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7 Google Drive Tips & Tricks You’re Probably Not Using

  1. Use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in Google Drive: OCR is a tool which can be used to convert text contained within various media platforms to text that can be edited in Google Docs.

    With a PDF document, this can be simply done by right-clicking a PDF contained in your drive, and selecting ‘Open with – Google Docs’. This will automatically copy the document into Google Docs where you can edit it however you like. For editing a PDF that was created using a photocopy, this same process applies (although it may not be quite as precise depending on quality).

    If you have an image of text taken with a camera that you’d like to convert into a Google Doc, you can do this exact same process. The OCR tool will recognize the text of an image contained in your Drive and convert it into a form which you can then edit in Google Docs. As with PDF’s created using a photocopy, the quality of this method will vary depending on the quality of the original image.




  2. Searching images in Google Drive: You can easily search any document, picture, or related file within your Drive by typing specific keywords into the search bar. The search can be of keywords which are actually contained within a file (titles, etc.), or actual visual descriptions of what is contained in the file. For example, if you need to recall an image of a car from your Drive, simply type in ‘car’, and Google Drive’s recognition technology will find and display the image for you. This will work for almost any general searches.
  3. Scan using the Google Drive App: With this feature, you can use the Google Drive app on your smartphone to scan and upload any physical text document to your Google Drive. To do this, tap the ‘+’ icon in the bottom left corner of your Drive application, and select ‘scan’. This will open your device’s camera which you can then use to scan a piece of paper, book, or other physical text document to be converted into a PDF, and uploaded to your Google Drive. It will be saved there where you can recall or edit the PDF at a later time. Google’s OCR capabilities are a great way to best utilize your PDF documents.
     
  4. Sending a PDF link (replace ending with ‘ export?format=pdf ’): If you’d prefer to send someone a PDF link instead of sharing a document with them for any particular reason, right-click on a document in your drive and select ‘share’ as you would usually share a document. Instead of adding Email addresses or names from your contact list into the section that’s displayed, go above and click on “get shareable link”, then click on ‘copy link’ where the bar comes down. This will copy the link to your document and allow you to paste it wherever you like. Before sharing this link however, you’ll have to make a slight alteration to the ending, so that the recipient is able to download it as a PDF. Where it ends ‘ edit?usp=sharing ’, you’ll have to delete this and replace it with ‘ export?format=pdf ’ which is listed above. This makes it so that the document is automatically downloaded as a PDF when the link is pasted into a search bar.
  5. Creating a new instance of a folder or file in Google Drive (shift + z):
    By creating a new instance of a file or folder in Drive, you can have the exact same item in two or more locations. While making a copy of a file creates an entirely separate and new version of the file, creating a new instance allows you to edit the exact same file from multiple locations.
    If you’d like to be able to edit a document from two or more separate folders, simply press ‘shift + z’ over the selected document and you’ll be asked where you’d like to send a new instance to. You’ll then be able to access and edit the exact same file from wherever else you like within your Google Drive. This can be done with any kind of file or folder. Keep in mind that if a file is deleted from anywhere in your drive, matching instances of that folder will also be deleted.
  6. Restrict file and folder access in Google Drive: To restrict certain actions from being performed on files or folders that you’ve shared with others, you can easily change the access and editing settings. To do this, simply right click on the file you’d like to restrict and select ‘Share’ as you usually would. Then go to the bottom right of the resulting tab and click ‘Advanced’. At the very bottom of this next tab, there will be two boxes which you can click in order to either prevent the changing of access by other users, or disable options to download, copy, print, etc..



  7. Setting expiration dates in Google Drive: To set an expiration date for either a file or folder in Google Drive is to restrict access after a specific date. To do this you’ll have first needed to share the file or folder with one or more other users of Google Drive. In order to set an expiration date, you’ll need to go into the advanced share settings of a file or folder. Here you’ll see a list of users whom you’ve shared the file/folder with. In line with their name and Email you’ll see a clock icon displayed; upon clicking this icon you’ll be able to set a date on which the user will no longer have access to the file or folder.

The New Google Forms – Detailed Tutorial

Google Forms is an online form builder that lets you create versatile questionnaires, quizzes, and forms quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create a custom Google Form from scratch
  • How to preview and test your forms
  • How to add images or videos to your forms
  • How to view and use the responses to your forms

Opening a new form

First, go into your Google Drive and click on the red “New” button at the top-left of the window, then click “More”, and then click on “Google Forms”. This will open a window with a new Google Form labeled “Untitled Form” at the top.

Click New in the top left corner, then More, then Google Forms

There’s another way you can open a new Google Form that may feel more comfortable or convenient. Go to your Google Drive Window, then click on the square icon in the top right corner that is made out of small black squares. Clicking on this icon will open a list of Google apps.

Click square icon at the top left side of the Drive screen to pull up the Apps menu, or click more to find Forms

You should see a purple icon named “Forms.” If the icon doesn’t show up at first, scroll down and click on “More” at the bottom of the apps list.

When you find the purple “Forms” icon, click on it and you will get a message that says “Do you want to add this as a shortcut?” Select “Yes” to add the Forms icon on your main apps window, so it will be easy to find next time. You can also click, hold, and drag to arrange each icon in the shortcuts menu and place them in the order you like.

When you enter Google Forms from the app shortcut panel, it will take you to the “Template” section of Forms and you should see a template named “Blank” on the right side of the Template window. Click on the “Blank” template, and you will now have a new form just like the one you got in the first example where you clicked “New”, then “More”, then “Google Forms”.

When you click the purple Forms icon it will open the Forms Template window, select Blank form

Give your form a name by clicking “Untitled Form” in the top left corner and adding your title. I always do this right away to help keep track of it.

