Articles in category "Weekly post"
The launch of 'Essential PD bytes'
What is a 'Essential PD byte'?
A 20 minute long digital skill focused professional development session.
The aim of 'Essential PD bytes' is to offer a range of 'byte' size professional development opportunities for staff at the International School of Geneva - Campus des Nations. Each 'byte' should last no longer than 20 minutes so can easily be an agenda item at a meeting or part of a larger event.
What 'Essential PD bytes' are on offer?
Check out the ever growing list of suggested sessions here.
Mote - voice messaging for the web, integrated into the products we use
Mote - at its simplest - enables you to leave audio comments on a Google Document. So instead of typing feedback as comments - you can leave audio feedback.
We have 'unlimited' subscriptions that we can assign to interested staff so that the audio clips recorded can be 90 seconds long, rather than 30 seconds. If you are interested in benefiting from an 'unlimited' subscription - please contact Richard Allaway.
Using Mote for Google Forms
With Mote for Google Forms, you are able to leave Motes as a question in Google Forms.
We do not have Mote accounts for students - but this is something we are investigating. If you are interested in exploring how your students could use Mote as part of their learning in your subject - contact Richard Allaway.
Read more here → support.mote.com - Help! How do I use Mote for Google Forms? Troubleshooting tips
Using Mote for Google Slides
Mote for Google Slides to be the easiest, most delightful way to record and insert audio content to Google Slides.
Using Mote for Google Slides you could add explanations or instructions as part of a Google Slide deck that other will use asynchronously.
Again - we do not yet have Mote accounts for students. If you are interested in how students accounts would enable them to produce 'new' and different classroom artefacts - contact Richard Allaway.
Read more here → support.mote.com - Help! How do I use Mote for Google Slides? Troubleshooting tips
Google has been busy with a a slew of updates to Google Documents therefore I felt it important to highlight them here - plus the fact that Google Docs in 15 years old!
Google Docs has been around for 15 years
Starting as a service called Writely in 2005, Google Docs was officially launched a Google product in 2006.
Read more about 15 Google Docs milestones here → Google - The Keyword - 15 milestones, moments and more for Google Docs’ 15th birthday [11 October 2021]
Google Docs - Add a page break before paragraphs in Google Docs
You can now mark a paragraph to always begin on a new page with the new “Add page break before” option in Google Docs. This is particularly useful if you want certain paragraph styles to always create a new page such as titles, subtitles, or headings.
To insert a page break before a paragraph:
- Select the entire paragraph or click anywhere into the paragraph.
- Select an option:
• In the toolbar, go to Line & paragraph spacing Add page break before.
• At the top, go to Format Line & paragraph spacing Add page break before.
Tip: To have a heading stay at the top of a new page, you can select it and use Add page break before.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Add a page break before paragraphs in Google Docs [19 October 2021]
Google Docs - Easily add to Google Docs with the new universal @ menu
Google have added a universal insertion menu to easily add things like tables and images, in addition to smart chips, directly in Google Docs. Simply type “@”, and you’ll see a list of recommended files, people, meetings, as well as different content elements and formats to insert into your document. You can also search all available components.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Easily add to Google Docs with the new universal @ menu [19 October 2021]
Google Docs - More easily add citations in Google Docs with new search and automated entry function
When adding citations in Google Docs, you can now search for books and online sources, then automatically populate some attributes for those sources.
[This feature may not be available yet - it could take until the end of the month.]
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - More easily add citations in Google Docs with new search and automated entry function [2 November 2021]
Making more use of Google Tasks
Google Tasks is Google's basic (yet very capable) to-do list manager. The easiest way to find it is to go to your Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Sheets or Slides. You should see the icon on the right hand side of the screen. If you can't see Tasks app, click the arrow in the bottom right corner of the screen to expand the panel.
makeuseof.com recently published a post titled '5 Tips to Use Google Tasks Effectively' which is well worth a read if you are interested in making more use of Google Tasks.
Educators should consider showing students how to use Google Tasks to organise the things that they need to do.
To-do list managers work best when they are easy to access - when you want to add something or check what needs to be done.
Google Tasks can be found in the side panel from Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Slides.
TasksBoard produces a desktop app for Google Tasks.
If you like a more 'kanban board' approach check out the Kanbanly Google Chrome extension.
Splitting your screen and using multiple desktops on your Chromebook
You can split the screen on your Chromebook.
You can drag and drop windows. Just grab the window using the menu bar and drag it to the left or right edge of your screen.
You can us the maximize button. Just click and hold the button, located in the top-right corner. You'll see two arrows on the left and right of the button. Move over one of them while still holding down the mouse button and the window will be shifted there.
