Wednesday, March 25, 2020

An Option for Making Sure Students Know They Have Google Classroom Assignments

Yesterday afternoon a friend texted me to ask if there was a way to check to see if students have looked at announcements or assignments in Google Classroom. Unfortunately, there isn't a "read receipt" type of feature built into Google Classroom. That doesn't mean all hope is lost for determining whether or not students recognize that they have assignments or announcements to read in Google Classroom. Here's what I've been doing and recommending to friends and colleagues who ask.

To make sure that my students are acknowledging that they have new assignments and announcements in Google Classroom I've been sending out group emails that simply say, "You have a new assignment, please check Google Classroom. Please let me know that you've read this email." But I don't leave it at that. Before I send out the email I make sure that I've enabled "request read receipt" in the message settings. The screenshot below shows you where that option is found. By having read receipt enabled I can see if a student has opened the email even if he or she doesn't actually reply to me.

If you don't see the Read Receipt option in your G Suite for Education account, ask your domain administrator if he or she can turn it on. Domain administrators can turn it on for all users or for individual users.

On a related note, my video on how to create contact groups in Gmail is embedded below.

Two Ways to Find Free Ebooks to Download

Every day I'm hearing from teachers who can't get back into their classrooms because their school buildings are completely closed. My own school building has very limited access and only by administrative approval right now. These kind of closures have left some teachers searching for online alternatives to the books, particularly free reading time books, that are in their inaccessible classrooms. If that describes your situation, here are a couple of good places to search for free ebooks that you and your students can download.

Google Books
Google Books can be a great place to search for free ebooks. One of the features that I like best about Google Books is the option to search within a book for keywords and passages before you download it. In addition to downloading ebooks you can embed free ebooks from Google Books into blog posts and webpages.

The Internet Archive
Before you jump to the Internet Archive I have to give my usual disclaimer about it. There is a ton of educational materials available through the Internet Archive. However, there is also material that you probably wouldn't want younger students to stumble upon. Therefore, I always recommend searching the Internet Archive yourself and then just selecting and downloading materials to share without sending your students to the site directly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

An Overview of How Students View and Return Assignments in Google Classroom

Over the last week I've spent a lot of time helping some of my colleagues get up and running with Google Classroom. One of the things that they've asked about is what a student sees when he or she receives an assignment in Google Classroom. A few readers have emailed me with similar questions about that. I have a demo Google Classroom that I use to show colleagues what a student sees in Google Classroom. But for everyone else I made the following short video. I hope this helps some of you gain a little better understanding of what students see when they receive an assignment and when an assignment is returned to them in Google Classroom.

In the video above I mentioned using rubrics in Google Classroom. Here's the video that I made last fall to demonstrate how rubrics work in Google Classroom.

Free Webinar - Making Multimedia Social Studies Lessons

Tomorrow at 11am ET I'm partnering with my friend Greg Kulowiec from to host a free webinar titled Making Multimedia Social Studies Lessons: Audio, Video, and More. Greg taught middle school social studies for many years and is now a leading expert on the use augmented reality and virtual reality in education. I taught high school social studies for years before taking over a high school computer science program this year.

In tomorrow's free webinar we'll be sharing some of our favorite methods for developing multimedia social studies lessons. If you're looking for some new ideas to make your social studies lessons a little more interesting for your students, join us tomorrow for this free webinar.

Registration is available on the homepage. On that page you'll also find some other free webinars that is hosting.

Knowt Will Turn Your Notes and Favorite Webpages Into Quizzes for You

Knowt is a great service for turning notes and documents into practice quizzes. When I wrote about last summer you could only use notes that you either wrote in Knowt itself or imported from Google Drive. I gave it another look this morning and saw that it now supports importing webpages. It also has more question types than it did the last time I tried it.

Knowt takes the notes that you have in your free Knowt online notebook and turns them into practice quizzes for you. Your notes can be written directly in Knowt or imported from Google Drive, from a document stored on your computer, or from any public webpage. For example, I was able to import the Wikipedia article about Milan-San Remo and have a notebook page and quiz created for me.

Practice quizzes created in Knowt use a mix of multiple choice, matching, and fill-in-the-blank questions. Instant feedback is provided as soon as you submit an answer to a question. At the end of the quiz you can review all questions and their correct answers. You can take the quiz again or have a new practice quiz generated for you. Knowt varies the number of questions, sequence of questions, and question formats each time you generate a new quiz even if the quiz is about the same article or note.

Applications for Education
Right now Knowt is a great tool that students can use on their own to create review activities for themselves. In April Knowt is opening a beta for teachers interested in using Knowt to create notebooks and quizzes that they can share with their students. Registration for the beta of Knowt's classroom product is available here.

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