Tuesday, September 7, 2021

How to Quickly Create Comics With Make Beliefs Comix

Disclosure: Make Beliefs Comix is currently an advertiser on this site. 

Make Beliefs Comix is a good tool for creating comic strips for all kinds of purposes including teaching empathy, practicing writing in a new language, and telling fun stories. Last week I outlined those ideas and more in this blog post

The best thing about Make Beliefs Comix is that you don't need to be able to draw in order to create a great comic strip. That's because you can use the pre-made artwork to create your comic strip. Simply select a category of artwork then choose a background, characters, decorations, and speech bubbles for your comic. You can then write your comic in one of fourteen languages supported by Make Beliefs Comix. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to quickly create a comic strip with Make Beliefs Comix. 

Combine Canva and Google Drawings to Make Graphic Organizer Activities

Last fall I published some videos about using Google Drawings and Google Jamboard to create labeling activities, mapping activities, and some graphic organizer activities. Those all relied on using the drawing tools built into Google Drawings and Jamboard. The aesthetics of the activities was limited by your imagination and what you could do with the drawing tools. For folks like me, that meant the visuals weren't always as pretty as we'd like. Fortunately, Canva has a hundreds of beautiful graphic organizers that you can import into Google Drawings to create online activities for your students. 

In this video I demonstrate how to find a graphic organizer template in Canva and then import it into Google Drawings. After importing the template into Google Drawings I demonstrate how to turn that template into an online activity for your students to complete. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Two Ed Tech Guys Return! - Free Webinar This Thursday

My pal Rushton Hurley from Next Vista for Learning and I are starting the second season of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff! The first episode of the new season is this Thursday at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT. We'd love to have you join us! You can register for the session right here

In every episode we answer questions from readers and viewers like you. We also share some cool and interesting things that we've found around the Web. Rushton tends to share cool videos and pictures while I tend to share cool tech tools. And we both try our best to give helpful answers to your questions about all things educational technology. 

For the new season we're (mostly me because I'm the rambler) going to try to be a little more concise in our answers so that we can answer more questions in each episode. Please join us! And feel free to email me in advance with your questions. 

The Difference Between a Chrome Profile and a Google Account

This morning as I was starting to get caught up on a backlog of email I answered a question from a reader who wanted to know if I had a video about Chrome profiles that she could share with her staff. I do, here it is. In the video I demonstrate and explain the difference between signing into a Chrome profile and signing into your Google account. The video is embedded below. 


The key points to remember are:

  • Your Chrome profile handles all of your Chrome browser preferences and settings including the extensions you like to use, bookmarks, saved passwords, and display settings (default fonts and color schemes). 
  • Signing into your Google account is how you access things like Gmail and Google Docs. 
  • Whenever you're done using a shared computer, you should sign out of both your Chrome profile and your Google account. 
On a related note, I find it helpful to use a different profile icon for each of my Google accounts. It provides a visual reminder of which account I'm currently using. Doing that helps me avoid creating a work document in a personal account or trying to send a personal email from a work account. Here's a little video about that

How to Build Questions Into Screencastify Videos

Disclosure: Screencastify is currently an advertiser on my sites. 

A couple of weeks ago Screencastify announced the launch of some new features in their video editor. One of those new features is the ability to add interactive questions into your videos. You can do this with videos that you record with the Screencastify Chrome extension or with videos that you upload into your Screencastify account. Whichever type of video you choose to use, you can add multiple choice questions into the timeline of the video. In this short video I demonstrate how to add questions into your Screencastify videos. 



After you've added questions to your Screencastify video you can share it with your students via Google Classroom or by sharing a direct link to your video. If you share via Google Classroom, you can use all of the standard Google Classroom options to see which of your students have completed the assignment. If you share with a direct link to your video, you'll need to require that students sign-in with an email or username in order to keep track of which students have completed the assignment. Either way, students must answer the questions in order to watch the next segement of your video. As soon as they answer a question students do know if they answered correctly or not.

The new version of the Screencastify editor is rolling out over the next couple of weeks. If you don't see the new version in your account right now, sign-up here to be notified when it is available in your account.

Applications for Education
Adding interactive questions into your instructional videos is a great way to make sure that students actually watch your lesson all the way through. It's also a good way to determine if you need to re-teach something or alter your explanation of a concept. You can do that by looking to see if there is a pattern to the answers your students choose while watching your video.