Saturday, February 12, 2022

A Neat Site for Comparisons of Economic Information Between Countries

Seven years ago I wrote about a neat site called If It Were My Home. I came across it again while looking for something else in my archives earlier this week. It still works and still does the same interesting thing that it did when I first tried it.  

If It Were My Home will show you a comparison of economics and demographic data of your country with that of another of your choosing. The purpose is to show give visitors a sense of the health and economics differences of living in different countries. The data shown on the site is drawn from the CIA World Factbook and the World Health Organization. In this short video I demonstrate how the site works. 


Applications for Education
The data that is provided on If It Were My Home could be found by visiting the sources that it lists. Using If It Were My Home just makes those comparisons a little quicker. After students use the site I'd ask them to choose what they think would be good indicators of differences between where they live and another country. I'd then have them research that information and prepare it in an infographic using one of the templates that Canva offers. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Three Common Google Forms Mistakes - And How to Avoid Them

I've been helping teachers create quizzes with Google Forms for well over a decade. And over that time there's a pattern to the Google Forms problems that teachers bring to me. My completely unscientific data on this tells me that about 90% of all problems with Google Forms quizzes come down to one of three issues. 

The most common mistakes I see teachers make when creating quizzes with Google Forms are:

  • Releasing answers right away. 
    • That's a problem if you don't want students to know the answers before the whole class has had a chance to complete the quiz. 

  • Forgetting to assign point values. 
    • This is an annoying issue because then you have to manually update scores. 

  • Forgetting to collect student information. 
    • This can be avoided by using Google Classroom. 
Watch this short video to learn how to avoid these common Google Forms mistakes. 



Bonus! Watch to the end of the video to learn how to avoid a common "bonus question" mistake in Google Forms.

A New Academic Feature in YouTube Studio

Yesterday morning I uploaded a new video to my YouTube account and noticed a new set of options that appeared when I selected the education category. Now when you upload a video to your YouTube account and select the education category you can also add additional subcategory labels to your video. Those options include academic system (by country), grade level, and content standards. If you haven't seen these new options, watch this short video that I made about them. 


Applications for Education
It's too early to tell, but I hope that these new categorization options for academic videos on YouTube will make it easier for students and teachers to locate helpful academic videos.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Ten Overlooked Google Docs Features for Students and Teachers

As Google Docs has improved and added more features over the years some of those features get forgotten or just plain overlooked. Just because those features don't jump out, doesn't mean they're not helpful to students and teachers. In this new video I highlight ten of my favorite "overlooked" Google Docs features for students and teachers. 

Tables.
  • These are great for organizing group notes.
Special Characters.
  • These provide an easy way to add accent marks, math symbols, arrows, and emojis to documents.
Checklists.
Task lists.
  • These are different from checklists and are accessible regardless of which Google Doc you're currently viewing in your account.
Changing Default Text.
  • Tired of the standard 11 point Arial font? Change the default font to anything you like.
Table of Contents.
  • This is a great way to link and jump to sections of long documents. The table of contents works even if you export the document to PDF.
Substitutions.
  • Change the default substitution settings so your name is never misspelled again. Or change the settings to disable some of the automatic features in Google Docs.
Dictionary
  • Teach kids where this is so they can find definitions and synonyms without leaving Google Docs.
Camera
  • Students can use the built-in camera option to add pictures of handwritten work to their Google Docs.
Watermarks
  • Mark a document as confidential or draft.

Are you a tech coach or media specialist looking for some new ideas to share with your colleagues? If so, 50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook you need. You can get it right here.

Blurred Backgrounds and More Microsoft Teams Updates

I'm not a daily user of Microsoft Teams so I rely on Mike Tholfsen's excellent YouTube channel to stay abreast of the latest features added to Microsoft Teams. It was through his recent video Top 5 New Features in Microsoft Teams that I learned about blurring backgrounds in Teams. I had assumed that the web version of Microsoft Teams already had that feature and I was bit surprised to find that it's just now been added to the web version of Teams. 

The other new features highlighted in the video include hiding your own video when speaking, hitting the spacebar to temporarily mute or unmute, changing the hand raise order, and using OneNote chiclets in Teams. Watch the video to learn how all of these features work and why they might be helpful to yo when teaching online.