Updates to Google Slides


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


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!


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


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!


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


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!


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.

Save time with Gmail keyboard shortcuts


One of the best features of Gmail is the built-in keyboard shortcuts. They allow you to do everything from composing a message to quickly archiving messages.

In order to use keyboard shortcuts, they must be enabled in Gmail settings. To do this, first hit the gear icon at the top right of the Gmail screen, and then go to the Settings.

Scroll midway down the Settings, and make sure that Keyboard Shortcuts are turned ON. Be sure and scroll to the bottom and SAVE your settings.

Now, the keyboard shortcuts will be enabled for you. Try them out… hit the C on your keyboard to begin composing a new message. When you are done, hit Control-Enter to send your message. On a Mac, you’ll use the Command key instead of Control.

To see a full list of keyboard shortcuts, you can hit the ? (question mark) at any time. This will bring up a keyboard overlay as shown below.


This Google help link also has more info on the keyboard shortcuts: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6594?hl=en

Learn Google, get Certified, earn CEUs and more!


Our Instructional Services team can provide PD for your district!  If you are a full member, all training is included at no additional cost.  If you’re not a full member, we have competitive rates for our training. Not sure if you’re a member? Check here.

Join us during the 2017-18 school year for our Google Certified Educator (GCE) Level 1 Online Cohort. This cohort will take an educator through all the preparation they will need for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam.

The cohort will take place beginning in October, 2017 and will run through the first week in June, 2018. The course will be blended, consisting of online and in-person meetings, as well as work on participants’ own.  It will be facilitated by Google Certified Trainers Kristie Hughes and Chris Malanga using Google Classroom.

There is no additional cost for the cohort for teachers and staff from the 40 NWOCA member and 5 full service non-member districts.  Click here to see if your district is eligible for free training.

The cost of the cohort is $150 for teachers and staff of other non-member schools or non-public schools.

If a teacher participates in the entire cohort, they can earn up to 20 seat hours of time (2 CEU) to be used toward licensure renewal.

Click here for more information on the cohort or to sign up.

Useful Google Classroom updates to start the school year!


Did you know that since Google Classroom launched three years ago, students have submitted more than 1 billion assignments? As the school year is quickly approaching, Google has announced 10 updates to Classroom and Forms designed to make teachers’ lives easier this school year.

Here are six of the updates that make us here at NWOCA most excited.

1. Single view of student work: To help teachers track individual student progress, Classroom now has a dedicated page for each student that shows all of their work in a class. More on this feature.

2. Reorder classes: Teachers (and students) can now order their classes to organize them however they want. Learn More.

3. Decimal grading: As teachers know, grading is often more complicated than a simple point value. So, educators can now use decimal points when grading assignments in Google Classroom.

4. Transfer class ownership: Things can change a lot over the summer, including who’s teaching which class. Now, admins and teachers can transfer ownership of Google Classroom classes to other teachers, without the need to recreate the class. More details.

5. New Classroom integrations: Apps that integrate with Classroom allow teachers to to easily share information between Classroom and other tools they love. Now Quizizz, Edcite, Kami and (coming soon) code.org will officially integrate. More info.

6. Display class code: Joining Google Classroom classes is easier than ever thanks to this new update. Teachers can now display their class code in full screen so students can quickly join new classes.
Learn more about all 10 new features on Google’s blog.Hopefully, these Google Classroom and Forms updates help you teach more efficiently and effectively this school year!