Posted in #COL16

Slides Make Awesome GIF’s!

Slides Make Awesome GIF’s!

Have you ever dreamed of having your students create stop motion videos to demonstrate their learning? What if you could also turn those stop motion videos into a GIF?? Thanks to the skills of Jordan Rhea (@RheaJT) and Dee Lanier (@DeeLanier), that dream can come true with!

GIF Example.gif

Step 1: Stop Motion Using Google Slides

Create a Google Slide Presentation where the objects move slowly from slide to slide. The slide presentation could end up containing well-over 100 slides, but the more slides used the smoother the motion looks! For more ideas on how to create stop motion using Google Slides, check out the blog “Stop Motion Animation with Google Slides” by Eric Curts (@ericcurts).

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Step 2: Turn Slides Into Images

After completing the stop motion images on a Google Slide, go to What this link will do is take you to an apps script called “Slides 2 Drive,” which turns each individual slide on a slide presentation into it’s own PNG file.Slides2Drive

Once on the site, click “select a file” it will take you to your google slides (after you approve all the permissions of course). Select the desired slide presentation for the app script to begin working and turning them into images. It will create a Folder in your drive that will store all the newly created images. These images will be labeled by the number to which they are found in the original google slide presentation.



Step 3: Turn Images Into a GIF!!

With the completion of the “slides 2 drive script”, go to On the GifMaker site, click “Upload Images” to find the images created from the google slide.

There are a slew of design options on GifMaker that will be used to create the GIF, including canvas size, animation speed, and loop number.  Next, click “Create GIF Animation” and wait for the site to work its magic! When it is completed, you have a GIF!

Create GIF

Step 4: GIF’s Final Stage

Download GIFAfter the GIF has been created, it will display a preview in the upper right hand corner. Adjustments to the GIF, such as size, speed, and loop, can still be made at this point. When satisfied with the GIF, select “Download the GIF” to use it for desired purpose. These GIF’s can be placed on Class Websites, Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.), Learning Management System Programs (Blackboard, SeeSaw, Canvas, etc.), to name a few!



Through these simple steps, students can become creators to demonstrate mastery of their learning through Stop-Motion-GIFS. Here is to putting more creativity and learning into our students’ hands!

Posted in Uncategorized

All Questions Required – Google Forms Update

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 9.55.23 PMGoogle Forms Update

Google Forms has been an incredible resource for me as a teacher to collect data on student learning and growth through pre-tests, formative assessments, choose-your-own-adventures, exit slips, among others. Despite my love for this tool, one of the more frustrating aspects of Google Forms has been the continual need to click specific options I used on every question. With today’s update to Google Forms, there is one less option I have to click… “All Questions Required!”

How To Access The OptionsPreferences - Google Forms (1)

To access this new option, go to the “3 dots” in the upper right hand side of the Google Form. Then click on “Preferences,” which will present you with three different options: “Collect Email Addresses”, “Make Questions Required”, & “Default Quiz Point Value.” By check-marking those options, the subsequent forms and questions will automatically apply those desired settings.

Default Settings - Google FormsMake Questions Required

When using the “Make Questions Required” option, it will not affect any questions that were created prior to that option being check-marked. Instead, it will make any newly created questions as “Required,” hopefully saving you from one more button to click. If you create a question that is not required, such as “Any questions?”, then simply click on the required option on the specific question and it will not longer be required.


What Updates Could Still Be Helpful?

Have a design options on specific questions, in order to avoid having to make the same adjustment every time. For example, when doing multiple choice questions, one still has to click shuffle option order. Another example is when using the multiple choice grid (Matching), one must click shuffle row order and-limit to one response per column. In the blog (Link: Google Forms – Responses, Flubaroo, and Classroom Part 2), it demonstrates why it is prudent for teachers to put the correct answer in the same option spot (AKA Data Collection), therefore necessitating the shuffle option orders.

So while Google Forms still are not perfect, updates like these demonstrate that those features could be coming soon.

Also check out:

Google Forms – Basic Design Blog

Google Forms – Responses, Flubaroo, and Classroom (Part 2) Blog

Posted in #COL16, #GoogleEI, Uncategorized

Globally Connected Student Activities (#GlobalConnectEDU)

“Wait, a student from Japan commented on my ideas? That is awesome!”

CollaborationWith these words, my American History students were hooked on that week’s activity. We had been reading some primary documents from Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the “New World” and then analyzing it with comments on a shared Google Doc. My goal was for the students to communicate their critical thinking in a collaborative manner, using the concept of the 4 C’s found in 21st Century Learning (Article Link). Yet, as they started collaborating within the class together, I wondered if we could take it to the next level… Global Collaboration! So what I decided to do, without informing my students, was to connect this activity with another history class in Japan. Luckily, my Google Innovator Mentor, (Nathan Gildart – Google+ Link – Twitter @nathangildart), taught history in Japan so it was an easy connection. Through the Columbus activity, my students not only got a greater understanding of who Christopher Columbus was as a person (which dramatically impacted their view of the man), but also better understood how Japanese students interpreted history through their own cultural lens.

“How Do I Start Doing This In My Classroom?”

There are a various ways you could get your students collaborating with students around the world, including: Mystery Skype/Hangouts, MyMap Projects (Global ConnectEDU For Google MyMaps Ideas), Old-School Letter Writing (No tech is just as awesome sometimes), to name a few.

