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: