Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Soon You'll Have More Information About Who Views Your Google Docs

Version History, previously called Revision History, in Google Docs has always let you see when someone made a change to a document with him or her. But Version History doesn't tell you if someone just went in and looked at the shared document. The same has always been true for Google Slides and Google Sheets too. That's about to change.

Today, Google announced a new Activity Dashboard for Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Activity Dashboard will let you see who has accessed your shared file and when they accessed your shared file. It's important to note that the Activity Dashboard will only apply to Docs, Slides, and Sheets that you have invited people to become editors on. It won't apply to Docs, Slides, and Sheets that you have published as "view only."

Activity Dashboard is on a gradual roll-out program. Some users may see it as early as March 21st and others may not see it until April 23rd.

Use ViewPure to Share a Portion of a Video With Password Protection

Over the weekend I shared information about ViewPure's curated playlists for teachers and students. Another feature of ViewPure that you should note is the option to share just a portion of a video and to password protect it when you share it.

To share a portion of a YouTube video through ViewPure you first need to paste the URL of your chosen video into the ViewPure "purifier" on the homepage. Then after your video loads you can click on the gear icon below your video to open the options to specify the start and end time of the video that you want to share. That same screen also provides the option to set a password that others must use to view the clipped version of your chosen video. See my screenshots below for more directions.

Edublogs Publishes a Guide to Mobile Blogging

Edublogs, one of the two services that I recommend for classroom blogging, has published a free guide to blogging on mobile phones. Edublogs recently deprecated their free mobile apps and now recommends three other ways to post to your Edublogs blog from your phone.

The three methods that Edublogs now recommends for blogging on your phone are posting through the browser on your smart phone, posting via email, and or posting by using the free Wordpress mobile app.  Complete directions for using these methods are included in the Edublogs Mobile Blogging Guide.

Applications for Education
Of the three methods that Edublogs recommends for posting a blog from a smart phone, using the web browser will be the easiest method for most students who are using Edublogs. Students will be able to sign into their Edublogs accounts just like they do when using a laptop or desktop computer. Students won't have to install an additional app nor will they need to have an email address to post from their mobile phones.

If you're thinking about starting a new classroom blog or trying to revive an old one, I have an on-demand webinar that teaches you how to do that

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Services I Recommend for Classroom Blogging Today

I started blogging with students twelve years ago. I started this blog eleven years ago. Over that time I've seen a lot of new blogging services pop-up and disappear a few years later. But there are two services that have stood the test of time that I recommend today whenever someone asks me which service he or she should use to create a classroom blog. Those two services are Edublogs and Blogger.

Edublogs is my go-to recommendation for elementary school and middle school classroom blogs. As a teacher you can create a blog and add your students to it. You have control over the creation of your students accounts including their passwords. Additionally, you can let your students create individual blogs that they maintain but that you can supervise from your teacher account. Best of all Edublogs offers fantastic support for teachers through their representatives on Twitter, via email, and through outreach programs like the current student blogging challenge.

Blogger is the service that I often recommend for high school teachers that are using G Suite for Education. The upside to Blogger is that your students can sign into Blogger using their G Suite accounts (provided your domain admin allows it) to contribute to a group blog or to create their own blogs. The downside to Blogger is that you don't have as many options for supervision of your students' publishing on Blogger as you do on Edublogs. For example, when a student has author permissions on Blogger he or she can publish without you first reviewing that blog post, you can only delete the post retroactively.

My YouTube channel contains many short tutorials on the features of both of these blogging services. And if you would like an organized lesson on how to create a classroom blog, I have an on-demand webinar available here.

New Shared File Organization Coming to Google Drive

In an blog post published yesterday Google stated, "searching for content by owner is the most popular way to search for content in Drive today." That's why they a new file organization option is coming soon to your Google Drive dashboard. In the next couple of weeks the "shared with me" section of your Google Drive dashboard will feature a list of the people who have shared files with you and the files themselves will appear under the owner's name.

This change will be rolled-out over the next couple of weeks. The change will apply to the browser-based and mobile app versions of Google Drive.

This isn't a major change to Google Drive, but it is worth noting that you might start to see a change in the "shared with me" section of your Google Drive account.