You can also use keyboard shortcuts to split the screen and move windows. The Alt + [ and Alt + ] shortcuts will move a window to the right or left sides of the screen.
Read more here → makeuseof.com - How to Use Split Screen Mode on Chromebook [12 September 2021]
You can add desks to organize multiple windows and multi-task on your Chromebook.
To create a desk →
- On your Chromebook keyboard, press the Show windows key .
- At the top right, select New desk.
- Optional: To rename a desk, select the desk's name and enter in your preferred name.
To go to a different desk →
- On your Chromebook keyboard, press the Show windows key .
- At the top, select a desk.
Tip: To switch to a different desk on your touchpad, swipe 4 fingers left or right.
Read more here → support.google.com - Set up & manage multiple desktops with desks
A bit of geeky fun for the break → the starting sequence from this week's 'Unleashed' Apple event - a bit of computing history and creative flair.
Add a co-host to a Google Meet
You can now assign co-hosts in a Google Meet.
Why would you want to do that? Maybe you are presenting to parents or a large group of students and you want somebody else to take the lead in admitting participants, muting etc. so that you can focus on what your the message you are sharing. If this is the case - you need a co-host!
Read more here → support.google.com - Add Co-hosts in Google Meet
Add a watermark to a Google Document
You can now add image watermarks directly into Google Docs. This watermark image will repeat behind the text on every page of your document.
Read more here → support.google.com - Change page settings on Google Docs
All staff and students in the secondary school at the International School of Geneva - Campus des Nations have access to a Soundtrap account.
Soundtrap is a very capable online application - but should also be your first stop for recording simple audio clips for classes etc.
Soundtrap offers the Soundtrap Academy where you can "learn to use Soundtrap to the fullest, empower your students, and become a Certified Soundtrap Educator."
Is it just me?
It might be...
If you are experiencing a problem with a Google Workspace application it can be worth checking the Google Workspace Status Dashboard to see if it something 'bigger than just you'.
This is the 38th 'weekly post' that I have added to digitaltechnologies.education. The 37 other posts where primarily aimed at educators. From now on I am going to try and add a monthly post focused upon digital citizenship considerations that both educators and families may find engaging.
Is it possible to make the internet safe for children?
An interesting listen from the UK based 'The Guardian' newspaper. The nature of the risks parents have to think about, the effectiveness of the approaches which can be used to reduce them, and the possible limitations of any such systems are all discussed in a sensible and balanced manner.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised by the podcast - please do not hesitate to contact me at school.
Childnet International Parent and Carers Toolkit
Childnet International is a non-profit organisation "working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children".
The Childnet International Parent and Carers Toolkit provides resources that offer practical tips and advice upon:
- Starting discussions about their online life
- Setting boundaries around online behaviour and technology use
- Finding out where to get more help and support
Does your child have a Nintendo Switch?
Does your child have a Nintendo Switch?
The UK Safer Internet Centre has a useful post about the available parental controls on the Switch.
Parental controls are useful tools as part of a larger discussion between parents and children about gaming console use, screen time and the appropriateness of certain game titles.
Helping your child to 'get things done'
Students have lots of things to juggle - and it only gets more complicated as they get older.
Google Workspace, that all the students at the International School of Geneva - Campus des Nations have access to, has two in-built digital task manager options - Google Tasks and Google Keep.
For those students looking for something a little more evolved I would highly recommend Todoist.
The effective use of a digital task manager takes practice and support. Todoist recently released A Student’s Guide to Todoist which is an interesting read for all older students (and their parents) who are looking for a tool to help them get things done in a deliberate and organised way.
ManageBac subject pages
ManageBac now has 'subject pages' for IB Diploma and MYP.
Our new Subject Pages for IB Diploma and MYP provide searchable, dynamic, curated support, resources, ideas and unit plans to support IB teaching and learning.managebac.com/blog/subject-pages
Subject Pages are accessible by Teachers from the Curriculum Tab via the Subject Centre Tile.
Read more here → ManageBac - Subject Pages [23 August 2021]
Cursive - a new note taking app for Chromebook users
Cursive is a new note taking app from Google but it isn't an app store app - it is a web-based 'progressive Web App' and that means anyone (with a Chromebook) can use it now.
It is still 'early' in it's life and I will try and share more about it in the future. If you are a Chromebook user - visit the URL cursive.apps.chrome, unleash your stylus and give it a test drive.
Discover how Google Search works
We all use Google Search - regularly! We rely on it to find the answers to our questions. Seeing we are so dependent upon it maybe we should take an opportunity to learn more about it.
Google has recently updated their 'How Search works' website. It is worth a couple of moments of your time.
