Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A New Google Forms Feature Teachers Have Requested for Years!

This week Google finally added a feature to Google Forms that teachers and students have requested for years. You can now save your work in progress when answering questions in Google Forms!

Google Forms will now save students' work in progress when they are completing a quiz or any other Google Form that you give to them through Google Classroom. The only thing that students have to do to have their work saved in progress is make sure that they are signed into their Google accounts. That shouldn't be too hard to remember if the students have accessed the form through Google Classroom. Students' work will be saved in progress for thirty days from the time that they first open the form. 

Teachers do not need to take any action to enable the new save-in-progress feature (officially called Autosave) of Google Forms. It will be on by default starting today for some Google Workspace domains and will be on by default for all Google Workspace domains by September 15th. Teachers can disable autosave by opening the settings menu in Google Forms then choosing "presentation" followed by "restrictions."   

Autosave in Google Forms is available now in some Google Workspace domains and will be available in all Google Workspace domains by September 15th. 

Applications for Education
Saving Google Forms responses in progress has been a feature that teachers have requested for as long as I can remember (and I've been teaching with Google Forms longer than most middle school students have been alive). Students will no longer have to start over if they get disconnected from the Internet or the bell rings to end class before they've finished answering all of the questions on a Google Form.

There are some situations in which you may not want students to be able to come back to a Google Form to finish it after they've started. For example, a student intentionally taking a long time to answer quiz questions so that he/she can return to it later after looking up answers. In that case you can disable the autosave option on that particular form.

Google Forms Tutorials

How to Find Sharks and More in VR

The closure of Google Expeditions at the end of June was a real disappointment for many teachers. Google has pushed Google Arts & Culture as the alternative to Expeditions, but it's just not the same. That's left a lot of people to look for more alternatives. YouTube's VR imagery is one alternative that I've mentioned to people who have emailed me looking for suggestions. 

In YouTube you can filter your search results according to video features. One of the feature filters you can pick is VR180. Another filter you can pick is 360 degree video imagery. I used both of those filters this morning when I was searching for VR imagery of sharks swimming. In the screenshots below you can see where to find the search filters and how to pan through VR videos in YouTube. 

You can pan through the imagery while the video plays in YouTube on your desktop. Alternatively, you can select a video in the YouTube mobile app then place your phone in a VR viewer. With the video playing while in the VR viewer you can move your head to move through the imagery. 

Again, the VR experience via YouTube videos isn't as good as the old Google Expeditions experience, but it is an option to pursue if you're looking for some VR footage to share with your students. 

How to Use Google Scholar to Learn About Inventions and Inventors

Last week I published a blog post outlining five things that students should know about using Google Scholar. One of those things is the option to search for U.S. Patent Office filings. 

When you locate a patent filing through Google Scholar you can read the details of the patent application, look at drawings that accompany the application, and see a list of related patent applications. It's also possible to use Google Scholar to see all of the patent applications made by an individual person. In this new video I demonstrate how to use Google Scholar to find patent applications and find a list of all of the patent applications made by an individual. 

Applications for Education
Using Google Scholar to look at patent applications can be a good way for students to learn about inventions and the process that inventors use to protect their ideas as well as prove that their ideas are different from those of previous inventors. I'd have students pick a patent, read through it, then compare it to one of the related patent applications found in Google Scholar. Then I'd have them explain whether or not they think the products in patent applications are significantly different.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A Game and a Crash Course on Weathering and Erosion

The Crash Course for Kids YouTube channel offers overviews of various topics including weather. Weathering and Erosion is the topic of one of the more recent releases on Crash Course for Kids. In the video students will see a comparison of Cape Cod's coastline in 1984 and 2014. That image combined with the commentary does a great job of showing students the effects of erosion.

Applications for Education
After watching Weathering and Erosion: Crash Course Kids ask your students to find and take pictures of examples of erosion and erosion prevention measures in their neighborhoods.

You could also continue the lesson by having your students play Walter's Travels - Weathering and Erosion on National Geographic's website. Here's a short video overview of the game. 

Five Things Students Should Know About Google Books

Last week I wrote an explanation of why Google Books can be a helpful research tool for history students. In short, it helps students locate and search inside books without having to track down a physical copy of each book that they are interested in reading. If students do want a physical copy of a book, Google Books can help them find a local library that has a copy of the book they desire. Those features of Google Books and more are demonstrated in my new video Five Things Students Should Know About Google Books

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