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Monday, December 6, 2021

Free Webinar - Google Sheets Activities for all Subjects

I had the opportunity to present the following webinar recently:

Holy Sheets! Google Sheets Activities for all Subjects
Google Sheets is not just a tool for crunching numbers. It is a powerful tool for learning, inquiry, exploration, and inspiration in any subject area. In this session we take a look at several practical activities for a wide range of content areas including random writing prompts, flash cards, educational games, student-created learning databases, art and creativity, conditional formatting feedback for students, task lists, and of course analyzing data to draw conclusions and make predictions.

In the training I covered lots of creative ways that Google Sheets can be used for student activities including:

📊 Analyzing Data
💡 Learning Databases
🕹️ Educational Games and Activities
🎲 Random Generator Activities
🖼️ Art Activities
✔️ Tasks Checklists
💬 Conditional Formatting Feedback
💻 Activities from Google's Applied Digital Skills

See below to view the full 1-hour recorded webinar, and access to all of the links, templates, and resources covered in the session.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

8 Googley Wintertime Activities for Kids

As we get closer to the holiday break, it is expected and understandable that our students start getting a little distracted. They are looking forward to lots of days off, holiday celebrations, gifts, and more. Let's be honest … we may be a little distracted as well.

This is a time of year when we look for some fun activities to keep our students focused and active. But we don't just want busy work. If possible it is great to find projects that are fun, tie into wintertime themes, and still provide our students with a chance to be creative, write, or improve some content area skills.

To help out with that, I have put together eight sample wintertime-themed activities that use free Google tools, including Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings:

⛄ Activity #1 - Build a Snowman with Google Slides
🎄 Activity #2 - Decorate a Holiday Tree with Google Slides
🧲 Activity #3 - Wintertime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings
📬 Activity #4 - Holiday Greeting Cards with Google Drawings
🎁 Activity #5 - "12 Days of Christmas" Guided Google Sheets Math Activity
🌟 Activity #6 - Pixel Art Ornaments with Google Sheets
❄️ Activity #7 - Wintertime Emoji Rebus Stories with Google Docs
💡 Activity #8 - Holiday Lights Writing with Google Docs

Some of these are projects I have shared in the past, while others are new twists on previous posts. Hopefully some of these will be a good match for your students to keep them busy AND learning as we head into the holidays.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

How to Maximize Space in Google Slides for Manipulative Drag and Drop Activities

Although Google Slides is great for presentations, there are so many other creative activities it can be used for such as stop-motion animation, Choose Your Own Adventure stories, eBooks, comic strips, and one of my favorite uses … drag-and-drop manipulative activities.

Over the years I have enjoyed creating many of these manipulative activities including:
As awesome as these are, one challenge can be the limited space available in Google Slides for the activity itself. Because these are drag-and-drop activities, you can't switch into presentation mode, but have to stay in edit mode to be able to move things around.

So if a student is working on this by themselves on a small Chromebook screen, or if you are presenting the project through a Google Meet, or if you have it projected onto a board in your classroom for a whole group activity, it would really be helpful to have more space for that actual interaction.

Thankfully you can do this! Google Slides has four built-in settings that can be used to clear away all the extra panels and menus and such and give you and your students all the space you need for your activity. See below for a short tutorial video and written directions on how to adjust each of these four settings.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

12 Days of Christmas - Guided Math Activity in Google Sheets

The "12 Days of Christmas" is a famous Christmas carol that most everyone sings, but not everyone finishes! In addition to being a classic wintertime song, it also contains a lot of opportunities for exploring math concepts.

Some of the math concepts that could be covered include addition, number patterns, number series, representing numbers in a chart, drawing conclusions from a chart, and more.

To help students explore these ideas, I have created a Google Sheets template that guides them through several tasks and questions about the "12 Days of Christmas". Since this is a Google Sheet, the activity also helps students learn about spreadsheet skills such as entering data, creating formulas, making and editing charts, and more.

See below to get your own copy of this Google Sheet template, along with a short tutorial video and some written directions to get you and your students started. And apologies in advance if the tune gets stuck in your head!

Monday, November 15, 2021

What's New in Google - November 2021

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from November 2021, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our November 2021 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and Google updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Workspace news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Workspace is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the November 2021 meeting:

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Build a "What I Am Thankful For" Turkey with Google Slides

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now is a great time for all of us to pause and think about what we are thankful for.

