Friday, June 22, 2018

Canva: Graphics without Work (2018 Video Tutorial)

Image result for canva
If you create any kind of online graphics professionally, you probably already know about Canva. But for those out there who don't, I have created a video tutorial which will get you up to speed pretty quickly. It is what I like to call a 15-minute mini-class

Canva is used quite a bit by social media people who need a quick design template for their posts. It takes very little time to whip up something professional-looking with its helpful built-in design tools, such as frames placeholders and grids. Most of the included images and text designs are free, and you can save the designs that you create - to be used later or just upload your own graphics to re-use in future design projects. 

Canva is extremely easy to use and will save you a great deal of time. Not that it is a replacement for Adobe Photoshop, but who has the time to use Photoshop for each and every graphic project we do? Canva even has some quick and dirty photo editing tools...and once you've created your design, you can save it online, share it with your team members, share through Social Media or download it to your computer to be used elsewhere. Sound interesting? Check out my video below to see a pretty in-depth overview of what you can do with Canva. Then, try it out yourself and save to your own account at

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Using Screencastify with Google Slides and Google Classroom 2018

This video tutorial shows the complete student workflow of recording a Google Slides Presentation using Screencastify and then turning in the video through Google Classroom two different ways. Many of the newest features of Screencastify's Tab recording toolbar are shown, including the timer, spotlight, pen, pause button, start and stop keyboard shortcut and the eraser.

Using Vocaroo to Record Student Audio Projects

This tutorial shows the workflow of how students can record class audio projects using Vocaroo and then turn them in through Google Classroom.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How to Extract Audio from Your Videos

While I was working on a video editing project, I started picturing the final product in my head. I recorded an interview with my client. Then, I recorded him running (because he is an avid marathon and competitive runner). I then decided to play the audio of his voice from the interview underneath the clip of him running. Unfortunately, I have not yet installed any decent video editing software on my new laptop. 

Being pressed for time, I only had a free video editor at my disposal which only allows for one video track and one audio track. So, the question was how to take the audio from one clip and add it to a different clip. This brought up a need for an audio extractor which could take the audio from one clip and allow me to export it as an MP3 file, for instance. I did a search and found 5 awesome online audio extractors to extract audio from video

The article also explains how to extract audio from video with Filmora Video Editor. If you are looking for other software along these lines, such as video editors, audio editors, password managers, photo editors, malware removal tools, music managers, etc., I recommend visiting Giveaway of the Day where they feature at least one good free software download every day of the week. I have found so many great tools this way. Just remember that any future upgrades of the programs you download are not included for free.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Transforming Videos into Formative Assessments with EDpuzzle

Image result for edpuzzle logo

On Wednesday, August 23rd, I will be presenting a session entitled "Transforming Videos into Formative Assessments with EDpuzzle" at Marysville High School from 11:15 to 12:15 in Computer Lab A101. Supporting resources for this session are found below:

Transforming Videos into Formative Assessments with EDpuzzle (the full session presentation)

Transforming Videos into Formative Assessments with EDpuzzle (Agenda and Class Notes)

EDpuzzle Step-by-Step (a very quick Getting-Started slideshow with steps & no pictures)

EDpuzzle Teacher Instructions (a step-by-step guide with screenshot pictures for teachers)

EDpuzzle Student Instructions (a step-by-step guide with screenshot pictures for students)
Image result for edpuzzle logo

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Android Advanced User Guide to Google Docs and Sheets

Roland Dean at has put together the most thorough and advanced user guide for Google Docs and Sheets for Android that I have seen so far. I found it very useful and can see why he is so proud of it. The guide will help users get the most out of Google Docs, for instance, right away, as well as Sheets (Google's version of Excel) and even Slides (Google's version of PowerPoint). Here is a brief look at the file view in the screenshot below.
I'm going to open this guide on my phone and/or tablet and keep it there. To check it out for yourself, head over to the site and read it right away, or just click on the link below:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Resources & Tools for Creating a Free Business Logo

Desktop Apps to Use:

  • In Google Docs (, use the Add-In called Open ClipArt.  This adds ClipArt to your Google Docs.
  • In Google Slides (, go to the Insert menu and insert WordArt, Line, Shape and Image.
  • In PowerPoint, go to Insert>>Pictures or Insert>>Shapes.  Use a different slide for each of your logo designs.
    Note: Upload to Google Drive when finished.  

Legal Image Search Tips:

  • In Google Slides: If you go to Insert>>Image, use the Search tab.  It searches only images that are free and legal to use to use (not copyrighted).
  • Creative Commons (CC Search): What makes CC Search so great is that it is more than just an image search. Search 12 different media sites from within one page (including Flickr, Google and YouTube). It searches music and video sites as well as images.
  • Free high-quality images. Only requires a login if you want to save the images to your account. Otherwise, you can download to your desktop, and upload to Google Drive. 
  • If you use a Google Images search, click on the Search Tools button, then Usage Rights.  Click on "Labeled for Reuse."

