Google Calendar helps you follow your team all season long!

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It’s March, and while basketball rules this month, I’m ready for baseball! I’ve been following my beloved Detroit Tigers throughout the spring. One way I keep track of when my Motor City Kitties are playing is through the Interesting Calendars feature in Google Calendar.

Here’s how it works:

From the left side menu, click the Plus sign next to Add a coworker’s calendar. Here’s where you can add other calendars.

Add other calendars

Next, choose Browse calendars of interest.

Browse calendars of interest

You’ll be taken to a list of calendars that are available for subscription. You can choose Holidays, Sports and Other.

List of calendars

Here, I selected Baseball, then Major League Baseball – MLB. From here, you can select your favorite team.

Tigers

Now, head back to your calendar by using the back arrow at the top. You’ll see that your calendar has now been added to the sidebar under Other calendars.

Calendar list

Events from this calendar will now appear on your calendar.

Tigers games on the calendar

If your favorite team is not listed, there is still possibly a way to get it. All you need is a subscription URL. Once you have that, click the plus sign again, and this time, choose From URL. Paste in the URL and you’ll be set.

From URL

By the way, if you want to turn off the calendars you’ve added, just click the checkbox next to the calendar’s name to hide it.

Send in the CLONES!

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This month, our Google Certified Educator Level 1 Cohort has been focused on Google Drawings. I shared the following tips with our cohort and I thought they were useful enough to share with all of you. If you haven’t gotten to know Google Drawings, you’re missing out! Here is one of our archived webinars to get introduced.

 

Clone Your Shapes

To create a clone of your selected shape, hold down Control (Windows/Chromebook) or Option (Mac) and drag the shape. Voila! Shapes that are exact clones of one another.

Quickly make a grid of shapes by cloning.
Quickly make a grid of shapes by cloning.

This tip works with anything selected in your Drawing: lines, images, text boxes, etc.

Look at the cloned kitties!
Look at the cloned kitties!

You can use this tip to replicate the “infinite cloner” feature of Smart Notebook. Basically, you can take an image, clone it a number of times, and then stack the images on top of one another in the gray area of the document. Then students can drag the images into the canvas, just like in Notebook.

It looks like the infinite cloner!
It looks like the infinite cloner!

To quickly stack the images on top of one another, select them all, and then from the Arrange menu, choose to Align horizontally to the Center, and then Align vertically to the Middle.  

Quickly line up your cloned items.
Quickly line up your cloned items.

As Frau Farbissina once said: Send In The CLONE!

 

BONUS TIP: Proportioned Shapes  

To create a perfectly proportional shape, hold down the Shift key as you drag and draw your shape. No fussing with getting the shapes exactly right!

Perfectly proportioned square, circle and triangle.
Perfectly proportioned square, circle and triangle.

This tip also works when resizing existing objects or images. If you ever import a huge image and want to make it smaller, hold down Shift when dragging to resize. Your shape will retain its proportions.

Where did my View Image button go?!?

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You might have noticed that Google Image Search has lost its “View Image” button. Before this change, you could search for an image and click the “View Image” button to download it directly without leaving Google or visiting the website. Now, that button has been removed.

Google Image Search
Now, the View Image button has been removed.

The change comes in response to a legal settlement between Google and Getty Images. Almost two years ago, Getty Images sued Google in Europe, saying that the company’s image scraping techniques to display image search results were illegal. Earlier this week, Google and Getty Images announced a partnership and Getty withdrew its charges against Google. It appears that the removal of direct image links was part of the agreement.

There are two sides to every story. Google Images focuses mainly on the image itself and doesn’t display the copyright status of its search results. With the “View Image” button, it was easy for users to go directly from searching to downloading an image without ever thinking about copyright. This led to a lot of piracy.

However, this change makes Image Search less useful for users, requiring extra clicks to get the image you want. Users are responsible for adhering to copyright law, and many images on the Web are public domain and creative commons images (like everything on Wikipedia, for instance). Educators are free to use many copyrighted images under fair use.

Now for the tip part of this article: The image previews you see in Google Images are actually hot-linked, so right-clicking and choosing “open image in new tab” will still get you a direct image link. There is also already a Chrome extension called “Make Google Image Search Great Again” that will restore the “View Image” button.

Updates to Google Slides

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In case you missed it, Google added a bunch of welcome features to Google Slides. Here are some of the best features.

 

Integration with Google Keep

You can now bring your Google Keep notes into Slides just as you can with Docs. This is great for bringing in text or images that you use frequently. If you haven’t had a chance to try this out, here’s an article from G Suite Support that explains more.

Integration with Google Keep

Linked Slides

Now, you can link and sync slides from multiple presentations with a click. When you copy and paste from one Slides presentation to another, you now get the option to Link slides or not. Linking slides ensures that when one of the presentations is updated, any linked slides are as well. Do not link pastes a new copy of the slides, with no relationship to the others.

Linking slides

Grid View

Grid view allows you to view all your slides at once as thumbnails. This helps you easily reorder or change formats of multiple slides. To access grid view, click the button on the bottom right of the slide sorter.

Skip Slides

You can now choose to skip select slides without fully deleting them when you present from your phone or laptop. To skip slides, right-click on the slide you want to skip and choose Skip slide. Now, any slide you skip will still show up in your editing view but will be skipped when presenting. This is great for customizing Slides presentations for different audiences.

Skip slides

Hopefully, these new additions to Slides will help make your presentations even more efficient and effective!

Variations on Quizlet Live

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Last year, I wrote about a wonderful formative assessment tool called Quizlet Live.

