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Sunday, November 19, 2017

5 FAQs About Whisper for Google Classroom

Whisper is a free Chrome extension that was featured in last week's most popular post of the week. During the week I received a bunch of emails about the extension. Here's a short run-down of the questions most frequently asked about Whisper.

1. What is Whisper?
It is a free Chrome extension that lets you send pop-up notifications to the students listed in your Google Classroom rosters.

2. How is this different than sending emails?
When Whisper is correctly installed and enabled, your students will not need to check their inboxes to see the notes that you send to them. This makes it great for sending quick notes like, "keep up the great work today" or "please get back on task."

3. Nothing is happening/ why don't my students see my notes?
The number one cause of this is having pop-ups disabled. Make sure that pop-up notifications are enabled both in the Chrome browser and on your Mac or Windows computer itself.

4. Can my students see the notes that I send to their classmates?
No. The only way that they see the notes that you send to their classmates is if you use the "entire class" notification option.

5. My IT department is blocking Whisper. 
Okay, so this isn't a question so much as it is a complaint about your school's filtering policies. If you want to see if your school is blocking access to Whisper, go here. That page will also give your IT department information about how to open access to Whisper.

Want to learn more about workflow in Google Classroom? Join my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where the first snowflakes of the 2017-18 winter have started to fly. Whether they love the snow or they hate the snow, everyone around here has a comment about it. I'm in the "love snow" camp and I'm excited that the local ski resort opened this week. The snow reminds me that we're entering the middle of the school year. Should you need a little mid-year professional development, take a look at some of the webinars that I'm offering right after Thanksgiving.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. Whisper for Google Classroom
2. Using Icons to Help Organize Google Drive Folders
3. Collection of Google Drive Templates
4. Seven Tips for New Google Classroom Users
5. Using the About Tab in Google Classroom
6. Voice Recording Tools
7. Math Games and Resources

Are you looking for a workshop facilitator or keynote speaker?
If so, click here to learn about my services. 

Online PD opportunities:
Next week I'll have 5 webinars available in one package for just $25. Click here to learn more.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
SeeSaw is my favorite digital portfolio tool.
Metaverse enables anyone to create amazing things.
Kids Discover provides fantastic tools for helping kids discover new information. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

Friday, November 17, 2017

International Society for Technology in Education


The International Society for Technology in Education, most commonly referred to as ISTE, is a professional organization that plays a major role in technology integration around the world. While there is a fee for becoming a member of ISTE, their website is full of excellent free resources. There are also some ISTE affiliates that are free to join.

One of the most valuable resources that ISTE provides are technology standards that are designed to transform teaching and learning. There are standards for students, teachers, administrators, technology coaches, and computer science teachers. All of the different standards provide benchmarks for what each group should be able to know and be able to do.

The ISTE website also has different articles that you can access for free. There are also numerous news stories that are accessible to non-members.

If you are not familiar with this organization you might want to take a few minutes to check out all of the work they do to promote educational technology around the world.

Blogging with Students


Blogging is a great way to provide all students with the opportunity to have their voices heard. Blogging is also a convenient way to connect your students with students from around the world.

Seven Blogging Platforms for Teachers Compared and Ranked  Provides a snapshot of different popular blogging platforms so you can compare them quickly to see which one fits your particular needs.

Creating Blogs and Websites  A series of videos that show you the steps involved in setting up a blog on Blogger and Edublogs and how to add contributors to a Blogger blog.

Built to Last: Blogger and Edublogs Different ideas for what students can write about.

Three Thoughts About Making Time to Blog This post is geared more toward teacher blogs, but it is also good advice for students who manage their own blogs.

A Guide to Blogging and Examples of Classroom Blogs Five lessons learned about classroom blogging as well as a slide deck with 40+ examples of classroom blogs.

Quadblogging Will Help You Find an Audience for Your Students' Blog Posts Explains the idea of Quadblogging and how to get started with it to build an audience for your students.

Edublogs Class List Check out blogs written by teachers and students.

Now is as good a time as any to start blogging!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Document Studio Google Sheets Add-on

Document Studio is a new Google Sheets add-on that allows you to create certificates, personalized letters, purchase orders and other types of documents. This add-on allows you to take information from a spreadsheet and merge it into a template (Docs or Slides) that you have created. This is a fast and easy way to create customized and visually appealing documents without having to do much work.

The process is a little complicated because there are several steps involved, but the creator of the add-on made a wonderful video that walks you through the entire process.

Autocrat is another document merge tool. I would recommend giving both add-ons a try to see which one fits your particular needs.