Smashing Google and Book Creator

Dan KempBlog, Online

Were you at ISTE to see the #Googsmacked presentation? Here’s my reflections, and why I think Book Creator could be a useful addition to your classroom.

We had a fantastic few days at ISTE in Chicago last month. Not only did we get to announce our latest new feature, but we got to hang out with some of our favourite teachers. Usually, by the Wednesday of ISTE, things are generally winding down. But this year, the organisers saved something special for the last day.

The Googsmacked presentation on the main stage at ISTE

Step forward Vicki Davis, Kasey Bell, Eric Curts and Matt Miller, who are indisputably some of the biggest ‘superstars’ of edtech. They led a collaborative session on Google tools and tips called #Googsmacked on the main stage at ISTE, and it was fantastic.

The session was essentially an hour of these presenters taking it in turns to share 50 tips and tools, divided into grade level, subject areas, and essential “must-know” tips. It was informative, fast paced and exactly the kind of high-energy presentation required for a Wednesday morning at ISTE.

You can view the presentation on Vicky’s website at

Googsmacked cover slide

You might like these ideas

There was so much to take in, and so many good ideas (honestly, if you didn’t know about CTRL/CMD+T to re-open a closed tab in Chrome, it was worth it for that alone ūüėČ).

Here are some of my favourite ideas from the session, that you might like to try in your classroom:

  • Pixel art in Google Sheets¬†(slide 16)
  • Screencastify to capture your screen in Chrome¬†(slide 27)¬†‚ÄĒalready started using that for Book Creator demo videos
  • Flippity – turn Google Sheets into other fun teaching resources!¬†(slide 25)
  • GeoGuesser – interactive game where you have to identify where you are from a random Google Street view!¬†(slide 39)
  • Help struggling writers by allowing them to use speech-to-text to write¬†(slide 13-14)
  • Give audio feedback to student work by recording a voice note¬†(slide 4)
  • Make an “If-then” adventure book¬†(slide 28)
  • Have students demonstrate understanding by captioning images¬†(slide 30)
  • Use copyright-free media in your work with the Unsplash add-on for Google Slides¬†(slide 46)
  • One word: Hyperdocs¬†(“student-centered lessons that inspire curiosity and creativity”) –¬†slide 31

My head was exploding with all the potential for app smashing that will arrive once we release our new feature – embedding content in Book Creator.

But… the biggest takeaway?

My biggest realisation was that many of the tips and tricks shared, encompassing all sorts of Chrome extensions and apps, can already be done in Book Creator.

In Book Creator, you can:

“The Swiss army knife of apps”

During the presentation, Kasey Bell called Google Slides the “Swiss army knife of G Suite”. It’s certainly a great app with many similar features and uses to Book Creator.

I guess the differentiation comes when teachers ask themselves, do I want my students to make a presentation, or a book?

There is surely an advantage to having multiple features in one app, rather than needing to find the latest Crome extension.

And there is a certain magic to publishing your book online so people can turn the pages of your work, or even have the book automatically read to them in multiple languages.

Google Slides may be the Swiss army knife of G Suite, but it’s not the only option for getting creative on Chrome. Could Book Creator be the Swiss army knife of apps, period?

Learn more about Book Creator

Potential for app smashing

As I said, I’m really excited about the creative ways in which we’ll see Book Creator smashed with other apps on Chrome when our new feature is released.

On iPad, the idea of “app-smashing” caught on as it was fairly easy to get media into the Camera Roll and import it into Book Creator. Up until now, this has been harder to achieve on Chrome, but I think we may just be breaking down those walls.

More details on that coming soon! And if you’re interested, we have an upcoming webinar specifically looking at the best apps to smash with Book Creator on Chrome.

Join Monica Burns on Wednesday 1st August. Favorite Apps to use with Book Creator (Chrome edition).

Register here

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