I have a love/hate relationship with Google Slides. I love the collaborative nature of Slides. I love how creative I can be and how easy it is to pull materials out of my Google Drive as I create Slides. What I hate is that sometimes I miss a few of the features of PowerPoint, most notably the ability to add audio to my Slides presentation.
As of today, that is no longer an issue thanks to EdTech Team! With the release of their AudioPlayer for Slides, I can now add music or voiceovers to my Slides. AudioPlayer allows me to pull music files (mp3 and mp4) from my Drive or downloads or EdTechTeam has also included a few short music clips that I can select if I don’t have easy access to any music files. I think the most exciting feature of AudioPlayer for Slides is that I can record my own voice and narrate my Slides. Just imagine what your students could do with this!
AudioPlayer for Slides is a free Google Chrome extension. Once you add it to chrome, you will need to click on the green megaphone icon to login with your Google credentials. From that point forward, you will access the extension exclusively while you are in Slides.
After you have created your Slides presentation, adding audio is as simple as a right click (or two finger touch if you are working on a Chromebook).
Adding music is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Recording your own voice is a snap!
I would imagine you are as excited about this new extension as I am! Get busy making the most amazing Slides presentations ever!
Last year, I used the “About” section in Google Classroom to post links and resources that my students would need throughout the year. These were materials that were not necessarily tied to a specific assignment, but items that students might need to revisit or access randomly.
With the “About” section gone, I have had to make a quick change in how I manage this need. Fortunately, Google just released a new feature in Classroom called “Materials.” This “Materials” option will allow me to create a space in my Classwork feed where I can place these items for student access.
To create a space in my feed, I simply need to:
- Create a topic and call it something like “Class Resources” or “Class Materials.”
- Once the topic has been created, hit “Create” again and select “Materials” from the drop-down list. Add materials like Docs or Slides from my Drive or paste in a link to a website for my students.
- Before I post the material, I need to make sure that I select the “Class Resources” topic.
- Once I have created this “Materials” post, I can then go back to my Classroom feed and by clicking on the three dots to the right of the “Class Resources” topic, select “Move Up” from the menu to essentially pin this topic to the top of the feed.
And just like that, I almost have my “About” section back! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
I love Google Classroom. I think it creates an easy way to manage workflow of assignments in the classroom, and if you supercharge your Google Classroom, you can create amazing learning opportunities that were previously impossible.
The one thing I don’t love about Google Classroom is the calendar view located under the three bars on the left in Classroom. If you create an assignment with a due date, Classroom will helpfully create an event on the Classroom calendar. That is basically it. The teacher is unable to add any additional events to the calendar, which makes it frustrating if you want to add reminders, special events, or long range dates that are not tied to assignments.
But did you know that your Classroom calendar actually shows up in your regular Google calendar? And did you know that your students also have access to that calendar from their regular Google calendar? You can add any event to your Classroom by visiting your regular calendar. Once you have added the event to the calendar, it will show up on their school Google calendars. Of course, you will have to show your students where to find their Google calendar. Most students aren’t even aware that they have a calendar! I was working with freshman at the high school last week and one of the kids exclaimed, “How did I not know this was available? I would have been using it if I knew!”
Here is a short (2 minute) video that shows how this process works. I think getting our students to start using their calendars could cause an organizational revolution. And, brother, I am there for that!