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

Friday, September 17, 2021

Five Helpful Google Keep Features for Students

Google Keep is a great tool for middle school and high school students to use to create assignment reminders, bookmark important research findings, organize information, save images, and re-use notes in their research documents. All of those features and more are demonstrated in my new video, Five Google Keep Features for Students

Five features of Google Keep that students should know how to use.

➡Reminders
➡Labels
➡Bookmarks
➡Images
➡Inserts

Friday, September 10, 2021

Save Google Forms Responses in Progress

About a month ago Google announced that they were finally adding an autosave option to Google Forms. This new features lets students leave a Google Form and then come back to it later to finish answering the questions on it. The option to save work in progress in Google Forms is rolling out to all users over the next few weeks. If you haven't seen it or tried it, take a look at my short video to see how it works. 



Applications for Education
Saving Google Forms responses in progress has been a feature that teachers have requested for as long as I can remember (and I've been teaching with Google Forms longer than most middle school students have been alive). Students will no longer have to start over if they get disconnected from the Internet or the bell rings to end class before they've finished answering all of the questions on a Google Form.

There are some situations in which you may not want students to be able to come back to a Google Form to finish it after they've started. For example, a student intentionally taking a long time to answer quiz questions so that he/she can return to it later after looking up answers. In that case you can disable the autosave option on that particular form.

More Google Forms Tutorials



Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How to Cite Sources in Google Docs

At the beginning of every school year I like to revisit some topics with my students to which they always say, "we learned this last year." One of those topics is citing the sources of the information that they use in their writing and in their presentations. It never hurts to review this information with students even if they say they "already learned it." There's always something they forgot over the summer or that their previous teacher(s) didn't require the them that I require when they cite their sources. 

Google Docs makes it relatively easy for students to create inline citations and bibliographies. In the last year it has undergone a few little changes. I made this new video to demonstrate how to create inline citations and bibliographies in the current version of Google Docs. Please feel free to share it with your students. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Combine Canva and Google Drawings to Make Graphic Organizer Activities

Last fall I published some videos about using Google Drawings and Google Jamboard to create labeling activities, mapping activities, and some graphic organizer activities. Those all relied on using the drawing tools built into Google Drawings and Jamboard. The aesthetics of the activities was limited by your imagination and what you could do with the drawing tools. For folks like me, that meant the visuals weren't always as pretty as we'd like. Fortunately, Canva has a hundreds of beautiful graphic organizers that you can import into Google Drawings to create online activities for your students. 

In this video I demonstrate how to find a graphic organizer template in Canva and then import it into Google Drawings. After importing the template into Google Drawings I demonstrate how to turn that template into an online activity for your students to complete. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

The Difference Between a Chrome Profile and a Google Account

This morning as I was starting to get caught up on a backlog of email I answered a question from a reader who wanted to know if I had a video about Chrome profiles that she could share with her staff. I do, here it is. In the video I demonstrate and explain the difference between signing into a Chrome profile and signing into your Google account. The video is embedded below. 


The key points to remember are:

  • Your Chrome profile handles all of your Chrome browser preferences and settings including the extensions you like to use, bookmarks, saved passwords, and display settings (default fonts and color schemes). 
  • Signing into your Google account is how you access things like Gmail and Google Docs. 
  • Whenever you're done using a shared computer, you should sign out of both your Chrome profile and your Google account. 
On a related note, I find it helpful to use a different profile icon for each of my Google accounts. It provides a visual reminder of which account I'm currently using. Doing that helps me avoid creating a work document in a personal account or trying to send a personal email from a work account. Here's a little video about that

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Fish, Moose, Jam, and Drawings - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we're getting ready for a day of outdoor fun. My youngest daughter wants to go catch a fish and my oldest daughter wants to see a moose. Fortunately, a little time in the boat on Mooselookmeguntic Lake provides a great opportunity to make both of my daughters happy. I hope that you have a happy weekend as well.

As I do early every Saturday morning, I've compiled a list of the most popular posts of the week. Take a look and see if there's something new or interesting that you can apply to your classroom.

