Showing posts with label Google Apps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google Apps. Show all posts

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The New Gmail is Coming Soon to More Domains and Users

Back in April Google revealed a redesigned Gmail user interface with a fantastic set of features including reply suggestions, message snoozing, and follow-up reminders. When it was announced the new Gmail interface was only available to those domains in the Early Adopter Program. Today, Google announced that the new Gmail interface will soon be available to all G Suite domains.

There are a few options that G Suite administrators can use for the roll-out of the new Gmail interface. No matter which option is chosen, by October 16th the new version of the Gmail UI (user interface) will be the only one available to new users and current users will see the option to revert to the old version disappear.

Option 1: Make the new Gmail the default for all users immediately. 
This option will make the new Gmail the default for all users in a domain as soon as the administrator activates it. Users will still have the option to use the old Gmail until October 16th.

Option 2: Allow users to select the new Gmail UI and features when they're ready. 
This is the default option for domains who participated in the Early Adopter Program. This option will allow domain administrators to let their users choose to use the new Gmail UI and features when they're ready. However, all users who have not opted-in by September 18th will automatically be transitioned beginning on September 18th. Users will still be able to revert to the old Gmail UI until October 16th.

Option 3: All users begin the transition to new Gmail UI and features on August 21st. 
This is the default option for domains that didn't participate in the Early Adopter Program. This option leaves users on the current version of Gmail until August 21st. After August 21st they'll see the option to try the new Gmail UI and features. If they don't opt-in by September 18th, they'll automatically be transitioned. Users will still be able to revert to the old Gmail UI until October 16th.

What does this mean for teachers?
A change like this can be hard, especially at the beginning of the school year when you already have a lot of other things on your plate. But in this case the change is a good thing because the features in the new Gmail UI can help you get through your inbox more efficiently.

Smart Reply is my favorite feature of the new Gmail UI. Smart Reply creates suggestions for replies to send to messages in your inbox. This can be a real time-saver when your inbox is full of emails that contain similar types of questions. I've been using Smart Reply on Gmail on my phone all summer and it has proven to be convenient for short messages.

Nudging is the other feature of the new Gmail UI that I like a lot. Nudging prompts you to reply to emails that you haven't responded to. Nudging also prompts you to follow-up on messages that you sent but didn't receive a reply to. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Changes Coming to the Google Sign-in Screen

This morning Google announced that the sign-in screen you see when signing into your account is going to get a small change next week. Beginning on June 14th you'll see a sign-in screen that reflects Google's material design philosophy. This means that the sign-in screen will now have a blue box around the space where you enter your email address. The new sign-in screen also has the Google logo and text centered instead of being left-justified.

This update is worth noting and passing along to others because over the years there have been many scams based on spoofs of the Google sign-in screen. So don't be alarmed next week when you see a slightly different sign-in screen.

Friday, April 27, 2018

A Convenient G Suite Update

On Thursday Google announced a small update to G Suite that could prove to be convenient and reduce confusion for folks who have more than one Google account. In the next few weeks G Suite administrators will be able to add custom images or logos to appear next to users' profile pictures. This will mean that when you're signed into services like Google Calendar you will be able to see your school's logo next to your profile image or profile initials.

This isn't a huge update by any means. This update could help users quickly confirm that they're in their school Google accounts instead of their personal accounts. It might also be reassuring to parents who are booking appointments with you through the appointment slots feature in Google Calendar to see the school's logo appearing at the top of the calendar.

G Suite administrators will find directions for uploading system-wide custom images and logos right here.

Is your school making the switch to G Suite for Education this summer? If so, my online G Suite for Teachers course will provide you with everything you need to know to feel comfortable using it in your classroom. My group rates allow you get training for your whole school for less than the cost of sending a few people to a Google Summit. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

G Suite Training for Individuals and Groups - On Sale Now!

As you start to plan for your summer professional development needs, think about the benefits of self-paced, online courses. You can start and finish the course on your schedule from wherever you have Internet access. If you're like me, in the summer that schedule and setting includes sipping coffee while sitting on your deck or patio. It's a nice alternative to having to sit in a conference room on a summer day.

My G Suite for Teachers online course is on sale now through Monday. Register at the sale price and you can start the course today or whenever it is convenient for you. Your access to the course never expires so that you can go back and review any of the ten modules whenever you need to. And any future updates that I make to the course will available to you too.

