Google Keep – Another Great Tool from Google!

Over the years, several of the TeachingAndLearningToolbox blogs have highlighted some great Google tools for use in the classroom or to improve productivity.  Google Keep is another wonderful tool you can add to your Google Suite toolbox.

Google Keep is a free, simple and effective productivity and collaboration tool for both students and instructors. If you want to be more organized, productive and collaborative, Google Keep captures your notes and ideas, provides a collaborative sharing resource and offers a great To Do List feature.

Google Keep is available for your computer on the web or as a download through the Android or iOS mobile store apps. Google Keep also integrates with Google Docs [January 2016, Google Drive Blog, now Google Docs], which is helpful when collaborating.  Additionally, if you download the Google Keep Chrome Extension on your computer, you can save webpages, images, quotes, URLs, text, and your notes with a single click.

Google Keep is visually appealing.  It uses a sticky note, color coding format for listing projects, notes and activities.  The sticky note feature also lets you pin your most important tasks at the top of your screen or device, so they are not overlooked.  Google Keep’s note feature allows you to include text, lists, images, and audio. Voice recordings are automatically transcribed to text, which meets ADA compliance requirements, and text notes can be easily converted to checklists.

Need to pick something up for class?  Add a location-based reminder to your To Do List activity.  This feature sends a message to your mobile device when you are in the location area, saving time and consolidating trips.

Google Keep is similar to Evernote [March 2106, Evernote Blog], although not as robust.   Google Keep allows you to collaborate and share notes with others, which makes it a great tool for students to use for group projects.  It is easy to share, simply add individuals as collaborators.  Google Keep allows group members to see changes happen in real time, which makes it easy for everyone to track completed and outstanding project tasks. Google Keep also allows notes with images to be annotated, which is another great feature.  Evernote is still probably the best option if you want to organize your notes in files and notebooks, attach external files, or utilize work chat, but for Google Suite users, Google Keep may be just the tool you and your students need.

To review some of the other great Google Suite tools we have previously shared, click on the following links:

Google Slides Q&A (April 2018) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/engaging-students-with-google-slides-qa/

Google Hangouts (May 2016) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/google-hangouts/

Google Forms (April 2016) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/google-forms/

To learn more about getting started with Google Keep, visit https://www.google.com/keep/.

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Doodly: Create engaging videos as easy as 1-2-3!

Happy New Year!  Markus and I hope you find some great technology tools to add to your toolbox in 2019!

This month’s technology tip is Doodly, a unique video creator.  Most of the time, Markus and I write about free technology, but this month I wanted to share a technology tool “deal” that could put a unique, eye-catching, engaging video creator into your teaching toolbox.

Doodly is a technology tool that allows you to easily create professional looking videos from simple visual sketches.  Best of all you do not have to have any drawing ability.  If you want to create video’s that are different, grab students’ attention and help simplify explaining difficult topics, Doodly may be the technology tool for you.

Doodly allows users to create drawings on various backgrounds, including whiteboard, blackboard, greenboard and glassboard canvases.  There are numerous doodle images available in the standard software. For a slight one-time upgrade fee ($97) to the Enterprise version, you can add thousands of more images to your Doodly library.

To get started, simply select your image, then drag and drop it onto your Doodly canvas.  Perhaps you want to add your own images?  Doodly allows you to upload .jpg images, including those you draw yourself.  Whatever images you choose to add to your canvas, Doodly can draw them for you. Doodly also has a large selection of drawing hands to choose from (male, female and various ethnicities), so you can customize your video’s hand image, or you can choose the “no hand” drawing option.

Do you want to add music to your video?  Doodly provides royalty free music tracks that are easy to add.  You can also record your own custom voiceover audio directly within the video creator or upload your voiceover from another recording source.  Whichever audio option you choose, it is simple to sync and/or edit audio with your doodle sketch.  Once you have created your Doodly video, save it in an mp4 format, then upload it for sharing to YouTube or another video web hosting source.

Doodly works on both PCs and Macs. After your online purchase you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to get started.  Best of all, Doodly can be downloaded to as many computers as you like, making it convenient to use with multiple devices, in multiple locations.

While Doodly is simple and intuitive to use, it also has helpful support and idea options including FAQ’s, tutorial videos, a help desk and a Facebook user group.

Normally. Markus and I pass over technology tools that aren’t free or don’t offer a free trial; however, Doodly’s limited time Facebook special offer (a one-time $67 fee, no annual renewal, free updates and a 30-day money-back guarantee), was too good to pass up.  Doodly is a great technology tool to kick off the new year!

