Thursday, January 4, 2018

Google Calendar is Changing Whether You Like It or Not

Back in October Google announced a new user interface for Google Calendar. Many folks who use consumer Gmail accounts to access Google Calendar are already using the new version of Google Calendar. Those who use Google Calendar within G Suite for Education will soon forced to use the new interface too.

Yesterday, Google announced migration dates for Google Calendar. Those on the rapid release track will be updated next week. After that the scheduled release track users will be upgraded on January 15th. Finally, by February 28th all users will have no choice but to use the new version of Google Calendar.

If you're worried about using the new version of Google Calendar, don't be. The new version has all of your favorite Google Calendar functions, the layout is just a little different.

Finally, if you're new to using G Suite, consider joining my G Suite for Teachers course

The First Six Webinars for the Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group

The first meeting of the 2018 Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group is next Tuesday. Another member joined last night and another person inquired with a question about the topics to be covered in the group.

The first six webinars will be as follows:

  • Building Digital Portfolios – January 9th
  • AR & VR in the Classroom – January 23rd
  • Social Media for Teachers & Principals – February 6th
  • Video Creation as Assessment – February 20th
  • Copyright for Teachers – March 6th
  • Programming Simple Apps – March 20th

In addition to these webinars there is a monthly members-only Google Hangout for open discussion and Q&A about anything that members want to talk about. And throughout the year members can participate in a Slack group for extended discussion.

Click here to join the 2018 Practical Ed Tech Coaching Group.

Can I Use Canva With Students Under 13? - Yes, But Read This

Canva is a fantastic service for creating all kinds of graphics. Over the years I have featured many ways to use it in your classroom. Here's a collection of free lesson plans that incorporate Canva and graphic design in many subject areas.

Whenever I write about it, someone will ask me about Canva's terms of service and whether or not it can be used with students under age 13. And that's what happened yesterday. I reached out to Canva's CEO Cliff Obrecht to seek clarification. He put me in touch with Canva's education team manager. Here's what they wrote to me.

Under 13s can use Canva if they’re appropriately supervised. We have a help centre article on exactly this point:

We made this change a couple of years ago.

The original message says we still have a 13+ requirement in our Terms. We don’t, we just require supervision. To my knowledge we have no functionality to block G Suite accounts for those under 13, nor any plans to add it. It would make it difficult to enable supervised access if we were blocking them.

Thanks to Cliff, Lee, and Julien at Canva for their quick responses to my email. And thanks to Jonathan for raising the question to me in an email yesterday morning.

Three Options for Hosting Snow Day Study Sessions

Batten down the hatches! We've got a big storm about to hit the northeastern part of the United States. When I went to bed last night many schools were already announcing closings for today and when I got up at 4am even more had closed. Then when I went on Twitter someone asked me for advice about remote tutoring/ test review on a snow day. The actual message was, "got any ideas of how to remotely tutor/test review with students (multiple at once) during a snow day? I've got a tablet PC and we're a Google apps district." It turns out that I do have some ideas about this.

1. If your school district allows it/ has enabled it, you could use Google Hangouts. Pro tip: there is often a few people who can't join/ have trouble joining due to being signed into multiple Google Accounts at the same time.

2. is a free and simple service for hosting online study sessions. In the following video I demonstrate how quick and easy it is to create a virtual conference room on WebRoom.

3. Know Lounge that will let you create a live broadcast from your laptop. Know Lounge includes a whiteboard that you can draw on and share with your audience. Students can ask you question by writing them into a chat box. Additionally, you can allow students to use their webcams to ask you questions during your broadcast. Directions for using Know Lounge can be watched here.