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

What is Technology Integration?

Slates, books, pencils, mimeographs, tape recorders, overheads, calculators . . . these are all tools that have been used in schools over the years.  Today’s technologies – interactive white boards, sensors and probes, document cameras, mobile devices and tablets – to name a few – are also tools that can be used in schools.  Technology Integration isn’t about the technology, it is about teaching and learning. We know, in our roles as educators, that a primary goal is to help students reach learning objectives set before them.  Just as we do not use a book or ruler or beaker in every lesson, we wouldn’t use technology in every lesson.  Technology for the sake of technology is, pedagogically, a bad idea.  However, there are numerous ways in which we can use technology tools to improve or enhance teacher productivity, lesson delivery, student access to curriculum, student engagement with learning activities, student demonstration of their understandings, and teacher feedback, assessment, and reporting.  Never before has the need for technology integration in our classrooms been so important. We are living in a world in which the pace of technological innovation is unparalleled in our history.  Our students are headed into a future that we cannot even imagine.  Part of our responsibility as 21st century educators is to prepare students with the skills and strategies necessary to ensure their success in a digital world.

When I began my teaching career,  I shared one Apple IIe computer, that resided on a cart with a dot matrix printer, with four colleagues.  The technology has certainly changed, and I find it mind boggling that many students bring to school a device that fits in the palm of their hands with far greater power than that Apple IIe. What hasn’t changed is my belief that the use of technology as a tool in learning has the power to transform teaching and learning in ways that can move us from an Agricultural/Industrial model of educating to a model that truly engages and prepares our students for the future.

The task of integrating technology can seem overwhelming. More and more demands are being placed on teachers, and using technology can easily be viewed as an “add-on” to what already has to be done in the classroom. Often times, the add-on approach results in “technology for the sake of technology” experiences in the classroom.   There is a wonderful framework being widely referenced in Instructional Technology circles called the SAMR Model (Substitution – Augmentation – Modification – Redefinition).  This model purports that teachers often progress along a continuum as they adopt and integrate technology in the classroom.  It is overwhelming to think about reaching the Redefinition stage (using technology in ways that were previously inconceivable), and not always appropriate for tasks to reach this level.  However, starting small, by re-envisioning a lesson that you are seeking to revise anyway, presents a great opportunity to think about how the plethora of technology tools available might replace existing tasks and activities to  help students achieve lesson objectives.

In my role as an Instructional Technology Specialist, I seek to collaborate with classroom teachers as content experts.  I believe this collaboration must center upon crafting learning opportunities that include meaningful and seamless uses of technology, by teachers and students, as components of a lesson or unit.  I believe the goal of technology integration should be on supporting students as they work towards meeting learning objectives.  I am looking forward to supporting technology integration at MHS by collaborating with classroom teachers through consultation about ideas, through  1:1 and small group training sessions, through co-teaching in classrooms, and through sharing ideas and resources in this blog.