Wednesday, March 23, 2022

New Whiteboard Features in Microsoft Teams and New Excel Formulas

If you regularly use Microsoft Teams or any component of Office 365 and you're not subscribed to Mike Tholfsen's YouTube channel, you need to subscribe to it. That's where I learn about all of the latest features available for Teams, Reading Progress, Immersive Reader, Word, OneNote, and many other Office 365 tools. Mike's latest videos demonstrate ten new Excel formulas and eight new whiteboard features in Microsoft Teams

I don't use Excel enough to get excited about new formulas and functions. That said, in reading the comments on Mike's video it appears that Excel power-users are excited about the new features. 

The video about new whiteboard features in Microsoft Teams is the one that I got excited about. In particular, I can see a lot utility in being able to aggregate reactions and saving pen settings for use between whiteboards. The new option to drag an image from my desktop to a whiteboard is also very convenient (I love anything that removes having to use file explorer to upload). 

How to Add Videos to Google Earth Projects

I'm currently developing a lesson plan that is loosely based on the reality television show, The Amazing Race. In my lesson students have to use a series of clues to find locations in Google Earth and then complete a task or challenge before adding a placemark to their Google Earth projects (tours). They have to record videos of themselves completing the challenge sand put the videos into the placemarks in their Google Earth projects. I created this short video to show students and teachers how to add videos to the placemarks in their Google Earth projects. 

In this video I demonstrate how to add videos to Google Earth projects (tours) in the web-based version of Google Earth. 

Applications for Education
While I created the video above specifically with my lesson plan in mind, the concept in the video can be used for any Google Earth project that your students are working on. 

Since YouTube has to be used to host the videos you want to include in Google Earth projects, I'm recommending using the "unlisted" option in YouTube for any videos that feature students. In this video I explain how to use the unlisted option in YouTube. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Stop Printing the Internet

Last weekend I got a new television (our old one died) just in time to watch some great NCAA basketball games. While watching one of the games on Saturday evening I saw a new Progressive Insurance commercial. The premise of the commercial is that Progressive can't prevent us from becoming our parents but can save us money on insurance. In the commercial there was a scene where we're told, "we don't need to print the Internet." The commercial made me chuckle and it inspired this blog post. 

How to Limit Paper and Ink Usage When You Print
There are some instances when we do need to print things. When those instances occur there are ways to reduce the amount of ink and paper you use. 

The easiest way to save paper is to simply make sure that you're only printing what you need. When the print dialogue box pops-up select a specific page or two to print rather than using the default "print all pages" found on most printers. 

Printliminator is a handy little bookmarklet for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Printliminator allows you to highlight a webpage and select only the elements which you wish to print. You can install Printliminator in seconds by just clicking and dragging it into your browser's toolbar.

How to Encourage Students and Colleagues to Limit Printing
If your school uses Google Workspace, you can encourage your students and colleagues to limit their printing by using a couple of Google Docs features. The first is to add a watermark to your Google Documents that reads something like, "Only Print if Essential" or "Don't Print." Another option is to disable the option for collaborators to print Google Documents

Dan Russell Teaches Us How to Search for Audio Files

Dan Russell, whose book and other work I've referenced dozens of times on this blog, recently published a good lesson on how to find audio files. His post is not a lists of places to find audio files (I have a list of those here). Dan's blog post teaches readers how to locate specific sounds and podcasts. 

There are three parts to the lesson and each one is useful on its own.

  • How to locate podcasts about a particular topic across multiple podcast platforms.

  • How to search within the transcript of an audio recording. That part introduced me to a couple of new tools including this one for analyzing audio and video

  • How to search for specific audio sounds like the bells of Notre Dame. 
Applications for Education
As more and more podcasts, and useful ones at that, are published they are going to become a good source of information for students to use as part of larger research projects. Knowing how to locate podcasts about a specific topic is going to become an important skill. Furthermore, being able to create transcripts and search within transcripts is a skill that will be important to students who create their own podcasts and videos. 

Last Call - Webinar - How to Create & Sell Your Own Digital Products

This afternoon at 4pm ET I'm hosting a new webinar titled How to Create & Sell Your Own Digital Products. Register by 3pm to join me!

If you have ever thought about trying to create and sell things like an eBooks, lesson plans and teaching materials, or online courses, this webinar is for you!

In How to Create and Sell Your Own Digital Products you'll learn how to create eBooks, lesson materials, and online courses. In some ways creating the materials is the easy part. Selling is the harder part for many teachers. That's why during the webinar I'll show you how to sell your products without paying huge commission fees to online marketplaces.


Learn more and register here to join me for this live webinar at 4pm ET today!.