Chart Integration Comes to Google Docs/Slides

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.13.58 AMUsers have asked for it and now they can have it. Yes, Google Drive now supports the integration of charts built from data within a Google Sheets file into Google Docs and Slides files.  Now, when you go to the Insert menu and highlight ‘Chart’ from the drop-down menu, a new option is available labeled “From Sheets…” Some additional options include:

  • Direct link to a Sheets file: Once you have inserted the chart onto your Doc or Slide, you can use it to jump directly to the Sheets file that contains the chart data.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.22.52 AM

  • One-click updating: If the data in your Sheets file is edited, you can instruct your chart in the Doc/Slides file to reflect these changes with a single click.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.26.12 AM

For more information and to see examples of the chart integration in action, check out this great post from The Techy Coach Blog by Shawn Beard.


AddText – Captions for your photos, quick and easy

Have you ever wanted to enhance a photo with some informative text or maybe a witty catchphrase?  Perhaps you realize that that selfie needs a bit of explaining before it gets posted? Now you can and without having to download an app. AddText makes it easy to add captions to any photo for free!

To start, select a photo from the web, your device, or from the site’s own photo gallery samples (if you are using a mobile device, then you can take a snapshot and upload it on the spot). Then, enter you text in the box provided. Additional tools include text style, color, size, and location on the photo. When your work is complete, click on the ‘Next’ button to download your photo or share it via URL or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+).

NOTE: To remove the AddText watermark, you can purchase a premium membership.


  • Enhance photos for your bulletin boards or other displays with custom text.
  • Use as an icebreaker with students by having them upload photos that represent their interests and then adding text describing an event that relates to it.
  • Have students select an image from a historical event and add a relevant quote.
  • Take images used to help students find a creative writing topic and add text to provide additional information OR to create an added layer of mystery.

AddText screenshot


Annotating on Top of Google Slides From an Interactive Whiteboard

Screen-Shot-2014-10-22-at-4.16.43-PMHave you ever been in that situation where you want to combine the powers of two technology tools to enhance your lesson but, try as you might, they just won’t “play nice” with each other? One such situation is when trying to annotate over a Google Slides presentation from an interactive whiteboard interface, such as a SMART Board or Promethean Board. Ah, but fear not my friends because two teachers have discovered a way to get these two technologies to be team players.

In a recent post on the T.E.A.M. Togetherness blog by Angela Patterson & Kate Sommerville, they discovered that if you tweak the one of the settings in Google Slides then you can still run your slide deck in presentation mode and still have access to the annotation tools on your interactive whiteboard. The key is to present so that your slides fill the entire browser window but not the entire screen on your device. You can toggle this setting from the Slides toolbar found in the bottom-left corner of your screen that becomes visible once you have entered into presentation mode.


Check out the full article from T.E.A.M. Togetherness here for more information. Isn’t it great when we all can just get along.

Reminders Come to Google ‘Web’ Calendar

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.57.57 AMBack in December I shared the news from Google that a new tool was being introduced to their mobile version of Google Calendar: Reminders. Unlike the Tasks tool in Google Calendar for the web, Reminders will “stick around” if they do not get resolved by their assigned due date and remain at the top of the current day’s agenda until you’ve completed the task and “swipe it away.”

Recently Google announced that Reminders will become part of Google Calendar for the web too. Some of the key features of Reminders are:

  • Set specific dates and times to get notified.
  • Reminders carry forward into future days until they are marked as ‘done.’
  • Reminders created in the Google App, Google Keep, and Google Inbox will also show up in Calendar.
  • Reminders are private to the calendar owner and are not visible to others, even if they have been shared.


NOTE: If you have enabled Tasks in Google Calendar than you will need to manually switch over to Reminders.


For more information, check out the Google Apps Updates Blog or the Google Calendar Help Center.

Embed YouTube w/o Related Videos

The YouTube coin:coin_thumbs_down_T

  • On one side you have a ginormous reservoir of digital media that many educators have gone to support and enhance their lessons.
  • On the other you have the those suggested/related videos that display at the end of the video, and some use the term “related” very loosely.

