Want to Insert Your Own Content on Any Web Page?

Ever wish you could insert your own instructional content onto web pages to help guide students through the material?

Ever wish you could make your own Google Docs more engaging through multimedia?

Check out the Chrome extension “InsertLearning,” which you can learn about here.  The creators also have a robust YouTube channel with tutorials and webinars showing many different ways to use this extension with Google apps and with PDFs.

Kasey Bell at Shake Up Learning has a wonderful article with examples of her use of it here.

Jeremy Tuller has created a quick video overview you can check out here.

And of course, if you Google it, you can find more examples, tips, and tricks.

InsertLearning has Google Classroom integration, but you do not need to be a Google Classroom user to use it.

I confess, I have not had a chance to try this out myself!  But it’s on my list.

The program allows you to test drive it five times for free.  After that, use costs $40 a year for unlimited lessons.




“No, Students Don’t Need Grades.” A Big Idea to Change Education

Had to share this fascinating article by Mark Barnes in the January 31, 2018 edition of Education Week.

Grading is not assessment, he argues.

If you’re interested in disrupting education far more than the 3-D printer or smartphone ever could, consider schools and colleges where there are no grades. Imagine classrooms where teachers never place numbers, letters, percentages, or other labels on students’ work; where report cards don’t exist; and where the GPA has gone the way of the dinosaur.

In a gradeless classroom, the perpetual lies that numbers and letters tell about learning would cease to exist.

(the bold above is mine–it really struck me–I believe this)

Check out the article to find out more about how he would assess learning.

How might this change your pedagogy, both in the classroom and online?

More on Universal Design for Learning. And An Example

In my last post, I shared a short podcast introducing the concept of Universal Design for Learning and how it can shape our pedagogy, both on the ground and in the online learning environment.


Curious to learn more, I dug around a bit and found this wonderful tutorial from the IRIS Center of Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.



The IRIS Center develops materials for university and college faculty, professional developers, and practicing educators at all levels.

This unit, “Universal Design for Learning:  Creating a Learning Environment that Challenges and Engages All Students,” is itself an interesting example of online universal design.

I encourage you to check it out, both to explore the context about universal design, and to see what it is like as a learning experiencing such a pedagogical method.

IRIS also provides this explanation of the adult learning theory which they have used in the design of their modules.

Have fun!

Learn More About Universal Design for Learning (in 10 Minutes)

I will confess I didn’t know what Universal Design for Learning meant.  And it sounded a little suspicious to me.

I’m not sure anything can be designed to work universally.  As a creative writing professor, I know that we run into trouble when we try to write something that will please everyone.  Usually we wind up pleasing no one, for a variety of reasons.

So I enjoyed listening to this short episode of the 10 Minute Teacher podcast:  “Throw Out Learning Styles and Replace It With UDL.”  I’m a fan of the Cool Cat Teacher blog which produces this podcast.

The guest speaker, Kathleen McClaskey, says:

 I’d just like to introduce you to Universal Design for Learning, and the terms, AccessEngage, and Express, that really represent the principles of Universal Design for Learning. It’s really based on the neurosciences and how we learn.

Want to learn more?  Check out the podcast.

How might UDL impact your pedagogy, both in the classroom and in digital environments?

I’ll have more resources (and an example) on this topic next week!

Making A Google Slides Presentation Work More Like a Website

As a follow-up to my last post about creating interactive images using Google Drawings, I thought I’d share this video about doing something similar with Google Slides.

Again, my source is Richard Byrne and his wonderful blog Free Technology for Teachers.

When creating such interactivity with Google Slides, you can design a first slide that has interactive links to the other slides in the presentation!  (I did NOT know this!)  This allows a slide presentation to function more like a website, keeping students interacting in more ways than just clicking to the next slide.

This is an easy example of how we can design digital  learning modules that engage students by allowing them some choice in how they approach the subject matter.  Students can easily repeat slides.  They can choose the order in which they access material.

Creating Interactive Images Using Google Drawing

Imagine having a static image–a map, a chart, a graph, an infographic, a poem, almost anything–which you then overlay with clickable points which students can choose in order to access more information about a particular aspect of the image.

Or imagine asking students to create such images for each other as teaching aids, assessments of knowledge, or paper-alternative research projects!

The possibilities for how you might incorporate such ideas are endless.  The project could be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

And the only thing you really need to know is how to add hyperlinks to images using Google Drawing.

This video by Richard Byrne, curator of Free Tech for Teachers (one of my favorite sources for interesting ideas about using technology in the classroom), shows you in under four minutes how you can do this.

It’s remarkably easy.

Plus, it features the world’s largest buffalo!  Who can resist that?

Once you see how it works, the possibilities for how you or your students might use it are really endless.

Have fun!

Know The Redundancy Principle to Improve Online Teaching and Learning

The Redundancy Principle.

What is it and how can it help you become a better instructor in online and blended learning environments?

The redundancy principle basically says this:

Redundant material interferes with rather than facilitates learning.  Redundancy occurs when the same information is presented concurrently in multiple forms.

Check out this source, “The Redundancy Principle in Multimedia Learning” for more.

This means, for instance, that if you put written text on a screen during a presentation and then read that text as part of the talk or narration, redundancy occurs and it actually hurts learning!

Does that surprise you?  It did me, the first time I encountered it.  I believed–as do many other teachers–that putting text on a screen and reading it provides multiple inputs and is better for reaching more students in more ways.

But research shows that is not true!  In fact, this practice results in information overload that inhibits learning.

The best practice:  combine audio narration with visual images!  Use bits of text as visual elements in a slide.

You can learn more about the redundancy principle in this short videos:


Ways to Make Your Presentations RESONATE

Interested in learning more about how you can craft presentations–both online and in the classroom–which move your students to action?

How can we create presentations which help students act to engage more deeply with their learning and the material in our courses?

resonate book cover image











Check out the wonderful book Resonate:  Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, by Nancy Duarte.  She has also authored two other best-selling books, slide: ology  The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, and  Illuminate:  Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols.

This book ignites information by linking it with story and visuals.  Duarte shows us how to combine these three things (information, story, and visuals) to inspire our audience to action.

Resonate is available to Hope College authorized users as an electronic resource through Van Wylen library.