Saturday, August 20, 2016

5 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed This Week

This week Google released a bunch of updates to many of their tools that are popular with teachers. Here's a short overview of those updates.

1. Google Classroom now supports sharing with parents. You can now invite parents and guardians to subscribe to a daily or weekly summary of activities in your Google Classroom classes. The process for setting this up includes a few more steps than you might anticipate. You can read the full directions on this help page.

2. In the Google Classroom mobile apps you can now draw on, highlight, and write on top of students' Google Documents, PDFs, and Microsoft Word documents. The iOS version of the app will also let you type on top of a document. With both apps students can annotate items that teachers have shared in Google Classroom and teachers can annotate items that students have shared back to them.

3. You can now use images as answer choices to questions created in Google Forms. You can also use images as question prompts in Google Forms. I created a video about how to use images as answer choices in Google Forms questions. You can watch that video on my YouTube channel.

4. You can now add topics labels to posts in your Google Classroom stream. This allows you to search and sort your stream by topic instead of date. Directions on how to use topics can be found on this help page.

5. Starting on September 12th Google will no longer offer Hangouts on Air. Hangouts on Air will be replaced by YouTube Live. YouTube Live will let you create public, private, and unlisted broadcasts. Broadcasts will be automatically stored in your YouTube account. The most significant change for many users will be the removal of the Q&A feature that was in Google Hangouts on Air. Now to host a Q&A you will have to share Google Slides and use the Q&A feature integrated into the presenter mode in Google Slides.

Padlet Adds a New Post Attribution Feature

It is a not a secret that Padlet is one of my favorite ed tech tools for all classrooms. From creating KWL charts to simple blogging activities to creating digital portfolios,there is not a shortage of ways to use Padlet.

This week Padlet introduced a new way to identify who writes what on a collaborative Padlet wall. Padlet's new post attribution feature allows you to automatically display user names on notes. Of course, your students will have to be logged into Padlet accounts in order for that feature to work. The post attribution tool will make it possible for you to ensure that each student gets credit for his or her contribution to your Padlet walls. It is also possible to turn off the attribution feature and let students post anonymously.

Friday, August 19, 2016

How to Get Started Using Google Forms for Classroom Quizzes

Google Forms can be a powerful tool for creating and delivering quizzes to your students. It also has a bunch of great features for gathering feedback from students in a survey format. To take advantage of any of the features of Google Forms, you have to know how to get started. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to get started using Google Forms to create, deliver, and grade online quizzes.

Science Bob Helps Students Start Science Fair Projects

Science Bob is a good resource for elementary school and middle school students in search of ideas for science fair projects. Science Bob has dozens of suggestions for science fair projects. Beyond the suggestions, Science Bob offers tips on how to build the projects and additional support resources. In the experiments section of Science Bob teachers and students will find printable directions for carrying-out more than two dozen experiments. If you're looking for videos about science concepts and science experiments Science Bob offers videos that may be of interest you.

Applications for Education
As Science Bob mentions, developing an idea for a science fair project can be a difficult first step. Even if students don't pick one of the ideas in Science Bob's list, they may be inspired to design a project of their own.

Two Graphing Tools for Google Docs

The question that I often hear from mathematics teachers about Google Documents is, "are there any features for me?" The answer is, "yes, but they don't always jump out at you." Google Docs does have a built-in equation editor that you can access from the insert drop-down menu. To create graphs in Google Docs you'll want to grab either the g(Math) or the Wizkids CAS Add-ons for Google Docs.

g(Math) for Google Docs offers other features in addition to a graphing. Besides creating graphs you can insert handwriting entries and statistical displays. g(Math) also supports voice input. Extensive tutorials for g(Math) can be found on the g(Math) Help website.

Wizkids CAS is another Google Docs Add-on that offers a graphing calculator feature. Wizkids CAS offers tools for solve=ing equations and plotting graphs, finding numerical and exact solutions, and simplifying and factoring expressions with variables. The video embedded below provides an overview of the features in Wizkids CAS.