Showing posts with label G Suite for Teachers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label G Suite for Teachers. Show all posts

Monday, August 19, 2019

How to Add New Fonts to Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets

Last week Google announced the addition of a new series of fonts that you can add to Google Docs, Slides, Sheets. The new fonts are called Lexend fonts. They are designed to improve reading speed by avoiding the visual crowding that is associated with some font styles and types. You can read more about the development of Lexend fonts here.

Adding Lexend fonts to Google Documents is done the same way as adding any other font to Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets. To do this you simply open the fonts drop-down menu in Docs, Slides, or Sheets and then choose "even more" to search for the Lexend fonts and add them to your document, slide, or spreadsheet. Once you've added the Lexend font in Docs, it will stay in your fonts drop-down menu in all future Google Documents, Slides, and Sheets that you create. Watch my short video that is embedded below for a tutorial on how to add fonts to Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets.

On a related note, in a couple of weeks I'm launching an on-demand version of my popular Getting Going With G Suite course. Sign-up here to be notified when it is available. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Google Drive Priority Page Now Available for All G Suite Accounts

Earlier this year Google began rolling-out a "priority page" in Google Drive for some G Suite accounts that were on the "rapid release" program. Today, Google announced that all G Suite accounts are now eligible for and will begin to appear in all Google Drive accounts.

Priority Page in Google Drive is a feature that will display what Google's algorithm determines to be your most important files at any given moment. This is largely files that have recently been shared with you for commenting and editing or files you've recently shared for the same purpose. From the Priority Page you will be able to see new comments without having to open the file in a separate tab or window.

Google's announcement said that the Priority Page will appear now or in the next few days in all accounts. So far only one of my three Google accounts shows a Priority Page in Google Drive.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Five More Handy Features of Google Keep

Last week I published a video that highlighted ten handy features of Google Keep. Since then a few people have emailed me to point out other features that I should have included in that video. So thanks to some reminders from Matt, Susan, and Kevin here are five more features Google Keep for teachers and students. In the following video you can learn how to use voice notes, dark mode, photo notes, image text, and highlight & save in Google Keep.

And if you missed last week's video about Google Keep, it's embedded below.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

How to Add Alt Text to Images and Videos in Google Slides

Alt text is text that you can add to images and videos to describe what they are and or what they contain. Adding alt text can make your materials that you post online more accessible to more visitors. This morning a friend of mine asked if it is possible to add alt text to images in her Google Slides presentations. Yes is the answer to that question. You can also add alt text to videos in Google Slides.

In the following video I demonstrate how you can add alt text to images and videos in Google Slides.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A New Way to Add Images to Google Sheets

Frequent Google Sheets users got a bit of welcome news yesterday. Google has added a new way to insert images into Google Sheets. Previously, the only images that you could add into a cell were those that were hosted online and publicly available for hotlinking. That has changed because the latest update to Google Sheets allows you to upload images to insert into cells in your spreadsheet.

This new feature is available now for some Google Sheets users and will be rolling out to other users over the next two weeks.

Applications for Education
This update probably won't mean much to most students. But for those students who do use Google Sheets to create data visualizations or to maintain databases that have a lot of visual components, this update could be helpful.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

How Google Keep Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Google Keep is one of the most overlooked tools that students and teachers can access through their G Suite accounts. It can be used for bookmarking, writing notes, annotating images, sharing task lists, and creating reminders. I use the reminders function every day. The reminders function in Google Keep can be helpful in working toward creating and or maintaining a habit that will help you reach your goals for the new year. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Google Keep to set reminders that can help you reach your goals.

Learn more about Google Keep in my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sign-up Now for Google Forms Locked Mode

Back in June Google teased us with an announcement about a locked mode for Google Forms. All summer and fall I got questions about when it would be available. Today, Google announced that G Suite for Education users can now sign-up for early access to Google Forms locked mode. Sign-up here. Locked mode will allow you to restrict students to viewing only your Google Form while taking a quiz that you have given to them in Google Forms.
GIF courtesy of Google for Edu marketing team.
Before you get too excited about locked mode there are a couple of things that you need to know. The first is that it will only work on school-managed Chromebooks. Second, your Chromebooks need to be updated to Chrome OS 68.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Google Classroom Now Has a Random Name Selector

Google Classroom has a new random name selector tool available in the Google Classroom Android app. As announced by Google earlier today the random name selector will randomly pick names from your roster and let you keep track of which students have or have not been called upon.