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. Five Ideas for Using Google Jamboard This Fall
2. Five Google Forms Refreshers for the New School Year
3. Five Benefits of Conducting Mind Mapping Activities
4. 11 Search Tips and Tools for Teachers and Students
5. Add Your Voice to Google Forms
6. Five Ideas for Using Google Earth & Maps for More Than Social Studies Lessons
7. Five Ideas for Using Google Drawings This Fall

On-demand Professional Development
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 37,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • If you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
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 captured by Richard Byrne.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Add Your Voice to Google Forms

Yesterday I shared five Google Forms refreshers for the new school year. That post focused on settings that are built into Google Forms. You can do even more with Google Forms when you install Google Forms add-ons and or Chrome extensions. For example, you can add voice recordings to your Google Forms through the use of a Chrome extension called Mote

Mote is my favorite new Chrome extension in 2021. It can be used to add audio to Google Forms as well as audio to comments in Google Docs, Slides, and Classroom. In this short video I demonstrate how to use Mote to add audio to Google Forms.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Five Google Forms Refreshers for the New School Year

Answering a reader's question about Google Jamboard ideas that she should pass along to her colleagues prompted me to think about some "need to know" features of other Google Workspace tools for teachers. My mind turned to Google Forms as it is a tool that when used correctly can help be a huge time-saver for teachers. There are also features of Google Forms that can be beneficial to students. To that end, here are five Google Forms features that can help you and your students in the new school year. 

Set Default Point Values
If you've ever created a quiz in Google Forms only to discover that you forgot to assign point values, one small change to your preferences can make that a thing of the past. In your Google Forms preferences you can set a default point value for all questions that you add to your quiz. Here's a video demo of how to do that.



Create QR Codes for Google Forms
I uses a Google Form as a sign-in/sign-out sheet for my classroom. Rather than making students type a link or find a link within Google Classroom, I simply printed a QR code for the Google Form and then taped it to the wall. Then students can simply use their phones to scan the code and access the Google Form to sign-out or sign-in. Making a QR code for a Google Form is easy thanks to a feature built into Google Chrome, here's a video of how it works.


Provide Instant Feedback to Responses
I've long been a proponent of giving students practice quizzes and self-guided review activities via Google Forms. That's because I can provide students with instant feedback on their responses. Not only can I tell them if their answers were correct or not, I can also provide them with additional information about why their answers were correct or not. I'll often include links to additional information within my automated written feedback. Watch this video to see how to add answer feedback to Google Forms and see how students view that feedback.



Require Complete Sentence Responses
Google Forms has a setting called "response validation." With that setting enabled you can require that students write a minimum number of letters or words in order to submit responses to your Google Form. This video shows you how to use the response validation settings to encourage students to write complete sentences.


Combine Multiple Forms Into One
Over the course of the school year I'll make lots of Google Forms. Combining questions from those forms is an easy way to create a review activity for my students. Google Forms makes it easy to import questions from other forms into a new one. Here's a demo of how to do that.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Five Ideas for Using Google Jamboard This Fall

A couple of weeks ago I published an excerpt from The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. That excerpt mentioned a couple of ways to use Google Jamboard in online and in-person classroom settings. This morning I had a reader reach out to me to ask if I had any other suggestions that she could pass along to the teachers in her middle school. Between my blog and my YouTube channel I was able to come up with five ideas for using Jamboard in your classroom this fall. 

Group Brainstorming Sessions
Jamboard can be used to host group brainstorming sessions. In larger classes I break students into smaller groups and have each group work on a specific page within the Jamboard session. At the end of the session we review the ideas from each page and put the most popular ones on a final page. Here's an overview of how to use Jamboard in Google Classroom

Map Labeling Activities
I like to use Jamboard to create templates for activities for students to complete. Last summer I made a mapping template to show a colleague how Jamboard can be used in a geography lesson. The process for using Jamboard to create mapping activities can be seen in this video.

Magnetic Poetry
This is an activity in which you create a template that has a bunch of words within little boxes made to resemble refrigerator magnets. You then distribute the template to your students for them to arrange the magnets to create poems. The process for making magnetic poetry activities can be seen here.

Philosphical Chairs
This is a use for Jamboard that was inspired by a question a reader named Chuck sent to me last fall. The idea is to have students move their avatars around the Jamboard to indicate their positions on a given discussion topic. Here's a video explanation of how the activity works.

