Monday, April 24, 2017

Become A Voyager With The New Google Earth

The new Google Earth launched and it is pretty amazing. Complete with those spectacular views from space, speedy fly-to places, and unbelievable 3D imagery and street views. Right now, the new Google Earth works in Chrome for the web, Android is coming very soon, and versions for iOS and other browsers are planned for the near future.

To visit the web version, go to: http://earth.google.com. You’ll see a play button with this beautiful video:


Once you launch the new Google Earth for the first time, you’ll see Top 5 things to try with the new Google Earth:
  1. Ask Search for more - select a destination and go
  2. Learn with Knowledge Cards - discover and explore local landmarks
  3. Orbit the world in 3D - tilt and rotate the map with Shift + drag
  4. Take the helm with Voyager - choose your adventure
  5. Feeling Lucky? - see where the world takes you
Voyager, which is one of the new additions to Google Earth can really take you places and help you learn so much about the world around you.
“You can tour the world and learn about other countries using Voyager. Voyager is a collection of map-based stories written by Google Earth partners that’s updated weekly. You can see Guided Stories, or tours, on topics like travel, culture, nature, and history.” ~ Google Earth
Voyager takes you to different places and tells you about what's going on there using slideshows, text, images, and videos. They're divided into different topics: Editor's Picks, Travel, Nature, Culture, and History.

Take a look where Voyager can take you. There's even one that lets you visit Cherry Blossoms!
  • Travel 
    • Architecture by Zaha Hadid
    • Ultradistancia: Airports
    • Amazing Urban Gardens
    • Grand Canyon National Park
    • Explore Paris, Explore New York
    • Remote Islands
    • Explore cities like Mexico City, London, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro
    • Land Art From Above
    • Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom
    • Renowned Bridges, and more.
  • Nature 
    • Protecting Wildlife
    • Goodall, Gome and Google
    • Searching for Sharks in Street View
    • Revealing the Center of Life
    • The Mzansi Experience
    • Endangered Species Around the World
    • Zoos and Animal Parks
    • Treks: Samburu National Reserve, Kenya or the Galapagos Islands
    • National Parks of North America
    • National Treasures
    • Wildlife Preserves
    • World's Most Dramatic Mountains
    • Unusual Lakes
    • Explore Penguin Colonies
    • Reading the ABC from Space, and more.
  • Culture
    • Sesame Street Girls Around the World
    • Museums Around the World
    • Following Charles Dickens
    • Hemingway's Hangouts
    • Ultradistancia: Renderings or Wild Places
    • Wonders of the Ancient and Modern World
    • Land Art from Above, This is Home
    • Treks: Miniatur Wunderland or Kennedy Space Center:
    • Leaning Architecture
    • Frank Gehry Buildings
    • In the Footsteps of 007, and more.
  • History
    • UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    • Following Charles Dickens
    • Wonders of the Ancient and Modern World
    • Discover Machu Picchu
    • Lost Civilizations from Above
    • The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks

Here’s how Voyager works:
Click the down arrow when you visit http://earth.google.com 

You'll see the Google Earth Voyager symbol, a ship's wheel. Click CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE!
See all the different Voyager adventures: Editor's Picks, Travel, Nature, Culture, History.

Each adventure has a title, short description, and an EXPLORE button to begin your adventure.

Once you're in your Voyager adventure, notice how many different scenes are there on the bottom right corner, some let you see the places in 3D by clicking the blue circle with the person icon. 
Amazing Street Views! 

Watch this quick video to see how Voyager in Google Earth looks!


And, if you've ever wondered how Google Earth gets its' spectacular 3D imagery, you must watch this video by the amazing Nat And Friends. Simply awesome.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Google Docs Hidden Features - Week 9

If you’re a user of GSuite apps, then Google Docs is probably one you use very often. There are several "hidden" features built into Google Docs that can help make this app even more powerful than ever.

Here are seven of my favorite hidden features of Google Docs.
  • Changing the default font: By default, Google Docs will open up with Arial font. You may prefer a different font, though! Instead of needing to constantly change the font each time you open, you can easily change the default font to one you prefer. It’s easy. 
    • Type something in your Google Doc 
    • Highlight text 
    • Click Format > Paragraph style > Normal Text > Update ‘Normal text’ to match


  • Convert text: This is a feature that you might not need everyday, but when you do need it, it’s a life saver. You can convert text to:
    • UPPERCASE, make all letters in your selection UPPERCASE 
    • lowercase, make all letters in your selection lowercase
    • Title Case, make the first letter of each word Capitalized


