Thursday, May 14, 2015

Making Comments in a Google Doc

I love using Google Docs with my students.  It makes looking over their writing so much easier than lugging around all their papers or spiral bound writing notebooks.  Giving them feedback has gotten much easier also.  The ability to make comments right on the Google Doc has been amazing!  When we first moved to Google Docs, I would change the color of the font and then type notes to the students directly in the document.  I laugh at that now because using the comments function is so much better.

If you haven't made comments in a Google Doc before, it really is very easy.  I'm going to show the instructions for Google Docs, but the process is essentially the same in Sheets and Slides as well.

When you have a document open, place the cursor where you'd like the comment to appear in the text.  It normally highlights the nearest word.  You can also highlight a specific word or section of the text that you wish to comment on.  Then click the "Comments" button on the upper right hand corner of the window to open the comments thread.  You will see the options for Notifications and Comment.  Click on Comment.

Then it will pop up a little window for you to type your comment.  After you type what you'd like to say, click the blue "Comment" button to submit your comment.

Then the comment will appear to the right of the document.  All the comments will show up in that right side pane for the students.  If they click the highlighted portion of the text, the comment that goes with it will be emphasized.  If your students have email with their Google Apps account, they will get an email letting them know that you commented on their document. 

If they want to reply to your comment, it gives them a little reply box.  You can also type into the reply box to add to your comment.  This creates a little conversation.  You will get an email notification letting you know the student replied to your comment. 

My students love checking their comments and responding back.  Even if it is just to say "ok".  Once they are finished with the comment, they can click "Resolve".  The comment will close, and appear to go away, but you can access it again by clicking "Comments" on the upper right hand corner of the page.  

With my younger students, I try to do a face to face conference about their writing and I leave little comments to remind them of what we talked about.  If the comments are very simple and straight forward, I can leave the comment without the conference.  When I'm at home at night grading their writing, I try to make the comment as clear as possible, but I might ask them to come and see me in the text of the comment so I don't forget to meet with them the following day.  I love it, the students love it, and I love how their little personalities come out when they respond to the comments.

Stop by again soon for more handy tips!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Save Slides as Image Files

This is one of those tips that you may not use all the time, but it can come in really handy when the need arises.  A colleague shared this tip with me and I've already thought of a few ways I might use it!

There are a variety of reasons you might want to save some, or all, of the slides from a PowerPoint or Google Slides Presentation as image files.  You can create a video with a song or with narration using iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or Adobe Premiere Pro using your slide images.  You can easily email out single slides that students have created for parents to see.  Maybe you need to post pictures of single slides on a website or as work examples, etc.

Now that we know it is a handy trick, let's talk about how it's done.

First - using Microsoft PowerPoint:

Open your slide show, and then click the Office Button (menu button).  Choose "Save As", and then "Other Formats".

A box will pop up asking where you'd like to save.  Chose the location where you'd like to save your files and then change the "Save as type" option to be the image file of your choice - JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, etc.  If you have no idea what the differences are - just choose JPEG.  

Once you click "Save", it will prompt you to see if you would like to save just the current slide or all of the slides as images.  You can make your choice. 

 If you choose "Every Slide" it will save all of the files in a folder and confirm the location of that folder.

If you open up the folder, you will see all of your slides saved as individual image files.  

You can now do whatever you wish with your files like import them into a video creation app or email out individual slides to specific people.  

This process is a little different in Google Slides.

At the time of this post, Google Slides only allows you to save one slide at a time.  You can't save the whole show all at once like you can in PowerPoint.  If you want to save every slide, I suggest you download the file as a PowerPoint document, open it in PowerPoint, and complete the process I shared with you above.  If you just need a few of the slides, or you don't have access to the PowerPoint program, you can follow the directions below.  

Open up your Google Slides Presentation.  Click on "File" and choose "Download as".  You can then pick PNG, JPEG, or SVG.  Again, if you aren't sure what those all are, just choose JPEG.  

Once you click on the file type you want, it will automatically download your file.  Chances are downloads will automatically go into your "Downloads" folder unless you have changed the default location for downloads.

I had my students create a slide in a shared Google Slides Presentation for their parents that I set in a revolving slideshow on our Open House night.  I will be converting that slideshow into a PowerPoint, saving all the slides as JPEG images, and emailing them out individually to parents in case they missed it at the event.  This process will make that very easy.  

I hope this tip was helpful for you!  Stop in again soon for more handy tech tips!

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