Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mentimeter Adds Options for Image-based Polling

Mentimeter is a convenient service that lets you create and distribute poll questions for an audience to answer during a presentation. Your audience can respond to your questions on their phones, tablets, or laptops. Earlier this year Mentimeter added a quiz option to their services. That option works much like Kahoot or Socrative. This week Mentimeter enhanced their services again by adding an image option.

Mentimeter now lets you create image-based polls and image-based quizzes for your students to respond to on their phones, tablets, or laptops. You can use the image-based quiz or poll option with multiple choice or open-response questions.

Applications for Education
One of the neat features of Mentimeter is found when you use the open-response question format. You can have all of your students' responses displayed in a word cloud. This lets you and your students quickly see the most frequently used words and phrases from all students' responses. Mentimeter includes a profanity filter to preserve a classroom-friendly environment.

Improved Voice Typing in Google Docs - A List of Commands

Yesterday, Google released a bunch of updates to G Suite for Education. One of those updates was an expansion of the voice typing commands available in Google Documents.

The voice typing commands in Google Documents now includes options for highlighting text, inserting links, adding comments, and creating and editing tables in your documents. Visit Google's complete list of commands to see everything that is possible with the voice typing feature in Google Documents. Watch the video below to learn how to access the voice typing option.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Name Picker Ninja - A Random Name Picker for Your Classroom

Name Picker Ninja is free tool for quickly choosing names at random. Using Name Picker Ninja is a simple matter of pasting or typing a list of names into the "add names" field in Name Picker Ninja and then clicking "go!" The names in your list will scroll and stop on a randomly selected name. Once a name has been selected you can remove it from the list or keep it in the rotation.

You do not need to register on the site in order to use Name Picker Ninja.

Applications for Education
"Random name selector" is one of the most frequently searched terms on this blog. That indicates to me, that many teachers agree with me that a random name picker like Name Picker Ninja is useful for choosing students for all kinds of classroom activities. In elementary school you might use it to pick your line leaders for the day. In middle school or high school you might use it to choose the order in which students make presentations to their classmates.

If you want to put a random name selector in your blog or website, watch the video here to learn how to do that.

Upload Files As Responses To Google Forms - Coming Soon

Earlier today Google announced a handful of new features that are coming soon to G Suite for Education (formerly called Google Apps for Education). The most exciting of those new features is found in Google Forms.

The latest update to Google Forms includes two new features. First, now when you begin to write quiz questions in Google Forms, Forms will attempt to predict the type of question that you are writing and it will suggest possible answer choices. Of course, it's not fool-proof and in my initial testing of the feature Forms was not able to predict the answer type or choices for my question, "what is the tallest mountain in the world?"

The second feature added to Google Forms is the option to have students respond by uploading a file. When students upload a file it will be stored in your Google Drive account for review. This feature will only work for Forms that are restricted to members of your G Suite for Education domain. The file upload feature could provide you with a great way to collect visual artifacts of your students' work. It could also provide you with a way to collect responses to longer open-response questions that have paragraph formatting unlike the present mess of paragraphs that you get when collecting long open-responses through Google Forms.
Image courtesy of Brooks Hocog,
Global Communications, Google Apps & G Suite.

When can I expect to see these features?
Google announced a release track for these new features. The suggested responses feature should begin to appear in the week of November 2nd. The file upload feature in should begin to appear in the week of November 9th.

Jellymetrics Readability Grader - Quickly Determine Readability

Jellymetrics is a company that primarily offers email marketing services. They do offer one service that teachers could find handy. That service is the free Jellymetrics Readability Grader.

The Jellymetrics Readability Grader lets you quickly determine the readability of an article. To use the Jellymetrics Readability Grader simply copy text and paste it into the Readability Grader. The free tool then quickly analyzes the text and gives you a listing of the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease and grade level according to a handful of scales.

Applications for Education
The Jellymetrics Readability Grader could be a convenient tool to use when you're selecting web articles to share with your students. The tool is good for typical web articles, but I think that it could be a bit cumbersome to try to copy and paste longer articles into the Jellymetrics Readability Grader.

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