20 Minutes of Awesome (MACUL 2016)

Presentation Resources from the ViewSonic Booth


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Presentations on Thursday, March 10, 2016

(click presentation for resources)

  • 10:00-10:20 am — Easy stop-motion animation with Google Slides
  • 10:45-11:05 am — Choose Your Own Adventure stories with Google Slides
  • 11:30-11:50 am — 5 Google Classroom tricks you’ll want to know
  • 12:15-12:35 pm — Digital interactive posters with Google Drawings
  • 3:00-3:20 pm — Finding free images your students can use
  • 3:40-4:00 pm — Go there virtually with Google Maps Street View

Easy stop-motion animation with Google Slides

Your students can create animations like the one below using Google Slides:

How to do it:

1. Create a new Google Slides presentation. (This can be done using PowerPoint or Keynote as well.)

2. Design the first scene of the animation on the first slide.

3. When it’s done, right-click (Windows)/two-finger click (Chromebook)/Ctrl+click (Mac) the slide thumbnail on the left and choose “Duplicate slide.”

4. Move only the parts of the scene that you want to move/animate.

5. Duplicate the slide again, and move parts of it again.

6. Continue that until your animation is complete. (If you want the whole scene to change, just insert a new blank slide instead of duplicating and design the new scene.)

7. When you’re totally done, click the “Present” button in the top right.

8. Advance through the slides quickly (push the spacebar or down button quickly).

  • Tip: If you want to go even faster, push the down button and the right button quickly at the same time.

BONUS: Turn your animation into a video! Use a screencasting tool like the ones listed below to record a presentation. (Screencasts record video of what’s happening on your screen.) Show it to others or upload it to a video sharing site like YouTube, Vimeo, TeacherTube, SchoolTube or others.


  • Summarize important scenes/parts of a story, novel or other literature.
  • Show an important happening in history or in current events and how it happened.
  • Demonstrate how to solve a math problem.
  • Show how processes in science take place.
  • Tell a story using the animation to illustrate (with subtitles).


Choose Your Own Adventure stories with Google Slides

Create stories (or activities) with multiple endings, just like the Choose Your Own Adventure story books!

How to do it:

CYOA  (1)1. Chart out your story …

  • What will be the first part of the story that everyone will read?
  • What will be the reader’s options from that first part?
  • For each option the reader takes, what will be the next part they read? And their next options?

The best way to do this is to storyboard it / chart it out using some form of a flowchart. See the chart at the right for an example.

2. Create each slide you’ll need for your Choose Your Own Adventure story.

  • Each rectangle in the chart at the right represents a slide.
  • When you create each slide, make some text or a shape or a picture for each of the reader’s options. The reader can click that text/shape/picture to go to the appropriate slide.

3. Link the slides together.

  • On the first slide, highlight the text the reader will click to go to the next slide (or click on the shape or picture they’ll click).
  • Click the link button at the top.
  • Instead of typing a URL, click the “Slides in this presentation” button.
  • Choose the slide where you want to take the reader next.
  • Do this for all of the links the reader can click on in this slide.
  • Repeat for all of the slides where the reader has options. (The final slides for each of the story options won’t have links on them … unless you want to provide a link back to the beginning so they can start over.)


  • Creating stories.
  • Practicing class content in a story format.


5 Google Classroom tricks you’ll want to know

classroom comments infographic

1. Use the right kind of comment. As you can see in the infographic at right, there are three places to add comments in Google Classroom. Each has its strengths and best uses. Using the right one can mean that your feedback is more useful and easier to find for students.

2. Use the class photo as a bulletin board. The ability to change the class header photo in Google Classroom is not that new. But this may be a new way to use it! Use a tool like Google Drawings to create an image the size of your class header photo. Type reminders and important information on it. Save it as an image file (probably a JPEG or PNG … try 1500 x 400 pixels under File > Page setup > Custom …) and upload it as your class header photo. It will provide timely reminders to students whenever they access Google Classroom. Change it regularly to keep information updated and interest high!

