Tag Archives: technology education

Insert Quotes using Google Docs Research Tool

Insert quotes easily

Looking for a way to give your writing impact? Do you need to find evidence to support your viewpoint? Do you want to strengthen an argument?

Google Docs has a Research tool that searches for quotes. It will display famous sayings made by presidents, celebrities, historical figures, or sports heroes. When a quote is inserted, a footnote is automatically created. Unfortunately, this tool has limited search results at this time. However, when it works, it is an excellent time saver.

NOTE: These instructions are outdated. The Research tool has been removed. It has been replaced with the Explore tool. At this time (03/02/2018), the Explore tool does not insert quotes with footnotes.

  1. Open your piece of writing in Google Docs.
  2. Place the cursor in the document where you would like to insert a quote.
  3. From the Tools menu, click Research.
  4. Type a person or topic name into the search box.
  5. Click the arrow and select Quotes.
  6. Google Docs Research Tool

  7. IF you are lucky, you will get search results.
    Click Insert to add a quote into your document and automatically make a footnote.
  8. Google Docs Research Tool

    Looking for a way to inspire students to write? TechnoNewsletter is a new technology project by TechnoKids Inc. in which students write to a target audience about a curriculum topic. Alternatively they can write about an issue or figure of personal significance. Using the Research tool, students can search for and use quotes to make their writing credible and relevant.

Research Skills for Students: Primary and Secondary Sources

Teach Your Students to Become Perceptive Researchers

One of my previous blogs recognized the Teach research skillscomplexity of teaching students foundational research skills. As educators, we struggle with teaching all of the steps of the inquiry process as well as keeping the students engaged in learning these essential skills. TechnoResearch is a new Google Apps for Education project by TechnoKids Inc. that systematically teaches information management strategies. In this project, students create a unique fun fact card as they build research skills.

Learning to distinguish between primary and secondary sources of information is an important research skill. If students are working on an inquiry project, it’s worthwhile to spend the time to ensure they understand how to recognize the type of online source they are using. Try the following activity to teach not only the difference between primary and secondary material online, but have students actively engaged in determining the benefits and shortcomings of each type.


Why Consider the Source?
Anyone can put anything on the Internet. Be critical! Just because it is on the Internet does not make it true. Instead, ask good questions to decide if the information is trustworthy.

  • How does the person know these details? Were they present at the event or scene?
  • Where did the person learn the details? Was it from an eyewitness or book?
  • Does the person list sources of information? Are these sources of information reliable?
  • Are conclusions based on a single piece of evidence or multiple sources?
  • Are the interpretation of facts neutral or are they slanted to support an opinion?
  • What does the person gain from sharing the information?

What is a Primary Source of Information?
A primary source is first hand. It is information from an actual event or original person’s actions or words. Primary sources include:

research data autobiography video testimonial
speech legal document eyewitness account
diary entry news footage of an event letter or postcard
interview original artwork social media post
email or test message meeting transcript performance
photograph chat log census statistics

What is a Secondary Source of Information?
A secondary source is second hand. It is information based on another person’s interpretation of an actual event or original person’s actions or words. Secondary sources include:

newspaper editorial biography non-fiction book
newspaper story documentary expert commentary
movie of historical event review summary report

Research using Primary and Secondary Sources of Information

    A primary source of information is from the original person or event.
    A secondary source of information can be a person’s opinion of the primary source.

    1. Form an opinion of a popular musician.
      a. Use a primary source to watch a performance such as a music video or concert.
      Did you like the performance?
      b. Use a secondary source to find a review of the musician’s concert or latest album.
      Do you agree with the reviewer’s opinion?
      c. Why is it a good idea to form your own opinion using a primary source instead of simply taking someone else’s opinion?
    2. Teach research skills

    3. There are many quotes on the Internet. A quote is the exact words written or spoken by someone. Discover what a famous person such as an athlete, politician, actor, musician, or historical figure said.
      a. Use a primary source to find a quote. Search the Internet for a video of an interview, testimonial, or speech. Write a quote from the footage.
      b. Use a secondary source to find a quote. Search the Internet for a web page or image that has a quote. Write down the quote.
      c. Why is a quote from a primary source more reliable?
    4. Teach research skills

    5. A news report can be a primary or secondary source of information. It depends how the facts are reported. Research a current event.
      a. Use a primary source to learn about a current event. Search the Internet for a video of the actual event, interview with an eyewitness, photograph of the scene, or social media post of an attendee on location. What source of information did you use? Why is it a first-hand account?
      b. Use a secondary source to learn about a current event. Search the Internet for an opinion article, e-book, expert commentary, or summary report. What source of information did you use? Why is it a second-hand account?
      c. How does a secondary source of information help you to understand a current event?
    6. Teach research skills

