technology

Fluco Toolbox: Twitter Archiver

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted to create an archived collection of tweets on a trending topic? What about a conference? Love Tweetdeck, but hate scrolling down through all the images and GIFs? Or maybe you just love looking at tweet data.

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Twitter Archiver

First, the basics:

Name: Twitter Archiver
URL: Link here
Cost: FREE w/ Premium option ($29 yearly)
Problem this tool solves: Use this Google Sheets add-on to archive tweets on a trending topic or hashtag. Customize fetch rules to limit based on language, mentions, user, and more.

Twitter Archiver is a Google Sheets add-on that’s very handy to capture tweets based on a series of rules. It has both a free and premium side, each with their own pros and cons. This tool is a great way to capture Twitter updates when Tweetdeck isn’t the preferred option. Twitter Archiver removes the images and GIFs so that the tweet and links are the priority. Bonus: it works in the background even when the computer is off so the file is constantly being updated!

Before I jump into how to use the tool, I want to share a comparison of the free and premium versions. We all love free, and for most educators, this will be the best option. However, those who follow a lot of conference or popular educational hashtags may prefer the $29 per year premium option instead.

The free version allows the user to create one rule for fetching tweets. This rule can be edited and changed over time, allowing the user to pull different hashtags in as needed. Because of this, it is best for the user to have one Spreadsheet named Twitter Archiver. A new tab is created for each new rule, and old tabs can be deleted when no longer necessary. The free version fetches tweets every hour and is supposed to be limited to 100 tweets. However, my test run of this with a trending hashtag showed that it was able to pull in over 2k the first round, and over 300 the second time.

Upgrading to premium does cost $29 per year. With premium, new tweets are fetched every 15 minutes, allowing you to stay on top of the most recent tweets. It also does not limit to 100 per hour. Multiple rules can be created, which means that the user is not limited to using just one spreadsheet for Twitter Archiver. Finally, technical support is free for 60 days.

To begin using Twitter Archiver, use the link above to add the add-on to your Google Sheets. Open a new Sheets file, and name the file Twitter Archiver. In the ribbon at the top, go to “Add-ons” and select “Twitter Archiver”. The first time the add-on is used, you will be asked to authorize Google to connect to your Twitter account.

Follow the steps above again, this time selecting “Create Rule”.

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Fill in the parameters for the rule. If you are only wanting hashtags, do not add the # symbol to your parameters.

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Note: Mine is set to Manage, as I’d already created an original rule prior to this post. Your screen will look similar to mine.

Once the rule has been created, the Google Sheet will have a tab for a Log and a tab for the rule. As more rules are created (or the original updated), new tabs will be added.

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The tab that houses all of the archived tweets looks like the image below. It is much easier to scroll through and read tweets on a topic without pictures, and with a more compressed look and feel. It is also easier to sort the tweet data, or search for keywords that appear over and over again.

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That’s all there is to it! Don’t forget to manage and update the original file if you are a free user. I love the data this thing collects, but I’m a big dork for all that fun data stuff, too. I plan to use this in the future for conferences because I’m able to see more information at once. Happy tweeting!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: FreeImages

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed free images for a project or design? Just needed another free image site to add to your bookmarks, just in case?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: FreeImages

First, the basics:

Name: FreeImages
URL: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Provides free stock photography images, taken by site photographers. Unlike some other sites, this website does not allow users to upload their work, so all images have been vetted. Free to use as long as credit is given.

If you’re like me, you can never have enough resources for free image websites. Having a wealth of libraries at one’s fingertips is a godsend, especially when the need arises for a particular image.

FreeImages is a UK site that hosts a library of over 16,000 stock photos. It’s similar to other sites, where a simple search is performed and a host of photos matching the search criteria are returned. Though this site is curated by the webmasters, they do have a sister site where the community can contribute photos for use.

FreeImages allows users to use their photography for free, as long as credit is given. Detailed information can be found here on the website. Basically, if an image is used, credit must be given as a link back to the website.

To simply search for a photo, go to the web address listed above. On the home page, locate the magnifying glass in the upper right area of the screen. Type in the keyword/s. For mine, I decided to search for “cat”

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A list of search results will load, and small thumbnail images will appear. As you can see from my search, not everything tended to match “cat”.

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Find the desired image, and click the thumbnail to see an enlarged version. The page will load an image description and information about the file. Right below that (but not pictured here) is a blue “Download” button.

