Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: A Must Read EdTech Hit Out FRIDAY

Shout out to my friend and Education Technology colleague +Lisa Johnson (TechChef4u) on the publication of her first book available Friday THIS WEEK! After perusing the praise of my colleagues for her work, I'm so excited to get my hands on it. Here's what Kyle Pace had to say . . .
This book is the most practical guide I have seen to truly help secondary students be “future ready.” The advice and tips that Lisa Johnson shares should become a standard digital literacy read for all middle school and high school students. 
—Kyle Pace, Instructional Technology Coach Grain Valley School District Kansas City, MO
I'm most excited about the chapter on Visual Literacy, which I've long believed is an important skill to teach without having a convincing argument as to why or really understanding how. Lisa provides both, and I'm buying it, literally and figuratively. Check out her four guiding questions for students (full descriptions of each one in the book). Even this ONE chapter is worth the purchase and there are so many more!

Communicating the Organization of Content Within a slide Deck  
  • How do you hook your audience’s attention? 
  • How do you capture the most important details and information? 
  • What is the best logical order for your information? 
  • How do you leave your peers with an impression? 

Buy it now before it's sold out! (Just kidding, it's digital! But you should still buy it!)


Corwin Book Code: N173H5 for 25% off the list price, expires 4/30.

Friday, February 24, 2017

MIND BLOWN: Now Possible . . . Narration in Google Slides (and it's EASY and FREE)

So, we hope everyone who reads the friEdTechnology OR Brenham ISD blog is ready to have their minds blown! 

By Guest Blogger Tom Spall, find him on Twitter @Tommyspall

I would like to thank two incredibly smart, Google-tastic friends: Jessica Powell and Amy Mayer from FriEdTechnology for this blog post! It's awesome what happens when folks put their minds together! #PLN

In a recent Brenham Tech Daily blog post we discussed the new G-Suite update to Google Slides where you can now upload a video straight from your Google Drive into your Slide Presentation. Jessica Powell has taken this a step forward and decided to turn her presentations into voice-navigated (self-paced) presentations.

The practical use for this in education and/or self-paced training is enormous. Just think of educators conducting training sessions online using this method. Or students taking a self-paced, voice-navigated test at their own speed. Every day Google is allowing for us to change the game in education!

Below is the original idea from my buddy, Jess P.

"I'm sure by now you've heard the awesome can now insert videos from Google Drive into your Slides presentations so that you don't have to rely on YouTube videos.

One tip I wanted to share with you all that I'm using with my self-paced course materials, Voice-Navigated Presentations:

Use Screencastify's "Webcam" recorder to narrate your slides.
Upload to Google Drive.
Insert the video into your slide.
Then, right click on your video to see "Video options"
Choose "Autoplay when presenting"
I shrink my video super small so it's hidden.

There you go. Now your slides presentations can be self-paced, using the link to slide option, AND voice-narrated. Making online coursework using Slides is super easy now!"

+Amy Mayer (@friEdTechnology) was able to take this great idea and create a wonderful tutorial for you that takes you through the various steps needed to make this happen! Watch below:

Narrated Slides from Amy Mayer

Monday, January 23, 2017

TCEA Schedule 2017

Thank you guys for asking what sessions I was offering at this year's TCEA conference! Here's my schedule below. I hope to see you at all of the friEdTechnology Team sessions!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Best Calculator Apps for All Platforms

There are SO MANY calculator apps, sites, and softwares. Where should you begin? We've provided a list, but it won't be complete until you weigh in. If your favorite calculator app isn't listed, request edit access and add it.

