Google, Google Apps, instructional technology, Research

Using a Motion Chart to Visualize Data

While motion charts are not new, I just learned about them and I thought they would be something that faculty can use in their classes to help students see and understand certain concepts in their classes.

Motion Chart

A motion chart, at least as it’s used in this post, is a bubble chart that can be controlled by the viewer, not the creator.  It allows the viewer to visualize multiple dimensions of the data.   These dimensions are shown by the bubble size, color and position on the chart over time.  Here is an example from of the bubble chart

  • Vertical (Y) axis – Percentage of HIV exposed infants given ART for PMTCT at birth
  • Horizontal (X) axis – Percentage of HIV+ women receiving ARVs for PMTCT
  • Bubble size – Health expenditure per capita (current US$)
  • Bubble colour – Pregnant women receiving prenatal care (%)
  • Time – Years

According to JuiceAnalytics, “modern-day motion charts were developed by an organization called GapMinder as part of a product called Trendalyzer.  Hans Rosling, one of the founders of GapMinder, popularized the motion chart visualization in a much-admired TED Talk.”

What are they good for?

What I think sets this chart type apart from other charts in either Excel or Google Sheets, is that they are interactive.  The end-user can use the sliders to change time and the dropdown menus to change the data parameters shown.  It allows the viewer the control over what they see to help them better understand the data and to work with it in multiple ways.  Any discipline that uses statistical or relational data over time can benefit from a motion chart (political science, sociology, history, education, biology, etc.).

How do you make one?

With Google Sheets, part of CofC’s Google Apps for Education (G-Suite), you can make a motion chart in just a few easy steps.

  1. Create the data in Google Sheets, or upload it from an existing Excel spreadsheet into Google Drive.
    1.  Column A (first column) should contain the data you want to track.  In the example above, it is Country.
    2.  Column B should contain the time data and should be sorted/grouped by time.
    3.  Column B also needs to be formatted as a date, not text.
  2. Highlight all the data in the table and click on Insert > Chart.
  3. Choose the Chart Types tab.
  4. Scroll to the bottom under Other and choose Motion Chart.
  5. Click Insert.
  6. Once it’s inserted you will be able to change the X/Y access, use the scroll bar to slide through the times and the boxes on the right to narrow the data seen.

BONUS — You’ll also notice, in the upper right corner, that you can choose between a bubble chart, bar chart, or a line chart.

Let us know

If you try this let us know how you are using it in your teaching or with your students!  We love to hear from faculty.

Explain and Send Screenshots Example
Google, instructional technology, Productivity, Web 2.0

Tech Tip Tuesday – Create and Annotate Screenshots on Any Computer (Free)

In the past, Skitch was my go-to app for creating annotated screenshots. Sadly, Evernote stopped supporting Skitch in 2015. As someone who uses a Mac, PC (Windows), and Chromebook, I’ve been searching for a free (or inexpensive) solution that works on all platforms. And, Explain and Send Screenshots is it!

What is Explain and Send Screenshots?

Explain and Send Screenshots is a free Google Chrome Extension. It works on any computer using the Google Chrome web browser. Unlike most extensions, Explain and Send Screenshots does not “Read and change all your data on the websites you visit”—making it a safer option.

How Does It Work?

Once you’ve added the Explain and Send Screenshots extension to Google Chrome, you can click on the extension’s icon (see image below) to take a screenshot (image) or screencast (video) of any webpage.

Explain and Send Screenshots Menu

You can also right-click on a webpage to quickly access the context menu.

Explain and Send Screenshots Right-Click Menu

No webpage, no problem. You can annotate on any image (.png or .jpeg) via the Open file… option.

What Are Its Features?

After you take your screenshot, you’ll have several annotation options: circle, square, arrow, line, draw, text, number (and text), highlight, and blur. Blur is especially useful for concealing sensitive information, like students’ names.

ESS Edit Options


Explain and Send Screenshots Example
Annotations Example


When you’re done annotating, you can copy/download/save the screenshot (image) as a .png or .jpeg (image format can be changed under options). Screenshots (image) can also be saved as .pdf using Chrome’s Print… > Save as PDF option. Screencasts (video) are saved as .webm, which can be viewed in any web browser or VLC (media player). They can also be easily uploaded to YouTube.

