Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Speeding up YouTube

There is so much useful information on YouTube but only so much time in the day...

Here's a simple tip on how to watch a 5 minute video in 3 minutes-- speed it up! If you are watching a video of someone who is speaking clearly, you'll find that you can often watch at 1.25 to 1.5 times the normal speed and it is perfectly understandable (in the case of a slower speaker, even doubling the speed can work).

Don't believe me?  Give it a try.  Here's how:
Click the settings (gear) icon on the lower right of the video (you may have to hover to see it).
Choose Speed (note you can also change video quality and turn on/off captions here).

Bump it up to 1.25.  How does it sound?

I watch most videos (I tend to watch a lot of tutorials) at 1.5 speed.  That means it only takes me 2/3 the time it would normally take to watch the video.

So, what to do with all the time you save?  Relax-- you deserve it!

Another word cloud tool to try

Colleen Wedge shared this word cloud one of her students made. She used a tool called tagul.com.  This particular student is doing dog therapy, so the shape is a nice fit!  Can you see using word clouds within PLPs?

I've written before about word clouds, but it's also good to see what the new tools are.  Here are some ideas on how you can use them:

  1. Try pasting in the full text of two presidential candidates' stump speeches.  How do they compare?
  2. Make a word cloud from responses to a survey to get a feel for the main points.
  3. Add a tag cloud to your blog to see what topics are most often discussed.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Thesaurus in Google Docs

I was just asked whether Google Docs has a built-in thesaurus.  The answer is, "yes, but you need to know where to look!"

Highlight the word or phrase for which you want to find synonyms. Then choose "Define" from the Tools menu.  If available, synonyms will appear with the definition(s).  Some of these are hyperlinked, so you can maneuver in as you would in an actual thesaurus.

For example, I tried the word big and got

I did find that some words yield more results than others (and some only give a definition).

There is also a Google Docs addon called Thesaurus, but it currently has a 2.5 star rating on the Chrome store, so...

Of course, there are also online and print thesauruses (thesauri?).  

Oo... now I get to tell my thesaurus joke:
"I lost my thesaurus the other day, which is really frustrating and....um....frustrating!" 

Anyone have a particular thesaurus they find useful?  Please post in the comments.