Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Use Experiments with Google to Spark Discussions and More

Experiments with Google is an open-source platform for incredible coders and designers creating extraordinary projects on AR, VR, AI, Voice experiments, Arts & Culture, Android, Chrome experiments, and more.

Like with anything open sources and found on the Internet, all experiments will not be suited for the classroom. In this post I will highlight eight (8) of my favorite experiments and provide some ideas for learning activities using the notes experiments.


"Many teachers have been using Chrome Music Lab as a tool in their classrooms to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more. They’ve been combining it with dance and live instruments."

Chrome Music Lab is comprised of 13 musical exploration activities. Let's take a look at some lesson suggestions.

Lesson Idea 1:
  • Students will explore all 13 of the activities in Chrome Music Lab.
  • Students will use FlipGrid to share their favorite Chrome Music Lab activity and include specifics as to what made their choice stand out as their favorite.
  • Respond to at least three other FlipGrid responses that are not the same as their favorite being sure to include specifics of what they enjoyed about the specified activity.

Lesson Idea 2:
Connect Chrome Music Lab to books. Below are two examples from Twitter.


Body Synth turns your body movements into sound. Each part of your body plays a different note or sound. You can adjust the sensitivity to make it work for big or small movements. You can also change chords and instruments using your voice by saying things like “C chord” and “guitar.”

Lesson Idea:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn form experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.  Most AI examples that you hear about today - from chess-playing computers to self - driving cars - rely heavily on deep learning and natural language processing.  Using these technologies, computers can be trained to accomplish specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data. 

Experiment with Body Synth an AI experiment then answer the following questions in the comment section (in Google Classroom).  Then respond to at least 3 classmates answers.

Question 1:
What inputs is Body Synth learning form your interaction with this AI experiment?

Question 2:
How could inputs learned through Body Synth be used in real world tasks?


Semi-Conductor is an experiment that lets you conduct your own orchestra through your browser. You can move your arms to change the tempo, volume, and instrumentation of a piece of music. An algorithm plays along to the score as you conduct, using hundreds of tiny audio files from live recorded instruments.

Lesson Idea:
Semi-conductor is an experiment that uses articulated body pose estimation to let you conduct your own orchestra through your browser.  You can move your arms to change the tempo, volume, and instrumentation of a piece of music.

  • Research to find how articulated body pose estimations can be used for practical real life applications.
  • Share in the comments one application for articulated body pose estimation
  • Comment to at least three other classmates that have shared a different application than the one you shared.


Talk to Books is an experimental new way to conduct a search. Ask questions or make statements and the Talk to Books AI searches a database of over 100,000 books for sentences which are conversational responses. 

Joyce Valenza said of Talk to Books, "Imagine if you had the power to ask authors across time and disciplines your most burning questions or for their best advice"

Lesson Idea:
  • Think of your favorite topic of study from this school year
  • Research that topic using Talk to Books
  • In the comments section share at least 5 new facts you gained from this search using Talk to Books
  • Read 3 classmates search results
  • Use Talk to Books to research their topic of choice
  • Add one new fact to each of the 3 classmates posts


Semantris is a set of word association games powered by machine-learned, natural language understanding technology. Each time you enter a clue, the AI looks at all the words in play and chooses the ones it thinks are most related. Because the AI was trained on billions of examples of conversational text that span a large variety of topics, it’s able to make many types of associations.

Lesson Idea:
  • Go to the Semantris website
  • Play both the Arcade and Block style games
  • Create a My Semantris Game database using Google Sheets
  • Post the link to your Semantris Game database in the comments section (in Google Classroom)
  • Post the link to your Semantris Game database. Make sure your Google Sheet allows editing
  • Look at 3 other classmates Semantris Game database. Add at least 5 new words under each column


Mystery Animal is a new spin on the classic 20-questions game. The computer pretends to be an animal, and you have to guess what it is using your voice. Ask any yes-or-no question you want, like "Do you have feathers?" or "Do you sleep at night?" Play it on a Google Home or online.

Lesson Idea 1:
Use Mystery Animal as a morning bell ringer activity. 

Lesson Idea 2:
Use Mystery Animal when students are learning about animal attributes.

Lesson Idea 3:
Use Mystery Animal to prepare for or follow up an animal related field trip.

Lesson Idea 4:
  • Play Mystery Animal
  • Research the animal revealed when you played Mystery Animal
  • Use a Google Form to create your own 20 questions game (yes/no answers only) about an animal of your choice.
  • Place the link to your Mystery Animal Google Form in the comments section (in Google Classroom)
  • Pick 3 classmates 20 Questions Game Google Form.
  • Research their questions and guess their animal in 20 questions or less


Background Information:

Rosie Gumataotao Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States, and leader of the effort to put a woman on US Currency for the first time in over a century helped to bring to life the Google Experiment, Notable Women. 

Google invited Rosie to speak about her journey as Treasurer of the United States and her efforts to place the portrait of a woman on our currency for the first time in over a century.

It was during that presentation that Rosie met a group of Google women who were excited about her ongoing mission to celebrate historic American women - and the role technology could play to bring it to life. They were inspired by two simple thoughts: “What if we didn’t have to wait to see women on U.S. currency?” And, “What if anyone could learn about women who made U.S. history in a place where they’ve historically been left out?”