“How Does One Connect With Classrooms Globally”

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With my first globally connected student activity, I was blessed to have an already established connection with an international teacher. So what other ways could you connect with international teachers/classrooms? The easiest way is via social media, such as Twitter, Google+, or Facebook. Those connections can happen through Twitter hashtags, Google+ Communities, or Facebook Groups. Another way I recently learned was for U.S. schools to

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Google+ GEG’s and Communities

contact the “Office of Overseas Schools” through the U.S. Department of State (Website Link). They can get you into contact with other schools, which could provide you with other educators from around the world.

Another great set of resources for connecting with educators is through these websites: Projects By Jen, Classroom Bridges, Global Audience Project

“How Does One Design A Globally Connected Activity?”

When designing, or considering, doing a globally connected activity, it is imperative that you have an understanding of your own curriculum standards. Are there any standards that would easily translate into a global activity? With the Columbus activity mentioned above, I identified two standards that could be collaborative: Analyzing primary documents and Identifying the impact of the European Discovery in the Americas.

Then, start contacting educators from around the world to see who you can connect with on the activity (As detailed above).

Once you have started connecting with international educators, begin brainstorming ideas for the activity, most likely through a shared Google Doc and/or Google

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Nathan Gildart and I Collaborating Via Google Hangouts

Hangout/Skype. Through the brainstorming, the activity will most likely meet everyone’s curriculum needs, and also proactively help identify any possible struggles that could develop.

Tip – If this is your first time participating in a globally connected activity with your students, try focusing on questions or activities that demonstrate the cultural similarities/differences between the various classrooms.

When you are ready to take the globally connected activity to the next level for the students, then it is important for educators to create activities, as identified by Researchers Sears & Reagin (Link to 2013 article), that require relative levels of “complexity of the task” (p. 1170).  Therefore try to design questions that require “higher-order thinking, depth of knowledge (DOK)” and “substantive conversation” according to researcher Beeson et al., (Link to 2014 article, p. 125) when designing collaborative work (meaning DOK Levels 3 & 4).  According to researcher Yi-Jeng Chen, this helps students to “gradually become more collaborative” (Link to 2015 article, p. 166) which allows them to answer increasingly complex questioning.  Not only does this collaborative culture produce greater results of learning from students, it also depends their understanding of the content.

“What Technology Tools Should I Use?”

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 11.34.15 PMReally there are a slew of tools available, but I personally have had success using web based tools such as G Suite (formerly Google Apps). When considering ease of use, and their synchronous (real-time) nature, it is hard to beat Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, etc. Those are great, not only for the planning process, but also for students collaborative work and commenting together from around the world.

Tip: When the Doc (or whatever product you use) is ready to be used collaboratively, share it with the setting “public, anyone with the link can edit” to the other teachers.

Then consider creating videos, or organizing a Hangout/Skype with the students participating in the global activity. If time zones prevent that from effectively happening, consider using YouTube (as private videos that have links shared between classes),

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FlipGrid Example

videos in Google Drive shared with the cooperating teacher, or even better: FlipGrid (recently learned about this tool)! It allows students to do short (no more than 3 minute) videos.  The cool part is it allows students then to ask follow-up questions (via another video) to the other students!

If possible, you could also use social media (depending on grade level and school board policy), such as twitter, to expand the learning outside of the classroom.

“What Are Some Obstacles I Could Face?”

Probably the two biggest obstacles I faced in doing these globally connected activities was the time zone differences and language barriers. Most of the students involved in this collaboration from around the world lived in time zones where it was nearly impossible to work at the same time. Because of that, it was necessary for these activities to have a loose timeline for completion.  After that discovery, I planned Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 11.44.38 PMa more expansive time window for collaboration to ensure quality work could be accomplished from all involved.

To deal with the language barrier, I mostly connected with schools where the students possessed the ability to speak English.  For example, the schools in China, Australia, Japan and Turkey were all American International Schools (or the equivalent), so there were no translation issues.

If you are afraid that the activity will be a bust, whether it be because your students will not be interested or other reasons… Don’t be. Give it a try, and see if it doesn’t provide another cool avenue to help your students to learn.

“What Are Some Benefits Of A Globally Connected Activity?”

How many times in your life have you spoken to individuals from other countries?  In my school district (Ash Grove, Missouri: Small-Rural-Lower-Middle Class-98% Caucasian-95% of the population will never leave the U.S.) it provided a unique involvement that most of my students may never get the chance to experience otherwise. Not only did they learn about the curriculum content I was going to have them learn anyway, they also learned various cultural differences between the different classrooms that participated.

Had I used FlipGrid (which I did not have available at the time), my students could have also seen these students face-face (via video) to interact in a more active-personal way.


Give it a try! If you are fearful, then consider doing a collaborative activity locally, as in within your own state/province/country. Provide students the opportunity to tackle

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21st Century Learning

bigger questions through the collaborative process in order to help them develop those 21st Century Skills.  Also, have your students be reflective in their learning (true whether during a globally connected activity, or any other learning opportunity). Research has consistently demonstrated the power of reflection in helping learners master content.

Finally, plan future collaborative opportunities! As mentioned earlier, the more collaborative activities students participate in, the more effective they become at mastering complex problems!

My questions for you:

How are you going to challenge your classroom (and yourself) to learn globally in the school year?

What steps should you take today to get a globally connected activity started/designed

What other ideas/steps have you taken to do things like this in the past?


Global ConnectEDU Website

Nathan Gildart – Google+ Link – Twitter @nathangildart

4C’s of 21st Century Learning – Article Link

Projects By Jen

Classroom Bridges

Global Audience Project

“Office of Overseas” Website Link

Sears & Reagin Research – Article Link 2013

Chen Research – Article Link 2015

Beeson Research – Article Link 2014

Google DocsSheets, Slides, DrawingsHangout, YouTube