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

Sunday, March 7, 2021

How to Quickly Find the Sum of a Spreadsheet Column

Right now some of my students are designing their own Arduino projects. I have money for them to spend on materials, but they have to stay within the budget allotted to them. I'm having them use Google Sheets to keep track of materials and budget. Last week I noticed one student tallying her materials cost by hand. I used that as a chance to show the class how to use the built-in sum function in Google Sheets to tally the value of a column. 

A few years ago I made a video about about using the sum function in Google Sheets. That video is embedded below.  

Saturday, March 6, 2021

How to Change Your Google Account Profile Image & Why You Should Change It

When your school issues you a Google Workspaces for Education account your profile picture will just be a simple letter icon featuring your initials. Many people leave it that way only because they don't know how easy it is to change it. In the video below I demonstrate how to change your Google profile image.



Applications for Education
Changing your Google account profile image can help with name recognition so that parents begin to put a face with a name as soon as they start receiving emails from you. They won't have to wait until the first parent-teacher conference or open house night to make the association between your face and name.

If you have more than one teacher in your district with the same name or similar names (at one point there were three Mr. Burns and a Mr. Byrne in my district) students seeing an email with your profile picture can visually confirm that they are emailing the correct person.

On a related note, a lot of people don't realize that there is a difference between signing into a Chrome profile and signing into a Google account. I explained the difference in this short video

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Why My Dogs Have Email Addresses and Your Dog or Cat Should Too

People often get a kick out of learning that my dogs have their own email addresses. You can send them email at Mason or Fionn (at) freetech4teachers.com and they'll get back to you as soon as they learn to type.

My dogs have email addresses because I conduct a lot of workshops throughout the year and I don't always want to use my personal email account to either register for a service or to demonstrate a function on a big screen. By using the fake email accounts that I've created for my dogs I don't have to clutter my personal email with lots of account registrations that I may or may not use again. Likewise, I don't have to open my personal accounts on a big screen in front of a group.

The other reason that I use my dogs' email accounts to register for services is so that I can demonstrate how to use a site or app from square one. For example, when I conduct Google Workspaces workshops I will use Mason's email account to demonstrate all facets of setting-up an account, adjusting settings, and adding new content to the account. By doing it this way new users see all steps on my screen the same as they will on their own screens.

If you find yourself conducting a lot of training sessions for colleagues or students, take a minute or two to create a fake email account for demonstration purposes.

How to Make a Copy of a Google Doc That Isn't Directly Shared With You

From time to time I publish charts and other digital hand-outs that I have created in Google Documents. For example, I recently shared this chart comparing student blogging tools and this chart comparing multimedia timeline creation tools. When I share those charts I publish them as Google Documents marked as "view only." If you want to make copies of the charts you can do so by following the steps outlined in the short video embedded below.



On a related note, you can search for any publicly shared Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets by following the steps outlined in the video below.

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).

Monday, February 22, 2021

What's New in G Suite for Education - It's Not Called That Anymore!

Last week was a vacation week for my school and many others in New England. If you were on vacation or you just don't obsessively follow all things Google like I do, you may have missed that Google has changed the name of G Suite for Education to Google Workspaces for Education. For the most part, the name change doesn't have an impact on the day-to-day use of Google products by teachers like you and me. 

If you're curious about what's new with Google Workspaces for Education and the various versions of it, watch this short video in which I provide a run-down of the changes. I also made a short slideshow about the changes. You can see those slides here or as embedded below. 


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

How to Edit Master Slides in Google Slides

Twice in the last week I've received questions from readers about Google Slides. In both cases the questions were related to using fonts and color schemes without having to manually change them for every new slide added to a presentation. The solution in both cases was to change the master slides in the presentation. 

Editing the master slides in a presentation allows you to essentially set a default font style, font size, and font color for your presentation slides. Additionally, you can choose background color(s) scheme and add icons that you want to have inserted every time you add a new slide to your presentation. 