Click on the top left of the form to write a new name for the form, then hit Enter to save

Customizing Your Form

If you don’t like the default colors on your form’s header bar and background, go up to the top-right of your screen and click on the palette icon. This lets you change the color scheme of your Form. You can also click on the icon in the bottom right corner of the color options and select from a list of photos and designs, including some animated options. These look nicer than plain colors and work great if you’re using Forms to make a birthday party invitation or a brunch menu.

Click the palette icon at top of page to open a color selector or click bottom right of color selector to open a menu of images

You can also upload your own photos to make each form a unique work of art. Click on the “Upload Photo” at the bottom of the images menu, then follow the instructions for uploading. Your photo needs to be at least 800 pixels wide to fit into the header bar on the form, and after you load the image you’ll see a crop window to choose what part of the image you want to show.

Click Upload Photo and follow prompts to add your own images

Creating Questions

The form starts with a default multiple choice question that you can easily delete or edit. Click on the trash can icon at the bottom of the question to get rid of it.

The title of your form will be the same as the file title you entered in the top-left corner earlier, but you can change it and add a description to explain what your form is about.

Type a preferred title or name at the top of the form

Now it’s time to add some questions. On the right side of your form you’ll see a vertical toolbar. At the top of the toolbar is a “+” inside a circle. Click on it and a new question will appear on your form. This question will automatically be multiple choice, but you can change that by clicking the dropdown titled “Multiple Choice” and choosing a different style of question.

Click on the plus sign to add a question to your Google Form and click “Multiple choice” to open a menu of answer format options

I usually start a quiz or questionnaire with getting a student’s name, so I’ll choose “Short Answer” as the first question format. This lets people type words or symbols instead of just clicking a checkbox. Type in your question in the “Question” blank, and choose required at the bottom right of the question if you want to force someone to answer that question to complete the form.

Click Required to make filling out a question or line mandatory in google forms

You can add the next question by clicking on the “+” icon on the right again. Type your question, choose the type of question, and set it as “Required” if you want to make an answer mandatory.

You can add several different kinds of questions to your form. To add a multiple choice question, click on the “+” again leave it as a multiple choice question. In this example I’ve asked “What is the largest planet?” and I can add the answer choices by first filling in “Option 1” and then clicking “Add option” below that and filling it in. You can choose “Add other” if you want to allow the option for someone to write in their own answer.

Click Option 1 to type in an answer, Add option to add another option

Previewing a Form

You can preview your form any time by clicking the little eye icon at the top of the screen. That will open a new window that shows you how the form will look, complete with the color scheme and question formatting that you chose.

Click Preview icon at top of page to view the form as you edit

The Preview page works exactly like the form will work when you send it out, so if you just click “Submit” at the bottom you’ll see that any of the questions you marked as “Required” will show an error in red. I usually don’t set questions as required until the last step of making my form, because I like to test how the answers will look in Preview mode as I’m building the form.

Required sections are highlighted in red if the answer is not filled out before submitting

Adding a Section

Now let’s say you have a list of 20 or 30 questions but you don’t want to force people to scroll and scroll forever to get to the end, because not only can that be annoying but it can look somewhat unprofessional in some situations. To fix this, you can add a Section by clicking on the bottom icon in your vertical toolbar. This will bring up a new Section titled “Section 2 of 2”, and now your survey, test, or invitation is broken up into smaller sections or pages that are easier to handle and appear more organized to the reader.

Click the bottom icon in the vertical toolbar to add a new section

Now you can give the new section a name, we’re choosing “Earth” in the video example, and then continue adding and writing questions. Preview your form again and you’ll see that the form now has a “Next” button at the bottom, which indicates that there’s another section coming up, but since you marked some of the lines as “Required”, people will still need to fill out all of the information before they can move on to the next page.

If you want to turn off the “Required” setting all you need to do is go back to your form, click on the question or line, and click on the little dot next to “Required” to switch it off. Now you will have an easier time previewing all of your pages or sections as you work.

If you decide that you want people to fill in an email first on the form instead of their name, you don’t have to delete the lines and start over, just move your mouse to the top of the question area until you see it turn into a little “Move” icon. Then you can click and drag each question into whatever order you like.

Click and hold at the top of each question to reposition question on the form

Also, If you decide to delete a section entirely you can click on the tiny row of dots in the top corner of that section, and that will show you a small menu of options. Click “Delete” and it’s gone.

To delete a question, click row of dots at top right of screen to open tools menu, then click Delete

Now let’s try another type of answer formatting. Click on the plus sign to add another question, then click on “Multiple choice” to open the answer options menu, and choose “Checkboxes.”

This option might be handy if you’re creating a survey, or maybe planning a party and asking friends about menu preferences or specific days that work for their schedules.

You can also create “Dropdown” questions that open a dropdown menu with the answer options you enter.

Select the Dropdown answer option and Preview to see dropdown menu next to the question

Other answer format options include:

  • Linear Scale: this gives people a scale where they can choose from one to five, or from one to ten, which can be handy if you need people to rate a service or to tell you how much they enjoy a particular flavor of beverage.
  • Multiple Choice grid: this option allows you to build rows and columns with multiple answer choices.
  • Paragraph: this option creates lines where people can type or write their answers out. You might want an essay-style answer, or you could possibly use this option at the end of your form if you plan to ask people if they have additional thoughts, opinions, or answers they’d like to share.

other format options

Adding Images and Videos

First, you can add a new title to your form by clicking on the “TT” icon in your vertical toolbar. This doesn’t create a new section, it merely lets you add a new title in case you want to add more information as people progress through the form, or use it to introduce an image or a video that’s coming up next.

add a title to your form

To insert an image into your form, click the center icon on your vertical toolbar. It looks like a small landscape image. This will open a window where you can use keywords to find specific subjects. You can also upload your own images from your personal albums or your Drive, or enter a URL to insert an image from a website or page. Once you select the image you want you’ll see it appear on your form. If the image is too large, you can resize it by clicking and dragging the corner.

