Chromebooks · Google Drive · productivity

Create eBooks using Google Slides

Students have a lot of familiarity with Google Slides.  Slides is a versatile tool and while students and teachers can create great presentations using Google Slides, it can be used for much more!  For example, Google Slides makes a great platform for creating eBooks.  There are a plethora of elements that can be added to Slides: text, links, audio clips, videos, shapes, tables, charts, diagrams, word art and animation.  These elements can help students create engaging and dynamic eBooks in any content area.  Once created, slides can be published to the web, providing a shareable link and page by page viewing.

Check out this example.

Want to get started, check out this tutorial.

The possibilities are endless!

Google Drive · technology integration

Audio in Google Slides

It’s finally here!  We now have the ability to insert audio files in Google Slides.  This is a game changer in many ways!

  • Teachers and students can add audio clips, sound effects and music to presentations.
  • Google slides can be used as virtual notebooks where students share text, images and now audio notes or reflections.
  • Students can create narrated eBooks.
  • Using audio in Slides is a great entry point to test the waters with student podcasting.
  • Class booksnaps, using Slides, can now include audio of a student reading the content of their booksnap, and/or reflecting on it.

What do you need to know to get started?

You can insert any existing audio file (.mp3 or .wav files types) into a slide.  You cannot record audio from within Slides, but you can create and save audio clips with the easy to use tool, Vocaroo.  You can also find free to use audio files at FreeSound, SoundBible Royalty Free Soundsand   ZapSplat.  You need to upload any audio files you wish to use to Google Drive.

Once you have an audio clip uploaded to Google Drive, go to:

  • the slide upon which you want the audio to start.
  • Go to: Insert > Audio.
  • Navigate to saved audio file.
  • Click on it.
  • Click Select.
  • Once inserted on the slide, you will see audio, click once on this icon.
  • Select Format options from the toolbar at the top of the screen, a side panel will open on the right side of your screen.


Use the options in this panel to adjust the playback settings so the audio begins automatically, loops (plays throughout slide show), or is tied to just the current slide (stop on slide change) and/or hide the audio icon when in presenting.



Chromebooks · productivity
Looking for a way to support diverse learners?  Did you know students have access to a built in accessibility feature on Chromebooks that allows for speech-to-text anywhere a student accesses a text box for typing?  This is great for students who struggle to get ideas on paper (writing or typing) and is engaging for students who use speech-to-text features on their mobile devices in their everyday tasks.  Once ideas are there, it easier to edit and refine them!  Help students turn on the Chromebook On-screen keyboard.

Check out this brief tutorial for activating & using On-Screen Keyboard.


More of a reader than a visual learner, follow these steps:

Enable the Chromebook On-Screen Keyboard by going to:
Settings > Advanced > Manage accessibility features > Keyboard > Enable on-screen keyboard


technology integration

Blog Update

At my house, we’re fans of referring to the days of the school week based upon our dinner choices: Make Ahead Monday,  Taco Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday, Thrown Together Thursday, Fast Food Friday . . .  This inspired the name of my planned regular communication with bite sized information related to instructional technology. So, I’m reinventing my blog, introducing Food for Thought Friday.
One of my favorite educators to follow on social media is George Couros (@gcouros), he is insightful and has a pulse on the changing nature of teaching and learning given the digital age.  In a recent blog post entitled, “The Importance of Meaningful Creation,” he explores the topic of screen time.  My favorite excerpt reads:

“My thoughts are not based on “how much” time our students have in front of a screen. My focus is, what does our time in front of screens entail?

If we have students using screens solely for the use of consumption, that is a huge opportunity lost.  But if we focus on students having ample time for meaningful creation in their learning, that changes what the time looks like in front of a screen.”

We are fortunate to have numerous technology tools at our fingertips in the district in which I work.  My goal, through this blog is to  encourage teachers,  to think about, and act upon, enhancing activities or learning tasks to  promote creation so students are creating content to build understanding or demonstrate learning.  There are endless possibilities for tools that can be used, to embrace the opportunity to integrate meaningful creation experiences for students using technology tools and by redefining one activity or task at a time, we can shift student learning experiences to prepare them with the skills they need in this rapidly changing world.
Canvas LMS · Chromebooks · Google Drive · technology integration

Video Response Options

video responses (1).png

Google Drive · productivity · technology integration

2 New Features in Google Slides

Google Slides are super easy to navigate and versatile in how they can be used!  If you are looking for ideas on how to use slides to really get at the “M” and “R” levels of the SAMR model, check out this great blog post by Matt Miller, 10 Google Slides activities to add awesome to classes.

Two new features were recently pushed out to Google Slides and we got access to them today:

What makes these features great?

Inserting Diagrams to Slides

How do you insert a diagram on a slide?

  • When on a slide, go to: Insert > Diagram
  • A side panel will open, from which you can select a diagram to include on a slide.

Templates include hierarchy, timeline, process, relationship, and cycle.

Why would you or students want to do this?

Visuals provide access to information in a way that text does not.  Many learners benefit form seeing and sharing complex processes visually.  The provided templates are easy to modify so user time is spent developing content, not drawing or importing shapes to create diagrams.