Mote - recent updates and developments
Mote is a platform that allows you to record audio comments and the like in Google Workspace applications. For example - if you are commenting upon a student's Google Document you can leave audio comments in the comment boxes - rather than texting.
Staff at Campus des Nations who are interested in giving Mote a try - please let me know and I will sort you out with a subscription.
Mote has made the following recent updates:
- Pause recording in Google Classroom and Google Slides
- iOS app
- Extension and iOS app localization into Chinese, French and other languages. Find out how to switch your language.
This will we the last 'Weekly post' before the summer break. Posts will start again in late August or early September focused upon the updates made during the summer months.
Google Docs - Smart chips for files and meetings
Google is currently working on a whole set of enhancements to Google Workspace that will make the collaboration and project management even easier.
Smart chips are already available when you mention a person in a document, displaying additional information such as the person’s location, job title, and contact information.
Google have expanded this functionality to include the ability to insert smart chips for files and events.
- Open a document in Google Docs.
- Enter "@."
- Select from the list of suggestions or enter letters, numbers, or symbols to narrow your suggestions.
- Hover over the smart chip to view related information.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Insert smart chips for files and meetings, create checklists in Google Docs [18 May 2021]
Google Docs - create checklists
It is now possible to add checklists to Google Documents.
- Click a Google Doc page where you want to add a list.
- In the toolbar, choose a list type → Checklist.
Add audio to Kahoot! questions
You can now add audio to questions. Just type a short text in one of the supported languages and it’ll be read aloud to players before they answer the question!
Based on Microsoft Azure’s Text to Speech service that converts text to lifelike speech, this media type supports text in the following 37 languages:
Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese.
Read more here → New: add audio to Kahoot! questions to power up listening comprehension and language learning [14 June 2021]
Replace your background with a video in Google Meet
In addition to replacing your Google Meet background with a static image, you can now replace your background with a video. At the moment, you can select from three Google made videos: a classroom, a party, and a forest — more options will be available soon.
Just because you can - doesn't mean you should!
It is the season of developer conferences. Both Google and Apple have had their annual (online) developer conference in the last few weeks. These conferences are not focused upon 'educational technology' but technologies they announce and discuss will have impacts upon us, our student and upon education as a whole.
Both of the condensed video summaries below are worth a watch to get a feel of the technologies that will be influencing us and our students in the near future.
Google I/O 2021 in under 9 minutes
Google I/O (or simply I/O) is (usually) held by Google in Mountain View, California. "I/O" stands for Input/Output, as well as the slogan "Innovation in the Open".
WWDC 2021 in 9 Minutes
WWDC stands for Worldwide Developers Conference and is held annual, by Apple, (usually) in in the San Jose Convention Center in California.
Four things to check out →
An update on the Google Certified Educator Level 1
If you have not yet completed your Google certified Educator Level 1 certification, or have let your lapse, this video is worth 14 minutes of your time →
Produced by John R. Sowash who is definitely worth subscribing to on YouTube for Chrome and Chromebook ideas and updates.
Positioning an image in front of or behind text in Google Docs
You can now position an image in front of or behind text in Google Docs.
You’ll see the new option for positioning an image above or below text within the image options sidebar and in the image toolbar when clicking directly on an image.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Create and import documents that contain images above or behind text in Google Docs [24 May 2021]
Present from Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly to Google Meet
You can now present content from Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides directly to an active Google Meet call.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Present from Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly to Google Meet [18 May 2021]
Google Slides Theme Builder
Google has renaming the “Master” view in Google Slides to “Theme Builder”.
This change better communicates the benefits: to help users quickly customize the font, color, and layout customization for their current theme, ensuring a consistent experience throughout the presentation.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - “Master” view in Google Slides renamed to “Theme Builder” [25 May 2021]
Four things to check out this week.
Richer information on the edit history of a Document
You can now view richer information on the edit history of a particular range of content in Google Docs. Simply highlight and right-click on a range of text and select “Show Editors” from the dropdown menu. Here, you can view a list of editors and their latest edit along with time stamps.
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - “Show Editors” provides more context on changes made in Google Docs [3 May 2021]
How to Find Public Google Docs, Slides, Forms, Sheets, and Drawings
Another useful video from Richard Byrne that demonstrates how to use Google's advanced search function to find publicly shared Google Docs, Slides, Forms, Sheets, and Drawings.
Four new types of citations in Google Docs
Now you can add these four additional citation source types in Google Docs:
- TV Series
- TV Episode
Read more here → Google Workspace Updates - Add and manage four new types of citations in Google Docs [31 March 2021]
Google Sheets: Every Keyboard Shortcut You Need for Windows and Mac
Useful post listing all the Google Sheets keyboard shortcuts, including a free cheat sheet PDF, from makeuseof.com.