To use the random name selector in the Google Classroom Android app simply open the app, select your class, tap "people" at the bottom of the screen, and then tap the random name selector at the top of the next screen. The random name picker will let you mark a student as absent if he/she isn't in class. You can also select "call later" if you want to move on to another student then come back to the first student. Finally, after you have called on a student tap the "next" button to mark that student as having been called upon.

Here are some random name selectors for those who don't use Google Classroom on an Android phone or tablet. 

Random Name Picker is a free tool from Russel Tarr at The Random Name Picker lets you input names and spin a virtual wheel to have a name randomly selected from the list. After a name is selected you can remove it from the wheel so that it is not selected again. Random Name Picker is free to use and does not require a registration on You can save your lists by assigning passwords to them. You can re-use your saved lists. The Random Name Picker wheel can be embedded into your blog or website. The Random Name Picker was written in HTML5 so that it will run in the browser of your iPad. offers sixteen Google Sheets templates. One of those templates is a random name selector. Simply make a copy of this template, insert your class roster, and then publish your spreadsheet to use Flippity's random name selector.

The Random Name Selector from Primary Technology is a simple tool for picking names from a list you've created. To use the selector just type in or copy a list of names then hit "go." Once a name is selected you have the option of launching a two minute or seven minute countdown timer. You also have the option to remove a name from the list after it has been selected. Watch the video below to learn a little more and see the Random Name Selector in use.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

G Suite for Education Shortcuts

We all have that colleague who always searches for Google Docs or thinks that the only way to find Google Classroom is to first open his email and then open the apps menu. That's why I created a PDF and PNG of shortcuts to the core elements of G Suite for Education. You can find the PDF here and view the PNG file below.

Learn more about G Suite for Education in my upcoming course, Getting Going With G Suite

Friday, September 14, 2018

Two Ways to Use Google Sheets to Create Reading Logs

Google Forms and Google Sheets are my go-to tools when I need to collect and organize data. One of the things that I often help teachers do with data in Google Forms and Sheets is create progress trackers or reading logs. There are two ways that you can do this. The first method outlined below is the easier method as it simply requires following a template. The second method outlined below is a little more difficult but the benefit is that you can have students or a teacher's aide enter data to record progress toward a stated numerical goal like "read 1,000 pages this month."

Method #1 - Use Flippity's Progress Tracker Template
Flippity offers eighteen templates that you can use in Google Sheets. One of those templates is a progress tracker template. This template will create a sheet into which you enter student names, goals, and the units that you're tracking (pages, minutes, steps, etc). After you enter that data into the template you can publish the sheet and Flippity will provide you with a simple webpage that displays progress as a colored bar graph. Watch my video for step-by-step directions on using Flippity's progress tracker template.

Method #2 - Google Form + Pivot Table in Google Sheets
The benefit of using this method is that you can have students or a teacher's aide enter information into a Google Form and then you will see the the data in a spreadsheet that you can manipulate to see the data in terms of tracking progress toward a goal. The downside to this method is that unless you're willing to share the spreadsheet with students or set your Google Form to "Respondents Can See summary charts and text responses" they won't see their progress unless they ask you for the information. Take a look at my screenshots below for an outline of the steps needed to duplicate my reading log made by using Google Forms and Sheets.

Step 1 - Create a Google Form in which you ask for name, goal, and pages read that day (or week if that's how you'd prefer to track).

Step 2 - Create a Google Sheet of responses.

Step 3 - From the "Data" drop-down menu in Google Sheets select "Pivot Table."

Step 4 - In the right hand menu that appears on the Pivot Table sheet click "Add" next to "Rows"  then select "Your name," "Your goal," and "Number of pages read."

Step 5 - In the right hand menu of the Pivot Table sheet click "Add" next to "values" then choose "number of pages read."

Step 6 - Admire your summarized data.

Friday, September 7, 2018

How to Add a Materials Section to Google Classroom

Last night I shared the news that Google has added the option for teachers to add materials like digital handouts to the Classwork section in Google Classroom. Judging by the emails and Tweets I've already seen, this is going to be a popular feature. To help you get started adding materials to your Google Classroom Classwork section, I made the following tutorial video.

