Saturday, June 26, 2021

How to Create Interactive Checklists in Google Docs

This week Google announced more than a dozen updates to Google Workspace products. Included in those updates is a new text box feature in Google Documents. The new text box option can be used to create interactive checklists. Those checklists, just like any other Google Document, can be shared with colleagues and students who can then cross off items as they're completed. 

In this short video I demonstrate how you can create interactive checklists in Google Documents. One of the neat things that you'll see in the video is that you can adjust the size and style of the checkboxes by using the font menus in Google Docs.  



Applications for Education
My first thought when seeing the new checklist option in Google Docs was that it could be great for students to use when planning group projects. The group can have their to-do list and all of the details of their plans on the same document instead of having to use a separate task management tool or having to write/re-write comments when a task is completed.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. Feature image created by Richard Byrne using Canva. 

Bikes, Slides, and Summer Reading - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sun is rising on this summer morning. I'm inside instead of sitting on my porch because I'm eagerly anticipating watching the first stage of the Tour de France. After that we'll head outside to ride our own bikes. And tomorrow we're heading to Storyland! I hope that you also have some fun things scheduling for your weekend. 

This week I hosted the first session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. Two dozen people joined me throughout the week for ten live webinars. A big thank you to those who attended and participated. For those who missed it, registration is still open for the July and August sessions of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp.

On-demand Professional Development
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 36,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Friday, June 25, 2021

15 Updates Coming to Google Workspace for Education

This week Google announced a bunch of updates that will be coming soon to Google Workspace for Education products. If you missed them, as I did earlier this week, here's a short summary of the key updates to note.

File / Video Security Updates
  • Some shared files in your Google Drive will require using a URL that contains a resource key. This change will impact users who haven't previously viewed a file that you're sharing. As an end-user, this shouldn't change anything for you other than the link that you initially share if you use the "anyone with the link" option to share a file. This change will be implement beginning in late July with full implementation in September. Google Workspace administrators may want to read more about this update on this Google Workspaces Admin Help page.
  • Videos in your YouTube account that were uploaded prior to January 1, 2017 and were marked as "unlisted" will be changed to "private" on July 23rd. You can revert them back to "unlisted" after the 23rd. Read more about this change here. This update doesn't affect videos uploaded after January 1, 2017.


Google Classroom Updates Coming Later This Summer/ Fall
  • Schedule assignments to multiple classes at once. 

  • Offline mode for the Google Classroom Android app. 

  • Student activity view. This will let you see when a student was last active in your Google Classroom. Activity can include accessing assignments and commenting on posts.
All three features listed above will be available in all versions of Google Workspace for Education. The following Google Classroom features will only be available to those using one of the various paid Google Workspace for Education plans. 
  • Roster import via Clever. This will let IT administrators create classes based on classroom rosters as written in Clever. (While great in theory, I wonder if this will impact how much control teachers get over their own Google Classroom rosters. I'd hate to see this turn into a situation where a teacher has to submit an IT help ticket whenever a student needs to be added or removed from a Google Classroom. That could be a nightmare during add/drop periods). 

  • Classroom add-ons. This will let IT administrators add third-party services into Google Classroom. Some of Google's preferred vendors for this include Adobe, Kahoot, and Nearpod. Students will use those tools inside of Google Classroom.  
Google Forms
  • Twenty new font choices are being added to Google Forms. 

  • The settings menu is going to be revamped to "simplify" the application of settings. (I'm not sure what there is to simplify in Google Forms settings, it's pretty simple now). 
Google Docs
  • Create interactive checklists in Google Docs. There's a new checkbox option that you can add in place of bullet points in Google Docs. This is available now. See my screenshot below for an example. 

Google Meet
Hopefully, we can all use Google Meet and Zoom a lot less next year. That said, Google is making some updates to Google Meet for those who are hosting virtual class meetings. 
  • When launching a meeting from Google Classroom teachers and co-teachers will automatically be assigned the roles of host. 

  • Students who are on the Google Classroom roster will automatically be admitted but will be placed in a waiting room until the teacher is ready to admit them. 

  • Anyone not on the Google Classroom roster will have to ask to join and can only be admitted by the teacher or co-teacher. 

  • Hosts can turn off all webcams at once with a "video lock" setting. 

  • New viewing options will let you control how much of a presentation you see compared to how much space is allotted for viewing your students' cameras or profile icons. 

How Seashells Are Made - A Lesson for Beachcombers

If your summer plans, like ours, include going to the ocean, you may be interested in this video from Reactions about how seashells are made. In How Seashells Are Made viewers learn that seashells are made of 95% calcium carbonate and 5% protein and sugar. The video doesn't stop with just listing the components of seashells. By watching the video viewers can learn how calcite and aragonite are layered in seashells to create a hard shell.



Applications for Education
I've never been a "lay on the beach" kind of person. I'm the person you'll find wandering and looking at neat things that get washed up on shore. My daughters are the same way. If you have students that like to wander and collect seashells, use that curiosity as a segue into a science lesson about how seashells are made. This video is a great candidate for inclusion in an EDpuzzle lesson in which you add questions and your own clarifying remarks for students. Watch my EDpuzzle tutorial to learn how to add questions to an existing video.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

How to Track Updates to Students' Google Sites

Google Sites can be a great platform for students to use to maintain digital portfolios. In fact, I did that last year with my computer science principles students. The challenge for a teacher when students use Google Sites for portfolios is keeping track of updates to those portfolios. 

The method that I came up with to keep track of updates that students made to their Google Sites was to create a weekly update assignment in Google Classroom. Then every week students added a new page to their sites. They then had to respond to the assignment with a link to the new pages they made in their Google Sites. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to keep track of updates to students' Google Sites by using Google Classroom assignments. The video shows a teacher's perspective and it shows a student's perspective of this method. 


This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere it has been used without permission.