To help out with this I have created a Google Slides activity for your students. With this template your students will build a turkey where each of the feathers will display things that the student is thankful for.

Optionally the students can also use the Mote Chrome extension to record themselves explaining what they are thankful for, and adding that audio to their digital turkey.

See below to get your free copy of the "What I Am Thankful For" Turkey template, as well as a short video and detailed directions on how to use it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

My 2021 Midwest Ed Tech Summit Sessions

I am excited and honored to be presenting at the Midwest Ed Tech Summit (METS 2021) in Wisconsin Dells, WI on November 9th, 2021.

I always look forward to an opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

You can see all of the details for the Midwest Ed Tech Summit at:

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at METS 2021, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Google Docs Calendar Templates for the 2022-2023 School Year

Last year I created some Google Docs templates for a colleague who was looking for a simple one-page document to show important calendar dates for an entire school year. The templates were a big hit and many people found them to be helpful.

Although it still feels like the school year has just gotten started, I have received several emails lately from folks asking if I have made a version for next year ... the 2022-2023 school year.

So for all of you super organized people who are already planning for the next school year, I am happy to say, yes, I have versions for 2022-2023. See below for the links to get your own copies of these templates, as well as some basic directions on how to edit them for your own use.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Google's Applied Digital Skills: 150+ Free Tech Skills Lessons for You and Your Students

Digital skills are more important than ever for our students and for us as educators. 
  • Our students need digital skills to be prepared for the jobs of their future, and to function in daily life now. 
  • As educators we need digital skills to communicate more effectively with our students, provide them with more engaging learning experiences, and to stay organized ourselves.
There are loads of wonderful resources to help all of us improve our digital skills from blogs to YouTube channels to podcasts and more. One fantastic, and totally free, resource is Google's Applied Digital Skills.

Applied Digital Skills is a totally free, video-based, online curriculum to teach digital skills for your students in any subject area and for your own professional development. There are over 150 ready-to-use lessons covering a wide range of age levels, tech tools, and topics.

See below for a short video demonstrating this awesome resource, as well as written directions with all the details. And a big thanks to Google for sponsoring this blog post!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Build a Jack-O-Lantern with Google Slides and Mote

A few years ago I created my "Build a Jack-O-Lantern" activity for Google Slides. It was a giant hit with students as it let them be creative while improving their writing skills and tech skills.

With Fall here once again, I decided to revisit this favorite activity and add a new twist to it. In the years since I first created this project, we now have an amazing new tool in the Chrome Web Extension called Mote.

Mote is a free tool that makes it easy for you and your students to record your voice and add it directly into your slideshow (or document, form, email, and so much more). With Mote we can make this activity even more engaging than ever.

  • You can use Mote to add audio support to the activity by recording directions and embedding them right into the slideshow.
  • Your students can use Mote to record themselves reading aloud the Jack-O-Lantern story they write, and embed their narrated story into their slide.
  • And the students can record themselves making spooky sound effects or speaking for their pumpkin.

I had the pleasure of recording a video with Jon Neale and Sue Tranchina for their pop-up Mote PD series. See below for the short video explaining how your students can do the "Build a Jack-O-Lantern" activity with Google Slides and Mote, as well as detailed written directions.

Friday, October 1, 2021

What's New in Google - September 2021

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from September 2021, and see great ideas and resources!
Below is the recorded video from our September 2021 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and Google updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Workspace news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Workspace is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the September 2021 meeting:

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Halloween Drag and Drop Poetry with Google Drawings

Magnetic poetry kits have been around for decades, providing children and adults with inspiration to create poems on refrigerators everywhere.

As fun as those magnetic kits are, they have some limitations. By using a technology option, such as Google Drawings, you get many benefits:

  • No limit on the quantity of words provided. Just copy and paste more of them as needed.
  • Great tech skills practice with dragging and dropping and copying and pasting.
  • Ability to edit the words provided if needed.
  • Ability to add your own words.
  • Easy collaboration with others.
  • Easy to share or download your final creation.
  • No pieces to get lost.
  • It’s free!

In the past I have shared Google Drawing templates for students to create drag-and-drop "magnetic" poetry with a winter theme, Valentine's theme, and Spring theme. This time I have created one for Halloween.

See below to get your free copy of the Halloween Poetry template to use with your students (or yourself) however you want, as well as a video and directions on how to use it.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Podcast Spotlight: Get the Most out of Google

I recently had the pleasure to once again be a guest on the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast with Vicki Davis, where I shared about some of the best new Googley updates for schools from the last few months and what's coming soon!