    7. Your teacher assigns you to create a research report on Asteroids. Why would this be a secondary source of information?
    8. Learn Research Skills

    9. List a benefit to using primary sources of information.
      Possible answer: A primary source of information is a first-hand account. You know it is true. You can form your own opinion.
    10. Learn Research Skills

    11. List a benefit to using secondary sources of information.
      Possible answer: A secondary source of information helps you learn background information. It can be a concise summary of the material. It helps you to see different viewpoints. You can save time when researching. The information may be in language that is easier to understand.

TodaysMeet – Can I Ask an Out Loud Question?

July 2018 Update: Please note that TodaysMeet is no longer available online.


I recently went to an education conference. One of the sessions I attended was a panel discussion regarding BYOD. There were about 100 people in attendance. The presenters used TodaysMeet. TodaysMeet is a web based tool that allows for audience participation. Participants can join the meeting room to ask questions or post comments that appear as a live stream.

How Does it Work?

The presenter sets up a “room” which is a temporary URL. Participants then visit the URL. They can “listen” in on the conversation, which means that they can read the live stream. Or if they would like, they can join in the conversation and type in a question or comment.

What are the Benefits?

TodaysMeet is an excellent way for a presenter to tailor their presentation to address audience needs. As well, it offers participants an opportunity to learn not only from the speaker but also fellow participants in the room.

Can I Ask an Out Loud Question?

During the session I actively engaged in TodaysMeet and posted a range of questions and comments digitally. However, at one point during the discussion the speaker addressed a TodaysMeet question that I had a follow up question I wanted to ask. It was directly related to his response.

To use TodaysMeet would have put my follow up question in amongst a stream of mini conversations happening between participants. It would have gotten lost in the stream and the moment would pass.

So I did the unthinkable…

I raised my hand and said, “Can I ask an Out Loud Question?”

The moderator laughed nervously.

Someone in the audience repeated, “An Out Loud Question?”. There was more laughter.

To which the moderator responded, “We will take those at the end”.

Technology Should Not Restrict Teacher-Student Interactions

If this was a classroom and not a conference room;

the presenter a teacher not a speaker;

and the people in attendance students not conference attendees…

it would be said that a “teachable moment” had been ignored.

Technology in schools should not restrict teacher-student interactions instead it should expand them. To that end, if you use TodaysMeet or something similar with your students leave space for “Out Loud” questions and grant permission for face to face conversations. If not, you might miss an opportunity for learning.

Video and Sound Production Skills in the Classroom

Today’s students are media savvy. They listen to music, take pictures with cell phones and cameras, play electronic games, use the computer to download songs and view videos, and watch movies and television. They are avid consumers of a variety of media in their leisure time. What better way of hooking their interest than to integrate and develop these video and sound production skills in a meaningful learning environment?

Media production engages and excites students.

Video and Sound Production Skills and Technology Integration

Media production is a great hook to entice student interest.

Creating media through video and sound production has many advantages.

It can:

  • incite the interest of all students, including those with learning challenges
  • practice the planning process
  • develop social and group work skills
  • improve communication skills
  • foster self-esteem and self-awareness
  • sharpen critical thinking

Video and sound production involves the creation and editing of audio and video. This requires specialty software such as Movie Maker and Sound Recorder.

There are many products your students can create using video and sound production equipment and software.

  • narration
  • digital story
  • song
  • commercial
  • radio announcement
  • music video
  • play or skit
  • public service announcement
  • animated photo album

When selecting a product you want students to create using a video and sound production program, it is essential to determine the technology skills that are required. In addition, you must consider the students’ grade level and previous computer experience prior to selecting a task. Video and sound production skills can be grouped into basic and advanced levels of difficulty.

Basic Video and Sound Production Skills:

    • open and close a file
    • play, pause, stop, rewind, or fast forward
    • play a specific part of a file
    • preview the file in different views
    • record an audio or video clip
Advanced Video and Sound Production Skills

  • delete unwanted frames
  • split or combine frames
  • apply video effects
  • add text overlays to a video
  • insert transitions between video clips

Using media that is relevant to students inspires interest and authentic learning experiences. With very basic equipment, video and sound production skills can be integrated into any level of technology curriculum. All quiet on the set! Lights! Camera! Action!