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

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Adding Bird Calls to Google Slides - Answering a Reader's Question

Yesterday I answered an email from a reader who was looking for a little help with her students' Google Slides projects. The students were creating slideshows about birds and wanted to add some audio to the slides. Using Mote wasn't an option for her students. So my suggestion was to find or record audio outside of Google Slides then upload it to Google Drive before inserting it into the slides. I then created the following video to further explain my solution. 

In this new video I demonstrate two options for adding audio to Google Slides. The first option was to use an audio file that I found on The second option was to use audio that I recorded using Vocaroo. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Two Ways to Create Virtual Manipulatives for Elementary School Math Lessons

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who was looking for some ideas for creating virtual manipulatives she and her elementary school students to use during remote instruction days. I had two ideas immediately come to mind that I shared with her and I'll share with you. 

The first idea I shared was to use Google Drawings to make virtual manipulatives and then distribute them through Google Classroom. You can do this in two ways. One is to make a set of text boxes and other shapes in Google Drawings and then share it as an assignment in Google Classroom. The other way is to make an assignment and then choose "Drawings" to create a new drawing to distribute to students. In this video I demonstrate how to do that. 

My other suggestion for making virtual math manipulatives was to try Lumio (disclosure, a recent advertiser on this blog). Lumio offers more than a dozen premade virtual math manipulatives that you can use to create individual and group online mathematics activities. Here's a little video overview of Lumio's virtual manipulatives. 

Monday, January 3, 2022

How to Record and Embed Audio in Google Docs

Last Friday I published a video about all of the things that can be done in Google Workspace when you have the Mote Chrome extension installed. The latest of those things is the ability to record audio and embed it directly into your Google Documents. When you do this you're able to play the audio without having to exit the document. This is a huge improvement over simply including a link to a hosted audio file in your doucment then having to listen to it in a separate browser window. 

Watch this short video to learn how to use Mote to record and embed audio into Google Docs. By the way, Mote calls these "hypermotes."

Applications for Education
I can see this being a useful tool for students who are learning a new language to record themselves and then get some feedback from you. For example, you might write a short monologue in Spanish for studnets to read aloud and record. That recording could then be made and inserted into a Google Document that they share with you so that you can listen to their pronunciation. 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Add Audio to Almost Anything in Google Workspace

One of my absolute favorite new tools in 2021 was a Chrome extension called Mote. With Mote installed you can add audio comments to Google Docs, Google Classroom, and Google Slides. You can also use Mote to add audio to Google Forms and insert audio into Google Slides with just one click. Mote also lets you record audio messages to share directly in Gmail and or via QR codes. All of those things are featured in this Mote compilation video that I put together earlier this week. 

Applications for Education
As I've been saying since the first day that I tried Mote, the thing that I like the best about it is ability to give students feedback in your own voice. There's a comfort in hearing feedback instead of just reading it that a lot of students benefit from. That's especially true when the feedback is being provided to students who might struggle to understand your feedback when they're just reading it instead of hearing it. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Best of 2021 - Save Google Forms Progress

As I do every year, I'm taking this week as a break from publishing new blog posts and will be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year. Here's one from August. 

This week Google finally added a feature to Google Forms that teachers and students have requested for years. You can now save your work in progress when answering questions in Google Forms!

Google Forms will now save students' work in progress when they are completing a quiz or any other Google Form that you give to them through Google Classroom. The only thing that students have to do to have their work saved in progress is make sure that they are signed into their Google accounts. That shouldn't be too hard to remember if the students have accessed the form through Google Classroom. Students' work will be saved in progress for thirty days from the time that they first open the form. 

Teachers do not need to take any action to enable the new save-in-progress feature (officially called Autosave) of Google Forms. It will be on by default starting today for some Google Workspace domains and will be on by default for all Google Workspace domains by September 15th. Teachers can disable autosave by opening the settings menu in Google Forms then choosing "presentation" followed by "restrictions."   

Autosave in Google Forms is available now in some Google Workspace domains and will be available in all Google Workspace domains by September 15th. 

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.

Here's a tutorial on how to use the save in progress feature.

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.

Google Forms Tutorials

Monday, December 27, 2021

Best of 2021 - How to Find Public Google Workspace Files

As I do every year, I'm taking this week as a break from publishing new blog posts and will be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year. Here's one from May. 

Last week I published an animated GIF of how to search by domain to find publicly shared Google Workspaces files. Over the weekend I was asked if I had a video of the process. I didn't have one, so I made this short one to demonstrate how to use Google's advanced search function to find publicly shared Google Docs, Slides, Forms, Sheets, and Drawings. Take a look and feel free to share if you think it can be helpful your students or colleagues. 

