Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How to Create Contact Groups in Gmail

Yesterday I shared the time-saving tip of scheduling emails in Gmail. Today, I have another time-saving Gmail tip. Creating a contact group or a contact label in Gmail makes it possible to simply type the name of a group into the Gmail composition editor and have all of the addresses in that group populated at once. This can be a huge time-saver when you need to send the same message to a group of students and or their parents.

The process of creating a contact group in Gmail has changed since the last time I published a tutorial about it. The video that I created today outlines the current process for making contact groups in Gmail.

How to Create Annotated Screen Capture Images

This morning I got an email from a reader who was looking for a screen capture tool that included tools for drawing straight lines, arrows, boxes, and generally making screen captures look a little more professional. One of the tools that I recommended was Nimbus Screenshot.

Nimbus Screenshot is available to use as an extension in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. There is also a Nimbus Screenshot Chrome app for Chromebook users who want to be able to capture more than just a browser window. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Nimbus Screenshot to create annotated screen capture images.

Applications for Education
When explaining to students how to use a new tool it's often easier to show with them with a screen capture than it is to write out an explanation. Over the next couple of weeks my high school computer science courses will be online so I'm sure that I'll be making lots of screen captures to highlight pieces of code that need to be altered.

Free Historical Coloring Pages

If you're looking for an offline activity that you can recommend to parents for their students to do at home, take a look at the New York Academy of Medicine's Color Our Collections website. The site contains contributions from more than one hundred museums and libraries around the world. The participating museums and libraries offered of up PDFs of black and white drawings that visitors can print and then color. In other words, Color Our Collections is a huge collection of historical coloring book pages.

Applications for Education
Color Our Collections offers coloring pages covering a wide range of topics and themes. The Getty contributions feature animals, the contribution from the Library of Virginia covers the topic of Women's Suffrage, and Brunel University's collection features trains. Contributions from some museums and libraries cover topics in medicine. Because of the wide range of topics in the collection I'd recommend either curating a collection from the collection to send home or advising parents to pick and print from the website rather than sending students directly to the website.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Three More Free Webinars About Online Learning

Last week Rushton Hurley hosted three webinars about transitioning to online teaching and learning. Those webinars addressed a lot of questions about planning. You can watch the recording of his webinar from last week here.

Rushton is hosting three more free webinars this week. Here's how Rushton describes the webinars that he's hosting this week:

This program is not a collection of web-based tech tools, but rather one which focuses on how assignments can work for those who have just switched to online learning. The tools you are familiar with are your best choices after a sudden change to online instruction, and finding ways to use them effectively is the goal of the webinar.

This week's webinars will be on Wednesday at 4pm and 7pm ET and on Friday at 1pm ET. You can register for the webinars here.

In case you're wondering who Rushton Hurley is, he's the founder of Next Vista for Learning and a former principal of an online school. Watch the recording of one of his webinars from last week to learn more about him and his work.

Rushton uses Zoom for his webinars. You can learn how Zoom works by watching this short video.

Create a Consistent Communication Schedule by Using Gmail's Scheduling Feature - Here's How To Use It

In my webinar about quickly transitioning to teaching online (recording available here) I mentioned that I would using the scheduling feature in Gmail to send messages to students and parents on a consistent schedule. Here's a demonstration of how to use the scheduling feature in Gmail.

Applications for Education
You might be wondering why I would use this feature and not just use the scheduling feature in Google Classroom. The answer is that I have some students who prefer to have email sent to an email address other than the one issued by the school. Right now my priority is engaging my students in an online learning experience that we've been thrust into. Now is not the time for me to make a stand that says, "you must use your school email!" I'll fight that battle later. On a similar note, I have parents who despite repeated invitations won't join Google Classroom so I'm trying to meet them where they are.

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