Monday, August 24, 2020

How to Use Nicknames in Google Meet - And Why You Should Try It

One of the best features of Google Meet is one that is front and center at but is often overlooked or misunderstood. That feature is the option to give your meeting a nickname.

Using a meeting nickname in G Suite for Education is an excellent alternative to displaying and using the Google Meet link that is assigned to your Google Classroom. You can choose a nickname in advance and tell your students what that nickname is, but they can't join your meeting until you start the meeting. You can re-use your nickname for multiple meetings.

In the following video I demonstrate and explain how to use nicknames in Google Meet and why you might want to try using them yourself.

On a related note, here's how to use grid view in Google Meet.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Three Ways for Students to Join Google Classroom

A few weeks ago Google announced the addition of some new features to Google Classroom. One of the features teased in that announcement was an option to distribute a "join link" that can be used in place of sending an email invitation or having students use a "join code" to join your Google Classroom. The option to use "join links" is now widely available in G Suite for Education.

The new "join link" feature and two other options for students to join your Google Classroom are demonstrated in my new video that is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Depending upon the age and skill of your students, the "join link" might be the quickest way to get students into your Google Classroom. You can distribute the link through a variety of means including texting it via Remind for students and or parents to use at home.

ICYMI - Get Your Free Copy of the 2020-21 Practical Ed Tech Handbook

Last week I published the sixth edition of my free Practical Ed Tech Handbook. This year's edition includes new sections on accessibility and remote instruction as well as updates to eleven other sections. I'm particularly happy with the updates that I made to the section on teaching search strategies.

In total there are thirteen big topics covered in this year's Practical Ed Tech Handbook. Throughout the handbook you will find descriptions of a variety of free tech tools and videos on how to use them. If you haven't gotten your copy of the 2020-21 Practical Ed Tech Handbook, you can get it for free right here!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Webinar Recording - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions

Every week Rushton Hurley and I sit down to answer questions and share cool stuff that we've found on the web. We do this in a free webinar that is simply titled Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. The most recent episode was recording on Thursday afternoon. If you missed it, you can watch the recording right here on the Next Vista for Learning website or as embedded below.

Join Us for the Next One!
We'd love to have you join us for the next live webinar which will be this coming Thursday at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT. Register here to join us for our free webinar Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff. We're going to have a special guest joining us in the next episode. Read about that on the registration page.

The Week in Review - Where Did the Time Go?

Good morning from Maine where the air feels cool and crisp this morning. We had a couple of similar mornings earlier this week. And I spotted my first red leaves this week! School starts on Monday. Where did the time go?

I'm also asking myself, "where did the time go?" this weekend because my oldest daughter turns four on Sunday. It still feels like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital. Now she's in pre-K and "rockin' in her school shoes," as Pete the Cat would say. While we can't have a big party for her, we are going to have cake and ice cream and do a bunch of her favorite fun things. I hope that all of you have a fun weekend too.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Use Grid View in Google Meet - No Chrome Extensions Required!
2. How to Create Split Screen Videos in Flipgrid
3. Five Current Google Meet Features to Note
4. Five Tips for Live Online Instruction
5. How to Direct Students to Videos Based on Answer Choices in Google Forms
6. Five Zoom Features You Need to Know
7. Factitious 2020 - Can You Spot Fake News Stories?

Online Back to School PD Opportunities
Two weeks ago I hosted Get Organized With Google Classroom, Meet, and Calendar. You can access the recording an associated materials here. This week I hosted A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video. Next week I'll be hosting a webinar on search strategies. Details for that webinar will appear on Monday on

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides 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
  • My YouTube Channel - more than 28,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 400 Google tools tutorials.  
  • Facebook - The Facebook page has more than 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last thirteen years at
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.