Design Your Logo Online (Online Resources):

Note: First you need a Company Name.  Then you can use any of these resources to help you get started. Most of these are perfect for creating business cards:
  • Canva: lets you create a logo design from their various templates at which ever size you need, including the correct social media formats. Canva is a designer, a canvas and a photo editor, so you can do all of your designing in one place. You will need to set up a free account at the Canva site.
  • Freelogoservices will offer a step-by-step with various options to choose from.  Use it only as a starting point to help you create your own ideas. Includes a business card creator and you get 50 free business cards. 
  • LogoGarden: Easy pick-n-click tools to help you design a logo. Starts with just a business category and a symbol. 
  • DesignMantic: Just enter your company name to get started. Creates several logo design variations with one click. 
  • VistaPrint: This not only helps you design a logo, but it also lets you make a batch of free business cards.
  • LogoMaker: Takes you step-by-step through the creation of a logo.  Requires an account, but you can step through it without one.  
  • Google Drawings: Google's design canvas tool. Drag or insert images and text, and then design your logo, which can be saved directly to your Google Drive or go to File>>Download As  and choose a format like PDF, PNG or Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).
Saving Your Images and Designs:
  • When finished, make sure you log in to your Google Drive ( and upload your designs.  
  • Pictures should first be downloaded to a desktop folder you create, called something like "Logo Images." As you download your photos, right-click and choose "Save Image As" or "Save Picture As" and store them on your classroom computer. 
  • When your images are downloaded and collected, upload them to Google Drive, and delete the Logo Images folder from your classroom desktop.
  • Note: To save your designs online all in one place, try and sign in with your Google account.
    --You must have an account to save your designs. You can also use pre-created designs that are already pre-formatted for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other online platforms. 
Free Vector Images, ClipArt, Logo and Text Generators:
  • Cooltexta free graphics generator for web pages and anywhere else you need an impressive logo without a lot of design work.  Simply choose what kind of image you would like. Then fill out a form and you'll have your own custom image created on the fly. 
  • Cannypic: This site offers its own collection of high-quality hand-made vector images for personal and commercial use, absolutely free.
  • SoftIcons: Allows you to download free icons, icon sets and icon tools, at least for personal use. 
  • OpenClipArt: Free ClipArt on a variety of searchable topics. 
  • Clker: Free ClipArt you can use for anything you like.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How to Use VoiceOver on the iPad and iPhone

Yes, the iPad and iPhone can speak to students. The accessibility feature called VoiceOver can be activated and used by students with reading accommodations. The presentation below shows you how to use VoiceOver and gives several useful tips.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Quiz Feature in the New Google Forms

You can now grade a quiz using Google Forms without using any add-ins. This makes it so that anyone can create a self-grading quiz which can be embedded into Google Classroom, a blog, website or sent by e-mail or QR Code to your students. While you can still use the Flubaroo add-on to make this magic happen, the new Quiz feature is well worth looking into. This video tutorial shows the feature in action, step-by-step, and it also gives you a look at some of the other features included in the new Google Forms.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Eno & Easiteach Workshop

Eno & Easiteach Workshop
(2 Parts)

Links, Handouts and Tutorials

On Tuesday, July 19th and Thursday, July 21st, I will be leading sessions at the McKinley Administration Building on Eno Whiteboards and RM Easiteach Next Generation, the whiteboard lesson-creation software.

Downloading & Creating Whiteboard Lessons with
RM Easiteach Next Generation

Advanced Use of the Recordex Document Camera and XSight Software

Advanced Use of Recordex Document Cameras
and XSight Software (Pictures and Video)

How to Use YouTube Video Editor (links to more videos at the end)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

5 Useful Web Tools for the Summer Vacation

Working hard or hardly working? If you ask yourself this question and are not sure what the answer is, it’s time to take a break. The summer has started and we are all slowly getting ready for that deserved vacation. Before we go lay down on a beach somewhere, there are probably some things that we need to finish at work. When we leave for our vacation, we will still receive emails, meetings will be held and business will keep on rolling as usual. Luckily, there are some useful web tools that can help you wrap up all necessary tasks so you won't have to worry about anything. Here are five favorites.

1.    Google Drive

There is an expression - you shouldn't keep all your eggs in one basket. Well, with Google Drive it is actually quite the opposite. All you files should be in one place, easily accessible at your convenience. You can store documents, keep photos, songs, videos – anything. Also, it is more than useful since files can be reached from any device. When you go somewhere, your files are going with you. And you don't need to pay a ticket for them too, as the tool is free.

Task management tools like this have been here for some time, but their popularity has grown in the last few years. Todoist is perfect if you need to manage tasks and projects remotely. If you are on vacation or somewhere else offline, this tool lets you organize tasks in a manner that you find best suitable. Todoist is available for every platform, including web, desktop, mobile, add-ons and more. If you need to take your work to the beach, let it be with Todoist.