Applications for Education
One search strategies that I regularly remind my students to use is to search by file type. Doing that can often lead students to helpful resources published as PDFs or Word documents that they wouldn't have found with a typical Google search. Likewise, searching by domain to locate Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, or Drawings can help students discover useful resources that might otherwise go overlooked. 

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured graphic created by Richard Byrne.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Best of 2021 - Interactive Checklists in Google Docs

As I do every year, I'm taking this week as a break from publishing new blog posts and will be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year. New blog posts will resume on January 1st. 

This week Google announced more than a dozen updates to Google Workspace products. Included in those updates is a new text box feature in Google Documents. The new text box option can be used to create interactive checklists. Those checklists, just like any other Google Document, can be shared with colleagues and students who can then cross off items as they're completed. 

In this short video I demonstrate how you can create interactive checklists in Google Documents. One of the neat things that you'll see in the video is that you can adjust the size and style of the checkboxes by using the font menus in Google Docs.  

Applications for Education
My first thought when seeing the new checklist option in Google Docs was that it could be great for students to use when planning group projects. The group can have their to-do list and all of the details of their plans on the same document instead of having to use a separate task management tool or having to write/re-write comments when a task is completed.

This post originally appeared on Feature image created by Richard Byrne using Canva. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

How to Create Google Docs and PDFs With Hyperlinked Chapters

A kind reader who purchased my new ebook asked me how I was able to create the hyperlinked sections within the ebook. There are a couple of ways that it can be done, but the way that I did it is built into Google Documents. 

Like nearly every document that I create, I created 50 Tech Tuesday Tips in Google Documents. Within Google Documents there is an option to insert headers and section breaks. When you insert a header into a Google Document that header is automatically added to the index that Google Docs automatically creates for you. Those headers are automatically hyperlinked between the index and the corresponding section in your document. Then when you export the Google Document as a PDF the hyperlinked is preserved. Additionally, if you use the automatic table of contents feature in Google Docs, the table of contents is hyperlinked and preserved when you export your Google Document as a PDF. 

The whole process that I described above is demonstrated in this short video. It's one of those things that's a little easier to understand when you see it as opposed to just reading about it. 

Applications for Education
Hyperlinking sections makes it a lot easier for people to jump to sections in a long document. If you or your students are creating long reports in Google Documents, consider adding section headers to make it easier navigate.

Monday, December 20, 2021

How to Use Google Keep as a Comment Bank

Last week I had a reader ask me if there was a way to have a comment bank in Google Documents without using Chrome extensions or Google Classroom. My suggestion was to try using Google Keep as a comment bank in Google Documents. 

To use Google Keep as a comment bank in Google Keep you need to write your comments as notes in Google Keep. I recommend giving the notes titles that are easy to remember because you'll later use those titles to find your notes to use as comments. Then when you're giving students feedback on their documents you can simply search for the title of the note, copy the note's text, and paste the text into a comment. The whole process is rather quick and you can update your comment bank on the fly. 

Watch this short video to learn how to use Google Keep as a comment bank in Google Docs. 

Applications for Education
Using Google Keep as a comment bank in Google Docs can be a good way to save time when you're trying to provide students with feedback on first drafts of their writing. I like to include links to helpful additional resources in the comments. 

In addition to using it as a comment bank, I use Google Keep for keeping track of my to-do list, bookmarking, and setting reminders for myself. Learn more about Google Keep in Five Helpful Google Keep Features for Students

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

An Easy Way to Quickly Add Voice Notes to Google Docs

Yesterday morning I published The Easiest Way to Add Narration to Google Slides. In that blog post I featured a Chrome extension called Mote. Mote, as I've mentioned in the past, can be used for adding audio to a bunch of Google Workspace tools including the comments on Google Documents. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Mote to add voice comments to Google Documents. The video also shows how students can access those voice comments even if they don't have the Mote extension installed on their computers. 

Applications for Education
For some students, listening to recorded feedback is a better option than reading your feedback on their documents. Hearing your voice and inflection can carry more meaning for a student than just reading a comment. And for students who have difficulty comprehending written feedback, audio feedback is a better way to receive constructive criticism.

Monday, December 13, 2021

The Easiest Way to Add Narration to Google Slides

When Google finally added native support for audio in Google Slides people were excited until they found out how clunky the process is. You have to first record the audio outside of Google Slides, then upload it your Google Drive, and then insert it into your slides. Fortunately, the Mote Chrome extension streamlines that whole process for you. 

With Mote installed in Chrome you can simply click the Mote icon while editing your Google Slides to record and insert narration into your slides with just one click. Watch this demo to see how quick and easy it is to add audio to Google Slides through the use of Mote. 

