Did you know you can order copies of my book, Educational Duct Tape: An EdTech Integration Mindset, for your whole teaching team, your whole school, your whole district, every person you know who is named Timothy, or every teacher you know who wears size 11.5 sneakers!?

This image shows the Educational Duct Tape: An EdTech Integration Mindset book cover as well as a 2nd book open to a page inside of the book

Well, maybe it’s not that specific, but the point is—yes, my book is on Amazon, but you can order in bulk from me for less!

So, want to do a book study at your school? Send me an email!




Continue reading Get the “Educational Duct Tape: An EdTech Integration Mindset” book, for your whole team or school!

Canva adds a Screen Recorder and other Enhancements

Educators love themselves some Canva, and over the last year Canva has added a bunch of new things for us to love . . . but I haven’t shared them here yet!

First, back at the end of 2021 (remember 2021?) they added a screen recorder to Canva. In most of their template options (potentially all) you can click “upload” and then “record my screen.” You can then you can record your webcam, your screen, or both with your webcam in a small circle window.

It’s a touch glitchy, for example, if you’re recording a certain tab, you have to navigate back to the original tab to press record, but then in the original tab it may still say “start recording.” Minor glitches aside, it’s super easy to use and it then allows you to trim the video and crop what shows on the screen! The crop is interesting because it can crop the screen part and leave your webcam, which is neat.

Is screen recording in Canva as good as in Camtasia, Screencastify, or Screencast-O-Matic? No, I’d say it’s not. But, it’s convenient, it’s built into a tool that you might be using, and it has some features that make it easy to whip up a slick looking video very quickly, so it’s worth mentioning.

Canva has also added a few other features that I haven’t covered here yet. First, they added a Comment Only sharing Mode.  Previously, it was Edit or View . . . now you can give people an option in between those two.

Next, if you make presentations in Canva (did you know that was an option, btw?!)  you can now have slides in your deck that are hidden.  This is something I do regularly in Google Slides, so it’s nice that it’s in Canva now.

And, a few more with Canva:

  • You can now add projects into different folders and search for projects.
  • Also, when someone comments on a project – like you commenting on a student’s project – you can now use some simple emoji reactions!
  • Finally, Canva has a set of Magic Shortcuts for their live presentations. There are keyboard commands like D for Drumroll, C for Confetti and now two additional effects: U for a suspenseful and exciting Curtain Call and M for a presentation-ending Mic Drop moment.

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Google Forms has looked pretty much the same for a long time. But, they won’t look quite the same now because Google has rolled out a handful of updates to Forms!

First, you can now adjust the fonts and font sizes of any part of your form. You can use any of your Google Docs fonts. They do limit your font sizes – Big Brother Google doesn’t want us making our fonts too big or too small – but at least we can change them.  And, you can make them different in the header, sub-header, and body text. ⬇️

I imagine Google cringing about the possible graphic design laws that you’ll all be breaking with your Google Forms, so try to keep it looking nice, all right? I think that’s why Google held off on this and the next update for such a long time – they wanted to make sure the Forms looked pretty in terms of Graphic design principles . . . but now they’re giving us some freedom.

The other part of this freedom is letting us use some basic formatting within the text. We can now make our text bold, italicized, or underlined and we can even add clickable links!  We used to have to add what are called naked links, which is not inappropriate, I promise, it means you’re including the full URL for a link. Now, you can make a hyperlink.

To recap, we now have fonts, font sizes, bold, italics, underline, and hyperlinks, plus we can also make lists—numbered or bulleted—in descriptions. Nice!

These features are for all Google accounts and should already be active for you!

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Google Classroom Add-Ons!

Google has just unveiled Add-Ons for Google Classroom. 📚

Now, before I go too far, I want to point out – these are only for educators on the Google Workspace for Education Plus edition or the Teaching & Learning Upgrade. If you’re in the free Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals or the lowest paid version, called Education Standard, you won’t have these Add-Ons.  Don’t cry too much – you can still use all of these tools, just without the added convenience of the Classroom Add-Ons.

