Three Tech Tips

A few weeks ago, I shared that to help me better focus to my why, I was going to post at least two tech tip blogs here every month. These tech tips will be quick shares that I believe will help you as an educator to better utilize existing tools that you already use. I love new uses for old tools, don't you? So as we close this month, let's dig deep and learn about three more tech tips.

Tech Tip #1: Did you know that Pear Deck has a free online component that allows students to work collaboratively to create?

If you haven't discovered Pear Deck's Flashcard Factory yet, then, you are truly missing out. It markets itself as an online flashcard creator, but it is so much more. In December 2019, I published an entire blog post on this tool, but just in case, you missed it, here is the TL:DR version.

  • Pear Deck's Flashcard Factory was designed to transform the way students engage with vocabulary.

  • Students pair up and work together to create dynamic and engaging flashcards that are composed of text and an illustration.

  • After creating the flashcards, students and teacher go through Quality Control to determine which cards "make the cut."

  • You can save the cards as a pdf or export them into Gimkit.

Besides that traditional ways of using Flashcard Factory, here are some of my favorites.

  • My school counselor shared various scenarios with students during a school counseling lesson. One student identified the feeling with writing, while the other students illustrated a calming strategy.

  • During a sixth grade math lesson, students were given math problems using integers. One student wrote a matching word problem, while the other students illustrated how to solve the problem.

  • In the gif to the right, I show an example using basic math facts.

These examples show that Pear Deck's Flashcard Factory isn't just for vocabulary words- it can do much more.

Tech Tip #2: Did you know that you can add your own backgrounds to customize Padlets?

Padlet is truly a versatile tool. Now, with a variety of formats you have so many possibilities. In fact, Padlet even has its own extensive library of templates and patterns from which to choose from. But sometimes, you might want your Padlet to match specific content not available in their library.

  • To do this, click on the Gear in the upper right hand corner first.

  • Select the arrow by Wallpaper.

  • Select Add Your Own Wallpaper

  • From there, you have several options,

        • You can Search for images.

        • You can upload an image that you created.

        • You can paste a link there.

        • You can take a photo.

        • You can draw an image.

  • After you can choose whether you want to tile the image or use it full screen, You can also choose whether to blur the image or not.

Tech Tip #3: Did you know that you can change the size of any Google Slide Deck and customize it to what you want?

When people typically think of Google Slides, they think about creating a presentation but that it is not the only way to use Google Slides. In fact, by changing the size of the slide deck, you have so many more possibilities available using this app.

To change the size of the slide deck:

  • Click File and scroll down to Page Setup

  • The default is usually Widescreen 16:9,, but if you click the carrot, you have other options.

  • Choose Custom and you can change your size to either centimeters, inches or pixels.

Why would you need to change the size?

  • Many of our students like working in Google Slides more and this way, they can make their slide the size of a standard piece of paper.

  • To create electronic books.

  • To create a collection of graphics at a particular size for social media or another program.