Applications for Education
The option to add materials to Google Classroom without having to post an assignment or question is a feature that teachers have been asking for since Google rolled-out the new version of Google Classroom. This update should make it easier for you to distribute materials like videos, documents, slides, and audio files as handouts under the topics in the Classwork section in your Google Classroom classes.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Two New Google Classroom Features That Everyone Has Been Asking For!

The new version of Google Classroom just got a little bit better. Ten minutes ago I got an email from my contact at Google about informing me that the new version of Google Classroom now has a dedicated "materials" section within the new Classwork section. The new materials option will let you add resources like video files, documents, audio files, and other digital handouts that aren't assignments or questions for students to respond to. You'll find this new materials option in the Classwork section of your Google Classroom classes under the "create" menu. See my screenshot below for more detail.

The second update to Google Classroom is the option to add a Classwork section to classes that you previously created and used in the older version of Google Classroom. So if you have been on the fence about continuing to use your old classes or create new ones, now you can just update your old ones by adding a Classwork section. To do this just open your class and the in the lower, left corner of your screen click the "?" and then select "add Classwork page." See my screenshot below for more detail.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Six New Layout Options for New Google Sites

Whether you like or not, the old version of Google Sites will soon go the way of the dinosaurs. The new version of Google Sites, which is two years old now, has seen a steady stream of updates this year. The latest update announced by Google brings six pre-built section layouts for Google Sites. These section layouts will let you combine multiple elements like images and videos into one section of a Google Site's page.

This isn't a major update to Google Sites but it is nice to have more options for layout design. These new layout options will be rolling out to users over the next couple of weeks.

If you still haven't made the switch to new Google Sites, there is a free transition tool that you can use to convert your existing Google Sites from the old version to the new version. Watch my video that is embedded below to learn how to convert from old Google Sites to new Google Sites.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Short Guide to Getting Started With Google Drive

Six years ago I published a short PDF that contained directions for getting started using Google Drive. I still get requests for that document even though it is outdated. This evening I'm happy to share that I have put together an updated guide to getting started with Google Drive.

This guide was developed for a total beginner who has never used Google Drive or any aspect of G Suite for Education before. You can view it as a set of Google Slides as embedded below. If you would like a PDF version, you can download that through the widget that I have embedded below the Google Slides.

Get the PDF version through the widget that is embedded below.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Google Forms Will Have a "Locked" Mode This Fall (For Some Users)

Last week Google introduced some long-awaited style customization options. This morning Google introduced another long-awaited feature. That new feature is "locked" mode. Locked mode will be a setting that you can activate in Google Forms when you create and distribute a quiz. The locked mode will prevent students from leaving the Google Form until they submit their final answers. Locked mode will be available in the fall.

Before you get too excited about the locked mode for Google Forms, it is important to note that it will only work on Chromebooks that are managed by your school. So if you don't use school-managed Chromebooks you're going to need to find another solution to prevent students from opening new tabs or windows while completing an online assessment. One possible solution is the new Lockdown Browser option from Otus.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Google Forms Customization Options

For years and years people have asked me if there is way to customize the fonts in Google Forms. And for years and years I've had to say no. That is finally going to change! Yesterday, Google announced the addition of new Google Forms customization options.

Choose Your Font Style
You can now choose from a selection of fonts to use in your form's title and in the questions in your form.

Mix and Match Theme and Background Colors
For many years you've been able to choose a form theme and even upload your own images to use in your form's theme. However, you couldn't customize the form's appearance much more than that. Soon you'll be able to change the background color of your form independently from the the color of the header. You'll still be able to upload an image to use in your header too.

You can find the new customization options by clicking on the palette icon in a Google Forms header. (That's the same icon you use to change the header color now).

The new Google Forms customization options will be rolling out over the next fifteen days. If you don't see them in your account today, don't worry, you'll get them soon.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Google Tasks to Become a Core G Suite Service

In late April Google launched a new stand-alone app called Google Tasks. Last week Google announced that at the end of June Google Tasks will become a core service of G Suite. It will be on by default for all domains.

