Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Annotate Google Docs Via The Google Classroom iPad App

A lovely teacher reached out to me asking if there was an easy way to annotate directly onto a Google Doc using an iPad. We had used some different techniques to do this in the past, but they required a few too many steps including having to convert the Google Doc into a PDF first, then importing it into a different app, and then finally being able to annotate. It worked, but there were a few too many steps which could become time-consuming especially when a teacher has several students and several documents to annotate. We wanted something more streamlined. After searching around and reaching out to some of my PLN friends, I started playing around with Google Classroom as a solution. What was discovered was that in Google Classroom, if teachers have students submit assignments in Google Doc format, the teacher can open the Doc on their iPad and annotate on it! It's a seamless solution for both teachers and their students. 

Watch this short video: 

Annotate a Google Doc via the Google Classroom iPad App

Steps to Annotate a Google Doc via the Google Classroom iPad App

Step 1: Open the Classroom app on your iPad

Step 2: Open the assignment you created for students to submit their Google Doc

Step 3: Click Student Work

Step 4: Click on your student's name to open the Google Doc they turned in

Step 5: After the document opens, click the pencil on the top-right corner

Step 6: Your annotation tools are on the bottom. 

Starting from the right...
  • Typing tool "A" 
  • Highlighter (different color options) 
  • Marker (different widths and color options) 
  • Pen (different widths and color options) 
  • Eraser
  • Select tool that lets you grab what you annotate to move it around the document

Step 7: You can pinch the page on your iPad to zoom in and out of the page, then start annotating! 

Step 8: When you're done annotating, click Save on the top-right. Your edits will be saved as a PDF. 

Step 9: This is what it looks like from the student's side. They'll open the assignment and see a PDF under the Google Doc they turned in. When they open the PDF, they'll see their document with the teacher's annotations. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Freely Use Images With Google's Advanced Image Search - Week 11

Google is our friend in so many ways. It’s always there to help us when we need, gives us answers we didn’t know before, is there for us 24/7 - 365 days a year. Although it gives and gives, we as users have to be cautious about how we use what we find. Take searching for that perfect image to add to your presentation or multimedia project. We can search for an image on Google and it will find it for us in a flash. Yet, many of the images that come back in a Google Image search are copyrighted and belong to commercial sites that have paid to take that photo or have created that graphic so we can’t do whatever we please with those. In order to freely use images you find online, they have to be public domain (meaning not subject to copyright) and not require attribution (meaning you do not have to give credit).

There are some fabulous sites out there you can use to find public domain images such as:

Sometimes though, you just want to stick with tried and true, Google Images. Good news: You can still use Google Images to find your images without worrying about restrictions. Here are a few ways to do this.

Google Images Advanced Search To Find Free-To-Use Images

Option 1: Tools Button
  • Go to
  • Click Images (on the top-right corner).
  • Type the image you’re looking for. i.e. “globe”
  • Click Tools
  • Click Usage Rights
  • Click Labeled for reuse with modification OR Labeled for non-commercial reuse with modification 
  • Filter your image search even more
    • Size - Large, Medium, Icon
    • Color - Any Color, Full Color, Black & White, Transparent 
    • Type - Face, Photo, Clipart, Line Drawing, Animated
    • Time - Anytime, Past 24 Hours, Past Week, Custom Range

Option 2: Settings Button + Advanced Search
  • Go to
  • Click Images (on the top-right corner).
  • Type your what kind of image you’re looking for. i.e. “globe”
  • Click Search
  • Click Advanced Search

You can narrow your search results by image size, colors in image, file types, etc
  • MOST of the images come from sites that allow you to freely share, copy, modify, reuse the image. 
  • SOME of the images come from sites that still require attribution.
If you hover your mouse over the images, you can see the site that the image is coming from.

If you want sites that do not require any attribution, look for images that come from the sites listed above such as Pixabay. You might find images that come from different sites. Simply look for the license requirements. Click on the image from your search result > click Visit Page.

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: 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 

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:

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.