How to edit the master slides and re-use them in your Google Slides presentations is demonstrated in this short video

Friday, January 8, 2021

Ten Time-savers for G Suite for Education Users

Do you have a New Year's resolution to exercise more, read more, or just spend more time doing something fun? If you're a G Suite for Education user, you might make more time for your New Year's resolution by handling routine tasks more efficiently. To that end, here are some of my favorite time-saving tips for G Suite for Education users. 

Use a Comment Bank in Google Classroom
If you use Google Classroom to give Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets assignments to your students, create and use a comment bank to speed up the process of giving feedback to your students. Watch my video below to learn how to do this.



Use Google Keep to Add Comments to Students' Work
Google Classroom is great for giving feedback on final drafts of students' work. But if you don't use Google Classroom or you want to give students feedback on early drafts of their work, then the following method of using Google Keep to add comments to your students' Docs, Slides, and Sheets can be a time-saver.



Self-grading Quizzes
If you give multiple choice, true/false, or short-answer quizzes use automatic grading options that are available to you in Google Forms. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a self-grading quiz in Google Forms.



Set Default Point Values and Requirements in Google Forms
Almost everyone who has made created a Google Form has at one time or another forgotten to set a point value for a quiz question or forgot to require a response to a survey question. You can avoid doing that and having to go back and fix the error by creating default point values and a default question requirement for all of your Google Forms. Watch my video below to learn how to do that.



Copy and Reuse Questions from One Google Form to Another 
If you find yourself trying to make a few different versions of a quiz, importing questions from one quiz to another can be a bit of time-saver over manually rewriting entire questions and answer choices. 


Gmail Features for More Efficient Handling of Your Inbox
If opening your inbox feels like the world's longest game of whack-a-mole, Gmail has some features that can help you win at that game. Those things include creating canned responses, scheduling messages, enabling smart replies, and creating message filters. Those time-saving Gmail features are demonstrated in the video below. The video also shows you how to use confidential mode in Gmail.


Schedule Assignments in Google Classroom
I generally create all of the assignments for my classes at the start of the week. I don't give all of the assignments at once because I use the scheduling feature in Google Classroom. That way my assignments roll-out to students throughout the week to correspond to the lessons of the day. I do it this way because then I don't have to remember to post assignments at the beginning of each day. I also do it this way because I tend to work more efficiently when I focus on one task for a block of time once a week as opposed to small chunks throughout the week. (By the way, I write blog posts in similar manner). 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Google Docs Comments Now Include Autocorrect and Smart Compose

Smart Compose is a feature of Gmail and Google Docs that some people dislike, but I love it. I know that it saves me time when writing responses to emails. I also use it in Google Docs when I'm writing lesson outlines and find that it's helpful there, most of the time. That's why I was happy to see that Google is adding Smart Compose to the comments function in Google Docs. Using Smart Compose in the comments in Google Docs should prove to be a time-saver when giving students feedback on their work. 

Autocorrect is also going to be available soon in Google Docs comments. Instead of just indicating that word is misspelled with a red underline, Google Docs will now just correct the spelling. 

According to Google's announcement, Autocorrect and Smart Compose will be on by default for all users. Autocorrect and Smart Compose can be disabled by individual users. 

As is usually the case with updates to Google Docs, these new features are available now for some users and will be rolled-out to all users over the next few weeks. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

How to Add a Dynamic "Latest News" Section to Google Sites

A couple of weeks ago a reader emailed me with a question about creating a Google Site that her colleagues could comment on. She wanted to have a section in her site that had tips and news for colleagues who could then ask her questions about those tips. 

The old version of Google Sites had a commenting function built into it. Unfortunately, the current version of Google Sites doesn't have a commenting function built into it. There is a work-around that can work if you're sharing your Google Site with your colleagues and or students in the same G Suite for Education domain. 