Create Instructional Videos
Combine the use of a screencasting tool like Screencastify with a series of Jamboard pages and you can create an instructional video. The benefit of using Jamboard as your drawing tool instead of just using the built-in drawing tools in a screencasting tool is that you can distribute your Jamboard drawings and pages separately from the video if you want to. Here's how to use Screencastify and Jamboard together to make an instructional video. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Five Ideas for Using Google Drawings This Fall

A couple of weeks ago I shared directions for an icebreaker activity that can be done in Jamboard or Google Drawings. Jamboard and Google Drawings have a lot of similarities. There are some differences between the two that can make one better than the other depending upon the use case. Here are five ways to think about using Google Drawings in your online or in-person classroom this fall. 

Create Labeling Activities
Google Drawings lets you import images that you can then draw on top of. One of the ways that I've used this in the past is to create a map labeling activity. To do that just open a new Google Drawing and then use the integrated image search to find a map. Once you've selected a map you can use the drawing tools to mark on it. Here's a demonstration of how the whol process works including distribution through Google Classroom.

Virtual Icebreakers
I shared this idea a few weeks ago, but it's worth repeating for those who missed it. The idea is to have students virtually place themselves anywhere in the world through the use of Google Drawings. To do this students first need to find a picture of themselves and remove the background from it. Photoscissors makes it quick and easy to remove the background then download a new background-free image. Once they have a picture of themselves then students open Google Drawings where they insert a picture of place that they want to visit or revisit. Finally, they then insert their profile picture over the background image in Google Drawings. Those steps might sound complicated, but they're not. In this short video I show the whole process. 

Create Flowcharts
Google Drawings is an excellent tool for creating flowcharts. You can make your own and distribute them to your students via Google Classroom or have them make their own flowcharts to demonstrate an understanding of a process. This video shows you how to create a flowchart with Google Drawings and then distribute it to your students via Google Classroom. 

Make a Digital Turkey
Last fall I received an email from a reader who was looking for some ideas on how do a digital version of the classic Thanksgiving Thankfulness Turkey project in which students add feathers to a drawing of turkey and each feather has something they're thankful for written on it. My suggestion for creating a digital version of the Thankful Turkey was to use a combination of Pixabay and Google Drawings. I made this short video to illustrate how that process would work. 

Create Your Own Icons and Shapegrams
Tony Vincent offers a complete website all about how to create your own shapegrams and icons. In December of 2019 he was kind enough to present a webinar during the Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference. In that webinar he gave us a crash course on some of the finer points of using Google Drawings. You can watch that webinar recording here

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

An Important Update About Flippity

Flippity is one of my go-to resources for making fun things like games and random name pickers with Google Sheets. Recently, some of the Flippity templates stopped working as they originally did. I first experienced this during a live webinar earlier this month. At first I thought it was just a quirk and it would be resolved quickly. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Last Friday the developer of Flippity published an update about what's going on with many of the templates. 

The short version of what's affecting the Flippity templates is a change to some of Google's security policies and how it handles data published via Google Sheets. You can read the full explanation here on the Flippity site

Fortunately, some of the Flippity templates are working again. And there are some templates in the "Skip the Spreadsheet" section of Flippity that work without using Google Sheets at all. In the meantime, I'll just be patient as I wait for my favorite Flippity templates to be restored to full functionality. 

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. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Five Google Docs Activities Besides Just Writing Essays

Over the last fourteen years I've used Google Docs and had students use Google Docs for lots of activities besides just writing essays. I've used Google Documents to facilitate analysis of primary sources, to create charts and diagrams, to facilitate group note-taking, to publish simple webpages, and to make collaborative task lists. All of those things are explained and demonstrated in the videos below. 

Guided Reading of Primary Sources
1. Find a digital copy, preferably in the Public Domain, of the primary source document that I want all of my students to read.

2. Copy and paste the primary source document into a Google Document.

3. Share the document with my students and allow them to comment on the document. I usually use the sharing setting of “anyone with the link” and then post the link on my blog. Alternatively, you could share by entering your students’ email addresses or by posting it in your Google Classroom.