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Click the blue “Download” button to open the image in a new tab. Right click on the image to save it. Since this website requires credit in the form of a website link, I would include the website in the filename. Save the file, and you’ve got a new picture for that project!

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There is one other way to search the free images on this site, and that’s via the Gallery. The gallery can be accessed by going to the homepage and clicking the link of the same name, or “Browse Image Collection” if that ad is on the screen at the time.

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The site has created many categories for their images. Click on one of the collection titles to see all of the grouped sub-collections in that category. Browsing this way might bring up images that would have never been found otherwise.

Make sure to add this free image site to your list! It’s always good to have a lot because you never know which site will have that perfect image!

Fluco Toolbox: Tall Tweets

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever wanted to make a GIF of your Slides presentation? Ever wished you had a few sample images to advertise your upcoming workshop? Just like GIFs?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Tall Tweets

First, the basics:

Name: Tall Tweets
URL: http://www.talltweets.com
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Create GIFs of a Google Slides presentation. Use these GIFs for auto-running presentations, to advertise a presentation, or even to highlight the key points of a presentation. This tool also allows the user to tweet high quality images of individual slides.

Despite its name, Tall Tweets does more than just work with Twitter. It’s a handy tool that can be utilized to create a GIF from a Google Slides presentation. Choose to highlight key slides, or create a GIF of the entire presentation.

To begin, go to the website listed above. The first step is to connect a Google account to the website. This allows Tall Tweets to access Slides presentations stored in Drive. Then click the “Select Presentation” button.

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Search Drive for the desired presentation. Tall Tweets includes all presentations that have been shared with the user, so it’s a good idea to have the name of the Slides file in mind when searching.

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Click the desired presentation and then “Select”. Tall Tweets will import the presentation to the website. This may take some time, especially if the presentation file is large in size.

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Once the presentation has been loaded, the user has two options – Create a GIF and Tweet Slides. To create a GIF, fill in the information in the Create a GIF box. Choose the image width for the GIF, what slides to feature, and how long each slide appears. Then click “Create GIF”. A preview of the GIF will appear just to the right, where it can be saved to the computer or tweeted. There is also an option to select a different presentation with the “Change” button.

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Users can also tweet individual slides at high quality. Switch to “Tweet Slides” by clicking the gray box just below the “Make a GIF” one. Each individual slide will be loaded as an image, and can be saved or tweeted directly from the page. To use Twitter, permission must be given to connect the site to a Twitter account. The only part I did not like about the tweeting section was that it did not pull any info from Twitter, such as alerting if a user was correctly tagged. If you are tagging individuals, make sure to know their handles, as Tall Tweets does not auto-predict.

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If you often present or share ideas with others, this is a great tool to try. Try it the next time you are sharing conference or presentation information.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: StockSnap

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed more free images for use in projects or presentations? Wanted a second option for your students to use?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: StockSnap.io

First, the basics:

Name: StockSnap.io
URL: https://stocksnap.io/
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Website that hosts a free collection of images for download. All images fall under CC0 licensing and do not require attribution.

I love browsing the r/Teachers forum on Reddit, mostly because I can usually find new ideas or tools for my teachers. Last week was no different. I happened to be reading a thread about copyright and images when a user pointed out StockSnap. Like Pixabay, it’s another image site to search for images that fall under CC0 licensing. Always handy to have more than one image website!

First, visit the website listed above. Enter the keywords for the desired image. I decided to search for cats.

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Browse through the results. The first images shown are sponsored through Shutterstock. Ignore these and scroll down. Select the desired image.

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The image will load. Scroll down and select the red “Free Download” button. The difference between Stocksnap and Pixabay in terms of downloading images is that Stocksnap does not offer different image sizes for download. It only downloads as one large, high-quality image.

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Up to this point, no account has been needed. Users only need to create an account if planning to a) submit photos to the website or b) favorite images to find later. If creating an account on Stocksnap, all that is required is an email and password. An email will be sent to the email used to confirm the account.

Enjoy this free photo resource!

Resources

How to Create Goal Trackers & Behavior Plans in Google Forms

Recently I’ve been tasked with helping special education teachers and case managers create behavior plans and goal trackers for students. It’s a process that has always been done via paper and pencil, or by collecting data via emailed questions. The process has its flaws of course. Students lose papers given to them, teachers don’t always email back, and it’s hard to track all of the data in one place.