In the past I have been on Vicki's awesome podcast twice before where I talked about:

I am excited to share this latest episode with you, as well as encourage you to dive into all the episodes of the podcast! This podcast is described as follows:

Every weekday, join full-time teacher Vicki Davis, author of the Cool Cat Teacher Blog, as she dives into what matters most to classroom teachers. The best and brightest educators and idea creators will inspire you as they are interviewed on this show. You'll learn behind the scenes tips, classroom ideas, and practical mindsets for anyone working with today's kids.

I was so excited to be a guest on the show! See below for a link to the episode and other relevant resources...

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Screencastify Makes Video Quizzes Easier with Interactive Questions Feature

There are lots of screen recording tools available, but one of my favorites has always been Screencastify

It is super easy to use with options to record your screen or webcam or both, as well as annotate on your screen, edit the recording afterwards, and share the final video in many ways.

As useful as Screencastify has always been, it is now even better with two new free features: Interactive Questions for video quizzes and Viewer Analytics!

  • The Interactive Questions feature makes it easy to add multiple choice questions to your video so you can assess student understanding while they watch your videos.
  • The Viewer Analytics feature allows you to see who has viewed your videos, and how many times, so you can get a better measure of student engagement.

See below for a short video walkthrough of these new features, as well as written directions. And thanks to Screencastify for sponsoring this post and video! All reviews and opinions expressed are based on my personal view.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

My 2022 FETC Sessions

I am excited and honored to be presenting at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC 2022) in Orlando, Florida this January 25th through 28th, 2022.

I always look forward to an opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

You can register for FETC at https://www.fetc.org/

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at FETC 2022, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Join Me for K-6 Google Tools in Arizona, California, and Online

I am excited once again this year to be offering on-site Google workshops through BER (the Bureau of Education & Research)!

These full-day workshops (8:30am to 3:15pm) will be on "Making the Best Use of Google Classroom and Free Google Tools to Accelerate Student Learning (K-6)" and will be held:

  • October 25, 2021 - Phoenix AZ
  • October 26, 2021 - Sacramento CA
  • October 27, 2021 - Ontario CA
  • October 28, 2021 - Anaheim CA

For those who cannot attend in-person, there is also a "Recorded Event" option that you can stream at your own convenience.

To learn more:

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

My 2021 ISTE Creative Constructor Lab Sessions

I am honored and excited to be presenting at ISTE's sold-out 2021 Creative Constructor Lab Virtual!

If you’re registered, join me October 16th and 17th to imagine, invent and innovate, and learn how to encourage your students to do the same. 

Not registered? You can purchase CCL Replay and get access to all recorded sessions. Together, we can inspire students to innovate their way to ingenuity.

For more details about the conference, visit the site at: https://iste.com/ccl

And see below for details about my sessions...

Thursday, August 26, 2021

What's New in Google - August 2021

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from August 2021, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our August 2021 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and Google updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Workspace news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Workspace is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the August 2021 meeting:

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Free Webinar: Automated Certificates with Google Tools

Do you need to take attendance and generate certificates for meetings, trainings, and other events? 

There are lots of options out there to address this need, but to help out I have created a free system using Google tools to automate the entire process of creating sessions, taking attendance, generating and emailing certificates, and viewing multiple reports.

I hosted a webinar to show a demonstration of the system in use, and explain how to get your own copies of the files and set up everything for your own use.

See below for the recorded video, as well as detailed resources for the session.

Free Webinar - Stop Motion Animation with Google Slides

I had the opportunity to present the following session recently at the 2021 SPARCC Educational Technology Conference:

Stop Motion Animation with Google Slides
Many times we think of Slides as just a program for creating multimedia presentations. However, with just a few tricks you and your students can actually use Google Slides to make stop motion movies. This can be a fun and creative way for students to share their ideas and express their understanding in any subject. Learn how to use Slides to create and share stop motion movies with photos, shapes, text, audio, and more.

The session was recorded and is embedded below for you to view, along with links to resources for the session.