4. I will highlight sections of the primary source document and insert a comment directly attached to the highlighted section. In my comments I will enter discussion prompts for students. They can then reply directly to my comments and each others' comments.

Here's a video of the process that is outlined above. 



Create Charts and Diagrams in Google Docs
In the Insert drop-down menu in Google Docs you will an option for inserting drawings. When you select the new drawing option you can create a chart or diagram from scratch. You can also use one of the premade charts that is found in the Insert menu. Watch this video to learn how to create charts and diagrams in Google Docs.



Publish Simple Websites
There are times when I want to make a document like a course syllabus or classroom expectations as easily accessible to as many people as possible. The easiest way to do that is to publish the document to the web instead of sharing it. Watch this short demo if you're not sure of the difference between sharing and publishing Google Docs.



Structure and Facilitate Group Notes
As I wrote the other day, I've tried a lot of methods for facilitating group note-taking in Google Docs. The method that works best for me and my students has been inserting a table and assigning students to squares within that table. Get the full explanation in this video.



Create Interactive Checklists in Google Docs
This is a relatively new capability within Google Documents. You can create a checklist and share it with collaborators to keep track of tasks for group projects. Watch this video to learn how to make interactive checklists in Google Documents.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

A Tip for Structuring Group Notes in Google Docs

Fourteen years ago when I first started using Google Docs with students I got the idea to have my whole class take notes on the same document. It sounded good in my head on my drive to school. In practice it was a disaster as my students were quickly frustrated by accidentally writing over each other's notes. So then I tried having them each pick a color to write with to differentiate and avoid writing over each other's notes. That also didn't work well. Eventually, I decided to put a grid into the document and have students write within a square in the grid. That worked, kind of... It worked better when I broke the class into smaller groups and had them take notes in the grid on a shared Google Doc. 

Today, when I have students working in small groups and recording notes, I assign them to a Google Doc (Google Classroom makes that easy to do) that has a preformatted grid in it for them to write in. I've used this method in my computer tech classes when students are working on troubleshooting processes. I've used this method when I taught U.S. History and had students reading and evaluating historical documents. Both of those examples are explained and demonstrated in more detail in this new video that I recorded on Thursday



If you want to learn more about using Google Documents in your classroom I have a complete video overview of how to get started with Google Docs. And here are ten other Google Docs editing features you should know how to use.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Five Things To Make With Google Slides Besides Standard Presentations

Based on the initial view count, yesterday's post about creating interactive diagrams in Google Slides seems to be fairly popular. That's inspired me to put together a list of other ways to use Google Slides besides just making standard slideshow presentations. I've made videos about all of the following ideas and those videos are included along with descriptions below. 

Create Choose Your Own Adventure Stories in Google Slides
This is a project that I helped a fourth grade class do a few years ago. The students wrote short stories in Google Slides. The ending of their stories had three possible outcomes. Each outcome was linked to the final paragraph of their stories. When readers got to the last paragraph they could click to choose the ending they wanted to read. In this video I demonstrate how to create choose your own adventure stories in Google Slides.



Create Comic Strips in Google Slides
By using tables and the built-in clipart in Google Slides you can create your own comic strips. Watch this video to learn how to do that.



Make an Animated Video With Google Slides
More than a decade ago Common Craft pioneered a new style of video using very simple animations to craft clear explanations of complex topics. Students make that same style of video by using some clipart, some basic Google Slides transitions, and a screencasting tool like Screencastify. That process is demonstrated in this short video.



Place Yourself in Front of Any Landmark With Google Slides
I mentioned this idea last week in my video about icebreaker activities with Google Drawings and Slides. The idea is to use a tool like Photoscissors to remove the background from a photograph of yourself and then overlay that new image on a Google Slide of a famous landmark or any pretty scenery of your choice.



