Thursday, September 24, 2015

More Google Classroom Updates - Calendars

Google Classroom added calendars.  You can now see a calendar with all of your assignments and you don't actually have to go into Classroom.  You can activate that feature by going to the "About" section of your Classroom after you make a new assignment.  Then, you'll be able to open your calendar in Classroom or open in Google Calendar.  Here is the "About" section.

Once you've put it in your Google Calendar, you'll be able to see it in your "my calendars" list and perform features with calendars, like changing colors, adding events (but not assignments), and even sharing.  You could now post this calendar on your public webpage for parents to see.  Google Classroom is making awesome improvements.  Check them out.

Another feature about the calendar is that the item in your calendar provides a link back to the actual assignment in Google Classroom, so you don't have to search to find that assignment.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Audiobooks are a Great Option

We are one month into summer vacation and I've already completed more books than I would have during a whole year.  Why have I avoided audiobooks?  They are awesome.  I have been listening to books when I walk - trying to get 1 hour per day - and it has been great.  My wife loves Audible and has purchased a few books.  I was able to share her account and read some of the books she has read. I also have been using Overdrive, and listening to audiobooks from the library, for free!

Audible has an iOS App and works great on my iPhone.  It also hooks up great using bluetooth in my car, so I can listen when driving around.

Overdrive also has an iOS App and works on the iPhone and in the car.  It does require a library card so that you can reserve and check out audiobooks from your library.  It also returns the books after the time allowed.  Bonus - no trip to the library to return!

Because of the ease of use and access of these Apps, I've read some outstanding books.  I would recommend them all to you.  Most of them are reviewed by Franki on her blog, A Year of Reading.

The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage, by Brene Brown

David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller

Every Day I Fight, by Stuart Scott

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand

All of these books have been entertaining and enlightening.  I would never have been able to read this many outstanding books during this time.  I wish that I would have had this type of resource available to me during my time in school.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Link to Different Slides in a Google Slides Presentation

There are times when you would like to be able to jump around a presentation.  You can build links into your slides that jump to other slides in the same presentation.  The following video will show how to create those links.  It will also show that you can link from objects, like shapes and pictures.  It is quite a nice feature.

Students might like to use this feature when building a "choose your own adventure" type presentation.  Give it a look, then give it a try.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grading Google Assessments with Flubaroo

Flubaroo is a Google Sheets Add-on that can grade Google Form submissions.  It has the ability to easily grade multiple-choice questions, but can also grade free response, as well.  Flubaroo also has some other features that are awesome for teachers.  It can auto-grade, and send results to the student as soon as the student hits submit.  Here is a link to the Flubaroo website, if you'd like to see their description and materials.

Flubaroo also has some interesting grading features that you may want to be aware of.  They are described here and demonstrated in the video.

1.  In order for Flubaroo to grade answers and be case-sensitive you need to fill out the key with a %cs in front of the response.  If you need a capital C in Columbus, answer the key with %cs Columbus.  If there is no %cs, Flubaroo doesn't care about capitalization.

2.  If you would like to allow multiple correct responses, you'll need to fill out the key with a %or in between possible solutions, like red %or white %or blue, when asking for a color in the USA flag.

3.  If you would like an answer to fall within a certain range, like between 3 and 4, you'll need to use a %to between the numbers.  If the key shows 3 %to 4, it will allow a correct response for anything from 3 to 4.

These are some nice possibilities that Flubaroo allows for grading.  Below is a tutorial of how to use Flubaroo.  Give it a look!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Two New Features in Google Classroom

How about Google?  They definitely listen to suggestions.  They have made two really nice improvements.  First, they have added the ability to have multiple teachers in a Google Classroom.  See my previous post about getting started with Google Classroom, if you want to get going.  Now you can invite another teacher to help out.  This is great.  That teacher can do everything in the class, except delete the class.  The teacher is invited through the "About" section of the course.

The other new feature is the ability to create announcements and assignments and save them for later.  You can create the assignment without the students seeing it.  Then, when you want them to have the assignment, you make it active.  This is an awesome feature for teachers who like to work ahead, without the students knowing what is coming.

