Wednesday, March 29, 2017

GSFE Update: New Formatting Tool in Google Docs

A new G Suite for Education update has enhanced user's experience in Google Docs.  Now, users have the ability to covert text to uppercase, lowercase, and title case in Google Docs.  

Uppercase will convert all highlighted text to UPPERCASE
Lowercase will convert all highlighted text to lowercase
Title case will capitalize the first letter of each work in the highlighted text 

Until now, users had to download and install a Google Doc add-on called Change Case.  Note the Change Case add-on offers more options than the GSFE update. One option that I really like is the Sentence Case option which will capitalize the first letter of the sentence as opposed to Title Case, where the first letter of every word is capitalized.  

For either option, I would recommend highlighting the text first, then use the new feature to change the case of the text.

Below is a short animation on using this new feature.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Screen Share with Google Cast for EDU

Students can be masters of their own domain and lead a discussion using a screen sharing tool to their teacher's computer without having to logoff of their computers.
How do you accomplish this?  By using Google Cast for Education! Google Cast for Education is a Chrome app that can be downloaded and installed from the Chrome Web Store.  Both parties, the teacher and the students must have this app installed in order for the screen share to take place.

Note:  If teachers or students are not permitted to download and install apps from the Chrome Web Store, it will have to be done by the Google Administrator from the domain level.

Once the app is installed for both users, the teacher would have to setup their device by completing the following steps:

1.  You must enter a RECEIVER'S NAME, I would recommend typing your name or 'Teacher', and press SAVE.

2. Next, click on SHARE, to give students access to your device. You have to select the permissions for the students at this point.  You can add people by typing their email address, groups, or Google Classroom. When completed, click ADD, then SAVE.

3.  At this point, the students will have to start their screen share.  They will need to open and run the app on their device, then navigate to the website they want to share with their teacher.  

Note: Students need to be using the Google Chrome browser.

4.  The students will click the 3 dots at the top right corner in the Chrome browser, and select CAST. They will be prompted with a list that will display their presenter's name, or teacher's name.  They need to select the appropriate name from the list.  

5.  The teacher will receive a message prompting to accept or decline the request.  

6.  Magic! The student screen is shared on the teacher device.

This tool can be used to allow students to present their projects from their devices to the main computer in the classroom which can be connected to a projector.  It will save time because students do not have to login/logout of devices, and it avoids disconnecting equipment.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

UPDATE: Personal Google Accounts and Google Classroom Together!

The Google Classroom team listened to your feedback and released a new update allowing anyone with a personal Google account to access Google Classroom.  This will allow anyone who is teaching in an educational setting to have access to Google Classroom.  Now home school teachers, tutors, consultants, and others can use Google Classroom as a platform for their students. 

However, with this new update, people who use their personal Google account to access Google Classroom can only join classes.  The ability to create a class will be available some time in the future.  So if you are interested in using Google Classroom,  I would recommend signing up for G Suite for Education.

To use your personal Google account for Google Classroom simply sign into your account, and go to Google Classroom, click the + sign to join a class.  Note, you must know the class code to join an existing class.

Additionally, the Google administrator in your organization will need to enable settings in the admin console to accommodate users to have access to Google Classroom.   They possibly will need to whitelist domains and enable class memberships.  Click here to read more about the settings on the admin console. See the animation below to navigate to these settings in the admin console.

Click here to read more about this update.


A new update as just been release allowing users with personal account to create classes as well.  Click here to read more about it.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How to Create Audio Files for your Assignments!

Are you always repeating yourself during the day to your students or peers?   If you find yourself constantly repeating the same information to your audience, I would recommend trying to create an audio file.  Whether you are repeating the assignment directions, learning goals, expectations, procedures, etc.  create an audio file and make it accessible for your audience to hear it over again at their own pace.  

This technique can assist all students in your classroom, but especially special education students, and ELL students.  All students can benefit from this because they can play the audio file again and again at their own pace.

