Friday, November 19, 2021

Scribble Maps - Draw on Google Maps and More Without an Account

To close out Geography Awareness Week 2021 I have one more cool tool to share. Scribble Maps is a tool that I've used and recommended for years. As the name implies, you can use it to draw on maps. You can also use it to create multimedia map markers. The best part is that you can use it without creating an account or enter any personal information. 

Scribble Maps lets you pick from a variety of base maps on which you can draw and create multimedia markers. The base map collection includes Google Maps, ESRI maps, National Geographic maps, and Open Street Maps. 

In this short video I provide an overview of how to create a multimedia map on Scribble Maps. 

How to Blur Faces in Videos With Screencastify

Screencastify is an excellent tool for quickly creating screencast videos. What you might not know is that you can also use Screencastify's free video editor to edit videos that you've recorded with other tools. For example, I recorded a video on my phone then transferred it to my laptop where I used Screencastify's free video editor to blur things in my video. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Screencastify's free video editor to blur faces and objects in your videos. 



Applications for Education
Blurring faces and objects in videos is a great way to protect students' privacy when sharing video clips online. By using the tools to selectively blur faces you can include the faces of the students who want to be seen in shared videos and blur the faces of those who don't want to appear in shared videos.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Five Helpful PowerPoint Features You Might Be Overlooking

PowerPoint isn't the flashiest ed tech tool on the block and it certainly isn't the newest. In fact, you might have read "PowerPoint" and thought "old." But as old as it is (34 years) there are new things added to it and hidden gems within it that keep it going strong. If it has been a while since you looked at PowerPoint, here are some features you might not be aware of that can be helpful to you and your students. 

Record a Video in PowerPoint
The Windows 10 desktop version of PowerPoint has some neat features including the option to record a video and instantly insert it into your presentation. Watch this tutorial to learn how that's done.



Remove Image Backgrounds
PowerPoint has a handy built-in tool for removing the background from your images. Here's a demonstration of how to use that feature.



Get Instant Feedback on Your Presentation
Presenter Coach is a great tool for getting instant feedback on your presentation pacing and more. It's available in the online version of PowerPoint. This tutorial shows you how it works.



Automatic Captioning of Your Presentation
PowerPoint includes features for automatic captioning of your presentations. Captions appear while you speak. The captioning tool will also translate your presentation while you speak. Watch this video to see how it works.



Accessibility Checker
If you're not sure whether or not your slides will be accessible to all students, you can run an accessibility check on your PowerPoint slides. This video shows you how to run an accessibility check on your PowerPoint presentation and how to add alt text to pictures and videos in your PowerPoint presentation.



Add more features...
Through the use of PowerPoint add-ins you can add even more functionality to your PowerPoint slides. For example, you can quickly add a countdown timer to your slides. Here's a demo of how to add a countdown timer to your slides. This video shows you how to find and install add-ins.

How to Create Digital Thankfulness Turkeys

Last fall the switch to online and hybrid classes presented lots of challenges and required changing the way that we have done some of our "old standby" activities. For example, last fall I received a few emails from readers looking for some ideas on how to do a digital version of the classic Thanksgiving Thankfulness Turkey project in which students add feathers to a drawing of turkey and each feather has something they're thankful for written on it. 

My suggestion for creating a digital version of the Thankful Turkey was to use a combination of Pixabay and Google Drawings. I made this short video to illustrate how that process would work. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Three Ways to Make Green Screen Videos

Making a green screen video can be a lot of fun for students and also a lot of fun for peers, parents, and teachers to watch. Ten years later I still occasionally refere to this video from Greg Kulowiec's middle school class as an example of a fun green screen project. Making a green screen video can seem intimidating at first, but once you've tried it a time or two you'll find that it's not as complicated as it might seem. Today there are lots of tools for making green screen videos. Here are the three I typically recommend and introduce to teachers. 

Make a Green Screen Video in iMovie
If you have access to a Mac or an iPad, this is the tool to use. It's free (provided you already have a modern Mac or iPad) and has just enough features to make a nice green screen video, but not so many features that it takes a long time to learn how to use it. Watch this video to learn how to make a green screen video in iMovie on a Mac. Watch this one to learn how to make a green screen video on an iPad.



WeVideo
For Chromebook users and Windows users, WeVideo is my go-to recommendation. Here's a demonstration of how it works.



Zoom + Adobe Spark
If you don't have a physical green screen to record in front of, you could use Zoom's built-in virtual green screen capability then import that video into Adobe Spark for final editing. Watch this video to learn how that is done.