Articles in category "Integration into teaching and learning"

Reorganising your ‘Waffle’ aka the Chrome App Launcher

The ‘Waffle’ is the grid of nine small grey boxes that you find in the top right corner of your browser when you are using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Keep etc. If you hover your mouse/pointer over the Waffle for a second or two the words ‘Google apps’ will appear. Google themselves do not call it the ‘Waffle’ - they refer to it as the App Launcher icon.

The G Suite Waffle

The 'Waffle'

Clicking on the ‘Waffle’ opens a menu of icons for all of the available apps in G Suite. There is more than one ‘page’ of icons with the need to click ‘More’ to see the second and third ‘page’.

Google orders your apps in the ‘Waffle’, however you can reorder them. All you need to do is click and hold on an icon and drag it to where you want it. I would suggest that the apps you use more commonly are on the first ‘page’.

When I log in to my computer I always start by going to my school email. I do this by typing (or at least starting to before autocomplete saves me a couple of seconds) into the Google Chrome omnibox. From my school mail I just click on the ‘Waffle’ and then the necessary icon to launch the apps I need such as Google Drive or calendar.

You can go straight to the various ‘major’ G Suite apps by typing the following into the Google Chrome omnibox:

Image credit: Daniel Nugent

6 ways to help students be more productive by using Google Keep

Google Keep is Google’s note-taking service and part of you and your student’s G Suite. It has been around since 2013. Google continues to add new features to this commonly overlooked app. Now is the time to give it another look and help students to integrate it into their digital toolbox.

Google Geep

The Google Keep icon

To find Google Keep go to or click on the ‘Waffle’ from your Gmail or Google Drive (here you may need to click on ‘More’ if you haven’t already reorganised the apps).

The G Suite Waffle

The G Suite Waffle

1. Use it as a ‘to do list’ or homework organiser

Notes can easily be added by typing into the ‘Take a note…’ box. Notes can be colour coded, they can be single items or lists, and they can be pinned for easy access. Reminders (time and/or locations) can also be added. Labels can be used to help organise the notes. Students could use labels to represent different projects, different subjects, or something more time/priority orientated.

Google Keep

2. Use Google Keep’s collaborative ‘to do lists’ for project planning and preparation

It is possible to ‘share’ a Google Keep list with another person. That person does not see all of your Google Keep notes - just the one you have shared with them. You can both add and complete items on a shared list. Students could use this feature to manage the requirements for a group project - what needs to be done, who is doing it and ticking off when it has been completed. Personally, I use collaborative Google Keeps lists as an informal standing agenda for regular meetings I have with colleagues.

3. Make use of the Google Keep Chrome extension

Chrome extensions are small software programs that customise your experience of using Google Chrome. They enable users to tailor Chrome’s functionality and behaviour to individual needs or preferences of a person. Once installed (you do not need to be an admin on your device to do this) they usually add an icon to the right of the omnibox in Chrome.

Chrome Omnibox

The Google Chrome Omnibox

With the Google Keep Chrome Extension students (and you) can easily save text, images and links to Google Keep and have them synced across all the platforms that you use. You can save page links, text and images, take notes on saved content and add labels to notes. All of this automatically saves to Google Keep.

4. Use Google Keep to capture text, images and links during online research

Imagine a student is doing an online research task. They find part of an article that would be useful. They highlight it, press the Google Keep icon in the toolbar of Google Chrome to activate the extension. The highlighted text along with a link back to its source are added to Google Keep. If a label has been set up by the student for that task all the research can easily be collated in one place.

Google Keep can then be used as a source of notes, ideas and clippings. In Google Docs and Google Slides > Tools > Keep notepad adds a sidebar from which content can be easily added to the project being developed.

The Google Keep pane opened in Google Docs

If a user wants to add an image to their Google Keep all they need to do is right click on an image > ‘Save image to Keep’.

5. Have Google Keep open in a tab when Google Chrome is opened

It is easy to set up Google Chrome so that every time you launch Chrome it opens up with certain tabs. If Google Keep was to be a core of a student‘s note taking and organizational process, Chrome launching with Keep would be a positive start. To do this in Google Chrome go to Settings > scroll down > On start-up > Open a specific page > Add a new page > paste in the link to Google Keep:

6. Install the smartphone app

There is a Google Keep app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) as well as for Android phones (obviously as Android is Google‘s mobile operating system). You could encourage or even require students to install the Google Keep app. The mobile phone app allows you to record voice notes to your Google Keep account. After recording a voice memo Google will transcribe it for you and will offer the ability to playback the audio clip.