In addition, you can check out other recorded sessions on the conference website, and get certificates of attendance for sessions you watch. The conference website is at: http://conference.apps.sparcc.org/

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Free Webinar - Hipster Google - Tools You Probably Never Heard Of

I had the opportunity to present the following session recently at the 2021 SPARCC Educational Technology Conference:

Hipster Google - Tools You Probably Never Heard Of
Everyone knows about Google Docs, Gmail, Search, and other common Google tools. But there are also loads of smaller, lesser-known, but powerful tools. Learn about hidden gems such as nGram, Trends, AutoDraw, Chrome Music Lab, Toontastic, Landlines, Meme Buddy, Reverse Image Search, Instant Search Cards, Mystery Animal, Semantris, Grasshopper, Art Palette, and more (List subject to change based on how cool and unknown the tools remain.)

The session was recorded and is embedded below for you to view, along with links to resources for the session.

In addition, you can check out other recorded sessions on the conference website, and get certificates of attendance for sessions you watch. The conference website is at: http://conference.apps.sparcc.org/

Saturday, July 31, 2021

My 2021 SC Midlands Summit Sessions

I am excited and honored to once again present at the South Carolina Midlands Summit this year.

This year the South Carolina Midlands Summit is
  • Entirely virtual
  • Held on August 5th
  • Open to all educators
  • FREE!
You can register on the conference website at: 

And see the agenda of sessions at:

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting for the South Carolina Midlands Summit, along with any associated resources.  I look forward to sharing and learning with you!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

My 2021 CFISD Digital Learning Conference Sessions

I am excited and honored to once again present at the CFISD Digital Learning Conference this year.

This year the CFISD Digital Learning Conference is
  • Entirely virtual with over 150 sessions
  • Held on July 27th and 28th
  • Open to all educators
  • FREE!
You can get all the details on the conference website at: 

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting for the CFISD Digital Learning Conference, along with any associated resources.  I look forward to sharing and learning with you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

My 2021 MESD Grow Summit Sessions

I am excited and honored to present at the 2021 MESD Grow Summit this year.

This year the MESD Grow Summit is entirely virtual and is being held on July 21st and 22nd.

You can register on the conference website at: 

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting for the MESD Grow Summit, along with any associated resources.  I look forward to sharing and learning with you!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Podcast Spotlight: TLC Ninja

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest on the TLC Ninja Podcast with Lisa Nowakowski and Nancy Minicozzi, where I shared about Google tools for accessibility and accommodations for any and all learners.

I am excited to share the episode with you, as well as encourage you to dive into all the episodes of the podcast! This podcast is described as follows:

TLC stands for Tech. Learn. Coffee. The TLC Ninja podcast is a podcast for teachers by teachers about classroom innovation. Join edtech nerdists Lisa Nowakowski and Nancy Minicozzi as they have a little coffee and talk innovation in the classroom to help bring out the innovator in you.

I was so excited to be a guest on the show! See below for a link to the episode and other relevant resources...

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Podcast Spotlight: EdTech Distilled

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest on the EdTech Distilled Podcast with Adam Geisen and David Lerch, where I shared about new updates in Gmail, Docs, and YouTube, as well as how to keep up with the ever changing world of educational technology.

I am excited to share the episode with you, as well as encourage you to dive into all the episodes of the podcast! This podcast is described as follows:

The EdTech Distilled Podcast is a casual chat between education innovators about anything new and interesting in the world of edtech, from new updates to philosophy to stuff that's changing the world as we know it. And we'll enjoy a drink along the way!

I was so excited to be a guest on the show! See below for a link to the episode and other relevant resources...

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

My 2021 ISTE Sessions

I am excited and honored to once again be presenting at ISTE this year! This year the conference is being held as a virtual event as ISTE Live 21:

Although we won't be able to be face-to-face in person this year, it will still be great to connect virtually with people across the world, and to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at the ISTE Conference, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

40 Google for Education Updates for Summer 2021

Summer is a nice time to take a break and relax, but Google has instead been busy working on new updates and features for schools. 

On June 22nd Google hosted their "Anywhere School 2021" event (http://goo.gle/tas21) where they covered loads of announcements concerning 40 updates for Google Classroom, Google Meet, Chrome and Chromebooks, and Google Workspace tools in general.

In case you missed it, or are just trying to review through everything that was shared, see below for a list of all 40 updates that were shared at the event.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Podcast Spotlight: Easy EdTech Podcast - 10 Little-Known Google Tools

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest on the Easy EdTech Podcast with Dr. Monica Burns, where I shared about "10 Little-Known Google-Friendly Tools".

