Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Custom Graphics with Canva

Canva is a website (and an app) that helps you create beautiful graphics to use in social media, slide shows, blog posts (my graphic was made with Canva), documents and more.

You can also log in with your Google account so that makes it easy to remember your user information. :)

From the website, just select the type of graphic you want to create - it's ok if you don't see the exact thing you are looking for, you can do a custom size graphic as well. Also remember, just because it says social media as the graphic type don't let if fool you. You can still use that graphic for many things. Click the + sign to see more graphics options. Finally, there are free tools and paid tools. I've never paid for a graphic, but if I need to, they are very inexpensive. I encourage you to take a look at this site - you won't be sorry.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Google Gooru Does it Again - Organizing Your Google Drive

There are so many great resources on the web - I love that I can rely on others to help in my quest to learn as much as I can about technology integration and making the technology work for me. 

Google Gooru is a perfect example of this. Their newsletter has great tips and videos to make me a better Google User. So in honor of sharing the knowledge, here's a great post from Google Gooru about Organizing Your Google Drive (something I really need to do).


Monday, March 28, 2016

Sketch, Draw and Take Notes with Paper by Fifty Three

Paper by Fifty Three is a free app that allows you to sketch, draw on images, take notes, make to do lists and more. Just create a space and start adding pages to it.

This is a great tool for students to draw out a process, show their work on math problems, draw pictures to illustrate a book or just take notes. 

Another great feature - you and your students can use your school google account to sign in so you don't have to remember ANOTHER account name and password.

Finally, once you have a completed space, you can share it as a presentation and save it to your Google Drive or OneDrive.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Google Cultural Institute

The Google Cultural Institute was launched in 2011. It currently contains over 6 million items including photos, videos and documents. 

I have to say, the Google Cultural Institute is absolutely A-MA-ZING! There are exhibits and collections from museums and archives from around the world. You can also create your own galleries. 

On the home page, you'll find link to the Google Art Project, Historic Moments and World Wonders. Each of these contain their own content including high resolution images (you can zoom in so close you can see the brush strokes in a painting), historical photos and documents and unbelievable views of historical buildings.

Take a few minutes (or an hour or so) to visit this site - you'll be so glad you did.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Multimedia Text Sets

I am in the beginning stages of acquiring my Level 2 Google Educator Certification. During the process, I work through training materials provided by Google - that's where I came across Multimedia Text Sets. Now, this may not be new to some of you, but it certainly is to me.

Multimedia Text Sets are a great way to organize activities for your students. You can use them for a flipped lesson or project. Here's how it works. Set up a Google Doc that students can view (they can make a copy of it from the viewable version if needed). The document contains a table that lists out the different parts of a project or lesson. Step 1 might be to view a video and then complete a Google Doc to answer questions. Step 2 might have a Thinglink link that student explore to begin gathering data for an Infographic. It creates logical sections for students as they work through the lesson. I know some people might use a website or other shared files to accomplish the same thing, but I loved how this was set up - so easy to see the plan of action for our students. Here's a link to a sample set

Monday, March 21, 2016

Google Translate - The Pocket Translator

Google Translate is a free app that will translate any typed text or audio into another language. 

You can use the type to translate tool to translate typed text (90 languages), use your camera to instantly translate any text (26 languages) or use the two way speech translation (40 languages).

So, if you happen to be walking down the streets of Paris and come across a sign you can't read (because your don't read French), simply launch the Google Translate app, turn on the camera feature, hold your phone up to the sign and it will translate it in real time right on your phone screen. If you eat at a great restaurant in Italy, and want to tell the chef what a fabulous meal you had, use the the speech translation tool to say it in English and translate it into Italian. 

To see it in action, check out this video - Google Translate vs. "La Bamba"

Man, I love technology!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Take a Poll with Mentimeter

Menimeter is a polling website that lets you create quick two question polls for your students (or other participants). You can select from a wide variety of question types including word clouds. Once a poll is created students use their phone or other device to answer the questions. 

If you want to pay for the service, it will cost your $4.99 a month, but you get unlimited questions. There are other services like Mentimeter such as Poll Everywhere or Socrative, but I liked how easy it was to use Mentimeter.

This video will get you started -

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Creating a Video with PowerPoint

It just doesn't get any easier than this. You can turn any PowerPoint into a video with just a few simple steps. 

Because many of us and our students  are familiar with PowePoint it's a great solution to create a quick presentation. If you want to spice it up a bit and make it easy for students and others to access, you may want to convert it to a video.

Here's a short video tutorial that shows you how to do just that -

Monday, March 7, 2016

Adobe Post - Creating Beautiful Social Graphics

I've only recently learned about an app called Adobe Post. It's an iPhone app, but it works on the iPad too. Using Adobe Post, you can quickly create beautiful graphics that are meant to be posted to social media. Each image is formatted so it will fit perfectly into any social media application, but you aren't limited to that use. It would be a great tool to create an introduction graphic for a video or slide show. You could also use it as a signature graphic for e-mails or use an Adobe Post graphic in conjunction with other graphics in a collage.

Adobe Post is a free app, but you will need to create an Adobe ID to use it. If you are already using Adobe Voice or Adobe Slate you can use the same ID for this account as well. That's one of the things I like about Adobe - it saves all of your work under your ID so you don't have to worry about losing any of your pictures if you happen to share a device with someone else.

To create a graphic there are four simple steps:

1. Click the + sign and select a graphic (yours or theirs - and they have some high quality graphics).
2. Select a Palette.
3. Enter Text.
4.Export it.

Inside the app, you can change almost anything - so you have a lot of flexibility to create some amazing graphics.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Using Google Keep to Keep Up

Google Keep, although a lesser known Google product, is a great tool to keep you organized from both your computer and your mobile device.

To access Google Keep from your computer, just go to If you want it on your mobile device, just install it from your app store - it works on both iOS and Android devices. You'll need to log in using your GAFE account to sync all of your notes to your devices.

Once you're logged in, simply click in the area that says Take a Note and get started.

Here's a good resource that will let you know what can be done on the web version versus the mobile versions -

Two more things about Google Keep that make it a great resource - 

1. Any note that I create can be imported directly into Google Docs. I think this is a great tool for students. If they are jotting down ideas and information about a project, they can pull all of it right into their Google Doc. Just click the More button (three dots) and click Copy to Google Docs.
2. Any note can be shared with others so if you are collaborating on a project, you can share notes with each other.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Like Magic - Convert Image of Text to a Google Doc

We've heard of being able to convert a PDF document to a Google Doc or a Word document, but I had never heard of converting an image to a Google Doc. 

I first saw this on a blog post from @thegooglegooru on The Gooru. It is A MA ZING! Be sure to sign up for his newsletter to get tips delivered right to your inbox. 

Here's a link to the blog post that shows you exactly how to do it.