Google Tasks is kind of like Google Keep without a bookmarking function. At its most basic level Google Tasks lets you create lists of tasks that you need to do and check them off as you complete them. Dig a little deeper into the app and you will find that you can create multiple lists for different projects or goals. Within each list you can create tasks and sub-tasks. Google Calendar is integrated into the app to let you set due dates for each task and task list.

Get the Google Tasks Android app here and get the Google Tasks iOS app here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Try These Google Forms Options to Organize Responses

I love using Google Forms to collect information from students and or their parents. Forms are rather easy to create and share. But if you have a large group responding to the questions on your Form, you will need to take some steps to try to keep all of those responses organized a bit better than what the default Google Forms settings provide. Here are three things that I recommend doing to try to keep those responses organized.

Form Limiter
Form Limiter is an Add-on that lets you automatically stop accepting responses at a specified time or when you have reached a specified maximum number of responses. This Add-on is excellent when you need to cap the responses you need for a volunteer activity. Obviously, it's also good for imposing a time limit on your students to complete an assessment in Google Forms.

Form Publisher
Google Forms on its own will create a spreadsheet of response submissions. The Form Publisher Add-on will let you create a Google Document of responses instead of or in addition to a spreadsheet.

Go To Section Based on Answer
This isn't an Add-on, it's a feature that is built into multiple choice questions in Google Forms. I used this feature a lot when I taught multiple sections of the same course and I wanted to direct students to answer a set of questions based on which section they were in. I would make the first question in the form, "what period of the day do you have my class?" and then based on that response students would be directed to a different section of the Form.

I'll be teaching how to use these Google Forms features and more during Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners Thursday at 4pm ET. Click here to register. 

Kaizena Now Offers Rubrics to Go With Voice Comments on Google Docs

Earlier this year Kaizena released an updated Google Docs Add-on that streamlined the way that you can add voice comments to your students' Google Documents. The Add-on lets you simply highlight a word or a sentence in a document and then record a voice comment about that highlighted word or sentence. Voice comments can be used in conjunction with text comments.

If you find yourself frequently writing the same comment or type of comment in your students' documents then you will want to utilize the canned comments that are available through Kaizena. And now you can also use rubrics in Kaizena.

Today, Kaizena announced the launch of a rubrics feature to go along with their existing voice and text comment tools. Unfortunately, you cannot import a rubric that you have created outside of Kaizena to use in Kaizena. You have to create the rubric within Kaizena by selecting "skills" comments that you write and then grouping them into rubric components. Honestly, I think that the process of creating rubrics within Kaizena is a but cumbersome until you've done it a few times. But you can judge that yourself after you look through the directions here.

I like Kaizena for its voice commenting component. The canned text comments and the rubric components are nice, but you can do those things with other tools that are a little easier to use for those purposes. JoeZoo Express (Google Docs Add-on) and Online Rubric (Google Sheets Add-on) are the tool that come to mind for canned comments and rubrics.

Learn more about Google Docs and Google Docs Add-ons in my online course, G Suite for Teachers

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Three Google Sheets Add-ons That Can Help You Get Things Done

Google Sheets has a lot of features baked into that can help you organize things and get things done efficiently. Start exploring the Add-ons for Google Sheets and you will find even more ways to get things done efficiently. These are my go-to Add-ons for Google Sheets.

Online Rubric
This free Google Sheets Add-on makes it easy to create a rubric. This Add-on does more than just format your Google Sheet into a rubric template. With Online Rubric you can enter scores, write comments for your students, and email your students directly from the Sheet. When you send an email from the Sheet your students receive a copy of their scores, your comments, and the descriptors from the rubric.

Add Reminders
With Add Reminders installed in your Google Sheets you can schedule reminder emails to be sent to your students, their parents, to colleagues, or to your employees. To use this Add-on just fill in the template with email addresses, recipient names, the tasks they need to be reminded of, and the due dates for the tasks.

Lab Scheduler
If you're the person in charge of scheduling conference room, computer lab, library, or science lab use, Lab Scheduler is the Add-on for you. This little Add-on will give your Google Sheet an easy-to-follow template for coordinating room use without the need to make a zillion entries in a Google Calendar. Share the Sheet with your staff as view-only so they can see who has reserved a lab.

Learn more about how to use Google Sheets and Google Sheets Add-ons during my Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners webinar on Thursday. 

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