Saturday, March 5, 2022

PowerPoint Cameo Looks Cool and Could be Useful

On the heels of yesterday's post about making better Zoom presentations here's another post about a tool that could improve your online presentations. Microsoft recently added a new feature to PowerPoint. That feature is called Cameo. 

Cameo is a PowerPoint feature that lets you import a live stream of your webcam into your slides. In other words as your slides are presented your webcam feed appears in the slides. You can position the feed to appear anywhere on your slides. You can even put the feed inside a little frame or outline in your slides. 

Cameo is a feature that is currently only available to those who are Microsoft Office Insiders. I am not one so I've only seen the feature demonstrated by Mike Tholfsen who explains it more in this short video

Applications for Education
I can see this feature being a nice alternative to having your webcam feed displayed next to your slides. It makes for more streamlined look and puts more focus on the slides and a bit less on the speaker.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Library of Congress Resources About Ukraine

Over the last couple of weeks I've received quite a few requests for resources for teaching and learning about the Russia/ Ukraine conflict. In response to those requests I've been directing people to Larry Ferlazzo's frequently updated list of resources. Today, I found one resource that isn't on Larry's list, yet. That is the a list of resources compiled by the Library of Congress

In the LOC's list of resources about Ukraine you will find historical maps including this one that appears to be the first time Ukraine was used to describe the region. In the list you will also find links to resources from the Congressional Research Service and overviews of Library of Congress collections about Ukraine

By following tags and links through the digital archives of the Library of Congress you can find additional resources about Ukraine. That's how I found the map that I used as the feature image for this blog post. I viewed this map then scrolled down to find the tag Ukraine then on the next page clicked the map tag to find a list of 33 related maps. Take a look at my GIF below for those steps. 

Map Image Source: United States Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Try These Zoom Presentation Tips from Garr Reynolds

Garr Reynolds is one of the world's foremost experts on presentation design. If you haven't seen any of his TED Talks or read Presentation Zen, put it on your to-do list. I follow Garr Reynolds on Twitter and this morning he Tweeted a link to a new video of his in which he explains why and how to use picture-in-picture when giving a presentation in Zoom. 

In Do This in Zoom to Make Amazing Visual Presentations Garr Reynolds explains why you should use a picture-in-picture style when giving presentations in Zoom. As you might expect, he uses great visuals to convey those points. After explaining why you should use a PIP style, he explains how you can create a PIP effect without using any external or third-party tools. 

After watching the video above, you might have questions about how to use slides in Zoom to create a PIP effect. Fortunately, Garr Reynolds has you covered there with another tutorial video titled How to Use Slides as Virtual Background in Zoom.

Applications for Education
It's probably worth noting that the methods Garr Reynolds presented in these videos might be a little cumbersome for daily instruction. As he points out in the video above, it's hard to use the drawing tool while using these methods. That said, these methods could be great to put to use for professional development presentations and presentations to school boards or other stake-holder groups. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

How to Create and Share Clips of YouTube Videos

Over the years there have been many third-party tools that offered ways to clip and share portions of YouTube videos. Most of those don't last too long before Google/ YouTube changes something that renders those tools useless. Now YouTube offers its own integrated tool for creating and sharing short clips of videos. 

You'll find YouTube's clipping tool directly under the title (next to the share button) of the video you're viewing. Click that clip button and you can select a 15 to 60 second segment of the video. Once you've selected a clip, you can share that clip via the URL that YouTube provides for it. The clip will play on a loop wherever you share it including when you embed it into website. 

Watch this short video to learn how to create and share clips of YouTube videos. 

This method of sharing a section of a YouTube video is faster and easier than trying to use a third-party tool. It's also easier than inserting the video into a Google Slide and then specifying start and end times for the video in Google Slides (learn about that method in this video).

Applications for Education
Sometimes all you need is a short clip of a video to help you illustrate a point or spark a discussion. This clipping tool provides a good way to easily and accurately share just the portion of a longer video that you need to illustrate a point or spark discussion.

A Better Way to Update Charts in Google Slides and Docs

Google Forms provides handy charts and graphs summarizing responses to the questions within your form. Those charts and graphs can be embedded into Google Slides, Google Docs, and Google Drawings. This week Google made it easier to make sure you have the latest version of those embedded charts and graphs in your Slides, Docs, or Drawings. 

Until this week if your chart was updated in Google Forms after you had embedded it into a slide or document, you would have to remove the old chart then insert the new version to make sure the most current information was displayed. Now you only need to hit a "refresh" button in the embedded chart in order to have the latest version of the chart displayed. Watch my short video below of a complete demonstration and explanation of how this works. 

Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video above, I can see this update being helpful when you're showing a chart of responses to a class and want to make sure the latest version is displayed without having to show the rest of the form responses to the class. For example, if I'd use this feature if I wanted to show a chart of how the whole class did on the third question of a quiz without showing them the rest of the quiz response summaries.

Find more Google Forms tips and tricks in this playlist of tutorials