YouTube Channels for Teachers & Learners

YouTube app icon

YouTube is a powerful and ever-growing source for videos about teaching, learning, and growing up in our ever-changing world. But, because there is so much out there it can be difficult to find videos of good quality and that are appropriate for the classroom. Luckily, there are fellow educators out there who have been hard at work curating such lists to share with the rest of us.

In a recent post on the Know Your Why! blog, Steve Wick shares his top six YouTube Channels designed with teaching and learning in mind including Edutopia, Google for Education, and others. And for you history enthusiasts out there, take a moment to watch the first video ever uploaded to YouTube (it’s 19 seconds long, so I think you can fit it in).

However, Steve Wick is only one person and to truly create a worthwhile list of resources requires the help of others. That’s why he has created a community Padlet board for other educators to contribute YouTube channels that they have found beneficial to teaching and learning. The Padlet board is organized into 15 categories ranging from science and math to empathy and physical education. There’s even a category called “Anything Goes” for those channels that don’t quite fit one particular mold. If you have discovered a YouTube channel that is share-worthy then please consider adding it to the list.

Padlet board screenshot

Google Forms & Chromebooks “Lock” Hands

Google Forms Locked Mode icon

Back in late summer Google announced that they would allow educators the ability to administer assessments with Google Forms in a distraction-free or “locked” environment. Last week they finally announced that the beta program is finally ready and are looking for help from us to test this new feature out (pun intended).


[NOTE: This feature is currently in beta and not available to all users yet. If you’d like to try it out, then you can sign up using this form.]


How it works

  • Once enabled, navigate to a Google Forms file that you have setup to act as a quiz and click on the Settings gear icon.
Google Forms Settings icon
  • In Settings click on the QUIZZES tab to locate the Locked mode on Chromebooks option that is currently in Beta.
  • Check off the box below to Turn on locked mode.

Notifications (teachers)

  • Once enabled, a notification will be added to the front page of the Google Form stating that this assessment has the locked mode option enabled.
Google Forms locked mode notification msg.
  • A similar reminder will be displayed on the assignment description window for teachers in Google Classroom.
Google Forms locked mode indicator inside of a Google Classroom assignment
  • Note that once locked mode has been enabled, certain options under the GENERAL tab in Settings will be turned off as well.
Google Forms General tab in Settings

Notifications (students)

  • If a student attempts to access the Google Forms assessment from a non-Chromebook device, they will receive an error message:
Google Forms locked mode error msg.
  • Otherwise, students using managed Chromebooks will be greeted with the following message window upon accessing the assessment:
gForms locked mode student notification
  • Once students click the START QUIZ button, the browser window will switch to full screen mode and disable any shortcuts, touchpad gestures, etc. that could allow them to leave the Google Form. Students do have the option to exit by clicking on the CLOSE QUIZ button located in the top-right corner, but if so then none of their responses will be saved.
  • NOTE: In addition to the window/tab navigation tools being locked down, other features like taking a screenshot have also been disabled.

For more information please visit Google’s The Keyword blog which contains additional information include a step-by-step guide, Help Center directions, and a link to sign-up to participate in the beta program. And if you do decide to sign-up please don’t forget to send Google lots of constructive feedback.

A Dashboard of Activity in Google Docs, Sheets, & Slides

Activity Dashboard icon

When working in a collaborative environment it can be helpful to know who and how many users are taking advantage of the resources you have shared. Google provides various tools with this in mind, from the Details tool in Drive to Version History inside of any Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide file. Now there is a new player joining the team called Activity Dashboard.


Activity Dashboard menu option

How it works

  1. Open any Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide.
  2. Locate the Tools menu option.
  3. From the drop-down list, choose Activity Dashboard.

View time

  • In the first of three panels, the View time panel lets you see who the file has been shared with and when they last accessed it.
  • Click on the Last viewed column header to adjust the sorting of users.
  • Think of this as a way to see how many students have chosen to take advantage of a resource you’ve shared with them.
Activity Dashboard's View time window
  • If you would like to contact select users and send a follow-up email, then you can do this directly from within the Activity Dashboard.
Activity Dashboard's Email follow-up window

Viewer trend

  • In the second panel, Viewer trend lets you see access activity over time.
  • Use the drop-down menu in the top-right corner to adjust the time frame, or use the line graph across the top to set a custom time frame.
  • Think of this as a way to track how often students have chosen to use a resource you’ve shared with them. Did they access the resource only when you first introduced it? Did they access it right before an assessment? Have they been using the resource throughout the unit of study?
Activity Dashboard Viewer trend window

Privacy settings

  • In the third panel, use Privacy settings to control access to the Activity Dashboard for all Docs, Sheets, and Slides files or for this specific file.
Activity Dashboard Privacy settings window
  • The details on the Activity Dashboard are only accessible to users who have “Edit” permissions to the Doc/Sheet/Slide file.
Activity Dashboard access denied message

For more information on the Activity Dashboard please refer this post on the G Suite Updates Blog.

“Copy Formatting” Enhancements Come to Google Slides

Paint Format tool icon in Google Docs, Slides, SheetsIn a previous post, I talked about how users can use the Paint Format tool to quickly transfer format settings to other objects inside of a Google Doc. In addition, double-clicking on the Paint Format tool will lock it into the “on” position or what Google calls “persistent” mode. This allows the user to transfer the format settings to multiple objects throughout the document. While the Paint Format tool has been available in other Google Drive apps, the ability to lock the tool into persistent mode has been available in Google Docs exclusively…until now.

Google Slides now has access to the “persistent” mode option for the Paint Format tool, allowing users to quickly and easy apply a specific formatting design to multiple objects across multiple slides.

Animated GIF showing persistent mode of the Paint Format tool


For more information, please refer to Google’s post from their G Suite Updates blog.

Digital Storytelling Toolkit from WeVideo

WeVideo Digital Storytelling ToolkitRecently I did a tutorial series on using WeVideo in the classroom and specifically with student Chromebooks. While some of the topics discuss tools that are only available under an education license, many of the tutorials apply equally to the free version of WeVideo. Now WeVideo has released a toolkit to help teachers and students turn this web-based tool into a powerful digital storytelling vehicle, and it’s completely FREE!


  1. First up in the Digital Storytelling Toolkit are several graphic organizer templates to help students organize their thoughts and ideas for digital storytelling, how-to video tutorials, and basic video storyboarding.
  2. Next in the toolkit are Examples for how to integrate digital storytelling into your classroom that includes public service announcements, big ideas inside of little moments, and news casting.
  3. Finally, check out their Reflection prompts to help students deepen their understanding and evaluation Rubrics to give students meaningful feedback.

For more information, check out the video below from WeVideo/Chief Education Officer Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad and their website.

Gmail Mobile Update: All Inboxes

Gmail iconOne of the things I love about the mobile Gmail app is that it can support multiple Gmail accounts and makes it relatively easy to switch between your different inboxes. However, for some the ultimate interface would include a way to see all of one’s emails from across different accounts in one inbox. Now you can.


How it works

  • The best part of the All Inboxes feature is that it doesn’t require any setup on the user’s part. Just use the app update procedure on your device and get the latest version of the Gmail app.
  • Now, when you click the sandwich icon in the top-left corner of the app you will see at the top of your labels list the new All Inboxes option.
  • Note that this configuration affects your VIEW of your email only and does not share emails across accounts.

Gmail mobile app with All Inboxes option highlighted

A couple of other points to note:

  • Gmail mobile compose iconOnce you have entered into All Inboxes view and you click on the compose pencil icon, the email address that will be used to send the email will be the account that you were in last. So for example, if the last account I was in before I turned on All Inboxes was my school Gmail account, then that will be the account used to send my email and not my personal gmail account.
  • To exit out of All Inboxes, click the sandwich icon in the top-left corner to slide out the side drawer and then select the Everything label. Otherwise, the app will remember your choice and continue showing you All Inboxes under that account until you choose to switch it off.

Gmail mobile All Inboxes and Everything options


For more information, please check out the post from the G Suite Updates Blog.

Create “.new” Docs, Sheets, Slides, & More!

The New button inside of Google DriveIn a recent episode of the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast, co-host Matt Miller shared a new, interesting, and quick way to create “new” files in various Google Drive apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides.


How it works

With the entry of new domain name types into the World Wide Web playground (to add to veterans like .com, .net, and .edu), Google took advantage of the .new domain and acquired several of them to match its suite of Google Drive apps. So for example, if you type into your browser’s address bar docs.new then you will instantaneously get a new blank Google Docs file. The same is true if you swap out the keyword “docs” and replace it with sheets, slides, forms, and even sites. Once you give the file a name, then it will automatically save into the main directory of your Google Drive app.


If you want to stay traditional then you can certainly still go to Google Drive and create a new file of your choice from the NEW button located in the top-left corner. And, if you want to access the template gallery you can go to each file types Google Slides Template Galleryrespective website:

But, now we have one more way to quickly create new blank files in many of the native Google Drive apps thanks to the new “.new” domain type.