Make Interactive Diagrams and Charts in Google Slides
This is the activity that I mentioned in yesterday's blog post. As I shared yesterday, you can have students make interactive diagrams of just about any process or sequence. I've had students make interactive diagrams to mock-up mobile apps and I've had them make interactive diagrams of trouble-shooting processes. When I taught U.S. History I had students make interactive diagrams of the branches of government.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

How to Create Interactive Charts and Diagrams in Google Slides

Google Slides is full of little "hidden" features that are good to know how to use after you've covered the basics of using Google Slides. One of those little features is the ability to hyperlink any text or object within a slide. Another handy feature is a selection of premade charts and diagrams that you can add to your slides from the Insert drop-down menu. Combine both of those features and you can create interactive charts and diagrams in Google Slides. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to create interactive charts and diagrams in Google Slides. As I point out in the video, you can customize the color scheme and the fonts in the diagrams that you select from the Insert drop-down menu in Google Slides.



Applications for Education
As I demonstrated in the video above, using the hyperlinking function within a diagram is a good way for students to make interactive charts of the seasons of the year. In the past I've had students use that same combination of functions to create interactive charts of the branches of government. Last year I had students use that combination of functions to create mock-ups for mobile apps.

On a related note, watch this video if you or your students need a crash course in the basics of using Google Slides.

Last Chance! Update Your Old Google Sites

Google is finally closing the book on the old "Classic" version of Google Sites on September 1st. They've been threatening to do this for almost five years and now the sun will set on Classic Google Sites at the end of this month. If you haven't converted your old Google Sites to the current version there is still time to do that. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to convert your old Google Sites websites to the current version. Fortunately, the process is very simple and quick. Just head to sites.google.com then click on "classic sites manager" in the left margin of the page. Then on the next screen you can select the site(s) that you want to convert. Once you've clicked "convert" Google will handle the rest. If you're not sure which version of Google Sites you are using, watch my video to learn how you can quickly tell which version you're using. 

On a related note, I have a complete playlist of Google Sites tutorials right here. The best video to get started is this one that walks you through everything you need to know to create your first website with Google Sites.

Friday, August 13, 2021

How to Create a Random Question Generator

Earlier this week I shared directions for an icebreaker activity in which students complete the sentence, "where I'd like to go..." with a picture of themselves in front of a place they'd like to visit. That's a great activity, but it's not necessarily a quick activity. If you're looking for a quick icebreaker activity, having a random icebreaker question appear on the screen in the front of your classroom is one way to go. 

Flippity provides templates for creating all kinds of neat things with Google Sheets including a random name selector. I modified it a bit to create a random icebreaker question generator. The process for making that random question generator is demonstrated in this short video

Poetry, Maps, and Templates - Google Jamboard Activities to Try

This is an excerpt from the 2021-22 version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook which will be released on Sunday evening (Eastern Time). If you're subscribed to my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter, a copy of the handbook will be sent to you on Sunday.  

Google’s Jamboard became wildly popular during the 2020-21 school year and that popularity doesn’t seem to be wavering as we head into the 2021-22 school year. Part of the reason for that popularity is the flexibility of Jamboard. Besides using it to create simple whiteboard sketches, it can also be used to create templates for activities like magnetic poetry and map identification. 

The process for using Jamboard to create mapping activities can be seen in this video. The process for making magnetic poetry activities can be seen here. Both processes can be modified to create almost any kind of template that you want to distribute to your students. Both videos are embedded below.
 




The process of distributing Jamboard templates is outlined in this video.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Where I'd Like to Go - An Icebreaker With Google Drawings

As the new school year starts many you may find yourself looking for some new ideas to break the ice and get to know your new students while they also get to know each other. One thing that I've always asked my students is "where in the world would you go if you could go anywhere today?" Recently, I've started thinking about turning that question into the prompt for an activity in which students learn a bit about Google Drawings

The idea is to have students virtually place themselves anywhere in the world through the use of Google Drawings. To do this students first need to find a picture of themselves and remove the background from it. Photoscissors makes it quick and easy to remove the background then download a new background-free image. Once they have a picture of themselves then students open Google Drawings where they insert a picture of place that they want to visit or revisit. Finally, they then insert their profile picture over the background image in Google Drawings. Those steps might sound complicated, but they're not. In this short video I show the whole process. 



As I mention in the video above, you can modify this activity to be completed with Google Slides or Google Jamboard. And, as is also demonstrated in the video above, you can use Google Classroom to distribute a template for the assignment.