Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Join Me Next Week for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp!

Next week I'm hosting the third session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. The first two sessions were full of enthusiastic teachers who asked great questions and shared great ideas over the course of ten interactive webinars. Some of the topics that sparked the most questions were online assessment, digital portfolios, video creation, and developing virtual tours. But those are just some of the topics that are covered during the week. The full list is available right here on the registration page.

There is still time to register for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp that runs next Monday through Friday. A handful of seats are still available. You can claim yours right here.

Here are some comments from people in the first two sessions of this year's Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp:
  • This is an awesome bootcamp with more stuff to learn than I could have ever imagined. The one I'm most interested in the portfolio. I can't wait to play around with it. Thank you for offering this camp.
  • Thank you for a great workshop! I learned a lot and I will apply some of them to my Spanish classes next year. 
  • The camp with you has been a delight and I've learned so much from you. I laugh every time you make a funny face for selfies or make drawings and laugh at yourself. I just wanted to let you know that I'm having a great time and learning so much.

Want to know more? 
Check out the FAQs or watch the video below.



p.s. sometimes people ask why I advertise this event here if it's not free. The answer is that registration fees from this event and other PD webinars go toward keeping Free Technology for Teachers going. 

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.