Add an image to the form and click on the corner of the image to resize

You can also center or align the image by clicking the alignment icons below the image, and add a title at the top of the image if you like. Remember that you can click on the “Preview” icon at the top of the screen as many times as you want to make sure you like how the form looks.

To add a video to your form, click the “Video” arrow icon on your vertical toolbar and it’ll bring up a window where you can search YouTube using keywords, or enter a URL if you have a specific website or page in mind. You can resize videos just like images, and add a title at the top if you like.

Click Video icon in vertical toolbar to open a YouTube search window

 

Settings

At the top of your forms widow you’ll see a small gear icon. This takes you to “Settings” and gives you even more options for customizing your form. For example, the “Shuffle questions order” option will show each person a different version of the form with the questions in a different order on each copy of the form. This could be really helpful if you want to make it harder for students to share answers during tests. However, if you have images or videos that are related to a specific question then this option will mess up the order, so use your best judgement when using the “Shuffle” option.

Click gear icon in top right corner to open the Settings menu

Other tools in the Settings menu include a progress bar that you can activate to let people see how far along in the test or survey they are, and an option to limit who can access and fill out the form. You may want to make it available only to students at your school, or only close friends and family. You also have an additional Actions menu in the top right corner of your screen.

This menu has options for copying and printing your form, or you can let other people help create and edit the form by clicking “Add collaborators” to make it a group project. You can also choose “Add-ons” from the Actions menu, which opens a new window where you can select from a wide range of apps and extras to enhance your forms.

Click row of dots in top right corner of the screen to open Actions menu

 

Additional question modifications

If you click on one of your questions and then click the row of dots in the bottom right corner you’ll see two more options for customizing your questions: “Hint text”, which lets people ask for a hint to the answer or can provide some extra clarification to the question, and “Data Validation”, which makes people answer questions the way you want them to. For example, if you ask people to enter their name and instead they try to enter an email address, they will get a notification that their answer is not correct.

Click dots in bottom corner of question field to see additional options

 

Responses

Once you’ve got your questions and answers formatted and you think your form is ready to go, click Preview one more time and then try filling out all of the lines and questions you just created, as if you were someone taking a test or survey. Once you get to the end, click “Submit” on the Preview form. Now go back to your working form that you’ve been editing. At the top of the form you will now see a number next to “Responses”. This tells you that someone has successfully filled out your form. If you click on “Responses” you’ll get a new window where you can see all of the answers that have been submitted and choose to see either individual responses from each person, or a summary of all of the submitted answers in the form of a pie chart.

Fill out form in Preview view, then click Responses on working copy to see the response data

If you need or want to have the response data on a spreadsheet you can click on the small green icon at the top of the Responses window. This will allow you to either create a new spreadsheet or import the data to an existing spreadsheet.

click green icon to open a spreadsheet creation menu

You can also open a menu in the top right corner of the Responses window that gives you more options such as “Download responses,” “Delete responses,” or “Get email notifications” so you can see when new responses are submitted. Now you can see how easy it is to get instant data and evaluate the responses, whether your form is a school test, a product survey, or an opinion poll on the best day to throw a surprise party!

click three dots in responses to see more options for your Google Form

If you want to start a new form, but perhaps aren’t quite done editing the first one, you can click the back arrow at the top left of your Forms screen and that will take you back to the Forms Templates page, and your current form will already be saved under “Recent forms.”

Click back arrow at top left of Form screen to return to Templates menu

Thank for reading! You’re now ready to create a brand new test, survey, menu, invitation, or any number of other kinds of forms, and if you ever run into trouble you can open the Actions menu on your Forms page and click on “Help Center” to get assistance.

Now check out the Self-grading Quizzes with Google Forms plus Google Classroom to get the ultimate automated quiz setup for your class!

How to make a YouTube Channel

How To Make a YouTube Channel and Screen Recording

Making a YouTube channel gives you a powerful platform to upload and share knowledge. You can also use YouTube to record your screen for free. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to make a YouTube channel
  • How to customize your YouTube channel
  • How to optimize your channel for search
  • How to record your screen for tutorials or classes for free with YouTube

Start your YouTube channel by signing into your Google account or creating an account here: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp

Once you’ve confirmed everything and logged in, you’ll see the account screen, as shown below. Click the grid of small squares in the top-right corner and this will open the app launcher. Then click YouTube from the selection of Google Apps.

01 Google account page and click grid squares at top right

Make sure you’re logged in to the correct Google account by checking the icon in the top-right corner. If you have multiple Google accounts, YouTube may default to a different account than the one you want for your new YouTube channel. Once you’ve confirmed you’re on the right account, click “Creator Studio” below the account name.

02 check the top right account icon in YouTube, click creator studio

If you’ve never created a YouTube channel with this account, you should be taken to a mostly empty page that says “You must create a channel to upload videos.” Click “Create a channel.” Then you will be prompted to enter the name you would like to use for your channel. Think about this carefully, because there are limits on how many changes you can make to your channel name within a certain period of time. Once you’ve decided on a workable name, click “Create channel.”

