Saturday, February 28, 2015

Speech Recognition Add-On for Google Documents

The Speech Recognition Add-on uses your voice to write on a Google document. I see myself professionally using this to quickly jot down notes, compose documents filled with ideas, and much more. For some students this can be a game changer. Think about those students who are hesitant to write a story because of poor handwriting or typing skills. Of course, handwriting and typing still needs to be addressed and learned, but should we stifle a child's voice because they haven't mastered that skill yet. 

Steps to add the Speech Recognition add-on to your Google documents:
  1. Open a document
  2. Click 'Add-ons'
  3. Select 'Get add-ons'
  4. Search for Speech Recognition
  5. Click 'Free'
  6. Follow steps to give permissions


To activate the add-on:
  1. Click 'Add-ons'
  2. Hover over Speech Recognition
  3. Click Start


Your initial time you need to choose your language and country. When ready click start and begin to speak. Say the word period when you want to finish a sentence. Pause to have the sentence transferred to the document. Click stop to pause or when done speaking.

I used the add-on to create the following example. 




This add-on has so many possibilities. 



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Choice Eliminator - Google Form Add-On Every Educator Should Know About

There are so many awesome Google Drive add-ons out there and Choice Eliminator is one of them. This add-on allows you to create a Google Form that takes away choices once they have been selected. The add-on works with multiple choice, choose from a list, and checkbox type questions.

This is a great add-on for parent/teacher conference sign-ups because no longer do you need to ask people's 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice and then figure it out yourself. Once a parent chooses the time slot it disappears from the list so other parents are unable to select that choice.




Here are the basic steps that you need to take to get Choice Eliminator working for you. 


Not familiar with Google Forms? Check out my tutorials and other idea resources here


Favorite Chrome Extensions - Week of February 23rd

Here are my extensions for the week. Check out my Getting Jiggy with Chrome presentation if you want to learn more about this awesome web browser. 

#1: Easy Share
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension allows you to post to Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Linked In, Tumbler, and Pinterest. You do still have to compose separate posts (or you can copy and paste), but I do like that you don't have to go to multiple sites to post the same link. I have tried a couple extensions that allow you to share a link across multiple social networking platforms, but I didn't really care for any of them until I found Easy Share. It is worth a try. 



#2: Turn Off the Lights
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension will block out everything on the YouTube page except for the video. I have known about this extension for quite some time and to be honest I never really liked it. My co-worker, Jennifer, mentioned the extension the other day and I expressed I didn't like it because I didn't feel the opacity of the "dimmed" portion wasn't dark enough. Then I decided to poke around and see if I could change that. I stumbled across a ton of features you can activate with this extension, such as changing the dimmed color, changing the opacity, and automatically making the player part larger. Now I love this extension.




#3: Read & Write for Google
Type: Productivity
Summary: I believe that I have shared this one before, but felt that perhaps I should share again. The premium version is always free for teachers, but limited to a 30 day trial for students. After the trial it goes to the basic features. See list for basic vs premium.


While premium is nice, basic will do. We have teachers in our district who have started putting their common assessments on a Google document, so that the students who need the test read to them can use the text to speech feature. The students put on head phones, turn on the extension and select the portion of the assessment to be read. The teacher no longer has to sit with that student and is now freed up to monitor the rest of the class. 

#4: Move It
Type: Productivity
Summary: Get active with Move It. Great for people who need to have a brain break. Set the time interval and after the designated amount of time a screen will come up give you instructions on a movement to complete. Once complete, click done and get back to work. What about using this in a class to get students up and moving every so often?

      






Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Padlet - Great Tool to Organize Ideas, Resources and More!

Padlet is an online bulletin board that can be used for many different things. Using Padlet you can post text, hyperlinks, upload files from computer or take a picture with your webcam.

Here are some ways Padlet can be used in education:
  • brainstorming ideas
  • sharing resources in different topics
  • discussion board with students
  • bachkchanneling during professional development
  • sharing resources all on the same topic (see example here)
  • post tools you can to learn more about
  • e-portfolio of student work (use webcam to take pictures or hyperlink to Google documents)

There are three ways that the posts can be laid out on the board:
  • Freeform - this allows you to move the posts to the location of your choice. 
  • Stream - this places the posts one on top of another. 
  • Grid - this automatically snaps the posts into grid form. 


Other great features of Padlet:
  • log in using your Google account
  • embed onto a website or blog
  • choose theme or upload image to create custom board
  • make board private, password protected, hidden by link or public
  • moderate posts
  • export board
  • share via link, email or social networking site

There is also a Padlet Chrome Extension that allows you to add the webpage you are on to any of your Padlet boards in one click. Genius!

Want to learn more about Padlet? Check out the Getting Started section. 




Monday, February 16, 2015

Favorite Chrome Extensions for the Week - February 16, 2015

Here are my favorite Chrome extensions for the week. If you are not familiar with Chrome, check out my Getting Jiggy with Chrome presentation.

#1: Ballloon
Type: Productivity (images)
Summary: This extension allows you to quickly save images to Drive, Dropbox and OneNote


#2ImprovedTube
Type: Productivity
SummaryImproves YouTube's functions and site with Limited Permissions. Auto HD, Resize, Annotations, Playback Speed and more.


#3: Tabs Outliner
Type: Productivity
SummaryThis extension allows you to manage your browser all in one place. You are able to see all the tabs you have open in one place, save open tabs and restore them later. This is much like Session Buddy.



#4: Tab Hibernation
Type: Productivity
SummarySends your inactive tabs to sleep to help improve your computers memory.




Sunday, February 8, 2015

Favorite Chrome Extensions - Week of February 9th

This is another one of my weeks with no set theme. I actually like my random extension weeks because it gives you a little bit of everything. 

Yellow highlighter is my personal favorite from the four because I am one of those people who needs to highlight text when reading. Which one do you like the best?

#1: Yellow Highlighter
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension is great for people who like to highlight text while reading. When you activate this extension is allows you to highlight text from articles you are reading online. The highlight article automatically creates a shortened URL so you can save the highlights or share with others. You can even share the highlighted article quickly from the Twitter and Facebook buttons. 




#2: Google Input Tools
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension is so cool. It allows you to quickly switch to typing in another language (90+ to choose from) on a Google document. This is great for students in a foreign language class or teachers who need to compose text in another language. 




#3: Incredible StartPage
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension allows you to customize your start (home) page. You can easily find your bookmarks, create notes, locate closed tabs, see your apps, most frequently visited websites, and more. 




#4: Google+ Button
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension allows you to quickly share a website on Google+. Click on the extension when the website is open and the Google+ post appears.




Want to learn more about Chrome? Check out my other resources here


Monday, February 2, 2015

My Favorite Chrome Extensions - Week of February 2nd

This weeks Chrome extensions are centered around Gmail. Although my district doesn't use Gmail (sad face), I use these extensions with my personal account.

#1: Checker Plus for Gmail
Type: Productivity
SummaryGet desktop notifications, read, listen or delete emails without opening Gmail or Inbox by Gmail & easily manage multiple accounts.




#2: Send from Gmail

Type: Productivity
SummaryMakes Gmail your default email application and provides a button to compose a Gmail message to quickly share a link via email.




#3Right Inbox for Gmail
Type: Productivity
SummarySchedule emails in Gmail to be sent later. Create recurring emails, set reminders and follow up conversations. While there is a free version it does limit you to schedule 10 emails and receive 10 notifications a month. There is a nominal fee for upgrading to unlimited.



#4WiseStamp - Email Signatures for Gmail
Type: Productivity
Summary:WiseStamp enables you to share your social profiles and promote information you care about in every email you send.