Thursday, April 19, 2018

Enable These Google Forms Settings to Save Time When Making Quizzes

Making quizzes and giving quizzes is a common use of Google Forms. If you have ever built a quiz and given it to your students only to notice after the fact that you forgot to assign a point value to a question, then you need to watch my video about setting Forms preferences. If you've ever forgotten to make a question required, you need to watch my video about setting Forms preferences. In the following video I demonstrate how to set your Forms preferences so that you always have a point value assigned to your questions and made every question required.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

5 Good Resources for Teaching & Learning About Mount Everest

April and May is considered to be the peak climbing season in the Himalaya Mountains. Of course, the most famous of those mountains is Everest. As long-time readers of this blog may recall, one of my bucket list items is seeing Mount Everest in person. Until then I have to entertain myself with books, videos, and imagery of the mountain. Here are some of the resources that I like to consult when teaching students about Mount Everest and the area surrounding it.

Why is Mount Everest so Tall? is a TED-Ed lesson in which students learn why the peak of Everest is so high, why other mountains are longer from base to summit, and how mountains in general are formed. Through the lesson students can also learn why the heights of mountains change and why Everest may not be the tallest mountain forever.

Through Google's Street View imagery of Mount Everest Basecamp (south side) students can zoom and pan around the foothills of Mount Everest. Students viewing that imagery for the first time might be surprised at how different the view is compared the to the typical pictures of Everest. After viewing the imagery students can click forward to see Street View imagery of other places in the region.

Scaling Everest is an infographic that goes beyond the usual scale of Everest comparisons to buildings and jet flight paths. In the infographic you will find audio of three Everest climbers talking about the approach to Everest basecamp and the nuances of the climb itself. The infographic also provides some interesting facts about plants and animals in the region.

Snow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Everest by Ed Webster (a fellow Mainer) is one of the best books ever written about Mount Everest. If you enjoy good adventure stories and or stories about overcoming personal struggles, I think you will enjoy Webster's book. For my money, and I own two copies of it, it does a far better job of explaining how it feels to be on Mount Everest than any of the two dozen or so books that I've read about Mount Everest and the Himalaya.

The Rest of Everest video podcast provides more than 100 hours of video and commentary from expeditions to the Himalayas. If you're looking for a way to show students what life on a mountain climbing trip is really like from start to finish, the Rest of Everest is the place to go.

See What's New in Microsoft EDU

About a month ago I shared the news of the addition of a picture library to Microsoft's Immersive Reader add-in for Word, OneNote, Outlook, and Edge. That's not the only thing that Microsoft has recently added to their list of education products. As I learned by reading and watching the latest edition of What's New in EDU, Teams now has a "guest" member option and Sway has a new collaboration feature. Read the details of the features here or watch the following video to learn more.

What's New In EDU also mentioned a new response type for Microsoft Forms, but as far as I can tell that option was introduced back in February.

If you've never seen or tried Immersive Reader, watch my video to see it in action. Immersive Reader might be my favorite Microsoft EDU product.

Google Adds New Security Features to G Suite for Education

This morning Google made a couple of significant announcements regards G Suite for Education. First, there is a new G Suite Enterprise for Education which is designed for college and university deployment although K-12 schools can also get it. Second, new security features have been added to all versions of G Suite for Education.

Four security features have been added to the free version of G Suite for Education. Those new features are:

  • Gmail and Drive Data Loss Prevention. 
    • This allows administrators to prevent sharing of certain types of information including student information or anything else that administrators identify as sensitive information. 
  • Security Key Management and Enforcement.
    • This will enable administrators to force users to two-step authentication with physical keys. 
  • Session Length Controls.
    • Administrators can now set limits on how long users can be logged-in for a session before they have to sign-in again. 
  • Hosted Gmail S/MIME.
    • This is a tool for digitally signing and encrypting emails. This is designed to protect against email spoofing. 

G Suite Enterprise for Education vs. G Suite for Education
The new enterprise edition comes at a minimum cost of $2/month per faculty/staff member. The current edition of G Suite for Education (not the new enterprise version) is still completely free for schools. A comparison of features is available here.

G Suite Training for Individuals and Groups - On Sale Now!

As you start to plan for your summer professional development needs, think about the benefits of self-paced, online courses. You can start and finish the course on your schedule from wherever you have Internet access. If you're like me, in the summer that schedule and setting includes sipping coffee while sitting on your deck or patio. It's a nice alternative to having to sit in a conference room on a summer day.

My G Suite for Teachers online course is on sale now through Monday. Register at the sale price and you can start the course today or whenever it is convenient for you. Your access to the course never expires so that you can go back and review any of the ten modules whenever you need to. And any future updates that I make to the course will available to you too.

Train Your Whole School for Less Than Sending Three People to a Google Summit!
When your school is making the transition to G Suite for Education you need structured training for every teacher. With my group rates you get structured training for your whole school for less than the cost of sending a few people to a Google Summit. Everyone learns at a different pace so my self-paced online course is the perfect alternative to putting your whole staff in a room for a day or two of training during the summer.

Register with five or more people and you'll get 40% off the regular price. Register 15 or more people to save even more with these group packages. Email me at to get a group registration started today.

About this post: The sale of my professional development online courses and my on-site professional development services provides the funding to keep Free Technology for Teachers running. The resources that I feature in my online courses and webinars are free. However, there is a significant cost associated with creating, hosting, and managing the courses and webinars which is why I am not able to provide them for free.  

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