This year, 2020, has been such a challenging year, and we've gotten some questions regarding the PDF format we tend to use. How might it work with remote students that need to digitally annotate on the PDF files?
Before we talk about options, we want to explain a few reasons we originally decided on the PDF format. The first reason is that they are universal file types: nearly all devices and operating systems can open a PDF without distorting any of the images/text whereas other file types are sometimes only optimized for certain devices or operating systems. The second reason we chose the PDF format is that the format helps protect our images and text on the handouts. We unfortunately have had our illustrations and text taken and used on items that are sold by others on TpT, and the work involved getting those removed online takes away from our time creating.
Here are some options that we've suggested to teachers regarding digitally annotating on PDFs- as we do want our resources to be useful for educational use.
1. There are several tools available that function as Chrome extensions or apps that allow for direct annotating on PDFs as well as some other forms of interactivity. The ones we list on our website are Kami and DocHub. We have found that a web search of "DocHub for teachers," has pulled up some articles written by educators about how that tool can be useful for writing on PDFs and working with Google products. We know that DocHub has been a popular Chrome extension for this purpose as it allows users to directly annotate on PDFs. However, we do want to emphasize we're not affiliated with Kami or DocHub or any outside edtech tool, so we only know that these are PDF writing tools that have been popular with many teachers. We know it may also depend on whether the district approves of a specific tool.
2. Another option is that the teacher can consider creating a single google form if permitted by the school/district. If just creating one google form, it can work for all students and for multiple of our recap handouts too. The form can ask for the student's first name + last initial, class period, the name of the Amoeba Sisters handout (so the same form can be used multiple times as the teacher can sort responses by handout name), and a space for students to write in their answers when they look at the handout. The results from the form could then be sorted by student or handout. Our page here has a screenshot at the very bottom to show an example Google form.
We think there is quite a bit of room for innovation with PDFs. So far, in addition to Kami and DocHub, we have a few other PDF editing programs and apps on our list to check out that teachers have shared with us including Microsoft OneNote, Notability, PDF Expert app, and Classkick. We have not yet explored these, but they are on our list as we are always searching for better ways for our content to be useful.
This post was last updated January 20, 2021
How do I submit a translation for your YouTube videos?
We ask for our community's help to submit translations on our new Google Form here. It follows a similar procedure to YouTube's Community Contributed Subtitle feature before that feature was removed by YouTube in September 2020.
How do I get credited with my name as the translator? Or remain anonymous?
We greatly appreciate the volunteers from the community that have spent time translating the video transcript. On our Google Form (the link to it is at the top of this page), you will note that there is an option to remain anonymous or to be credited. If you wish to be credited, the form will ask how you would like the credit to look. We also ask if you would like us to place a credit in the video details (which you can see when you click "show more" under a video) or if you would like to place a credit line yourself in the subtitles you submit (at the beginning or the end), or BOTH.
How do I see what translations exist for one of your videos?
Go to any of our videos on our YouTube channel. Once our video is playing, click the gear icon and click "subtitles" to see all available languages.
I now made and submitted subtitles on your form linked at the top of this post. What happens now?
Once a week, we go into the form and check to see if there are any contributed subtitles. We scan with Google translate and if they follow along the original script, we publish them on the YouTube video. This will allow anyone viewing the video to see the translated subtitles. If you selected to be credited on the Google form, we will place the credit in the way you listed it on the form. They will be permanently available unless you choose to have us remove them, which you can choose at any time.
Do you allow dubbing of your videos?
I used YouTube's old community-contributed subtitle feature prior to September 2020, and opted for YouTube to credit my name, and now I don't see my name anymore?
We brought this up to YouTube that the names they had listed with this feature stopped appearing a few months after the feature was discontinued. While only YouTube had access to those names and the feature, please contact us as we can ask YouTube on your behalf. We also can manually type in a credit in our video description if YouTube is unable to restore it.
What about translating your comics or GIFs?
Translating comics or GIFs requires permission; we have to ensure that the translated comics and GIFs will not be used for financial purposes or placed in items that are sold. You can contact us here.
Thank you so much for your help, community! Looking for other ways to support us? Visit our support page.