3. Don’t overload the About tab – Only add the most important, year-round links to your About tab. If you overload it with too much content, it will become difficult to find anything there!

4. See the student side – To see what the students are seeing, ask a colleague to invite you to one of his/her classes. That way, you’ll be a student in that class and you’ll see what Classroom looks like as a student.

5. Create new assignments from templates. Do you find yourself posting the same kinds of assignments or announcements in Classroom? If so, the new “reuse assignment” feature can help. Create a template that models the kind of assignment, announcement or question that you commonly use. (Maybe create a brand new class called “Templates” as a place to house it.) Then, when you need it, use the “reuse assignment” feature, find that template and change it as necessary before posting it. Save time and effort!



Digital interactive posters with Google Drawings

Create impressive digital posters with Google Drawings. No glue sticks, scissors or magazines necessary!

Chromebooks in the classroom (Ditch That Textbook)

Students can create interactive digital posters like this in Google Drawings. Click the image to go to the Google Drawings file, where you can look closer or make a copy of it to your own Google Drive.

1. Title/headline: Use a text box at the top. Note that there are TONS of fun and eye-catching fonts you can use in Google. Just click on the font drop-down menu and select “More fonts” at the bottom.

2. Images: Don’t run to Google Images and do any old image search! Many of those images are copyright protected, and letting students do that isn’t encouraging them to be good digital citizens. Instead, within Google Drawings, go to “Insert > Image” or click the image button in the toolbar. Then select the “Search” tab at the top. This will search for Creative Commons-licenses images, which students can use and publish. (For more on that, see my post “How to get and use free images the RIGHT way in class“.)

3. Shapes: What fun is it to add a square or a circle to a Google Drawing? When you use it to organize content, of course! I like to put rectangles (my favorites are the ones with rounded edges) behind content to group it together visually. There are lots and lots of different useful shapes, including arrows for organization and flow charts AND starbursts to call attention to a word or phrase.

add link4. Links: Here’s what makes these posters interactive! You can’t click old static posters on poster board. (Not sure that you’ve ever tried to, though …) Digital posters on Google Drawings are clickable.This allows students to extend the learning to webpages, videos and other content out on the Internet. It makes the project bigger than the project by itself!

Highlight some text or click on an image. Then use the link button in the toolbar or click “Insert > Link …”. (Pro tip: Use Ctrl+K / Command+K to avoid clicking. It’s one of my favorite keyboard shortcuts.) The beauty of adding links like this through Google Apps is that you can search for a site without leaving the page … the search bar is built right in! Brilliant!

(Note: For those viewing these digital posters to be able to click on links, they must go to the actual Google Drawing itself. You can’t save it as an image or embed it (as you’ll see next) and click on images.)


Finding free images your students can use

A standard Google Images search returns lots of copyright-protected images. You and your students can get in big trouble using those images. Help students learn where to look for images they have the right to use and how to attribute them correctly.

Creative Commons Search (search.creativecommons.org) – This site gives easy access to several search engines that make Creative Commons works accessible. It’s a portal to finding Creative Commons images, video, music and other media. Its image search relies heavily on Google Images searches (set to search only Creative Commons images) or Flickr searches. I won’t include Google Images or Flickr below because I always use the Creative Commons Search when I want to access them because it’s quick and easy. (Note: Flickr is blocked by some school Internet filters, but Google Images generally is not.)

8007015362Photos For Class (photosforclass.com) –Giving accurate attribution can to Creative Commons content can be a struggle (something I’ll get to momentarily). One way to be sure you’re fairly giving credit to the author of Creative Commons images is to use Photos For Class. This site finds images fromFlickr’s hundreds of thousands of Creative Commons images and automatically embeds the attribution information (i.e. author, website where it was found, link, license, etc.). The photo to the left is an example from Photos For Class. This way, even very young students can use Creative Commons images in a responsible way.

cc search gifGoogle Apps (drive.google.com) – Google gives users quick access to add a Creative Commons image to a document, slide presentation or drawing in Google Apps. Insert an image (Use “Insert > Image …” from the menu or the image icon). Then select “Search” from the tabs at the top. This search’s default setting is “labeled for commercial reuse with modification” (one of the license types we’ll see in a moment). These images insert directly into your Google file without having to leave to go to another website. (See animated GIF at right to watch it in action.)

