Now with Graphics

A new feature to Google Forms appeared without any fanfare that caught my attention.  I did not know that you could include images until I sat down to create a new Google Form myself and discovered it.  I think it’s a pretty cool feature.  It will raise the bar in both presentation and functionality for those who like to use forms.

Right now, a typical questionnaire form might look like:

Now, we know that a picture is work a thousand words.  We could spice this puppy up a bit.

Doesn’t that make a big difference?

Right off the bat, I can think of all kinds of ways to spruce up any forms that I’m already using and will use in the future.

Inserting a graphic is a piece of cake.

From the “Insert” Menu, the present entry at the very bottom is “Image”.  This opens a really familiar dialogue box.

You have all kinds of options from which to select your image.  Do it and select it.  You can even have a piece of text pop up as the user hovers over your image.

I really like the reminder that you should only use images that you have the license to use.  Students, in particular, can never be reminded enough to respect copyright!

Like any other object that you use in a Google Form, if it’s not inserted where you desire, just click and drag until it appear where you need it.

Save your form and share it with the world.  Your forms just got a great deal better!


Pictures to Perspective

Living in Southwestern Ontario, we do get our share of storms.  For the most part, you just hunker down and wait until it’s over.  The biggest inconvenience that I think we’ve ever had might be a power outage for a period of time.

Three years ago, a tornado hit the Leamington area.  It did some pretty terrible damage.  That’s the closest to being near such a storm that I’ve had.  Roughly a year later, a tornado tore through Huron County where I spent my childhood.  The powerful storm ripped through Goderich and Benmiller.

These were horrible storms and yet these pale in comparison to the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.

The Atlantic, this week, posted a photo essay that really puts the damage from the tsunami in perspective.  Click here to see the imagery.  The first image that you’ll see is a combo before/after image.  The rest of the images on the page are also before/after images.

Witness the first picture after the storm.  Then, click on the image to see the image fade to a similar shot from today.

It’s such a powerful use of images and technology.  It really helps to visualize the power of a tsunami.

How else could you use this technique?

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A New Type of Blog

Muzy calls itself “a new kind of blog for your creative side!”

Well, I’m not sure that I have an all that creative side but I decided to take a look at it and my first impressions were very favourable.  In fact, I could see the format and the tools in Muzy appealing to many in education.  Like most things on the Web, it claims to be a Beta but we’re adventurous, right?

If you’re at least 13, create a free account and go to it.

Unlike a traditional blog (like this one) where you start with text and share your thoughts that way, Muzy is all about images and pictures first!  My first trip there took me to the default “app”, the Photobox.  I thought I would give it a shot and uploaded some images from a trip to San Antonio into the layout.  I called it the “San Antonio Sampler”.

From the layout, I had a sense of what to expect but it was only when I uploaded the first image that I realized the power behind the Photobox.  I could take almost an Instagramish approach and apply filters to the images.  So, I applied an “old” filter to the front and used the “enhance” feature to tweak some of the others.  I rather like what I was able to create so easily.

And, of course, you publish your results and you can see it online at my Muzy blog at

But that wasn’t the only app available.  There are a number ot choose from depending upon your activity.

The selection represents a pretty powerful collection of things you can do with pictures.  Of course, you could do any one of the activities with a selection of other utilities but they’re all here in one spot.

Next, I thought I’d look at Word Play.

By itself, maybe not so impressive until you go to the original and it stores the actual movie created when you do Word Play.

All in all, I really liked what I saw.  It’s unfortunate that there’s a minimum age of 13 to create an account as I could see all kinds of applications for students and digital cameras.  But, if I’m a classroom teacher documenting and sharing our learning, this is a very nice suite of tools to show off your pictures.

There are hooks to your Facebook account and also Google images (make sure you have the rights to use the images) as sources for images.

It’s free and you’re just a link away from sharing it all with parents.  And there’s an iOS Muzy App too!


I “stumbled upon” this web page last night and sent it out via Twitter to be picked up by anyone that cared.

The story was an article showing off the photography of Art Wolfe.

They are pictures of nature.  We’ve seen many of them.  What made this collection so unique was that the imagery was of animals hiding themselves in their natural surroundings.  The first image had me hooked and I’ll admit that I spent a great deal of time looking through them.  As Tim Slack points out…

Now, the images on the web page are copyrighted so I really can’t include them here but you can see the entire collection here.  Even more images are here.

I tweeted the link out and that means that it will also appear in my Diigo account.  No problem.  The collection had me really thinking today.  Not only is it incredibly well done, but it is one of those pieces that can be scaffolded as many ways as you can imagine.

In this case, I could see:

  • Projecting the image on a screen for a class finding activity (click each image for a larger one);
  • Working in small groups to find the animals;
  • Doing some research on each of the animals.  I know that I’d never heard of a Willow Ptarmigan before;
  • Discussing the habitat shown for each of the animals.  Could they survive in another environment:
  • Taking another picture of an animal and discussing how it would hide itself in its environment;
  • Discussing why it is important to the animals to be able to hide in their environment.  Do all animals need to?

I’m sure that there are all kind of ideas that spring to mind the more you think of it.  Please feel free to share below.