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

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

How to Specify Video Playback Settings in Google Slides

Last week Google announced a small, but potentially annoying change to the default video playback settings in Google Slides. Fortunately, you can override the default playback setting for the videos that you use in Google Slides. This applies to videos that you add from YouTube as well as videos that you insert from your Google Drive account. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to change the video playback settings in Google Slides. This video also includes information on how to specify which part of a video that you want to show in your slide. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

How to Change Google Classroom Mobile Notifications

It's the weekend and your phone is blowing up with notifications from Google Classroom while you're playing with your kids, watching Netflix with your spouse, or finally finishing that house project. It doesn't have to be this way. 

You can take a break from "teacher mode." In fact, it's good for you and your students if you do take a break from "teacher mode" during the weekend. One of the best ways to do this is to turn off the school-related notifications on your phone. In the following videos I demonstrate how to change the Google Classroom notifications that you receive on your phone. 

Here's how to change the Google Classroom notifications on an Android phone


Here's how to change the Google Classroom notifications on an iPhone or iPad

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from rainy Maine. It looks like it's going to be the perfect kind of day to stay inside to watch movies and read a good book. But I won't be doing that because I have toddlers, dogs, and an old house that always needs something fixed. We'll be putting on our wellies and jackets and going outside to play for at least a little while. I hope that wherever you are this weekend that you can get outside for some fun too. 

This week I hosted a Practical Ed Tech webinar about formative assessment methods for online and hybrid classes. An on-demand version of that webinar will be available next week. In the meantime, check out my other on-demand offerings including A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Two New Helpful Features in Google Meet 
  • More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course or webinar this year. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
  • Cloud Stop Motion makes it easy to create a stop motion video in your web browser. 
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 30,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of edtech tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for thirteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.

Friday, October 16, 2020

A Small, Potentially Annoying Change to Google Slides

From improved meeting controls to an easier way to add citations in Google Docs, there have been a bunch of positive changes to Google Workspaces (formerly G Suite) this fall. Now Google has made a change to Google Slides that could prove to be quite annoying to some of us. That change applies to how videos are played in Google Slides. 

This week Google announced that the new default setting for videos in Google Slides is going to be automatic playback when presenting. The previous default was for videos to only play when you chose to play them while presenting. Now as soon as you advance to a slide that has a video in it the video will start playing. The new default playback will probably prove to be incredibly annoying to those of us who like to explain a bit about a video before we play it for our students or other audience. 

Fortunately, you can change the playback setting for the videos that you insert into Google Slides. You can do that by highlighting the video in your slide and then opening the "format options" menu. In that menu you can change the video from the default automatic playback to manual playback. 



Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Create and Conduct Polls in Google Slides

Poll Everywhere is a polling tool that I've used off and on throughout the past decade. It's a great tool for gathering questions from an audience, polling an audience, and seeing word clouds of sentiment from an audience. People can respond to your poll questions from their laptops, tablets, and phones. 

You can use Poll Everywhere as a stand-alone tool or you can integrate it into Google Slides. When you use it in Google Slides you can seamlessly transition from your regular presentation into a polling slide. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Poll Everywhere in Google Slides. 


Applications for Education
Tools like Poll Everywhere are great for quickly assessing whether or not your students are "getting it." I like using the word cloud option in Poll Everywhere to get a sense of how my students are feeling. In fact, the slide that you see in the video above is one that I'll be using this morning to ask my virtual and in-person students how they're feeling after the long weekend. 

Get the Poll Everywhere Chrome extension here

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Week in Review - Maps, Docs, and Games

Good morning from Maine where it is cold, but clear. The leaves are rapidly changing color and falling to the ground. There is a significant amount of raking time in my near future. The only good thing about having to rake leaves is that my daughters love to jump in leaf piles. Earlier this week they dragged their Little Tikes slide to a leaf pile and slid into it. 

Before I go make leaf piles, I have this week's list of the most popular posts to share with you. The list features some updates about G Suite for Education, cool maps activities, and a way to make your own online games. 

These were the week's most popular posts:

Thank you for your support!

  • More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course or webinar this year. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
  • Cloud Stop Motion makes it easy to create a stop motion video in your web browser. 

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 30,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of ed tech tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting at @rmbyrne for thirteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava

Friday, October 9, 2020

The Easiest Way to Use Jamboard in Google Meet

A few weeks ago Google announced that Jamboard would be integrated into Google Meet. Earlier this week that finally happened in all of my Google accounts. This makes it easier than ever to use Jamboard in Google Meet. The old method that I used 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.