But, thanks to a recent posting on Google+ from Tony Vincent over at Learning in Hand, I learned that there is a way to disable the related videos from showing at the end when you go to embed a YouTube video:

  1. Scroll down beneath the YouTube video and click on the ‘Share’ button.
  2. Click on the ‘Embed’ option to reveal the embed code for the video.
  3. Click on the SHOW MORE link located just below the embed code box.
  4. The window will expand to show a preview of the video an additional customization options such as video size and player controls. The first checkbox is the one you want which is enabled by default: “Show suggested videos when the video finishes.” Uncheck this box to disable the suggested/related videos panels from being displayed at the end of the YouTube video.
  5. Copy-&-paste the revised embed code and add it to your project.

If you’d like to share a YouTube video without any of the distractions found on their site, then you should check out the site


The Performing Arts w/Google 360˚

One of the greatest gifts we have as a species is the ability to tell stories. And when we tell our stories we do so in wonderfully diverse ways such as music, dance, voice and many more. Now you can get up close and personal with some of these storytelling techniques thanks to the Google Cultural Institute and Google’s 360˚ capture technology.

Choose from a list that includes Music, Opera, Theater, Dance, and Performance Art and then head off on an immersive journey. Access images, video, and map locations relating to the various types of performances and their venues. Then, click on the 360˚ icon to travel to that location and experience things as if you were there! Use the map icon in the bottom-left corner to access the available cameras and any additional media choices. The site can be accessed by both desktop and mobile devices.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 5.33.39 PM

I chose to travel to Carnegie Hall and observe the orchestra as they played. I watched as their hands and fingers manipulating the instruments, at times moving so fast that they became a blur, in order to create a beautiful-sounding performance.


  • While nothing can beat the real thing, for schools that struggle to fund field trips (who doesn’t these days, right?) to performing arts venues this site could be the next best thing.
  • Ask students to reflect on the sights and sounds that they consume through these unique points of view. What do you think it’s like to sit facing the audience? How does it feel to have all those stage lights focused on you? What do you think the performers are thinking about when they’re onstage?

Google Slides Q&A

One of the challenges of public speaking is staying connected to your audience and ensuring that your presentation remains relevant to their needs and interests. One strategy presenters use is setting up a back channel, where audience members can ask questions and discuss the the various points introduced during the event and the presenter can then access later. Now Google has jumped on the back channel bandwagon with the introduction of Google Slides Q&A.

To access the new Q&A option:

1. Open a Google Slides presentation and then enter presentation mode.

2. Locate the ‘Presenter view’ option from the menu bar located in the bottom-left corner of the window. You can also press the ‘s’ key on the keyboard to bring up the SPEAKER NOTES tool, then switch to the AUDIENCE TOOLS tab.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 3.42.43 PM

3. Here you will see the custom URL that audiences can use to submit questions during the presentation. When active, the URL will be displayed at the top of every slide in your presentation and participants can then access the Q&A tool from any device.


Additional Options:

  • Use the slide bar to the right to turn the Q&A feature on/off.
  • If you’re using a Google Apps for Education or Work account, you have the option to restrict access to the Q&A tool to just your domain users. Otherwise, you can set the access to ‘Anyone.’


Google Slides Q&A is available for any and all presenters, so students can take advantage of this tool as well. Although, I have to report that many of my students find the laser pointer tool to have a much higher “coolness” factor. For more information, please check out the post on the Google Docs Blog, and to see Slides Q&A in action check out this video on Shree Bose, winner of the first ever Google Science Fair.



  • Use Slides Q&A to prevent interruptions from students during a presentation while still placing value on those same questions.
  • Allow students who struggle to speak up in class to have a voice and contribute to the conversation.
  • Use this tool to help students practice crafting thoughtful questions, provide constructive criticism, and model academic commenting criteria.