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10 Google Calendar Tips & Tricks You’re Probably Not Using

  1. Quick Add Events Through Your Browser: There are a couple different ways you can do this. The first is directly through your Google browser, where you can actually type in an appointment or event you have for a certain day and time. Simply type in either “make an appointment” or “create event”, then specify when it is and when you would like to have it (i.e. “Make an appointment for the vet next Tuesday at 1 pm). The Google browser will then prompt you with a confirmation option after you place your request into the search bar. This will add the appointment or event to your calendar once selected.
  2. Quick Add Events in Calendar: The second way to do this is through your calendar app in Google Drive. Here you can quick-add an event by selecting the down arrow next to the “create” button in the top left, and type in a similarly worded request (i.e. “Dentist appointment at 11 am tomorrow”). If it is formatted properly it will be promptly added to your schedule in Google Calendar.


  3. Use signup appointment slots (only available on Google accounts): This option will allow you set up a block of time within your calendar where people can reserve time slots and set up appointments with you. To do this, start by dragging open a span of time within your day schedule in Calendar. When entering the information for your selected block of time, you will be able to select either ‘Event’ or ‘Appointment Slots’. Ensure ‘Appointment Slots’ is selected. From here you can either set up the block of time as a single appointment or allow people to reserve a set segment of time within the block. These options are available upon selecting and editing the time slot. After setting this up you can invite people from your contacts to attend your event by going into ‘Edit’ and adding in your desired guests/clients. They will then be notified and be able to reserve a segment of time.


  4. Get your agenda emailed every day: If you’d like to receive an email every morning presenting you with your agenda for the day, this feature is easy to enable. Locate the ‘settings’ button within your calendar (top right) and click through the pages as follows: settings > calendars (at top of page) > edit notifications (under notifications) – on this page, scroll to the very bottom and check the unchecked box titled ‘agenda’ under the ‘email’ column. This will enable the daily agenda feature, which will allow Google Calendar to send a daily schedule to your Gmail every morning at 5 am.

  5. Use a Task List: With this feature, you are able to utilize a simple task list that can be displayed alongside your calendar. To enable, select ‘My Calendars’ on the far left of the screen and go down to ‘Tasks’ (this may be titled as ‘Reminders’ but can easily be changed by clicking on the small arrow next to ‘Reminders’ and selecting ‘switch to tasks’ on the following menu). Upon selecting the ‘Tasks’ option, a task column will appear on the far right of your calendar where you can create and edit current tasks. You can specify when they are to be completed by, and check them off once they are finished. Your tasks will also be linked to the day on which you set your deadline.
  6. Enable More features in Labs: To access additional features in your Google Calendar, select your settings button in the top right corner of the screen, then go down to ‘Labs’. Here you’ll find a list of utilities and options that aren’t available within the default layout of Google Calendar. Here you can allow yourself to set a picture as a background image, change the entire look and layout of Calendar, and enable other alterations.
    Once you select something from ‘Labs’, you may need to also enable in under the ‘Settings’ tab. It should be listed next to a checkbox on the Settings page, where you can simply select the checkbox, then save your changes to enable the new feature.
  7. Share Your Calendar With Others (With or Without a Google account): To share a calendar with one or more people who also have Google accounts, go to ‘My Calendars’ and select the down arrow on the calendar you want to share.  On the list of tabs that come up, a ‘Share Calendar’ option will be available. After clicking this option, you will be taken to a page where you can simply type in the Email of the person you wish to share with and alter their permission settings on the same page.

    If you need to share your calendar with someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Go to the top of the resulting ‘Share Calendar’ page, and select ‘Calendar Details’. On this next page, go down to where it says ‘Calendar Address’ where you’ll be able to click on one of two buttons for either ‘iCal’ or ‘HTML’ format. You’ll then be given a link that you copy and send to someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Upon using the link, the recipient will be able to view, but not edit your Google Calendar.
  8. Add a Friend’s Calendar or Other Interesting Calendars: In order to add a friend’s or acquaintance’s calendar, go to ‘Other Calendars’ at the far left of the calendar page. Click the down arrow on this feature and you will be presented with various tabs, one of which says ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’. You can then enter your friend’s Email, and a request will be sent to them. Once this is approved, their calendar will be visible within your own.

    To add other interesting calendars to your own, such as specific holidays, phases of the moon, sports schedules, etc., select ‘Browse Other Interesting Calendars’ instead of ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’ on the list of tabs provided from ‘Other Calendars’. This will bring you to an extensive list of other specific calendars which you can incorporate into your own.
  9. Create All-Day Events: If you’d prefer to have an all-day event instead of selecting a given block of time on a certain day, you can do it by clicking on the space directly below the listed day of the week. After doing so you can title the event and treat it like any other created event in Calendar without it being time-specific.

