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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Another Small, Convenient Update to Google Sites and Google Forms

Earlier today I shared the news of the new option to add buttons to Google Sites. This afternoon Google announced another small update to Google Sites that is based on a small update to Google Forms.

Now when you embed a Google Form into a page on a Google Site the Form's background will be blended to match the appearance of the rest of the page. The Form will also be automatically sized to match the available space. And the Form will be optimized to for display on mobile and desktop browsers.

Applications for Education
These are not major updates and there is nothing for you to do to implement these changes in Google Sites (unless you're still using the old version of Google Sites in which case these updates don't apply). These changes could be helpful to you in the sense that improved display of your Forms will make it easier for students and parents to complete Forms on a variety of devices including laptops, tablets, and phones.

A Science Lesson for Dog Owners

As regular readers of this blog know, I love dogs. But as much as I love them there is one habit that I wish "man's best friend" would kick. That habit is eating poop. Whether its from a deer, a moose, a horse, or any other mammal, my dogs have had time not scooping up a mouthful. While I still don't like the habit, thanks to a new MinuteEarth video, I now know why they do it.

Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop? explains why and how some animals get nutrients from eating the excrement of other animals. The video also mentions why the feces of some animals has more nutrients than that of other animals. Like all MinuteEarth videos, the description notes on YouTube for this video include a list of the references used in producing the video. Watch the video on YouTube or as embedded below.


Applications for Education
Any student who has a dog, might be interested in the lesson in this video. And if you want to build a complete flipped video lesson around it, try using EDpuzzle or TES Teach.

Apparently, I write about poop more often than I remember. A quick search of my archives unveiled three other poop-related lessons. Those are a TED-Ed Lesson explaining why the world isn't covered in poop, a TED-Ed lesson about constipation, and the classic Who Pooped? game from the Minnesota Zoo.

How to Create an eBook on Book Creator

On Tuesday I shared five ideas for making ebooks with your students. Book Creator is a great tool for making those ebooks. With Book Creator your students can make ebooks that include text, images, audio recordings, videos, and even maps. Students can insert media that they've created or embed content from sites like YouTube and Vimeo into the pages of their ebooks.

In the following video I provide a complete overview of how to create an ebook on Book Creator. In the video you will see how to select a page size, customize the page color, and how to alter the text layout. In the video I also cover embedding content from third-party sites, adding maps to pages, uploading pictures, and recording audio and video directly into Book Creator pages.


You and your students can use Book Creator for free with the limitation of 40 books per account. There is an upgraded, school-wide version that offers real-time collaboration, LMS integration, and an admin dashboard. That school-wide version is on sale in the month of September.

Disclosure: Book Creator is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com 

Google Sites Has a New Design Component

The "new" version of Google Sites (it has been out for two years) has a new design component that you can use to make navigation of your site a little bit easier for visitors.

As Google announced yesterday, you can now add buttons to the pages of your sites made on Google Sites. Buttons are small, highlighted or colored areas intended to make links stand out from the rest of the text on a page. You will find buttons in the insert menu in the Google Sites page editor.

Applications for Education
When used sparingly, buttons on the pages of your Google Sites could make it a little bit easier for your students to and or their parents to find the most important information on the pages.

If you have not made the switch to new Google Sites from the old version of Google Sites, you will want to do so sooner than later. Watch this video to learn how to migrate a site from the old version of Google Sites to the new version of Google Sites.