ESS Share Options

Assessment, Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Video

Lumen 5 – Great tool to recommend to your students for their video projects

I love video projects.  I think they are one of the best ways to get students to let loose their creativity and focus on delivering information in a succinct manner.  In addition, creating a video forces the students to plan and to spend more time with the material than writing a paper.  Lastly, communicating via video is a digital literacy skill that all students should have.  My favorite video projects require the students to deliver information in a short amount of time (1-4 min) as most people don’t want to watch a video much longer than that.  These projects can be public service announcements, commercials, video infographics, presentations, etc.

However, I know that many of you aren’t comfortable assigning a project like this because you don’t want to put the students in a position where they have to learn a complicated program to create these.  This is where Lumen5 comes in!

I wish I could remember which faculty member told me about this tool but I want to thank them.  Lumen5 is a semi-free video creation tool that is perfect for video projects or asynchronous presentations.

What’s the Cost?

Let’s get this out of the way first.  From what I can tell, it’s free, as long as you don’t need more than 3 videos a month.  If students are using this for a project then this probably won’t be an issue.
Screenshot of the pricing from the Lumen website

How Does It Work?

It’s so easy.

  1. Create a free login
  2. Click Create
  3. Choose how you want to create your video.  Either Start with a URL, a script, or your own material OR scroll down and use one of the templates
    screenshot of start page
    screenshot of the templates pageOR  Choose via the format you wantscreenshot of the Sizes page OR  Choose the theme you want
    screenshot of the theme page

Next, Start Creating!

Screenshot of the initial screen with the storyboard to the right and the tools to the left
Lumens5 provides free layouts, videos, images and music.  You can also change your layout and theme at any time.

In addition, you can upload your own videos or images and do voiceovers.

When finished, click Publish and your video will download to your computer.


I made a quick video from a blog post and couldn’t believe how easy it was!  I just added the blog post url and it did the rest.


Check out Lumen5 Today and Share it With Your Students!


adobe scan on a phone
Distance Ed, instructional technology, iPad, Mobile, Productivity, Share

Tech Tip Tuesday – How to Scan Handwritten/drawn Work to a PDF to submit in OAKS

With the College operating online, I know it’s difficult for some discipline whose work isn’t easy to do online, for example Math and Drawing.  If the assignment you wish to give is better suited to the student handwriting or hand-drawing something then just have them scan it!  This is also a great option for faculty who have semester long notebooks or portfolios that are turned in.

A FREE app that students can use (and you for that matter) is Adobe Scan. Adobe Scan works on phones and tables and makes it so easy for users to take pictures of multiple items and have one PDF created.

Check out the Adobe Scan page to download the app and here’s a tutorial for you and your students on how to use the app:

Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Video

Tech Tool: 360º Cameras in Teaching

What is a 360º camera?

front and back view of a 360 cameraIt’s a video/still camera with two lenses that takes images of what is happening all around the camera.

How does a 360º camera work?

Most of these cameras have a fisheye lens on each side of the camera and these lenses can capture 180º in all directions (top, bottom, left, right).  So basically you end up with two 180º photos or videos that are then either stitched together in the camera or in external computer software that normally comes with the camera.  

What can you do with them in teaching?

There are myriad ways to use the products from these cameras in the classroom.  Any instance where begin submerged in a location or an event brings learning is perfect for 360º video.  These images/videos can be created by the instructors or the students.  It allows the students in the class to experience a location or event from in the room, so you can bring in all sorts of experiences.  James King-Thompson says,

By introducing a ‘sense of presence’ to learners, these interactions have the potential to develop greater empathy and deeper understanding. Roman Krznaric, in Habits of Highly Empathic People (2012), suggests the following can be developed as a result:

• Cultivating curiosity about strangers
• Challenging prejudices and discover commonalities
• Gaining direct experience of other people’s lives
• Developing an ambitious imagination

These cameras are perfect for filming cultural dances or events, performances, political rallies, historical locations, re-enactments, overseas travel.  Again, the instructor can create these or you can send it out with your students as part of an assignment.

