Aug 27, 2016

Get Training with the Techy Coach

Are you new to Google Apps for Education?  If you are, grasping some of the more intricate tips and tools can be a lot to take in all at once.  You need training on your time from someone who knows Google Apps!

That's why the Techy Coach blog offers specialized online courses on Google Apps!  Try one of these courses to get you started:

Let Google Drive Take the Wheel
Still shackled to the big box suite of software on your PC? 
Want to learn the first steps to creating a paperless classroom?
Unplug and go mobile with Google Drive. 
This course will help you become more productive while learning how to:

  • Upload and Store Files in the Cloud.
  • Manage your files and access them from anywhere.
  • Collaborate with others in real-time.
  • Create and share documents with others.
The Google Forms Guidebook
Heard of Google Forms, but you're just not sure what it can do for you?  This course will walk you through how Google Forms works, from start to finish. 

  • Learn the basics of what Google Forms can do.
  • Uncover advanced features you didn't know about.
  • Discover ways to use forms that stretch beyond basic polling.
  • You'll be making polls, surveys, assessments, and learning activities in no time!

Aug 26, 2016

Google Apps Continues to Evolve - Hangouts and Google+

As we learned a few weeks ago, Google Hangouts on Air will soon switch to YouTube Live!  Yesterday, Google announced more changes that will take place with Google Hangouts.  

Starting on August 31st, changes to the Google Hangouts Chrome Extension will be made to make the Chat Feature a bit more user friendly.  These changes will become the default view for new users.  If you are a new user, you'll find that the extension will make the chat feature easy to use, as well as easy to manage when viewing multiple conversations.  If you are an existing user, you'll have the opportunity to opt in to the new features, or stay with the current interface.  

This is much like the experience users have had with Google+ over the past year.  Speaking of Plus, Google announced earlier this week, that the New Google+ interface is now the default option, but if you still want to use the old interface, you can by clicking Back to the Classic Google+

Now, all that being said, if you are a new user to these tools, they can be very powerful tools!  Here are a few things to think about when using each tool.

Google Hangouts - 

  • Virtual meetings - use hangouts to have a meeting  - chat or video - without leaving your office.
  • As a collaboration tool - use the chat feature to take notes during a virtual meeting.
  • Virtual Field Trips - turn conversations into video calls.
  • Co-Teaching - Use Hangouts to present to two classes at once with a co-teacher.  Next door, or across the country.
  • Chat as a group - you can chat with up to 10 users on a free account, or more with a GAFE account.  
  • Present during a Virtual Meeting - Share your screen during a video call.

Google+ - 

  • Share your Interests - Create a collection, as a class or individual project.
  • Create Communities - Use Google+ communities to collaborate, share, and ask questions.  As a department, school, or district, this is a great way to keep everyone on the same page during a transition to GAFE.
  • Your own Personal PLC - follow people, communities, and collections on a wide array of topics.  Check your feed and use it as your own professional learning community.  Or maybe share you knowledge with others.
As with all Google tools, the mindset is that each tool in its own way lends itself to greater productivity, whether for work or school.  But don't just use them yourself - remember students can use these tools for projects and lessons.  Try some of these features as you start the new school year.

Aug 21, 2016

Google Apps Ideas for Elementary Teachers

This week, I will be sharing Google Apps tips with some of the elementary school teachers in our district.  I thought I would also share it here in the event that it benefits someone else.

Look for tips on Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides & Forms.  Slides include links to Video Tutorials and Sample Material.

Aug 17, 2016

Google Forms Update: Add Images Directly to Questions

Google released an update to Forms today that is a huge deal!  In the past, if you wanted to add an image to a Form (quiz), you could do so, but the image would be separate from the question or question set in your quiz.  The problem with this is that if you want to use the Shuffle Question Order option, you couldn't, because you could never be sure that the two would appear next to each other as they should.

Now, Google has added a feature right alongside your question, allowing you to insert an image directly into the question.  

Watch this tutorial video to see how...

Google Classroom Updates: Posts and Parent Email

Today, Google released a few updates to Google Classroom to help teachers get a jump on organization and parent communication for the new school year.

The first of these updates affects Posts.  Now when you post an announcement or assignment in Google Classroom, you'll have the option of adding a Topic to your post.  This means that if you like to keep assignments organized by unit or chapter, you can do so by adding Topics.

The second update is a game changer in terms of parent communication.  For the longest time, teachers and parents were bothered by the fact that there was no way for parents to see announcements and student work in Google Classroom.  One tip I used to give teachers involved the use of the calendar in Google Classroom (see this post).  Now, teachers have the ability to invite parents by email, to receive a weekly update on student work and announcements.  Just go to the Students menu, click the switch Guardian Email Summaries, and then click Invite Guardians next to a child's name.  

To see these updates, watch this quick tutorial.

Aug 16, 2016

Hangouts On Air, Google Hangouts and Google Duo

If you are just getting the hang of Google Hangouts and love Hangouts On Air, don't get too attached.  Hangouts On Air will soon be replaced with YouTube Live.  The switch will take place on September 12th, and users who are accustomed to Hangouts On Air will still have access to their old recordings, but new "on air" videos will soon have a new home.  

This announcement was very quiet, but here are a few things to know as far as I can tell:

  • New instructions for creating a hangout on air can be found at this link.
  • Google Hangouts will still exist as a standalone and as a plugin focusing on business users.
  • Google Duo - a Video Call app for Android - will soon be released as competition to Facetime.
Stay tuned as more details will be released over time.