Saturday, February 1, 2020

Save Time With Bookmarks: Document Templates

I don't know about you, but I use Google Slides for #allthethings.  I am constantly opening Google Slides and then changing the size of my slides.  I realized, with a simple two minute investment, I can save time and clicks each time I need a Google Slides file sized a certain way.

You can do this with any size, but I am going to show it with the three documents I use the most, 8.5 x 11 portrait and landscape slides as well as a landscape document.  Portrait documents are default so I didn't need a shortcut for that.

Step 1:  Create a folder in your Google Drive and call it something like Templates or Shortcut Templates.  This will give you a place to store these template documents you are about to create so that you remember what they are for.

Step 2:  Create a folder in your bookmarks bar.  You can do this by right clicking on the bookmarks bar and choosing "Add folder".  Name the folder "Templates" or whatever you wish to call it.

Step 3:  Inside the folder in your Google Drive that you designated for the templates, create a new Google Slides file.  Rename the file to be "Portrait Slide" (or whatever you want to call it).

Step 4:  Change the slide size to be 8.5 x 11 to make a portrait slide set.  You can do this by going to File --> Page Setup and choosing Custom.  Then change the units to inches and set it to 8.5 x 11.

Step 5:  Now that you have your portrait sized slides file, click on the little star to the right of the web address in the address bar to create a bookmark for this page.

Step 6: Change the Folder option to be the Templates folder you created in step 2.  Then before you save, click on the "More" button to get more options.

Step 7: Name the bookmark whatever you wish.  Then look at the URL (web address).  At the end of the URL, there will be something that says "/edit...".  It might have some other characters after it, but that is ok.  Change the /edit and everything after it to say "/copy" and then click "Save". See the pictures below.  

Step 8: Now repeat steps 3-7 to create bookmarks for a Slides file that is landscape and a Google Doc that is landscape.

There you have it!  Now whenever you want a Google Slides or Document file that is one of those sizes, you just click on your templates folder on the bookmark bar.

When you click on one of your template shortcut bookmarks, it will prompt you to make a copy of your template. 

Now you'll have your already resized document and be ready to go.  It took a little bit of set up, but so many clicks are saved each time you do this.  Enjoy all your extra seconds.  :)

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Pinterest Template

I have so much fun making templates in Google Slides that when a friend of mine asked for a Pinterest template, I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by.  Here is what I came up with:


As you can see, I made a template for an actual board, and then also one for all the little boards if that is something you might need.  I had a ton of fun with this one.  Thanks, @EdTechAri, for the reason to have a little fun with Google Slides. 

Click here to get a copy of the template.  Just click on the blue "Use Template" button in the upper right.  

Click here and here to learn more about editing the Master Slide, which you might want if you need to edit the portions of the template that are hidden in the background.

If you find a fun way to use this template, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.  

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.  

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