  • Tag someone in comments: Collaboration is one of the most powerful features in Google Docs. While working in a Doc, you can tag someone in a comment to assign them an action item and to alert them via an email notification. 
    • To add a comment click Insert > Comment or 
    • Highlight text in a Doc and click the comment bubble 
    • In the comment field, add a + and start typing the person's name or email to select them
    • If they're a contact, the email will appear 
    • If they're not a contact, type the email address 
    • You may need to check the Share settings and make sure who you tag has editing rights


  • Send a Google Doc as an email attachment: It’s easy to attach and send your Google Doc via email without needing to open Gmail. This is a great option when you aren’t looking to collaborate but rather you simply need to send the file as an email attachment. 
    • Click File 
    • Email as attachment…
    • Select the file format you’d like to convert your Google Doc into so the person receiving it can open it.


  • Voice typing: Google Docs has voice recognition which can convert your voice to text. It works the same way you use voice recognition on your mobile device where you speak and use the necessary punctuation terms i.e. period, question mark, exclamation mark, comma. You can also say “new line” to begin typing on the next line. 
    • Click Tools 
    • Voice typing…
    • Click the microphone to begin voice typing 
    • Click the microphone again to stop


  • Set expiration date when sharing: To increase the security and accessibility of collaboration in Google Docs, you can set a time-limit to file sharing by setting an expiration date. Once the expiration date is reached, users will no longer have access to your document. 
    • Share your document 
    • Open the Share settings
    • Click on "Shared with people" 
    • Hover the mouse next to the person’s name and email 
    • Click on the expiration timer icon 
    • Set the days to expire (7 days, 30 days, or Custom)




  • Change autocorrect settings: You may find sometimes when you’re typing in your Google Doc you’ll see a word you type turn into something else. For example you type “to” and it turns into “too”. Google Docs has autocorrect settings that you can adjust. 
    • Click Tools > Preferences 
    • You can turn ON/OFF settings by checking the boxes next to the description 
    • Under Replace & With you can see which words are there and “X” out anything that doesn’t belong

Monday, April 3, 2017

You Can Do Anything With Explain Everything - Week 8


'Some apps are like Swiss army knives.Some can do more than you think. Some can be used in thousands of ways in the classroom. Explain Everything is one such app.' - Nick Ackton (via Explain Everything's site)
Explain Everything is an amazing interactive whiteboard app and there are so many things you can do with it to enhance learning. On their website, they list several different ways to use it and include all the Explain Everything features.

Although there are tons of different ways to use Explain Everything, I’ve narrowed it down to four of my favorites. The first two are powerful because they can easily turn an iPad or tablet into an interactive whiteboard, just like that.

First, what you'll need to make them interactive:

  1. iPad or tablet.
  2. AirserverApple TV, or something similar in order to display your device screen. 
  3. Apple Pencil, stylus, or your finger. 

Four of my favorite ways to use Explain Everything:
  1. Interactive Presentations - If you want to display a presentation to your students and make it interactive so for example you can write on it or manipulate objects, you can do that with Explain Everything. There are different options to make your presentations interactive.

    • Create the presentation from scratch using the Explain Everything blank templates or,
    • Import a PDF or image of your existing presentations. Your presentations can be Google Slides, PowerPoint, ActivInspire Flipcharts, etc. Explain Everything will easily connect to your Google Drive if have the PDF or images you want to import saved in there.
      To import, click the plus sign > Photo, Video, File
    • Once you import, you can draw right on the slides, add moveable shapes, etc. just like you would using interactive software such as SMART or Promethean ActivInspire.
  2. Whiteboard - Just like a whiteboard hanging in a class, you can write on an Explain Everything slide. With a full range of colors to choose from, you can bring your whiteboard drawing to life. And you are not limited to a small space to write on. You have an infinite canvas which means you can zoom in and out of it to fit what you need. You can also add new slides just as you would in a presentation format.
    To write or draw, click the pencil icon. You can change the width by pressing down on it. You can change the color from the bottom left color tiles. Pressing down on the colors lets you choose different colors. 
  3. Sketchnotes - Display visual thinking with Explain Everything. In addition to the ease of drawing, writing, adding shapes, etc. one super reason to use this app for sketchnoting has to do with the infinite canvas you work on. For example, you can draw something that might fit your entire screen. To make more room on your screen, you can select what you drew and pinch it to make it smaller then move it anywhere on your canvas.

    Watch this short video as one of the co-founders of Explain Everything, Reshan Richards demonstrates sketchnoting using this tool:


    Sketchnote sample created with Explain Everything
    by co-founder Reshan Richards during the closing keynote at ISTE 2016. 