I really give it up to Google for listening to the suggestions teachers have made.  Give Google Classroom a try, it will really help your sharing of documents with your students.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Suggesting Edits in Google Docs

There has been a recent change to the edits you can make to a Google document.  Now, as long as you  have Commenting or Editing permissions, you can "Suggest Edits" to a document.  You start a suggestions by placing your cursor where you want the edit to go.  You select "Suggesting" from the menu on the top right of the document.  You'll see a pencil icon up there.  Then type the suggestion.  It will show up in the document, but not be official until the owner "OKs" the suggestion.

Here are your choices of edits.  Notice, the Editing choice is "grayed" out because the example I chose came from a document that I only had "Commenting" permission.

When you type in your suggestion, it will show up and a "post-it" will show up on the right to show what the suggestion was and where it should go.  The owner then needs to approve or disapprove of the change.  The owner gets an email to notify them of the suggestion.

This is a pretty nice feature.  It makes the suggestions a little nicer than just highlighting and making the suggestion in the "Comment" box.  Next time you are collaborating with someone, give the "Suggesting" option a try.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Getting Started with Google Classroom

This year, Google introduced Classroom as a tool for teachers in Google Apps for Education domains.  Classroom has proven to be a very helpful tool to help teachers and students work together and keep their documents organized.  Classroom is built to perform some tasks very well.  It is great at providing teachers a platform to make announcements (and other communications) to their students, distribute and collect assignments from students (with all of the great features of Google Drive), and provide an online collection of digital resources for their students to access at any time.

Google Classroom is a very nice tool for teachers to utilize.  Below is a video of how a teacher would create their Google Classroom, as well as what that classroom looks like as a student.  It will walk you through what you need to know to get started with your students.  Give it a look.

Now that you've seen it in action, you probably want to give it a try.  Go ahead!

Here are some suggestions as to how you might use Google Classroom with your students.

Share Materials - Use the “Announcement” to distribute files, Google Drive files, YouTube videos, and Links to your students. It can also share to any other classes you teach, as well.

Class Discussions - Use the “Announcement” to pose questions for class discussions. Your students will be able to reply to you and each other.

Distribute and Collect files - Use “Assignment” to distribute and collect files to your students in an organized manner. Your folder in Drive will thank you for it. It will also allow for the ownership of the file to pass back and forth with the student.

Shared editing of a file - Give the students access to edit a document with their classmates. The will be able to co-edit and create some great work. They could create a Presentation by sharing a Google Slides presentation, then each student could add a slide.

Go Paperless - Pass out and collect everything right in your classroom.

Google Classroom is a pretty awesome new tool. Google is working to make improvements, as well. I am curious to see where it ends up, but I think teachers will love it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Draftback for Google Docs using Chrome

Have you ever wanted to analyze the development of your writing?  This Chrome extension - Draftback - will allow you to do it with relative ease.  Draftback allows you to play back your revision history of any Google Doc you can edit.

Download it from here - Click the link

Read more about it here - Click the link

Here is what it looks like when you open it on one of your docs.

Here is what it looks like when it is playing back.

This might be awesome for teachers wanting to analyze the process their students are going through when writing.  Give it a look!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Starting a Google Hangout

I frequently get asked about how to create a Google Hangout.  Google Hangouts are a great way to video chat with other Google users.  They are free and easy to setup and use.  There are 3 ways to easily start a Google Hangout.

1.  Go into your Google Plus account   "+ You" on any Google Page  
     Find the "Home" menu on the top-left side of the page
     Choose Hangouts
     Select Video Hangout

2.  Go to your GMail page
     Find a contact on the bottom-left corner
     Hover over that contact
     Click the camera button to start Hangout

3.  Go to your Calendar page
     Create a new event
     Include video call
     Invite other users
     The event will contain a link to join video Call.

Here is a video demonstrating all of these methods.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shared with Me is Back

Google has listened to many users that wanted their "Shared with Me" button back in the new Google Drive.  Google changed "Incoming" back to "Shared with Me."  It also added some features that will be demonstrated in the video below.

The changes include-
1.  Being able to click on the object - Incoming would only allow "hovering," when you wanted to work with an item in your "Incoming" folder.

2.  Being able to drag an item directly into a folder that is on your Google "My Drive."

3.  Being able to select multiple items at one time.  You can do this on a mac by holding down the command key.  This used to be an option in the old drive, because you could select with check boxes.  I say, "Welcome Back!" to this feature.

Check out these changes in Google Drive.