    If you’d like to have a multiple-day event which isn’t time-specific, simply drag a row across those same top boxes of all the days which you want to have your event.
  10. Compare Calendars to Add Events: This feature goes along with the one that allows you to add a friend’s calendar to your own calendar. If you’re hoping to coordinate an event with someone you know, and want to make sure that they’ll be available during that time, you can access their calendar while adding an event to your schedule. Additionally, this will add the same event to their schedule so they’ll know when to attend.

    To set this up, you’ll first need to have added a friend’s calendar to your own (this process is explained in a previous tip). Then, when creating an event, go to ‘Edit’. On the ‘Edit’ page, the first screen you’ll see will be the ‘Event Details’ tab which will be titled at the top of the screen. You’ll want to select the tab next to it which will be titled ‘Find a Time’. Here you can add guests who have shared their personal calendars with you, and you can compare schedules side-by-side. Then, you can simply select a time block in which you’re both available and create a new event.

 

 

Self-grading Quizzes with Google Forms and Google Classroom

You can create self-grading quizzes with Google Forms and share them with your class using Google Classroom! In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create self-grading quizzes
  • How to see the results of your quiz and give feedback
  • How to share your quiz with the class on Google Classroom

Create a self-grading quiz

Open a new Form from your Google Drive screen, if you haven’t seen the Google Forms Tutorial, check that out first and then come back here. Click the gear icon to open the “Settings” menu, and choose “Quizzes” at the top.

Open a new form, open the Settings menu, then choose “Quizzes”

Click on “Make this a quiz” and a range of new options will appear. You can choose when the quiz grade is released so that students can see their grade immediately after they submit the quiz, or you can delay the release in case you want time to review the results. You can also decide whether or not students can see their missed questions, the correct answers, and the point values of questions simply by clicking on the appropriate checkboxes.

Click make this a quiz then click the checkboxes to customize your quiz in the quiz Settings window

Return to your practice form and enter a test question. Set the answer format to “Multiple choice” and enter three or four possible answers, then note at the bottom of the window you now see the words “Answer key.” Click on “Answer key” and you’ll be able to mark the correct answer for this specific question.

Enter a test question with four multiple choice answers on the quiz, then click on “Answer key” to mark the correct answer for the question

It’s important to note that the “Self-grading quizzes” option only works with the Multiple choice, Checkboxes, and Drop-down answer options, but since these are such popular and versatile options I think you’ll get a lot of use out of this new feature.

At the top right of the “Answer Key” window you can assign how many points this question is worth using the up and down arrows. You can also click on “Add feedback” on your Answer key, which allows you to write a message that will pop up after students select each answer. This could be something as simple as “Good job!” for correct answers, or a brief sentence or paragraph explaining why their answer was incorrect.  

Click “Add feedback” to create informative or supportive messages that will appear when students answer questions

You can also click the “Link” icon to add a link to the “Add feedback” option in case, for example, you want to send the student to a page or video with more information about the question or topic to help refresh their memory.

link to feedback for more in depth information after questions in Google Forms

You can add more questions and set the correct answer or answers for each, as well as any feedback you may want to leave.

You can always click “Preview” to see how your practice quiz looks and test out the self-grading option. This is a good practice before sending the quiz to your class. Click “Preview” in the top right, then pretend you’re a student and select a “correct” answer for each question, then click “Submit.” If you have selected the quiz option to let the students see their correct and incorrect answers, when you click “Submit” you will see a pop-up window and can click on “View your score” to see which questions you got right and which you missed, as well as the total points you’ve earned. The image below shows what results of a quiz will look like with all the settings selected on the left.

preview example side by side with settings

In the Editing view, you can click on “Responses” at the top and see all of the quizzes that have been submitted so far. You can view the data as as summary, or check how each student did individually by clicking either “Summary” or “Individual”. And now, instead of having to grade each quiz by hand, you have all of the information in a neat visual presentation already prepared for you!

responses from Google forms self-grading quizzes

If you want to load this data into a spreadsheet all you need to do is click the green icon on the “Responses” form, create a new spreadsheet, and the data will be automatically loaded into the sheet so you can easily see individual answers, scores, and other important information.

Click the green icon in the quiz “Responses” window to create a new spreadsheet with the quiz data already loaded and organized

Share your quiz with your class in Google Classroom

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of using Google Forms and creating Quizzes, I’ll show you how easy it is to share with your class and add a new Form to your Google Classroom. If you haven’t used Google Classroom yet, check out this tutorial to set up your Google Classroom.

Once you have your practice quiz completed, click send at the top right corner.

click send on your completed quiz in Google forms

This will open a “Send“ form with a range of options for ways you can send or attach the form. I could send this out to individual emails or a group. For example, I have all my 5th and 6th graders in an email group. You can learn how to set up groups in Google here.

