This afternoon I gave a presentation to a small group at the Oregon SHAPE conference in Bend. If you were there or you’re curious about what I talked about, take a look at the slides embedded below.
I’ve been using Google Slides for as long as it has been available to the public (10+ years). In the early days it was a pretty bare bones product. Today, there are lots of things that you can do with it besides making presentations. Here are five interesting ways to use Google Slides in your classroom.
Create a Jeopardy-style Game
Design a Mobile App
Create Printable and Online Storyboards
Publish Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Stories
Create and Publish Interactive Diagrams
Last month I decided to give up Facebook except for a few minutes each day to post things to the various pages that I maintain for work. I signed out of Facebook on my phone and installed the Stay Focusd Chrome extension to limit myself to ten minutes per day of Facebook time. Here’s what I’ve learned about Facebook and myself over the last month of not using Facebook.
Facebook Makes It Hard to Quit Facebook
As the manager of Facebook business pages I can schedule Facebook posts to appear at later times. I usually schedule Facebook posts on Thursday or Friday to appear over the weekend. So the first weekend that I went without Facebook I didn’t post anything or log into my account. On Monday morning Facebook sent me an email notifying me of 38 updates that I “might have missed.” These weren’t updates from my pages, they were updates from my friends about their dogs, cats, kids, and political rants.
Scrolling Isn’t Reading or Learning
Sure, I can follow some interesting pages about my favorite topics and I might pick up a few tidbits here and there, but that’s not nearly as effective as just Googling a topic of interest, going directly to an informative website, reading a book, or diving into a message board that is dedicated to a topic. I’ve gotten a lot more out of my time by going directly to topics of interest than scrolling through Facebook posts that are loosely associated to topics of interest.
I Can Read More Books
I’ve finished three books in the last month by simply picking them up and reading a page or two at those times that I might have scrolled through Facebook.
Fewer Moments of Melancholy and Annoyance
Those of us who are prone to bouts of being melancholy aren’t helped by scrolling through Facebook. Even if it’s done subconsciously we’re making comparisons to others and to ourselves. That’s not good.
No one has ever been convinced to change his/her mind about politics based on a Facebook meme. Not seeing those has reduced the number of times that I’ve been annoyed about things that I can’t control.
Lots of Other Ways to Waste Time
I’ve found that there are plenty of other ways to waste time. But at least now I’m making a conscious choice to read a book or browse stock charts when I should be completing a work task.
All in all, giving up Facebook has made me think about how I use my time during the day. It’s also let me look at the world around me with the wide eyes that I had before Facebook came along.
The U.S. National Parks Service is turning 103 years old on August 25th. In recognition of the Parks Service’s birthday admission is free to all parks on the 25th. Find the National Park that is closest to you through this interactive map.
This is the third of five free entrance days that the National Park Service is offering this year. The next one is on September 28th, National Public Lands Day. The last free day of the year will be on November 11th, Veterans Day.
Share Your Park Stories
The National Parks Service has a crowdsourcing site called Share Your Park on which park visitors can share their stories. On the Share Your Park site you can upload pictures and write short stories about your National Parks visit.
Another way to share a National Parks story is to create a virtual tour for others to view. You can do this with Google’s My Maps tool, in Google Earth, or with Google’s VR Tour Creator. All three of those tools are demonstrated in the videos below.
Teddy Roosevelt was instrumental in the creation of the National Parks Service. A few years ago I read a fantastic book titled Wilderness Warrior – Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. The book tells the story of Roosevelt’s life through the lens of his interest in wilderness and wilderness preservation. It is one of the most fascinating 900+ page books I’ve ever read.
Trailforks is a free service that I use and recommend for others who are looking for new places to ride mountain bikes or go for a trail run. You can use the Trailforks website or mobile apps to find places to ride or run. The mobile apps let you save trail maps and information for offline use.
The easiest way to to find trails in new-to-you areas with Trailforks is to go to the site and select “browse by map” from the “trails” drop-down menu. Then you can enter a town name or a region to browse through a list of trails. Alternatively, use the Trailforks mobile apps with your location services turned on to find trails that are close to you.
Trailforks does more than just provide trail locations and lengths. You can use the service to find information about trail difficulty, elevation changes, and current trail conditions including if the trail is closed. And Strava segment hunters can sync Trailforks to their Strava accounts to find out where the segments are before they head out on the trails.
The next time you find yourself in a new place and you want to get out for trail run or mountain bike ride, take a look Trailforks to discover a new place to go.