The New Google Earth: Now on Apple iOS

Back in April of 2017 Google announced a brand new version of Google Earth that was completely web-based, opening up the application to be accessed from just about any device that could access the Internet. They quickly followed this up with support for mobiles devices running Android, and now the new Google Earth is available on iOS.

Working with students in a 1-to-1 Chromebook environment, this news was HUGE! I had already observed students using Google Maps from their devices and some didn’t see how Google Earth was any different. Then I showed them the I’m Feeling Lucky option (a role of the dice icon) and the mystery of where they would end next was all they needed.

Google Earth dice icon

For teachers, the new Voyager feature is like having a virtual field trip already pre-planned for you! With interactive stories grouped into categories like travel, nature, culture, history, and education there is a lot of potential for exploration. I liken the experience to participating in a Google Expeditions virtual reality field trip except that each student can explore the various modules at their own pace.

Google Earth iOS Voyager

For more information about Google Earth for Apple iOS, check out their post from their Keyword blog and their Resources and FAQ page.

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EquatIO Free for Teachers: You Do The Math

EquatIO is a powerful math tool that allows users to create equations, formulas, and graphs, then add them to various applications including GSuite for Education and Microsoft Word. Within GSuite for Education, EquatIO is compatible with Google Docs, Sheets, Drawings, and Forms. And just last week Texthelp, the company behind this and Read&Write, announced that it was making EquatIO FREE for teachers!

 

EquatIO toolbar screenshot with speech tool


To take advantage of this opportunity, follow this link to their blog post which will explain the process. But, in a nutshell, this is what you need to do:

  1. Navigate to their website and download/install the EquatIO program for your device. Use this link, then click on the green Try now, for free button and choose your platform.
  2. At some point you will be prompted to enter your email address to complete the setup/install. It’s important to remember this email as you will need it later to turn on access to the premium features.EquatIO toolbar menu
  3. Once setup is complete, use this link to access the registration form and request a free premium account license. It may take up to 24 hours for your account to be updated.
  4. To verify your upgrade, open any supported application file (i.e. Microsoft Word or Google Docs) and turn on EquatIO. From the menu bar at the bottom of your window click on the EquatIO logo to access a pop-up menu, then click on Options. Under the Premium menu, you should see that your license is now listed as a premium one.

EquatIO Options window

Google Street View Gets Wet

 

What I mean is that Google has taken their Street View mapping program, wrapped it in waterproof material, and explored that natural wonders of the world that are under the Earth’s oceans.

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Muli Kandu, Maldives

With Google Underwater Street View, you have access to over 129 different underwater locations where you can explore wild life, coral reefs, and shipwrecks. See the effects of climate change on various underwater ecosystems as well as the efforts being made to restore them. If you have Google Cardboard, then use their Street View app (iOS, Android) to explore these underwater realms in virtual reality.

Muli Kandu-Maldives Cardboard view.PNG

My thanks to Matt Bergman at Learn Lead Grow for cluing me into this fantastic resource!

Image Insert Tool Updated for Docs, Slides, & Drawings

Screenshot of new insert image menu optionAdding an image to a document, presentation, or drawing can do wonders to enhance the overall product. In a recent update, Google has redesigned the Insert > Image tool and integrated it into their right-hand sidebar interface, bringing it inline with other recently updated tools like Explore and Define. This new interface also better supports the drag-&-drop workflow.

Screenshot of insert > image by search the web option


image thumbnail with preview image option displayedWhen inserting an image using the “Search the web” option, at first look the side panel does not contain text explaining what kind of usage rights the results will be filtered under. As a teacher of digital citizenship and wanting students to realize the importance, especially with images, of respecting the rights of the original author, the loss of this filtering option is a disappointment. However, If you hover over an image in the side panel a magnifying glass icon will become visible in the bottom-right corner, which you can use to preview the image. It is in this preview pane that the usage rights filter text can be found, reminding us that the search results are indeed being filtered under the usage rights: labeled for commercial use with modification.

image preview with usage rights filter setting text


Another issue that has already cropped up on social media is the noticeable absence of the “Take a snapshot” option from the new Insert > Image menu. If you miss this option as much as I do, then I strongly encourage you to send Google feedback and let them know. In the meantime, check out this blog post for Eric Curts who has come up with an alternative to tide us over in the interim.

For more information about the new Insert > Image tool, please check out the G Suite Updates blog.

 

 

Google Forms Gets A Bit More Intelligent

gform icon with lightbulbGoogle Forms is an important player in the suite of Google Drive apps, providing users with a great tool for collecting data from audiences large and small. In education, Forms has proven to be a valuable tool for creating digital quizzes to help teachers and students assess their teaching and learning. This summer Forms has been doing some learning of its own and now supports intelligent response options and validation.

Intelligent Response Options

When you ask certain questions, Forms will analyze your text and suggest possible response options. Sometimes the options displayed may be generic (e.g. True/False or Yes/No), but other times Forms will suggest more specific option choices. You then have the choice of selecting which option(s) you’d like Forms to pre-fill your question with, or select ‘ADD ALL’ if you’d like to use all of the options.

gForms smart response01

gForms smart response02


Intelligent Response Validation

One of the bonus features for Form questions is the ability to turn on data validation to help audiences provide the right type of information in the correct format. For example, if you want to collect respondents email addresses then the format of the answer should include the ‘@’ symbol. The ability to set up data validation for this type of question is nothing new. What IS new is Forms ability to detect these types of questions and suggest the best data validation setting for you.

Intelligent response validation

Another way that I’ve used data validation in my classes is to help students pick out the key points in videos with fill-in-the-blank questions. I’ve also used it to help students with spelling key vocabulary and creating digital scavenger hunts where only the correct answer will allow them to move on to the next page. Data validation has also been used by educators to create digital Breakout EDU games where each Form question acts as a different lock to the virtual box.

‘Checkbox Grid’ Comes to Google Forms

checkbox_grid equation

What happens when you put the checkboxes question type and the multiple choice grid question type from Google Forms into a room together and ask them to collaborate? You get the new checkbox grid question type.

The checkbox grid question comes in handy when you need respondents to be able to select multiple answers from each category. One example of this might be when you are collecting information about how often a resource (e.g. a computer lab, conference room, or MakerSpace) will be used by respondents at set times each day of the week. Or perhaps you are looking for volunteers to man a resource during set blocks/periods during the week, like the school store or student help desk.

NOTE: If you make a checkbox grid question required, then respondents will be asked to provide at least one response per row.

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Move Entire Sections in Google Forms

When was the last time you created something and the order in which you created it did not change by the time you reached a final product? Yeah, I couldn’t remember a time when this was the case either. Thankfully, technology has created an environment where it is easy to create content as we think of it and then reorder it later and as many times as necessary. Google Forms has this flexibility in the ability to reorder option choices in a question and reorder whole questions. Now, Forms has given us the ability to reorder content by whole sections too.

  1. gForms section drop-down menuIn the Google Forms editor, different sections is what respondents see as different pages in a form. To reorder an entire section-worth of questions, locate the traffic light icon (or the 3 Oreo’s, if you want to stick with Google’s food theme) in the top-right corner of the section and from the drop-down menu select move section.
  2. A pop-up window will display a list of all of the sections in your form. Use the grouping of six dots to the left of a section (what I call the “grippers”) to click-&-drag sections, or use the arrows to the left to move sections up or down by one position.
  3. When reordering is complete, click SAVE to finish.

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For more information, check out the Google Docs Editors Help page.