Articles posted by Richard Allaway
[This post is focused upon educators using a Lenovo C13 Chromebook]
Your C13 Chromebook has a rechargeable USI (Universal Stylus Initiative) pen stowed on the front edge of the device, below the keyboard on the right hand side.
There are a number of ways to use the stylus to annotate a document - whether it be signing a document, adding annotation to an extract or adding feedback to a piece of student work. The ways range in complexity and flexibility. It is worth trying them all and seeing which best fits the task you are trying to complete.
We will focus upon the use of a PDF document.
Using the Gallery app
- Make sure the PDF document is downloaded onto your Chromebook, so that you can see it in the Files app, under Downloads.
- Double click on the PDF file. This will open the file in the Gallery app.
- On the top menu bar - there is a squiggly line - the Annotate tool. Click on the squiggly line.
- You then have the choice of a pen or highlighter, the thickness of the line and colour.
- Once you have finished annotating the document you can click Save - or use the little drop down option next to Save, to Save As - which would save an annotated copy of the original.
- Make sure the PDF file is in your Google Drive.
- Go to kamiapp.com.
- All educators at Campus des Nations have access to a Kami account.
- Click on 'Sign in' → Continue with Google → use your @learning.ecolint.ch account.
- Choose → Open file from... → Google Drive → find the file and click on it.
- The file will open in Kami and then you have a range of choices on the left hand side.
- Have a look at the 'Markup' and 'Drawing' tool sets.
- Once you have finished there is a 'Save' icon on the top menu bar.
- This starts with you creating a task which includes a dropbox for students to upload a final product. Require the students to submit a PDF document.
- For each student you have the choice to Annotate and Grade the document.
- The document will open in ManageBac. There is a Drawing tool on the top menu bar.
- The tool seems to have an amount of 'smoothing' which doesn't work well with my hand writing - but others may have more success.
- The annotations auto-save.
Your @ecolint.ch, @learning.ecolint.ch or @pgce.ecolint.ch account is a ‘Google Workspace for Education’ account. Depending on whether you are a staff member, a PGCE student or an Ecolint student dictates how much time you have to get any content out of your account before it is deactivated and then deleted.
Ecolint students - you have five months from the end of June to sort your account out.
My advice is to decide upon what you want to keep and complete the necessary processes as soon as possible. The ability to move digital assets from one platform to another is a key skill.
Your Windows account
Following departure, your Windows account will be shut down at the end of June. We need to do this for security reasons. You should therefore make sure you have taken all your locally-stored files (on the school servers) with you by the final day of the academic year. We cannot be responsible for keeping these files nor access to them after the beginning of July.
The easiest way to move files off the network is to copy them over to a USB drive or upload them to a personal cloud storage service.
Mail – start here
Ensure you have set up another email account. This following series of processes is only really fully possible if you have a personal @gmail.com account. If you are creating a new @gmail.com account now is the time to think about your new email address as it may be with you for a while. email@example.com may not be the best address to share with future academic institutions and employers!
Set up an ‘Out of Office‘ reply for your school email account. Use the message to explain that this email address will soon cease to function and what your new email address is.
Set up email forwarding from your school email account to your new email address. Ensure you make the effort to update the sender of each email you receive with your new email address.
Taking away your content
Google Workspace for Education users have access to Google Takeout. The service will allow you to export a copy of content in your Google Account to back it up or use it with a service outside of Google.
- On your school account, go to Google Takeout.
- Click Deselect all.
- Click to select → Drive [this will download your Google Documents as Word Documents, Google Slides presentations as PowerPoint files etc].
- You have a whole range of other options depending on what you want to download/export. It all depends on what you want to do with this data. Your contacts maybe useful and are quite easy to import elsewhere. Your Gmail is possible but more involved when it comes to importing to another service.
- Click → Next step.
- Choose the delivery method and frequency.
- Click → Create export.
[New] Google Sites
To begin, open the Google Site from within your Ecolint account.
- Go to 'Share with others' and add your personal Google account as an editor.
Steps to take place in the personal Google account:
- Open your personal Google account and access the Google Site that you have just shared with yourself.
- Go to 'More' (the three dots) and then 'Duplicate site' to make a copy of the site (which is owned by your Ecolint account) in your personal Google account.
Any files that have been inserted into the Google Site that are saved in Google Drive will still be located in your school Google account after ownership of the site has been transferred. Individual items in the Google Site will need to have their new location (if you have transferred ownership or copied them to your personal Google account) updated.
Other software platforms
You need to take steps to get any files you want from additional services provided by the school - such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Lucidpress or WeVideo. It is likely that your accounts for these services will be closed in July or August as we transfer accounts to new students.
