Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to Use the New Q&A and Laser Pointer Features of Google Slides @googledocs

This afternoon Google added two fantastic new features to Google Slides. First, Google Slides now has a Q&A feature that lets your audience submit questions to you. Second, Google Slides now has a built-in laser pointer that you can use to call attention to parts of your slides. I've already received some questions about how to use these new features so I made the following short video.

Applications for Education
The new Q&A feature in Google Slides promises to be a great way to collect questions and comments from students during a presentation by you or their classmates. The nice thing about the Q&A feature is that you can turn it off at any time. You can also let students vote for the questions and comments that they like the most.

Learn how to get the most out of Google Apps in my online course Getting Going With GAFE. The next class begins on Monday. You can earn three graduate credits through the class.

Buncee v. Google Slides - Which Offers Better Multimedia Options?

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a month or two has probably figured out that I love Google Apps including Google Slides. Sharing, collaborating, and publishing Google Slides is convenient and easy. But sometimes it feels like the ease of using Google Slides comes at the expense of not having as many multimedia options as other slide creation tools.

Buncee is a slide creation tool that makes it incredibly easy for young students to add a wide variety of multimedia elements to their presentations. To add multimedia content to their Buncee slides students simply click the "add" button then they can choose from videos (available from Vimeo and YouTube), animated characters, animated text, animated stickers, static stickers, audio from SoundCloud, images from Pixabay (filtered public domain images), and upload their own content from their desktops. Students also have the option to draw freehand directly on their slides.

Compared to Google Slides Buncee has more video and audio options. While you can draw on Google Slides that requires the use of Google Drawings whereas on Buncee slides students just choose the pencil icon and start drawing.

Applications for Education
If you have been looking for a Google Slides alternative for elementary school students, Buncee is a good option.

Right now Buncee has a bunch of Mother's Day templates that your elementary school students can use to create digital Mother's Day cards. Those cards can also be printed.

Disclosure: Buncee is a client of MindRocket Media Group. I am a partner in MindRocket Media Group. 

A Great Explanation of Primary Sources vs. Secondary Sources

On Monday evening I hosted the first meeting of the spring section of Teaching History With Technology. One of the topics that I covered was using technology to support students as the read and work with primary sources. Before a student can search for, read, or cite a primary source he or she needs to be able to identify the differences between the two.

The Minnesota Historical Society offers a fantastic video on the topic of primary v. secondary sources. By watching the short video students can learn what a makes a resource a primary or secondary source. The video provides a handful of examples of each along with a description of what makes the example a primary or secondary source. This is probably the best video that I have seen explain the differences between primary and secondary sources.

Teaching History With Technology will be offered again during the summer along with two other online professional development courses for teachers

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Schedule Assignments in Google Classroom

For quite a while now you have been able to save announcements and assignments as drafts in Google Classroom. But the problem was that you would then have to go back and post them when you wanted students to see the posts. Beginning today that is no longer the case. About an hour ago Google announced that you can now schedule assignments, announcements, and polls to appear at a later time in your Google Classroom stream.

To schedule an assignment in Google Classroom simply select the scheduling option when you're drafting an assignment. You can pick the day and time at which you want your assignment to be visible to your students.
Applications for Education
The scheduling option in Google Classroom could be used in much the same way that I have used scheduled blog posts over the years. Rather than having to post an assignment or quiz on the morning that you need students to see it, you can write and schedule things in advance.

Join my online course to learn how to get the most out of Google Apps for Education. You can earn three graduate credits through the course. 

Soon You Will Be Able to Email Parents from Google Classroom

One of the complaints that I often hear about Google Classroom is that there isn't a good way for parents to know what has been shared with students within the classroom. This afternoon Google announced that a solution to that problem is coming this fall. This fall Google will introduce an option for parents and guardians to sign-up to receive daily or weekly email digests of upcoming assignments and announcements. Student progress will also be included in the email digest.

According to the announcement it appears that administrators will have to invite parents/ guardians to receive the daily or weekly digest via email. Administrators will also set policies for notifications.