Friday, October 28, 2022

How to Import PDFs Into Book Creator Projects

About a week ago Book Creator rolled-out the third or fourth new feature of this school year. That feature is the ability to import PDFs to use in your Book Creator projects. I had a cold and couldn't speak well last week so I had to wait until this week to give Book Creator's new feature a try and record a video about it. The new feature works well and as I demonstrate in this new video, importing a PDF into Book Creator can be a good way to turn a boring document into a multimedia booklet. 

One of the other new features added to Book Creator for this school year include audio, video, and text commenting. Watch this video to see how that works.

How to Adjust Playback Volume in Google Slides

Support for audio files was welcome addition to Google Slides when it was announced in the fall of 2019. But four years later there are still some quirks to it to watch out for. And sometimes the setting you need isn't quickly found. That was the case a few days ago when someone emailed me to ask about adjusting the volume of audio playback in Google Slides.

In this brief video I demonstrate how to adjust the volume of the audio playback in a Google Slides presentation. In the video I also demonstrate how to hide the playback icon. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Make Green Screen Videos With Zoom and Adobe Express

A few weeks ago I shared directions for creating green screen videos in Canva. That method is great because it doesn't require you to record in front of a physical green screen. Today, I'd like to share another method that doesn't require you to record in front of a physical green screen. That method uses a combination of Zoom and Adobe Express

Zoom's desktop client has an option to replace your background with any picture that you want to upload to your Zoom account. Host a Zoom meeting without any participants in it, replace the background, and start talking. When you end the meeting you'll have an MP4 that you can import in Adobe Express for further editing and or combine with other video clips.

In this short video I demonstrate how to create a green screen video by using a combination of Zoom and Adobe Express. 

Applications for Education
As someone who spent years teaching world geography classes, one of my favorite uses of green screens is to have students create "on location" video reports about places they've researched. This combination of Zoom and Adobe Express makes it easy to make those videos without the need for a physical green screen.

Finding and Exploring 15 Minute Cities

City Access Map is an interactive map that anyone can use to find and explore the walkability of cities around the world. Specifically, City Access Map lets you explore cities in which residents can access needed services within a fifteen minute walk. City Access Map calls these cities 15 Minute Cities

You can explore City Access Map by browsing through the listing of cities or by simply panning, zooming, and clicking on an interactive globe. Once you've chosen a city to look at it in more detail you can adjust the display based on filters that you select. Those filters are things like schools, hospitals, libraries, parks, and public transportation centers. 

Watch this brief video for an overview of City Access Map

Applications for Education
As I explained in the video above, to be listed on City Access Map the city needs to have at least 500,000 people. That leaves a lot of towns and small cities off the map. That inspired me to think about having students use tools like Google Maps and Bing Maps to evaluate where they live to determine how many services are available to them within a fifteen minute walk and how "walkable" their communities are in general.

H/T to Maps Mania

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

How to Set Notifications for Individual Google Documents

Google Drive has long let you receive email and desktop notifications for edits and comments to your shared Google Docs. Unfortunately, it was an "all or nothing" setting. In other words, you could either receive notifications or not receive notifications for all documents. Recently, Google Docs was updated so that you can now set notification preferences for individual documents. Watch this short video that I recorded to see how to set individual notifications for your shared Google Documents

Applications for Education
Long ago I turned off all notifications for files in my Google Drive because I could get quickly overwhelmed by all of the notifications created from files that I shared with students and that they shared with me. That meant I'd occasionally miss an update to documents that I had shared with colleagues. Being able to turn on notifications for individual documents could be a great way to make sure that I get notifications for only the most important or time-sensitive documents in my account.