Google's Interview Warmup
The Interview Warmup is interesting. It poses interview questions, it then transcribes the responses and offers tool to highlight the most-used words, job-related terms etc.
Even if you are not looking for a new job the technologies here are worth a look.
If you still have classic Google Sites take action now!
Google has kept extending the related deadlines but if you still have 'classic' Google Sites now is the time to transition them to 'new' Sites.
The new timeline is:
- Starting December 1, 2022 (previously June 1, 2022): You will no longer be able to edit any remaining classic Sites in your domain.
- Starting January 1, 2023 (previously July 1, 2022): Classic Sites will no longer be viewable unless they are converted to new Google Sites.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Migrate your classic Google Sites before December 1, 2022 [16 May 2022]
Using mote STEM mode
For those of you appreciate any equations or compounds in your mote transcriptions to appear nicely formatted mote has 'STEM mode'.
Just enable the Enable STEM Mode and transcription sliders in the mote popup so all your new motes enjoy this feature. To access the mote popup, click on the extension icon in the upper right of your browser window.
If you are wondering about the syntax for equations and compounds is, it's a standard known as AsciiMath.
Read more here → support.mote.com - Using mote STEM mode
Top tips for talking to teenagers about online safety
A useful blog post worth reading titled → Top tips for talking to teenagers about online safety [23 September 2021]
A really good outline of ideas and starting points!
Childnet is a UK-based charity who empower children, young people, and those who support them in their online lives, and its mission is to work with others to make the internet a great and safe place for children and young people.
Their blog is certainly worth following for updates, ideas and resources. You could also follow them on Twitter →
How to use Google Sheets Filter Views
If you get shared a Google Sheets spreadsheet with loads and loads of data on it and decide to filter the view - you are doing that for everybody who visits that spreadsheet.
This situation is why 'Filter views' has been added to Google Sheets.
Watch this video →
Read more here → Chrome Unboxed - How to use Google Sheets Filter Views to analyze data without screwing it up for everyone else [15 April 2022]
Use new table templates and dropdown chips in Google Docs
You can use dropdown chips, in Google Docs, to easily indicate the status of your document or various project milestones outlined in your document. There are two default dropdown options:
- Project Status, which includes selections for “Not Started”, “Blocked”, “In Progress” and “Complete”
- Review Status, which includes selections for “Not Started”, “In Progress”, “Under Review” and “Approved”.
Additionally, you can create a dropdown chip with custom options and colours to best suit your needs.
Google has also adding table templates, which allow you to quickly insert building blocks for common workflows such as a:
- Launch content tracker
- Project asset
- Review tracker
- Product roadmap
Level up your padlet skills with a variety of keyboard shortcuts and editing tricks
- Drag and drop a file: Open the post composer with content inside.
- Drag and drop multiple files: Open multiple post composers, each with one of the files. Click the icon on the right to publish all drafts.
- Double-click on padlet: Open post composer
- Double-click on post: Edit post
- Double-click on padlet title: Edit padlet settings
- C: Create a new post
- Cmd/Ctrl + Enter: Publish current post
- Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Enter: Publish current post and start a new post
- Esc: Close post composer
Read more here → padlet.blog - Triumphant tips and tricks [20 April 2022]
New Chrome Web Store badges
Google has added to badges to extensions that are found on the Chrome Web Store.
The Established Publisher badge showcases publishers who have verified their identity and demonstrated compliance with the developer program policies.
The Featured badge is assigned to extensions that follow our technical best practices and meet a high standard of user experience and design.
Both these badges help when reviewing the implications of adding an extension to Chrome, something that teachers should discuss with their students.
Read more here → Google The Keyword - Find great extensions with new Chrome Web Store badges [20 April 2022]
Set up host controls and assign co-hosts ahead of a Meet
In addition to setting up Google Meet breakout rooms in advance in Google Calendar, meeting organizers can also:
- Turn meeting safety features on or off, such as chat lock, present lock, and more.
- Designate co-hosts before the meeting.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Set up host controls and assign co-hosts ahead of meetings in Google Calendar [20 April 2022]
Improved editing experience in Chat on the web
Chat is a super useful of communicating, without increasing email, for things that need quick and short replies.
You can find Chat as part of your Gmail page or at chat.google.com.
You now can add rich formatting to Chat messages, such as bold, italics, or underlines. Rich text can also be accessed using standard keyboard shortcuts.
Simply press the "A" icon in the chat compose bar to expand the formatting toolbar.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Improved editing experience in Google Chat on the web [20 January 2022]
The Zoom 'Progressive Web App' for Chromebook gains blur and virtual backgrounds
PWAs are the future!
