Google Jamboard (The App)

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Over the summer I read an article about this. I was intrigued. I contacted my district’s tech person. After several tries (apparently there is a small checkbox or toggle that was causing an issue), he got it working for me and my students!

I had been thinking about potential uses in the classroom. One idea I had was to use it as a collection tool in the same way many of us use Padlet. I love Padlet but I am a teacher. What I mean by that is that I can now only have 5 for free. If I want to create more, I need to purchase the premium version. I don’t use it enough to justify the cost.

Then this week happened. The week before Winter Break. The week we teachers try to keep it together. So, I did a bit of experimenting. Each year I have students create ninjas using Google Draw. I am 1/2 of TLC Ninja after all. This year’s ninjas were awesome! My favorite was the Ninja Avengers. Normally, I would collect and display them on Padlet. However, I decided to experiment with Jamboard. I did a bit of prep with my class. I told them that all this could go terribly wrong. They were up for the challenge and did NOT disappoint.

After creating our ninjas, we downloaded them as JPEG files. I then set up the Jamboard so that 5 ninjas were on one jam, thus creating a total of 5 jams for the ninjas. The class was super respectful of each other’s work. I was so happy!

Ninjas: Featuring The Ninja Avengers That is not to say that the process wasn’t without its pitfalls. First of all, one of my darlings kept selecting the > on the top of the Jamboard which, at one point, created 28 jams. Secondly, all uploaded images upload in the center of the jam. Fortunately, I was demonstrating when a student uploaded hers on the same jam as I was on. This allowed us to stop and see what happens. Great learning opportunity! That happy happenstance helped students to be respectful when uploading.

Overall, I’d say the experiment was a success. I would say it’s an ‘aight’ replacement for Padlet, not great but you can make it work. I can see other uses for Jamboard, too: exit ticket, voting, catch the pulse of the class, and brainstorming. I know there’s more, but like I said, it’s the week before Winter Break.

GCI Energizer

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend an Energizer event for Google Innovators. And it was energizing!

Roughly 60 innovators were welcomed to the Google Campus to learn, grow, and become energized! Most importantly, we were able to connect with colleagues we haven’t seen in a while, have only met online, or connect for the first time here. I’ve talked about how I need my tribe. These are my people. They all do amazing things in their classrooms/districts.

I’m still processing all that happened and reflecting on how fortunate I am to be apart of this amazing group. Thank you to Google and Innovators for a great time!

Google PhotoScan App

PhotoScanA while back Google came out with an App for us to ‘scan’ our photos – PhotoScan (Android and iOS). The reason I love this app is the ease of use. That and the fact that the quality is good and it the glare removal.

How many of us have old photos lying around? Personally, I have boxes upon boxes not to mention the dozen or so albums. I want to share them with my family, especially my dad, but scanning each photo takes to long. Then, if the photo is in an album, the gum from the album sticks to the photo. So when I try to remove the photo, it becomes damages. I could take photos of them all, but who has ever taken a great photo of a photo? So Google came up with this app. And bonus, I can save it to Google Photos!

This is a picture of my Grandpa Zig and me – it was clearly the 80’s. In case you’re wondering, we owned a butcher shop and it was taken there.

Koszorek's Butcher ShopTo scan this photo, it took me less than a minute. I have some abilities to turn the glare on and off, rotate the image, and adjust corners.

Once you download the app; open it.

Find a photo, or two, you’d like to scan and take a photo.

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Align the empty circle with each of the filled circles. The app will automatically take a photo.

 

 

Once a photo from each of the filled circles has been taken, the photo is ready. You can now rotate it if necessary and save it to your camera roll, Google Photos, or share with others.

The result (this would be my dad, looks a bit like Beaver from Leave It to Beaver):

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Chrome: Find Bar

One of my favorite features to show students is Control + f  or f3 on Windows, Linux, and Chromebooks, or Command +f on Macs. This will open up the ‘Find Bar’ for that page. What is Find Bar? Well, it’s a handy feature to narrow your field when looking for specific text. Have you ever done a search and found a great website, but there was so much text it took a while to find the exact information you needed? The Find Bar solves that problem for you!

Here I am on Google’s Wikipedia page. There is a lot of text on the page, but I only want to find out about “BackRub”, which I was told was the original name of Google. I could go to the Contents section, find History (which would be the most logical place for it to be), or I could use the Find Bar and locate Back Rub instantly.

Open up Find Bar: Control + f (Windows) or Command + f (Mac). A small bar appears in the upper right corner.

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Type in the desired text. In this case, I’ll type BackRub and hit the enter key. There are 2 places on the page where BackRub is written.

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I can either click on the arrows to the right of the Find Bar or use Control + g (Windows) or Command + g (Mac) to navigate to the next location of the text. The orange highlight denotes the current match while a yellow highlight denotes previous or an upcoming match.

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It’s pretty slick and so much more efficient. Give it a try!

Playlists in YouTube

I’m a huge fan of YouTube, but then again who isn’t? One of my favorite features is the ability to create Playlists. These are a collection of videos of your choice. For example, I have a playlist for grammar to help students who are struggling with various grammar issues.

In YouTube, on the left side is my menu. The second section shows my ‘Library’ (aka playlists). creating them is SUPER easy!

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When I find a video I like, I add it to (or create a new) playlist. The ‘Add to’ choice appears just below the video.

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If you are creating a new playlist, you will have the option to have it ‘Public’ (open for anyone to find), ‘Unlisted’ (other can view if they have the link), or ‘Private’ (must be shared directly with others).

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After you name your playlist, select ‘Create’. Viola! You now have started your playlist collection

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Google Docs: Comment

I have been editing my students NaNoWriMo Stories in Google Docs. The easiest way to communicate with them is to write comments. Since we are in the ‘it must be perfectly polished’ mode, I’m making a lot of comments! I’ve invited other teachers to give their input as well.

When I find an area that I would like to comment on I highlight the word or area with my cursor.

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I can then either navigate to the toolbar at the top, find ‘Insert’, then scroll down to comment. OR I can locate the ‘Comment’ button on the right side of the toolbar, select it, then choose the comment button from there.

There is also a keyboard shortcut – Option + Command + M (Mac) or Alt + Control + M (PC and Chromebooks). Any of the 3 options will then bring up a comment window on the right side of the document. When this appears, type your comment, then select the blue ‘comment’ button. When the reader clicks on either the comment or the highlighted area, the highlight becomes a bit darker and the comment window becomes more prominent. comment 4

Happy Commenting!