Tech Tip Tuesday: Create NEW GSuite Files the FAST Way

Todays tip is another short but sweet one. As you know, there are many ways to accomplish the same task or access the same app/tool within Google. When it comes to creating documents (docs, sheets, forms, slides, etc) this is no different.

You can use the plus sign in Google Drive to create a new file or while in a document already, you can click FILE to start a new one, or you can type in docs.google.com (or forms.google.com, or slides.google.com, etc) then click create. Or, you can even click the GSuite apps button (rubik’s cube) and access the file type there).

But there is even one easier and/or quicker way… Simply type in a new tab URL doc.new! That’s it. You can even do sheet.new, form.new, slide.new, site.new, etc! So next time you go to create a new document on the fly simply type in ___.new in a new tab and you are all set!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Change Your Chrome Theme

This is a simple trick to change the look and feel of your Chrome browser. You can pick from a variety of colors, images, and styles, etc. To do this simply open your Chrome browser. At the top right, to the right of your profile image, select more options button (3 dots) –> then select settings. Click appearance in the left navigation –> then select theme.

This will open the chrome webstore directly in the themes section. Scroll down to find themes you like. Select one, and then click Add to Chrome. That’s it! Simple as can be.

Hope this helps and adds another element of personalization to your Chrome browser.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Get a Google Calendar Agenda Emailed to You

Like many of you, I have a habit of checking my email often. Most of the time, it’s the first thing I go into when I start my day. If you are a Google Calendar user, you can also have your Google Calendar events list emailed to you, similar to how Frontline sends emailed reports/lists of your PD activities.

To have this list emailed to you daily, simply go to Google Calendar –> click the settings gear toward the top right corner (next to month, etc). Click settings in the pop-up window –> then scroll down in the left navigation and locate the specific calendar you want to set this for. Note that you will need to do this for each calendar you want a list emailed to you for. Next, after you select the calendar you want, scroll down under the calendar settings on the main window to “Other Notifications” –> then set “Daily Agenda” to EMAIL.

That’s it! You’ll get an emailed list of your daily activities/events scheduled for that calendar each day.

Hope that helps.

Tuesday Tech Tip: Whiteboard.fi… A different kind of digital whiteboard.

I try not to bombard you with new apps and tools, but when something new/cool comes up I need to share it. With everything virtual/digital/hybrid going on, you can never have enough digital whiteboards. But this one is different. Check out Whiteboard.fi

Whiteboard.fi is a free online whiteboard tool that takes your traditional digital whiteboard experience and adds a new dimension. Teachers can create a new class right away or register for free to create an account. From here, after creating a class name, you can set some quick security parameters such as a waiting room, similar to Zoom, so that you can approve the people who enter it. A link is then created for you to share with your students. Quickly toggle to the whiteboard (a button at the top) and you will see what looks like your basic digital whiteboard app. But whiteboard.fi adds a few things that I think a few of our teachers could really REALLY use. There is built-in sheet music for music teachers, built-in grid/graph paper for math teachers, built-in emojis for engagement, and a built-in equation editor!

Some other really cool tools and features that are included are the ability to push your whiteboard out to students on their devices after they join your class AND the ability to see students and their OWN whiteboards. This is where this app really separates itself from others. Not only do you get your whiteboard, but each student gets one of their own too! And you can see all of theirs at the bottom of your screen to help manage and keep track of their work!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Annotate Over a Student Assignment Submission in Schoology on iPad

When it comes to grading student work, sometimes we need to be able to mimic some of the things we do physically yet in a digital medium. With the iPad, you can utilize the Schoology app to annotate or leave comments on submitted students documents just like you would on a physical copy. This documents can be Word Docs, Google Docs, PDF files, and images. This is a great way to leave comments on student work or grade and leave comments on a student submitted essay. Check out the video below for a quick how-to!

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Zoom Updates

Zoom recently released a few more updates and features to Zoom. The most recent version is 5.4.4. To check that open Zoom –> with Zoom open click Zoom.us in the top left of your Mac bar –> click about Zoom.us –> then check for updates. Enter your password (same as your school google account) and update.