How can my students take advantage of these 360º images/video?

The bummer is that your students will need some type of 360º viewer such as Google Cardboard or a more expensive viewer.  The good news is that the Library, as well as TLThd, are trying to purchase these viewers so you and your students can view the videos/images in the class.

How do I buy a 360º Camera?

At this point, I can’t really tell you which camera to buy because they vary so much.  I can tell you some things to look into.

  • Timer – you want a delay timer so that you can trigger the video or image and then get out of the way.
  • Be sure it can fit on any tripod.  If you want to take this “on the road” like hiking or biking, be sure your camera can fit on multiple mounts such as a head mount.
  • Resolution: at least 4K video resolution is required to appear HD in quality; images that are at least 15 megapixels.
  • Built in stabilization.


Read&Write Screenshot of a webpage highlighted
Accessibility, Best Practices, instructional technology

Improve your, and your students’, reading and writing confidence

Did you know that the College has purchased a site license for Read&Write from TextHelp (thanks Disability Services). Read&Write is a toolbar for your computer or web browser that allows the users to increase their literacy.  This toolbar works in any application on your computer, allowing you to:

  • have the computer read digital documents to you
  • highlight any website or document to assist with summarizing and categorizing
  • suggest words as you type (prediction) to develop writing skills
  • convert inaccessible text, such as a screenshot, into accessible text
  • proofread your documents
  • and more…

Read&Write toolbar screenshot

I use Read&Write to read difficult or boring documents out loud while I read it.  It helps me stay focused especially if I’m not keen to read it to begin with.  It also has a Screen Masking tool which is another tool to help prevent loss of focus.

These are just a few of the things Read&Write can do without much, if any, instruction.  However, if you want to do more then you can use it to

  • give you word definitions.  There is even a picture dictionary which can be good for non-native speakers.
  • create audio files from typed text.
  • check verbs for agreement.
  • create a collection from your highlights.
  • create a vocabulary list.
  • add text facts to a web resource (such as notes, title, author, etc.).
  • export the notes you create to a Word document.
  • translate words
  • similar word checker

These tools can definitely help users with disabilities but it’s important to know that they can help EVERYONE become more literate.  We all have times where focus or vocabulary or writing is an issue and this is a tool that can help.

If you want to know more visit Read&Write Quick Start and Read&Write Getting Started.


  1. Go to
  2. Click Try Now choose your platform and follow the normal installation instructions for your platform
  3. Once it’s installed, open it up and accept the User Terms, click OK.
  4. IMPORTANT: When asked to sign in you MUST choose GOOGLE and use your CofC email and password.

If you have problems getting it installed or logged in, contact the CofC Service Desk at 843-953-DESK.

Interactive video screenshot
instructional technology, Presentation, Video

Create Interactive Games, Presentations, Images and So Much More with H5P

H5P is a free, online content creation application.  You can use it to create interactive content quickly and easily.  No coding or web skill is required.  Here’s what you can create:


  • Agamotto: layer images and create a timeline for those images to overlay onto on another. It allows users to compare and explore a sequence of images interactively.
  • Collage: create collages of images.


  • Audio Recorder: Record your voice and play back or download a .wav file of your recording.  Great for language learning or speech practicing.



  • Arithmetic Quiz: auto-generates arithmetic quizzes consisting of multiple choice questions.
  • Drag and Drop: create questions or images where the user must drag the proper answer to the image and check for correctness.
  • Drag the Words: similar to drag and drop, but you can drag onto text.
  • Fill in the Blank: the learner free types into the blank. This can be used as a quiz question or having them complete a passage or poem.
  • Find the Hotspot: create an image based test where the learner is to find the correct spot on an image.
  • Flashcards:  create a set of stylish and intuitive flashcards that have images paired with questions and answers.
  • Guess the Answer: create challenges where the user is to guess an answer based on a picture.