  4. Explanation Videos - Using Explain Everything is a perfect tool for teachers to create tutorials and lessons for video-based instruction. It is also perfect for students to use as a tool for showing their understanding. The possibilities are endless as to the content you could create using this format.
    The record button on the bottom of the screen allows you to record, pause, playback. Then you can save your project and export it. 
You have the option to export your project as a Video or other formats as well such as PDF and images.


There is a paid version of Explain Everything (blue icon) and a free version of Explain Everything (white icon). On their website, you can see the detailed comparison between the two.

Find all versions of Explain Everything Here: https://explaineverything.com/download/

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Add A Pop Of Color Effect - Week 7


Black & white photos with a pop of color are artistic and a great way to draw attention to a focus point. These mini works of art can be created in just minutes. And with by using your phone or tablet, these color effect photos are easier than ever to create. Although there are several different apps available to do create a pop of color effect, one that works very well is called Selective Color Effect. This is an iOS app and can be used on both iPhone and iPad.

Some of the app’s main features:
  • Splash grayscale or any other color on your photo.
  • Multi touch zoom in/out and move.
  • Configurable brush size and splash opacity.
  • Magnifying glass for precise editing.
  • Crop & resize images.
  • Save photos inside the app for future editing.
One great feature is being able to save photos inside the app. All the photos you edit in the app are saved in case you need to go back and edit in the future. And unlike other color effect apps, this app allows you to recolor for free. Which means if you have, let's say, a flower in your photo that is originally yellow and you want to make it purple, you can!

Here’s how the app works.
  • Install the Selective Color Effect app and then open it. 
  • Click Library so the app can find the photos on your device. 
  • The first time you click Library, you’ll see a message: “Color Effect” Would Like to Access Your Photos > Select OK.
  • Once you select and add your photo, it converts to grayscale removing all color.
  • From the bottom menu, select either Color or Recolor to add a pop of color effect.
  • Use the Pan & Zoom tool from the bottom menu to have precise brush strokes. 
  • When you make a mistake, simply click the left undo arrow. 
  • Once you're finished with your creation, click Save. You can add your new color effect photo to your camera roll or share it via various social media sites.
Adding a pop of color effect to your photo to highlight and focus on the most important parts of it has never been so fun! The possibilities are endless.

Note: Because this is a free app, you will see some ads. The good news is the ads are not animated and do not interfere while you’re working on your creation. 

Some web-based options for adding color effect to your photos:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Awesome Tips & Tricks For Google Slides - Week 6

Google Slides is a powerful presentation tool that is easy to use and great for collaboration. There are some features Google Slides has that can take your creations to the next level. Once you tap into some of these features, the possibilities are endless as to what you can make. Here are six awesome tips & tricks to try!
  1. Custom sized slides - By default, Google Slides are set to "Widescreen 16:9" dimensions. There are times you may want to resize your slides depending on the need.You may want to import your Google Slides into Nearpod so you'll want to set them to "Standard 4:3".
    You may want to create a flyer or newsletter for print. For this you can customize the page setup to be 8 ½ X 11. 
    Change the page size to 8 1/2 to 11 to create print-size creations.
    It's simple to change the slide size. Click File > Page Setup and select from the following options:
    Default is Widescreen 16:9 | Sizes: Standard, Widescreen 16:9 & 16:10 Custom) Custom allows you to choose the length & width
  2. Transparency trick - An easy way to make text stand out and your slides have a clean modern look is to create a transparent shape on top of an image. First, add your image to a slide.
    Then, add any shape. Click the shape, select the Fill color paint bucket, and select CUSTOM.
    Slide down the far-right bar to make your shape transparent. 
    Right-click the shape and select Edit Text to add text to your shape.
  3. Masking images (change image shape) - To give your images a different look and effect, you can easily crop them into different shapes with Google Slides. 
    Click the image on your slide > click the down arrow next to the CROP icon > select the shape.

  4. Download your slides as image files - A simple, but useful feature of Google Slides is the download as image option. Since it's so easy to format items in Google Slides, this can be a quick and easy way to create an image you can add to other documents, use for social media, websites, etc. The only downside is that you're limited to downloading one slide at a time. Once you're ready, go to the slide in your presentation that you want to save as an image.
    Click File > Download As > choose from JPEG image or PNG image. 
  5. Auto-advance slides - There are times you may want your slides to advance automatically. To make your slides advance automatically, select File > Publish to the Web. You will choose how many seconds you want your slides to appear and then click Publish. You’ll now have a new link that will be used for presenting your auto-advanced Google Slide presentation.

