Tuesday, August 11, 2020

New Google Classroom and Google Meet Updates to Note

This afternoon Google announced the launch of some helpful new Google Classroom features. Some of these were teased back in June. A couple of the new features will require some work by your domain administrator while others are available right now to all teachers. Here's an overview of the new Google Classroom features that I think most teachers will appreciate.

An Easier Way to Get Students Into a Classroom
There is a new method for getting students into a Google Classroom classroom that you create. Now you can just give them a unique link to click to join. For teachers this should be a lot easier than other methods of the having to invite students by email or having them enter a class code.

A New Way to Keep Track of What You Need to Do
An updated "to-do" widget for students and teachers is being added to Google Classroom. This widget will show a summary of work you need to do, like review assignments, across all classes that you teach. For your students this widget will show them a summary of work they need to do across the classes that they are in.

A New Grades Export Option
If your school uses Infinite Campus, there is a new option to export grades from Google Classroom to Infinite Campus. This does require that your domain administrator sets up the connection.

Limit "Knocking" in Google Meet
As the host or moderator of a Google Meet when you reject a "knock" (a request to join) twice from the same person, he or she won't be able to knock again during that meeting. Likewise, when you kick someone out of a meeting that person can't knock.

I'll be talking about these new features and more in tomorrow's Practical Ed Tech webinar, Get Organized With Google Classroom, Meet, and Calendar.

Novels on Location and an Ocean of Books

On Monday I featured three ways to explore the news through maps. I like the idea of using maps to give students some geographic context for the stories that they read. That idea isn't limited to news stories. That's why I've long enjoyed the site Novels on Location.

Novels on Location helps readers find novels according to the story's geographical setting. When you visit Novels on Location you can find novels by clicking on the placemarks that you see or by using the location search bar in the upper, right corner of the site. If you want to contribute to Novels on Location you can do so very quickly by simply entering a location then entering the title and author of your favorite book set in that location.

An Ocean of Books is a Google Arts & Culture experimental site. An Ocean of Books is a concept map of authors and their books. The purpose of An Ocean of Books is to represent authors' footprints on the web and their relationships, via the web, to other authors. The size of an author's presence on the web is displayed as an island on An Ocean of Books. The authors' presences on the web isn't a reflection of social media rather it's a reflection of frequency of search and content published about them and their works.

Applications for Education
Novels on Location and An Ocean of Books could both help students discover new books to read. Novels on Location can help them find books based on location while An Ocean of Books can help students find books based on connections between an author they like and those that might be similar.

How to Make a Whiteboard Video in Flipgrid

Last week Flipgrid introduced a bunch of updates and changes. If you haven't logged into your Flipgrid account since the end of the last school year, you might find some things have changed since you last used Flipgrid. The updates and changes made last week didn't eliminate any features. The updates and changes did move the location of and names of some features in Flipgrid. Case in point, the option to make a whiteboard video with the "Shorts" feature moved.

The option to make a whiteboard video with the Shorts function in Flipgrid is now found in the "effects" menu that is present next to the record button after you launch the Shorts recorder. I made the following short video to demonstrate how to make a whiteboard video in Flipgrid.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Three Ways to Explore the News Through Maps

One of the things that I liked about the old version of CNN Student News is that it almost always included a map to show students where a story is taking place in the world. I tried to do the same whenever I taught current events by showing students a map of where a story takes place. It can also be good to let students pick a place on a map and then read stories about that place. The following three websites can provide students with a geographic connection to current and historical news stories.

Newspaper Map is a neat tool for locating and reading newspapers from locations all around the world. Newspaper Map claims to have geolocated 10,000 newspapers. To find a newspaper you can browse the map then click on a placemark to open the link within to read a newspaper. You can also locate newspapers by using the search boxes to locate a newspaper by title or location. Along with links to the newspapers, Newspapers Map provides links to translate the newspapers you find on the map.

Unfiltered News is a new site that uses an interactive cartogram to help you find trending news stories from around the world. To find stories through Unfiltered News simply open the website and click on a topic listed within one of the circles on the map. Once you've made a selection a list of stories will appear on the right side of your screen. Click on a story to read it in full. From the menu on the right side of the screen you can choose a different location and a new list of stories will appear.

The U.S. News Map is a great resource produced by Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. The U.S. New Map is an archive of American newspapers printed between 1836 and 1925. You can search the archive by entering a keyword or phrase. The results of your search will be displayed on an interactive map. Click on any of the markers on the map and you'll be shown a list of newspaper articles related to your search term. Click on a listed article to read it on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website.

Get Organized With Google Classroom, Meet, and Calendar

Like a lot of you, I’ll be using Google Classroom, Google Meet and Google Calendar more than ever before this fall. I’ve been using these tools for years, but I know that many of you will be using them extensively for the first time. This Wednesday at 4pm ET I’m hosting a webinar for you!

On Wednesday at 4pm ET I’m hosting Get Organized With Google Classroom, Meet, and Calendar. This webinar is intended for those who are new to using Google Classroom, Google Calendar, and Google Meet. It’s also a good refresher for those who haven’t used Classroom, Calendar, or Meet in a while and want to see what’s new and helpful.

Highlights of the webinar:

  • How to schedule and host Google Meet events.
  • Tips for keeping students engaged in Google Meet.
  • How to streamline your workflow through Google Classroom.
  • How to organize and share resources with students.
  • How to manage multiple course calendars without losing your mind.
  • How to save time when giving feedback on students’ documents and presentations.

What’s included in your registration:
  • Access to the live webinar and Q&A.
  • Recording of the webinar.
  • PD certificate.

Register Here!

The primary way that I'm able to keep FreeTech4Teachers.com running is through the support of those of you who hire me for professional development services and enroll in my PracticalEdTech.com webinars. That is why I advertise these paid webinars on this blog. 

Register Here!