Add content from Google Keep Notes to Slides

How do you add Google Keep Notes to a slide?

  • When on a slide, go to: Tools > Keep Notepad.
  • A side panel will open, displaying all of your Keep notes.
  • Click on the three dots at the top right of a given note to add note contents to a slide.

Why would you or students want to do this?

Often times users get wrapped up in choosing design elements when creating slide presentations at the expense of content.  Teachers can have students take notes for presentations in Keep, where the focus is on note taking, and then easily transfer them to slides for the final phase of a presentation project.

The features within notes:

  • share for collaboration
  • color code for organization
  • add checklists for items
  • include images
  • add drawings (though these don’t import to slides)

make notes a great place to store information that can seamlessly be pulled into various presentations quickly.

Google continues to enhance their GSuite tools, providing a wealth of opportunities for teachers and students to create, share, and engage with meaningful content that supports student learning.

technology integration

Create Easy Stop Motion Animations

I came across the Chrome app Stop Motion Animator this week and I had to share!  This simple to use app allows students to create stop motion animations.

What is stop animation?

Stop motion  is an animation technique that physically manipulates an object so that it appears to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a fast sequence.”  ~Source

Think Coraline and BoxTrolls movies.  Here is my first try . . .


I used my coffee mug, but drawings, people, any objects (existing or created) can be used to create a stop motion animation.  This combined with the simple and intuitive interface of the app, started the wheels turning in my mind as to how this could be used in classrooms!

  • scientific cycles or processes
  • graphs
  • before-during-after of a product
  • reenactments
  • timelines

Students can create a stop-motion animation as a way to demonstrate understanding of a concept, term, or process and submit the resulting video (to which they can add narration!) as an assignment, to a discussion board, or embed it in a Google Slide . . . endless possibilities!

Here is a great tutorial:


Google Drive · productivity

Google Comments Tip

I learned something new this week!  I love using Comments in GSuite apps when collaborating with others.  Did you know you can tag others in a comment so they receive an email notification that a comment has been made?

Here is how:

  1. In your Google Doc, Sheet or Slide, start a comment – highlight what you wish to comment on and  (I love keyboard shortcuts!) press CTRL + ALT + M.
  2. Type a “+” then the name of the person you want to tag.  When his/her name pops up, click on it.  You can tag multiple people in a comment.
  3. Type your comment, clicking Comment when done.
  4. The tagged individual(s) will receive an email alerting him/her/them that a comment directed towards him/her/them has been made.

This great feature enhances the workflow on documents/sheets/slides on which you are collaborating with students or colleagues.  Happy tagging!

technology integration


I have been spending some time this year exploring openly licensed educational resources (OER).  I know our state is participating in the #GoOpen Initiative and given our school’s 1:1 environment and everyone’s access to an LMS, it seems like OER is something I should learn more about.

It appears, in the highly technical information age in which we live, learn and work, that OER would help teachers access and use current materials, better differentiate materials and learning opportunities for the students with whom they work, and focus on finding and using materials that support learning objectives without within the parameters of  copyright and fair use.  On the student side, it seems that students would have equitable access to quality materials no matter where they attend schools, engagement with more materials of a digital and interactive nature from which to learn, and greater choice in materials to select from for learning resources.

I have been exploring repositories and testing some integration of materials with our LMS.  OER CommonsCK-12, and Curriki are three that have proven to have great collections of resources for high school. I’ve started following some organizations and folks on Twitter to enhance my understanding of OER in the K-12 classrooms:  @oeconsortium@OERdigest@andycinek@Mrskmpeters. I’ve just started to scratch the surface and solidify my understanding on OER and the impact on teaching and learning.

I’m curious to learn more about resources that exist and how best to find and curate them, about how resources can seamlessly integrate with our LMS, how various resources align with our curriculum and how to best introduce OER to my colleagues.  I am truly excited to be on this learning journey!


Chromebooks · Google Drive · productivity

Two more reasons to love Google Docs


As if Google Docs wasn’t already fabulous, I learned about an extension and a feature enhancement this week that make me love Google Docs even more!


Draftback, described as “the archaeology of great writing,”  is a Chrome extension that, once installed, allows you to watch the revision history of a Google Doc play back as a movie!  How cool is this?!?  It is like being able to look over the shoulder of the author and watch his/her writing process.  This can be enormously informative when looking at student work, as well as a means of virtually modeling the writing process for your students.  Along with watching the writing evolve, users can access document data and statistics to see a timeline of activity, note where in the document changes have been made, and view a table of writing sessions indicating the length of each session and number of revisions a contributor has made.

Want to learn more?  Check out this brief tutorial.

Ready to try it out?  Get the extension here.

Google Voice for Formatting & Editing

Enhancements have been made to the Voice Typing feature in Google Docs.  Not only can you dictate your document, now you can format and edit text with voice commands as well!

Check out this list of voice commands that includes everything from copying and pasting to changing font color to inserting tables to navigating a document.  Voice Commands are great for busy students and teachers, providing opportunities for on the fly authoring, as well as removing access barriers for students with poor keyboarding skills and motor challenges.

Learn more by watching this demo video:

voice command.PNG

Google Docs keeps getting better and better, providing an efficient and enhanced workflow.