The tool that I would recommend to create recordings is Vocaroo.  Vocaroo is an online recording tool that will allow you to save or download your audio recordings.  It is very simply to use and it is FREE!

First, I would highly recommend that a microphone is used so that you get the best quality audio recording.  Plus, Vocaroo will not work until a microphone is connected to the device.

Next, you are ready to record.  Simply click on the red record button and start speaking.  

Note:You may get a pop-up from Adobe Flash Player to allow access to your microphone and camera, just click 'allow'.  

When you are done, click the square to stop recording.   You now have the option to retry or listen to the recording. Retry will allow you to record again, and listen will allow you to do that.

If you like the recording, then click the 'Click here to save', link and you will be prompted with the image below.

At this point you can copy the link to your recording and insert it into an assignment in Google Classroom, Edmodo, or on your website.  Also, you have the option to post it on social media using a class hashtag or download the file to your local device.  

This process is very simple and quick to use.  I would also recommend reading the directions you typed on your assignment so that you don't forget to include a direction in the recording.  

Happy Recording!!!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

GSfE Update: Integration of Google Docs and Google Keep

You are now able to integrate Google Keep in with Google Docs in your GSfE domain.  This feature will be available for rapid and schedule release updates for all GSfE institutions.  

By clicking on the 'Tools' menu in your Google Doc and selecting 'Keep Notepad', you will be able to integrate your Google Keep notes with your Google document.  

See the details below that were posted on the Google for Education blog. 

Posted: 28 Feb 2017 11:17 AM PST
Available to G Suite users with Google Drive since 2013, Google Keep helps employees capture their thoughts, ideas, action items, and more in one easy-to-access place. As of today, Google Keep is a G Suite core service when used within a domain, and it has been added to existing G Suite agreements for most customers. In addition, Keep is now accessible in Google Docs, so employees can easily revisit and repurpose their notes.
G Suite core service
Keep now has the same technical support and service level commitments as any other core service, like Gmail or Google Drive. Going forward, domains using Keep will receive the following benefits:
  • Keep content will be handled as specified in your G Suite agreement.
Additional admin controls
In addition, we’re giving G Suite admins greater control over Keep usage in their organizations, by allowing them to turn the app on or off for their domains. The steps to do so will depend on an organization’s current use of Google Drive. For example:
1. If you currently have Google Drive enabled for your organization, your users have had access to Keep and will continue to have access to Keep following this launch. If you would like to turn Keep access OFF, you can now do so from the Admin console (Apps > G Suite > Keep).
2. If you do not have Drive enabled for your organization, your users have not had access to Keep. Should you choose to turn on Drive in the future, Keep will be turned ON for your organization if you’ve opted into automatically receiving new services in the Admin console and turned OFF for your organization if you’ve chosen to manually enable new services. You will be able enable or disable the application from the Admin console at any time.

When turned on, Keep will respect a subset of the sharing settings applied to Google Drive.

View and create Keep notes in Docs

The improvements to Keep don’t just apply to admins. End users can now view and create Keep notes in Google Docs on the web. Starting today, simply select “Keep notepad” from the Tools menu to pull up a sidebar containing your notes from Keep (and the option to search them). You can then edit those notes and drag and drop them into your document.
If you’re inspired by the content already in your doc, you can create a new note by highlighting the relevant text, right-clicking, and selecting “Save to Keep notepad.” Or, if you simply want to create a new note with brand-new content, you can start typing in the “Take a note...” box in the notepad. All notes you create while in a document will be added to a “related” section within the sidebar. When you then view those notes in Keep, they will include a link back to the document in which they were created.

For additional details, check out More Information below.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release
Available to G Suite Basic, Business, Enterprise, Education, and Nonprofit editions
Rollout pace:
Full rollout (1–3 days for feature visibility)
Admins and end users
Admin action suggested/FYI

More Information