One teacher asked if there was any way to turn this into a digital process so the data could be stored and gathered in one location. Through our collaborative effort, we began playing with Google Forms, and thus, created a behavior form that would work for the student. After working out the kinks, and training the teacher to analyze the collected data, we were rolling. And now she’d never go back to the old way.

Word got out about the process, and I was soon approached by case managers at the high school needing to track data on student IEP goals from teachers. These case managers didn’t see the students and relied on the information from teachers to help track student progress. I began helping these teachers create goal trackers in Forms, using the same process.

I’ve finally had a chance to create a series of tutorial videos for those teachers needing to know how to make them, but that I may not have a chance to see. I wanted to share this series with everyone else as well because I believe it’s very helpful. The tutorial series is broken down into sections so that viewers can easily skip to the part needed, rather than watching one long video.

Creating Goal Trackers & Behavior Forms Video Tutorials

Fluco Toolbox: SlidesCarnival

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever gotten bored of the available Google Slides themes or the PowerPoint templates available by default? Used the same template or theme over and over again?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Slides Carnival

First, the basics:

Name: SlidesCarnival
URL: http://www.slidescarnival.com
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Provides a large variety of free themes and templates that work for both Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. Each one includes a variety of slide types, suggestions for the slides, and even some icons, too.

Today’s Fluco Toolbox is simple, yet it can add so much variety to presentations you may make in the future. SlidesCarnival is a nifty website that hosts a variety of free templates and themes for both PowerPoint and Slides. The goal of the site is to help the user create visually memorable presentations for audiences.

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The site is easy to use and navigate. Themes and templates are categorized in the gray bar at the top of the screen. Choose one to begin. Templates/themes can also be searched for as well. Once a category has been selected, scroll down to view the available options.

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Click on the title of the theme to go to its informational page. Scroll down to read a description of the template and what type of slides are included. at the very bottom is a preview of the template, allowing the user to click through the slides and check out the options.

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All the user has to do is select whether or not to download it in Slides or PowerPoint by clicking the corresponding button. Google Slides will open a new Slides presentation. It DOES NOT save the theme to the Themes section. PowerPoint is the same way.

Once the template is loaded, create a brand new presentation, and make sure the audience remembers it! Need help? SlidesCarnival has this nifty FAQ to help answer common questions.

Resources

My First Google Summit

It’s been awhile since I’ve written an actual post, but I have to make an update about my first Google Summit! I attended one in Staunton, VA over the week and I must say, I am hooked. I would love to go to another in the future. Heck, I’d love to be a part of EdTechTeam for that matter! I had a fabulous time getting to know the team sent for this Summit, and I enjoyed presenting 2 different sessions. I even got asked to quickly demo a tool during lunch the second day.

The two topics I was able to present on were Ramping Up 1:1 PD with Google Forms and Calendar, as well as Google Calendar Tools for the Busy Professional. My PD one was a teaser of what I plan to do at VSTE on it. The biggest difference was that this time it focused on the tools, and at VSTE it will focus on the history and planning. Google Calendar is a favorite of mine, but it’s an often underutilized tool in my experience. I was able to show ways to make it work better for the user, including color coding, organization, and settings. Both of my sessions were pretty well attended for such a small summit. I had around 30 in my calendar session, and about 15 in my PD one. Overall, my feedback was 4.8 in both, which I think is great for a first Summit!

I found the atmosphere of the Summit to be very energetic. I was the only one from my district to attend, so I felt like I had a lot that I needed to take in and absorb. I was watching the presenters from EdTechTeam themselves, and noting the passion that they infused their presentations with. I feel like it will help me become a better presenter, and (hopefully!) Google Trainer in the future.

The sessions I attended on the second day were full of information, and I was on overload trying to absorb it all. I definitely took some good notes, and have already sent things to my staff. I tried not to send too many things, but just enough to whet their palette. I’m sure quite a few will save it for later to read, which is what they do with a lot of my emails. I just love being helpful. If you want a copy of the emailed resources, grab it here.

Since returning to school today (We had Monday off for Columbus Day), I have been working on organizing everything and planning my next steps in terms of what I do with my staff. After all, attending is one thing. Now it’s time to share my newfound knowledge with the rest of my staff. I have new ideas to add to my Fluco Toolbox posts, new ideas for PD for my staff, and new resources to send them periodically.

Thanks for helping me feel rejuvenated, EdTechTeam!