I am excited to share the episode with you, as well as encourage you to dive into all the episodes of the podcast! This podcast is described as follows:

Monica Burns from the popular EdTech blog ClassTechTips brings you teaching strategies, tips and activity ideas. Each podcast focuses on how to make EdTech integration easy with a shout out to favorite EdTech tools for classrooms. Monica provides actionable, relevant tips for teachers so you can make this school year the best one yet! Join author, speaker, and blogger, Dr. Monica Burns for an EdTech podcast that helps take the stress out of integrating education technology into your classroom.

I was so excited to be a guest on the show! See below for a link to the episode and other relevant resources...

Friday, May 28, 2021

What's New in Google - May 2021

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from May 2021, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our May 2021 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and Google updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Workspace news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Workspace is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the May 2021 meeting:

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Google Docs Calendar Templates for the 2021-2022 School Year

With this school year winding down, many folks may already be planning for next school year. One of those tasks may be to put together a calendar for parents or staff or others.

Although I love Google Calendar for my own organization, as well as shared events, sometimes people still appreciate a quick one-page document with helpful calendar information for the year. Recently I was helping a colleague with that need and was not able to find a Google template that quite fit.

To help out I made two editable Google Docs templates that can work well as one-pagers with important dates and details for the 2021-2022 school year. See below for the links to get your own copies of these templates, as well as some basic directions on how to edit them for your own use.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

End-Of-Year Google Classroom Clean-up Tips

As the school year winds down, most teachers go through some sort of check-out procedure for their physical classrooms, making sure everything is properly organized or put away for the summer. In much the same way, you may want to do some clean-up and close-out steps for your digital classroom ... Google Classroom.

Google Classroom is a powerful tool to help you and your students collaborate and communicate, but when used year after year, it can start to become a bit of a mess and a management challenge. To help with this, there are several suggestions to consider for Classroom when wrapping up the school year.

See below for six steps that may help you clean up your Classroom as you transition from one school year to the next. However, keep in mind these are all just suggestions and each is optional. While some may not apply to your situation, hopefully several will assist you in keeping your Classroom organized, clutter-free, and efficient for a new year.

(Note: The video below is from 2019 but the content is still relevant. I have updated a few of the images in the written directions to reflect some minor changes, such as "To do" now being called "To review".)

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

How Big is Space? 4 Simulations to Show

Astronomy has always been a favorite topic of mine. From the time I was a child, I have loved learning about the planets, stars, other galaxies, black holes, supernovas, and more.

One thing that I have always struggled with though is grasping the actual scale of space. This is a common problem for most of us, and something that can really help our students better understand scientific concepts they are learning in school.

So how can we get a better understanding of the massive scale of the universe and the objects contained within it? One option is to use simulations that can help model space. Thankfully there are several excellent online, interactive simulations that can do just that.

See below for four of my favorite space simulation sites. Each approaches the concept of scale a little differently, so check each out to see which ones will work best with your students. And be sure to let me know of other scale simulations you have found that I can add to this list.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Free Webinar - Mathigon

Mathigon is an amazing, free collection of online math manipulatives, activities, and instructional content for teaching and learning math.

I had the privilege to host a free 1-hour webinar with David Poras, the Head of Content for Mathigon, where we explored all the awesome features of this free site.

The webinar was streamed live on YouTube, but was also recorded, so if you missed the live stream you can still watch the recorded session.

See below to watch the video, and to read more about the features of this awesome tool for math.

Friday, April 30, 2021

What's New in Google - April 2021

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from April 2021, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our April 2021 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and Google updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Workspace news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Workspace is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the April 2021 meeting:

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

75 Super EdTech Blogs to Follow

One of my main sources for new educational technology ideas, tools, and resources is reading blogs. Every day is an adventure to see what new technology integration ideas I can learn, explore, and share with others.

Over the years I have collected a large list of EdTech blogs that I read. To make this process manageable, I use Feedly to pull all of the blog posts together so I can visit one single location to see everything that is new. For more details on how to use Feedly, see my earlier post on the topic.

In case you are looking for some new EdTech blogs to follow, below is a list of 75 of my favorites. Two quick notes of clarification first though:

First, the blogs are simply listed in alphabetical order. Some of the blogs are very well known, while others have a smaller following. Some generate new posts every day, while others only add new content a few times per month. The one shared characteristic of all of these blogs is I have found them to be valuable and have learned from each one. To keep things simple, the list is alphabetized.