PhotoPin (photopin.com) PhotoPin was built to give bloggers access to quality Creative Commons photos, but it can be used by anyone. It does access images through Flickr, so, again, if your school’s Internet filter blocks Flickr, this one may not work.

EveryStockPhoto (everystockphoto.com) – This site pulls photos from a variety of Creative Commons sources.

Creative Commons images aren’t the only ones students can use in their work. Photos labeled“public domain” have even fewer restrictions. The intellectual property rights for these images, according to Wikipedia, “have expired, been forfeited or are inapplicable.” Public domain photos can be inserted into any work without need for any attribution. Some sources of public domain images:

Pixabay (pixabay.com) – This site contains a variety of types of images, ranging from clip art to original photos, that are labeled “public domain.”

Wikimedia Commons (commons.wikimedia.org) – Wikimedia Commons’s well-known cousin, Wikipedia, is a free, open-source encyclopedia of sorts. Wikimedia Commons does the same for different types of media. All of Wikimedia Commons’s media is free to use under Creative Commons licenses or public domain, depending on the image.

Compfight (compfight.com) – Compfight says on its site that it is “an image search engine tailored to efficiently locate images for blogs, comps, inspiration, and research.” It searches images on Flickr and displays licensing information so you can use the images appropriately.


Go there virtually with Google Maps Street View

Maps and mapping tools can reach so many content areas and grade levels:

  • Distances and scale in math
  • Geography in social studies
  • Locations of settings of literature in English
  • Physical science (environment, weather, etc.)
  • Culture in world languages

These mapping tools can take students places the bus can’t:

Take your students on the streets almost anywhere in the world with Google Maps Street View. Drag the little yellow man onto the image to explore (see above). (Screenshot taken at maps.google.com)

1. Google Maps Street ViewStreet View makes it possible to drop your classroom virtually onto almost any street in the world and walk around. It uses panoramic imagesthat let you turn around, zoom in and walk down roads to check out the scenery. Just grab the little yellow “peg man” and drop him where you’d like to go. (See animation at right.) For practice, try dropping yourself at your doorstep of your school if you’ve never used it before.

2. Street View Treks Once you’ve seen your school from the curb on Google Maps Street View, take it to the next level with Street View Treks. These custom-produced exploration experiences are awesome for students. They provide information about the location and videos that pair nicely with the panoramic views. Locations include Nepal, Gombe National Park, the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Barrier Reef (a Street View Trek underwater!) and more.

3. Walking tour screencasts – An extension to Street View and Treks is to let students take you on a walking tour of someplace in the world. They do some research and collect some facts about the location first. Then they load up the location using Street View or Treks. They start recording a screencast video (a video of what’s happening on their screen with their microphone recording their voices). Some free screencasting tools: Snagit for Google Chrome (my favorite),Screencast-O-Matic and Screenr (there are others). Students narrate the tour as they “walk” the streets using Street View or Treks.

4. Google Cultural Institute These virtual tours don’t have to be confined to what you can see from the street. Google Cultural Institute gives you access to top-notch art collections from around the world (Art Project) and modern/ancient world heritage sites (World Wonders). Witness significant moments in history with Historic Moments, giving students a version of a field trip to the past.

5. Geoguessr This game is like asurprise virtual field trip every time you play. Geoguessr uses Google Maps Street View and places participants in a random location somewhere in the world. By panning around, zooming or “walking” down the street, participants place a pin on a map to guess where they are. The closer they guess, the more points they win. It’s great for critical thinking and using context clues.

6. Smarty Pins Smarty Pins is like Geoguessr’s cousin. Granted, it’s a little less like a virtual field trip, but it does use geography-based questions to play. Participants answer questions bydropping a pin where they think the answer is.