Google Slides for iPad: A Good Start, But It Still Needs Some Work

Today Google finally delivered on their promise to release an iOS version of Google Slides. It is free, available in the App Store right now, and joins Docs, Sheets and Drive as part of Google’s productivity apps for the iPad and iPhone. Is it any good? Here are some initial thoughts I had after trying it out this afternoon.

Google Slides for iPad

It is great to have the ability to create and edit Google Presentations on the iPad, but you probably won’t rush to uninstall Keynote, PowerPoint or even Haiki Deck just yet. Why? Well, although you do have some basic formatting and editing features built-in, Slides still lacks some basics that you might expect to find in an interactive iPad presentation app.

For instance, you only get one theme to choose from when you create a new Presentation. That theme is not even a theme really because it is just a collection of white slides. Another drawback is the inability to add images or video. There is no option to browse the camera roll for media, or even to copy and paste images from other sources.

When you come to present, you can see your speaker notes in the editor mode, but not in presentation mode. That’s a little odd. There are also no annotation tools or laser pointers that you find in the presentation modes of other apps. There are also no transitions or animations.

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Roomle: Sketchup Style 3D Modelling for the iPad

If you have ever longed for an iPad app to do 3D planning and modelling then Roomle is definitely worth a look. It lets you design, build and furnish home or office spaces with ease, and it produces results that will instantly impress. It’s a free app, and it could be a great way for students to explore some 3D modelling on the iPad. You might even use it to create your own learning space.

You begin your design in 2D and draw out a birds-eye view of the room or building you want to design. Walls are easily drawn with a drag of your finger with measurements and angles included to give as much realism as possible. Pinching the screen lets you zoom in and out of your floor plan as required.

Roomle: Sketchup for iPad

When you have your basic layout drawn out, it’s time to add the details. The app has a library of different furniture and construction elements that can be added to your design. Chairs, tables, plants, flooring, appliances and more can be added. You can also add doors, windows, fireplaces and staircases. The library of objects may not have everything you want, but with hundreds of objects and accessories, there is a great selection that will doubtless have most of what you need.

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How to Collect Data with an Excel Form & Office 365 for Education

Google Apps for Education schools have Google Forms for surveying staff and quizzing students, but you needn’t feel left out if you are using Microsoft’s Office 365. An Excel Survey does very much the same thing, and it’s easy to set up. You can even do it with a free, individual OneDrive account if your school does not use Office 365. Here’s what you need to know.

Excel surveys are created online. So, you first need to log in to your OneDrive for Business account and click “new”. Select “Excel survey”, then give your document a name and click “OK”.

create excel survey

On the next screen you can enter a title for your survey and a short description or introduction for those that are filling out your survey. You can then click on the box that says to “Enter your first question here”. This opens a pop up box that gives you more options to do just that. So, enter your question, a question subtitle/help text (optional), and choose the type of question you want to ask. There are currently seven types of questions:

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Intro Designer for iPad: Free iMovie Video Effects on iOS

iMovie has a number of built-in themes that can be customized to give you some professional looking videos with great titles, transitions and effects. However, after you have used iMovie for a little while, it becomes pretty easy to spot the same effects across multiple videos. Thankfully, apps like Intro Designer Lite exist to help make your classroom movies look that little bit more unique…for free!

The Lite version of Intro Designer has six templates to choose from – Birthday, Xmas, Just It, Shapes, End Credits and Ink. Each one can be previewed with a short 10-15 second clip before you settle on the one that you really want.

Intro Designer Theme Selector

Once you select the theme you need, you can customize it with a variety of options. Text is probably where you will want to start with fonts, font size and font colors all adjustable. You can also choose the position of the text on the screen, and pick whether you want the music and/or sound effects to be included or not. You can preview your creation in full-screen at any time by tilting your iPad to landscape mode.

Edit Fonts and Sound

After you have customized everything the way you want it, tap the Export button to save it to the iPad’s Camera Roll where you can then bring it in to iMovie as part of a larger project. Videos can be exported as 640 x 360, 960 x 540 or 1280 x 720p.

Export Options for Intro Designer Lite

It is an extremely quick and easy app to use, and a great way of spicing up existing iMovie projects that you have been working on with students. Of course, six templates will only get you so far, but if you decide you want more, the full version of this app is available for $2.99. It comes with 30 templates and a nicer interface that is optimized for iOS 7. See how it works in the video below, or check out the IntroMate app for a similar experience.

iPadography: Photo Projects for the iPad Classroom

The camera is one of those apps on the iPad that we sometimes take for granted. We forget it is there or don’t always use it to its full potential in the classroom. This week I am presenting at iPadU: Slide to Unlock Learning, and I wanted to highlight some of the many ways that you could use the iPad camera, so I put some ideas together and added some I had seen on the web or learned from others. The result? iPadography: Photo Projects for the iPad Classroom.

So, if you are looking for ideas for using the iPad camera in the classroom, take a look at some of the slides below, and feel free to share it with others who might be interested! You can also join iPadography for Educators – a Google+ group I created for educators looking to do photo and video projects with students on an iPad.

Learning to Innovate in a One iPad Classroom

Today I was presenting at our annual iPad conference for educators – iPadU: Slide to Unlock Learning. Matt B. Gomez was our keynote speaker and kicked off the first of our three days with an inspiring talk for educators.

Later in the day I gave one of several presentations I am scheduled to give at the conference, and it was on a topic I have written about before, the one iPad classroom. So, if you are interested in getting some ideas for this, or you know some teachers who are faced with a similar dilemma, feel free to pass on the ideas below!

10 Reasons Why OneNote is the Ultimate Note Taking Tool for Schools

Microsoft OneNote

It may just be the best thing you have never heard of, but if you take the time to learn how to use it, Microsoft’s free, multi-platform note taking tool will surprise you with how powerful it really is. So, here’s why OneNote is great for the classroom and beyond. (Note: Not all features are available on all platforms, or in the free apps, but all are available in the Office 2013 desktop version)

1. Availability: OneNote is a free download for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Mac, iPads, iPhones and Android devices. You can even use the online web app, and of course it comes with all paid Office subscriptions. So, no matter what device you use, there is a OneNote version for you. You don’t get all the features on all platforms, but you get most of what you need. What’s more, your notebooks are synced via your Microsoft account so any changes you make will instantly be updated on your other devices.

2. Organization: Think of a OneNote notebook like a three-ring binder. You use sections to divide up your notes into manageable chunks of text. You can choose a color for each section, or let OneNote choose that for you. Within each section, you can add pages so that you can add the notes that you want to take. You can have as many pages as you want in a section, and merge or group sections. Password protection can be added to sections to hide teacher notes, or to unlock a section at a time as the teacher chooses.

3. Tags: Choose from dozens of tags to help you annotate and bookmark the best part of your notes. Students can tag paragraphs they want to ask the teacher about later or mark up the important parts of their notes, while teachers can use custom tags to highlight the homework in a shared notebook. All tags can be filtered and found quickly.

4. Search: Speaking of finding things, the search function is a great tool to find anything that you need. It will search through all your notebooks, or just the one you are working on, to find the notes you need. The search bar will search all typed and handwritten text, as well as any text that it detects in images.

5. Attachments: You can attach most common file types to a OneNote notebook. Audio, video, images, PDFs and more can be added to a OneNote file to keep all your resources together in one place. This is great for teachers who may want to use OneNote for a lesson planner, or as a digital handout for students. You can also add images from Microsoft’s online clipart gallery or search Bing for images.

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