 12th. Register here

These were the month's most popular posts:
1. Three Good Options for Annotating PDFs
2. 15 Updates Coming to Google Workspace for Education
3. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
4. Science Research Papers Annotated With Teaching Resources
5. Four Important Padlet Updates to Note
6. Five Sources of Summer Math Activities for Elementary School Students
7. Expeditions Pro - A Replacement for Google's VR Tour Creator
8. Icons8 - Easily Add Icons to Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets
9. Wick Editor - A Nice Tool for Creating Animations
10. How to Create Interactive Checklists in Google Docs

On-demand Professional Development
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 36,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen 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.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

What Was Watched in June - My Most Popular Tutorials

In June I published a new video every other day on my YouTube channel. There are now more than 36,000 people subscribed to get notified as soon as I publish a new video. My channel contains more than 1,000 tutorial videos covering everything from fundamental aspects of Google Workspaces to making your own Android apps to making videos and many other topics suggested by readers and viewers like you. Below are the ten videos on my YouTube channel that were watched the most in June. 

1. The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms


2. How to Add a Timer to Your PowerPoint Slides


3. Wheel of Names - A Random Name Picker and More


4. How to Draw on Your Screen in Google Meet


5. How to create shared Google Drive folders


6. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game


7. How to print a Google Form or save it as PDF


8. How to Use Adobe Spark to Create a Video


9. How to Share Videos Through Google Drive


10. How to Create Comic Strips in Google Slides


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Feature graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva. 

Narakeet - Quickly Turn Slides into Narrated Video Lessons

A reader recently emailed me looking for advice on how to create narrated video based on slides made in Canva. She didn't want to record her own voiceover audio. My suggestion was to try using Narakeet to have the slides converted into a narrated video. 

Narakeet lets you upload slides and have them converted into a video that is automatically narrated for you. You can choose from about twenty voiceover options, adjust the speed of the voiceover, and choose to have captions automatically added into your video. 

To use Narakeet you must have your slides in PPTX format. Fortunately, all of the popular slideshow creation tools including Canva and Google Slides let you export your presentations as PPTX files. When you upload your PPTX file to Narakeet your speaker notes are used as the basis for the narration that is created for your video. When your video is completed you can download it as an MP4 file that can be used anywhere that you typically share videos. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Canva and Narakeet to create an automatically narrated video lesson. 



Applications for Education
Narakeet is a great tool for those who have a set of slides lead lessons, but don't want to use their own voices to narrate the slides. Narakeet provides a quick and easy way to turn those slides into a video lesson. 

Just like any audio slideshow video, when you make a video with Narakeet you'll want to make sure that you have a new visual every 5-10 seconds or else students will get bored and tune out.  

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Feature graphic created by Richard Byrne using Canva. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Two Cool New Presentation Creation Options in Canva

Last year Canva introduced a new feature that allows you to record a video of your Canva slideshow presentations. Since then a lot of people have asked if there is a way to record just audio to go along with a slideshow presentation. Yes is now the answer to that question. One of the new features recently added to Canva allows you to record audio without recording video. To do that simply disable access to your webcam when Canva requests it and you'll be able to record audio without video. 

Another new feature recently added to Canva lets you record a video with your webcam and insert that video into any Canva design including presentations and social media graphics. In my limited testing of these feature it seems that you can layer video over background images and adjust the transparency of your video itself. To record a video with your webcam in Canva just head to the "uploads" section in the Canva design editor then click on the "record yourself" button. See my screenshot below for details on where to find the video recorder in Canva. 


Applications for Education
The option to record audio without video could turn Canva into a good tool for students to use to make narrated slideshows without having to use a video editing tool like iMovie or WeVideo. The new option to record a webcam video in Canva could be useful in adding personal messages to graphics like digital greeting cards or to slides to provide an explanation of charts and graphs.

You can find a list of all of the recent updates to Canva right here.    

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Featured image created by Richard Byrne using Canva.

Create Your Own Chatbot for Surveys and Quiz Practice

Acquainted is a free polling tool that has been around for a few years. It recently reappeared on my radar when a reader sent me a question asking for help creating a chatbot for her website.

Acquainted is a conversational polling tool. What that means is that people who take your poll get an instant response from you regarding their selections of poll options. Your responses are written into Acquainted and programmed to appear to poll respondents as they make answer choices. Watch my short demonstration video below and then read on for my ideas about how you might use Acquainted in your practice.



Applications for Education
Acquainted was designed for polling visitors to a website and it would make a great addition to a classroom website. It could be used as a mini tutoring service when added to your classroom website. You could build a series of questions for your students to respond to and get feedback that is programmed by you. You could build responses that provide explanations of why an answer is correct or incorrect. Your responses might even include a link to further explanations.
 
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Featured image created by Richard Byrne using Canva.