Thanks to Ellen, a loyal reader of my blog, over the weekend I learned that Mote is making some changes to their pricing model in 2022. The free version of Mote will be limited to twenty recordings per month beginning in January. That should still be plenty of recording time for students to use to add narration to Google Slides. Here's more information about the change to Mote's free and paid plans.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

How to Annotate Historical Images on Jamboard

From magnetic poetry to collaborative brainstorming sessions to mapping activities, there are lots of ways to use Google's Jamboard in online and in-person classes. One way that I like to use Jamboard is to have students annotate images that I share with them. In particular, I like to do this to have them add commentary to and answer questions about things that they notice in historical images. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to use Jamboard to annotate historical images. In the video I used an image that I found on Flickr's The Commons. The Commons is a great place to find historical imagery that is free to download and use in your lessons and presentations. 

Applications for Education
I've always been a proponent of using historical imagery to spark students' curiosity about history. By using Jamboard you can share a picture with your students then have them circle or highlight the parts of an image that raise questions in their minds. Those questions can lead to classroom discussion and or be used as the impetus for a quick research activity. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

How to Embed Google Sheets Into Websites

Earlier this week a loyal reader named Judith sent me a question about embedding Google Sheets into websites. I was happy to answer her question and made this short video to explain how to include a Google Sheet in Google Sites and in Blogger

In the video I include instructions for resizing the spreadsheet when you embed it into blog posts and websites. This is important because if you use the default embed code provided by Google Sheets, the sheet will appear very small and nearly unusable when embedded into a blog post or web page. The change to the code is to simply add width and height dimensions to the end of the code provided by Google Sheets. Watch this video to see how to embed Google Sheets into a website and adjust the size of the display of the sheet. 

Applications for Education
Embedding a Google Sheet into a website can be a good way to share collected and organized data from surveys conducted via Google Forms.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Helpful New Table Options in Google Docs

This week Google added a handful of helpful new features for customizing tables in Google Documents. A couple of the new features are things that I've wanted for years. 

The first new feature that I'm excited about is the option to specify that a table row not be split at a page break. Making that designation keeps the content of the cells in that row together instead of splitting it. I've wanted this option for years because I've always had to tinker with font size and spacing whenever I've wanted to keep a row from splitting. 

Another new feature that I've wanted for years and finally got to use last night is a drag-and-drop option for adjusting the order of rows and columns in a table. This is much easier than copying and pasting cell content to move it into a different order in a table. 

Some other new features of tables in Google Docs makes them act more like spreadsheets than simple tables. You can now pin rows to the top of a table and sort rows according to cell content. 

Finally, there's a new sidebar menu for setting the properties of your table. This doesn't materially change the settings options, it simply moves the menu. 

Applications for Education
This update to tables in Google Docs should make it easier for middle school and high school students to include simple data sets in things like science lab reports or school surveys.

As is the case with nearly all updates to Google Workspace tools, this update is rolling-out over the next couple of weeks. Some users may see the new features already and others may have to wait. I'm already seeing the update in my personal account but I haven't seen it in my Google Workspace for Edu account.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Google's Favorite Chrome Extensions of the Year

On The Keyword Google has announced their favorite Chrome extensions of the year. I have no idea what the criteria was to be included in the list. That said, I took a look at the list and noticed that some of Google's favorite Chrome extensions are also some of my favorite Chrome extensions. Those favorites are Mote, Loom, Kami, Wordtune, and Nimbus Screenshot. 

What these extensions do.

Wordtune is a Chrome extension that provides suggestions on ways to rewrite sentences in your Google Documents, in your email (Gmail and Outlook), and in some social media accounts. Once you have Wordtune installed in Chrome you can simply highlight any sentence that you have written and click the Wordtune extension to have a list of alternate wordings suggested to you. The suggested alternatives appear as a list directly below your original sentence. You can replace your original sentence with a suggested alternative by simply clicking on the suggestion that you like. Here's a demo of Wordtune.

Nimbus Screenshot
Nimbus Screenshot is a free Chrome extension that I've been using and recommending for the last half-decade. It offers tools for creating screencast videos and annotated screen capture images. Nimbus Screenshot includes a feature called Select & Scroll that proved to be very handy to me last week. Select & Scroll lets you capture not only what is currently visible on your screen but also what's visible when you scroll downward.

I use Nimbus Screenshot in Chrome, but it is also available for Firefox, and Edge. A desktop version is also available. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Nimbus Screenshot to create annotated screen capture images.

Kami is a service that enables users to annotate and comment on PDFs. You can do this directly on the Kami website or in Google Drive with Kami's Chrome extension. Kami also works with Word and Pages files.

Here's a couple of videos about how Kami works.

Loom is a Chrome extension that I find handy for quickly recording screencast videos right from my inbox. With Loom installed I can simply click the Loom icon in Gmail and start recording a video to include as part of my response to an email. I've also used Loom to create whiteboard-style videos. Both of those things are demonstrated in the videos that are embedded below (email readers, you'll have to click through to see the videos).