This will open your YouTube channel video manager, which of course won’t have any videos in it yet. At the top of the left-side navigation you’ll see “Dashboard.” The dashboard shows you a snapshot of what is happening in your YouTube channel, including some analytics. I’ll go more in detail on more analytics tools later in this article. For now, click on “VIEW CHANNEL” below your name near the top of the page.

03 dashboard and view channel from video manager

At the start, every YouTube channel looks boring, so it’s best to add a channel icon and a background image. If you don’t already have graphics for these, Canva is a great, free tool you can use to create custom graphics that are already the right size to work with your YouTube channel. You can see how to do that here.

When you click the small pencil on your channel icon you’ll receive a notice that it may take a few minutes or longer for your changes to take effect. Click “Edit” and you will be taken to your Google profile page where you can upload a channel icon, which is the same as your Google profile image. This is the place you can also use to change your channel name if necessary. Once you’ve added a photo to your Google profile image/YouTube channel icon, close the tab and you should see your YouTube channel again.

Click on the blue button in the top middle of the screen that reads “Add channel art.” Here you can upload a photo you have saved on your computer, use a photo that’s previously been uploaded to your Google account, or select from stock images in the gallery. If you’re uploading your own image, make sure it is at least 2048 by 1152 pixels. The optimal size image for YouTube channel art is 2560 by 1440 pixels.

04 click the pencil to edit your YouTube channel icon, view channel and customize photo and background image

Channel art shows differently across devices, and once you’ve chosen an image, you will see how it will be displayed on a desktop, TV, and mobile device. Click “Adjust the crop” in the bottom left corner to make changes to your image if needed to make it appear better across devices.

adjust the crop of YouTube channel art

If you’re making a custom graphic, you should experiment with the custom crop tool first and understand that only the middle strip will be shown on computers and mobile devices, so that is where you want any text or highlights to be shown.

YouTube image crop only shows the middle

Now, click “Video Manager” just above and to the left of your channel art. It is very easy to upload videos from here. You simply click the up arrow in the top-right corner and then click the large arrow in the middle of the screen you are taken to. From a dropdown menu below the large arrow on the Upload Screen, you can choose whether you want your video to be public, private, or unlisted. You can change this setting later if you like. If you set the video as public, anyone can view it. If unlisted, someone needs your link to view the video, and private means only you can view your video. You can either drag and drop video files into the big arrow, or you can click the big arrow and upload files from your computer.

YouTube upload button

While your video is uploading and processing, you can add details about the video like the title, description, and tags. You want to make especially sure that your title matches what you expect people to be searching for. For example, if you’re making a tutorial on baking a cake, you should title it “Tutorial for Cake Baking” or “How To Bake a Cake.” Write a lot of information in the description and make sure to use the keywords that you want to be found with. Add links in your description for your social media, website, and anywhere else you want viewers to go. Tags are also important to being found. You can enter up to 500 characters in the tags box, so make them count. Enter tags separated by a comma, and get as detailed as possible with as many tag combinations as you can come up with. I use a tool called TubeBuddy to help find tags that are relevant and see how well I’m ranking for tags I’m using. From the Upload Screen, you can also set it as Public, Private, or Unlisted. I usually start with my videos as Private from the upload, and make them Public once I’ve checked everything and made sure it’s right. You can also add your newly uploaded video to a playlist or multiple playlists directly from the Upload Screen. You can then choose one of the default thumbnails, which is just a screenshot from your video, or you can add a custom thumbnail later, which I’ve explained here. Finally, you can choose to Tweet your video directly from the Upload Screen, and you can then add another video by clicking the “+ Add more videos” button on the bottom right.

add details to your YouTube video and make sure it aligns with what someone is searching for

From the Video Manager, you can always edit any video you have and return to the Upload Screen. Just make sure to save any changes you make by clicking the blue “Save changes” button at the top or bottom of the screen.

It’s a good idea to verify your channel. You can start this process by going to “Channel” in the left-side navigation and selecting “Status and features.” You can view the detailed instructions for verifying your YouTube channel here. If your channel is verified, you can add custom thumbnails to your videos, and you can set up monetization through Adsense, offer paid content, or live stream on YouTube.

YouTube channel verification shows all the things you can do if verified

If you click the gear just below the channel art at the right of your Channel Overview, you can change your Channel Settings. You may want to change the privacy settings of your channel here, otherwise people will be able to see all the videos you have liked on YouTube, as well as your subscriptions and saved playlists. From the Channel Settings screen, you can also allow customization of your channel, which will let you do things like add a trailer and suggest content to your visitors.

Channel settings can let you add customization and control what people see

Channel settings can let you add customization and control what people see

With “Customize the layout of your channel” enabled, you will see a navigation menu at the top of your channel, much like you would see on a typical website.

channel overview with navigation menu

Now, you can access an “About” page for your channel using the navigation menu. Here, you can edit your channel description and add links that will show up overlaid on your channel art. These links can be to your website, landing page, social media, or any other link you want to send people to. You can choose from the dropdown how many of the links you would like to be overlaid on your channel art. If you choose “5,” then the first five links you add will be overlaid on your channel art, as shown below, with the first one being the largest and most prominent.

add links to your YouTube channel from the About page

what YouTube links look like overlaid on channel art

I use playlists with my channel, and I arrange them with a horizontal layout. From the Home section of your channel, click “Add section.” Then you can choose what you want this section to show, such as a playlist or your most popular videos. You can choose whether you want that selection of videos displayed in a horizontal row or vertical row. As you create more videos that match whatever selection you’ve added to a section–such as a specific playlist–they will automatically populate that section.

add sections dropdowns

what sections look like on my YouTube channel page

You can even select what you want new visitors to see on your page versus returning subscribers. You may want to have a channel trailer or short explainer video shown whenever a new visitor sees your page. From your page overview, at the top you can choose to view your channel as yourself, a subscriber, or as a new visitor. This can help you get a feel for how your channel will look depending upon who is visiting it.

new visitor trailer upload area

“It’s important to play with the look of your channel and give it a feel using custom channel art, custom thumbnails, having your picture on the profile–all these things can give it an interesting look to set it apart from other people.”