You can also embed your quiz form in a website. To share with Google Classroom, choose “Link” first by clicking the chain link icon. You can check the “Shorten URL” box to automatically shorten the URL to your quiz for easier sharing, and then click “Copy” to copy the link to your clipboard and later paste it into your Google Classroom.

Click “Send” on the Responses page to open a Send window, then choose “Link” as the sending method, shorten link, copy

You can also load the form directly into your Google Classroom with just a few simple steps. Go to your Classroom, create a New Assignment with the plus sign at the bottom right, and then click the Google Drive icon at the bottom and select the Google Form that is your quiz.

Open a New Assignment, select the form in your Drive, and click “Add” to attach it to the new assignment

Click “Assign” and your new assignment will appear in your Classroom with the quiz form attached. All your students need to do is click on the assignment and it will open the quiz. When students have finished and submitted their tests you’ll be able to click “View responses in Sheets” and the answers will already be loaded into the appropriate columns for you.

click “View responses in Sheets” to see the submitted answers on your new spreadsheet

Now you’re ready to make and send self-grading quizzes to your class using Google Forms and Classroom!

Please share this article and enter your email below to get a monthly update on the best new technology for teaching. I hope you enjoyed it!

The New Google Forms – Detailed Tutorial

Google Forms is an online form builder that lets you create versatile questionnaires, quizzes, and forms quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create a custom Google Form from scratch
  • How to preview and test your forms
  • How to add images or videos to your forms
  • How to view and use the responses to your forms

Opening a new form

First, go into your Google Drive and click on the red “New” button at the top-left of the window, then click “More”, and then click on “Google Forms”. This will open a window with a new Google Form labeled “Untitled Form” at the top.

Click New in the top left corner, then More, then Google Forms

There’s another way you can open a new Google Form that may feel more comfortable or convenient. Go to your Google Drive Window, then click on the square icon in the top right corner that is made out of small black squares. Clicking on this icon will open a list of Google apps.

Click square icon at the top left side of the Drive screen to pull up the Apps menu, or click more to find Forms

You should see a purple icon named “Forms.” If the icon doesn’t show up at first, scroll down and click on “More” at the bottom of the apps list.

When you find the purple “Forms” icon, click on it and you will get a message that says “Do you want to add this as a shortcut?” Select “Yes” to add the Forms icon on your main apps window, so it will be easy to find next time. You can also click, hold, and drag to arrange each icon in the shortcuts menu and place them in the order you like.

When you enter Google Forms from the app shortcut panel, it will take you to the “Template” section of Forms and you should see a template named “Blank” on the right side of the Template window. Click on the “Blank” template, and you will now have a new form just like the one you got in the first example where you clicked “New”, then “More”, then “Google Forms”.

When you click the purple Forms icon it will open the Forms Template window, select Blank form

Give your form a name by clicking “Untitled Form” in the top left corner and adding your title. I always do this right away to help keep track of it.

Click on the top left of the form to write a new name for the form, then hit Enter to save

Customizing Your Form

If you don’t like the default colors on your form’s header bar and background, go up to the top-right of your screen and click on the palette icon. This lets you change the color scheme of your Form. You can also click on the icon in the bottom right corner of the color options and select from a list of photos and designs, including some animated options. These look nicer than plain colors and work great if you’re using Forms to make a birthday party invitation or a brunch menu.

Click the palette icon at top of page to open a color selector or click bottom right of color selector to open a menu of images

You can also upload your own photos to make each form a unique work of art. Click on the “Upload Photo” at the bottom of the images menu, then follow the instructions for uploading. Your photo needs to be at least 800 pixels wide to fit into the header bar on the form, and after you load the image you’ll see a crop window to choose what part of the image you want to show.

Click Upload Photo and follow prompts to add your own images

Creating Questions

The form starts with a default multiple choice question that you can easily delete or edit. Click on the trash can icon at the bottom of the question to get rid of it.

The title of your form will be the same as the file title you entered in the top-left corner earlier, but you can change it and add a description to explain what your form is about.

Type a preferred title or name at the top of the form

Now it’s time to add some questions. On the right side of your form you’ll see a vertical toolbar. At the top of the toolbar is a “+” inside a circle. Click on it and a new question will appear on your form. This question will automatically be multiple choice, but you can change that by clicking the dropdown titled “Multiple Choice” and choosing a different style of question.

Click on the plus sign to add a question to your Google Form and click “Multiple choice” to open a menu of answer format options

I usually start a quiz or questionnaire with getting a student’s name, so I’ll choose “Short Answer” as the first question format. This lets people type words or symbols instead of just clicking a checkbox. Type in your question in the “Question” blank, and choose required at the bottom right of the question if you want to force someone to answer that question to complete the form.