While those users cry in their Cheerios, I’ll talk to those of you who are in those special accounts about what you’re getting. ⬇️

Google has partnered with 18 different tools to make it easier to assign stuff from their tools within Classroom.

Those tools include Edpuzzle, Kahoot!, PBS Learning Media, Google Play Books, Sora, Newsela, Safari Montage, Google Arts and Culture, IXL, cK-12, BookWidgets, Adobe Express, WeVideo, Formative, Pear Deck, Nearpod, Wordwall, and Genially.

On the student end, this is nice because these tools become easy, one-click logins from within Google Classroom. The less jumping around we make our students do, the better.

On the teacher end, assigning things is streamlined, but the real bonus is the grading piece. While some tools – like Edpuzzle – have long synced grades into Classroom others – like Pear Deck – have not. Now you can access many of those tools with that trademark grading sidebar right there. So, you can enter grades into Classroom while looking at the actual tool. Plus, more of them now sync like Edpuzzle has for a while.

⬇️Let’s take a peek at a few of these.

First up, let’s look at Kahoot. For the most part, nothing new is happening here – Kahoot works the same and Google Classroom works the same, but now you can assign a Kahoot from within Classroom, without going to Kahoot in a separate tab, and the students just click that link and Kahoot pops up.

The behavior with Pear Deck is similar, but I’m extra excited about this one. Last year, if I wanted to assign a Pear Deck assignment for my students to complete on their own time, I typically opened the slide deck, click the Pear Deck Add-On, started a student-paced activity, then clicked the share to Google Classroom link in the pop up menu.  Now, with the Add-On, you assign directly from classroom.  You still have to have a slide deck that’s ready to go, but the process is much smoother for you. And it’s easy for your students too, click, go, and then – the new step – turn it in.

Edpuzzle behaves similarly. Edpuzzle has sent scores to Classroom for some time, so the main bonus here is that you can add comments in Google Classroom while looking at the Edpuzzle screen.

Similarly, with Nearpod, you can see the robust assessment data that Nearpod provides from within the Classroom grading window and manually type the score and any comments from right there. Not a major improvement, but we know that every second counts. And for a high school teacher, if you can make your grading 1 second faster for each of your 120 students, you just might have time for a bathroom break. Yay you!

There are a bunch of other tools that I didn’t share specifics about – PBS Learning Media, Google Play Books, Sora, Newsela, Safari Montage, Google Arts and Culture, IXL, cK-12, BookWidgets, Adobe Express, WeVideo, Formative, Wordwall, and Genially. It’s pretty similar for all of those – faster assigning, faster student access, and smoother feedback processes.

Google is hinting that there will be more than just these 18 tools in the future too.

Again though, this is only for schools with Google Workspace for Education Plus edition or the Teaching & Learning Upgrade.

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Microsoft’s Immersive Reader in Schoology…

Years ago I entered a role as a Technology Integration Specialist in a new school district. The part I was most worried about wasn’t the new colleagues or longer commute, it was using Schoology

What I found over the 3 years that I was in that role managing the use of Schoology was . . . Schoology is awesome. It’s a really robust LMS.

They just added a great piece of UDL and accessibility by working with Microsoft to make Immersive Reader freely available to all PowerSchool Unified Classroom Schoology Learning customers.

This means that content within Schoology Assignments and Pages are more accessible for learners of all abilities. 

It sounds like it’s only active in those two locations – Assignments and Pages – but will likely be added to more places within Schoology Learning in the future.

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How to Embed TikTok videos in Microsoft OneNote

A while back I remember someone asking me how they could embed a TikTok into Google Slides. The short answer was, you can’t.

But I, of course, had a longer answer with some hacks that could make it happen.

Microsoft OneNote users don’t need a hack though, because you can now embed TikTok videos direction into OneNote.

Just paste the link right into the OneNote and voila!

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Flipgrid Makes Changes to Topics and Titles

Flipgrid has added two minor changes I’m pretty excited about, even though they’re little things. ⬇️

First, you can now start a topic without entering a description – a title is all that you need. 

