Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Be Internet Awesome with Google

Digital Citizenship

Great resources for teaching students to be Internet savvy are here! It is a necessity to be smart about security and digital footprint conscious. We are molding the future of Internet users each and every day. It doesn't matter if you are in a 1:1 technology environment, have carts of devices you wheel into your classroom, or if you take your students to the computer lab once a week, training students to be wise online is a part of what we do. 

Google just launched a new site with more opportunities for students and teachers alike. If you visit, users can access a wide range of resources. 


Interland is an online game for elementary students to navigate through some of the tough questions we face with the troubles of the Internet. As students navigate through Interland, they explore the concepts of being kind online, secure passwords, information protection, and being Internet savvy. Each world focuses on a different area of being Internet awesome. The worlds are as follows:

Kind Kingdom

Students should be aware that what they say online can affect others. Online bullies should be reported or blocked to create a safe environment for others. This world consists of the user spreading positive messages to others and taking action when bullies are present. 

Reality River

There are a lot of schemes and tricks online to get your to give up personal information and/or buy unwanted services. Being aware that these advertisements and schemes exist will help students to think twice before clicking on them. This world has a series of scenarios where these schemes exist and make the best choice. 

Mindful Mountain

Being conscious of what you share with whom you share is important. Not all information is necessary for the whole world to see. This world runs the user through a series of scenarios and causes him/her to question what information should be shared and with whom. 

Tower of Treasure

Password security is important. Users should change their passwords often to keep data secure. They should also utilize a series of upper and lower case letters along with numbers and symbols. The users collect letters, numbers, and symbols to build a secure password. 

Resources for Teachers


Along with Interland for students, there are also great resources for teachers. Interland shouldn't be used in isolation. The information in the game will not be very meaningful unless there is deeper content taught in conjunction with the game. There is an online curriculum (that can be downloaded) that has a series of lessons and activities to go through with your students. The students should be discussing online safety and their digital footprint to make it meaningful. 

Teacher Training Course

Google is also offering a Digital Citizenship and Safety Course for teachers. To complete the course, the teacher must read through content, watch a few short videos, and answer questions pertaining to online safety. It would be good for all teachers to go through this content. I found it to be beneficial as reminders of things I should be doing to make sure my information is kept secure. 

MSDSC Teachers

If you are a teacher in my school district, please complete the course. If you do so and receive your certificate of completion, forward it to me via email and I will send you a certificate for two Professional Growth Points. 

What's in the Video

The video below gives an overview of where to find all the contents listed in this blog post. I go through how to access Interland, the online safety curriculum, and the teacher training course. So check it out and be Internet awesome! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Storytelling Slides

A Great Podcast

I'm always on the lookout for a great podcast. If I'm traveling to and from work or if I have a long drive to a conference or workshop, a podcast is a great way to make the most of my time. Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the Bam Radio Network and the great options they have available in short, 10-minute podcast sessions. I didn't list the session there, but Matt Miller (Ditch that Textbook) had a great series by the title: Hook 'em! He has since moved on to a much longer platform and has teamed up with Kasey Bell (Shake Up Learning). This one is the Google Teacher Tribe. If you have 45 minutes to give it a listen, I'd highly recommend it. My favorite times are while I'm driving or going for a run. It is a simple way for me to make the most of my time.

Last week, I was attending the IGNITE conference Lafayette, IN. Since this was a 2.5-hour drive, I was able to listen to quite a few podcasts and catch up on the Google Teacher Tribe. The session that sparked my thinking was one specifically on digital storytelling. Kasey and Matt spoke quite a bit on various tools, but the one that stood out to me most was using Google Slides. My mind immediately went to Slides because of a couple of more recent posts I did featuring the newer video options contained in Google Slides. Google Slides would make for a great platform for digital stories by using the trimming and autoplay in the video options.


In order for students to successfully create a digital story, they really need to be accustomed to using Google Slides and Screencastify. It is helpful if students know how to manipulate shapes, images, and utilize animations fluently so that the story can be enhanced. With Screencastify, I find it to be most helpful if students know how to fluently use the keyboard shortcut (alt+shift+R) to start and stop recording. Have students practice using these skills with other projects before expecting them to build a full-blown digital story. You and your students will be more pleased with the results if they know the tools well. 

In my video below, I demonstrate how to quickly record, insert video, and trim appropriately to meet the story needs. By turning on autoplay, the audio of the file will start immediately when the Slides are in presentation mode. Here is the breakdown of the steps:

My Story

The story I created is in the video tutorial, but in case you want to view the published version, I'll include the link here.  I chose to not embed it because it would automatically start playing the audio when you all visit this post. That brings flashbacks of those terrible midi songs that would start playing on all of the Angelfire or Geocities websites from the 90's. Anyone else remember those days? 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Lance Yoder's Hyperslides

The Indestructible Hyperdoc

This has been the year of Google Slides for me. The entire year has had some focus on it as it is such a versatile tool. Teachers can use it to put together learning resources, have students respond and interact with it, and even create collaborative spaces. The real key as to why Google Slides has been such a success this year is the ability to create spaces where students cannot easily manipulate your template. So often using Google Docs can cause the teacher frustrations as the students will drag items around or even delete content. By editing the master in Google Slides, they are virtually indestructible. (Click here for an example of how to edit the master slides to customize your content.)

This process all really kicked off in October at the ICE Conference. I presented on the Indestructible Hyperdoc and since then have been asked to present on the topic at other locations. I have seen quite a few individuals presenting on the same topic as using Google Slides continues to grow in popularity. Since then I've trained my own staff on how to use it as a great way for teachers to deliver content in a blended learning environment. 

Why Google Slides? It comes down to portability. I don't believe you should lay out your learning resources in a learning management system (LMS). What happens if your school district no longer purchases your LMS? What if you change school districts and they are not using the LMS of your previous employer. Google Slides is a portable, flexible option that allows you to transfer to other Google accounts or even download in other formats. 

My Hyperslides

Throughout the school year, I've been building graphic organizers and other fun activities that teachers can import into their own lessons. I've offered this slide deck to my own teachers but decided it was time to push it out publicly so that others may use them as well. You may view the items that are available in my slide deck as it is embedded. I have also included video directions on how to go about making adjustments to the Slides so that you can deliver it to your students for their use. If you would like to download your own copy to your Google Drive, click here

Slide to Slide

One of the tricks I've been training teachers to do is transfer your Slides from one slide deck to another. This allows you to store a load of resources in one presentation and pull them into any lesson at any time. I posted about it back in February so feel free to look over that previous post. Otherwise, you can skip straight to my video below as it explains the process to import Slides. 

Google Classroom

Google Slides works great for teachers using Google Classroom as it manages the permissions on Google Drive contents so well. With Classroom, the document can be automatically copied for every student. If the teacher wants to create collaborative spaces, they can easily create multiple copies of his/her template and give edit rights to small groups of students. A nifty trick for accomplishing the process of creating collaborative spaces can be streamlined by using the "reuse post" option in Classroom. I simply create the assignment one time, reuse the post and there is an instant option for creating a new copy of the attached document. This allows me to assign it to a new set of students without going to my Google Drive, making multiple copies, and creating multiple assignments in Classroom. This method also prevents some of the clutter in Google Classroom and students cannot impose on the conversation taking place in other groups. To see this workflow, view my next video.