Click Required to make filling out a question or line mandatory in google forms

You can add the next question by clicking on the “+” icon on the right again. Type your question, choose the type of question, and set it as “Required” if you want to make an answer mandatory.

You can add several different kinds of questions to your form. To add a multiple choice question, click on the “+” again leave it as a multiple choice question. In this example I’ve asked “What is the largest planet?” and I can add the answer choices by first filling in “Option 1” and then clicking “Add option” below that and filling it in. You can choose “Add other” if you want to allow the option for someone to write in their own answer.

Click Option 1 to type in an answer, Add option to add another option

Previewing a Form

You can preview your form any time by clicking the little eye icon at the top of the screen. That will open a new window that shows you how the form will look, complete with the color scheme and question formatting that you chose.

Click Preview icon at top of page to view the form as you edit

The Preview page works exactly like the form will work when you send it out, so if you just click “Submit” at the bottom you’ll see that any of the questions you marked as “Required” will show an error in red. I usually don’t set questions as required until the last step of making my form, because I like to test how the answers will look in Preview mode as I’m building the form.

Required sections are highlighted in red if the answer is not filled out before submitting

Adding a Section

Now let’s say you have a list of 20 or 30 questions but you don’t want to force people to scroll and scroll forever to get to the end, because not only can that be annoying but it can look somewhat unprofessional in some situations. To fix this, you can add a Section by clicking on the bottom icon in your vertical toolbar. This will bring up a new Section titled “Section 2 of 2”, and now your survey, test, or invitation is broken up into smaller sections or pages that are easier to handle and appear more organized to the reader.

Click the bottom icon in the vertical toolbar to add a new section

Now you can give the new section a name, we’re choosing “Earth” in the video example, and then continue adding and writing questions. Preview your form again and you’ll see that the form now has a “Next” button at the bottom, which indicates that there’s another section coming up, but since you marked some of the lines as “Required”, people will still need to fill out all of the information before they can move on to the next page.

If you want to turn off the “Required” setting all you need to do is go back to your form, click on the question or line, and click on the little dot next to “Required” to switch it off. Now you will have an easier time previewing all of your pages or sections as you work.

If you decide that you want people to fill in an email first on the form instead of their name, you don’t have to delete the lines and start over, just move your mouse to the top of the question area until you see it turn into a little “Move” icon. Then you can click and drag each question into whatever order you like.

Click and hold at the top of each question to reposition question on the form

Also, If you decide to delete a section entirely you can click on the tiny row of dots in the top corner of that section, and that will show you a small menu of options. Click “Delete” and it’s gone.

To delete a question, click row of dots at top right of screen to open tools menu, then click Delete

Now let’s try another type of answer formatting. Click on the plus sign to add another question, then click on “Multiple choice” to open the answer options menu, and choose “Checkboxes.”

This option might be handy if you’re creating a survey, or maybe planning a party and asking friends about menu preferences or specific days that work for their schedules.

You can also create “Dropdown” questions that open a dropdown menu with the answer options you enter.

Select the Dropdown answer option and Preview to see dropdown menu next to the question

Other answer format options include:

  • Linear Scale: this gives people a scale where they can choose from one to five, or from one to ten, which can be handy if you need people to rate a service or to tell you how much they enjoy a particular flavor of beverage.
  • Multiple Choice grid: this option allows you to build rows and columns with multiple answer choices.
  • Paragraph: this option creates lines where people can type or write their answers out. You might want an essay-style answer, or you could possibly use this option at the end of your form if you plan to ask people if they have additional thoughts, opinions, or answers they’d like to share.

other format options

Adding Images and Videos

First, you can add a new title to your form by clicking on the “TT” icon in your vertical toolbar. This doesn’t create a new section, it merely lets you add a new title in case you want to add more information as people progress through the form, or use it to introduce an image or a video that’s coming up next.

add a title to your form

To insert an image into your form, click the center icon on your vertical toolbar. It looks like a small landscape image. This will open a window where you can use keywords to find specific subjects. You can also upload your own images from your personal albums or your Drive, or enter a URL to insert an image from a website or page. Once you select the image you want you’ll see it appear on your form. If the image is too large, you can resize it by clicking and dragging the corner.

Add an image to the form and click on the corner of the image to resize

You can also center or align the image by clicking the alignment icons below the image, and add a title at the top of the image if you like. Remember that you can click on the “Preview” icon at the top of the screen as many times as you want to make sure you like how the form looks.

To add a video to your form, click the “Video” arrow icon on your vertical toolbar and it’ll bring up a window where you can search YouTube using keywords, or enter a URL if you have a specific website or page in mind. You can resize videos just like images, and add a title at the top if you like.

