Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tools for creating graphic organizers

Need to make a flowchart, mind map, Venn diagram, etc? Below are two tools you can use-- LucidChart and Google Drawings.

Before getting to the tools, there are a few basic concepts that are important to understand when using this kind of software:

  1. There are multiple layers on the canvas. You can change the order of shapes on the canvas, sending one shape in front of or behind another, or bringing a shape all the way to the front or back.
  2. You can group shapes together so they are treated as a single entity (to move them all at once, for example). You can also "ungroup" shapes to edit them individually.
  3. These and other options are usually available by simply double-clicking or right-clicking a shape.
  4. As you drag shapes around the canvas, guidelines will pop up that allow you to align them with other shapes and with the canvas itself (e.g., to center the shape).
  5. Exporting the file in png format will typically give you an image without a background (i.e., the white space will be transparent), which is useful when you'll be placing the image in front of a non-white background (see below).


LucidChart (from the same company that brings us LucidPress) is the more powerful of the two. It makes all kinds of different graphics. You can control all kinds of details. You can log in with your cvsdvt Google account. You can also go to Google Drive, click New...More and choose LucidChart (which will save your document in Drive).

There are lots of templates to start with

Drag shapes onto the canvas, click and drag from one shape to another to make connections (that stay connected even when you move the shapes).

You can export the final product as an image to insert into a text document or presentation.  You can also import a data file with which to create your graphic.

Here are some diagrams made with LucidChart, to give you an idea:

Google Drawings

Drawings are part of G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education). Go to Google Drive, click New...Drawing. Google Drawings is less sophisticated than some other tools, but it is simple to use.    You can connect shapes with lines/arrows and they stay "attached" as you move the shapes.  You may find that the canvas provided is too small; click on the lower right corner to expand it. 

Note that you can also create a Google Drawing from within a Google Doc by using the Insert menu.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Second Semester Tech Recharge

A new semester is a great time to think about integrating technology into your courses.  I'd love to help with this.  We can meet one-on-one to brainstorm. Or you can send me your curriculum plan and I can review it for opportunities. Or I can come visit your class.  Or...

We can use technology to water each leaf!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Inviting Google Groups to calendar events

This is a heads-up on inviting CVSD Google Groups to calendar events.  To be sure you are inviting each group member separately (so each group member can reply individually), click the four-arrow icon (next to the group name in the guest list). 
Here's a 20-second video:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Office 365

As I mentioned at the last faculty meeting, we now have Office 365 available to all students and faculty.   Here is some info about Office 365.


Online version of Word, PowerPoint, Excel.  You can open documents from others or create your own.  Most features are included, but not all (for example, there is no sound in PowerPoint-- for that, you would still need the installed version of ppt).

Uses "OneDrive" to save documents.  OneDrive is to Microsoft as Google Drive is to Google-- where all your Office 365 documents are stored.  It has a "Shared With Me" area just like Google Drive.  While you can share with others, the real-time collaboration not as good as Google.


Gives you and students choice.  Office tools are widely used. You may have a Word document or PowerPoint slides from another institution, for example, that you would like to edit in Word.  Now you can.


Get account passwords from IT or Charlie.

What about G Drive/ G Suite?

Google Apps will still be the tools you use most.  They're the best for collaboration.