Friday, August 19, 2022

Three Google Workspace Updates to Note This Week

Just about every week Google makes updates to Google Workspace. Some only affect administrators of Google Workspace domains while others affect all end-users of Google Workspace products. This week there were three Google Workspace updates that teachers and students should note. 

More Accessibility Controls
People who use screen readers, magnifiers, and braille now have more control over the accessibility settings for Google Workspace products. Now you can set different accessibility options for Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings. What this means is that the settings you apply to Docs won't automatically apply to Slides, Sheets, and Drawings. Read more about this update right here.

To learn more about accessibility settings in Google Workspace products, read this blog post and watch the videos within it. And to learn about accessibility settings in Chrome, read this post and watch the videos within it.

Social Links in Google Sites
This update simply makes something you've always been able to do just a little bit easier. In the insert menu in Google Sites there is now an option labeled "social links." You can use this option to insert links to your social media accounts and have those links display little social media icons. This is something that was always possible to do with icons and links, it's now just a little easier. Take a look at Google's announcement about this feature to see an animated GIF of the process of adding social links to your Google Site.

Assign Tasks in Google Docs
Earlier this year Google added project management templates and to-do lists as options in Google Docs. Now when you create a task in one of those templates or lists, it's assigned to you and or your collaborators as Tasks that appear in the sidebar of Google Docs (and any other Google Workspace tools you use). Read this blog post to learn more and see an animated GIF of this new feature.

Free Webinar - Get to Know Your Students Through Tract

Last year, Tract emerged as one of my favorite new edtech companies. Backed and co-founded by education pioneer Esther Wojcicki, the start-up enables busy teachers to transform what they teach in the classroom into interactive and fun educational projects created and led by kids. With Tract, students sharpen their critical thinking skills and solve real-world problems as they learn, teach, create, and share their own multimedia content.

Join me on Wednesday, August 24th at 3pm ET for a free webinar in which we’ll dive into Tract’s new collection of turnkey project guides so you can kick off the school year with an enriching, educational experience that supports project-based learning, Genius Hour, social and emotional learning, GATE, and more.

In the webinar, I’ll be joined by Tract CEO, Ari Memar, who will tackle any and all questions that you may have about Tract’s mission, the platform, and the steps they take to protect students’ privacy.

Register here to join me for the live webinar on August 24th at 3pm ET.

It will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live session. The recording will be emailed to everyone who registers for this free webinar.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Ten Popular Back-to-School Tutorials for Teachers

YouTube's channel analytics provides a lot of useful insights for people like me who publish a lot of videos and write a lot of blog posts. Not only does my YouTube channel's analytics page tell me how many people watch and like my videos, it also tells me things like when those videos were watched and what people searched for that brought them to my videos. That's how I know that for the last month, a lot of people have searched for and watched things like how to make a QR code for a Google Form, how to create a quiz in Google Forms, and how to create videos with Adobe Express. 

Here are the most-searched terms leading to my tutorial videos and my most-watched tutorial videos of the last month (basically, the back-to-school season). 

How to Create a QR Code for Google Forms

The Basics of Creating a Quiz in Google Forms

How to Use Google as a Countdown Timer

How to Use Google Takeout in 2022

How to Create Videos With Adobe Express

How to Import PowerPoint Slides Into Canva

How to create shared Google Drive folders

How to Change the Color of Google Calendar Events

An Easy Way to Create a Bibliography in Microsoft Word

How to See What's Behind a TinyURL Without Clicking On It

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

How to Design and Print Classroom Posters Using a Standard Printer

Yesterday I published a blog post and video about the free email etiquette posters that I created and how you can have them professionally printed by Canva. Unfortunately, Canva's free printing offer is only available to teachers in the United States who have Canva for Education accounts. Furthermore, it's only valid for one day (August 26th). Fortunately, I have a solution to those problems. 

If you have designed a poster in Canva or with a similar graphic design tool, save your design as a PDF. Then use Block Posters to print your poster for free on your own printer. Block Posters is a web-based tool to which you can upload a high quality graphic then divide it into letter-sized chunks for printing. Print out each section and put them together on a poster board to make your own poster.

In the short video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to design a poster in Canva and then print it with Block Posters.

Applications for Education
When you have designed a great infographic or poster online that you want to display in your classroom, Block Posters is a great tool for you to use to print it. Want to create a giant jigsaw puzzle? Block Posters could be useful for that. Or if you have students create their own infographics that they want to display, you can print them out with Block Posters.

An Old Story About Digital Badges and Why Kids Like Them

In the last two weeks since I published a video about creating a badge tracker in Google Sheets, I've told the following story from May of 2015 three times to people who have asked for my opinion about digital badges and whether or not they're worthwhile.