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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Google Earth Is Now a Component of G Suite for Education

Earlier this year Google released a Chromebook-friendly, browser-based version of Google Earth. This week at ISTE 17 Google announced that the new version of Google Earth is now a component of G Suite for Education. This means that your students will be able to use Google Earth with the same account that they use for Google Drive, Classroom, Keep, and other core G Suite components.

Take a tour of the new Google Earth in my video embedded below. 



Learn more about how to use Google Earth in your classroom in my online course, Teaching History With Technology

ClassTag's Newest Features Bridge the Gaps in Teacher-Parent Communication

This morning at ISTE 2017 I met with Vlada Lotkina from ClassTag to talk about teacher-parent communication. ClassTag originally launched as a tool for streamlining parent-teacher conference scheduling and volunteering planning. It still does that, but it now has more features for communicating with parents.

ClassTag lets you send email, push, and SMS/text announcements to parents. That's nothing unique. What is unique is that ClassTag will track whether or not those messages are opened and read by parents. If they're not opened and read, ClassTag will provide you with an option to print a flyer to send home. That flyer contains the same information as the electronic announcement.

Applications for Education
Some parents prefer text messages while others prefer email and still others prefer a good, old-fashioned flyer. ClassTag helps you identify the best ways to communicate with your students' parents.

New Grading Options in Google Forms

Google Forms has a new grading option that was released on Monday at ISTE 2017. The new option allows for batch grading of questions. You can now grade on a question-by-question basis rather than student-by-student. In other words, you can grade all responses to question #1 on a quiz rather than having to grade one student's complete set of responses before moving on to the next student's set of responses. See the GIF below for a demonstration of the new feature. (GIF courtesy of Google's marketing department).

Applications for Education
Creating and grading formative assessments is one of the most common uses of Google Forms. This new batch grading option could let you quickly assess how your entire class responded to one question. That information could help you determine if the question was valid or if your students need more instruction on a particular topic.

Dave Vernier's Eclipse Tips

On Monday at ISTE 17 I met with a representative of Vernier Software & Technology. They're producing some neat equipment for science classrooms as well as some excellent interactive physics videos. Those resources are not free to use, but they do have an excellent collection of free resources about the total eclipse happening in the United States later this summer.

Vernier's Total Eclipse website includes tips for safe observing and recording video and pictures of the eclipse. Vernier is also encouraging teachers and students to record and share their observations about the eclipse. Of course, the most important tip of all is to refrain from looking directly at the sun. That's why Vernier offers solar eclipse viewing glasses. You can also make your own solar eclipse viewing box.