Thursday, 21 June 2012

Colour cells in a table in Google Sites

I found this trick out by accident today 'How to colour a cell in a table in Google Sites and Spreadsheet.' It will not work in Google Docs.
  • Click in one cell and drag to the right to highlight all the cells you want to colour 

  • Click on the Text Background Colour button
    • Select a colour

    • The cells will now be coloured 

    Colouring Cells in Google Docs
    If you want to colour cells in Google Docs, right click on the cell and choose Table Properties 

    Click on Cell Background colour and choose a colour
    Click OK
    You can click and drag a number of cells at one time

      Thursday, 14 June 2012

      Live updates

      Another useful aspect of Google Drive is the 'Live Updates'.

      Click on 'More'

      Click on 'Activity'

      You will be able to view in 'real time' documents as they are being updated.

      PowerPoint motivating writing tip

      Find a photograph background and then insert into a blank PowerPoint page. In this example one of my schools are studying dinosaurs and paleontology, so I suggested taking photos of the field or playground.

      Then go to Insert - Clipart and select clipart that has white backgrounds. If you have white background appear on your graphic you will have to make it transparent by clicking on 'Remove Background' in the Format menu.

      Click on the Home button and choose speech bubbles from the Insert Shapes menu.

      To add writing lines click where it says 'Click to Add Notes' which is just below your main screen. Hold down your Shift key and minus - key on the keyboard. This will make lines. Once you have made several lines, press Ctrl A (Command A for Mac) to highlight all of the lines. Change the font size to about 36. Don't worry if you see no change yet.

      Go to File - Print
      Click on Full Page slides and change to Notes.
      Check to see if your lines are the right width.

      Students can now use this as a motivator for their drafting and editing. You could print out another copy in colour and use that as the final publishing.

      For younger students you could make a PowerPoint template with the photo background embedded in the Master page. Go to View - Master - Slide Master, insert a background photo in the usual way and delete the slide master frames that show up, click on Close or Close Master.
      Then save as a template by going to File - Save As, select PowerPoint Template under the Format dropdown menu, name it and click Save.

      Wednesday, 13 June 2012

      Google Drive Hint #1

      In the old version of Google Docs, you saw all your files in the main window and the default setting would show all the docs that had been changed at the top of the list.
      If you  have changed over to Google Drive you might be wondering where all your docs have gone!

      My Drive
      This is where all the files are that you have made
      Shared with me
      This is where all the files are that have been shared with you (but you can move them to 'My Drive' by selecting the file in the check box and clicking on 'Add to my Drive')
      Stores the files that you have starred
      Finds everything you recently opened or edited

      Tuesday, 12 June 2012

      Photo and Text apps #1

      There are many different types of photo apps available.
      This is a first of a series of posts I will make on photo apps.
      In this post I will be looking at apps that allow students to quickly present their photos with writing.

      Halftone: (iPad and iPod Touch)
      Add Effects: Yes
      Text:  Speech bubbles, narrative boxes
      Share: as a photo to library, send in an email

      1. Take a photo or use a photo from the Library
      2. Choose a paper style and layout
      3. Add balloons and stamps
      4. Select a font
       How could you use this in the classroom?
      • Great for students who only write a few sentences

       Comic Life (iPad only)
      Add Effects: No but great variety of templates to choose from
      Text: Speech bubbles, narrative boxes
      Share: Dropbox, WebDAV, email, Photo Library

      1. Create drawings in apps such as...
      2. Choose a template in Comic Life
      3. Insert graphics or photos
      4. Add text to speech bubbles and text boxes
      5. Add more pages, add templates that are different in the number of slides that they display
      How could you use this in the classroom?
      • break up narratives and tell the story in different shapes and parts of the page
      • use a mixture of photos and drawings
      • choose templates that complement the telling of the story
      • use one photo templates for students who cannot write a great amount
      • create timelines
      • character or plot analysis
      • Procedural writing
      • posters
      • digital story writing

         Comic Touch: Free version has a watermark, has all other features of the Full version (iPhone version, no full iPad version)
        Add Effects: Limited effects of Smudge, Bulge, Dent,  Stretch or light
        Text: Speech, Thought, Whisper, Exclaim and Caption bubbles
        Share: Photo Library, email

        1. Choose a photo from the photo library or take a photo with the camera
        2. Add Speech, Thought, Whisper, Exclaim and Caption bubbles
        3. Tap on the Share button and save to Photo Library or email

        How could you use this in the classroom?
        • Use the photos as motivation for the writing, what are the students saying to each other
        • record what people could be thinking
        • great publishing tool for limited writing

        Google Docs and Webcam

        A fun addition to Google Docs is the 'Webcam' Picture. You can insert 'webcam' stills.