Further resources to support your use of Google Keep:

G Suite Learning Centre - Keep
Keep Cheat Sheet

Using digital tools to create infographics to present data with ‘an agenda’

This blog post was produced after a request by one of my colleagues about how to use digital tools to produce infographics. The students were to be asked to produce infographics that present data that is ‘true but skewed’ to support a certain point of view.

Research the data to be presented

Before the students even start ‘Googling’ they need to predict the data they are looking for. What do they want the data to show? Who might have and share that kind of data? This thought process should give the students ideas of what the ‘search terms’ will be that they want to use.

Greenpeace nuclear data

For example:
Googling ‘Greenpeace nuclear data’ gives a selection of possible ‘research leads’ within the first page of results, to a webpage such as this one:

Selecting some data from this webpage:
“A study of carbon and nuclear power by the Australian government and Sydney University, found that nuclear plants emit about 60 grams of carbon-dioxide equivalent per Kilowatt-hour of electricity 3-times the comparable emissions from wind turbines.”

“In 2009, the New York Academy of Sciences compiled data from some 5,000 research papers not reviewed for the IAEA/WHO reports and estimated 985,000 excess deaths due to Chernobyl radiation, 250-times more deaths than reported by the nuclear industry.”

Students may then want to find statistics to act as a comparison to the data they are presenting to help emphasize the skew they are working on. What data point would act as a useful comparison to help students make their point? What could they use as their  ‘search term’?

For example:
“number of people killed in road accidents per day”

Presenting the data as an infographic

My current preferred online application for producing infographics is  By going to staff and students can then choose ‘Start for free’ > Sign up with Google using their or account. The free account provides enough functionality for the students although I will be looking to explore their Education PRO pricing in the future to evaluate what it offers.

This demo video from can be used, if needed, for staff and students to get support before getting started. The basic procedure is: Create new > Infographic > Free Templates > ‘It’s a blank template’. One the left hand toolbar > Tools > Charts. Users need to delete some of the ‘placeholder’ items entered into the blank template - they are just there to give ideas about the structure.

It is possible to quickly create a visually pleasing product in 30 minutes once suitable data has been collected.

For example:

Is nuclear energy as clean as you think?

Using MindMeister as a research organizer for students

Why is MindMeister a better ‘research organizer’ than Google Docs?

  1. It is non-linear.
  2. Sections of the mind map can be ‘closed’ to allow the focus to be upon sections that need to be addressed.
  3. It allows images and videos to be embedded within the structure.
  4. You can add (annotated) connections between ideas.
  5. The ability to ‘playback’ the sequence in which the mind map was created which can help in the process of student reflection.
  6. The ability to easily create ‘tasks’ from parts of the mind map to help structure further developments and the write up.



All staff and students at International School of Geneva - Campus des Nations can have a MindMeister account linked to the Foundation's subscription.

  1. Go to > Sign Up > Click on the red G (Google) > use your school or to login.
  2. You may have the word ‘Upgrade’ in the top left hand corner of the screen. To ‘upgrade’ to a full account as part of the Ecolint subscription you need to follow a link given to you by the TLC - just email and ask for it before the lesson and share it with the students via email or ManageBac.

Students can share their mind maps with the teacher so that progress can be monitored and fed back upon.

Teachers can create a template to help structure the process.

  1. This template needs to be exported (in MindMeister format), shared with the students via Google Drive, email or ManageBac and then imported by the students.

Key MindMeister skills

  1. Creating a new mind map (the Blank template is best, in my opinion)
  2. Adding a child idea
  3. Adding a sibling idea
  4. Adding a relationship between two ideas
  5. Adding an image to an idea
  6. Adding a video to an idea
  7. Adding a note to an idea
  8. Adding a link to an idea
  9. Adding an attachment to an idea


  1. Video Tutorials
  2. MindMeister Academy

Updates to Google Forms that you may have missed

Quizzes in Google Forms


Quizzes in Google Forms

With Quizzes, it is possible to select correct answers for multiple choice and checkbox questions to speed up the process of feedback. You can enter explanations and review materials to help students learn.

Google Forms

source: Google


You can then specify point values for each multiple choice question. In that same menu you can enter answer explanations. The quizzes setting also gives you the option of letting students see their scores immediately after completing a quiz.

These updates are welcome but for ‘quiz power users’ sticking with Socrative or Kahoot will offer you more options. For those who want to take their use of Google Forms further try the feature-laden Google Sheets Add-on called Flubaroo.

Support from Google on making quizzes, assigning points etc can be found here.

Add images to questions and answers in Google Forms

Add images to questions and answers in Google Forms

Add images to questions and answers in Google Forms

You can now craft even more effective forms by inserting images into survey questions or adding images as multiple choice or checkbox options in Google Forms on the web.
You can also add an image to a question.