Secondly, those titles can now be longer—up to 45 characters—making it easier to fit a whole question into the title of the topic!

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Making Multiple Text Selections in Google Docs

I just used Google Docs to write a blog post referencing my book, Educational Duct Tape, and while proofreading it I noticed I totally forgot to italicize the book title each time I referenced it.  I could fix one of them and use the paint format tool to apply that fix to all of them . . . or I could fix one of them, copy it, and then paste it in place of the other ones or . . .

💡I could use the new multiple text selection option in Google Docs.

You can now highlight a set of text–or double click a single word–and then hold down control, or command on a Mac, while highlighting other text or double-clicking other words, and they’ll all be selected!

I can now use this to select multiple instances of the phrase Educational Duct Tape and make them all be italicized!  You can also do this to delete multiple chunks of text at once or even copy them. 

The copy option is weird, because it just copies those words and then you paste just those words. It’s interesting.

You can also use it with pasting.  For example, if I want to add the book’s subtitle – An EdTech Integration Mindset – each time the title is referenced, I can copy the full title with the subtitle, select all instances of the title, and click paste, and it’ll paste it in each place! Pretty cool stuff.

This feature should be active in all Google accounts at this point. 

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Chromebooks are getting their own screencasting app!

Once upon a time, the market for screencasting on Chromebooks was a 1-app game – Screencastify. But later others came on the scene, Screencast-o-matic, Loom, Flipgrid, and way too many for me to list here.

Well, better late than never, Google has joined this party! I’m not sure what took them so long, but Google is adding a Screencast app, built into Chrome OS in M103. 🎉

It will let you record your entire screen or portion of your screen along with your webcam and your voice. Like most screencast solutions, it also lets you annotate on the screen while recording. Up to that point, it’s pretty similar to the other Chromebook screencasting options. What sets Google’s native option apart are a few things. 

First, the recordings are automatically stored in your Drive and, therefore, are easily shared with your colleagues and students and, likewise, it’s easy for your students to record things and submit them to you, plus it means student data is going to less servers since it’s staying in the Google ecosystem. 

My favorite part, though, is the automated transcript that is created with your recording. 📝

It is auto-generated but you can edit the text as needed.  The viewer sees that transcript alongside the video, they can use the transcript to jump to certain spots in the video, and they can even search the transcript for certain words.

You can also translate that transcript into any Google Translate supported language. The UDL (UDL) here is off the charts. But, my favorite part, is that you can also edit out parts of the recording by clicking on parts of the transcript and clicking “skip.”  That edits them right out of the video.

Now, the catch here is that’s as far as your editing can go. If you want to fine tune your video and become a YouTuber, this is not the tool for you. But if you want a screencasting tool for your classroom this may be the right one for you. (I should note that the transcript is only there for viewers who are also using Chromebooks.)

You can share the video with a non-Chromebook user—they’ll be able to see the raw video, but it won’t include the transcript and it won’t skip any sections that you opted for skipping. 

This tool is really only optimized for people recording on Chromebooks for viewers who will watch on Chromebooks, so keep that in mind.

📹 Here is Eric Curts’ video demo of the tool which does a great job showing what it can do. This feature, by the way, should be available in all Google accounts when using a Chromebook that’s on Version 103.

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Video Feedback in Microsoft Teams

📹 Microsoft Teams just released a video feedback option!

If you’re a Microsoft Teams user, you’ll now see a video feedback option in the feedback pane that pops up on the right.

You’ll still see the normal options: selecting a student, selecting an assignment to view, text feedback, and points . . . but now you’ll see a little video button!

Click on it, record right there, and then click upload to automatically attach it to the assignment!

You’ll also see a paperclip option that’ll allow you to attach a different file as part of your feedback. (This might be an annotated screenshot or a video that you had prepared outside of Microsoft Teams.)

One issue is that, unless I’m missing something, the video is webcam only, so you won’t be able to add screencast feedback, which would be really beneficial. So, in that case, you’d record elsewhere and then attach it, or insert a link to it.

This powerful feedback and assessment update is available for all Teams EDU users.

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