Learning Resources:

  • Dialog Cards: content type allowing authors to create great language learning resources that include audio, text and images.
  • Dictation: allows you to create dictation exercises. Let your students train their listening comprehension and spelling skills.
  • Documentation: allows users to create form driven guides for structured writing processes.
  • Timeline Creator
  • Branching Scenarios


  • Matching
  • Sequencing
  • Personality Quizzes
  • Image Pairing

Website/LMS components:

  • Accordion
  • Column: content type which allowing users to add multiple choice, fill in the blanks, texts and other types of interactions and group them in a column layout.

Presentation components

  • Course Presentation: content type which allows users to add multiple choice, fill in the blanks, texts and other types of interactions to their presentations using only a web browser.


This is really one of the simplest applications I’ve ever used and you can create so many learning objects that can be used on websites or in OAKS.

It’s an easy, fun, and free way to add interactivity to your OAKS class.  Check it out and let me know what you create!

H5P Website

Faculty Showcase, Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Productivity

Episode 1 – Weather-proofing the Classroom: A Conversation with Professor Ricard Viñas-De-Puig

During the 2018 Fall Semester, the College of Charleston canceled five days worth of classes on account of hurricanes.  It would be nice to think this semester was a fluke, that experiencing two separate hurricanes in one semester is a once-every-fifty-years situation.  But scientists are telling us that climate change is bringing bigger storms more often.  As teachers, we need to think of how we can design a more resilient course structure, one whose tension, support, and anchorage can withstand the cancellations that university administrators need to make for our physical safety.

Recently, I spoke with Ricard Viñas-De-Puig, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies.  He said that some of the skills that he learned in the Distance Education Readiness course were helpful for overcoming obstacles created by the weather cancellations.  Keep listening to hear what he had to say.

Kahoot Challenge
Classrooms, Distance Ed, instructional technology, iPad, Mobile, Pedagogy

Kahoot! Now Has A New Out-of-Class Feature!

Kahoot mobile screenshotKahoot! is a game-based learning platform that, up until now, could really only be used face-to-face.  But great news, it now has an out-of-class feature as well that can be used for homework or for online courses.  I know many of you teaching online has wanted to use Kahoot! but haven’t been able to.  Well now you can!

The new feature is called Challenge and does require the Kahoot! App to play.  When you (or your students) want to start a Challenge just click on an existing Kahoot! (or you can make a new one) and at the top, click Challenge.  You then set a due date by when the challenge must be completed.  Lastly, you are given a Challenge link and PIN that you then share with your students, either via OAKS, Email, or Google Classroom.  The student really just needs to type in the PIN into the Kahoot! app and they go on with the game as they would in class.  At the end, the instructor can see how everyone in the class did.

The only thing I’m not in love with is that Challenges can’t be done on a computer and most young children (for EHHP) don’t have cell phones or iPads.  For a college classroom this shouldn’t be an issue.

Here’s how it works:

Kahoot! can be used to:

  • Review, revise and reinforce
  • Re-energize and reward
  • Get classroom insights
  • Gather opinions
  • Motivate teamwork
  • Challenge past results
  • Join global classrooms
  • Introduce new topics
  • Great for competitions
(taken from Inspiring Ways to Kahoot! )

Also, as you learned above, there is a new mobile app to make it even easier to join and play!  Check it out on their Mobile app page.

Assessment, instructional technology, Presentation, TLT, Video

Biteable – a fun way to create an informational video

These days infographics are all the rage but, while they can deliver a lot of information on one page, they can be a bit boring and sometimes I really need someone to explain the graphic.  Biteable now offers a way to have the easy to read and understand statistics and information found in an infographic but with the ability to add the audio explanation.



  • biteable video made easyYou start with a template that best describes your presentation.  A few examples are:
  • Add your stats, graphics, and pick your animations.
  • Add your music or voiceover file.
  • Share your final product.

Biteable is free but you have to put up with a logo in the lower right corner of your finished product.  If you love it and want to purchase a subscription it’s $99/year.  For class projects, however I think the free version is more than enough.

Biteable how to make a videoThe subscription offers you:

  • 85,000 Stock Footage Clips
  • No Biteable Logo/Watermark
  • Download To Your Computer
  • Upload Your Own Footage
  • Privacy Controls

So the next time you give a presentation, infographic, or elevator pitch to your students, consider suggesting they use Biteable to deliver their information.