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The new Google Sites

February 20, 2017

Google Sites went through a MAJOR upgrade recently and a new version was released in November 2016. Gone are the ugly, old-school pages. You can arrange things into columns, drag and drop, and incorporate all kinds of elements. See TechRepublic’s article 5 key features of the new Google Sites for some of the highlights. Watch the two videos below for a quick tutorial and a deeper dive:

The above videos from the EduFlip website were produced by Sethi De Clercq of St. Andrews International School in Thailand.

Add your video to Google Slides

February 17, 2017

I have been encouraging people to consider using Google Slides, but one caveat was that you could only insert video from YouTube. On February 8 of this year, Google announced that users of Google Slides can now embed a video saved in Google Drive into a slide. The video below from Practical Ed Tech explains how it works.

Two ideas for spring semester

December 21, 2016

light paintingTo finish up the year I’m highlighting some of our most popular articles. They’re grouped into two strategies you might want to explore over the break. Don’t worry if it’s too late for major changes to that spring course. You can use these ideas to move the needle just a smidge the first time around.

1. Have students create media

This can take the form of a small assignment. It doesn’t have to rise to the level of a major paper.

2. Make your materials pop

There are easy ways to make a handout, syllabus, or other document visually more effective — and they don’t require redoing everything from scratch.

[Image credit: light painting by Jonathan Cohen]

College students and information overload

December 19, 2016

HydrantMost Americans like their choices in today’s information-saturated world. But 20% feel overloaded, and there are stresses for those with fewer pathways to the internet or who feel they are expected to do too much information gathering.

That’s how the Pew Research Center summarized its recent findings on Information Overload.*

One take-away for teaching and learning in higher education is that people under 21 experience the least information overload. No surprise there — the young have never known anything else; to them it is the normal state of things. This is yet another proof that college students and their instructors see the world differently.

If you need consolation, here’s my opinion: students may be quicker to dig up the name of William Howard Taft’s mother, but they’re no better at evaluating the quality of the information they find — or knowing how to use it effectively. That’s one of the reasons they go to college.

* Alvin Toffler’s 1970 bestseller Future Shock ushered “information overload” into popular culture.

[Image credit: Hydrant  by Elliott Scott]

Thank you!

December 16, 2016

2016 has been the most active year for NspireD2 since the blog started in 2009!

We hit the milestone of half a million lifetime views last week, and well over one thousand people now subscribe through WordPress or Feedly, follow on Twitter or Facebook, and keep up by other means. We’re glad you find the information here useful, and we’re grateful for your support. Please continue to share articles with colleagues and encourage them to subscribe or follow.

Happy holidays!

Even if you’ve finished gift shopping you can still enjoy David Pogue’s recommendations.