Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Google Classroom Now Has a Random Name Selector

Google Classroom has a new random name selector tool available in the Google Classroom Android app. As announced by Google earlier today the random name selector will randomly pick names from your roster and let you keep track of which students have or have not been called upon.

To use the random name selector in the Google Classroom Android app simply open the app, select your class, tap "people" at the bottom of the screen, and then tap the random name selector at the top of the next screen. The random name picker will let you mark a student as absent if he/she isn't in class. You can also select "call later" if you want to move on to another student then come back to the first student. Finally, after you have called on a student tap the "next" button to mark that student as having been called upon.

Here are some random name selectors for those who don't use Google Classroom on an Android phone or tablet. 

Random Name Picker is a free tool from Russel Tarr at Classtools.net. The Random Name Picker lets you input names and spin a virtual wheel to have a name randomly selected from the list. After a name is selected you can remove it from the wheel so that it is not selected again. Random Name Picker is free to use and does not require a registration on Classtools.net. You can save your lists by assigning passwords to them. You can re-use your saved lists. The Random Name Picker wheel can be embedded into your blog or website. The Random Name Picker was written in HTML5 so that it will run in the browser of your iPad.

Flippity.net offers sixteen Google Sheets templates. One of those templates is a random name selector. Simply make a copy of this template, insert your class roster, and then publish your spreadsheet to use Flippity's random name selector.

The Random Name Selector from Primary Technology is a simple tool for picking names from a list you've created. To use the selector just type in or copy a list of names then hit "go." Once a name is selected you have the option of launching a two minute or seven minute countdown timer. You also have the option to remove a name from the list after it has been selected. Watch the video below to learn a little more and see the Random Name Selector in use.


Monday, October 8, 2018

Two Detailed Presentations About Copyright for Educators

Earlier this evening I answered an email from a teacher who was looking for some resources about copyright that she could share with colleagues in her school. There were two resources that immediately came to mind when I read her question. The first resource is a presentation by Dr. Wes Fryer called Copyright for Educators. The second is the recording of a webinar that Beth Holland and I hosted last fall. Both of those presentations are embedded below.




Copyright for Teachers - A Webinar With Beth Holland and Richard Byrne

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival - Videos Based on Newbery Winning Books

Thanks to one of the great teachers that I am working with at Sigsbee Charter School I learned about the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. The festival is really a contest that is organized by YA author James Kennedy.  The purpose of the contest is to encourage students to create short videos based on Newbery-winning books. The point isn't to have students create book reviews or book trailers but to actually tell the story of the book through video. A collection of the best videos of previous years' festivals can be seen here. Two of the videos in that collection are embedded below.

The Giver in 90 Seconds

Crispin: Cross of Lead


Entries into The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival will be accepted until January 11, 2019. Read the submission rules and guidelines here.

Applications for Education
If you have done book trailer projects with your students and you're ready to take a different approach to making videos, consider having students write and produce entries for The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival.

Google Is Shutting Down Google+

This afternoon Google published an official blog post about their Project Strobe data and privacy audit project. The leading portion of that  Google announced that the consumer edition of Google+ is going to be shut down. In the announcement Google confirmed what many of us have known for years, adoption and use of Google+ is low. In fact, Google stated that 90% of Google+ user sessions were less than five seconds. The closure of Google+ for consumers will happen over the next ten months.

Another part of the same blog post included the news that up to 500,000 Google+ user accounts were potentially compromised by a bug that Google discovered back in March.

Part of Project Strobe also includes changing the way that third-party services can connect to your Google account. You'll eventually have more granular controls over how services can access and use your Google account. An outcome of that change will be the need for you to click or tap approve on more dialogue boxes when adding third-party services to your account. See the new approval process in Google's blog post about the changes.

What does this mean for teachers and students?
Unless you were using a consumer Google+ account today's news doesn't mean much other than to serve as a reminder to change your passwords regularly. If you are using Google+ on a regular basis, you'll need to start transitioning your social media activity to something like Facebook groups.

Google Has Added a Captioning System to Google Slides

Today, Google announced a new Google Slides feature that some teachers are going to love. Google Slides now has a real-time captioning system. This system works when you are presenting your slides (full screen) and have a microphone connected to your computer. When you turn on the captioning option Google will automatically create and display captions of what you're saying to your audience. Those captions will be displayed at the bottom of your slides.

For now this new captioning system is only available if you use the Chrome browser in U.S. English. In their announcement of this feature Google noted that captions may not be accurate if you don't speak clearly, have a distinct accent, or there is a lot of ambient noise near your computer's microphone. (Speaking of microphones the ones that I recommend the most are this Snowball Microphone made by Blue Microphones and this omnidirectional lapel microphone made by Insignia).

Here's a short video introduction to the new Google Slides captions feature.


This feature is being rolled-out gradually. It could be a couple of weeks before you see it in your Google account.

Applications for Education
Automatic captioning of your presentations could make your presentations accessible to more students. Even if you don't have students who need the captions, it might still be a good idea to turn them on anyway as means to aid your students who are taking notes during a presentation.