Thursday, August 9, 2018

Certify'em Has New Options for Automatically Issuing Certificates from Google Forms

Certify'em is one of my favorite Google Forms Add-ons. With Certify'em activated you can automatically issue certificates to students when they get a passing (or better) score on a quiz in Google Forms. You can see a demonstration of how it works right here.

This week the developer of Certify'em, Dave Abouav, added some advanced options to the Add-on. The Add-on now lets you issue certificates as PDFs or as images. More significantly, you can now automatically issue certificates to students even if they don't have email addresses. In the advanced settings in Certify'em you will now see an option to issue certificates via Google Drive instead of via email. This is perfect for students who don't have email addresses but do have Google Drive accounts through your school's G Suite for Education account.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Flipgrid's Mobile App Now Has Basic Editing Options

Buried in amongst the other Microsoft EDU announcements that were made this week was the news that Flipgrid's mobile app was updated.

The latest version of the Flipgrid mobile app has a basic editing function that will let students trim the beginning and or end of a video before submitting it to a grid. Additionally, the latest update to the Flipgrid added the option to use both front and rear facing cameras in a video. Students can tap the flip icon in the recorder to switch from the front to rear camera and back within the same recording. The third new feature in the app is the option for kids to switch from landscape to portrait view while recording.

Here are the links to the updated mobile apps:
Flipgrid for Android
Flipgrid for iOS
Flipgrid for Windows 10

Applications for Education
Of the new features in the Flipgrid mobile app, the option to flip between the front and rear cameras in the same video is the one that I think will be the most useful for students and teachers. Switching between those two cameras could be great for making short instructional videos in which you start by talking into the camera and then switch to showing something like a chemistry demonstration.

SpeakPipe Adds New Landing Pages for Gathering Voice Recordings

SpeakPipe is a service that I have used and recommended for many years. It's a service that provides you with the ability to collect voicemail messages through your blog or website. Simply create a SpeakPipe account, place their widget in your blog, and then visitors can click the widget to record and send you a voice message.

This morning I received an email from SpeakPipe in which they announced a new feature called SpeakPipe Pages. This feature lets you create a simple landing page through which people can send you voice messages. You can use the landing page even if you don't use the widget in your blog or have a blog. You can send people directly to your SpeakPipe landing page to send you voice messages that you can then playback in your email, read a transcript, or access directly through SpeakPipe. Take a look at my new SpeakPipe page and give it a try.

Applications for Education
SpeakPipe can be a nice little addition to a school, library, or club website so that you can collect voice messages that are automatically transcribed for reading. You can also use it to simply create your own MP3 recordings that you download and distribute through your blog or website.

Rubric Grading and Ten Other New Microsoft for EDU Features

Google wasn't the only tech giant to release new tools for teachers and students this week. Microsoft has also announced eleven new features for teachers and students who use Microsoft Teams for EDU.

Rubric Grading in Microsoft Teams is at the top of the list of new Microsoft Teams for EDU features. This is a feature was initially announced back in June, but wasn't available to all users. Now any teachers who use Microsoft Teams for EDU have access to the rubric grading feature. You can attach rubrics to assignments for students to see before and after completing an assignment. Equally important, you'll be able to grade an assignment using that rubric without having to open multiple tabs or windows. Watch the following video from Microsoft to see rubric grading in action.

Updated iOS and Android app
The apps have been updated with a capability for teachers to create assignments. In the updated apps students will now be able to see all upcoming assignments and tasks in one place.

Re-use Assignments
You can now re-use an assignment that you have previously given. You can even pull assignments from archived Teams.

Archive Teams
Have a Team that you don't use anymore? You can now archive it.

Updated Flipgrid App
Microsoft acquired Flipgrid earlier this summer and Microsoft promptly made all of Flipgrid's features free for all teachers. This week the Flipgrid app got a big update in the form of a new Flipgrid recorder that includes the capability to trim videos before posting.

New OneNote Features
Class and Staff Notebooks have updated toolbars.

Recording of Video Meetings
If you use the video meetings option in Teams you can now have those meetings recorded, transcribed, and time-stamped with just a click.

Dark Mode
This is a just an option to have a darker background in Teams.

Features announced, but not yet available:
A few features were announced this week that are not yet available. Those are Immersive Reader for Teams Messages, placing Microsoft Forms in assignments, and an email digest for parents. 

A New Place to Learn About Google Forms

The Google for Education Teacher Center has a new section called Welcome to Your First Day of Google Forms. In this section you will find a couple of Google-produced tutorial videos and nine videos created by teachers for teachers. I was flattered to have Google ask to use a few of my videos in the new Welcome to Your First Day of Google Forms training page.

In Welcome to Your First Day of Google Forms you will find videos explaining how to password-protect a Form, how to use response validation, and how to add feedback to quiz questions. On the same page you can also learn a handy shortcut for adding questions to Forms, how to send certificates to students when they pass a quiz, and how to customize the appearance of your Google Forms. Take a look and see if there is anything new for you on Welcome to Your First Day of Google Forms.