Click Video icon in vertical toolbar to open a YouTube search window

 

Settings

At the top of your forms widow you’ll see a small gear icon. This takes you to “Settings” and gives you even more options for customizing your form. For example, the “Shuffle questions order” option will show each person a different version of the form with the questions in a different order on each copy of the form. This could be really helpful if you want to make it harder for students to share answers during tests. However, if you have images or videos that are related to a specific question then this option will mess up the order, so use your best judgement when using the “Shuffle” option.

Click gear icon in top right corner to open the Settings menu

Other tools in the Settings menu include a progress bar that you can activate to let people see how far along in the test or survey they are, and an option to limit who can access and fill out the form. You may want to make it available only to students at your school, or only close friends and family. You also have an additional Actions menu in the top right corner of your screen.

This menu has options for copying and printing your form, or you can let other people help create and edit the form by clicking “Add collaborators” to make it a group project. You can also choose “Add-ons” from the Actions menu, which opens a new window where you can select from a wide range of apps and extras to enhance your forms.

Click row of dots in top right corner of the screen to open Actions menu

 

Additional question modifications

If you click on one of your questions and then click the row of dots in the bottom right corner you’ll see two more options for customizing your questions: “Hint text”, which lets people ask for a hint to the answer or can provide some extra clarification to the question, and “Data Validation”, which makes people answer questions the way you want them to. For example, if you ask people to enter their name and instead they try to enter an email address, they will get a notification that their answer is not correct.

Click dots in bottom corner of question field to see additional options

 

Responses

Once you’ve got your questions and answers formatted and you think your form is ready to go, click Preview one more time and then try filling out all of the lines and questions you just created, as if you were someone taking a test or survey. Once you get to the end, click “Submit” on the Preview form. Now go back to your working form that you’ve been editing. At the top of the form you will now see a number next to “Responses”. This tells you that someone has successfully filled out your form. If you click on “Responses” you’ll get a new window where you can see all of the answers that have been submitted and choose to see either individual responses from each person, or a summary of all of the submitted answers in the form of a pie chart.

Fill out form in Preview view, then click Responses on working copy to see the response data

If you need or want to have the response data on a spreadsheet you can click on the small green icon at the top of the Responses window. This will allow you to either create a new spreadsheet or import the data to an existing spreadsheet.

click green icon to open a spreadsheet creation menu

You can also open a menu in the top right corner of the Responses window that gives you more options such as “Download responses,” “Delete responses,” or “Get email notifications” so you can see when new responses are submitted. Now you can see how easy it is to get instant data and evaluate the responses, whether your form is a school test, a product survey, or an opinion poll on the best day to throw a surprise party!

click three dots in responses to see more options for your Google Form

If you want to start a new form, but perhaps aren’t quite done editing the first one, you can click the back arrow at the top left of your Forms screen and that will take you back to the Forms Templates page, and your current form will already be saved under “Recent forms.”

Click back arrow at top left of Form screen to return to Templates menu

Thank for reading! You’re now ready to create a brand new test, survey, menu, invitation, or any number of other kinds of forms, and if you ever run into trouble you can open the Actions menu on your Forms page and click on “Help Center” to get assistance.

Now check out the Self-grading Quizzes with Google Forms plus Google Classroom to get the ultimate automated quiz setup for your class!

How To Get Started With Google Classroom

How to Get Started With Google Classroom

Google Classroom is an online graphic design program with free and paid versions that lets you create professional graphics in almost any format quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create a class in Google Classroom
  • How to add students to your class
  • How to quickly add assignments and start discussions
  • How to control the abilities of your students to post
  • How to manage your stream and archived classes

Google Classroom is most easily accessed by simply searching “google classroom” and clicking the link, as shown below. It will not show up in your usual menu of Google apps, but you can add a shortcut to Google Classroom to Chrome by going to the Chrome web store here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/google%20classroom.

Google Classroom link

You have to have a Google account that uses Google Apps for Education (now G Suite for Education). A regular Google account won’t work, so you’ll have to set one up using an email address associated with your school. If your school does not have a G Suite for Education account, you can request one here: https://support.google.com/a/answer/2856827?hl=en.

Once you’ve logged in with your G Suite for Education account, select Teacher at the bottom right, and you’ll be taken to the introduction screen. From the intro screen, you can click the plus sign at the top right to create a class.

Google Classroom intro screen

Create a class in Google Classroom

After clicking Create a class, fill in the class name and section that you want and click Create. The course will be generated with a random theme, but you can click Select theme on the right side of the background image to select a new one. You can choose from a gallery of image-based themes or select a simple pattern theme. All the border, button, and background colors will update depending upon the theme you choose.

change classroom theme

If you click the About button on the classroom menu, you can add extra information like a class title, description, the room or meeting place for the class, or even invite another teacher to collaborate on the class. The About area also shows where your class is stored. The default location is a folder in your Google Drive that was made when you created the class.

About your Google classroom

When you create your first class, a folder called Classroom will be added to your Google Drive, and a subfolder with the name and section of your new class is created. As you create more classes, they will each generate a subfolder in the Classroom folder.