To create a news section that automatically updates in Google Sites and that your colleagues and or students can comment on, use a Google Document embedded into a page in your Google Site. To do this you'll create your Google Document then change its access permissions to allow anyone in your domain to comment on it. Then you'll embed the document into a page on your Google Site. Whenever you update the Google Document, the updated version will appear on your Google Site as well. In this short video I demonstrate the whole process of creating a dynamic news section in Google Sites. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

How to Find "Lost" Items in Google Drive

In my previous post I shared directions for uploading files and folders into Google Drive. In that post I also described how I loosely organize my files in Google Drive. If you're like me and also have a very broad interpretation of "organize," you'll want to use search function in Google Drive to find your old files. I use the search function to search according to keyword and filetype within my account. When I do that I can usually find what I'm looking for fairly quickly.

In this short video I demonstrate how I use the search functions in Google Drive to find files whose names I can't remember ten years after I created them. 

How to Move Desktop Files and Folders Into Google Drive

Last week I received a question from a reader who was looking for a little help organizing all of the files that she had created and stored on her computer. My suggestion was to organize the files into folders then upload those folders into Google Drive. Once the folders are in Google Drive they can be accessed from any computer. The process of uploading folders into Google Drive is a straight-forward one. In the following video I demonstrate how to move folders and individual files from your computer to your Google Drive account. 


I organize my files into a handful of big folders according to units that I teach throughout the year. I don't do this, but some people that I've worked with create sub-folders with unit folders. Those sub-folders are then labeled with things like "quizzes" or "group projects." The structure that you use for folders isn't as critical as it used to be because you can always use the search function with Google Drive to search for the file you need (as long as you can remember what you called it). 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Mix Landscape and Portrait Layouts in Google Docs

If you have ever wanted to use landscape and portrait layouts in the same Google Document, you're going to like the latest announcement from the Google Workspaces blog (Google's official place to announce updates to Google Docs). Starting today and by the end of January all Google Docs users will be able to mix and match portrait and landscape modes within the same document. 

This feature is already available to some users. I haven't seen it in any of my five Google accounts, but I hope to have it soon. You can check if you have the feature by simply opening any multiple page Google Document that you own and then right-clicking on a page to look for a menu that allows you to choose a page layout for a section of your document. Take a look at Google's announcement of this feature to see an animated GIF of the new layout menu. 

Applications for Education
Being able to mix portrait and landscape layouts within the same document could prove to be helpful to students and or teachers who want to include landscape-oriented tables and charts in a document without having to write the entire document in landscape mode. For example, I can think of a few documents that I use in my networking course that would benefit from having diagrams in landscape mode instead of the portrait mode they're in right now. 

On a related note, if you've ever wondered how to change the default font on your Google Docs, follow the directions in this video

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Write on PDFs in Google Classroom - Good Tool for Math

Earlier this week one of my colleagues asked me if there was a way that her students can do free-hand writing on documents that she shares in Google Classroom. She teaches mathematics and was looking for a better option to having students take pictures of handwritten work and uploading it to Google Classroom assignments. My suggestion was to have her students try using a Chrome extension called Lumin PDF.

Lumin PDF is a Chrome extension that enables students to draw on top of PDFs that you open in Chrome. After drawing on the PDF students can save the PDF as a new copy or replace the existing copy of the PDF that was sent to them in Google Classroom.

Here's my video overview of how students can use Lumin PDF to write on PDFs that are assigned to them in Google Classroom.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Three G Suite/ Google Workspaces Updates to Note

In the last week Google has announced three new features for G Suite for Education/ Google Workspaces tools that are frequently used by teachers and students. Here's a quick overview of those new features.

More Text Style and Appearance Options in Google Sites
This is a welcome and long overdue update to Google Sites. You can now customize your font size, style, and color within the text boxes that you insert into the pages of your Google Sites. This means that you can mix and match font styles and colors on the same page. Previously, changes happened on a site-wide basis.