Train Your Whole School for Less Than Sending Three People to a Google Summit!
When your school is making the transition to G Suite for Education you need structured training for every teacher. With my group rates you get structured training for your whole school for less than the cost of sending a few people to a Google Summit. Everyone learns at a different pace so my self-paced online course is the perfect alternative to putting your whole staff in a room for a day or two of training during the summer.

Register with five or more people and you'll get 40% off the regular price. Register 15 or more people to save even more with these group packages. Email me at to get a group registration started today.

About this post: The sale of my professional development online courses and my on-site professional development services provides the funding to keep Free Technology for Teachers running. The resources that I feature in my online courses and webinars are free. However, there is a significant cost associated with creating, hosting, and managing the courses and webinars which is why I am not able to provide them for free.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

How to Use Grid View In Google Slides

Last week Google introduced a handful of new features for Google Slides. One of those new features is a grid view. There are two ways to access grid view in Google Slides. I demonstrate both methods in the short video that is embedded below.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Three Google Classroom Updates That You Will Appreciate

Six updates to Google Classroom were released yesterday. Three of those updates could immediately improve your use of Google Classroom this fall. Those three features are demonstrated in my video embedded below. In the video you will see how to view all of a single student's work in one stream, how to display class codes for easier viewing by students, and how to rearrange the order in which your Classrooms are displayed in your homepage.

Learn more about how to use Google Classroom in next week's webinar Keeping Track With Google Keep, Calendar, and Classroom

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Warning! The Default Order of Icons in G Suite Launcher is Changing

Today, Google announced an upcoming change to the default display of apps in the Google app launcher. That's the little menu that appears in the upper, right corner of your screen when you're logged into your G Suite account and using a G Suite product. Google stated that the change was made to improve the experience of users who never customize their launcher menus. The new default order will prominently feature Gmail, Docs, and Drive. The new default order will appear beginning on August 1st.

This is a minor change to G Suite and it will have no effect on how the G Suite apps work. I point it out only because some teachers may return to school in August and find that their launcher's app order has changed a bit.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How to Print Google Forms

Google Forms can be provide you with a good way to create a quiz for your students to complete online. It's also a great tool for conducting surveys and or registrations for school club activities. Unfortunately, if not all of your students have access to the web then you will need to print copies of the form for students and or parents to complete. In the video below I demonstrate how to print a Google Form. As I point out in the video, when you use the print option in Google Forms small bubbles appear next to answer choices along with some additional instructions for students.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Quickly Generate an Outline in Google Documents

Google Documents contains lots of handy features that often go overlooked. One of those features is the outline tool. The outline tool will quickly create an outline of your document. The outline is based on headers that you write in your document. The outline appears in the right-hand sidebar of Google Docs and lets you quickly jump to a section of a multiple page document. Watch my video below to see how it works.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

5 Google Docs Formatting Tips

Some of the first questions that new Google Docs users ask are usually centered around formatting options in Google Docs. The stress of the transition from Word or Pages to Google Docs is eased once some of the basics are addressed. In the following videos I provide demonstrations of five Google Docs formatting options.

How to Insert Columns Into Google Docs:

How to change page orientation, image placement, and text prediction:

How to use strike-through formatting:

Learn more about Google Docs and all parts of G Suite in my online course, Getting Going With G Suite. The next class starts on July 6th. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Grade Items in G Suite Side-by-Side With Otus Rubrics

Otus is a fantastic learning management system that is steadily growing in popularity in large part because of its easy of use and flexibility. Proof of that flexibility can be found in a forthcoming update that will let you view, comment, and grade any G Suite item (Docs, Slides, Sheets) on the same screen that you view a rubric in Otus. A short video of this feature be watched here.

Thursday at 1pm Central Time Otus is hosting a short, free webinar about how you can use Otus and G Suite together. Register here.

More about Otus:
Otus is designed to be a complete LMS (learning management system) for teachers. In addition to the gradebook you have options for sharing assignments and delivering quizzes directly to your students' inboxes. Otus provides teachers with a library of instructional resources (videos, texts, interactive review activities) that they can share with their students. Third-party resource providers are integrated into the Otus LMS. A couple of notable third party applications are Khan Academy and OpenEd. OpenEd offers thousands of math and language arts practice assessments aligned to Common Core standards. Otus is free for individual teachers to use. Otus can also be purchased for district-wide implementation which includes additional reporting tools for administrators.

