Thursday, April 4, 2019

Google Slides: Insert a Video

With just a few clicks, you can insert a video from YouTube or from your Google Drive into a Google Slides presentation.

  1. Open up a Google Slides presentation.
  2. Click on the "Insert" menu and choose "Video" from the list.
  3. Choose where the video comes from.  Are you going to run a YouTube search, paste in a YouTube URL, or search for the video in your Google Drive?  Choose the correct tab for your choice.  
  4. Click on the video you wish to use and click on the "Select" button.

If you use a video from your Google Drive, remember to adjust the sharing settings on the video file itself so that others who view your presentation can also view the video.

Google Docs: Insert a Video into a Google Doc

When it comes to being creative with using Google Docs in the classroom, like when I make Hyperdocs, I was always bummed that I couldn't insert a video right into my Google Doc. Then I learned this little hack to make it work.  It is a little bit of a workaround, but it gets the job done.

Step 1:  Get Your Video URL

  • Find the YouTube video you'd like to insert.
  • Click on the "Share" button below the video.
  • Copy the URL for the video by clicking on the "Copy" link. 

Step 2:  Insert Your Video into a Google Slides Presentation

  • Open a new Google Slides presentation.
  • Click on the "Insert" menu and choose "Video".
  • Select "By URL" and paste in your link.
  • Click "Select" and it will insert your video on the slide.

Step 3: Copy Your Video
  • On the Google Slide, click on the inserted video to select it.
  • Press command+C on a Mac, or Ctrl+C on a PC or Chromebook, to copy the video.  DON'T use right click and copy. 

Step 4: Insert Your Video in the Google Doc
  • Place your cursor into the Google Doc wherever you'd like the video to be.  
  • Click on the "Insert" menu and choose "Drawing" and "New".

  • Click in the Google Drawing window that opens up and press Command+V on a Mac, or Ctrl+V on a PC or Chromebook, to paste the video.  Right click and paste will not work.
  • You can resize and position the video however you'd like it.  Normally I make it a little larger by dragging on one of the corner arrows and then I right click and center it horizontally and vertically.  You could even add some credit line text under the video if needed.

  • Click "Save and Close" and the video will now be in your Google Doc.  You can adjust the size and positioning of the video in the same way you would an image.

I always give the instructions for viewing the video right in my document.  They will need to either double click on the video to open it up or click it once and then click on the "Edit" link that pops up.  Then they can click the video to start play.  I have had the double click not work for me in the past, so I always double check before I enter the instructions.

Reminder: Because they have to open up the little drawing in order to watch the video, they must have edit access to the document in order to watch.  People with view-only access will not be able to view the video.  

Hopefully, this tip is helpful for you! I know I use it all the time when making HyperDocs.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Updated Instagram Template for Google Slides

So many of you have loved my Instagram Template post, that I thought I'd give it a little updating.  I created a brand new template to match the newest version of Instagram.  I have included the template for an Instagram post, as well as two different templates for an Instagram profile page.  Here are some images of the new template:


There are 6 different slide layouts for you.  A blank one each of the post and both profiles and then also one of each with instructions on the sides.  Like this:

If you go up to the layout button across the top, you can choose from all six layouts:

You can view the template by clicking here.  If you'd like to use it, click on the blue "Use Template" button and it will make a copy for you.  You can see my original post about how to use a template like this in the classroom by clicking here.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Google Forms: Which Link Do I Give Students?

When it comes to Google Forms, a question I get often is, "Which link do I give the students?"  There are a few ways to find the link to give your students (or whomever else might be filling out your form).

Preview Link
When you are ready to send out your form, click on the preview icon (the eyeball) at top of the screen.

This will take you to a live preview of the form.  You can then copy the URL from the address bar and give this URL to your students on the class page, or as an assignment, in an email, etc.  (If you are going to do an email - it's a good idea to make a hyperlink instead of pasting the long ugly URL.  Click here to see how if you are unsure.)  

Send Button
You can also get the link by clicking on the "Send" button across the top of the screen.  

Clicking "Send" will take you to a window with a variety of options for distributing your form.  Be sure to click over to the link section by clicking on the chain link icon.  Then you can click "Copy" to copy the URL to your clipboard.  You can then go and paste it where ever it needs to go (Classroom webpage, assignment, email, etc.). 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sketchnoting - Yes, You Can!

Several years ago, I would see sketchnotes come across my social media feed and think, "Wow, that's incredible.  I wish I could draw." I wasn't an artist, how could I possibly be expected to draw things on my notes? Notes by Sylvia Duckworth and Wanda Terral would scroll by on my Twitter feed while I sighed longingly, wishing I could create beautiful and useful images like those. You see, I knew that images were powerful and that they would improve my learning, I just didn't think I was capable enough or talented enough to give it a try. After having conversations with many others about sketchnoting, I'm positive that I wasn't alone. Too many people think that they aren't artistic enough to make sketchnotes. Guess what? That's a lie. A big one! It may be true that you aren't very artistic. It may be true that you don't draw well. I certainly didn't. However that doesn't mean that you can't sketchnote. You can. Everyone can.