Click here to open the doc in G Suite

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Learn to use the New Autocrat 3.0 to Make Certificates (or Anything Else)

Hi there, educators! I hope you enjoy this tutorial showing how to make certificates using Autocrat 3.0, which is quite different, and I think much easier, than the previous version. If you like it, please share it with others on social media, subscribe to you YouTube channel or leave a comment. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Google Drawing Templates Galore from the Best of EdTech! (Redux)

Google Drawing Templates: Please do not request access, open the template you want and create a copy. Thanks to everyone who contributed to these set! Eric Curts, Kasey Bell, and Matt Miller.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Definitive Guide to Google Classroom "Parent View" aka Guardian Summaries

In this guide, Mike Wallace and Amy Mayer seek to provide you with all the knowledge you need as a PARENT, TEACHER or GAFE SYS ADMIN to get the most out of Google Classroom Guardian Summaries. We sure hope it helps! If it does, please share this post and encourage your colleagues to get on our email list here.

All materials referred to in this post can be found here.

PARENTS: If your child's school is using Google Classroom and has enabled Guardian Summaries, your job is easy. All you have to do is click "Accept" when you receive the email from It will look something like the screenshot you see below:

After you click the blue ACCEPT button, you'll get an option to choose the frequency of the emails you receive (daily or weekly) and your time zone. Presumably, this will keep the summaries from coming to you at 3 a.m. and waking you up. 

If you don't get the invite, check your email's SPAM folder. The email should come from a "no reply" email address and that may push it into SPAM. If you still don't get the invite, ask your child's teacher to remove your address and re-add you. This will remove you from all classes where you have been invited, but that's ok because you didn't get the invite anyway. If that STILL doesn't work, create a new Gmail email address and ask the teacher or system administrator to invite that address. Remember, you can always forward messages to your existing account so that you don't have to permanently change your address. 

If you STILL don't get the email, the problem most likely is that your email provider is blocking emails from Google at the server level before they get to your inbox. ​This is a problem that neither we nor Google will likely be able to solve; however, there are two possible workarounds.

1. Sign up for a Gmail account here. If you don't want to check another email address, you can use these directions to forward email from that account to your current account.

2. Contact your email provider and ask them to release the emails from Google Classroom. they will be looking for messages from

If you choose to enact solution 1 above, you would then need ask your child's teacher to add your new Gmail address to Google Classroom.

TEACHERS: Your job is a bit more difficult, and depending on the settings your Google Apps System Administrator has chosen, this next step could be a tad time consuming. However, it will also be WORTH IT

Scenario 1: Your Admin has allowed YOU to invite guardians. Below you will see a gif showing you how to invite a guardian manually if this feature has been enabled for you. Here are some written directions

Scenario 2: Your Admin has added guardians to Classroom. This is a dream come true! In this case, just go to the Students tab in your classroom and toggle the switch beside "Include this class." You'll also need to decide if you want to add ALL the classes you teach or just this one. Both options are pictured below. 


You also have some work to do, and as you can see from the directions above, everyone is counting on you (as usual)! There are also two scenarios for you to consider. 

Scenario 1: Teachers are already contacting students' guardians. They already know who those guardians are and presumably there is a system in place so that they know when a guardian becomes not a guardian anymore or is added. Considering this, it is possible to allow teachers to add guardians themselves. They may even ask you for this privilege because they will be able to keep this information updated themselves. In this case, please watch the video below to learn how to allow teachers to manually add guardians. 

Scenario 2: Your district collects and maintains guardian data and you take the responsibility seriously. You want there to be ONE system that houses this information and you want to maintain control of it. In this case, you will want to populate guardian data yourself.

Before you set up the script or begin the process, email parents AND teachers to let them know what's going on. Here are some email templates you can use. Don't forget to replace the GREEN text with your school's information.

FOR THE REAL TECHNICAL PEOPLE: In order to automate this process, you will have to install GAM (Google Apps Manager). You can get it from Github here and you can learn how to use it here. Once you get GAM installed, please see this example Script and CSV file Mike Wallace has generously provided.  This script will work for districts with up to 3000 students; larger districts will need a more complicated setup to mitigate the time it takes to download a list of invites from Google. If you need help with this process, please feel free to contact friEdTechnology for a quote here.

We sure hope this helps! Please let us know in the comments or on YouTube if you have any further questions or anything to add!