Friday, April 7, 2017

How to Create Appointment Slots in Google Calendar

Whether you're looking for a way to let students schedule office hours with you or you're trying to streamline scheduling meetings with parents, Google Calendar provides a convenient solution in the form of appointment slots. In the following video I demonstrate how to create appointment slots in Google Calendar.

This coming Tuesday I will be covering topics like this one and many others in Keeping Track With Google Keep & Calendar.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

7 Google Product Updates You Might Have Missed in March

It can be hard to keep up with all of the changes and updates that Google makes to the products that have become an integral part of many teachers' lives. Some of the changes are minor and insignificant to the average end-user while others are significant to a larger portion of end-users. Here are some of the more significant Google product updates that you might have missed in March.

1. Google Keep is now a core product in G Suite. This means that you can now import your Google Keep bookmarks and notes into Google Documents. Watch my video to learn how to import Google Keep notes into Google Docs. 

2. Google Calendar is now optimized for iPads. This is convenient for teachers whose primary classroom device is an iPad. 

3. Google Maps now has Street View imagery of volcanoes and villages in Vanuatu. This adds to the ever-growing list of neat places that students can see in fine detail that we never could see as students in geography classes. 

4. Google Docs has a convenient, new formatting option. It's now easier to insert blocks of all-caps text. A new automatic headline formatting option has also been added to Google Docs. See more here.

5. Team Drives are now available to all schools using G Suite for Education. Rather than just sharing a single file or folder, Team Drives will give everyone in the team access to everything in the Team Drive by default.

6. Google Classroom is now available to anyone who has a Gmail address...kind of. Anyone who has a Gmail address can join a Google Classroom classroom provided that he or she has been given the classroom code. Gmail users cannot yet create their own classrooms in Google Classroom, but that option appears to be coming soon.

7. And in the "definitely not free and probably destined to flop" category, you can now buy Jamboard for $5000 plus an annual fee of $600. I can think of many better ways to allocate $5600 of your technology budget.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Google's Guides to G Suite Accessibility Options

Google offers two G Suite accessibility guides. There is a guide for administrators and there is a guide for users.

The G Suite user guide to accessibility is designed for end users. The user guide is divided into sixteen sections. In the first section you will find recommendations for the best screen readers to use while using G Suite on Mac, Windows, and Chrome OS computers. The other sections of the guide are devoted to specific products within the G Suite including Google Classroom. Each section contains information on accessibility shortcuts, screen reader instructions for each app, and in some sections you will find how to videos like this one for using a screen reader with Google Docs.

The G Suite administrator guide to accessibility covers much of what you will find in the user guide, but also includes recommended settings to apply within your Google Apps admin console.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Two New Google Calendar Features Help You Schedule Meetings

Google Calendar's web interface got a helpful update this week. It now includes the same "smart scheduling" features for rooms and times that the Google Calendar Android and iOS apps provide. This means that Google Calendar in your web browser will now suggest a meeting room for you based on the rooms that you have previously used.

The other new feature is a "find a time" tab in Google Calendar. This feature will show you the timezones that your Calendar event guests live in.

It is important to note that these features are available to G Suite users and may take a few days to appear in your G Suite account.

Applications for Education
The room suggestion feature could be helpful when you need to find a meeting place within your school. The "find a time" feature might be helpful if you are trying to connect classrooms for a Skype or Google Hangout meeting.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Two Ways to Grade Short Answer Questions in Google Forms

Last night I received an email from a reader who wanted me to clarify that is possible to grade short answer questions in the default "quizzes" mode. When you are selecting quiz settings in Google Forms you will need to choose the option for releasing grades "later, after manual review." Then you will need to manually score your students' responses to your short answer questions.

Another way to accept and score fill-in-the-blank and short answer questions in Google Forms is to use the Google Sheets Add-on called Flubaroo for scoring responses. Flubaroo will let you have fill-in-the-blank responses automatically scored. When you create an answer key in Flubaroo you can specify one or more correct responses for each question. If you enable the automatic grading option in Flubaroo, students can receive their grades within seconds of submitting their final answers.