Your dashboard shows you a snapshot of important information, and you can customize it by dragging sections to where you want them. You can also change the settings for each section, or widget, by clicking the gear icon, and you can add new widgets by clicking the “Add widget” button in the top right corner.

dashboard drag button, gear icon, and add widget

In the Video Manager, we can add and edit videos and create playlists. You can also edit playlists and add a description to each playlist. The descriptions on your playlists are another searchable thing that can help Google find your videos, so it is very important to fill those out using keywords that you think people will search whenever they are looking for your videos. You can also add videos directly into a playlist from the Playlist section of the Video Manager.

playlist section of the video manager

add description to edit playlist or add video to playlist

Livestreaming is very important for YouTube channel growth, and you can create events in the Livestream section on the left-side navigation of your YouTube channel admin page. I have a full video tutorial on how to do that here. We’ll use this to make the screen recording in the last section of this article.

Live Streaming

The Community section shows your messages and comments from viewers. You can directly engage with your audience in this section.

community section

Under the Channel section, you should consider your Upload Defaults. I set my videos to automatically be private when I upload them, so that I can check everything out before the public sees it. I also set my default category to Education, since all my videos involve education in some way. We’ve already discussed why you should verify your channel under the Status and Features area of the Channel section, and I’ll cover the Featured Content, Branding, and additional Advanced options in another article. You won’t need to worry about these when you’re starting your channel, but they can be useful for encouraging action from your audience later on.

upload defaults

YouTube has a powerful and useful Analytics section that gives you insight into what’s working in your videos and channel as a whole.

The Create section has an Audio Library of music that you can use in your videos, just make sure you follow the instructions on certain songs that require attribution. There is also a Video Editor in the Create section that is built right into YouTube. It is not the best, but it can be used to line up video clips with audio backgrounds, apply effects, and create good looking videos. You can see my tutorial on using the YouTube video editor here.

create section with audio library

TubeBuddy is a powerful add on that I use to optimize my channel. It will show what tags I’m ranking for and suggest tags for me. I go back and change my titles, descriptions, and tags from time to time to help them rank better and get more search hits.

TubeBuddy tag ranking area

Once your channel is verified, you can set up monetization and choose the type of ads you want to be shown on each video. If your video is over 10 minutes long, you can choose more types of ads and place ads to show multiple times in each video.

set up ads on YouTube channel

How to use YouTube as a free screen recorder

Screen recording is a powerful teaching tool for showing people how to do something on a computer. Most people don’t realize that you can record your screen quickly, easily, and for free with YouTube. First, click on your account icon in the top-right corner and select “Creator Studio.”

select creator studio

Select “Live Streaming” from the left-side navigation and click on “Events.” Then click “New live event” in the top-right corner.

Livestreaming and events

new live event

For screen recording purposes, it’s best to set your live event to private. Otherwise, people can and probably will see it live. Select “Private” from the dropdown on the right side when you set up your event. Also, make sure that “Type” is set to “Quick (using Google Hangouts on Air)” because Google Hangouts has the screen sharing function we’ll be using. Then click “Go Live Now” at the bottom right to get started.

set your live event to private and type to Quick with Google hangouts on air

When Google Hangouts opens, choose the “Screenshare” icon on the left side. A window will open that lets you choose what you want to screenshare from the open programs on your computer.

Screenshare icon

Once you’ve chosen the program you want to share, go back to Google Hangouts and select “Start broadcast.” This starts the recording of the program you selected to screenshare in the last step. Now, record your screen and voiceover, and when you’re done click “Stop broadcast” on Google Hangouts.

start broadcast from google hangouts

After stopping your broadcast, you can close Google Hangouts and refresh your Video Manager in YouTube. Your video will be automatically uploading, and once it has finished processing, you can download it from YouTube or share it.

Now you’re ready to share videos and record your screen using YouTube!

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How to Create Free Graphic Designs With Canva

How to Create Free Graphic Designs With Canva

Canva is an online graphic design program with free and paid versions that lets you create professional graphics in almost any format quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to start from scratch with a blank graphic
  • How to quickly create graphics from one of Canva’s templates
  • How to enhance and alter images in Canva
  • How to share your images right from the source

Visit Canva.com and sign up with email, Facebook, or Google. The first screen you see will be the storage space for any designs you’ve worked on and saved, and it will show templates you can use to get started. If you don’t want to use a template, then click “Use custom dimensions” in the top right corner. Enter your desired dimensions in pixels, millimeters, or inches, and then you get a blank design to work with.

opening Canva screen and templates

I like working with the templates, because there’s already so many to choose from and they are labeled with a recommended potential use such as “Facebook ad” or “eBook cover.” They even have templates for modern and professional-looking resumés, certificates, infographics, and more. I create my YouTube thumbnails and channel art directly from Canva templates–it’s easy and looks great!

