Monday, September 9, 2013

How to Insert Videos Into Google Forms

Not less than ten minutes after I completed my guide to Creating and Grading Quizzes With Google Forms Google released a major update to Google Forms.

There were actually four new features added to Google Forms this afternoon. The best new feature is that you can now create Google Forms that include videos.

The other updates include data verification which allows you to require people to prove that they're human before submitting a form, an option to display a custom message when you stop accepting form responses, and a progress meter for people to view as they complete your form. I've included directions for these new features in the screenshots below.

Inserting Videos into questions: This could be a great way to enhance a flipped lesson. 
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Click image to view full size. 

Data verification AKA the "are you human?" test.
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Form closed message.
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A Short Guide to Creating and Grading Quizzes Through Google Forms

One of the things that I always do in my Google Apps workshops and webinars is teach people how to create self-grading quizzes through Google Forms and Spreadsheets. Depending upon the pace of the group we'll often look at creating image-based and multiple page quizzes too. I've recently put all of the screenshots of those processes into one PDF. You can view the PDF below. (If you are viewing this on an iPad, you might not be able to see the guide).

This PDF is not available for download at this time. My current Google Apps guides including this one are available as free downloads to people participating in my workshops and webinars. Please see my work with me page for information about my workshops. Please visit for information about my webinars. 

How to Use Google Maps Engine Lite - A Short Video Tutorial

Google Maps was updated earlier this year (if you're logged in with a Google Apps for Education account you may still the old version). The update was more than just a facelift for the browsing and search experience. The update included a switch to Maps Engine Lite for people who want to make their own maps. While you can still use the old version if you want to (open the settings menu and select "classic" maps) it is probably just a matter of time until everyone has to use Maps Engine Lite to create maps on Google Maps.

Creating maps through the new Maps Engine Lite is a different process than the process used for creating maps in "classic" Google Maps. If you want to try your hand at creating a map with Maps Engine Lite, Bradley Lands has put together a nice tutorial to help you get started. That tutorial is embedded in the video below.

Maps Engine Lite allows you to go beyond manually adding placemarks to your Google Maps by uploading a spreadsheet of locations that will be displayed on your map. You can import up to three spreadsheets per map. You can also draw custom lines and shapes on your maps. Like any other Google Map you can invite others to collaborate with you. You can share your map by embedding it into a website. Google Earth Outreach offers a detailed tutorial on how to use the new Maps Engine Lite.

Applications for Education
Maps Engine Lite could be a great tool to use to introduce students to using GIS to interpret data and make decisions based on that data. Here's one way that I might use Maps Engine Lite with students in my area. I could create data sets about ice thickness on a set of area ponds, create a data set about average weekly high temperatures in those areas, import that data into the map and ask students to make predictions as to when the ponds will be ice-free.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Updated - A Teacher's Guide to Classroom Backchannels & Informal Assessment

Back in January I published a guide to using backchannels in the classroom. Shortly after I published that guide Wallwisher changed its name to Padlet. This weekend I updated the guide to include the Padlet name as well as some updated directions. The guide includes ideas and directions for using Padlet, Socrative, and TodaysMeet. You can download the guide here and view it as embedded below.

Six Months With a Chromebook

One of the concerns I often hear about Chromebooks, and a lot of other device for that matter, from people who are considering buying them revolves around how it will hold up over regular and consistent use. I've been using a Samsung Chromebook off and on since June, but I haven't used it as my primary device. That is why I was happy to find Android Authority's six month review of the Samsung Chromebook. The author used the Chromebook as his primary device for six months. You can read the full review here. A few of the bullet points of the review are posted below.

  • The Samsung Chromebook is nicely designed, despite being a copycat Macbook Air 
  • Chrome OS updates automatically and silently.
  • For $250, the performance well exceeds Windows notebooks and netbooks in the same price bracket
  • Performance suffers once you open up 10 or more tabs.
  • The display is subpar. 
  • Keyboard not backlit.