Second, the list is far from complete. I am sure I am missing many, many excellent EdTech blogs … and I want you to let me know what I am missing! As much I hope to expand your PLN, I am also hoping to learn about many other blogs. Please use the comments section below or message me on social media to recommend any valuable educational technology blogs that you are aware of.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

New Google Meet Layout Coming in May 2021

Google Meet has gone through a lot of changes over the past year as Google responded to the needs of educators, students, and other users. Thankfully Google has continued to listen to our needs and have just announced a new round of updates.

To keep you and your students from getting caught off guard, see below for a short 5-minute video where I run through a live demo of the new layout, as well as written details about these changes.

Updated Timeline - For schools on the "Rapid Release" schedule, these new features will start rolling out on May 24, 2021 but may take up to 15 days to reach everyone. For schools on the "Scheduled Release" schedule the start date will be June 1, 2021, and again may take up to 15 days to roll out to all users.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Explore 37 Years of Changes with Google Earth Timelapse

Back in 2013 Google launched an awesome standalone tool called "Google Earth Timelapse" which could show you how any location on Earth has changed over the past few decades with an animation created from all of their collected satellite imagery.

Now Google has made this project even more powerful and useful by bringing it inside of Google Earth itself. Although the standalone Timelapse site still works, you can now open Google Earth and access the same content through a built-in timelapse feature. This brings the added benefit of being able to move in 3D while viewing the changing landscape from the past 37 years, making Google Earth a truly 4D experience now!

Beyond that Google has also created themed collections of timelapses in Earth, as well as over 800 prerendered timelapse videos for you to use.

Altogether these resources can help students understand better than ever the changes happening to our world including forests, water, agriculture, wildfires, mining, urban growth, and more.

See below for a short video demonstrating how to use all of this new timelapse content, as well as written directions.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Free Webinar - Math Whiteboard

Math Whiteboard is a fantastic free interactive whiteboard tool designed specifically for teaching and learning math

I had the privilege to host a free one-hour webinar with Donald Carney, one of the creators of this tool. 

The webinar was streamed live on YouTube, but was also recorded, so if you missed the live stream you can still watch the recorded session.

See below to watch the video, and to read more about the features of this awesome tool for math.

Monday, April 12, 2021

My 2021 ITEC Spring Conference Sessions

I am excited and honored to present at the 2021 ITEC Spring Conference this year.

This year the 2021 ITEC Spring Conference is entirely virtual and runs from April 10th through 17th.

You can register on the conference website at: http://www.itec-ia.org/spring-conference/

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting for ITEC 2021, along with any associated resources.  I look forward to sharing and learning with you!

Friday, April 9, 2021

Improve Student Writing with Wordtune

As we all know, "Good writing is about finding the best words to convey your message."

Or should I say, "The best writing is choosing the most appropriate words to express one's thoughts."

Or perhaps just, "To write well, you need to use the right words."

Whatever the case, when we or our students are writing, we want to find the best tools to help us reflect on, edit, re-edit, and ultimately improve our writing

I can remember using a giant thesaurus over thirty years ago to help find just the right word for my schoolwork. Now though we have so many other tools to assist, including an excellent resource I came across recently called Wordtune.

Wordtune is a free Chrome extension that uses artificial intelligence to suggest alternate ways to phrase your writing. This can be helpful for students to add variety to their writing, try to incorporate new words, and tune up a sentence to make it more clear.

See below for a short video on how to use this tool, as well as detailed written instructions.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Create Jamboard Math Activities with Equatio

Jamboard is an excellent tool for creating interactive learning activities for students. However, if you are wanting to create math activities, Jamboard does not have many built-in math features, other than a small collection of shapes.

Thankfully there is a powerful tool, that is also free for educators, that can be used to easily add all sorts of mathematical manipulatives, symbols, and expressions to Jamboard. That tool is the Equatio extension for Chrome. 

Equatio is a toolbar that makes it super easy to create mathematical expressions, as well as a wide variety of math manipulatives, and insert them into Google Docs, Slides, Forms, and more. We will be looking specifically how to do that in Jamboard.

See below for a 12-minute video covering all the details, as well as written directions.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Podcast Spotlight: Chat with Sandy and Karen

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest on the Chat with Sandy and Karen podcast, and am excited to share the episode with you, as well as encourage you to dive into all the episodes of the podcast! This podcast is described as follows:

Sandy Bansal and Karen Jackson are both seasoned educators, Google Innovators, Trainers, and EdTech enthusiasts! We have many years of teaching and training experience between us and we love to chat! Both of us are mothers, wives, and finding our way in this crazy COVID-19 time. We want to talk about solutions and encourage you to join our chats. Sandy lives in Sweden and Karen lives in the US, so we have different perspectives, cultures, and time zones. We may not always agree, but we sure enjoy chatting!