In this example, we’ll create a book cover. Once you know how to bring in pictures and change fonts, you’ll realize just how easy it is to make professional graphics with Canva. Some of the templates are paid, but I tend to get by just fine with the free ones. Once you select the template, in this case a book cover, you can click on the text to change it. You can select different fonts and change the size and color of the text.

choosing fonts and templates in Canva

You can also delete whole text boxes from the text toolbar, or choose from a selection of other options to alter transparency, style, alignment and more using the dropdown arrow on the right side of the toolbar. This dropdown menu also lets you move the layer of text forward or backward to organize overlapping layers.

completely customize text for your graphic design

You can also easily copy a whole page by clicking the two overlapping squares outside the right side of your graphic. You can use this to work on two graphics at the same time with minor adjustments between them for testing what looks best.

copy to work on duplicate versions of a project

It’s really easy to work with text in Canva. You can click the Text section on the left-hand menu and choose to add header, subheader, or body text. Or, you can choose from a selection of text designs complete with stylized fonts that look good together and even complementing borders and background shapes.

premade text layers

You can also add elements from the left-hand menu. These include icons, shapes, charts, grids, and photos. The elements menu also holds over 1,000,000 illustrations of everything from hot dogs to rocket ships, and you can search the descriptions to find the illustration you want.  Elements include free and paid selections, but once you add any of them you can change the size, color, and opacity to make it work for your design. You can also move, resize, and rotate any layer using typical click and drag points on the frame of each layer.

elements in Canva

You can totally edit illustrations

If you double click on the background, you can see the whole background image, which is often larger than the design itself. You can that image around. When you’ve selected the background image, an image editing toolbar will appear below the image. You can use this to add a filter to the image and adjust how intensely you want that filter to enhance and alter it. You can also choose “Advanced options” and edit the levels of saturation, contrast, vignette, and more on the image. You can also crop images from this menu.

complete image enhancement and editing

If you want to change the image on a template completely, just delete it and select Uploads on the left-hand menu. From here you can upload an image that is stored on your computer, or choose an image you’ve uploaded to Canva previously. You can also connect to your Facebook account and add images directly from Facebook. Another option is to navigate to the Elements section and choose from over 1,000,000 free and paid photos that are supplied by Canva. Just choose the one you want and drag it into your creation. With all images, you can edit the image levels like contrast, tint, and blurriness from right inside Canva, or you can add a filter.

upload photos to Canva

Once you like what you have, you can share it immediately–directly from Canva. You can Tweet your image, post it to Facebook, email it, or copy a link to your image. You can also download the image in a variety of formats, such as JPG for web, high-quality PNG, standard PDF, or high-quality PDF for print material. You can also simply make your image public on Canva for other people to see on the website.

share and download images

The free version of Canva is packed with useful tools, but if you’re creating a lot of graphics and purchasing a lot of items that aren’t free, it might save money to get a subscription for unlimited use of paid items. The subscription starts with a 30-day, free trial and costs $12.95 per month for the monthly subscription or $9.95 per month for an annual subscription.

what you get with subscription page

Now you’re ready to create and share amazing designs using Canva!

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How to Use Prezi Next – Create & Present

Prezi Next is the new online presentation software from Prezi that has useful and innovative features that let you present in a natural and engaging way. In this article, we’ll show you:

  • how to quickly and easily create your first presentation in Prezi Next
  • how to “pick your own path” through a nonlinear presentation
  • how to keep important information hidden until the right time to show your audience
  • how to add animations and zooming to any part of your presentation
  • and more

 

What if you didn’t have to slug through the memorization and step-by-step misery of a typical PowerPoint? We’ll show you how to use Prezi Next to beat the boredom and make a presentation that rocks!

 

First, get your topic and main points in mind, gather any photos, charts, or videos—yes videos!—you want to use in your presentation, and head over to http://prezi.com. Log in or sign up and select Prezi Next from the drop-down in the top left corner.

 

 

You’ll see a screen that houses all of your saved Prezi Next presentations and folders. Select “New presentation” or create a new folder in the left side navigation and then select “New presentation.” You can use folders to better organize your presentations by topic or audience.

 

 

Prezi Next comes loaded with a selection of customizable templates in various styles. Everything on these templates can be edited and customized. However, choosing the right template is important to save time, and usually your final presentation will reflect the structure of the template you choose.

 

 

You can see the structure and design of each template by clicking it and previewing it. You’ll be able to click through the arrows at the bottom of the screen, or click each topic to zoom to it and see what’s inside. When you’ve decided on a template to start with, click “Use this template” at the bottom of the screen.

 

 

In editor mode, you’ll see the overview. From the overview, you can double click the main topics to zoom into them and edit their content, or single click to edit their appearance in the overview. You can also select the main topics from the left-side navigation bar.

 

 

Whenever you begin editing a topic or subtopic, you can go back by clicking either the “Overview” button at the top left or the back button at the bottom left.

 

 

Whenever you are editing a topic, you can zoom to a subtopic by double-clicking, or single click to edit its appearance at the current topic level. Prezi Next features innovative subtopics called “planets” that give presenters the ability to jump around during a presentation by clicking on the information. Any information on the level of a planet topic will not be shown until the presenter clicks on it during the presentation. Planets give you the greatest flexibility with your presentation.

 

 

If you want to have planet subtopics, you’ll have to start with a main topic that allows planet subtopics. Click the “+ Topic” button and choose “Planet” to do this from the overview. Whenever you zoom into a planet topic, it will show the background around it and more planets can be arranged around the main topic.

 

 

You can also add stack topics and subtopics, which follow a traditional, linear presentation style. When you click on a stack topic in your presentation, the entire screen will be filled by that topic and your only choice will be to click through the slides in order.

 

 

You can add planet subtopics to planet topics, and you can add more planet subtopics to planet subtopics, going down as many levels as you like. You cannot add subtopics to stack topics or subtopics, however.

 

 

Once you have your information added with topics and subtopics laid out in the structure you want, it’s time to customize by changing colors, line thickness, and opacity of shapes. All you have to do is click on the element you want to edit and click the color palette on the tool bar at the top of the editor.