Classroom folder

If you click the three horizontal lines icon in the top left corner you will access a navigation menu. This menu lets you jump to see all the classes you have, your calendar, and any open assignments. From here you can click Classes and see all the classes you’ve created within Google Classroom. After choosing Classes, you can click the three dots to the right of each class name and either rename or archive the class from there.

Top left corner navigation for classroom

Within each Google classroom class, you can see a classroom code at the bottom left that you can share with students. When your student visits Google Classroom, they will click the plus sign at the top of the intro screen, but they will choose Join class instead of Create class. This is where they will enter the code associated with your class.

Classroom code

You can also click Students in the classroom menu and select Invite from the Students area. This will open the contacts associated with your G Suite for Education enabled account, and you can select from theses contacts to invite students to your class by checking the box by their names.

Invite students

select contacts to add

A valuable tip is to go ahead and set your posting and commenting permissions for students. I recommend you set permissions to “Only teacher can post and comment” at the start. If you have younger students, you’ll usually end up with a lot of silly or potentially disruptive posts in the class at the start if you don’t do this. Sometimes, it can be best to restrict the posting and commenting permissions of students until you have an actual discussion or question ready to be considered.

set posting permissions of students

All the action inside one of your Google classes occurs in the “stream.” In the bottom right hand corner of the classroom, you’ll see a circle with a plus sign in it. When you click on it, you’ll see your options for adding to the classroom stream. You can create an announcement, create an assignment, ask a question, or reuse a post.

Stream options

If you choose to add an announcement, you simply type what you want to say to the class and then choose any attachments you want to share. You can attach files, videos, Google Drive files, or links.

Add an announcement to your stream

You can edit anything in the class stream by clicking the three vertical dots on the right side of each item in the stream.

Edit classroom stream items

Assignments are the most common thing I post to my stream. Simply click Assignment from the stream menu (accessed by the plus sign in the circle at the bottom right of the classroom). Then, enter a name for the assignment and a description or instructions. Using the attachment options, you could attach a PDF or video with information to study, and include a link to a Google Form (check out this article on self-grading quizzes) where the homework or quiz questions are handled for you. You can set the due date and post it to the entire class.

Add assignments to your classroom stream

Once the assignment is posted, you can see which students have completed it and which ones haven’t.

See which students have completed work

If you want to quickly assess students in your class, get feedback, or start a discussion, simply add a question to the classroom stream and set a due date. You’ll be given the options to let students edit their answers and post replies to other students answers. If you allow students to reply to other students’ answers, it can help facilitate a discussion.

Set student interaction permissions for questions

As you add new items to the stream, they will be posted at the top of the stream and push other items down. The nearest upcoming deadline for assignments or questions is shown in a box on the left. If you want to move an older post to the top, simply click the three dots on the right side and click Move to top.

Move a post to the top of the class stream

There aren’t too many settings to worry about inside Google Classroom. One very important setting to consider is the permissions of students to post and comment on items in the stream, which we already discussed. The other setting to consider is the email notifications setting. You can access this by clicking the three horizontal lines in the top-left corner and selecting Settings at the bottom of the navigation menu. Here, you’ll see a checkbox that lets you turn email notifications on or off. I tend to leave them off because I don’t want to get an email every time someone does something in my Google classes.

Classroom settings in G Suite

From the top-left corner navigation menu, you can also access archived classes and restore them if you like.

Now you’re ready to efficiently run your classes with Google Classroom!

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7 Geeky Tips and Tricks for Google Docs

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Want to know 7 Google Docs tips and tricks to make you look like a pro user, or maybe a little geeky? Check out this list!

Best Place to Start Your Google Docs

You might think this is obvious but this tip may make you rethink how you are accessing your Google Docs.  Opening your Google Docs from the location you want to be stored will help you keep your Drive and Docs nicely organized.

Advanced Sharing

This is often overlooked. Take a look at the bottom right-hand corner of the share box  (it will open after you click to share). Can you see it? Click advanced to open share settings that will give you more control.

Force a Copy or Preview of Your Google Docs

This is a handy feature to force a user to open your document as a copy (in case they didn’t know how to create a copy) or open in preview so they can only see it.  Take a look at the URL of your Google Docs document that you have open. Notice at the end of they URL “edit” is written, change edit to copy or preview and see what happens.

In Comments Assign Users and Individual Tasks

Do more with comments. After you select an area in your doc, click on comment.  Now simply assign a task from your document by typing a “+” followed by the user you want to assign the task. Notice you can assign to that person with a  click of the box.  The user will be notified.

The Fantastic Explore Feature!

