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.



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:


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!


technology integration · Uncategorized

It’s no puzzle, EdPuzzle is the missing piece for sharing video content with students


Do you show videos in your classroom?  Do you assign the watching of videos as homework?  Have you been yearning for a way to check for each student’s understanding/impressions throughout these videos?  Then I have just the tool for you!


EdPuzzle lets you take any video (even one you have created – a screencast for example) and:

  • crop it so you get just the segment you want,
  • add your own narration to the entire clip &/or audio comments throughout the clip,
  • add text notes at any point during the clip, and
  • add questions throughout the clip (true/false, multiple choice & short answer) that students must answer to continue watching the clip.


Watch this Intro Video to learn more, or  check out some examples.

How do you get started?

  • Create a free account.
  • Add a class.
  • Invite students by providing a link specific to your class and asking them to sign up with their MPSD Google accounts.
  • Create video lessons for your class.
  • Grab a link or embed code & add the video lesson to a module or page in Canvas.

Once students have engaged with the video lesson, log into EdPuzzle to check progress and get data – see who watched/didn’t watch, identify how did individual students responded to questions, and view response statistics by question.

technology integration

Whiteboard Collaboration in a 1:1 Classroom

Do you wish you had more whiteboard space in your classroom?  Do you like having students add ideas and work to the whiteboards as part of your lessons?  Do you feel as though having students come to the board takes time and only engages those at the board?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you will want to check out

Webwhiteboard is an  easy to use virtual whiteboard that has great potential in a 1:1 classroom.

No accounts are necessary and a whiteboard can be created in 2 clicks!  Once you create your whiteboard, share the link with students and start collaborating!

Everyone who has access to the board can contribute using a few simple tools:

  • Sticky notes
  • Text boxes
  • Markers/crayons
  • Eraser


Brainstorm, plan, analyze and organize as a whole class or in small groups.  The possibilities are endless!

Boards can be revisited by following the shared URL or kept via an email message or image download.

Happy Collaborating!

Chromebooks · Google Drive · productivity · technology integration

1:1 Tip of the Week

Did you know that Google Docs has a feature that allows you to convert speech-to-text (think Siri)?   Using the Chrome Browser on a computer/laptop with a microphone (Yogas & Chromebooks), you can:

  • Open a new Google Document
  • Click on Tools.
  • Select Voice Typing
  • A microphone appears in the margin – click on it and start talking!
  • Your words appear on the page. You can say “period” to punctuate a sentence and “new line” to jump to a new line.
  • Click on the microphone to turn the feature off.

This feature can be a huge time saver for you, and a great way to get reluctant writers started on a document!

Here is a brief video tutorial showing how the tool works:

technology integration

I love learning new things!

I know I became a teacher because I like learning new things.  I also didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day, I like working with people, and I was inspired that no two years, let alone 2 days, would ever be alike.    I digress, back to learning new things!  I recently came across this video on my Twitter feed, You’re Doing it Wrong! How to Manage Multiple Google Accounts.


As we have rolled out Google Apps for Education this year, I know many of you are in the same boat of having multiple Google accounts.  Logging in and out of them can be a pain in the neck and confusing!  This tutorial provides clear and simple steps for creating Chrome accounts that can easily be toggled between, essentially erasing any confusion about which account you are in, and making it easy to access files from different accounts. I was able to set up my accounts in a matter of minutes.   The added benefit is that your browser settings, bookmarks, apps and extensions are also saved and accessible anywhere you access your Chrome account(s).