Improved Handling of PDFs
As announced on Monday, Google has made some updates to how PDFs are handled in Google Docs. Now when convert a PDF into Google Docs format you shouldn't see as many issues with image placement and table placement as before. My students are going to be pleased with this update as I do distribute a few PDFs per week in Google Classroom. 



Improved Originality Reports
Google Classroom Originality Reports will now check for special characters that students insert into documents to try to "trick" automated plagiarism detection programs like Originality Reports. According to the announcement from Google, students will sometimes use Greek or Cyrillic symbols in place of English letters in a plagiarized document. That was actually new to me as I had never thought of that as a way to circumvent automated plagiarism detectors. 

As is usually the case, these updates are rolling out over the course of a couple weeks. If you don't see the updates in your Google account today, check again in a few days. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Bulk Acceptance of "Knocks" in Google Meet

Some Google Meet users may have noticed a handy little update that was rolled-out yesterday. You can now accept "knocks" in bulk in Google Meet. This means that when students knock to join a class in Meet you can accept all of them at once instead of having to manually accept each individual student. 

While this isn't a major change to Google Meet, it will be helpful to those who have large classes meeting in Google Meet. This is available in all versions of Google Workspaces (formerly known as G Suite). 

If you don't see this new feature today, keep checking as it is being rolled-out over the next ten days to all users. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Three Ways to Conduct Polls in Google Slides

I have one group of freshmen this fall that is quiet and will rarely speak unless directly called upon. This is true of them when they're in my classroom and when they're on Zoom. So I call on them directly and I have them complete exit tickets in Flipgrid. Recently, I've started polling them at the start of class so that I have a bit more information about what they're thinking and how they're feeling before I jump into the day's plan. 

I'm using Poll Everywhere in Google Slides to conduct my polls because I like the word cloud output option. Slido and the native Q&A function in Google Slides can also be used for polling. 

How to use Poll Everywhere in Google Slides.

How to use Slido in Google Slides


How to use the Q&A function in Google Slides

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

An Easy Way to Search in Google Classroom

Twice this week I've had people ask me if there is a search function in Google Classroom. Unless, I've been overlooking something obvious, there isn't a native search function built into Google Classroom. What I have been telling people to do is use Control+F on Windows computers or Command+F on Mac computers to search within a Google Classroom stream or classwork section. It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than just scrolling through dozens of announcements or assignments to find the one that you want. In the following short video I demonstrate how to search in Google Classroom by using Control+F. 
 

Applications for Education
We're getting to the point in the school year that many of us have a lot of announcements and assignments posted in Google Classroom. If you or your students need a quick way to look for an item in your assignments or announcements, this is the way to do it. 

If you have a question for me, send me an email richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com and I'll include it in the weekly free webinar series that I co-host with Rushton Hurley

13 Google Forms Tutorials for Beginners and Experienced Users

For the last six or seven months whenever I open my YouTube analytics the top two videos are almost always How to Host an Online Meeting With Zoom and The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms. And based on the response to the Google Forms video that I posted on Monday, there are a lot of people who want more Google Forms tips and tricks to use in their virtual, hybrid, and in-person classrooms. Here is a selection of more Google Forms tips and tricks tutorials that are available on my YouTube channel

The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms


Enable These Google Forms Settings to Save Time Making Quizzes.



Use Google Forms to Create a Digital Sign-in/ Sign-out Sheet






















Monday, October 19, 2020

How to Create Self-grading, Timed Quizzes in Google Classroom

This morning my freshmen students took a quiz that I created and distributed through Google Forms. The quiz was self-grading because I used the answer key option in Google Forms. The quiz was also a timed activity because I used assignment scheduling combined with Form Limiter. With that combination I was able to give my students exactly 35 minutes to complete the quiz. On the short answer questions, I used data validation to require that students write complete sentences. If you'd like to do a similar thing, watch the following two videos that demonstrate the process I used in making my quiz. 

How to Create Self-grading, Timed Quizzes in Google Classroom

How to Require Complete Sentences in Google Forms