Note:  Doodly normally retails for $480 per year; therefore, if you are interested in learning more about this dynamic video creator tool and the limited time Facebook discount offer, click on the following link. https://www.doodly.com/special-one-time-price-fb.php?fbclid=IwAR2Lzq0VzryOF1Z9Xd-UEjv_XUbN64xqcGr3tmqlxty5YyuTo1KurDZsmnI

*Doodly’s regular website (www.doodly.com) does not offer this limited time savings option.

© 2019 TeachingAndLearningToolbox.com

 

2018 Year End Review

Toolbox

As our semester and 2018 come to a close, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout the year.  A great resolution for 2019 is to integrate one of these tools into your classroom environment.

Slackhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/

Flipgridhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/02/

Microsoft Teamshttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/03/

Google Slides Q&Ahttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/

Office Lenshttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/05/

Recap https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/recap/

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Yearhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/lets-get-ready-for-the-new-academic-year/

Peergrade https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/peer-evaluations-made-easy/

Poll Everywhere Competitionshttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/poll-everywhere-update-poll-everywhere-competitions-now-available/

Microsoft Whiteboardhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/microsoft-whiteboard/

Todoisthttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/todoist/

We look forward to exploring more teaching and learning technology tools in 2019.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard:  A Collaborative Learning Experience

Are you looking for ways to make your classroom or synchronous online lectures and activities more engaging?  Try Microsoft Whiteboard!  Microsoft Whiteboard is a new virtual, collaborative whiteboard app that can help increase student engagement and participation.  Microsoft Whiteboard is a free app that works with both Windows and iOS.  It allows users to collaborate in real time, using a virtual canvas.  Similar to the traditional classroom whiteboard, instructors project information for students to view; however, the Microsoft Whiteboard app also allows students to interact with the board from their mobile device or computer in real-time.   Also, unlike the traditional classroom whiteboard, instructors don’t need to erase information anymore.  Microsoft Whiteboard saves board annotations automatically to the cloud.  This means students don’t have to write everything down or take pictures of the board.  They can simply retrieve the information on their device during or after class as needed.

Microsoft Whiteboards can be annotated with a pen, keyboard or by touch.  Tools include sticky notes which can be annotated and stacked, and drawing tools such as a ruler and ink to shape feature.  Ink to shape takes your freehand drawings and immediately gives them a professional look.   You can also easily insert pictures or ink to table charts.  Microsoft Whiteboard also makes it easy to resize or copy content within or from your board as well as switch between boards.  Finally, Microsoft Whiteboard’s bird’s eye view option, allows you to zoom out or zoom in on displayed content as needed.  This can be particularly helpful when working with numbers, such as financial statements.

The collaborative nature of Microsoft Whiteboard makes it a useful technology tool for classroom brainstorming activities, mind-mapping, group work-out problems or integrating collaborative approaches to problem-solving and decision-making activities.  Best of all, Microsoft Whiteboard is easy to use.  Just download the appropriate app (Windows or iOS), then set up or sign in with a Microsoft account (Outlook, Hotmail, Live, Xbox, Office 365).  To start a collaborative, interactive session, simply select the “Invite” button, then write or type the invitee’s name or generate a link to share with the class.

To learn more about Microsoft Whiteboard, watch the overview video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG91PYYPDto.  Then visit https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-whiteboard/digital-whiteboard-app to get started with your free account.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Year!

Toolbox

It’s time to start preparing for the new academic year!  This is a great time to reflect and utilize technology that can help organize yourself and your classroom for the upcoming year.   Where should you start?  Cathy and I think that this is the perfect time to share how we stay organized and to recap some of our favorite and most useful technology tools.

To maintain easy access to our documents from anywhere or any device, Cathy and I utilize Dropbox for document cloud storage.  In addition, Dropbox allows us to easily share documents with anyone.  Other cloud storage services that we recommend are Google Drive (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/google-drive/), Microsoft One Drive and Apple iCloud.

In addition, a great note taking app is a must have for increasing productivity.  Both Notability (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/notability/) and Evernote (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/evernote/) are tools that we utilize on a weekly basis.  Additional note taking tools that we recommend are GoodNotes, Notes Plus, Noteshelf and Apple Notes.

Furthermore, Cathy and I utilize technology to convert our typical classroom into an interactive whiteboard environment.  Doceri (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/doceri/) allows our hand held devices to project images through the classroom overhead projector and to record our lectures.  Additional whiteboard and/or lecture capture technology that we recommend are Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe, Notability, Splashtop, Scoodle Jam, Camtasia, Tegrity and Snagit https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/snagit/.

Cathy and I integrate many group team activities into our course curriculum.  Some of the technologies that we use to support the group workflow and grading are:  Slack https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/slack/ and Microsoft Teams https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/microsoft-teams/.  Another technology option to consider for team communication is Group Me.

If you are looking for technologies to introduce data analytics into your curriculum, Tableau https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/tableau/ and PowerBI https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/microsoft-power-bi/ are very user friendly tools.