If you've been directed to this page, we are trying to use a YouTube card feature to remind you to please check our pinned comment underneath the video for an important note.
Most of our videos DO have a pinned comment.
[YouTube does not yet have the ability to put the note within the card itself]
As lifelong learning amoebas, we find a lot of value from feedback. Feedback helps us grow and improve. Sometimes, it's brought to our attention that we need a clarification note. Sometimes, it is brought to our attention that there is a mispronunciation or mistaken sentence that needs to be corrected. Sometimes, there is updated information. Sometimes, we learn something new and really think it's important to add that detail or exception.
For this reason, we utilize pinned comments. Pinned comments allow us to put important notes about our videos!
To learn more about how we try to make edits on or videos, please check out this post here!
Our most frequent need for a pinned comment though tends to be due to the many AMAZING exceptions and details that we find are difficult to address in such short videos of under 10 minutes. We do like to pin comments about those amazing details and exceptions, and sometimes our description additionally has further reading suggestions where you can learn more about them too!
Working from home and attending lots of virtual meetings? We have free 1920x1080 sciart backgrounds! Perfectly sized to spice up your next online meeting tool (example: Zoom) or computer background with a bit of biology! Click the "Download File" button below the image you like.
P.S. Teaching from a distance? We have some frequent answered questions regarding our resources here.
LAST UPDATED: December 21, 2020
News for Spring Semester 2021:
What items do you have for free?
Links to FREE Items:
Can I post your videos on my PowerPoint, Google Slide, Google Classroom, LMS platform, teacher website, etc?
If linking to the video on YouTube or using the YouTube embed code, yes! By the way, Google Slides automatically is using the YouTube embed code when you go to "Insert->Video->and paste in a YouTube video link. (Google owns YouTube!) But please do not download our video files and then upload the video file online somewhere or take a screenshot video of our video and post that somewhere. This is not only very harmful to full-time YouTube creators, but it also violates our licensing agreements and YouTube's terms of service. More info here.
You can also consider using our learning playlist link which has our videos organized by "chapters" where students can see an entire sequence of biology videos.
Can I post your handouts, comics, and/or GIFs?
Speaking of handouts, your handouts are PDFs. I want my students to write on them though since I'm teaching remotely?
The reason our resources have been in a PDF format are because (A) they can be viewed and not distorted in any type of device and (B) PDFs are more protective of our images and work.
However, there are options for being able to have students use these remotely!
A) If you prefer for students to write on the PDFs electronically and turn in to you, there are some tools that work in Chrome that can help with this. While we are not affiliated with these tools, some of the Chrome tools we mention on our handout page are DocHub and Kami. These tools allow for annotating and writing on PDFs. Additionally, if you do a web search "DocHub for teachers," there are some articles written by teachers about how that tool can be useful with students! Many LMS systems will actually allow you to write on PDFs. A quick search online for "How to annotate on a PDF in ____" with the LMS system you use may provide additional options besides these extensions.
B) If your school or district permits Google forms to be used, consider creating a google form. If you just create one google form, it can work for all your students and for multiple handouts! An screenshot of an example form is shown BELOW. It can list names of Amoeba Sisters handouts (so the same form can be used multiple times as you can sort by handout name), and a space for students to write in their answers when they look at the handout. They are very easy to make and use, and they can be an easy way to collect responses for evaluation. Here are the instructions from Google about Google forms: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/6281888?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en
You have on your website that a school device and/or network filters can be set to allow certain YouTube videos to show and block all other YouTube videos?
Google (who owns YouTube) explains here how entire channels can be approved OR even specific videos on a school device or network https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/more-ways-for-schools-organizations-to/ They have an additional help page: https://support.google.com/a/topic/6206681 . In addition to the above, or as an alternative to the above, if a district has student assigned devices (some schools are now 1:1), the district can set up "restricted mode" on the devices they give out. YouTube Restricted mode hides comments and filters out many inappropriate videos from the search. https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/174084?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en
How can I: change the video speed, see video subtitles or a transcript, change the language, see a table of contents for your videos, etc?
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Disclosure? If we share a tool or website on this page, it's because we like it and find it useful. We don't have affiliate links on this blog. If we use affiliate links at any point on this blog, we will announce on the individual post.