New Google Hangouts

The new Google+ makeover officially booted Google Hangouts out to its new home -

During this transition, Google Hangouts video chats received its own makeover. While the new look is more streamlined, I am afraid I miss the apps you used to be able to integrate into your call. Those apps are still available in a Hangout on Air, as that has not received a makeover, but I admit I miss them in the video chat. 

Here is a tutorial that will help you see and understand the new Google Hangouts website. 

The Power of Google Drawing (with templates)

Google Drawing is the Drive tool least used, yet in my opinion is one of the best. Here is an example of a visual I created with Drawing. 

Students can use Google Drawing to create:
  • book covers
  • story illustrations
  • thinking maps/graphic organizers (templates)
  • posters
  • visuals of vocabulary words
  • visuals to demonstrate understanding
  • visual representations for math (fractions, number lines, geometric figures, etc.)
  • comic strips (template)
  • interactive image maps (similar to Thinglink)

In addition to above, teachers can use Google Drawing to create:

Here is a direct link to my folder with 30+ templates you can copy. 

Video Tutorial
The video tutorial below will show you some neat features of Google Drawing. In this video you will learn how to:
  • change the background color
  • create shapes in various colors
  • draw lines
  • mask images (see example below)
  • create word art
  • make drawing interactive with hyperlinks

Mash-Up: New Google Forms + Flubaroo = Grading Time Saver

There are several Google Form and Flubaroo videos out there, but I couldn't find one showcasing the new Google Forms with the last updates to Flubaroo. I created a couple tutorials, one with the new forms look and one with the old forms look. Both videos highlight the grading by hand feature in Flubaroo.  

New Google Forms + Flubaroo updates video:

'Old' Google Forms = Flubaroo Updates:

If you want to use Flubaroo with multiple classes, you will need to make sure that you make a copy of the Google Forms assessment for each of your classes. This will keep the students grades on separate spreadsheets. 

If you want to learn more about the new Google Forms, check out my tutorial here

8 Great Google Tips for Every Educator

There are a ton of Google tips and tricks out there. Here are eight tips that I feel every educator needs to know. 

Here are the eight tips highlighted in the above video:

Tip #1 - Force people to make a copy of your Google document, spreadsheet, drawing, or presentation.

In the URL, change edit to copy.

Tip #2 -  Share your Google presentation, document, drawing or spreadsheet with preview rights.

In the URL, change edit to preview.

Tip #3 -  Conduct a search for only Shockwave Flash files (Thanks to Kellie Lambert for this tip).

  1. Type in search
  2. Go to settings wheel
  3. Choose 'Advanced Settings'
  4. Change File type to 'Shockwave Flash.'
  5. Click 'Advanced Search'

Tip #4 - Start a timer instantly

In Google search type in amount of time + timer and hit enter.

Tip #5 - Work offline in Google Drive

  1. Click on settings wheel
  2. Select 'Settings'
  3. Check 'sync...offline'
Tip #6 - Restrict commenters and views from downloading, printing or making a copy of your Google document, spreadsheet, drawing, or presentation.

  1. Click 'Share'
  2. Click 'Advanced'
  3. Enter people’s name or change private to one of the other settings
  4. Check 'Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers'

Tip #7 - Trim a YouTube video to a specific portion of the video.

  1. Copy YouTube URL
  2. Paste URL
  3. Select start and end time
  4. Click 'Chop It'
  5. Capture embed code or URL

Tip #8 - Only search for Google images that are free to reuse.

  1. In Google Images, type in search term
  2. Click on 'Search Tools'
  3. Change usage rights to one that permits reuse.

Google Drive: Set Date/Time to Auto Expire for Shared File/Folder

One of the best features of Google Drive is the ability to communicate and collaborate with other people. When you share files and folders with other people, you must manually take those permissions away. Sometimes you want to be able to share with other people for just a short period of time. The auto expire script keeps you on top of things and does the work for you. 

Steps to activate the script:

Step 1: Click on this link to access the script (it will automatically make a copy for you).

Step 2: In line #3, replace the existing URL with the URL of your shared Drive file or folder.

Step 3: In line #7, replace the existing date and time with the date and time you want the file/folder to automatically remove permissions. Note, the time must be according to the 24 hour clock, i.e. 3:00pm would be 15:00.

Step 4: Click on File, select 'Project Properties,' and choose your time zone.

Step 5: Click on Run, select start, and authorize to run. 

Close the script editor window, sit back, and relax because the script will do all the work for you. 

Explore the World through GeoGuessr

GeoGuessr is perfect for engaging students through game-based learning. The game drops you into 5 different locations around the world using Google's Street View. Your task is to figure out the location. You can move forward, backwards and turn 360 degrees around. You earn points based on how close your guess is to the actual location. 

I am addicted to GeoGuessr and play it all the time. I showcased the tool during a presentation that my friend Kellie Lambert and I did at the Texas ASCD Conference last weekend. The following day we were approached by several people from the session that stated they too are now addicts.  

To some this might look like just a game. To me it is a way to get students to think critically, while sharpening their problem-solving skills. Encourage students to:

  • look at posted signs to narrow down locations based on language. 
  • study the materials used to construct buildings
  • use the trees and land to narrow down parts of the world

Here are a few ways to integrate GeoGuessr with students:

  • Math: try and 'crack' the algorithm used to award points based on distance from location. 
  • Social Studies: study various locations and cultures around the world 
  • Writing: describe setting, descriptive language, writing prompts
  • Science: identify biomes 

Check out this quick video (no audio) showcasing how it works. 

You can even narrow down the given locations by choosing an already targeted area. 

Use the GeoSettr website, if you want to create your own GeoGuessr challenge. Here are two challenges I have created: 
  • Ronald Reagan - 5 locations President Reagan lived throughout his life. Do not give students this information prior to playing the game. Have them guess the "theme" after playing the game. There are "clues" presented during the game. 
  • The Outsiders - hook students prior to reading The Outsiders by taking them on a journey around some of the locations highlighted in the book. 

You have been forewarned...this game is addicting. Happy traveling the world!!