Friday, October 9, 2020

The Easiest Way to Use Jamboard in Google Meet

A few weeks ago Google announced that Jamboard would be integrated into Google Meet. Earlier this week that finally happened in all of my Google accounts. This makes it easier than ever to use Jamboard in Google Meet. The old method that I used was fine, but the new integration is so much easier. In the following video I demonstrate how to launch and use Jamboard in Google Meet. 




Applications for Education
There are a lot of ways to use this new integration of Jamboard and Google Meet. Here are a few of my initial thoughts about it. First, even if only you use Jamboard during the Meet you can still share the Jamboard afterward with your students. Doing that would give them access to view and review any sketches or diagrams that you shared during the Meet. Second, this new integration could be great for students to participate in collaborative mind-mapping or diagramming sessions. Third, you could use the Jamboard to have students share pictures and then conduct a virtual gallery walk in Meet.

Two New Helpful Features in Google Meet

Since the summer Google has been teasing us with announcements of new features "coming soon" to Google Meet. Some of those features are finally starting to arrive. Two of them that I recently got access to are background blurring and meeting controls. With background blurring enabled everything behind me is blurred. With the meeting controls I can specify whether or not students can screen share and whether or not they can use the chat function during a meeting. In the following video I demonstrate how to access and use both of these features. 

Applications for Education
Background blurring could be great for eliminating distractions for your students. Students can also use it to protect their own privacy to not show things in the background when joining classes from home. Background blurring can be turned on or off multiple times during a meeting. I might start a meeting with my background blurred then unblur it to reveal something that I have written on the whiteboard behind me. 
 
The option to disable chat could be helpful if you find that your students are abusing the chat or otherwise not using it as intended.

ICYMI - Episode 22 of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff

Every Thursday afternoon at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT Rushton Hurley and I get together to host a free webinar called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. We have fun answering questions (sometimes in more depth and in different ways than expected) and share neat things we've found on the web in the last week. 

Yesterday, we hosted and recorded our 22nd episode. Kathi Kersznowski joined the webinar and had this to say about it afterward: 



If you missed the webinar, you can view it and all of the associated resources right here on Next Vista for Learning. Or you can watch the recording as embedded below.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

How to Share Sections of Google Docs in Google Classroom - And Why You Might Do That

Yesterday a reader sent me an interesting question about Google Docs and Google Classroom. She wanted to know if there was a way to share just one of a few pages of a Google Doc with her students via Google Classroom. One solution would be to copy the content of that one page and paste it into a new document that is then shared in Google Classroom.

Another option for sharing just one page of multiple page Google Doc would be to export as a PDF only one page of the Google Doc then share that one page PDF in Google Classroom. Students will then have to use the “open with Google Docs” option to convert the PDF back into a Google Doc that they can comment on or edit. The process sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. In the following video I demonstrate that process from a teacher’s perspective and show it from a student’s perspective.


Applications for Education
Why would you do this? I've done it with lab procedure documents from Cisco NetAcad that I have as PDFs when I want students to do the first part of a lab but not the second part on a given day. By sharing only the first page I can be sure that they won't go ahead to the second part of the lab without me supervising it (particularly important when working with electricity). 

How to Create Citations and Bibliographies in Google Docs - No Add-ons Required

For years I used the Easy Bib add-on to add citations and create bibliographies in Google Docs. A couple of weeks ago Google added an updated citation tool to Google Docs that makes the Easy Bib add-on redundant. With the latest update to Google Docs you can now create MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations directly in Google Docs without the need for a third-party add-on. You'll find the new citation feature in the tools drop-down menu in Google Docs. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to create citations and bibliographies in Google Docs. One of the aspects of the new tool that I like is that it walks students through where to put each piece of required information. 



Whenever I've shared bibliography tools like this in the past I have received emails from folks who think that students should learn how to make bibliographies without the help of an add-on. To that I say, I learned how to make a bibliography by following the template in an early 90’s version of The Student Writer. Using a template provided by Google Docs isn’t much different than that. And at the end of the day, I'm more concerned with getting my high school students to recognize the importance of citing their sources than I am having them learn the exact (often changing) rules of MLA or APA.