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Sunday, August 13, 2017

18 Updates to Google Tools That You Might Have Missed This Summer

The middle of August is almost here which means that many have returned for the start of the new school year. And those who haven't started will be starting soon. During the summer Google added bunch of new features to Google Classroom, Google Forms, and other tools that teachers and students use throughout the year. I counted eighteen updates. Here they are:

New in Google Forms since June 1st:

  • Add written feedback on every question on a quiz made in Google Forms.
  • A new checkbox grid response format. This allows students to choose multiple responses to a question.
  • You can now ask people to upload a file as a response to a question in a Google Form even if they are not a member of your school’s G Suite domain.
  • When you are creating a quiz in Google Forms you can now set a default point value for your questions rather than having to specify the value of each question individually.
  • Intelligent response validation is a new feature that will attempt to verify that the type of response submitted is what you requested. For example, if you ask for an email address and the respondent doesn’t include a complete email address, the response won’t be accepted.
  • You can now rearrange the order of sections of your Forms by just dragging and dropping the entire section into a new place in your Form.
  • Batch grading of questions on quizzes created in Google Forms will let you grade on a question-by-question basis. 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.
  • Coming soon! - Import grades from Google Forms quiz responses into your Google Classroom gradebook.


New in Google Classroom since June 1st:

  • You can now view all of a student’s work in one stream. Simply click on a student’s name in your Google Classroom roster to view all of that student’s work in one place.
  • A minor update to the gradebook in Google Classroom lets you use decimal points in your grading.
  • You can now display your Google Classroom join codes in full screen. This should make it a bit easier to get all of your students to join your Classroom quickly.
  • More 3rd party services have been made available for seamless integration into Google Classroom. Those new services are Kami, Quizizz, and Edcite.
  • It is now possible to transfer ownership of Google Classroom classes from one teacher to another.
  • Administrators can now sync rosters from student management systems to Google Classroom rosters.

Other updates:
  • Google Earth (the web version) can now be added to your G Suite for Education domain.

Stockio - Free Images, Icons, Fonts, and Videos

Atlantic Puffin Pair -
Ray Hennessey via Stockio
Stockio is a website that offers free images, icons, fonts, and videos to download and re-use in your own projects. According to the notices that accompany each file on Stockio, attribution is not required but is appreciated.

To download an image, an icon, or a font set from Stockio you do not have to register on the site. Simply browse or search then hit the download button when you find something that you like. You have to be a registered user (registration is free) in order to download videos from Stockio. Update: you no longer have to register to download videos.

Applications for Education
I always recommend that students use their own pictures, sounds, and videos whenever possible. However, it is not always possible for students to use their own creations in multimedia projects. That's when I will have them turn their attention to a site like Stockio to search for images and video clips that they can download and use for free.

Every Kid in a Park - Free Admission to National Parks

In yesterday's week-in-review post I mentioned that I hope my daughter grows up to enjoy the great outdoors as much as I do. Then almost as if she was reading my mind, my sister tipped me off to a U.S. National Parks program called Every Kid in a Park. The program offers free admission to students in fourth grade. But not only does the fourth grader get in for free, his or her family does as well (provided the fourth grader is present at time of visit).

f there aren't any national parks near you, you can still explore them through some nice online resources. National Parks virtual tours are available in the Google Arts & Culture apps for Android and iOS. If you have VR headsets available to you, take a look at Google Expeditions virtual tours of the "hidden treasures" of National Parks. 

Over the years PBS has produced many videos about the National Parks. You can view some of those videos in their entirety on the PBS video website. Search on the site for "national parks" and you'll have a big list of videos to view. Here's a list to get you started.

Web Rangers offers seven categories of games about different subjects related to the National Parks. The game categories are people, animals, parks, science, history, nature, and puzzles. Each category contains games of varying difficulty rated from easy to difficult. Some of the game topics include dendrochronology, animal tracking, animal identification, fire fighting, and map reading. Students can play Web Rangers games as visitors or as registered users. Registered users can track their progress and earn virtual rewards. Registered users can also create their own customized virtual ranger stations

The National Parks Service's Digital Image Archive is an excellent place to find images of U.S. National Parks. You can search the archive by park and or subject. All of the images are free to download as they are in the public domain. The National Parks Service also offers a b-roll video gallery. The videos in the galleries are in the public domain. The b-roll video gallery can be searched by park, monument, building, or person. All of the videos can be downloaded. Some files are quite large so keep that in mind if your school has bandwidth limits and you have all of your students searching for videos at the same time.

Google Earth offers a great way for students to view national parks in the United States and beyond. Your students can explore imagery in Google Earth to learn about the topography of a national park. In a lot of cases there is Street View imagery available within national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Your students might also benefit from viewing tours within Google Earth.To locate a tour you can refine a Google search by file type to .KMZ and then launch the tours that appear in your search results.