Friday, April 27, 2018

A Convenient G Suite Update

On Thursday Google announced a small update to G Suite that could prove to be convenient and reduce confusion for folks who have more than one Google account. In the next few weeks G Suite administrators will be able to add custom images or logos to appear next to users' profile pictures. This will mean that when you're signed into services like Google Calendar you will be able to see your school's logo next to your profile image or profile initials.

This isn't a huge update by any means. This update could help users quickly confirm that they're in their school Google accounts instead of their personal accounts. It might also be reassuring to parents who are booking appointments with you through the appointment slots feature in Google Calendar to see the school's logo appearing at the top of the calendar.

G Suite administrators will find directions for uploading system-wide custom images and logos right here.

Is your school making the switch to G Suite for Education this summer? If so, my online G Suite for Teachers course will provide you with everything you need to know to feel comfortable using it in your classroom. My group rates allow you get training for your whole school for less than the cost of sending a few people to a Google Summit. 

From the Catbird Seat - A Poetry Podcast

Just in time for the end of National Poetry Month the Library of Congress has launched a new podcast series about poetry. The podcast is called From the Catbird Seat. The podcast will feature conversations with Rob Casper and Anne Holmes from the Poetry and Literature Center at the LOC. In the first eight episodes they'll be highlighting the work of Poet Laureates of the last five years. In the first episode they're joined by the current Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. You can find the first episode right here or play the recording as embedded below.

Applications for Education
The vast majority of students aren't going to listen to this podcast in its entirety. However, you might find some good pieces of information to share with your students as conversation starters or pointers that students might use to improve their own poetry.

On a related note, the Library of Congress recently hosted a livestream with Tracy K. Smith to talk about the poetry in the age of technology. You can find the recording of that livestream right here.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Join Me On Monday for a Blogging Q&A

After more than a decade of daily blogging I'd like to think that I've learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn't. If you're thinking about starting a blog or you just want to up your blogging game, join me on Monday afternoon at 3pm Eastern Time for a free, live blogging Q&A. I'll answer any and all questions related to blogging. I'll be broadcasting simultaneously on my YouTube channel and on my Practical Ed Tech Facebook page. If you want to submit a question in advance, fill out the form below.

How to Convert Old Google Sites to New Google Sites

Google Sites users who want to switch to the new version of Google Sites have two options. The first option is to create an entirely new site in the new version of Google Sites and then copy and past content from your old site. The second option, and the more efficient option, is to use the Sites conversion tool that has started to appear in some Google accounts. Using the Sites conversion tool has the added benefits of being able to keep your original site address and being able to move all site contributors to the updated version at the same time. Watch my video to see how to convert your Google Site from the old version to the new version.

After you convert your site to the new version, check out these five features that every user should know how to access.

Caring for Comics - And Other Ideas for Video Projects

Earlier this week the Library of Congress Twitter account posted a link to the LOC's reference page about the deterioration of paper. From that page I stumbled into the library's Collections Care reference pages. Those pages are full of information about how to care for and preserve a variety of physical media including newspapers and comic books.

The Collections Care reference pages are full of great information, but they were definitely not created with middle school or high school students in mind. The font is small, the text is crowded, and their is not anything interactive on the pages. But that doesn't mean there isn't value in those pages for middle school and high school students.

Applications for Education
The value that I find in the LOC's Collections Care pages is ideas for student video projects. In particular, I think that students who enjoy comic books would enjoy producing a video about how to care for and preserve comic books. Another section of the Collections Care page is about preserving photographs, that's another topic that some students would enjoy producing a video about. Videos on those topics are a good fit for publication on Next Vista for Learning.

If you're interested in learning how to create and complete classroom video projects, I'm launching a new course for you in May. The Complete Guide to Classroom Video Projects will be available on May 7th.