You can use Zoom on a Chromebook and the experience is getting better.
The Zoom PWA for Chromebook gained a new trick that brings it closer to a full desktop experience. You can now blur what’s behind you or use a virtual background in the Zoom web client.
Canopy magazine - for teachers using Google Workspace for Education
Canopy is a Google for Education partner based in the UK. They recently launched a magazine for teachers using Google Workspace for Education (like we do).
You browse the magazine here and sign up for magazine updates and access to download individual articles.
New email draft template in Google Docs
Google have added a new feature to the Smart Chip menu. In Docs type @ and you will now see the option to add an 'email draft' layout.
"You can mention people in the recipient fields using the @ menu without having to remember their email addresses, and collaborate on the message body using comments and suggestions. When ready to send, simply click the button that is shown alongside an email draft. A Gmail compose window will pop up, with email fields (subject, to, cc, bcc, and body) automatically populated based on the email draft in the document."
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - New email draft template in Google Docs [15 March 2022]
A 'byte sized' introduction to Mote during a departmental meeting
I used the presentation above to structure a 15 minute Essential PD byte session that I lead this week. The aim was to introduce some of the key features of Mote to a department at school - to get them interested in having a go.
If any other departments would like me to come into a meeting and lead a Essential PD byte session - please just ask!
Four conversations to have with older kids and teens about their screen time habits
Common Sense Media - 4 Conversations to Have with Older Kids and Teens About Their Screen Time Habits [15 March 2022] is a useful article focused upon students of secondary age.
The publishing of the article is linked to the release of the The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 2021. More about this in the near future.
Adding a keyboard shortcut or hotkey for a Chrome Extension
I use a range of Chrome extensions to add links/articles/resources to services such as Trello, Pocket and Raindrop.
Aiming your cursor at a tiny 16-by-16 pixel Chrome extension button amidst possibly 20 others in the extension tray can feel like trying to win a carnival game with the odds firmly stacked against you.[Source]
It is possible to assign keyboard shortcuts to Chrome extensions.
Here are the steps for adding your own personalized shortcuts for Chrome extensions.
- In the top right corner of Google Chrome, click the 3-dot expansion menu
- Expand the More Tools menu
- Click Extensions
- Click on the 'burger' in the top left hand corner of the screen and choose 'Keyboard shortcuts'
- Scroll to the extension of interest and choose a combination of keys with either “Ctrl” or “Ctrl + Shift” and any available key
The extension developer may have added shortcut functionality for more actions within the app.
Read more here → obie.ai - How to add and remove custom keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys for a Chrome Extension in 5 seconds flat [20 July 2020]
Heading charts from Google Form responses into Docs, Slides and Drawings
You can now embed linked response charts from Google Forms into a Google Doc, Google Slides presentation, or a Google Drawing. When new form responses are received, anyone with the proper permissions can refresh an embedded chart by simply clicking the "Update" button. This eliminates the need to re-copy the chart from the form.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Embed linked Google Forms charts into Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Drawings [1 March 2022]
Padlet - moderating posts
Padlet allows you to moderate all posts on padlet so they must be reviewed by the owner/teacher before they can be published.
Thinking about tags and hashtag literacy
Digital curation is a topic that really engages me at the minute. The effective organisation of all the things we find online that may (or may not) be useful in the future is a challenge and the tools available to help evolve.
Tags and Hashtag Literacy [14 February 2022], by Wesley Fryer, is worth a read to get you thinking about such things and how we should be integrating hashtags and tags into the research skills we teach.
Chrome Extension suggestion - Remote for Slides
This is a really interesting find by a colleague of mine.
Install the Chrome Extension, open a Google Slides deck, visit remoteforslides.com on your phone and then enter a 6 digit code. Now you have a remote for Google Slides. What I really like is that you can see your 'speaker notes' on your phone.
Google Documents - Pageless page setup
If you have no plans to print a Google Document you are creating - why do you need to have it set up with a page like appearance?
Google has recently introduced the ability to change the page setup to 'Pageless'.
Set up your Google Doc so that it continuously scrolls without page breaks. In this setting, images will adjust to your screen size, and you can create wide tables and view them by scrolling left and right. Line breaks for text will also adjust to your screen size, and as you zoom in and out.support.google.com
- On your computer, open a document in Google Docs.
- Go to File Page setup.
- At the top of the dialog window, select Pages or Pageless.
- Click OK to confirm.
Turn an old laptop into a Chromebook
If you have an old computer that is struggling it may be possible to turn this device into a Chromebook using Chrome OS Flex.