I love this feature! Click on Explore in the bottom right-hand corner. Explore will search your the web or Drive based on what you have written in your document.  Quickly research other websites or scholarly documents with this feature.  Explore will also find pictures to match your document topic

Star and Move Shortcut Icon

I overlooked these shortcuts for the longest time. Right beside your document’s name (top left corner), you will see a star and a folder. Click to show importance or to move your doc to a new location in your Drive.

The Always Important Revision History

Revision History is a life saver! Go back through the history of your Google Doc and restore it to a previous version. You can also check on who did what in group work.

LastPass – Save and Secure Your Passwords

LastPass is a free online password management tool that can be accessed through the web or as a Google Chrome extension. It provides many verified security features and allows you to store basically any secret or personal information. Categories exist for securing everything from payment info, web passwords, and social security numbers, to classified notes along with other sensitive information. Once an account is created with LastPass it can be synced across all mobile devices so that information is always available. LastPass offers many competitive features compared with other password management tools and is simple to operate, only having the user memorize a single master password.

Features

The homepage for your LastPass account will be located within the LastPass “Vault”. Here you will be able to cycle through all of your stored secure information as well as add new information. All types of information can be neatly organized and categorized so they can easily be retrieved at a later time. LastPass offers an effective feature allowing you to share specific pieces of information with others via secure email. This is useful for items that are too sensitive to be sent through conventional methods. An emergency access feature exists to allow trusted individuals full access to your LastPass account in the case of an emergency. This will only be activated upon your approval.

Security Methods

The security methods used by LastPass are called AES-256 bit encryption, salted hashing, and PBKDF2 SHA-256. In short without technical explanation, these are a series of ciphers and encryptions which make it impossible for your LastPass account to be hacked, or viewed by LastPass admin. Using LastPass is 100% safe and secure.

As a Chrome Extension

If using LastPass in the form of a Google Chrome extension, It will appear as a little icon in the top-right of your browser. Upon being clicked, the LastPass icon will provide you with a variety of LastPass feature options. These include a link to your Vault, site and form-fill management, as well as a password generator among others. The extension simply provides quick access to the existing features which LastPass offers.

Advantages to Using LastPass

LastPass is one of the best free password management applications available for online use. While a paid $1 per month premium option is available, the free version offers almost all features that the average user would require. It is easy to use and provides a 100% safe method to store sensitive information with various provided features to ensure this. LastPass is great for the avid internet user in that it only requires you to memorize a single password. If you find yourself in need of an easy method to memorize passwords, etc., LastPass will, without a doubt, come in useful to you.

           

G Suite Training – Simple, Interactive Tutorials for Google Apps

Using G Suite Training
G Suite Training is an interactive tool offered by Google for use within Google Apps. It provides simple walkthroughs for specific tasks in most first-party Google applications (such as Drive or Docs) and is available as an extension on the Chrome Web Store. Once added, this free Chrome extension will appear in the top right-hand corner of your drive, offering you tips and tricks once clicked on. These come in the form of videos or audio recordings, and some will have interactive features as well. The lessons offer very direct and descriptive tutorials so that you may easily learn how to complete the desired task in a Google application.

As you navigate through different Google Apps, the G Suite Training extension will follow, and offer new specific tutorials relating to the page you are on. For example, if you start out on the Google Drive page, G Suite Training will provide you with tutorials regarding creating files, sharing documents, converting files, etc. If you were to then enter a created Google Sheets file, there would be available tutorials for collaborating on spreadsheets, using data for analysis, publishing a sheet on the web, etc. G Suite Training operates like this for most Google Apps. There is a search function available above the listed tutorials as well. This is present in each Google App you navigate through. It simply allows you to search the desired instructions for a certain task.

Perfect for Anyone
G Suite Training is a perfect tool to use for those who are new to using certain aspects of the web. It is ideal for children who are first learning to use services offered by Google, or even teachers who need a thorough explanation on the proper use of Google Apps. Senior citizens and non-native English speakers as well would find benefits in the simple, direct instructions that G Suite training provides. Overall, it is an excellent tool for all groups of people who are in need of an easy to understand instructional guide for using apps by Google.

 

Google Photos – Manage Your Memories

Free Storage With Google Photos
Google Photos is one of the most well known and effective ways of storing and managing photos. Even if you are not an android user, it only takes an existing Google account to get access to unlimited photo storage with up to 16MP photos and 1080p video. While you can always access your photos account online, Google Photos is also pre-downloaded on Android devices and is available for download on iOS devices. It is free to use, and syncs all photos and videos that you take on your phone with the online cloud storage.

Search Specific Images
Google Drive includes Photos as part of its connected applications, so all Google content will be kept close by. A unique feature to Google Photos is the ability to search through your photos via keyword. Google Photos uses an algorithm to sense what object or people are contained within each image. So when you search a keyword in your photo database, related images will come up. These include general image descriptions, as well as people or locations (for images that you took on holidays, etc. while using the location services). Faces will be recognized and used to categorize images as well, and can actually be used as another method of searching images. To do this, simply go into the search bar of Google Photos and select a recognized face. Pictures containing that face will then be displayed. This is a fast and easy way to find the exact photo you are looking for.