The website and the accompanying app are the result of this serendipitous collaboration.  Notable Women is designed with teachers and their students in mind.

Notable Women features 100 historic women selected from the Teachers Righting History database, a collection of women whom the American people recommended to appear on actual U.S. currency during Rosie's time at the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Lesson Idea:
  • Choose a woman to investigate that is featured on the Notable Women app/website
  • Using at least two sources (Notable Women app/website must on one of your sources)
  • Research how that woman has influenced history
  • After analyzing tow or more resources, use Google Docs, Slides, or Drawings to make an infographic to present how that woman has influenced history
  • Post the link to your infographic in the comments section (in Google Classroom)
  • Review 3 classmates infographics and comment about something new you learned about the woman they researched


Developer Tania Finlayson found her voice through Morse code. Now she's partnering with Google to bring Morse code to Gboard, so others can try it for accessible communication. Morse code for Gboard includes settings that allow users to customize the keyboard to their unique usage needs.

Some learning applications that have been created to be used in schools using the Morse Code for GBoard include:
  • Alphabets Got Talent
  • Morse Striker
  • Hello, Emmett

You can start learning Morse code with Google experiment, Morse Typing Trainer

Lesson Idea:
  • Watch Tania's Story: Morse code meets machine learning
  • Challenge yourself to learn Morse code with the Morse Typing Trainer
  • Brainstorm a learning game that would use the Morse Code GBoard to teach a skill to elementary aged students
  • Share your idea for a learning game in the comments section
  • Read 3 of your classmates learning game ideas and provide feedback


  • Check the Experiments with Google site often.  There are always new experiments being posted.

  • Challenge your students who are ready to go further with coding to create through the Experiments with Google site and its open source coding resource, GitHub Education.

  • Have fun with it and don't be afraid to explore the unknown! Exposing students to the possibilities coding holds beyond video games is mind opening. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Technology: Library Centers Deep Dive Part 4/10

Technology is such an all encompassing word, especially in a school library.  Many libraries I see on social media seem to have an endless supply of technology. When the Merge Cube hit the scene and then dropped in price to just a dollar per cube I saw librarians across the country filling their shopping carts full of Merge Cubes.  I was not one of these people.  I had paid full price for my Merge Cubes and then a parent generously donated several more.  The issue wasn't access to a Merge Cube unit.  The issue for me was lack of technology to bring the Merge Cube learning experiences into my school library.

The lack of technology is an issue that plays on a continual loop when it comes to technology in my school library.  

Current technology tools I have available for student use include:
  •  2 iPod Touch (1 1/2 years old)
  •  4 iPad Air (5 years old)
  • 12 Chromebooks
  • 14 MacBooks

I have also tried a flurry of headsets to use with the 2 iPod Touch units we have and the only one that has come close to being useful is this particular Google Cardboard headset:

Google Cardboard, Splaks V2 Google Cardboard Mobile VR Cardboard 3D VR Glasses Compatible with Phones Up to 6 inch with Magnetic Trigger, Phone Sucker, Comfortable Forehead Pad Nose Pad and Strap

It still isn't ideal mainly because it is paper/cardboard and multiple uses tear the paper and rip off the velcro that is also a part of the headset.  I've tried to rectify this particular issue  by wrapping the cardboard in colorful duct tape and applying my own velcro closures.

What works with this headset is that it includes a magnetic trigger that actually works with an iPod Touch which I did not find with the other units I tried.  I also can't say enough about the "phone sucker" feature.  Getting the tiny iPod Touch to stay in place was always a big challenge.

The point being is that we all have differing availability to technology within our respective school libraries.  The key is finding ways to get the most out of what you have for maximum student learning and engagement.  This is where centers play a critical role in my school library.

Because I have a large variety of centers I like to offer over the course of a school year I separate out the Technology Center into subgroups. This way I can maximize the technology I have available while still bringing new learning activities to my students.

  • Green Screen Center - one iPad (students work together as a group)
  • OSMO Center - two iPads (students work in pairs)
  • Research Center - three to four laptops/one per student
    • Introduction to and use of research databases
  • Google Center - three to four laptops/one per student
  • Robotics - two iPads paired with two robots (BB8/Dash) students work in pairs
  • Coding - depends on coding activity
    • Coding App - example: Coding Safari - two iPads (students work in pairs)
    • Coding Website - example: Hour of Code - three to four laptops/one per student
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality - iPods, iPads, Virtual Reality viewer, VR/AR apps, Merge Cube
  • Bloxels EDU- Bloxels kits, iPads
    • students build games, they become the writers, artists, designers, and developers of their own interactive stories

Original post that started it all:
Links no longer work as my former district set up their Google admin rules to permanently delete rather than transfer former employee accounts.

Library Deep Dive Part 1 of 10:

Library Deep Dive Part 2 of 10:

Library Deep Dive Part 3 of 10:

Library Deep Dive Part 4 of 10:

Library Deep Dive Part 5 of 10:

Library Deep Dive Part 6 of 10:
Coming Soon

Library Deep Dive Part 7 of 10:
Coming Soon

Library Deep Dive Part 8 of 10:
Coming Soon

Library Deep Dive Part 9 of 10:
Coming Soon

Library Deep Dive Part 10 of 10:
Coming Soon