Now, will everyone's sketchnotes turn out like Sylvia's or Wanda's notes? No, of course not, but they don't need to! Sketchnotes are first and foremost for the person who creates them. They help the person taking notes to make deeper connections to the content and to solidify the information in his/her brain. They don’t have to be amazing and frame-worthy every time. I guarantee you that if you give it a try, and stick with it a bit, you'll surprise yourself. It takes some time to develop your style and find what works for you, but it is so worth it. Sketchnotes are so powerful! When I sketch, I retain the content so much more than when I used to jot notes in a notebook or type them in a document on the computer. I can close my eyes and think of a conference session I attended or book that I read and see the colors I used in my sketchnote. I can recall the images and icons and even some of the main ideas just from the memory of my sketchnote. The gain is worth the risk.

For me, it took getting an iPad where I could draw and then quickly hit undo and try again. That gave me the confidence to go ahead and take the risk and try it out. After a while, I got involved with a community called #Sketch50 on Twitter which helped me practice and experiment with sketching. Eventually that led me me starting the #SketchCUE event which you can read more about here. In honor of the second annual #Sketch50 event in April 2018, I made a short video that chronicles my Sketchnoting journey. I hope you find it inspiring.

I want to challenge you to give Sketchnoting a try. Start simple - choose a black pen/pencil/marker and one color. Practice with some simple shapes or sketch your favorite quote. Write the words in black and then try to add some emphasis to the important words by changing the size or font or color. Allow your creative juices to flow - you have them even if you think you don’t. Trust me, I was the person who said I could never sketchnote because I wasn’t an artist. Get on Twitter and check out #Sketch50 or check out their website at Take a look at the slides from the beginning sketchnotes session I run called The Power of Sketch and try out some of the prompts. In whatever way you are comfortable - pick up a pen or a stylus, lean into your growth mindset, and start sketching.  

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Google Drive: Update Your File Versions

With a Google Doc, Slide, Form, Sheet, or Drawing in Drive, it is easy to go in and make changes - even if you have already shared the link with someone.  The links you share out take the user to the live document - meaning they automatically see any updates or changes you might make.  That's fantastic!  However, what do you do if you need to update a PDF, image, video, or audio file after you've shared the link?  Google has a solution for that too!

If you need to update a video, audio, image, or PDF file in Google Drive - but you want to maintain the same link for the file because you've already sent it out, just right click on the file in your Google Drive and choose "Manage versions" from the list. 

Now you have several options.  You can see all the versions of your file as well as a button to upload a new file.  If you click on the three dots menu for each version, you have the ability to delete, download, or keep forever.  Generally, versions older than 30 days will delete automatically.  If you want to keep an old version for some reason, be sure to go in and tell it to 'keep forever'.  

Now you can upload a new version of your file, or even a brand new file if you wanted, and keep the same URL link.  This can come in very handy if you noticed a mistake in a file you have already shared out, or if you need to update your file with new or updated information.  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Student Made eBooks with Google Slides

Google Slides is not just for presentations - it does so many things!  One thing you might not expect to be able to do with Google Slides is make eBooks.  Guess what?  You can!  The best part is that it's very easy for you and your students to create beautiful looking eBooks using Slides.

eBooks can be a great activity for many purposes at any time of the year, but can often come in handy as an end of the year review project.  With Google Slides, students can be creative with their images, fonts, and even embed videos or other web links into their eBooks. When students are finished creating the books, they can embed the Slides files in a digital portfolio or other class website.  They can even download the Slides file as a PDF and now they have a book anyone can read on any device!

Here are a few very simple templates I made using Google Slides that you and your students are welcome to use.  They can add to them and get as creative as they would like.  Click on the links below to view the templates.  To use the template as your own, click the blue "Use Template" button in the upper right.

eBook Dark - Landscape
eBook Light - Landscape
eBook Dark - Portrait
eBook Light - Portrait 

eBook Activity Ideas:
  • Creative Writing/Fiction - example embedded below
  • Historical Fiction 
  • Informational Pamphlet
  • Non-Fiction Book (Great for science and Social Studies topics, reviewing animals, space, chemical and physical reactions, historical events, places, and people, etc.)
  • A book of story problems complete with answer key
  • Poetry
Creative Writing/Fiction eBook Example

Be sure to check out a few of my other posts about creative ways to use Google Slides!

Helping teachers incorporate technology, one tech tip at a time.