Join my January 4th webinar Google Forms for Beginners to learn more about how to create and grade assessments in Google Forms. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Four G Suite Updates You Might Have Missed Recently

Google is constantly developing new features and sometimes eliminating old features from the tools that many of us use every day. It can be hard to keep up with all of the changes. In the last ten days there have been four changes to G Suite products that you should know about.

This week Google released the new version of Google Sites to all G Suite users. In terms of visual aesthetics the new version is definitely an improvement over the old one. However, the early reviews are mixed as some of the customization options of the old version have been removed from the new version. Read more about the new Google Sites on the Google product blog.

There is a new Google Drive product designed specifically for team use. Team Drives is a version of Google Drive that will offer instant access to all files to all team members who are sharing a Team Drive. Team Drives is in beta and only open to G Suite domain administrators for now. Read more about it on G Suite Update Alerts.

Google Docs and Slides have long let you export to Word and PowerPoint formats. You can now export Google Slides presentations to ODP (Open Document Presentation) format for use in OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Google Docs can be exported to ODT format for use in OpenOffice.

The old Google Drive templates gallery is going away. It will be replaced entirely by the templates that you see when visiting Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms directly. G Suite for Education users will be able to create their own templates to share with students and colleagues. I wrote a more detailed post about this last week.

Monday, November 7, 2016

New Online Course - Getting Going With G Suite

I wasn’t planning to offer a new section of my course on G Suite for Education until January, but I’ve had a lot of requests from folks who want to take it before the end of 2016. Therefore, I got in touch with the Midwest Teachers Institute (my partner for graduate credit offerings) and we scheduled a new section of Getting Going With G Suite for Education that will start on November 21st!

Getting Going With G Suite is a webinar series designed for teachers and administrators who are new to using Google Apps for Education. Getting Going With G Suite is a five week course covering everything you need to know to integrate Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Calendar, and Google Sites into your practice. Register today.

Five things you can master while taking this course:
Google Classroom.
The nuances of Google Drive.
Taking control of your schedule with Google Calendar.
4 ways to use Google Sites in your classroom.
Improving your workflow with Google Forms & Sheets tricks.

What’s included? What does it cost?
Registration is $147 (subscribers to the Practical Ed Tech newsletter receive a discount code).
The graduate credit option costs an additional $450. Click here to register for graduate credit. Note: you must also register for your preferred spring or summer section using the links below. Registration is not confirmed until payment has been received. Cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the start of the course will not be refunded.

All live sessions are recorded. The recordings are made available to all participants to stream and or download.

Participants will receive digital handouts with directions for everything demonstrated in the webinars.

Full course details.

Whenever I offer these courses some people ask why the courses aren't free. There are quite a few reasons, but two primary reasons. The fees to license GoToTraining and to host the recordings are not cheap. The other reason is that free webinars have a very low turn-out rate. I want to help you as best as I can and I can't do that if you don't attend the webinar. When you pay to register you're making a commitment to attend and pay attention on a higher level than just filling out a form and saying, "yes, I'll attend." I've experienced this first-hand as I frequently pay to attend professional development webinars myself. When I pay, I show up and I pay attention much more than if I didn't have to pay anything for the webinar.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Upload Files As Responses To Google Forms - Coming Soon

Earlier today Google announced a handful of new features that are coming soon to G Suite for Education (formerly called Google Apps for Education). The most exciting of those new features is found in Google Forms.

The latest update to Google Forms includes two new features. First, now when you begin to write quiz questions in Google Forms, Forms will attempt to predict the type of question that you are writing and it will suggest possible answer choices. Of course, it's not fool-proof and in my initial testing of the feature Forms was not able to predict the answer type or choices for my question, "what is the tallest mountain in the world?"

The second feature added to Google Forms is the option to have students respond by uploading a file. When students upload a file it will be stored in your Google Drive account for review. This feature will only work for Forms that are restricted to members of your G Suite for Education domain. The file upload feature could provide you with a great way to collect visual artifacts of your students' work. It could also provide you with a way to collect responses to longer open-response questions that have paragraph formatting unlike the present mess of paragraphs that you get when collecting long open-responses through Google Forms.
Image courtesy of Brooks Hocog,
Global Communications, Google Apps & G Suite.

When can I expect to see these features?
Google announced a release track for these new features. The suggested responses feature should begin to appear in the week of November 2nd. The file upload feature in should begin to appear in the week of November 9th.

Popular Posts