        • Go to Insert Image 
        • Click on Take a snapshot
        • Click on Allow
        • Click on Take a Photo
        • Click on Take Snapshot
        • Click on Select
        • Resize and move around

        How could students use this feature?
        • take photos of themselves
        • take photos of artwork or models they have produced
        • take photos of a group of students

          Monday, 11 June 2012

          Photo apps and effects #1

          Some photo apps can be purely gimmicky, but they can also have their uses in education. This is the first post in a series of Photo apps and effects.

          My Sketch (iPad and iPod Touch)
          Add Effects: Smudge, Contrast, Photocopy, Colour, Sepia, Smooth, Canvas, Classic, Fine Pencil, Sketchbook, Pastel and many others
          Share: Saves to Photo Library, or share to email

          1. Take a photo or use one from the library
          2. Choose an effect from below, if you don't like it, tap the back button
          3. Play with the brightness and contrast and any other editing tools that might appear
          4. Tap Save, choose image size
          5. Tap on Save to photo library or send in an email
          How could you use this in education?

          This app will provide you with lots of different ways to sketch. Children can take photos of the subject and apply the sketching filters to it. Then they can look closely it at and observe the form, shape, shadows and how the strokes have been applied. This will help them for when they attempt their own sketching on paper.

            Reference Tool

            This is an extremely useful tool for students, especially for those who get easily distracted when researching on Google.

            This is best used when you need to
            1. look for websites
            2. look for pictures
            3. reference a website
            While you are in a Google Doc go to Tools - Research. Type in a search term and the results will appear.
            Click on the arrows to see the graphics, drag and drop the picture you want to use onto the page.
            When you 'hover' your mouse over a web link, 3 buttons will appear.

            Click on 'Preview' to see a preview of the website. This is useful because at a glance you can see what the website looks like i.e. lots or very little text, few or too many graphics. This will help influence student's decisions on whether to look at the website or not.
            The 'Insert link'  will insert your search term hyperlinked to the website you are looking at.
            The 'Cite' will insert a footnote with a full citation for the website.

            Wednesday, 6 June 2012

            Music and Devices in the Classroom

            In one of my first classroom teaching experiences using iPods with students, I found a way to use them that I did not expect. I was not prepared for students overwhelming interest in the music side of the iPod.

            external image Copy+of+013+%282%29.JPGBy the second day students were asking me if they could play music before school using the battery operated (or power) speaker system. So every morning they would set up the iPod touch on the speaker system and play music until the bell went, and then they would switch off the music and start their day's work.

            On the third day I noticed one of the students had a particularly great singing voice, so I showed her the iKaraoke (US$19.95). We hooked it up to the speaker system and iPod, and she was away, so every morning as well as the music we were being serenaded with other students making 'requests' for songs that she would sing.

            But one particular use I noticed that sneaked in was students listening to music while they worked. In this photo, the student has just removed the head set to talk to me but he had been working away quietly listening to music.

            external image Copy+of+056.JPG
            What was interesting was that I noticed that the children who voluntarily used the iPods for music were the mostly 'rambunctious' lot who had the loudest voices, and were the 'ones' that you noticed the most in the class. But when they were listening to the iPods, there was a noticeable silence.
            These students were on task, doing their work and not bothering anybody else. I had no problem with them listening to music as they worked as that is something I like to do.
            So think about using your iPods playing music when students are working in their books, particularly for those students who are easily distracted.

            Tuesday, 5 June 2012


            The Notes app comes pre-installed on your iPad or iPod Touch.
            The first line of your note becomes the title.

            It has very basic capabilities but still very useful.

            So how can it be used in an educational context?

            If you don't have a Word Processor on your iPad or iPod Touch then you can use 'Notes' for drafting a story. I have had students use the iPod touch very successfully for drafting their writing.
            It can then be sent as an email for printing out to be edited or opened in the Word Processing programme on your computer. (Tip: before printing out, set the Line Spacing to at least 2.0 in your WordProcessor so there is space for editing.)
            It can also be used as a basic publishing tool. If students have drafted, edited and conferenced their writing in their book, then they can type it up onto the Notes app and then email it for printing out. It can then be decorated or illustrated by hand.

            This app is great on field trips as well. Use it for writing notes.

            I have had students practise their spelling words on it, much more fun then writing them out in their spelling books.

            The notes app has a great search function on it. Type in a word and it will show all notes with that word in it. Great for finding notes on a common theme.

             No Distractions
            What is great about using Notes in these different ways is that students can't get distracted with other tools like changing fonts and styles and adding graphics and backgrounds.

            All they can do is 'write'!