From Google for Education, EDU in 90 is a YouTube video series designed to help keep you informed and up-to-date with news and information relevant to educators, administrators, and others in the teaching and learning community. And, they crunch these updates into 90-second bite-size pieces. For more information you can subscribe to the Google for Education YouTube channel, and to make sure you don’t miss you regular dose of “Google for Education goodness” you can save EDU in 90 to your YouTube playlist library.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Google 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.
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.
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.
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.
Whenever you find yourself creating many copies of an object, whether they are all the same or have slight differences, it sure is nice when you have the option to preset as many settings as you can to help streamline the creation process. With Google Forms, now we have the ability to preset several options that will apply to all future forms that are made.
To access, create a new Google Form or open a pre-existing one. From the main screen, locate the traffic light icon (or the 3 Oreo’s, if you want to stick with Google’s food theme), and at the bottom of the drop-down menu find the new Preferences option. From the Preferences window you can preset the following settings:
- Always collect respondents email address
- Always make questions required
- Always assign a default quiz point value
For me, I tend to use Forms for assessments and making sure that I collect email addresses from my students automatically is essential. I also love the Make questions required default as I was caught by this one on more than one occasion last school year when some students were turning in their assessment without having answered all the questions. However, I did use these as teachable moments to have a discussion about taking the time to review one’s answer choices before submitting.
If you’d like to see more options added to the preferences panel, then don’t forget to leave Google feedback using the ‘Report a problem’ tool located in the bottom-right corner of the Forms editor under the question mark icon.
Google Classroom is a pretty cool app in itself. But, when you realize that Classroom also plays nice with many other applications and websites, allowing educators to integrate even more tools into their teaching and learning, its coolness factor increases exponentially. Over the summer Google welcomed four additional apps to their #withclassroom family: Quizizz, Edcite, Kami, and most recently Additio. For those of you who are working to integrate coding into your programs, Tynker is already part of the family with Code.org coming soon! To see the full list of apps that integrate with Classroom check out their page on the Google for Education website.
Our IT department has decided to try something different when it comes to providing professional development to staff. We have been hard at work producing videos that cover various tools and tips in a more conversational format. Below is our introduction to Google Forms, hosted by yours truly and Tom Rup, our network administrator.
In a previous post I shared the story of how Google is bringing a little magic to their data centers around the world by partnering with local artists to create the The Data Center Mural Project. I talked about the story behind the project, the types of media that can be explored at the Mayes County, OK (in the U.S.) and St. Ghislain, Hainaut (in Belgium) sites, and teased about two additional sites in the works. This week Google has added new photos, videos, and interviews for their Dublin, Ireland and Council Bluffs, Iowa sites.
The Dublin, Ireland site was supervised by local artist Fuchsia MacAree, whose mural reminds me of the fun and excitement that comes with the spring and summer seasons, which cannot come soon enough for us here in the state of Maine, U.S.A. My favorite part of this project was learning about how they use the local climate to help cool the massive amounts of equipment inside, thereby saving energy and money on more traditional “mechanical” cooling systems.
The Council Bluffs, Iowa site was headed by local artist Gary Kelley, who used the building to tell the story of how important the area has been and continues to be in the sending and receiving of information. After listening to “A History of Connection” I could see this as a history project that I could really sink my teeth into. You can read the full debrief on The Data Center Mural Project by going to Google’s The Keyword Blog.
- Have students investigate additional art forms in and around the area of these data centers.
- Compare and contrast one of these data centers to your school/district computer system (besides scale, that is). Have students develop a list of qualifications and responsibilities that one would need in order to work at a Google data center.
- Present students with the following scenario: If Google built a data center in your hometown, what would your mural proposal look like? How would it represent the community and surrounding art culture?
Chromebooks come with the standard suite of Google Apps including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc. that can be accessed from the Waffle icon inside of Google Chrome. Chromebooks have many additional apps as well which can be accessed from the Launcher tool, located in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
From the Launcher window you can:
- Conduct a Google Search (voice command search available!)
- Access recently used apps
- View your entire library of installed apps (All Apps)
From the ‘All Apps’ icon, you will see all of the available apps currently installed on your Chromebook as part of your GSuite account.
- If you have more apps than can be displayed at one time, then use the line spacers at the bottom of the window to cycle through the different pages of apps.
- App icons can be re-arranged and grouped together into folders similar to app management schemes on mobile devices like the iPad.
- To create an group folder, drag one app icon on top of another. Then drag any additional apps into the folder.
- Click to open the app folder and you can then give it a name.
- To remove an app from a folder, drag the app outside of the window. When the main library window is revealed, place the app icon at its new location.
- From this window you can customize your Chromebook toolbar (a.k.a. Apple Dock / Windows Taskbar) with the apps that you use the most, making their use only a single click away!
- Drag apps from the All Apps window to the bottom toolbar that you’d like easy access to. Drag apps that you no longer want in the toolbar to any place on the Desktop to remove the shortcut (this does NOT delete the app, rather the shortcut to the app).
- To add additional apps to your Chromebook, navigate to the Chrome Web Store (Note: there is an app for that in the All Apps menu).
- Click on the ‘Apps’ category or use the Search field if you already have an app in mind.
- Apps with a green ribbon in the top-left corner of their icon have already been added to your account; those without a ribbon have not been added and are not yet available for use.