So the first update with Zoom’s newest version allows you to revoke/suspend all participant activities. This will mute all participa,nt audio AND video, stop any screensharing, end all breakout rooms, and pause any recording. You can access this by clicking your security button on your Zoom toolbar. See the image below:

The next feature allows you to screenshare multiple programs at once. Other programs will NOT be shown to participants. This allows you to not have to share your entire desktop. To do this simply click screenshare –> then under basic click a program (this can be chrome, another web service, powerpoint, a mac app etc) –> click one of the programs and then hold shift and click another. A popup will appear telling you to do this as well as grey out those programs that you can’t dual share. See below:

Finally, you can also stack your chat window with your participant window! Simply click chat, then click participants without closing the chat out and see them stack in the right side! See below.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Convert a Word or Google Doc Quiz to Schoology

I’ve posted about this in the past but with recent updates to both Schoology AND the third party website we used to create the file needed for the conversion to Schoology, I decided I needed to go through the process again.

Watch the video below to learn how you can take an old Word or Google Doc test/quiz, and convert it to Schoology without having to retype everything in!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Padlet Premium Service

So we finally and officially have a premium Padlet service. I am excited about having this one. Many of you have been asking for it and I am glad to finally bring it to you! This premium version will let you create as many Padlet boards as you want without deleting any, AND will let you share them with classes and fellow teachers!

First, here is how you can get the premium service and merge your older account to the newer one.

  1. Go to our new designated district URL for Padlet that was sent out in our weekly tech tip newsletter. You will no longer go to padlet.com!
  2. Click Google to register/sign-in with your school Google account.
  3. You are now logged in to Padlet Backpack, the new premium version of Padlet. It will also merge your old content with the new database. A popup to do this will follow.

Select the items you want to bring in, then click the button to import. Here are the steps
● Log in with Backpack account
● Click avatar >> Settings >> Import
● Log in to your basic account
● Choose padlets to import >> Import

That’s it! You’ll have access to the premium version and can begin making new Padlet boards to enhance student engagement and interaction in your lessons. Any issues, please let me know!

Hope this helps.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Upload Videos to Edpuzzle or Appsmash With Other Tools

Edpuzzle is a great way to build and design asynchronous learning activities, to differentiate, or to help facilitate student learning by extending it with video tutorials and extra lessons.

One of the benefits to doing this is to use Edpuzzle with another tool. Edpuzzle recently (not sure exactly when) started integrating with Google Drive. So now, when you create your video lesson, you can select to upload a video, and Edpuzzle will give you an option to select from Google Drive and pull a video file from there directly into Edpuzzle. Pretty cool!

Another benefit is the ability to App Smash with other tools such as Screencastify, Explain Everything, Notability, or the iPad’s Markup and Screen recorder. Creating your own flipped learning video and pushing it out to students to watch and verify whether or not they actually did, really personalizes the learning more than a youtube video. When you are done creating your Screencastify video, simply select share, and Edpuzzle is an option to push out your video to a particular class of your!

With Notability, or the iPad’s Screen Recorder and Markup, you can simply record what you are doing using the particular app, upload the video file created and saved on the ipad to your Google Drive, and then back in Edpuzzle simply click to create a video –> upload –> and choose from Google Drive!

Hope some of these ideas come in handy!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Zoom Closed Captions

Another useful tool within Zoom that goes unnoticed is closed captions. This might be useful for ELL students or just to gather a transcript of the verbal discussion from your Zoom meeting.

To use closed captions, first you need to enable this feature in your Zoom settings. Go to Zoom.us –> log into your account –> then access the settings from the left navigation. Scroll down to “In-meeting Advanced”. Find “closed captions” and toggle it on.

Then, start a Zoom meeting and you will see a CC button in your Zoom dock/menu. Click on that to start closed captions –> then click “enable auto-transcription”. From there, as you speak, you will see the captions appear on your screen. This is pretty fluent and for the most part, does a nice job transcribing your voice. From here, you can also click the arrow next to the CC Button to open a sub menu. If you choose “view full transcript” a side window will open with everything that has been transcribed. Once you save the transcript, a copy of it will be saved to your desktop/computer.

Hope this helps!