Friday, August 20, 2021

Coming This Sunday Evening

Last Sunday evening the subscribers to my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter got copies of the 2021-22 version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook before anyone else. This Sunday I have two more resources that will only be available through my newsletter. Those resources are colorful poster-style PDFs of email etiquette reminders for students. 

If you're not subscribed my newsletter, you can do so right here

But if you don't want to subscribe to my newsletter, that's okay. I do have the following videos to share with you on the topic of email etiquette. 

The video below was made by a teacher for the purpose of sharing email etiquette tips with students. 

Watch Clear Email Communication by Common Craft to learn how to get a recipient's attention and how to get a response from that recipient.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing, in-kind relationship with Common Craft.

Five Things To Make With Google Slides Besides Standard Presentations

Based on the initial view count, yesterday's post about creating interactive diagrams in Google Slides seems to be fairly popular. That's inspired me to put together a list of other ways to use Google Slides besides just making standard slideshow presentations. I've made videos about all of the following ideas and those videos are included along with descriptions below. 

Create Choose Your Own Adventure Stories in Google Slides
This is a project that I helped a fourth grade class do a few years ago. The students wrote short stories in Google Slides. The ending of their stories had three possible outcomes. Each outcome was linked to the final paragraph of their stories. When readers got to the last paragraph they could click to choose the ending they wanted to read. In this video I demonstrate how to create choose your own adventure stories in Google Slides.

Create Comic Strips in Google Slides
By using tables and the built-in clipart in Google Slides you can create your own comic strips. Watch this video to learn how to do that.

Make an Animated Video With Google Slides
More than a decade ago Common Craft pioneered a new style of video using very simple animations to craft clear explanations of complex topics. Students make that same style of video by using some clipart, some basic Google Slides transitions, and a screencasting tool like Screencastify. That process is demonstrated in this short video.

Place Yourself in Front of Any Landmark With Google Slides
I mentioned this idea last week in my video about icebreaker activities with Google Drawings and Slides. The idea is to use a tool like Photoscissors to remove the background from a photograph of yourself and then overlay that new image on a Google Slide of a famous landmark or any pretty scenery of your choice.

Make Interactive Diagrams and Charts in Google Slides
This is the activity that I mentioned in yesterday's blog post. As I shared yesterday, you can have students make interactive diagrams of just about any process or sequence. I've had students make interactive diagrams to mock-up mobile apps and I've had them make interactive diagrams of trouble-shooting processes. When I taught U.S. History I had students make interactive diagrams of the branches of government.

The 2021-22 Practical Ed Tech Handbook

Earlier this week subscribers to my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter received their free copies of the 2021-22 edition of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. It's a 75 page PDF that features my favorite tools, tips, and strategies for using a wide variety of educational technology tools in your classroom. If you're not subscribed to my newsletter, you can now get your copy of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook right here

Table of contents for the 2021-22 version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook:
1. Communication with students and parents – page 5
2. Creating Blogs & Websites – page 9
3. Web search strategies – page 16
4. Digital citizenship – page 27
5. Video creation and flipped lessons – page 30
6. Audio recording and publishing – page 42
7. Backchannels and formative assessment – page 44
8. Digital portfolios – page 48
9. Augmented and Virtual Reality – page 50
10. Intro to Programming and Makerspaces – page 54
11. Accessibility Tools – page 59
12. Ten Time-saving ways for teachers to use tech – page 65
13. Remote Instruction Tools and Strategies – page 67
14. DIY Game Creation – page 72

Get your copy of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook right here.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

How to Create Interactive Charts and Diagrams in Google Slides

Google Slides is full of little "hidden" features that are good to know how to use after you've covered the basics of using Google Slides. One of those little features is the ability to hyperlink any text or object within a slide. Another handy feature is a selection of premade charts and diagrams that you can add to your slides from the Insert drop-down menu. Combine both of those features and you can create interactive charts and diagrams in Google Slides. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to create interactive charts and diagrams in Google Slides. As I point out in the video, you can customize the color scheme and the fonts in the diagrams that you select from the Insert drop-down menu in Google Slides.

Applications for Education
As I demonstrated in the video above, using the hyperlinking function within a diagram is a good way for students to make interactive charts of the seasons of the year. In the past I've had students use that same combination of functions to create interactive charts of the branches of government. Last year I had students use that combination of functions to create mock-ups for mobile apps.

On a related note, watch this video if you or your students need a crash course in the basics of using Google Slides.

Birds, Fish, and a Search Tip for Science Students

Some of you may recall from my posts earlier this year that my family and I have a lot of birds that nest around our house. We put out lots of bird feeders and hanging plants which attract all kinds of birds. Some of our favorites are Orioles and Yellow Finches. Recently, I learned that yellow finch isn't actually the right name for what we see at our feeders. What we actually see are American Goldfinches whose Latin name is Spinus tristis. 

My discovery of the Latin name for the American Goldfinch was prompted by revisiting a passage from Daniel Russell's The Joy of Search. In the seventeenth chapter of his book Dr. Russell writes about his research of parrotfish. On pages 242 and 243 of his book he explains that used the Latin name for a specific type of parrotfish so that he was sure his search results were about the specific fish he was interested in and not all parrotfish. 

I tend to be a slow reader because I often stop to jot notes in my notebook or ponder questions that pop into my mind while reading. One of those questions that popped into my brain while reading pages 242 and 243 of The Joy of Search was, "have I been calling birds by the wrong name?" It turns out that I haven't been necessarily using the wrong name for our bird feeder visitors, but I haven't been using the most correct name. That discovery was made through a simple Google search for "yellow finch latin name." 

The tip for science students.
If students are getting mixed results or conflicting search results when researching plants or animals, using the Latin or scientific names for those plants or animals will quickly narrow the scope of their search results. Similarly, using the Latin or scientific names in a search on Google Scholar will lead ften to papers that are hyper-focused on attributes of those plants or animals. Just be careful because that can lead you down another rabbit hole as it did for me when I discovered a second, accepted scientific name for American Goldfinches.

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