If you have an old laptop and would like to give this a try - please let me know and we can explore the possibilities together.
Using Mote with Google Forms
Mote gives us the ability to easily leave audio based feedback. This ability isn't confined to Google Documents. Mote has capabilities in Google Slides, Gmail, Google Sites, Google Classroom and Google Forms.
Check out the video above for some ideas on how to use Mote with Google Forms. Basically you can use Mote to record audio questions and then any user, with Mote enabled, will be able to record an audio response.
If you are interested in using Mote as an educator or even broader with your class - please get in contact.
Not new but this could improve your ninja like Google Workspace skills.
Type doc.new into the Chrome 'Omnibox' and a new Google Doc will open ready for you to start using. Type sheet.new and guess what... a new Google Sheet is created.
cal.new or meeting.new opens a new Google Calendar event.
Other terms that work →
Check out more → https://goo.gle/Shortcuts
New Navigation bar functions in Google Drive
From the URL bar in Google Drive, you can now quickly access key pages and functions When navigating into the Google Drive web application from the URL bar by hitting the "Tab" key, you can access buttons like "Skip to main content", "Keyboard shortcuts", and "Accessibility feedback"from the bar at the top of the page
Using Padlet to collect, organise and share bookmarks
All Foundation teaching staff have access to full padlet accounts.
Padlet is super useful for collecting and organising ideas and resources. This could be done on an individual basis or working with a team of colleagues or class of students.
Installing the Padlet Mini Chrome Extension makes this process really easy. If you have a useful resource open in Chrome all you need to do is click on the extensions icon and a menu asking which of your padlets you would like to add the resource to.
Font choice to support reading
“Google publishing Lexend in August 2019 has really helped bring awareness and spread the message of [the importance of] making reading more accessible to a wider audience,” Shaver-Troup said.
An interesting read about the impact of font choice upon reading outcomes → Google Design - Clean and clear: making reading easier with Lexend [2 February 2022]
I am not sure where I came across this approach first →
You should have four apps, one from each of the following areas: calendar, task manager, notes and read it later. This approach should help you be more (digitally) productive. You could use less than four as there are some really useful apps that tick more than one of the areas.
This is what I use - as well as some ideas for following the approach using Google Workspace apps.
Google Calendar is all that is needed here! I use a handful of different calendars - school, family etc - but all scheduled lessons, meetings and my daughter's football practices are here.
I use Fantastical on my iPhone and iPad to display my Google Calendar as I prefer the layout - but the Google Calendar iOS app is also very capable.
I'm going to say it - your email inbox should not be your 'job list'. An app where you can 'capture' and then organise all the things that you need to do can be hugely beneficial for your well-being.
There is no shortage of task manager apps available! Within the Google Workspace sphere you have Google Tasks and Google Keep. These apps also display scheduled tasks in your Google Calendar. A recent update allows you to manage overdue tasks in Google Calendar.
Personally I use todoist - and have done for a number of years now. I particularly like how the Gmail add-on allows me to quickly turn emails into tasks, the web and iOS apps and the integration with Google Calendar, Fantastical etc.
Notes in that nice notebook you got for your birthday, others on the back of an envelope and even some in an email you sent to yourself. One place (app) is needed where you make, organise and can quickly find your notes and thoughts.
In Google Workspace you could use a Google Doc. Utilising H1, H2 to give things structure and the document outline to quickly move around. Smart chips will also help you tie various things together.
I am about two weeks into using Roam Research as my note taking app of choice. It is a little geekier than some of the other options and maybe not as pretty. The speed of use and the automatic generation of connections between notes, topics, ideas is what is making it the app I keep going back to. There are 'task manager' options here too - but I am sticking with todoist for that side of things, at the minute.
Read it later
You need somewhere to store links. That article that was shared by a colleague that you want to digest at a later date. The website you want to use next time to teach a certain topic to one of your classes. The website of that new restaurant you would like to try. All these links need to be stored and organised.
In Google Workspace you could use Chrome bookmarks and then use the Chrome Bookmark Manager to ensure links are organised into folders. Google Keep, and it's Chrome extension, can also be useful here.
I prefer a dedicated app for such things. I want an app that is 'cross platform' - I can use it on my school Chromebook, my personal iPad, my phone etc.
I use Pocket. There is a Chrome extension so that I can quickly add websites that I am viewing to Pocket - so that later on I can read them and sort them out. With tags etc you can use Pocket as an organised store of your links. I do not tend to do this. For me links get added to Pocket and then every so often I sort them out. Sites that I want to integrate into my teaching resources get added to Trello and things I want to read (in depth) are added to the iOS app Matter.