Image courtesy of Wikimedia
In my class today, I wanted students to work through a transcript of a lecture that they had listened to earlier. We had worked through some of the content and comprehension material, but now I wanted to look at some of the language used throughout the speech. The problem was that the transcript was in very small text and was too long for me to retype. I wanted to have it both projected on the screen as well as printed out with larger spaces between the lines for highlighting and writing notes. To get around this problem, I used a trusty standby for me, Google Drive.
I am surprised how many people don’t know that you can convert scanned text into editable text using the built in text recognition feature of Google Drive. It works really well if the text is typed or written clearly. Here is how it works:
- Scan the text you would like to convert or take a really clear closeup photo of it.
- Go to Google Drive and log into your Google account.
- To make sure the upload settings are correct (this only needs to be done once), click on the gear symbol near the top-right corner of Google Drive, go down to ‘Upload settings’ and make sure there is a checkmark next to ‘Convert text from uploaded PDF and image files’. I also like to have Google ask me each time in case I am not uploading a text image. If you would like to do that, make sure there is a checkmark next to ‘Confirm settings before each upload’.
- Click on the up arrow next to the ‘Create’ button.
- Click on ‘Files’ and select the image you scanned.
- It may ask you something about the sharing preferences. Choose what works best for your situation.
- If you have asked Google to prompt you before each upload, check over the settings in the box that appears to make sure it still has the ‘Convert text from PDF and image files to Google documents’ selected and the language you would like it converted to is selected.
- Click on ‘Start upload’
- Once it is finished, you will see a new document appear in your Google documents. Click on it and it will open. The document will have the original image embedded in it along with the text. You can now copy and paste that text into a new document, presentation, etc.
I would suggest reading over the text carefully to make sure it didn’t make any mistakes, but usually it is really accurate.
I hope that helps!
Image courtesy of Seth Anderson
Last week, I had the privilege of giving a session at the annual TESL Ontario conference in Toronto. I had a good time and met a number of really great people. As I continue to give this sessions, webinars, or certificate programs, I am starting to realize the gap in what teachers want to achieve with their students using technology and the knowledge level some instructors have in using computers, mobile phones, and the like. Yes, there are some who don’t even want to try to discover what they can accomplish in collaboration with their students throughout the use of these devices, but I feel there is an overwhelmingly large group of educators who really want to do something more yet simply don’t know where to start.
Early 2012, I started to blog and speak about the use of technology as a collaborative tool inside and outside of the classroom. This hasn’t changed, but I am beginning to see that my use of this blog and Twitter may not be reaching the people who need it most. Also, I am learning to be more focused and contained in how I approach things. I need to make these instructional moments accessible for all levels of users. So, from this point on, I will attempt to write each post on this blog in stages so that those who know more can skip over sections to get to the section that helps them most. Think of it like a flowchart. If you know this, go here; if not, do this. I also would like to provide a printable version of each post so that you, the people who work with others who may need assistance, can print off these instructions and give them to those who may never visit this blog. I realize that sounds a bit ‘archaic’, but I think we need to be helping those who need it most.
Also, I am going to be doing some ‘blogkeeping’ by cleaning up broken links, deleting irrelevant posts, and so on in order to make this a place you can reference when you need it. At the moment, it is very random and hasn’t been well taken care of on my part. I promise to make it better. Really.
I would love your input. I have always wanted this to be a place that other could have their input. I don’t want this to just be about me. Share your ideas, your critiques, and your passion. I would love to get to know each one of you better so I can make this place of collaboration.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you come again!
This past Friday, I had the privilege to give a 75 minute session on the use of technology to build an online ‘self-access resource centre’. The focus of the presentation was on the reasons for using self-access materials with your students and then working with your students to co-create the library of links and material.
The presentation was meant to be interactive, meaning that the session was less about me and more about the people how came to the session. Instead of showing what the sites looked like or how they worked, I wanted the audience to access the tools for themselves and practice using them.
While the concept worked well in my head, there was still a bit of technology gap that didn’t help in making this a reality. In hindsight, I should have come halfway on the idea of showing how the sites worked. I also tried to do too much in the time frame I was given, so that could be scaled back and still be effective.
Regardless of how it turned out, I am thankful for those who came and gave feedback that will help me in the future. If you were there in person, I hope you got something out of the time we spent together.
Here is a link to my presentation (click on the image below):
The links in the presentation will take you to each of the sites that I mentioned. Feel free to explore them on your own. In the weeks ahead, I plan on digging into each of these tools on their own in separate blog posts. I want to extend the conversation we had and hopefully fill in some of those gaps that emerged during the presentation.
I am thankful to all of you for your support.
This week, I have two students who have to miss class due to important meetings outside of the city. As a result, I am posting short summary videos on Edmodo for them along with the relevant material they may need to work on their own. I don’t want to spend a great deal of time recording, editing, and uploading my summaries since they are fairly short and informal, so I am using the My Webcam function of YouTube to record directly to YouTube without all of those other steps. Most people I have talked to don’t seem to know that it exists, so that prompted this short post. Here is how it works:
- Go to the My Webcam page of YouTube and log in if need be.
