Thursday, March 19, 2020

5 Google Classroom Tips for Teachers - Things You Might Have Overlooked or Forgotten

Like I'm sure many of you are, I'm getting lots of requests from colleagues and readers for help with Google Classroom. I have a bunch of short tutorials here on my YouTube channel. But I made the following slideshow for my colleagues who are starting to really use and rely on Google Classroom now that our school is closed.

The slideshow isn't intended to be an A-Z tutorial on using Google Classroom. I made it to highlight what I think are some helpful little features that might have been overlooked or forgotten about. I hope this helps some of you.

Featured in the slideshow:
  • Posting announcements to multiple classrooms at the same time. 
  • Scheduling announcements to appear at a later date.
  • Creating topics to organize assignments.
  • Scheduling assignments.
  • Using Google Classroom to send bulk email to students and parents.

5 Helpful Google Classroom Tips for Teachers by richardbyrne

Create a Simple Website With Canva and Use It as a Digital Portfolio

Canva has been my graphic design tool of choice for the last five years. Lately, I've been using it to create slideshow presentations and videos in addition to simple graphics like the featured image in this blog post. In fact, the last two free webinars that I hosted featured slideshows designed in Canva.

One of the things that I like about using Canva for slideshows is that when I want to share the slides with a wider audience I can publish as a nice, clean and simple website. When I publish the slideshows that I make with Canva all of the links and videos that embedded in the slides continue to work. In the following video I demonstrate how to publish Canva slideshows as a simple stand-alone website.

Applications for Education
A few of my current students absolutely love using Canva. One of the things that I plan to do when we get back to having school in the school building is to have my students take pictures and record short videos about the projects they're doing in my classroom. Then they'll put the pictures and videos into slideshows in Canva and publish them as simple websites to share them as digital portfolios. Yes, they could do the same with Google Slides or PowerPoint, but Canva's presentation is just a little bit cleaner from the viewer's perspective.

Why I Make Video Tutorials

Yesterday afternoon someone wrote on my Facebook page that she was going to stop following the page because I had too many videos and not enough written tutorials. The fact of the matter is that I've published nearly 15,000 blog posts and less than half have videos in them (I counted last night). But I can see how she had that impression because for the last two years I have made a concerted effort to publish more tutorial videos and fewer written tutorials. I'd like to explain why. So here it is in list format.

1. Copyright issues. If you have followed this blog for more than a year, you're probably well aware of the many issues I've had with people stealing my work and pawning it off as their own. The most egregious cases have involved people using my work as their own in conference presentations! It's a heck of a lot harder to pass off my video as your own than it is to copy and paste my writing and images.

2. Discoverability. Depending the report you read, YouTube is the second or third most visited website in the world. Putting videos on YouTube helps more people discover my tutorials and this blog.

3. Clarity. Even when I write tutorials there are still some parts of the process that are better shown than told. A video solves that problem.

4. Time. I have a full-time course load and a family to raise and I try to stay in shape by racing my bicycle (masters category, baby!). I can produce a screencast video in the same or less time than it takes to make a series of written instructions.

Could my videos be better? Sure they could. But I wouldn't be able to make as many and many of them are made as a direct result of a request from a reader. So it all comes back to trying to help as many people as I can. It appears that video is the way to do that. Someone recently gave me the compliment that my videos have a "nice homemade feel." I'll take it.