I was so excited to be a guest on the show! See below for a link to the episode and other relevant resources...

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Podcast Spotlight: The EdTech Take Out

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest on The EdTech Take Out podcast with Mindy Cairney and Jonathan Wylie, and am excited to share the episode with you, as well as encourage you to dive into all the episodes of the podcast!

The podcast covers "Bite-Sized Technology Tips for Teachers" with a section on EdTech news, followed my a "Main Course" with a guest, and ending with "Tech Nuggets" of helpful technology tools and ideas for educators. A well-rounded educational meal for sure!

I have been listening to and benefiting from this podcast for years, so I was so excited to be a guest on the show! See below for a link to the episode and other relevant resources...

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

10 Googley Poetry Projects for National Poetry Month

April is the time of year
For kids to write a poem.
There's loads of fun activities
Here for you to show 'em.

Google tools can be used
To make the perfect rhyme,
With templates, tools, and writing prompts
To save your students time.

Draggable Drawings, random Sheets,
And Google Docs highlighting
Will give your students inspiration
For their creative writing.

So look below to find out more,
Then get your students on it,
Writing their ode, haiku, free verse,
Their ballad or their sonnet.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Google April Fools Videos

Most years Google releases a new set of prank videos for April Fools Day. I always look forward to these videos as they are so well produced and poke fun at current trends and technology and even at Google itself. Even better though, they provide more professional development materials for me.

Here's what I mean…

Technology training can be challenging for novices as well as seasoned users. There is a lot of content to cover and new features to learn. Depending on the school, organization, or event, the training may also last a long time, from a full day in-service to a multi-day bootcamp.

During any professional development training it is important to break things up, add some variety, and most importantly have some fun and laugh. Google's April Fools videos are perfect for that! As often as I can I try to insert one or more videos into the PD session depending on which ones relate to the content we are learning.

These videos can also be great for your next training session, or staff meeting, or technology instruction for your students, or even as examples of parody videos for your language arts or media classes.

Thankfully Google keeps producing new videos to add to this collection. I can't wait to see what they have made for us this time! In the meantime, see below for many of my favorite Google April Fools videos (in no particular order) and the PD topics they best relate to. Hopefully you can use these yourself to make your next teaching or learning experience more engaging.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Preset Google Meet Breakout Rooms in Calendar

Breakout rooms
are a great feature in Google Meet, allowing you to take all of your meeting participants and split them up into smaller Meets where they can work on group projects, have small group discussions, and such.

One challenge though has been the time needed to set up the rooms, especially if you want to manually assign your attendees to specific rooms. In the past this had to be done during the actual live meeting, which can take up time and be distracting when you are trying to work with your students. 

Thankfully Google has now added an option to set up the breakout rooms ahead of time using Google Calendar

See below for detailed directions on how to use this feature, as well as a short 6-minute video that demonstrates all the steps.

Friday, March 26, 2021

What's New in Google - March 2021

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from March 2021, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our March 2021 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and Google updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Workspace news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Workspace is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the March 2021 meeting:

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Podcast Spotlight: Educational Duct Tape

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest on the Educational Duct Tape podcast with Jake Miller, and am excited to share the episode with you, as well as encourage you to dive into all the episodes of Jake's podcast!

"The podcast focuses on viewing edtech as a tool used to meet goals, address learning standards, and solve problems in the classroom, much as duct tape is used as a tool that solves a plethora of problems in our lives. Each episode features a different inspiring educator helping Jake answer teacher questions with awesome ideas for using tech in the classroom."

Jake and I have actually been friends for many years as we both live in northeast Ohio and have attended numerous conferences together. I have been so excited for all of the amazing things Jake shares online including his podcast and #EduGIFs and much more. It was an honor to be on the show!

See below for a link to the episode and other relevant resources...

Friday, March 19, 2021

My MACUL 2021 Sessions

I am excited and honored to once again present at the MACUL Conference this year.

This year MACUL 2021 is entirely virtual and runs from March 17th through 20th.

You can register on the conference website at: https://2021maculconference.sched.com/

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting for MACUL 2021, along with any associated resources.  I look forward to sharing and learning with you!