 

 

To change the background, simply right-click it and select “Background and theme.” This will open a right-side menu to upload an image for your background, or change the color and select solid fill or gradient.

 

 

One of the most used functions is the “Insert” menu. You can use this to add anything from text boxes, shapes, and images to YouTube videos and new topics. You can add any item to any level of your presentation, whether a video on the overview or an arrow in a subtopic. To add a video, click Insert —> Video, then choose to upload a file or enter the URL of a YouTube video.

 

 

Movement attracts attention, so adding animations can really make your presentation pop. You can animate any element of a presentation, or you can create a zoom animation that zooms to a smaller area of the presentation level you’re on. This is great for zooming into detailed charts to highlight information, or for moving in to showcase a photograph.

 

 

If you’re working with a team, you don’t have to do everything yourself! You can add collaborators to your presentations in Prezi Next and set their restrictions. Simply click the icon in the top right corner, click the “Total collaborators” button on the dropdown, and enter the email address and restrictions for each person on your team. You can allow members to view the presentation and leave feedback but not make changes, and you can allow presenters to present but not edit, keeping the power to make changes in the hands of your design team.

 

 

Make sure the cloud in the top-left corner shows a check mark, and if not, simply click it or select File —> Save to save your presentation.

 

 

Now, you can exit the editor tab and return to the screen that shows your folders and finished Prezis, including the one you just made. From here, you can click the pencil icon to edit, the play icon to present, or the arrow icon for many more options that include presenting online to a live audience and adding collaborators from outside the editor.

 

 

From this screen, you can also check viewer statistics that can give you insights on what content in your presentation is working and where you might be losing the interest of your audience.

 

 

You can also download your Prezi or use it on a smartphone or tablet through Prezi’s mobile app. This means that you could be walking around the room, presenting from a phone or tablet using Chromecast or Airplay to show the presentation on a larger display, while choosing exactly which parts of the presentation you want to show. This is incredibly powerful for engaging a live audience or group, as you can gauge their reaction, ask questions, and respond to questions in real time with a click or a tap, without having to step back 30 slides like you might with linear presentation software.

 

 

Now you’re ready to present. Simply click the big play button over the presentation of your choice and click present when it has loaded. Then, click or tap the first topic you want to discuss, and continue down through your subtopics until you’re ready to move back.

 

 

To move back, just click the small back up arrow at the bottom left of the screen. You’ll notice the left and right arrows at the bottom of the screen, but those are to step through your presentation in a linear order, and aren’t the best way to backup a level in a nonlinear presentation.

 

 

Now you’re ready to create and present dynamic presentations using Prezi Next!

 

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LastPass – Save and Secure Your Passwords

LastPass is a free online password management tool that can be accessed through the web or as a Google Chrome extension. It provides many verified security features and allows you to store basically any secret or personal information. Categories exist for securing everything from payment info, web passwords, and social security numbers, to classified notes along with other sensitive information. Once an account is created with LastPass it can be synced across all mobile devices so that information is always available. LastPass offers many competitive features compared with other password management tools and is simple to operate, only having the user memorize a single master password.

Features

The homepage for your LastPass account will be located within the LastPass “Vault”. Here you will be able to cycle through all of your stored secure information as well as add new information. All types of information can be neatly organized and categorized so they can easily be retrieved at a later time. LastPass offers an effective feature allowing you to share specific pieces of information with others via secure email. This is useful for items that are too sensitive to be sent through conventional methods. An emergency access feature exists to allow trusted individuals full access to your LastPass account in the case of an emergency. This will only be activated upon your approval.

Security Methods

The security methods used by LastPass are called AES-256 bit encryption, salted hashing, and PBKDF2 SHA-256. In short without technical explanation, these are a series of ciphers and encryptions which make it impossible for your LastPass account to be hacked, or viewed by LastPass admin. Using LastPass is 100% safe and secure.

As a Chrome Extension

If using LastPass in the form of a Google Chrome extension, It will appear as a little icon in the top-right of your browser. Upon being clicked, the LastPass icon will provide you with a variety of LastPass feature options. These include a link to your Vault, site and form-fill management, as well as a password generator among others. The extension simply provides quick access to the existing features which LastPass offers.

Advantages to Using LastPass

LastPass is one of the best free password management applications available for online use. While a paid $1 per month premium option is available, the free version offers almost all features that the average user would require. It is easy to use and provides a 100% safe method to store sensitive information with various provided features to ensure this. LastPass is great for the avid internet user in that it only requires you to memorize a single password. If you find yourself in need of an easy method to memorize passwords, etc., LastPass will, without a doubt, come in useful to you.

           

Grammarly – Perfect Your Publication

The World’s Best Grammar Checker

Grammarly as an App or Extension

Grammarly is an online tool available in the form of a web extension, as well as a web app. Its purpose is to help correct any grammatical and spelling mistakes made when doing a form of typing online, such as social media posts or written documents. Grammarly operates by outlining suggestions as you type a publication. This is done by either underlining a misspelled word, crossing out an unnecessary punctuation, etc.. It essentially aims to create a smoother, more professional sounding piece of writing.

 

As an extension on Google Chrome, Grammarly automatically begins making writing suggestions when it senses that you are typing a written piece. When it is enabled, the Grammarly extension appears as a green circle on the bottom right corner of your text box. It then highlights any potential mistakes and lists potential solutions. It can be disabled at any time. As a web app, Grammarly.com allows you to compose documents from scratch on its word processor, and upload or paste existing documents for refinement. Grammarly.com then provides editing suggestions for your document much like the web app would elsewhere on the internet. There are a few additional basic features also available on the Grammarly.com website.