One neat tool that you will love for sure is Investintech’s PDF OCR Converter. Why, you ask? It can prepare you for the summer, as it can convert your scanned PDF documents to completely editable Word files. The features that set it apart from other PDF to Word tools are that it converts both scanned (image) and native PDFs to Word, there is no need to buy or install anything on your computer (no limitations), and all file sizes are supported. This is the PDF converter you've been looking for.

Don't get this tool confused with Google Drive. Google Keep is a basic note taking application. Maybe you didn't hear about it, but it's actually a great tool for writing and saving notes and lists. It connects with Google Drive, so it is perfect if you want to keep your photos or any text notes in one place. Everything is synchronized across all your devices, including the cloud. Now, that is really useful, don't you think?

Before going on summer vacation, you need a good trip planner. Search no more. Trip Hobo is the world’s largest platform for planning and creating your own itineraries. Also, you can use existing travel plans since it provides information for over 50,000 attractions to help users plan their trip. Planning is everything, so you should definitely check this tool.

With tools like these, you can rest assured that when your vacation arrives, you will be fully prepared. The only thing that is left for you is to pack and enjoy your holiday. Just don't get any sunburn. We didn't cover any tools for that.

Friday, May 27, 2016

5 Google Search Easter Eggs

I subscribe to BetterCloudMonitor Academy newsletter, and they recently uncovered a nice list of 5 Google Search Easter Eggs. Most of these are well-known, but there were couple that I didn't know about. Either way, it's nice to have all five here for future reference. 

As a tech teacher, this is a nice way to spend a fun class session at the end of the school year seeing what Google programmers create in their spare time.  Also, make sure to watch the video that accompanies this article.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Managing Your Passwords, Downloads and Logins in Google Chrome

Looking for another organizational tech tip? Today I take on Google Chrome and wrestle it into submission. Learn how to manage your passwords, downloads and multiple Google logins inside of the world's most popular browser, Google Chrome. Gone are the days when these things managed you.

Using Doctopus and Goobric to Manage Assessment in Google Classroom: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published in March 2016, this is one of my favorite posts from our Port Huron Schools EdTech Weebly blog.  What is a Doctopus, you ask? And for that matter, what is a Goobric? I'm so glad you asked. I took a lengthy look at both tools and put together this step-by-step guide/article that I hope will help teachers tie together three great Google student assessment and management tools: Google Classroom, Goobric (a Google online rubric) and student assignment submissions (linked through Doctopus) all in one place. 

Here is the article:

Screencasting on a Chromebook with Snagit for Google Chrome

Today's tip shows how to create screenshots and video tutorials directly from a Chromebook, using the Snagit for Google Chrome extension. Just one more great application from TechSmith, out of Okemos, Michigan, my home state.


Yes! There Is an Advanced Search in YouTube

Who knew? Well, you will know how to do an advanced search in YouTube after you watch this video. Then, your obsession with watching YouTube videos will become even more specific and specialized. Just the thing we all need, right?

Peer Editing within Google Classroom

Today's tip looks at a method of using Google Classroom and Google Docs with students to peer edit a writing assignment. The video takes a look at the full process of getting the document from within Google Classroom, and then students share the document to allow peer editing comments. Yes, this video is already found below, but I thought you might like to see it on, where the viewing experience is a bit more pleasurable. 

A Crash Course in Bookmarks and Shortcuts

I've decided to pull some of my tech tip videos from the archives and post them here, just in case you missed any. This tip offers my method of computer desktop organization, focusing here on shortcuts and bookmarks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Clearing Your Browsing History for Quick Chrome Logins

How often does this happen? You try to log in to Gmail or Google Drive, but someone else is already logged in. As hard as you try, you cannot clear his or her login information. Need a quick solution? Try this keyboard combination: Ctrl, Shift, Delete (press all three keys at the same time). This brings up the "Clear browsing data" window. All you need to obliterate is the past hour. Then, click the "Clear browsing data" button at the bottom and try to log in again. Your login screen should be cleared out and ready to go.

There are a lot of good keyboard shortcuts for Google, but if you share a computer with another person, or multiple people, this is one to keep posted to your wall, file cabinet or desk, for easy access, because you will need it again. The reason why we recommend the keyboard shortcut is because, otherwise, you would have to click on the Google Chrome Settings button, go to Settings, then click on "Show advanced settings," then scroll down to Privacy, then click on Clear browsing data and, finally, click the Clear browsing data button. A keyboard shortcut is much faster and does the very same thing. Give this tip a try and you are guaranteed to breathe a sigh of relief.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

5 Things You Should Do After Upgrading to Windows 10

I am now a fan of David Kimball and his Windows 10 video tutorials, his Twitter posts and his Beyond Twitter podcasts. In honor of his new website: I wanted to include a very helpful video that he made on the 5 Things You Should Do After Upgrading to Windows 10. I found the tips on how to customize Microsoft Edge particularly valuable. Who knew you had to go into the Advanced Settings just to change the Home page? And I never thought of completely eliminating all of the tiles on the new Start menu, making it look more like Windows 7. Great tips, David, and good luck on your new site. We should talk sometime. Enjoy the video, everyone. If you have upgraded to Windows 10, it will be a great help.