The ability to add videos into Google Forms has existed for a while.


Google Forms

Updates to Google Slides that you may have missed

Google Slides is a presentation application. It is Google’s version of Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote. It comes with all the online collaboration features that you would expect from G Suite for Education application. All staff and students have G Suite for Education accounts and therefore access to Google Slides.


Google SlidesGoogle is constantly updating its applications - refining and adding features. The following features have been added to Google Slides in the last 6 months.

Allowing participants to submit questions and vote on them during a Google Slides presentation

To see the feature in action, check out this video:

A few things to note:

  • The Slides Q&A feature works on all devices that can open a browser - so in the context of Campus des Nations laptops or smartphones would work.
  • You can only use Slides Q&A if you have edit or comment access to that Slides presentation.

‘Accept and present audience questions’ support available here.

Use your mouse as a laser pointer in Slides

Just choose the laser pointer option from the toolbar and move your mouse, and a red laser-like dot will appear in the same place on screen.

Managing group work - Assigning an Action Item

You can manually assign an Action Item to someone in the Docs, Sheets and Slides desktop and mobile apps by mentioning their name in a comment and checking the new Action Item box. The assignee will get an email notification and see the Action Item(s) clearly highlighted with a blue bar when they open the file.

The assignee is responsible for marking the action as being completed. This is useful for giving feedback to students and working with a team of colleagues upon a project.


Google Slides

‘Assign an Action Item’ support here.

Using the ‘Explore’ feature to make design polishing simple

As you (or students) work, ‘Explore’ dynamically generates design suggestions, based on the content of your slide. Simply pick a recommendation and apply it with a single click - no cropping, resizing or reformatting required. This should speed up the process of design and allow you (and students) to spend more time focusing on the content of the presentation.


Google Slides

At the bottom right, click Explore.

You might see images or information you can use to help finish your work.

  • Layouts: To choose a new layout for your slide, click the one you want.
  • Web search: Search the web for information related to your presentation.
  • Images: To preview an image, click Preview Zoom in. To use an image, click it. This will also add the link to the bottom of the image.
  • Google Drive: You can search Google Drive for content to use with your presentation.

‘See and use suggested layouts in a presentation’ support here.

Inserting charts from Google Sheets into Slides

To save valuable time, G Suite is now making it possible to update a chart in a Google Slide with a single click - without ever needing to leave your document or presentation.

To get started, simply go to Insert > Chart in Google Docs or Slides on the web. Insert a new chart, or select From Sheets to add an existing chart from the spreadsheet of your choice. As long as you check the Link to spreadsheet box, you’ll be given the option to update the chart with one click if its underlying data in Google Sheets changes. Should you no longer want to be notified of updates to a particular chart, you can simply unlink it. This same functionality is available if you copy and paste a chart into a document or presentation.

Univeristy of YouTube


University of YouTube

It was while I was participating in a photography workshop given by the talented and largely self-taught Steven Ashworth that I was introduced to the idea of the ‘University of YouTube’.

If you want to find out how to do something a YouTube search is very likely to reveal a substantial list of video tutorials. After watching two or three of them your understanding of the situation will have increased, as will the chance of success in whatever you are trying to do. A search for ‘change headlight bulb Skoda Octavia’ limited to content uploaded in the last year lists about 1940 results. My mother (not a digital native but handy with her iPad) helped my father mend the lawnmower by finding him a YouTube clip detailing fixing the particular broken piece on the specific model he had in front of him.

How can we use the ‘University of YouTube’ in our teaching?

All Ecolint students (and staff) have their own YouTube accounts so why not encourage students to create material? Could a student produced video explaining how to do something or explaining why something happened be a suitable assessment outcome? Can we help encourage students to create content that will support the learning of others while creating materials that contribute to our students’ positive digital footprint?

This ‘homemade’ video on French verb conjugation has been viewed nearly 68000 times.

I believe that the use of the ‘University of YouTube’ doesn’t just have to be based around student produced video. How about getting students to evaluate the work of others? A collaboratively produced rubric could be used to evaluate existing videos found online. Could feedback be left online by the students in a supportive and constructive manner without resorting to trolling?

How could a class approach evaluating this teacher/adult produced video on World War 1 (in 6 minutes)?

How could the ‘University of YouTube’ help address ‘Technology for Learning Framework’ standards?

YouTube is a digital social network so there is a strong link to the Communication skills standard: Participate in, and contribute to, digital social media networks. Should a teaching activity include the leaving of feedback online in the comment sections of a video then the affective skills standard: Discuss positive behaviours that support collaboration and community could definitive feature.

Searching rather than Googling?