Grammarly Premium

While the free basic version of Grammarly is sufficient enough for the general use of most people, there is a paid premium version with advanced features. Some of these more advanced features include vocabulary suggestion and structural suggestions on your writing. With this version, you are also able to set which type of writing composition you are working on in order to get more specific tips (such as when writing an essay, blog, etc.). The premium version of Grammarly can be paid for as a monthly, quarterly, or yearly plan, with the monthly payment average ranging from $11.66 to $29.95 .

Overview

Grammarly is an effective way to get instant feedback on your writing when it comes to spelling and grammar. It is easy to install as a Google Chrome add-on or to use as a web app. For students, teachers, and professionals alike, Grammarly is an essential tool to incorporate into your web experience.        

  
  

Prezi – Customize the Ultimate Presentation

Prezi – Customize the Ultimate Presentation

Prezi is a unique and popular presentation software that is available in a free, public format, or a paid private version. Prezi can be effectively used in many situations, including business and education. With Prezi, you can completely customize the way that a visual presentation operates, and personalize it for any given scenario. It works like a blank canvas containing endless space where you can write content and paste images. These written segments and images are connected with a “path”, where you can set the order in which content is presented. You are then able to format the presentation however you wish.

 

Prezi offers many pre-made templates to base a presentation off of, but you are able to completely start from scratch. In Prezi you create and set the location of individual frames in the open space, where you may create written content or upload photos, videos, charts, etc.. The thing with Prezi is that there is no boundary to where you set the content. Once the actual content is finished, the method by which it is presented may be customized. This can be done by altering the viewpoint of the presentation at certain moments and adding animations to objects on the page. Colors and styles may be fine tuned to fit the occasion, and the background is entirely customizable. Prezi also offers many other individual features to create the perfect, specific look to a presentation.

 

Prezi presentations can be viewed or presented on all mobile devices, and can be worked on via the web or offline for computers. Premium versions of Prezi feature the ability to edit images to be used in presentations. All Prezi presentations are stored in the cloud, and can be accessed from anywhere. With Prezi, you are able to collaborate in real time on presentations with team members, which comes in useful for both business and education. Prezi offers great customer support to deal with concerns about the application, and also provides a Prezi blog so that users can constantly learn more about the capabilities of Prezi.

 

Prezi is a great way to personalize a presentation for any purpose you may need it for. It is completely customizable and offers a stylish and unique way to share information. Prezi is a new and interesting way to present, compared to conventional methods of providing information.

    

  

Sort Your Life Out! With These Free 3 Apps.

Any.do (free with in app purchases)
Any.do is a task management appliction available across many platforms, including Google Chrome, Android, Mac computers, and iOS devices. With it you have the ability to do simple daily planning and sync your schedule across all of your devices. It includes specific sharing features, allows you to set reminders within your day, and gives the option to make certain tasks as “recurring” throughout a specific time period.

Any.do utilizes a voice-to-type feature so that you can conveniently tell it which reminders and tasks you would like to set. Another useful feature offered within Any.do, is the ability to delegate tasks within a group of people or family. This is done by sharing a to-do list with selected people, and managing which person will do each task. Any.do is a unique, simple to use task management app which will help maximize collaberation and productivity in day-to-day life.
Check out this app at: http://www.any.do/

 

Google Keep (free)
Available for both Android and iOS, this entirely free productivity app will help you in areas from creating grocery lists to setting reminders of upcoming events. When creating lists, Google Keep allows you to check off every item as you go through your day, and keep track of remaining tasks or items. All notes, lists, and reminders can be color coded so that they may be quickly retrieved according to their specific purpose.

Lists and reminders on Google Keep can easily be shared with members of your Google contact list, making collaboration quick and simple. Along with planning your day and creating lists, Google Keep allows you to save pictures, notes, and audio recordings within its layout. This creates optimal organization of all ideas and planning, so they will never be lost. Google Keep is overall one of the simplest task management apps out there, but also one of the most user friendly and effective.
Check out this app at:  https://www.google.com/keep/


Todoist
(free with in app purchases)
Todoist, like most task management apps, provides your standard features including creating lists and setting reminders etc.. It is available for Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones, as well as most web browsers. Along with the others mentioned, it also allows you to share your created lists with other people so that you may collaborate on various tasks.

Unique to Todoist though, is its convenient smartwatch compatibility, which makes viewing current tasks and reminders quick and easy, while keeping you up to date on any other related notifications. Todoist is also unique in that it features a point reward system (called Karma) so that you may visualize your productivity trends. Todoist allows for you to customize the priority levels of each task, and also allows you to set recurring tasks within a time period. Through the use of optimal task organization and entertaining rewards system, Todoist provides a well rounded set of features to assist in your everyday lifestyle planning.
Check out this app at: https://en.todoist.com/

What is Google Apps?

logo

 

What is Google Apps?

Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps teams communicate, collaborate and get things done from anywhere and on any device. It’s simple to set up, use and manage, so your business can focus on what really matters.

Millions of organizations around the world count on Google Apps for professional email, file storage, video meetings, online calendars, document editing and more.

or find out more here.

Here are some highlights:

Business email for your domain

Looking professional matters, and that means communicating as you@yourcompany.com. Gmail’s simple, powerful features help you build your brand while getting more done.

Access from any location or device

Check email, share files, edit documents, hold video meetings and more whether you’re at work, at home or in transit. You can pick up where you left off from a computer, tablet or phone.

Enterprise-level management tools

Robust admin settings give you total command over users, devices, security and more. Your data always belongs to you, and it goes with you if you switch solutions.

start-your-FREE-TRIAL