Compose Photo Presentations 
Google Photos offers some sharing and organizational features as well. You are able to create photo albums, collages, and simple animations with Google photos, then share them with anyone on your Google contact list. This is great for selecting and presenting photos to family or friends.

Free Up Device Storage on Mobile
On the mobile version of Google Photos, there is the available option to free up space on the device’s hard drive. This is done by deleting photos that are already backed up in the cloud, so no memories will be lost when freeing up space on your phone or tablet. For whatever reason, they are available for re-download at any time.

In Conclusion:
Considering the fact that all these features provided in Google Photos are free, it can be concluded that it is a must-have application for photo saving and organization. It is simple to use and provides everyday life application for everyone.

 

 

VideoNot.es – Take Perfectly Synchronized Notes on Any Video

Using VideoNot.es
VideoNot.es is a great online tool that can be used for taking notes while watching a video. It uses your Google Drive as a login and allows you to paste video URLs within the website. These videos can come from Youtube, Khan Academy, Vimeo, as well as other sources, and allows you to type notes simultaneously while watching a video. The great feature about this is that the notes you take will automatically be synced with the video at the time which you took them. They can they can then be recalled at any point to view alongside the playing of the video.

External Compatability
After finishing taking your desired notes, they can be saved directly to your Google Drive. A new folder will be automatically created for their storage once they are saved. Upon opening VideoNot.es files in Drive, you will be linked back to the VideoNot.es site where your video and notes will be stored. In addition, your notes may also be exported to your Evernote account (if you have one). In Evernote, they will be saved as a new separate note, where your points will be listed with their respective links to timestamps in the video. VideoNot.es is perfect in the way that it is almost universally compatible with these other productivity outlets.

Sharing
Featured also on the VideoNot.es dashboard is the Google Drive share button. Your content may be shared with anyone on your Google account just as if you were working on another Google document. Others can then view and edit your shared notes (depending on your share settings) just as you would any other document.

Overall,
VideoNot.es is an excellent tool to utilize in order to maximize productivity. It can have major application in the educational realm by both students and teachers but is also great for any productive person to get their thoughts organized.

Top 5 Gmail Extensions

Top 5 Gmail Extensions

 

  • Boomerang
    Boomerang is a great and simple add-on for Gmail that allows the user to postpone a message to be received at a later time. The potential with this idea is that you can send an important message for later before you forget, or be precise about the time a message is received. Boomerang allows for messages to be sent from within hours of composition, up to an entire month. You may also customize the exact moment on which mail is sent to the recipient. With Boomerang you are able to receive feedback about whether or not your messages have been viewed or replied to.
  • Checker Plus
    Checker Plus is a convenient extension to set up for your Gmail. Its key feature is its ability to display notifications on your desktop browser or home screen once you get mail. They can be displayed as a simple pop up, and can be set to make a noise notification when mail is received. The method of notification can be thoroughly customized. Checker Plus can also be set to read aloud an Email when it is received. This is effective when busy with other tasks. With Checker Plus you can set the exact type of mail to give notifications for. It is also very quick and easy to turn on the “do not disturb mode”.
  • WiseStamp
    For those who appreciate personal branding, WiseStamp will come in very useful. On the website, WiseStamp lets users create a free Email signature to add to the bottom of all composed Gmail messages. The stamp includes a personal picture, room for personal information, and Social media links. It is all pre-formatted and looks like a digital business card as a finished product. If the personal Email signature is not wanted or required for certain messages, it can easily be taken off.
  • Unroll.me
    Unroll.me is a simple tool to be used for simplifying your Gmail inbox. Instead of having to deal with an Email entirely flooded with endless newsletters or promotions, Unroll.me will provide you with a single daily summary of all this information. With Unroll.me you can organize which mail is summarized through the application, and which remains in the inbox. This makes it much quicker to sift through your daily mail. Another great feature offered by Unroll.me is its simple ‘unsubscribe’ option, allowing you to prevent further mail from certain sources. All settings can be altered at any point in time.
  • Snapmail
    Snapmail is one of the simplest Gmail extensions, with its key and only feature being the fact that you are able to send self-destructing Emails. Once you add this extension, a “Snapmail” button will be added to the send button on composed messages in your Gmail. If you press this button instead of send, the sent message will only be able to be read for 60 seconds, before deleting itself. This is perfect for sending small portions of important, confidential information, such as passwords. You will be required to click on a provided URL to view the temporary message. When using the Snapmail feature, a text fragment will be added to the end of the Email saying “This message will self-destruct in 60 seconds.”