How to record a video in Gmail with Loom.

How to make whiteboard videos with Loom and Jamboard.

Mote is a Chrome extension that lets you add voice recordings to Google Forms, Gmail, Google Classroom, Google Slides, and Google Documents. You can also use it to record a voice note and share it via QR code.

In this video I demonstrate how to install Mote and how to activate it in your Google account. 

How to record audio in Google Docs.

How to record audio in Google Classroom.

How to use Mote in Google Forms

Watch this short video about using Mote in Gmail to learn how to record and send a voice note. The video also shows how recipients can play your voice notes even if they don't have Mote installed in their web browsers.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Add Voice Recordings to Google Forms Questions, Answer Choices, and Feedback

Mote is a Chrome extension that became popular this year because it made it easy for teachers and students to add voice recordings to Google Slides, Google Classroom, and Google Forms. The latest update to Mote, released today, lets you add voice recordings not only to the questions in your Google Forms but also to the answer choices and feedback section in Google Forms. 

The previous version of Mote let you add voice recordings into the question line. The updated version lets you also add voice recordings into the answer choices (for multiple choice questions) and into the feedback section of the answer key that you create for quizzes in Google Forms. All of those things are demonstrated in this short video

Applications for Education
Adding voice recordings to Google Forms has a lot of potential classroom uses. Just having the option to listen to the question and answer choices improves the accessibility of your forms. You could also use the voice recording option to have students listen to question prompts in one language then identify the answer in another language. For example, you could record a prompt in Spanish then ask students to identify what you said by choosing an answer written or recorded in English. 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Two Options for Automatically Removing Choices from Google Forms

Earlier this week a reader of my newsletter sent me a question looking for a way to limit the number of times that an answer choice could be used on a Google Form. My first suggestion was to try the Google Forms add-on called Choice Eliminator 2

Choice Eliminator 2 is a Google Forms add-on that I've used for years to limit the number of times that an answer choice can be used on a Google Form. When the limit is reached, the answer choice stops appearing on the form. For example, if I create a multiple choice question like "what's your first choice of winter carnival activity?" and then give four answer choices, I can then use Choice Eliminator 2 to only allow answer choice "A" to be chosen three times before it disappears from the form. In fact, that's exactly what I demonstrate in the second half of this video

Choice Removal is another Google Forms add-on that will remove answer choices from a Google Form as they get used up. The difference between Choice Removal and Choice Eliminator 2 is that Choice Removal doesn't allow you to specify how many times an answer choice can be used. Instead, Choice Removal simply removes an answer choice as soon as it has been used one time. 

In this video I demonstrate how both Choice Eliminator 2 and Choice Removal work. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Link to Sections Within the Pages of Google Sites

The current version of Google Sites has come a long way in the last year or so. It now includes almost every feature that the old version of Google Sites offered (good thing, because the old version is scheduled for deprecation soon). One of those features is the ability to link to a specific section with a page in your website. 

To link to a section within a page of your Google Site you need to include section headers. That's easy to do. To include a section header simply insert one of the layout options listed in the right-hand menu of the Google Sites editor. Then just type a title for your section. Then when you publish your site you'll see a link appear when you hover your mouse pointer over that section title. 

Watch this short video to learn how to link to sections with the pages of Google Sites. 

Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video, linking to a section within a page in Google Sites could be helpful your students when you're trying to direct them to a specific resource within a long list of resources on a Google Sites page. You could post the link to the section in Google Classroom or any other LMS to direct students to a specific resource or section of a resource list.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Copy Specific Pages in Google Sites

Google Sites (the new, current version) has a new feature that could be helpful to those people who make a lot of variations of the same website. That new feature is the ability to copy specific pages from one site into a new site. 

The new page copying option lets you select a specific page or set of pages to copy from an existing site into a new Google Site. To do this simply open the editor for your existing Google Site, open the "three dot" menu next to the publishing button, then select the pages you want to copy. I've included screenshots of the process below. 

Step 1:

Step 2:

Applications for Education
This new feature could be helpful at the beginning or end of each school year. If you want to create a new Google Site for each school year, but don't want to start from scratch each year, simply copy the pages that you want to re-use and then build the new site from there.

Watch this video for an overview of Google Sites publishing and sharing settings. 

How to Create Filters and Labels in Gmail

Last week I answered an email from a reader who wanted to make sure that email from specific senders always ended up in a priority folder in her Gmail account. My suggestion was to create a filter for the sender's email address and then apply a label to the email. I've done this for years to make sure that I don't miss messages from a few people and to make automatically sort out messages that have specific keywords. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to create filters and labels in Gmail. 

Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the video above, I create filters in my Gmail (Google Workspace mail) to send all of my students' emails about homework and other assignments into one folder that is labeled "homework." Then when I'm going through my inbox I can respond to all homework questions at the same time.