Google has a monopoly on the language of ‘search’. When referring to research on the internet do you ask students to do ‘a search for…’ or do you ask them to ‘google ...’?

The Google search engine is definitely a very useful tool that can be used effectively and efficiently with the correct approach. However there are alternatives tools with which information can be found. The use of these alternatives is well worth exploring with your students. Such an activity would link to the ‘evaluate and select digital information sources based on the appropriateness to specific tasks’ or ‘reflect critically about how information is collected, reshaped, and shared online’ standards within the Technology for Learning Framework.

Three alternatives that are worth exploring are Bing, Wolfram|Alpha and DuckDuckGo. Below I have provided some links, a brief outline of what they are and their pros and cons. I have also shown the results for the ‘kings of france’ should you use each to search.



What is it? Microsoft’s search engine.


  • The ‘image search’ is well developed in terms of easy access to various search filters such as ‘Date’ and ‘License’.
  • Teaching point: with students - try a search in both bing and Google - which gives the best result for the type of information you are looking for? Which is the best tool for the task you are doing?


  • It is weakened by the fact that it doesn’t have as many users as Google. This leads to less optimised results, more spammy and irrelevant results.





What is it? ‘A computational knowledge engine’... so it not a search engine but more of an ‘answer engine’ looking at it’s own databases for the answers. It relies on licensed databases and content entered, tagged and catalogues by Wolfram Research employees.


  • For getting ‘data’, calculations, conversations and localizations.
  • There is a whole range of suggestions on the homepage - have a play and reflect on how it may be useful for the subject you teach.


  • If the data isn’t there - it can’t find it. It is not a search engine.



What is it?   It is an anonymous search engine - it does not keep track of your searches. DuckDuckGo aggregates results from Bing, Yandex and other engines and displays them privately to the 'searcher'.


  • They have a strict one-add-a-page revenue model.
  • Teaching point: with students - try a search in both DuckDuckGo and Google - which gives the best result for the type of information you are looking for?
  • Teaching point: discuss with students the pros and cons of not being tracked by your search engine.


  • There are no personalized results. Like bing it lacks the number of users that Google does and therefore the benefits all that ‘knowledge’ and ‘patterns’ brings.

Building collaborative YouTube playlists with colleagues and students

All staff and students that use the Ecolint 'Google Apps for Education' domains (so anybody with a or email address) has a YouTube account.



YouTube playlists are a convenient place to curate a set of YouTube clips for a whole number of reasons. Maybe you want to provide a playlist to help students revise. Maybe you are working with a set of colleagues to pool resources used for teaching a certain unit or topic. Playlists do not have to be collaborative if you do not wish them to be and they can be public, private or unlisted.

To create a collaborative YouTube playlist:

Choose the first video you would like to add to your playlist. Click on 'Add to', give the playlist a name and then click 'Create'.


Click on the 'the burger' (the three parallel lines) in the top left hand corner of the page to access the YouTube menu.

Click 'My Channel' and then click on the playlist you have just created. Click 'Playlist settings' and then 'Collaborate'. Click the switch to the right of 'Collaborators can add videos to this playlist' and then copy the link that is generated. You can now send this link to the people you wish to be able to collaborate on your playlist. When they click on the link, they will be taken to YouTube and there will be a blue banner for them to click upon to acknowledge their new powers!


Southampton to Cape Town in 1937 - Using ArcGIS Online

This lesson has existed in various forms for the last couple of years. The basis of the learning experience is that students design the route that a plane would have taken in 1937 to travel from Southampton to Cape Town.

This version of the lesson uses ArcGIS Online as the main digital tool for designing and then documenting the route.

Before students start this lesson using ArcGIS Online they should:

  • have had an ArcGIS Online account created for them, they should have accessed it and understand how to open/save content within it.
  • experienced the use of 'Map Notes' as a way of annotating a map.
  • used the measuring tool.
  • experimented with changing the base map.

This document 'An Introduction to ArcGIS Online' will take the students through all of these prerequisite steps.

Travel by Air

Lesson Sequence

  1. Students use ArcGIS Online (mainly the measuring tool and Map Notes) to design their route using this map as their starting point.
  2. Students produce a route card for the journey - I would suggest the use of Google Sheets and some basis spreadsheet skill development [Record basic data, use basic formula].
  3. Students use the route they have designed in ArcGiS Online to produce a Story Map [Share > Create a Web App > Build a Story Map > Story Map journal].
  4. The '1922 World Map (Web Mercator)' Tile Layer by National Geographic is included in the starting map so that students can explore the pre-decolonization names and borders of countries.
  5. The student submits their Story Map (and route card) for assessment. An MYP Individuals and Societies assessment rubric can be found on - produced by Ellena Mart.