Tuesday, August 1, 2017

6 New Google Classroom Features to Note

Earlier today Google published a blog post that featured ten updates to Google Classroom and Google Forms. A few of those updates are relatively minor and one was just a reminder of a previous update to Google Forms (previously covered in this post). Here are the updates to Google Classroom that you should note.

1. Google has improved how you can view your students' work in Google Classroom. You can now select a student in your Classroom and view all of his or her work in one stream. Previously, you had to go through each assignment and look for an individual student. This update makes it easier to see all of an individual student's assignments in one place.

2. Transfer classes to another teacher. For a while now you have been able to add a co-teacher to a Google Classroom class. This update lets administrators and or teachers transfer ownership of the class.

3. A slight improvement has been made to the gradebook in Google Classroom. You can now use decimal points in your grading.

4. Administrators can now save teachers time by syncing rosters from your student management system with Google Classroom. In other words, admins can set-up Classrooms for teachers. Admins can learn more about this process here and here.

5. Speaking of Classroom set-up, you can now display the join code for your Classroom in full screen.

6. Finally, new 3rd party services have been made available for seamless integration into Google Classroom. Those new services are Kami, Quizizz, and Edcite.

Learn more about Google Classroom in next week's webinar Keeping Track With Google Keep, Calendar, and Classroom

Learn Anything (Almost) Through These Interactive Mind Maps

Learn Anything is a neat website that is essentially a giant mind map. Enter a topic into the search box on Learn Anything and a mind map of related topics will appear. Each node of the mind map that appears is hyperlinked to either another mind map, to a video, or to text-based resources for learning more about the topics connected through the mind map. See my video below for a demonstration of how it works.

Applications for Education
Learn Anything could be a good resource for students to use to see the connections between topics within a subject area. Seeing those connections can be helpful to students when they are embarking on a research project as the nodes within a mind map may give them some topics to pursue that they might not have considered without the mind map.

 Learn Anything is a work in progress. There are many subjects covered in Learn Anything, but there is still more to come.

The Google Earth Blog is Ending Daily Posts

For most of the last decade The Google Earth Blog founded by Frank Taylor has been one of my go-to places for Google Earth tips, tricks, and tutorials. This morning I read Frank Taylor's announcement that he was ending daily updates. The archive of the blog will remain online.

In his announcement Frank Taylor cites changes to the Google Earth product and changes in Google's corporate communication policies as some of his reasons for discontinuing the daily updates on The Google Earth Blog. Specifically, Frank mentions that the direction in which Google is taking Google Earth is decidedly web-based but at the cost of removing many of the most powerful features of Google Earth.

I enjoyed The Google Earth Blog and I will miss the daily updates. Good luck to Frank, Tim, and Mickey with the next ventures in their lives.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Month in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where the sun has set on the month of July. Mason and I sat out on the deck enjoying the last rays of sunshine then came inside to write this review of the month. This was a busy month as I spoke at the Upstate Technology Conference in South Carolina then came home to run two Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps. Please get in touch with me to learn more about bringing me to your school or conference.

As I do at the end of every month, I have put together a list of the most popular posts of the previous 30 days.

Here are the most popular posts in July, 2017:
1. The Periodic Table in Pictures and Words
2. 5 New Google Forms Features
3. Students Can Now Guide Themselves In Google Expeditions
4. Try Book Creator In Chrome to Create Multimedia Books
5. Tutorials to Help You Get Started Creating Apps in Your Classroom
6. Tips for Accessing Sites Blocked by Your School
7. How to Create a Multiple Part Test in Google Forms
8. Save Time by Using JoeZoo Express to Give Feedback in Google Docs
9. A Good Tool for Quickly Creating Comics
10. How to Use Unio to Deliver Lessons to Students' Screens

I'm offering three online professional development courses in August. Join me for a few hours in August and you'll gain new skills and ideas to use in your classroom this fall.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Beyond Tech Ed is hosting a great Chromebook training in Palm Springs. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Create Formative Labeling Activities

Back in June Formative released an overhauled user interface for creating digital formative assessments. One of the things that you can do in the updated interface is change the background on a "show your work" question. Changing the background lets you create a labeling activity for your students to complete. Watch my video embedded below to see learn how to create a labeling activity on GoFormative.com. The video also includes a view of the assessment from a student's perspective.