Compiling #Lon19 Photos

Yearbooks are a collection of photos with short stories. The short story not only names who is the photo, but also explains what is happening beyond the photo. For example, the following image says a thousand words but the quality caption truly captures the moment.

30EF2A05-1403-470D-8EA2-93637A735B12 - Hans Tullmann

Obvious Caption (Not a Story)

Hans Tulllman is super excited about acceptance into #Lon19.

Quality Caption (Short Story)

For many of the #LON19 Innovators, being accepted into the program is a dream come true. I was in my Technology Lab in Bakersfield, CA teaching Kindergarten students when I found out!

But how do we compile those photos and short stories for the yearbook? This blog post will focus on the three different ways we used to collect photo stories for the #Lon19 yearbook.

Compiling Photos Method #1

Like #CUE19, I needed a way to gather photos with captions, as well as individual portraits. Since SlidesYearbook has required formulas, I coded the Forms from the Sheets.

Both scripts have a similar form structure.

Compiling Photos Method #2

But let's be honest, people get busy. Manually uploading photos and captions one at a time is not a priority, especially for Google Innovators who live and breathe their Academy for three days. I needed a backup plan. The solution was the Google Sheets Add-on Twitter Archiver.

Each day of the Academy, I duplicated the sheet. After the Academy, I did a little formula magic, added a few columns, and decided which tweets with photos would be added to the yearbook.

Compiling Photos Method #3

I am not coding the #Lon19 Yearbook by myself. Clay Smith is helping me. Clay uses JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) to push Google Photos to Slides. Click here to see his work in the Chrome Webstore

When a tag such as #Dinner is added to a Google Photos (or Drive) image, it becomes a part of the image. Using the code that Clay coded for Photos to Slides, we can pull images from a Google Photos Album to the SlidesYearbook using #hashtag instead of <<merge tag>>. The same is true for images in a more secure Google Drive folder.

In this video, photos that are tagged #Meet are pulled into a text box on a Google Slides with the same tag.

The video shows an early version of the code. The goal for the image is to fit the aspect ratio of the text box. This includes cropping the image as necessary.

Another area that Clay is researching is privacy. A major issue that I have with Autocrat is that it requires that the Google Drive folder be shared as Anyone with a link can view. Google Photos has no privacy controls. As educators, maintaining student privacy is a must!

On Saturday in our group chat, Clay announced that the security issue is resolved when the images are stored in Google Drive.  Let me repeat that, the Google Drive folder that houses students photos with their names does NOT have to be shared with anyone else. #StudentPrivacy. As I learn more about this, I will write about it in future blogs.

Compiling Method #4

The #Lon19 Yearbook will only the three methods, but there is a fourth one that is important. A method that I have been working on all summer - pulling pictures and descriptions from a Google Drive folder.

Schools use professional photographers to take student portraits. These portraits are used for Student Information Systems, ID cards, and yearbooks. Using the CD from the photographer saves considerable time and gives a professional look to the yearbook.

When the pictures are uploaded to a Google Drive folder, they can be listed and linked in a Google Sheets. Thanks to Clay, we don't have to change the share settings of that folder to push the portraits to Google Slides.

Combining the Photo Compilation Methods

So now we have multiple methods to compile yearbook photos. The next question is how do we combine them? Watch this video to see the workflow. Read on for the written explanation.

This is where Flubaroo Joe does his magic! Joe Schmidt focused on a major problem -  how to fill out individual yearbook sections. What if a page only had 12 photos instead of 16? Joe devised a way to automatically add filler rows. He kept track of the number of photos by creating a table.

The table included using unique and countif formulas that both listed all section names and counted the number of photos in each section. I took Joe's work in Portraits, which will be discussed in the next post, and applied it to Photos with Captions section.

Now. I could see how many photos in total for each section, estimate how many photos are needed per 2-page spread AND keep track of the number of pages in the yearbook.


Designing and coding the #Lon19 Google Innovator Academy yearbook is an incredible opportunity to create an even better SlidesYearbook workflow and to produce an add-on for schools around the world to use. Thank you, #Lon19 Innovators, for this opportunity.