  6. Theme options - Google Slides has a nice selection of themes for presentations. If you're not finding what you want though, you can find different themes using a site called Slide Carnival. This site has different themes with categories such as:
    Formal, Inspirational, Creative, Simple, Elegant, Playful, etc. 
    Once you find a theme you like, simply click the button under the preview and description that says “USE AS GOOGLE SLIDES THEME” and your new theme will open up in your Google Drive. Once the theme opens in Google Drive, click File > Make A Copy and you can now edit the slides as needed.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Easy Ways To Rotate And Flip Your Videos - Week 5


Have you ever taken a video with your phone that you thought was taken correctly, only to find later it was rotated upside down or in some other direction? Luckily there are different options to help rotate and flip your video.

Using your iPhone or iPad

Video Rotate & Flip app for iOS

  • This FREE app is easy to use and can be installed on your iPhone or iPad. 
  • After you rotate or flip your video, the app will not leave a watermark on your newly saved video. 
  • Another bonus is that there is no time limit. Your video can be short or long in length of time. 
  • Your video will export as MPEG-4 (default) or QuickTime 




Select the video from your photo library, you'll have an option to crop (if needed). On the bottom, you will see icons to Rotate: counterclockwise or clockwise & Flip: vertically & horizontally.
Once your video has been rotated and flipped, click Export on the top-right corner. You can then select "Save Video" and your new video will be saved back into your iPhone or iPad Photo Library. You could also select to save it into your Google Drive.

Using Your Desktop, Laptop, or Chromebook

iMovie - iMovie software must be installed on a Mac desktop or laptop. Import your video (called "media" in iMovie). Your video will be located in "My Media". Click on the video clip you want to rotate. On the top-right you will see a crop icon.

Click the crop icon and then on the top-right you will see rotate left and right icons. These will allow you to rotate your video.

WeVideo - WeVideo is web-based and can be used on Mac, PC, desktop, laptop, and Chrombook. You can sign-up and login with your Google account or register using an email address. WeVideo has a free and paid "premium" version. Import your video (called "media" in WeVideo). Once your video is imported into My Media, drag the video into your Timeline or Storyboard. Click your video clip and you will see a pencil which allows you to edit. Click the pencil. ** Exported video in WeVideo will have a WeVideo watermark and bumper unless you are using the Premium or paid version.

Under Transform, you will see Rotation (Left or Right) & Flip (Horizontal or Vertical).

- - - - -

To help prevent your videos from being rotated in the wrong direction, notice where your timer is when taking video. If you're taking a video and the timer is on the bottom of your screen, your video will be upside down. The timer should be located on the top of your screen.

Monday, February 27, 2017

WOW Everyone With Adobe Spark - Week 4

Adobe Spark is a free design tool suite that allows you to create graphics, web pages, and animated videos in seconds. You can use this tool on your computer browser or your iPhone & iPad. You can access Adobe Spark by logging in with your Google single sign-on or an Adobe ID. Spark contains three different tools:
Post, Page, and Video.

Once you login and click the yellow-circle plus-sign, you'll see this:
Three different creation options: Video (red circle), Page (blue circle), Post (green circle).


Adobe Spark Post
(for creating graphics/images)- Design custom social media images in seconds. You can upload your own photo as a background, search from tons of free photos, or even use solid color backgrounds. Add eye-catching text and in no time you can create images to be used for almost any reason imaginable: social media (with preset sizes for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc), memes, event invitations, custom graphics for presentations or projects, the options are endless. You can download your image to your computer or phone or tablet library. And the ease with which you can create all this on your phone is so great.
Choose what size you want your graphic to be i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Poster, Slide, etc.
On the top right, you'll find the tools you need to customize your graphic. 

Adobe Spark Page
(for creating a webpage) - Create magazine-style web pages in minutes. This is an easy and modern looking way to communicate information like newsletters, photos, reports, etc. You’ll find different page designs and layouts, colors, and text to use and can add photos and different text to customize. Everything comes to life by what’s called “Glideshow”; your page will have a smooth sleek motion to it. Sharing your page can be done via social media or by a direct link via email.   
When you begin creating your page, it looks like this:
Once you begin, you can click the plus-sign to add photos, text, buttons, videos, photo grid, glideshow.


Adobe Spark Video
(for creating animated videos)-
Create quick, beautiful, compelling animated videos. You can combine video clips and photos into your video plus add customized text, search free music, add your own personal music, or add your voice. There are different styles and themes to choose from to match your story and message.
You'll see an inspiring prompt that focuses on the story or idea right when you begin a new project.
To help guide your video creation, you can choose to a story template such as: Promote an Idea, Tell What Happened, A Hero’s Journey, Show and Tell, Personal Growth, Teach a Lesson, An Invitation, or Start from Scratch.
Easy to customize and navigate "storyboard" style template.


For your iPhone or iPad: