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

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

An Update to Google Meet Call Quality

One of the most annoying things to start any video call is the process of resolving sound quality issues like a persistent echo. Google recently announced an update to Google Meet to address that problem. 

Google Meet will now notify you when your audio is causing an echo for others. In other words, even though you may not hear an echo others in the call may hear an echo generated by your computer. When that happens Google Meet will now display a notification on your screen. Clicking on that notification will take you to the Google Meet help center where you'll see recommended steps to resolve the echo problem (spoiler alert: it's usually due to having a microphone too close to audio output). 

Applications for Education
Students have enough trouble focusing on your online instruction without having to fight through the distraction of poor audio quality. If you're using Google Meet for classes this year, this new echo notification in Google Meet could help improve the meeting quality for your students and help them focus on your instruction.

Like almost all updates to Google Workspace tools, this update will be rolling out over the course of a few weeks. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Annotate Meet - One of My New Favorites in 2021

I'm taking this week to recharge and get ready for the next session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. For the next few days I'm going to highlight some of my favorite new and new-to-me tools so far this year. 

Annotate Meet is a Chrome extension that lets you draw on your screen during a Google Meet call. Annotate Meet provides you with a small set of tools that you can use to draw or type on your screen while hosting a Google Meet. To use the extension simply start a Google Meet then share your screen. Once you've shared your screen you can click on Annotate Meet in your Chrome extensions menu to access all of the Annotate Meet drawing and typing tools. The drawing tools include a variety of pen/ marker sizes, a customizable color palette, basic text typing tools, and an eraser. You can also clear everything with just one click if you don't want to manually erase. 

After I had it installed I found Annotate Meet easy to use. There is one quirk to be aware of before you start using it. The default color for the drawing tool is black which might not show up all that well depending upon the screen you're sharing. For example, if you screenshare a Google Document the black pen tool might not be enough of a differentiation from the text for your students to notice right away. I changed the color to a darkish orange color and the pen tool was much easier to see.

Applications for Education
Annotate Meet could be useful for providing remote tech support to students. I would use the annotation tool to draw on my screen to show students where they to click on their own screens. Annotate Meet could also be great for drawing on articles to highlight important parts of articles that you share with your students. I'd also consider using it when providing remote editing or feedback to students.

I probably wouldn't use Annotate Meet if I was conducting a full lesson that required drawings and diagrams. Those kinds of lessons I prefer to do a shared Google Jamboard because I can quickly provide students with a copy of Jamboard via Google Classroom whereas annotations on a screen in Google Meet aren't available to students after the meeting ends.



Friday, June 25, 2021

15 Updates Coming to Google Workspace for Education

This week Google announced a bunch of updates that will be coming soon to Google Workspace for Education products. If you missed them, as I did earlier this week, here's a short summary of the key updates to note.

File / Video Security Updates
  • Some shared files in your Google Drive will require using a URL that contains a resource key. This change will impact users who haven't previously viewed a file that you're sharing. As an end-user, this shouldn't change anything for you other than the link that you initially share if you use the "anyone with the link" option to share a file. This change will be implement beginning in late July with full implementation in September. Google Workspace administrators may want to read more about this update on this Google Workspaces Admin Help page.
  • Videos in your YouTube account that were uploaded prior to January 1, 2017 and were marked as "unlisted" will be changed to "private" on July 23rd. You can revert them back to "unlisted" after the 23rd. Read more about this change here. This update doesn't affect videos uploaded after January 1, 2017.


Google Classroom Updates Coming Later This Summer/ Fall
  • Schedule assignments to multiple classes at once. 

  • Offline mode for the Google Classroom Android app. 

  • Student activity view. This will let you see when a student was last active in your Google Classroom. Activity can include accessing assignments and commenting on posts.
All three features listed above will be available in all versions of Google Workspace for Education. The following Google Classroom features will only be available to those using one of the various paid Google Workspace for Education plans. 
  • Roster import via Clever. This will let IT administrators create classes based on classroom rosters as written in Clever. (While great in theory, I wonder if this will impact how much control teachers get over their own Google Classroom rosters. I'd hate to see this turn into a situation where a teacher has to submit an IT help ticket whenever a student needs to be added or removed from a Google Classroom. That could be a nightmare during add/drop periods). 

  • Classroom add-ons. This will let IT administrators add third-party services into Google Classroom. Some of Google's preferred vendors for this include Adobe, Kahoot, and Nearpod. Students will use those tools inside of Google Classroom.  
Google Forms
  • Twenty new font choices are being added to Google Forms. 

  • The settings menu is going to be revamped to "simplify" the application of settings. (I'm not sure what there is to simplify in Google Forms settings, it's pretty simple now). 
Google Docs
  • Create interactive checklists in Google Docs. There's a new checkbox option that you can add in place of bullet points in Google Docs. This is available now. See my screenshot below for an example. 

Google Meet
Hopefully, we can all use Google Meet and Zoom a lot less next year. That said, Google is making some updates to Google Meet for those who are hosting virtual class meetings. 
  • When launching a meeting from Google Classroom teachers and co-teachers will automatically be assigned the roles of host. 

  • Students who are on the Google Classroom roster will automatically be admitted but will be placed in a waiting room until the teacher is ready to admit them. 

  • Anyone not on the Google Classroom roster will have to ask to join and can only be admitted by the teacher or co-teacher. 

  • Hosts can turn off all webcams at once with a "video lock" setting. 

  • New viewing options will let you control how much of a presentation you see compared to how much space is allotted for viewing your students' cameras or profile icons. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

More Virtual Background Options in Google Meet

Last fall Google added options for blurring your background in Google Meet and using your own pictures as backgrounds in Google Meet. This week another background option was added to Google Meet. 

You can now use videos as virtual backgrounds in Google Meet. Right now the options are limited to just videos provided by Google. Hopefully, more options including uploading your own videos will be added in the future. The current video background options provided by Google are "classroom," "party," and "forest."

Applications for Education
This update isn't going to change the way that any of us use Google Meet for online instruction. That said, it is nice to have an option to break-up the routine of Google Meet meetings with a fun background choice. In the future, if Google allows us to upload our own videos to use as backgrounds we could us those videos in a virtual green screen environment in which the video plays behind us while we talk about what's displayed. I'm picturing that working much like the animated green screen backgrounds used by television meteorologists on morning news shows.

For those who haven't tried virtual backgrounds or blurred backgrounds in Google Meet, in the video below I demonstrate how to use both of those features.


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image taken by Richard Byrne at Norway Lake in Norway, Maine. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

An Easier Way to Share in Google Meet

Last week a new menu option appeared in Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets. That new menu appears just to the left of the share button in Slides, Docs, and Sheets. It's icon resembles and upload icon, but it's not an upload option. The new option is to present to a Google Meet meeting. With just one click you can down present your Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets to everyone in a Google Meet meeting. 

Now when you're in a Google Meet meeting you can just click on the "present to a meeting" icon in Google Slides, Docs, or Sheets to show everyone in the meeting the slides, document, or spreadsheet that you have open on your screen. Watch my short video that is embedded below for a demonstration of the new Google Meet presentation option for Docs, Slides, and Sheets. 



Applications for Education
It has always been fairly easy to share Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets in Google Meet meetings. This just makes it a little bit easier for teachers and students. In particular, this should make it easier for students to share in one-on-one or small group meetings in which they're looking for feedback from you and or their classmates.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured graphic created by Richard Byrne.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Google Meet Transcripts Automatically Saved as New Google Docs

For Google Meet users one of the easiest ways to improve the accessibility of your live online instruction is to enable captions during your meetings. A transcript of those captions can be quite helpful to students who miss the meeting and or those who want to revisit the highlights of the meeting. Google Meet Transcripts by Scribbl is a new Chrome extension that can make the process of creating a meeting transcript and sharing it easier than ever before. 

Google Meet Transcripts by Scribbl will record all of the captions that are generated during a Google Meet call. When the meeting is over a Google Document containing the transcript is automatically generated for you. The best part is that the transcript is time-stamped! The time-stamps make the transcript easier to read and easier to find a section of the meeting without having to read through the entire transcript. The transcript is a Google Document so you can share it just like you would any other Google Document including publishing a copy for each student via Google Classroom. 



It should be noted that if you try this extension and it doesn't work the first time, check to make sure that you don't already have another caption-saving extension enabled in Chrome. If that's the case, disable the other one before running Google Meet Transcripts by Scribbl

Applications for Education
Google Meet Transcripts by Scribbl could be a great tool for teachers who want to have a written record of what they said and what their students said during an online class meeting. (If you record students' comments make sure you are in compliance with your school's policy about recording). It could also be useful for recording the notes or minutes from a staff meeting that is held in Google Meet.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

How to Download Google Meet Video Call Recordings

A few months ago Google introduced the option for teachers to record Google Meet video calls in some versions Google Workspaces. If you have that option and your school allows it, recording a Google Meet is a good way to save a lesson and publish it for students who missed the first time to go back and watch it. 

Before publishing the recording of a lesson conduct via Google Meet you might want to edit out the beginning of the meeting when you're doing "housekeeping" stuff before the lesson actually begins. To edit the recording you'll need to download the recording then upload it into your video editor of choice (I'd recommend WeVideo or iMovie). In this short video I demonstrate how to download the recording of a Google Meet video call. Remember, any Google Meet that is recorded will automatically be saved to a folder in your Google Drive. 



On a related note, here's an overview of ten Google Meet features teachers should know how to use.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

How to Make Sure Students Aren't Unsupervised in Google Meet Video Calls

Google Workspace for Education users finally have a way to make sure that students aren't hanging out in a Google Meet without a teacher. 

Yesterday afternoon Google announced that teachers can now end Google Meet calls for all participants at once. Now when hosts leave a Google Meet call they will see an option to let others stay in the meeting or end the meeting for everyone. Students will be automatically disconnected when a teacher (host) chooses to end the meeting for everyone. 

If you use meeting nicknames in conjunction with the new option to end the meeting for all participants, you can ensure that students aren't hanging out in a Google Meet call without your supervision. 



As is usual with new features in Google Workspaces, this new Google Meet option is available to some users right now and will be available to all Google Workspaces for Education users in the next couple of weeks. It's important to note that this feature is only available to Google Workspaces for Education users and not to those using other versions of Google Workspaces (formerly known as G Suite for Education).

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Some of my Favorites - Jamboard in Google Meet

This week is school vacation week here in Maine. I usually take this week off to go ice fishing on Moosehead Lake. Unfortunately, that's not happening this year. Instead I'll be "staycationing" and working on some projects around home. While on my staycation I'll be sharing some of my personal favorite tools. The integration of Jamboard into Google Meet was one my favorite new things to start this school year.


The old method that I used to combine Google Jamboard and Google Meet was fine, but the new integration is so much easier. In the following video I demonstrate how to launch and use Jamboard in Google Meet. 



Applications for Education
There are a lot of ways to use this new integration of Jamboard and Google Meet. Here are a few of my initial thoughts about it. First, even if only you use Jamboard during the Meet you can still share the Jamboard afterward with your students. Doing that would give them access to view and review any sketches or diagrams that you shared during the Meet. Second, this new integration could be great for students to participate in collaborative mind-mapping or diagramming sessions. Third, you could use the Jamboard to have students share pictures and then conduct a virtual gallery walk in Meet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Muted Notifications During Google Meet Calls

There's a new Google Meet feature that those who utilize pop-up notifications will probably like. Now when you're sharing your screen in a Google Meet call, Chrome will automatically mute and hide pop-up notifications from things like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Keep. It will also mute notifications from non-Google services like Slack and Intercom. It should be noted that notifications will re-appear when you stop sharing your screen. 

I personally hate getting notifications on my desktop so having pop-ups appear while screen-sharing in Google Meet has never been an issue for me. However, I can see how having pop-ups appear while screen-sharing in Google Meet could represent a problem for teachers who do utilize pop-up notifications. 

Like most new Google Meet features, this one is being rolled out over the course of the next few days. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

New Google Meet Tools to Help You Improve Call Quality

Google has added a new tool to Google Meet to help you answer the question, "why is Google Meet call quality so bad?" 

Now when you're in a Google Meet call you can click on the little "three dot" menu in the bottom-right corner of the screen and you'll find a "Troubleshooting and Help" menu. In "Troubleshooting and Help" you'll find useful information that you can use to analyze the cause of problems with your Google Meet call quality and get tips to resolve those problems. 

Some of the information that you'll find in the Google Meet "Troubleshooting and Help" menu includes CPU usage/ load and tips for improving system performance. You'll also find a live graph of system usage. The "Troubleshooting and Help" menu also includes many of the tips that you probably already know like "close unused tabs" and "move closer to your Wi-Fi router." 

The new "Troubleshooting and Help" menu in Google Meet is available now for some users and will be rolled-out to all domains over the next couple of weeks. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Video - How to Annotate Your Screen in Google Meet

Last week I wrote a blog post about drawing on or annotating your screen during a Google Meet call. The way to do that is to use a free Chrome extension called Annotate Meet. Annotate Meet lets you draw on top of any tab or window that you share during a Google Meet. What I didn't mention last week is that Annotate Meet will let you save your drawings as image files. So if you were using Annotate Meet to conduct a math lesson you could save all of your work as an image that you then share with your students in Google Classroom. 

In the following video I provide a short demonstration of how to use Annotate Meet. 


Applications for Education
As I wrote last week, Annotate Meet could be useful for providing remote tech support to students. I would use the annotation tool to draw on my screen to show students where they to click on their own screens. Annotate Meet could also be great for drawing on articles to highlight important parts of articles that you share with your students. I'd also consider using it when providing remote editing or feedback to students.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Draw on Your Screen in Google Meet

Annotate Meet is a Chrome extension that lets you draw on your screen during a Google Meet call. A reader named Eli mentioned it to me a couple of weeks ago so I gave it a try. 

Annotate Meet provides you with a small set of tools that you can use to draw or type on your screen while hosting a Google Meet. To use the extension simply start a Google Meet then share your screen. Once you've shared your screen you can click on Annotate Meet in your Chrome extensions menu to access all of the Annotate Meet drawing and typing tools. The drawing tools include a variety of pen/ marker sizes, a customizable color palette, basic text typing tools, and an eraser. You can also clear everything with just one click if you don't want to manually erase. 

After I had it installed I found Annotate Meet easy to use. There is one quirk to be aware of before you start using it. The default color for the drawing tool is black which might not show up all that well depending upon the screen you're sharing. For example, if you screenshare a Google Document the black pen tool might not be enough of a differentiation from the text for your students to notice right away. I changed the color to a darkish orange color and the pen tool was much easier to see.

Applications for Education
Annotate Meet could be useful for providing remote tech support to students. I would use the annotation tool to draw on my screen to show students where they to click on their own screens. Annotate Meet could also be great for drawing on articles to highlight important parts of articles that you share with your students. I'd also consider using it when providing remote editing or feedback to students.

I probably wouldn't use Annotate Meet if I was conducting a full lesson that required drawings and diagrams. Those kinds of lessons I prefer to do a shared Google Jamboard because I can quickly provide students with a copy of Jamboard via Google Classroom whereas annotations on a screen in Google Meet aren't available to students after the meeting ends.



Thursday, December 24, 2020

How to Quickly Create a Transcript of a Google Meet Meeting

CaptionSaver Pro for Google Meet is a free Chrome extension that anyone can use to save a transcript of what is said during a Google Meet meeting. When the extension is installed it will automatically enable captioning of your meeting and it will automatically generate a transcript of those captions. It's easy to install and use. I made this short video to demonstrate how it works

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Quickly Create Polls and Quizzes in Google Meet With Edu-pal

Edu-pal is a new Chrome extension developed by students for teachers and students to use with Google Meet. The extension was recently featured on Product Hunt and I gave it a try earlier this week. It worked as advertised and is an extension that I'd recommend to any teacher who is looking for a quick and easy way to create polls or quizzes in Google Meet. 

Edu-pal provides an easy way to quickly create multiple choice, true/false, and free response questions to distribute to your students to answer during a Google Meet call. You can create your question at anytime during your call by simply selecting it from the Edu-pal menu that appears in your Google Meet when you have the extension activated. Students receive a notification in Google Meet that you've posted a question for them to answer. You can see their answers in real-time in Google Meet. 

For Edu-pal to work you and your students need to have it installed in Chrome. And it will only work if when using the browser version of Google Meet and not the Google Meet mobile apps. 

Applications for Education
At this time there isn't a way to save all of your students' responses to the questions you share through Edu-pal. That said, it is easy to use and could prove to be a convenient tool to use to quickly take the pulse of your online class. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Five Ideas for Online Breakout Room Activities

Breakout rooms in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet provide a good way to get students talking and working in small groups. For some students, talking to a couple of classmates in a small breakout room is a lot less intimidating that talking to you "in front" of the whole class. Small breakout rooms give students a chance to talk and test ideas with a couple of classmates before subjecting their ideas to the silent or spoken criticism of the whole class. There are lots of other ways to think about using breakout rooms, here are some of my ideas for using breakout rooms with students. 

1. Digital Scavenger Hunts/ Digital Breakout Games

Get students working together to solve problems as part of a digital scavenger hunt that unlocks little rewards. If you have a Breakout EDU account, you might find some good digital challenges there. Otherwise, consider using Flippity's online scavenger hunt template to create a game in which students solve problems to unlock each part of the game.

2. Peer Review

We often associate peer review with writing. There are plenty of other areas in which peer review is an appropriate activity. I'm having students conduct peer review of the apps they're designing in my class. You might have students conduct peer review of short videos they've created. 

