Friday, March 20, 2020

Three Ways to Share Docs in Google Classroom - When to Use Each

As you might guess, I'm getting flooded with requests for help with all kinds of things related to online teaching and learning. I'm doing my best to respond to all of them although I am placing priority on the requests from my colleagues at my school. One of the requests that I got was to create an explanation of the best ways to share documents in Google Classroom. That's why I made the following video that outlines three ways to share documents through Google Classroom, what each method looks like on the teacher and student side, and when you might want to use each of the methods.

Reminder - Free Webinar About Online Learning Activities - Today at 1pm ET

As mentioned earlier this week, at 1pm ET today Rushton Hurley (founder of Next Vista and all around great guy) is hosting a free webinar about online learning activities. I'll be dropping into the webinar as well.

There are a few components to today's free Next Vista webinar.

  • How assignments can work for those who have just switched to online learning.
  • Help teachers see a particular activity, done as online learning, for littles, upper elementary, middle schoolers, and high school students.
  • A look at a contest for identifying the cool learning students experience in their school. And also a video contest focused on those who make life better for others.

Register for the webinar here.

And on this page you can find a recording of the webinar that Rushton hosted last week.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

5 Google Classroom Tips for Teachers - Things You Might Have Overlooked or Forgotten

Like I'm sure many of you are, I'm getting lots of requests from colleagues and readers for help with Google Classroom. I have a bunch of short tutorials here on my YouTube channel. But I made the following slideshow for my colleagues who are starting to really use and rely on Google Classroom now that our school is closed.

The slideshow isn't intended to be an A-Z tutorial on using Google Classroom. I made it to highlight what I think are some helpful little features that might have been overlooked or forgotten about. I hope this helps some of you.

Featured in the slideshow:
  • Posting announcements to multiple classrooms at the same time. 
  • Scheduling announcements to appear at a later date.
  • Creating topics to organize assignments.
  • Scheduling assignments.
  • Using Google Classroom to send bulk email to students and parents.

5 Helpful Google Classroom Tips for Teachers by richardbyrne

Create a Simple Website With Canva and Use It as a Digital Portfolio

Canva has been my graphic design tool of choice for the last five years. Lately, I've been using it to create slideshow presentations and videos in addition to simple graphics like the featured image in this blog post. In fact, the last two free webinars that I hosted featured slideshows designed in Canva.

One of the things that I like about using Canva for slideshows is that when I want to share the slides with a wider audience I can publish as a nice, clean and simple website. When I publish the slideshows that I make with Canva all of the links and videos that embedded in the slides continue to work. In the following video I demonstrate how to publish Canva slideshows as a simple stand-alone website.

Applications for Education
A few of my current students absolutely love using Canva. One of the things that I plan to do when we get back to having school in the school building is to have my students take pictures and record short videos about the projects they're doing in my classroom. Then they'll put the pictures and videos into slideshows in Canva and publish them as simple websites to share them as digital portfolios. Yes, they could do the same with Google Slides or PowerPoint, but Canva's presentation is just a little bit cleaner from the viewer's perspective.

Why I Make Video Tutorials

Yesterday afternoon someone wrote on my Facebook page that she was going to stop following the page because I had too many videos and not enough written tutorials. The fact of the matter is that I've published nearly 15,000 blog posts and less than half have videos in them (I counted last night). But I can see how she had that impression because for the last two years I have made a concerted effort to publish more tutorial videos and fewer written tutorials. I'd like to explain why. So here it is in list format.

1. Copyright issues. If you have followed this blog for more than a year, you're probably well aware of the many issues I've had with people stealing my work and pawning it off as their own. The most egregious cases have involved people using my work as their own in conference presentations! It's a heck of a lot harder to pass off my video as your own than it is to copy and paste my writing and images.

2. Discoverability. Depending the report you read, YouTube is the second or third most visited website in the world. Putting videos on YouTube helps more people discover my tutorials and this blog.

3. Clarity. Even when I write tutorials there are still some parts of the process that are better shown than told. A video solves that problem.

4. Time. I have a full-time course load and a family to raise and I try to stay in shape by racing my bicycle (masters category, baby!). I can produce a screencast video in the same or less time than it takes to make a series of written instructions.

Could my videos be better? Sure they could. But I wouldn't be able to make as many and many of them are made as a direct result of a request from a reader. So it all comes back to trying to help as many people as I can. It appears that video is the way to do that. Someone recently gave me the compliment that my videos have a "nice homemade feel." I'll take it.