Thursday, April 23, 2020

Google Sites Templates & Banners

Years ago Google Sites had a gallery of templates that you could pick from when you were starting to build a website. When the new (current) version of Google Sites was launched in 2016 the template gallery was removed. Today, Google brought back the Google Sites template gallery. The gallery is rather limited at this point, but it does have a few templates for education sites.

Banner announcements is another new feature that was added to Google Sites today. This feature will let you put a custom banner across the top of your site on its homepage and or all pages within the site. Putting a banner at the top can be a good way to call attention to an important notice that you want to make sure visitors don't miss. As I demonstrated in the video below, banners can be linked to calls to action for things like joining a virtual meeting.

In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate both of the new features that were added to Google Sites today.

Two Free Webinars Today and Tomorrow

Rushton Hurley, founder of Next Vista for Learning, has been hosting some great webinars over the last couple of months. One of those is every Thursday at 5pm ET and the other is every Friday at 1pm ET.

Today, at 5pm ET Rushton is hosting Activities Across Grade Levels. Susan Stewart is the co-presenter for the webinar. The focus of today's webinar is on activities for learning English and other languages. You can register for the free webinar right here.

Tomorrow, at 1pm ET I'll be joining Rushton for the fifth installment of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. Please come and ask us anything. We try to do more than just share cool tools, we try to share ideas for implementation too. You can register for the webinar and find previous episodes here.

Service via Video
Next Vista for Learning is currently running a collaborative video creation project that students and teachers. The project is called Service via Video. The goal of the project is,in Rushton's words, "to inspire others by telling stories of service using digital video." Rushton recently hosted a webinar about the project. The webinar included ideas for making videos and how to use Adobe Spark to make videos. You can find the webinar recording and handouts under "previously" on this page.

Google Meet Gets a Grid View and Higher Quality Video Sharing

One of the things that many people like about Zoom is the ability to see all participants in a call in a grid on your screen. (It makes me feel like I'm in the opening scene of The Brady Bunch). Now Google is going to offer that ability as a native part of Google Meet.

As Google announced yesterday, you'll soon be able to see sixteen participants in a Google Meet on one screen. This feature has started to roll-out to some domains and should be available in all G Suite domains by the first of May. You'll be able to implement a tiled layout display from the layout controls when you are in an active Google Meet. Directions are available here.

Higher Quality Video Sharing
There was another enhancement to Google Meet announced yesterday. That enhancement is a new option to share one Chrome tab in Google Meet instead of sharing your entire screen or an entire window. This feature was created in order to improve the quality of video playback in Google Meet. It should make playing a YouTube video in a meeting a little smoother. This should also improve the playback of video and audio that is embedded into Google Slides presentations. This feature should be on now for all users. Directions are available here.

Applications for Education
Teachers who want to better keep track of how attentive students are in a virtual meeting will probably like the new tiled/ grid view in Google Meet.

The improved video sharing option should eliminate some of the glitches associated with streaming in Google Meet. Eliminating those glitches should help hold students' attention a bit more in a Google Meet. I know that my students quickly get distracted if a stream starts glitching in our Google Meet calls.

Getting Started With Google Meet

If you're new to using Google Meet, here are a few videos that I've made this spring that should help you get started.

How to use Google Meet in Google Classroom

What Google Meet looks like to students.

How to schedule Google Meet events in Google Calendar.

By Request - How to Create a Timed Quiz in Google Classroom

I'm taking a digital portfolio approach to assessment in our remote learning environment and using EDpuzzle for little comprehension checks. But my approach to assessment isn't the only one you might take. In fact, a more than a handful of people have asked me via email, Twitter, and even a phone call (a colleague of mine) about using Google Forms for timed quizzes. It is possible to deliver timed quizzes by using a combination of Google Forms, Google Classroom, and Form Limiter.

In this new video I demonstrate how to you can create a timed quiz in Google Classroom by using Google Forms, the Forms add-on FormLimiter, and the scheduling function in Google Classroom.

Step-by-step directions:
1. Create a new quiz assignment in Classwork in Google Classroom.
2. Create your quiz in the Google Form that was created by step 1 above.
3. Install the FormLimiter add-on for Google Forms.
4. Enable a date and time limit in the FormLimiter add-on.
5. Use the scheduling tool in Google Classroom to make your quiz live at a specific time.

Google Classroom Assignments from Teacher and Student Perspectives - Nine Lessons

A frequent occurrence in my inbox these days is requests for help understanding how students see assignments and feedback in Google Classroom. Additionally, I've had requests for clarification on how students should submit their work for grading in Google Classroom. To address those questions I made a new video that shows three ways to give assignments in Google Classroom and how students can submit work for those assignments.

This video provides an overview of how teachers can give assignments in Google Classroom and how students can submit work for assignments in Google Classroom.

Nine things this video teaches:
1. How to give an assignment in which students get a file pre-made for them to edit.
2. How students can complete an assignment in which they were given a pre-made file to edit.
3. How to grade and give comments on the assignment listed above.

4. How to give an assignment in which students have to attach a file that wasn't made with a G Suite tool.
5. How students submit files made outside of G Suite.
6. How to grade and give comments on the assignment listed above.

7. How to give an assignment in which students have to make their own Google Doc.
8. How students can create and submit a Google Doc in response to an assignment.
9. How to grade and give comments on the assignment listed above.

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