Finally, Cathy and I try to utilize technology to engage our students outside of our classroom lectures.  Some effective technology tools that we use to accomplish student engagement are: Kahoot Challenge https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/kahoot-update-now-available-create-out-of-class-assignments-with-kahoot-challenge/, Flipgrid https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/flipgrid/, Google Slides https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/engaging-students-with-google-slides-qa/, Recap https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/recap/.

We hope that you take this opportunity to discover at least one technology that can help you become more organized throughout the upcoming year.  We recommend checking with your institution to see if they currently provide any of these technologies at little or no cost to faculty.  Many technologies provide similar benefits, therefore, we identified several tools within each organizational category listed above.  We suggest utilizing tools that compliment your teaching style and that can be acquired for the least amount of resources.  Good luck and have a great academic year.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Recap

Are you looking for a way to make your online courses more interactive? Connect with lecture students outside of class? Help student prepare for a virtual workplace?  Then Recap by Swivl may be just the technology tool for your teaching and learning toolbox.

Recap is an educational chat tool enhanced by video.  It allows instructors to start discussions with either chat questions or a brief “Journey” video.  “Journeys” are instructor generated directions or overviews (60 seconds or less in length), which can be accompanied by links to recommended resources.  Students respond to “Queues” (chat questions) or “Journeys” with a “Twitter” like post, a brief video response or both.

Recap makes discussion boards come alive. It also helps students understand the difference between social media posts and workplace chat environments.  Additionally, if students are uncomfortable with public speaking or talking to a webcam, the Recap video feature helps students develop these important future workplace skills.

Recap is easy to use and best of all it’s free!  To get started, the instructor will “Queue Up” a moderated dialogue using the chat feature.  Dialogues can be started with a single question or a series of questions.  “Queues” can be enhanced with a “Journey”, which may benefit students who are more audio/visual learners.

Recap has privacy settings that can be controlled by the instructor and student.  Responses can be set to private (between the student and the instructor) or public so that the response can be shared with the entire class. Managing Recap is extremely easy.  Just set a due date for the response and use the built-in notification tools, or Recap links can also be inserted into in your learning management system.

Do you have multiple due dates for a project or activity?  Do you want your student to reflect on their progress?  Then sort student responses into folders by submission date.  This lets you track student progress as well as provides students an opportunity for reflection.

Recap is a simple technology tool that helps students develop many different workplace skills.  In addition to enhancing discussion boards in your course, Recap is also a great tool to create portfolios, encourage virtual collaboration for group projects or study groups, check the pulse of the class, collect pre-work questions about a topic, create virtual Day One introductions or make a student the class “expert” for the day.  Recap can also be used in conjunction with technology tools like Padlet (September 2016) for a scavenger hunt or mind-mapping activity.  Simply pose your question(s) in Recap, then have students share their findings with the class using the electronic post-it notes in Padlet.

Think of Recap as the “Twitter” for the classroom, enhanced by video.  It is one of those technology tools that can raise the learning bar.  Recap gives a voice to all students in the course, while encouraging them to interact in a concise and effective manner.

Are you ready to try Recap?  To learn more about how to get started or to set up your free Recap account, visit https://letsrecap.com/queue/.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Office Lens

Have you ever been in a meeting, conference session or classroom and snapped a picture of a whiteboard or screen with your phone? Many times these photos can be blurry or off centered. An app solution to make this process substantially easier is Microsoft Office Lens.

Office Lens will automatically trim and enhance the pictures of whiteboards and screens into a readable format. The pictures from the app can be downloaded as pdf files, photos or as editable Microsoft Word or PowerPoint files. Office Lens is like having a portable scanner with you at all times.

Features and Mode Options:
– With Whiteboard mode, Office Lens trims and cleans up glare and shadows.
– With Document mode, Office Lens trims and colors images perfectly.
– Pictures can be saved to OneNote, OneDrive or other cloud storage.
– Business Card mode can extract contact information and save it into your address book and OneNote. This feature works best with the following business cards: English, German, Spanish and Simplified Chinese. Support for more languages is coming soon.
– Choose to convert images to Word (.docx), PowerPoint (.pptx) or PDF (.pdf) files that are automatically saved to OneDrive.

Scenarios:
– Capture and crop a picture of a whiteboard or blackboard and share your meeting notes with students or co-workers.
– Make digital copies of your printed documents, business cards or posters and trim them precisely.
– Printed and handwritten text will be automatically recognized (using OCR), so you can search for words in images and then copy and edit them.

