Monday, July 13, 2020

Anonymous Users Blocked from Google Meet in G Suite EDU

A couple of weeks ago Google announced that seven new features would be added to Google Meet over the coming months. According to an announcement on the G Suite Updates Blog the first of those started to roll out today.

Starting today anonymous users will automatically be prevented from joining or asking to join Google Meet meetings hosted within a G Suite for Education domain. This will be the default setting for G Suite for Edu and can only be changed by a G Suite for Edu domain administrator who requests an exception from Google.

This is definitely a positive step for Google Meet. This is the feature that I've been looking forward to the most along with the ability to remotely mute all participants at once.

Canva Introduces Real-time Collaboration Options

This year Canva has become my preferred tool for designing audio slideshow presentations. Now, thanks to a tip from Larry Ferlazzo, it's now one of my favorite tools for collaborative brainstorming sessions.

Canva recently started rolling-out real-time collaboration options similar to what you might experience with Google Docs or Drawings. Your collaborators can work on the same Canva design as you and you'll see their names displayed on the design element they're working on. For example, in my screenshot below you'll see the name of my collaborator, Mason appears on the yellow sticky note that he's added to the brainstorming template we're working on.

Applications for Education
Canva has a large collection of brainstorming and mind-mapping templates that students can use to collaboratively plan research papers, develop a presentation, or generate fiction story starters. There are also great templates for KWL charts and story analysis.

Canva has an education version that is completely free for teachers and students. Head to the Canva for Education page to learn more and sign up.

Updated and Easier Way to Schedule Events in Google Calendar

This morning Google announced a small but helpful change to Google Calendar. The web browser version of Google Calendar will now present you with more options when you initially schedule an event on your calendar. Over next couple of weeks you'll see more options appear when you click on your calendar to schedule an event.

Google Calendar will now let you add attachments, change guest access, and edit calendar notifications without having to click the "more options" menu in the scheduling pop-up.

This update should make it faster and easier to set meeting schedules in Google Calendar. I particularly like that I'll be able to invite guests and set a Google Meet link on the same screen that I set reminder notifications.

The new user interface for the Google Calendar scheduling pop-up will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks and should be available to all users by the end of the month.

On a related note, here's how to create appointment slots in Google Calendar.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

How to Collaborate on Word Documents Online

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who wanted to know how her students could see and comment on Google Docs if they only had Microsoft 365 accounts. While that could be done with a couple of clever workarounds, the simpler solution is to just use Word online.

Just like with Google Docs, with Word online you can share documents, comment on documents, and make editing suggestions. And a bonus feature is being able to set passwords and expiration dates on shared Word documents. In the following short video I demonstrate how to collaborate on Word documents online.


On a related note, I'm working on developing a playlist of new Microsoft product tutorials to complement the extensive playlist of more than 400 Google product tutorials on my YouTube channel.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where it is pouring rain. It was a busy week here as I hosted the second session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. Today, I'm going to relax a bit by splashing in puddles and doing some arts and crafts with my daughters. I hope that you're also planning to something fun and relaxing this weekend.

Before I jump to the list of this week's most popular posts I want to remind you that in addition to the daily email newsletter from Free Technology for Teachers, I also offer a weekly Practical Ed Tech newsletter. That newsletter comes out on Sunday evening. It features my favorite tip of the week and the list of the week's most popular posts. Sign up here.

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. How to Use Kahoot With Google Classroom
2. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
3. Three Alternatives to Smore
4. Three New Flippity Templates to Try
5. 7 New Google Meet Features for Teachers
6. Three Interesting Resources for Students to Learn About Career Fields
7. How to Selectively Copy Google Slides

Two PD Opportunities in July
The Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp will be held one more time this summer. Register here for the session starting on July 20th.

Starting on Monday I'll be hosting Teaching History With Technology. This is a five part course designed to help you develop new ways to create engaging history lessons and projects. Register now and use the discount code THWT2020.

This summer I'm working with a handful of schools and organizations to develop online professional development for teachers. If you'd like to work with me, please send me a note at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn more about how we can work together.

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides FreeTech4Teachers.com and the daily email digest, there are other ways to keep up with what I'm publishing. 
  • Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - This comes out once per week (Sunday night/ Monday morning) and it includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from FreeTech4Teachers.com.
  • My YouTube Channel - more than 25,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 350 Google tools tutorials.  
  • Facebook - The FreeTech4Teachers.com Facebook page has more than 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last thirteen years at twitter.com/rmbyrne
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.