To recap, Quizlet Live is an in-class, team-based learning game. It puts the students in randomized teams of 3-4 and gives each group different questions within the study set. Each member of the group has different answers and only one person has the correct answer. The group needs to work together to get the correct answer to get the points.

I have heard from some teachers that there are some pitfalls to using Quizlet Live. Some of these include one student “taking over” the team and teams that are too strong finishing well in advance of the others. I came across this infographic from Patrick McMillan that has five variations on the Quizlet Live game. His ideas all add neat twists to the game!

Check it out:

Will these ideas help you to better use Quizlet Live in your classroom?

Ditch That Summit – Free online professional development through Dec. 31!

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I heard about this great professional development activity from Matt Miller, the author of “Ditch that Textbook.” It is a nine-day, FREE virtual event that brings together some of the brightest minds in education to discuss technology, pedagogy and more.

There is a new video released each day, and you can watch them online, on your own time. Plus, each session has downloadable notes, and you can receive PD credit for each session you watched. I’ve been watching the videos and there has been some great stuff. So far, I’ve viewed “Where Technology and Pedagogy Collide” with Tanya Avrith and Holly Clark, authors of The Google-Infused Classroom, “The Science of Happiness for Teachers and Students” with Kim Strobel, a Happiness Coach, and “Brain-Friendly Learning That Works” with Dr. Pooja Agarwal, a Cognitive Scientist, and former K-12 Teacher. All of the sessions so far have been excellent!

If you’re interested, you’d better hurry, as the videos are only available until December 31st. You can visit http://ditchsummit.com/ to register and view the videos.

Copy Comments and Suggestions in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides

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I love collaborating with my team (and educators all over NW Ohio!) with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. One of my biggest frustrations is that the comments and suggestions don’t transfer when you make a copy. This means you lose your history of all your collaboration when you duplicate a document, spreadsheet, or presentation.. Now Google is making it possible to copy comments and suggestions any time you make a copy of a Docs, Sheets, or Slides file.

To copy your comments and suggestions, simply select “Make a copy” from the File menu as your normally do. Now you’ll see an option for “Copy comments and suggestions” or “Copy comments.”

Copy comments screen

Check the box, and you’ll see your comments and suggestions transfer to the new document! The comments and suggestions will contain a note indicating that they were copied from the original document.

Check it out today, and collaborate—even on copies—with ease!

Comments… comments everywhere!

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One of the things we might lose when moving to digital tools is communicating with our students. Just like we can leave notes on physical assignments, we can also do this with our digital assignments in Google Classroom.

There are three basic kinds of comments you can leave students in Classroom.

Class Comments: These are comments that you add to your class stream on the “outside” of an assignment or announcement. This type of comment is visible to the entire class, and can be used to answer questions that anyone might have.

Example of Class Comment

 

Private comments: You can add these comments by viewing assignment results and clicking on an individual student. On the right, below the student submission there is a  comment bar. Leave comments here that only the student can see. This is useful if it has sensitive grade or feedback information. You can also add a private comment to a number of students at once when returning an assignment. Check out our previous tech tip on managing private comments.

Example of a Private Comment

 

Example of a comment in a doc

Comments in a Doc/Slide/Sheet/Drawing: These comments are left on the student’s file that he/she submitted to you. Highlight something you’d like to comment on, then click the black speech bubble icon. This adds a comment on specific items in student work.

 

Knowing how each of these comments works and when to use each kind will make giving student feedback more efficient and effective.

Power up Google Classroom with Private Comments

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One of the most powerful elements of Google Classroom is the private comments feature, which works with assignments only.

Comments become conversations with students, allowing for more back and forth discussion than can happen with verbal feedback. Every student can have a voice and communicate their ideas or struggles with a task.

To use private comments, open an assignment in Classroom, and there you will find a space for private comments. Any comments left here will be seen only by you and the individual student.

 

One of the challenges to using private comments is knowing who the comments belong to. Here’s a workaround from Alice Keeler:

  • Students start all comments to you with your last name
  • You start all comments to students with your initials

 

 

This helps in filtering those comments in Gmail, or searching. It also lets you quickly see who responded last in the roster:

 

You can also use links in private comments to give students more information, share links to other assignments, etc. The trick here is to be sure and use the full URL, including the http:// or https:// part.

 

Using private comments allows us to have a true student-centered classroom, with an awesome method to hear from students!

Review your Google app permissions!

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I just LOVE the Sign in with Google buttons that you find all over the web.

They are great because they use a protocol called OAUTH to securely log you in using your Google account. This means you don’t have to remember yet another username and password.

We get so used to clicking these buttons to log in to sites and that means we’re racking up a bunch of sites that have access to our Google accounts.

Today, I’m going to show you how to manage the connected apps and sites that you’ve authorized with your Google account. We can use this tip to review these apps and sites to see if we really use them and if we want them to have access to our Google account.

Just follow these steps:

  1. Click your photo at the top right of any Google window, and select My Account.

 

  1. On the left side of the My Account window, click Connected apps & sites

 

  1. Then under the Apps connected to your account section, choose Manage apps.

 

  1. This will give you a list of apps and sites that have access to your account. To see what access a particular app or site has, click on it.

 

  1. You can click the Remove Access button to unlink that app or site from your account.

 

It’s a good practice to review your connected apps and sites periodically to ensure that you’re still using them. When I did my review, I had over 160 apps and sites connected! I was able to go through and remove access to those which I do not use any longer.

You can also use the same steps to review any saved passwords and clear those out too. Look for the Saved Passwords section.