Wednesday, June 22, 2022

New Google Forms Customization Options

There is good news for those who are tired of the same old font choices in Google Forms. Starting today (for some users) you can now mix and match font styles in the Google Forms that you create.

On Tuesday Google announced the release of new font options. These options include using different fonts for the headings, subheadings, and body text on your Google Forms. The best part is that it appears there are now more overall font choices! Instead of being limited to the handful of built-in font choices, it appears that you can now use additional fonts like those that you would typically find in Google Docs and Slides. 

Applications for Education
This is a bigger development for some teachers than others. Those who like to customize the look of their Google Forms now have more options. If it turns out that you can import fonts like those in the Lexend family, that could improve the accessibility of Google Forms for some students.

As is the case with nearly all updates to Google Workspace, the new font options in Google Forms will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks. If you don't see the new options today, you should see them soon.

On a related note, here's a series of short Google Forms tutorial videos created to help new Google Forms users learn everything they need to know and some common mistakes to avoid. 

My Three Favorite Google Tools for Social Studies Teachers and Students

As longtime readers of this blog know, my background is largely in social studies with a smattering of teaching computer science and doing some corporate training. It's teaching social studies that will always be my first professional love. I've also been using Google Workspace tools with students (previously G Suite, previously Google Apps, previously Google Drive, previously just a collection of Google tools) for fifteen+ years. These are my three favorite Google tools for social studies teachers. 

Google Earth
Google Earth is available in two versions. The Pro version is the version that you can install on your desktop. That's the version that I prefer if given a choice because it includes more features that the web browser version. And while there are work-arounds for the web version, the Google Earth Pro is a lot better for recording narrated tours. You can find my playlist of Google Earth tutorials here.

Want a lesson plan for introducing Google Earth to your students? Check out Around the World With Google Earth

Google Books
This is an often overlooked search tool. Google Books provides students with access to millions of free books and periodicals. Google Books really shines when you start looking for work that was published in the 19th Century and early 20th Century. One of the best features of Google Books is the ability to search within a book for a phrase or keyword. Learn how to use Google Books by watching these tutorial videos.

Google Scholar 
Unlike search results on, Google Scholar search results isn’t a ranking of websites. Instead, Google Scholar search results are lists of scholarly articles related to your query. Google Scholar can also be used to locate United States patent filings as well as state and federal court cases. Here's an overview of five key features of Google Scholar that students should know how to use.

Tools for Asynchronously Collecting Stories

Nearly fifteen years ago I used VoiceThread to have my students collect stories from their parents about changes in the community since their time in high school. VoiceThread is still available today although it costs a lot more than it did when I used it (it was free back then). There are other free tools that can be used today to have students collect stories in the manner that mine did years ago. Three of those tools are Flipgrid, Synth, and Wakelet.
Flipgrid was originally designed for classroom use for students to share video messages with their teachers and classmates. About a year ago Flipgrid introduced the option to invited parents to participate in conversations in Flipgrid. Inviting parents to participate in a conversation in Flipgrid can be a good way to collect short local history stories. Another good use of this feature is to host a virtual career day in which parents share information about their careers. This video shows you how to use the guest option in Flipgrid.

Flipgrid is great but some people don't like to put their faces in a video. In that case Synth is a good option to use to invite people to participate in online conversations. Synth is a simple podcasting tool that lets you record for about five minutes and publish your audio recording. People who listen to your recording can respond with their own recordings that get threaded below your original.

Wakelet makes it possible collect all kinds of files in one collaborative collection. Files can be video, audio, text, images, or links to other sources. If your students have made a multimedia book with something like Book Creator, it can be displayed on Wakelet. Wakelet also includes Flipgrid's video recording tool.

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