Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Simple animation technique for presentations

When creating a series of slides in Powerpoint, Google Presentations/Slides, Keynote, etc., it is often effective to have elements appear one at a time (as opposed to all at once).  These applications have the ability to apply those kinds of animations on slides, but there's another very easy way to accomplish the same effect.
  • Create the final version of the slide (with all the text, images, etc. on it)
  • Make several copies of that slide 
  • Moving back through the slides, selectively remove elements
Here it is in action:

And here is a very short screencast on how to do it:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

End of course surveys in Moodle


As in the past, there is now a template in Moodle that you can copy (and edit, if desired) to create an anonymous end-of-course instructional feedback survey.

Here’s how:

1. Turn editing on and create a new activity in your course.  Choose “Feedback.”

2. Name and describe it however you like. Then click Save and Display
3. Click the Templates tab at the top, choose “Instructional Feedback Survey Template” in the pulldown menu and click “Use this template.”

4. On the next screen, just click “Save changes.”

5. You will now see the default survey questions from past years.  You may add your own items, as desired (by clicking the Select pull-down menu).

Questions? See Charlie in 127.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Summary of Dynamic Landscapes Ed Tech Conference 2014

Dynamic Landscapes 2014 was held this past Thursday and Friday at Champlain College.  DL is the annual spring Ed Tech conference co-sponsored by VITA-Learn (the state ed tech group) and VSLA (the librarians' association).  It always seems to come at a difficult time of year for people, so I'd love to figure out how we can get more teachers to attend next year-- but in the mean time, here are my notes and take-aways.

First off, as has become the norm for these conferences, most presenters include links and/or downloads to their session resources, so I encourage you to browse the schedule and click on a session of  interest to see what's available (as an example, I just clicked on "Using Technology for Personal Learning Plans" and found this helpful presentation).

Another way to attend a conference vicariously is through Twitter.  The image below shows just a few tweets during Joyce Valenza's keynote.  Note how the hashtag #vted (Vermont education) and her ID @joycevalenza are used to make them easy to find.

Here are the slides from the keynote

Unitentional FilmFest

More PowerPoint presentations from Joyce Valenza

OK, my big takeaways...

 If you haven't already experienced it, the Maker movement has blossomed in schools.  There was a "Maker room" at the conference that featured students showing projects they'd done (above) and giving participants an opportunity to look at and play with some tools, including a 3D printer and soft circuit projects.  One of the sessions I attended featured a class at South Burlington HS in which students dream up projects, then bring them to life.

I went a session where schools that had just undergone the SBAC field test reported out on what they learned from the experience.  Overall, it seems to have gone well on the tech side.  Obviously, the more students use technology on a regular basis, the more comfortable they are applying it in different settings.  Our own sophomores practiced on the Math SBAC test this past Thursday.  There will be practice tests next year leading up to the spring assessment.  More information will be available once the field tests have all been completed.

Personalized learning (including the aforementioned PLPs) was also a theme.  Although I wasn't at the session, I heard that Mt. Abraham UHS did an excellent job presenting the work they've done in this area.

I'll stop here, but please stop me if you'd like to chat about the conference some more.  Thanks for reading this far!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Editing images directly in Google Docs

Here's a nice improvement to Google Apps.  You can now crop and add borders to images in Google Documents, Presentations, and Drawings.  Here's an under-two-minute(!) screencast on how to do it:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Using Shared Folders in Google Drive

How can I create a folder that all students in my class can access (and contribute to)?

(note-- after writing this post, it dawned on me that I had already written a very similar post back in October! I'm posting this one, anyway, as it has more detailed step-by-step, but here's a link to the older post-- which includes a screencast and a link to GClassFolders, a more sophisticated tool for creating shared folders in Drive).

This is easy to do in Google Drive.  Once you create and share the folder, any files added to the folder are shared, as well.

To do this:

1. Go to Google Drive, click Create... Folder
Inline image 1

2. Name it
Inline image 2

3. Once the folder is created, find it in My Drive, click on it, and click the Share icon (the person with the + sign).
Inline image 3

4. In the screen that pops up, you have two options:

  • If you want the folder to be visible to your students, you can change Private to Anyone with the link.  Then just provide the link to your students (for example, on your Moodle page).
  • If you want to invite only your students and/or allow students to add files to the folder, paste in their e-mail addresses where it says Invite people.  
Inline image 4

  • You can tell which folders are shared by the person inside the folder icon.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Two iPad note-taking apps free today

For those students and teachers who use iPads, here's a heads-up that two nice note taking apps are free today in the App Store. These are each normally $4.99. The first is Notability. Notability is a versatile app that lets you take notes with handwriting (it actually makes my penmanship look better than it is!) or by keyboard. It is quite popular. The other is a newer kid on the block. It's called NoteLedge. I don't know much about this one, but I just downloaded it and will try to out.