With all of these great features, Office Lens has become one of our most used apps. The best news is that Office Lens is FREE and is compatible with IOS, Android and Windows. To learn more about Office Lens, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/office-lens/9wzdncrfj3t8.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Engaging Students with Google Slides Q&A

Google QandA Logo

Are you looking for a way to have students submit questions during class and have the option for you to answer those questions at a particular time during your class session?  Google Slides Q&A is the perfect technology tool to accomplish this goal.  Google Slides Q&A allows your students to ask questions online at any time during the lecture.  Then you can respond to all or select questions whenever you choose.

Google Slides Q&A provides students the opportunity to ask questions as they occur.  This allows you to know exactly what students understand or don’t understand at any point during your class. This technology tools also prevents students from forgetting questions as you move on to other topics.

While using Google Slides Q&A, students can submit questions from their phones, laptops or tablets.  If desired, questions can even be submitted anonymously.  Another benefit of Google Slides Q&A is that all students can vote on which questions they would like to see answered first, which helps you to prioritize which topics to address. In addition, you have the option to repeat and rewind during the class session or circle back at the end.

Google Slides can be presented from a computer, similar to Microsoft’s PowerPoint, or you can present slides from an iPhone or iPad using Chromecast, AirPlay or Hangouts.

Google Slides Q&A makes lecture time more engaging.  Students are actively participating throughout the entire lecture. Using Google Slides Q&A also gives the quietest students a voice in every class. Best of all, Google Slides Q&A is easy to use and it’s free!

Are you ready to try Google Slides Q&A? Visit https://bit.ly/2D29ztW  to get started!

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Microsoft Sway – A Collaborative, Interactive, Digital Storytelling App

If you are looking for a virtual collaboration tool or a way to make course content interactive, then Microsoft Office Sway may be just the new tool for your technology toolbox.

Sway is referred to by Microsoft as a “digital storytelling app”.  This interactive, collaborative alternative to PowerPoint lets you or your students share images, text, videos, audio and other media to “tell a story” about any course topic.   Sway is a great way to connect with online students or to provide a repeat and rewind activity for lecture students.

Best of all Sway is free!  For individual users, Sway provides a professional presentation format that is easy to create and share. Use the Sway images or import your own. There are also no limits to the number of Sways a user can create or store.  If you or your institution are also Microsoft 365 subscribers, then Sway’s enhanced features include administrative controls, additional organizational sharing limitations, and the ability to connect to or use content from OneDrive.

Additionally, Sway allows students full accessibility to this technology tool, as it works on all platforms and devices.  All you need to do is share the Sway link, embed the link on your website or LMS, or you can distribute your Sway through social media (Facebook or Twitter).

Concerned about privacy?  Sway has an array of privacy options, from private (only you can view), to public (where everyone can view).  For more controlled viewing, you can share a link with students and revoke viewing privileges at any time.  If you use Sway through your institution’s Microsoft Office 365, then you can also limit viewing to only members of your organization.

Make Sway more interactive by adding assessments.  Simply create a question or quiz by using Microsoft Office Forms and embedding the form link into your Sway.  If you are looking for a great collaborative tool, use Sway to let students work on their presentation in a virtual environment, or add Skype to your Sway activity and it becomes even more collaborative.  Sway is also a great tool for students to use for eFolio projects.

Looking ahead to 2018, start out the new year with this free, interactive, collaborative technology tool in your toolbox.  Sway is an easy way to add technology in your course.  For more information on getting started with Sway visit https://sway.com/education/ or https://sway.com/.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

 

 

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Creating Engaging Animated Videos With PowToon

PowToons

Are you looking for a way to create engaging, animated videos that capture your student’s attention?  If so, PowToon may just be the answer!

PowToon is the PowerPoint or Prezi alternative that can make learning fun.  Creating a PowToon is as easy as 1-2-3.  In under 10 minutes, you can select a template, structure your storyboard, create your presentation and publish your PowToon video.  PowToon videos can be stored in your PowToon account or you can also export them to YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia.  Don’t see a PowToon template you like?  No problem! You can also create your own from a blank template.

Whether you want to spice up your course Welcome/Getting Started video, create lesson previews for your flipped classroom or recap a topic, PowToon is a fun and easy way to deliver the message.  You can also share this useful technology tool with your students who may want a creative project presentation alternative.

PowToon’s are used by many large companies such as Starbucks, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, eBay, and Costco; therefore, introducing your students to PowToon technology adds another industry skill to their resume.

Not only are PowToon’s easy to create, edit and publish, but the PowToon library at https://www.powtoon.com/tutorials/ offers numerous helpful tutorials including a Quick Start Guide.  Best of all PowToon has a basic, free version or you can select one of their low-cost educational plans for more features.   Users who upgrade to the paid version of PowToon receive the added benefit of technical support.

To watch a short video about how you can “Bring Awesomeness to Your Classroom!” or to get started using PowToon today, visit https://www.powtoon.com/edu-home/.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox