Developing a Healthy Media Diet

Social media is an ever-present part of our lives, and even more so for our students and children. As a result, teachers and parents need to take the time to investigate strategies on how to balance the consumption of social media with the other aspects of our lives. Common Sense Media as put together 5 Simple Steps to help you, your students, and your children achieve this balance.

Follow this link to access the full article from the Common Sense Media website.

If you’d like to learn more, then use this link to access additional videos relating to this topic including Common Sense Media’s #DeviceFreeDinner series.

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 Update: Give Feedback via YouTube

Feedback is an important part of the assessment process. When using Google Forms in the quiz configuration, every question comes with the option to add feedback to students for both correct and incorrect answers. In addition to text, teachers could also include a link with their feedback to anything from a website that they had used in class or perhaps a Google Doc that contains notes from a previous class discussion.  Now teachers can also embed a YouTube video into the feedback section of a question.


How it works

  • In Google Forms, create a question and add the possible answer choices.
  • When done, go to the bottom of the question and click on ANSWER KEY to switch panels.

Forms question panel with question and answer choices

  • In the ANSWER KEY panel, if you have not added feedback yet then you will see the option to ADD ANSWER FEEDBACK at the bottom.

Forms answer key without feedback yet

  • If feedback has already been provided, then click on the pencil icon to edit.

Forms answer key with feedback already added

  • On the feedback window, you have the option to add text, insert a link, and now embed a YouTube video. Clicking on the YouTube icon will open the same window seen when using the “Add video” option in Google Forms where you can search YouTube be keywords or paste a direct link into the search box.

Forms "add video" search window

  • NOTE: Depending on what type of question you have chosen, there are feedback options for both INCORRECT ANSWERS and CORRECT ANSWERS.

Forms feedback window with text and YouTube video

  • When you have finished configuring your feedback, click the SAVE button. You will return to the ANSWER KEY panel and a preview of the YouTube video you selected will be embedded below the answer choices.

Forms question with YouTube feedback added


For more information on this and other recent additions to Google Forms, please check out Google’s post on The Keyword blog.

Socratica: Beautiful Science, Math & More!

Socratica is a YouTube channel chalk-full of high-quality videos on a variety of subjects with a focus on math, science, and arts and humanities. Clicking on the Playlists tab will show the variety of subtopics available on the channel, 25 in total, ranging from Astronomy and Biology to Algebra and Geometric Constructions to even a Glossary of Art terms and Shakespeare Sonnets.

Socratica YouTube playlists screenshot

The number of videos in each playlist varies as does the length of individual videos. For the longer videos that you might want to use only a portion of, check out my post on how to clip the beginning AND end points of a YouTube video.

Ever since I started using the quiz feature in Google Forms to conduct assessments I have been on the lookout for high-quality videos like these. I will insert them into the “Add feedback” panel of a Form question so that students can use them to help “brush up” on the material and as a study tool if a re-assessment is needed.

Google Forms quiz question "Add feedback" panel

Recent Updates to Google Classroom

Google recently announced some updates to their Google Classroom app with a focus on improving communication with students as well as with parents/guardians. If you’d like to watch this review online then click here.

Comment Settings move to STREAM

Classroom commenting tool drop-down menuThe configuration box for controlling the commenting ability of students has been moved from the STUDENTS tab to the STREAM tab. The actual functions haven’t changed; you can still set the public or “class” commenting privileges for students, just that the tool is now located on the tab where the commenting actually takes place:

  • Students can post and comment
  • Students can only comment
  • Only teachers can  post and comment

Manually send Guardian Summaries

Email student or guardians envelope iconGuardian Summaries are a way for parents to get regular updates on how their child is doing in their classes through Google Classroom. Go to the STUDENT tab and click on the name of a student in the list to take you to their “Your work” tool. By clicking on the envelope icon in the top-right corner, now teachers can manually send a Guardian Summary to a student, the guardian(s) of the student, or both the student and the guardian(s). After selecting your receiver, there is a space below to enter a quick message. Don’t forget to check off the box to Include student work summary if you want that information included in the transmission. NOTE: A guardian must have accepted the invite prior to this point in order to include them in this communique.

Guardian summary email tool


Teachers & Co-Teachers

About section-teacher managementNothing much to say here except that the footprint of this module has been made smaller. You still use this tool to add co-teachers to your class, remove them, email them, or transfer ownership of the class to another. Students still see the list of co-teachers for the class and an envelope icon to send an email to them.

As always, if you like these changes or have suggestions for some new ones then please do not hesitate to send Google feedback via the question mark “?” icon located in the bottom-left corner of the window.


EDU in 90 Video Series

youtube-512From 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.

New Embed Options for Google Sites

Google_Sites_Insert_Menu-part1Those who have used Google Sites in the past know that the app was in dire need up an update and thankfully, Google recently did just that and delivered a whole new interface for the NEW Google Sites. Since going live, Google has been working to improve the app with tools that were supported in the old version as well as tools to support emerging website technologies. The next chapter in these upgrades has arrived via the Embed URL tool.


Embed URL’s

The Embed URL tool now supports the insertion of whole webpages as an iframe, as long as the website you are trying to include supports it.

  1. Embedded website screenshotIn the new Google Sites, under the INSERT tab click on the Embed URL tool to get started.
  2. Paste the link to the website you’d like to embed into your website into the box provided. If you see a preview of the website appear, then the site supports embedding.
  3. Click the ADD button to complete the process.

One way that I see myself taking advantage of this feature is to embed YouTube Playlists into a webpage, which the Insert > YouTube option does not currently support. If you have successfully embedded other types of content into a new Google Sites webpage then please share your story in the comments below.

For more information about embedding objects into the new Google Sites, please check out their GSuite Updates blog here.


Embed HTML & Javascript

The ability to embed HTML code and Javascript in the new Google Sites has been a much requested feature and now, it is finally here. This newest feature has been added to the ‘Embed’ tool from the Google Sites INSERT menu.

  1. Sites embed code window screenshotAfter clicking on the Embed URL tool a pop-up window with be displayed.
  2. The first tab is for embedding content by URL as stated above. Click on the second tab option to embed code.
  3. Paste your HTML or Javascript code into the box provided, then click the NEXT button.
  4. Sites embed code preview window screenshotSites will test the code and if successful will show a preview of your embedded widget. If you need to edit the code, click the pencil icon located in the center of the preview image.
  5. When finished, click the INSERT button to add it to your webpage.

For more information about embedding objects into the new Google Sites, please check out their GSuite Updates blog here.