- The first time you go to this page, you will see an Adobe Flash message asking for access to your webcam and microphone. Click on ‘Allow’ and ‘Remember’ before click on ‘Close’. You won’t need to do this again.
- You will see a black box showing what your webcam sees. Click on the ‘Start recording’ button and it will start recording immediately.
- Along the side of the video, you will see a green bar moving up and down. This is your level indicator for the sound. Make sure it isn’t going too high or too low.
- Click ‘Stop recording’ when you are done. You can play back the recording by clicking on the play button. If you are happy, click on the ‘Upload’ button. If you want to do it again, click on ‘Start over’.
- Once you have click on the ‘Upload’ button, you will be taken to the info and settings page. Change the title name, add a description and tags, change the privacy setting to what is appropriate (I usually use ‘Unlisted’ since this takes it out of the search, but gives access to anyone I give the link to), choose a category, and click on ‘Save changes’.
- Depending on the length of the video, it should be ready fairly quickly. To access it, click on your ‘Video Manager’ link on the left side of the page. You should see the video listed at the top. Click on the video to view it and to get the ‘Share’ url.
There are plenty of uses for this in the classroom. I have had students record themselves for pronunciation practice or giving a mini-presentation. I can record mini lectures for self-access and so on.
I hope it was helpful.
This is something that I knew was possibly, but I hadn’t used until today. In my class, we make use of our university’s Google accounts quite a bit. We share documents, files, make videos, share calendars, and so on. The weird thing is, I have never made or shared a Google document template before. Want to know how? Here it is:
- Create a Google document that you would like to share as a template.
- Go to your main Drive page where you will find all of your items in a list.
- Check off the box next to the item or items you wish to make available as a template.
- Click on the ‘More’ button near the top of the page and choose ‘Submit to template gallery’.
- Type in a description. Make sure it is clear since this template can be used by almost anyone else with a Google Drive account. For those with a public account (ie. not a school account), your template will be available to the world. For those with a school account, it will be available to anyone else who has a school account under your domain.
- Choose a category (required). You may also choose another category if you would like.
- Select a language.
- Click on ‘Submit template’
- Once it shows up in the template, click on ‘Preview’ at the bottom of the one you have created. A new window will appear with a bar along the top and your template below. Copy the URL address in the browser.
- Paste this address into an email, your class website, or wherever else you students will find it.
- Student who click on the link will need to log in to their account and will end up in the Preview page you have just left. They can then click on the ‘Use this template’ button in the top-left of the screen and it will create a copy in their Drive account, ready to be edited.
I see this as a great way for teachers to share Google created content and for teachers and students to share document templates such as graphic organizers.
I hope that was helpful. It was for me!
There seems to be no end to the places you can convert documents online. Some work well, others are a disaster when it comes to output quality. Another problem is registration and options when it comes to input and output. An intriguing site is EasyPDF Cloud which offers users the option of using workflows to automate their conversions. You don’t need to register to have access to some of the conversion tools, but the real magic happens once you complete the free registration. EasyPDF Cloud can be connected to Dropbox to automatically convert documents from a single folder. Set up a workflow to convert Word documents to PDF, PDFs to Word documents or images, or merge PDFs. Here is how it works:
No Registration use:
- Go to EasyPDFCloud.com and click on the conversion type you would like.
- Choose the file you want to convert.
- The Output Files list will appear. Click on the checkbox beside the new file and then click on Download button at the top.
- Go to EasyPDFCloud.com and click on Sign Up button at the top.
- Choose a username, enter your email address (necessary to complete the registration), and password. Click on Sign Up.
- You will get an email with a link. Click on the link and you are done with your registration.
- Once you are signed in, click on the Create Workflows button and you will see three sample workflows. You can edit those workflows by clicking on the Configure button on the workflow. Make your changes and then click on the Done button at the top.
- Create a new workflow by clicking on the New button at the top. Then choose your options of input, conversion, edits, and output by clicking and dragging the modules into the workflow space to the right. Order, re-order the modules as you see fit.
- You can link to your Dropbox account by clicking on the Dropbox Input module and then authenticating using the yellow button on the right. You will be directed to Dropbox where you can choose to accept or reject this connection. EasyPDF will create a new folder with two subfolders in Dropbox by default.
- Once you are done creating your workflow, you need to start it. At the bottom of each workflow box is a play button. Click on it and the box will go black indicating it is in use. The Dropbox workflows will monitor the designated Dropbox folder for files every five minutes. Just drop a file in the input folder and the file will be uploaded and converted before the output file is put into the output folder. NOTE: the file in the input folder WILL BE DELETED. Make sure you use a copy instead.
The biggest draw for me is the ability to convert documents using Dropbox. I only found this last night, but I am already thinking about how I could use it to make it easier to convert all of my old documents to PDF. I only wish it read Pages documents as well.
Got any ideas on how to use it? Add you comments or send me a Tweet