3. Three Color "Quiz"

A couple of years ago I was doing some reading on formative assessment methods and came across a paper published by the University of Nebraska Digital Commons (link opens a PDF of the paper). In that paper was the outline for an activity called a three color quiz. I started using that activity in my classroom and found it quite useful in determining which of my students knew material on their own and which ones needed help. The premise is that students spend a few minutes writing about a topic on their own in one color. Then they spend a few minutes writing while consulting a couple of classmates. That writing appears in a second color. Finally, they spend a few minutes writing while consulting classmates, their notes, and textbooks/websites. That writing appears in a third color. 

4. Project Planning/ Progress Monitoring

One of my classes is working on year-long independent and small-group projects. I use a SMART project planning and monitoring framework with them to try to keep them moving on the projects. Using breakout rooms is a good way to give students a time and place for discussions about their projects. 

5. Virtual Social Time

One of the things that a lot of kids are missing right now is the experience of social interactions with classmates. Yes, many of them are Snapping, TikTok-ing, and texting their friends. But that doesn't replace having a conversation with classmates who aren't in their current circle of friends. Consider giving your students 5-10 minutes for casual conversations to interact with classmates they might not otherwise be communicating with. 

How to Create Breakout Rooms in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet

Breakout rooms can be useful to get students talking and working in small groups in a virtual class meeting. Here are directions for creating breakout rooms in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. 

How to Create Breakout Rooms in Zoom
To create breakout rooms in Zoom you'll first need to make a small change in your account settings. The change is to enable the breakout rooms option so that a "breakout rooms" button appears in your meeting controls during your meetings. 

To enable breakout rooms in Zoom:

  1. Open your account settings. 
  2. Select the "Meeting" tab. 
  3. Select "In Meeting (Advanced)."
  4. Move the Breakout Room slider icon to the on position. 
  5. Breakout rooms should now appear as an option in the meeting controls for every meeting you host. 


How to Create Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams
This is a new feature in Microsoft Teams. To use the breakout rooms function you need to be using the latest version of Microsoft Teams (check with your IT admin if you're not sure that you're on the latest version). Then you can follow the detailed directions that Mike Tholfsen (product manager for Microsoft EDU) provides in this video


How to Create Breakout Rooms in Google Meet
Google Meet offers a breakout room functionality only for those people who are using a paid version of Google Workspaces or G Suite for Education Enterprise Edition. If your school has the paid version, you can enable breakout rooms by clicking on the "activities" icon during a call. You can find more details about the feature here

For those who are using the free version of Google Workspaces or G Suite for Education, there is a third-party Chrome extension for creating breakout rooms. The latest version addresses some of the problems with previous iterations. One thing to keep in mind when reading reviews of third-party extensions is that developers are often at the mercy of Google's constantly evolving policies and programs. That means that sometimes an extension stops functioning correctly not because of something the developer did but because Google made a change that the developer hasn't yet responded to. 


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Google Made Some Meet Settings Sticky

Google has steadily added features to Google Meet throughout the fall (spring for my friends in the southern hemisphere). The latest feature is one that should prove to be a time-saver for some teachers. 

The latest update to Google Meet makes some settings "sticky" after you implement them. Now when you disable screen sharing and or chat messages for students in a meeting, that change will apply to future meetings that you host in Google Meet. I like this change because it's just one less thing that I have to think about at the start of a meeting. Of course, if you want to undo the sticky setting you can do that by just re-enabling screen sharing or chat in your next meeting. 

This isn't a huge update, but it should prove to be convenient for many teachers. This update is rolling-out now and should be available to all teachers using G Suite for Education in January. 

If you have colleagues who need an overview of key Google Meet features, please share this video overview of Ten Google Meet Features for Teachers with them. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Ten Google Meet Features for Teachers - Fall 2020 Update

Back in the late winter/ early spring of this year I published an overview of Google Meet features you should know how to use for teaching online classes. Since then Google has updated old features and introduced new ones. To reflect the updates made since the spring I created this new video overview of ten Google Meet features you should know how to use. 

The ten features covered in my new video are:

  • Meeting nicknames
  • Blurring and custom backgrounds
  • Disabling/ enabling student screen sharing
  • Disabling/ enabling chat for students
  • Disabling/ enabling "quick access"
  • Captioning meetings
  • Changing layout
  • Using Jamboard in meetings
  • Recording meetings

Thursday, November 19, 2020

How to Use and Adjust Grid View in Google Meet

In my unofficial tech support role at my school I get asked a lot of questions. Now that we're back to 100% online teaching and learning those questions are coming as emails instead of as "hey Richard" questions in the hallway. One of the questions I got this morning was about viewing all students in an online meeting. This is much easier to do in Google Meet now than it was last spring. I made this short video to show how to enable and adjust the grid view in Google Meet so that you can see all participants on one screen.