Friday, March 31, 2017

Stop-Motion Animation

There are so many fantastic ways to incorporate technology into instruction that, sometimes, there are highly useful resources that we might have overlooked. One of these technological gems is stop-motion animation.  If you haven't yet used this tool, you owe it to yourself and your students to try it out. Stop-motion animation apps have been available for over five years. And the use of animation is easier than ever. Many apps are free and can be easily used by your students on their smartphones or tablets.

Heart Cycle animated GIF by students using StopMotion App. 

These kinds of apps allow students to use the cameras on their smartphones or tablets to quickly create short animated films or GIF files. Below are some examples of projects that have incorporated stop animation. 
  • There are many projects in language arts and in social studies where stop-motion animation would be an engaging way for groups of students to tell a story or re-enact a historical event. (Here is an example of students animating a children's book.) 
  • Stop-motion can also be used in math as a formative assessment (elementary example and high school example), where students work collaboratively to produce products that show their mastery over specific math concepts. 
  • Science teachers make frequent use of models in order to help students understand phenomena. The use of technology to animate such models adds a dynamic dimension that can really help students understand the complexity of the system and the sequence of events. (Protein synthesis example and body systems example and teacher lesson example







Google Keep

Recently, Google announced the integration of Google Keep with Docs. Google Keep has become a favorite for notetaking or quick "sticky" notes of things to remember.  Google Keep is available

Google Keep has many functions. You can read about them at https://www.google.com/keep/ Some of my favorite features are the ability to leave myself audio notes while on the go and to color code my notes. I'm all about color coding, so my notes match the same color organization that I use for labels in my Gmail and folders in my Google Drive.

A feature that I am committed to learn more about and utilize to make it a habit is the Reminders feature. With Reminders, you can set a location-based reminder. Is there something you need to do as soon as you get to campus? Set a reminder and when you arrive at the campus, you will receive a reminder. Do you have a to-do list that you need to accomplish? Set a time-based reminder to make sure you never miss a thing.

Sign up here to receive an email with an incredible Google Keep Cheat Sheet!

With the integration of Google Docs, it only takes two clicks to move things from your notes to a Doc. 


There are many ways for teachers and students to use Google Keep. Here are a few blog posts that can give you ideas!





How do you use Google Keep? What are some new ways you can use it in your classroom?  Comment below!



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Video in Google Slides

In February, Google announced an improved feature in Slides. Previously, you could only insert video into Slides if it were a YouTube link. With the new update, users can now link videos saved in their Google Drive, as well as by searching YouTube and inserting a YouTube URL. As educators, the ability to save the time involved in loading all of your personal videos to YouTube is a benefit. However, I think there is an even greater benefit for our students creating presentations with video content. Some student-created videos simply do not belong on YouTube due to FERPA, parent permission, or other reasons. The ability to add video from Google Drive allows the students to set the video view rights to protect their privacy.


Once you select Google Drive from the Insert video field, you will see all videos in your Drive, including videos you may have in your Google Photo account (for more information on the greatness of Google Photos, see Kerissa Bearce's Google Photos blog post).


Not only do you have the ability to add your videos, but you can also set the videos to play only the specific parts of the video you would like your audience to see.  Once your video is inserted, right click and select "Video Options".


From this menu, you can select a start and end time. You can also decide if you want the video to begin playing automatically when the slide opens or whether you would like the audio to be muted when it plays. These features are available for YouTube and Google Drive videos. 

The autoplay features make it easy to set a timer on any of your slides to help facilitate classroom discussions or allow students to see how long they have for the task on the slide.  The below video shows how to do this with a few simple clicks!




How will you use the new video feature?  We would love to have your share in the comments! Now go create inspiring video content for your students' viewing pleasure!





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Slides Carnival


SlidesCarnival is a pretty simple concept, but something I wanted to make sure you knew about. It's a website full of free Google Slides templates (or PowerPoint) for you to use for your presentations! If you're tired of what those platforms offer in terms of themes, this is a great way to find a few other professional looking choices. Once you're on the site, scroll to the bottom and click "View all."

 

You'll see several pages of templates to choose from. After clicking one, you have the following option: 

If you choose Google Slides theme, it'll open in a View Only copy. Click File>Make a copy to put a copy in your own Google Drive. You can then input your content in the templates it provides you and Poof! New themes for your presentations. This would be great for your classroom presentations or for students to have a few new options as well. I like that it sets things up in a very professional and clear manner, so that I don't even need to be good at Graphic Design for it to look fancy! Hope you enjoy.

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