Organize Google Drive Like a Pro!

A woman typing on a latop. Next to the laptop is a book, a notebook and a variety of highlighters.

It’s time to organize your Google Drive. You’ve been putting it off for months and things have got way out of hand. It’s getting harder to find the files you need with the search bar, and the mess you created is seriously starting to annoy you. If this sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right place. This step-by-step guide is designed to get you back on track and bring order to the chaos. Let’s get started.

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Loom for Education: Free for Schools

Loom for Education is a free premium tool for teachers and students at K-12 schools, universities, or educational institutions. It can be used for screencasting or video messaging and is an increasingly popular alternative to Screencastify or Screencast-o-matic. Loom is available as a desktop app, Chrome extension, and a mobile app for iPhone and iPad. Here’s why you might want to take a look at this great free screencasting tool.

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Using Guides in Google Slides to Align Content Like a Pro!

A cactus and a tape measure next to it. Text reads, how to use guides for perfect alignment in google slide decks.

Personally, I find it hard to work on the content for a slide deck if I don’t start with an idea for what the design of my slides will look like, and I can’t settle on a good design for my slide deck until the OCD part of my brain accepts that everything is neatly arranged and lined up exactly the way it should be. This is where guides come in. This handy tool lets you align text, shapes, images and more so that you never need to worry about whether your picture to be ten pixels further to the left. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I have a problem. You’re absolutely right, I freely admit it, but here’s how I solved it. I use guides in Google Slides.

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New Updates for Google Classroom and Meet!

A laptop, phone and mouse sitting on a desk. A pair of glasses are on the laptop. Text reads, Big updates from Google for Classroom and Meet.

Updates for Google products are not an uncommon experience. In fact, people like myself are often having to update presentations and handouts to reflect the changes that Google have made to their various apps. However, the pandemic that we are all living in right now has adjusted everyone’s priorities, and edtech providers are no different. In this post, I have rounded up the best new features that Google has in the pipelines for Classroom and Meet.

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5 New Updates for Google Meet

Google Meet Updates: 5 new features

There is something reassuring about using a product where all the company resources are dedicated to making that one thing better. Take, for instance, Zoom. You can get video conferencing options from Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others, but as big as these companies are, video calls are not their sole purpose, so they only dedicate a limited number of resources towards maintaining and improving that service. Recently, Google was able to offer a number of updates for Meet to help make it more competitive with the likes of Zoom. Here are five new features for Google Meet that you can expect to see soon.

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Jamboard: Google’s Best Kept Secret!

A long table with five chairs. Text on the wall above the chairs reads, Jamboard: Google's Online Collaborative Whiteboard.

In October, 2016, Google unveiled their vision for the future of interactive whiteboards. They called it the Jamboard, and it began shipping to customers in May of the following year. The Jamboard has a 55″ 4K touchscreen display that includes WiFi connectivity, an HD camera, microphone and speakers. The $5000 price tag puts it out of reach for many people, but the software that powers it is free for anyone to use, whether they have a physical Jamboard or not.

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Learn Chrome OS: The Chromebook Simulator

If you’ve ever looked for a quick, easy way for teachers, students, and even parents, to learn how to use a Chromebook, then you should take a look at Google’s free Chromebook Simulator. It’s an online learning site with step-by-step interactive tutorials that will teach you everything you need to know to get started using a Chromebook. Here’s how it works.

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New Summer Updates for Classroom & Forms

In a few days, ISTE 2019 will be in full swing. This means you can expect a flurry of emails and announcements from edtech companies touting their latest product updates. What follows is the latest news from Google in relation to Classroom, Forms and Chromebooks. These features will be available to everyone in the coming months.

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How to Convert an Old Google Site to the New Google Sites

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When Google Sites got its long awaited update, nobody was shedding a tear for the clunky and over complicated classic Google Sites. However, not everyone jumped on the new Google Sites as quickly as you might think. Many had school websites or other content that would have been too cumbersome or complicated to transfer with just copy and paste. These people were waiting on Google to released the transfer tool that they promised would convert the old Google Sites to the new Google Sites. That time has finally come. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Convert to New Google Sites

The following procedure is available to those with personal Google accounts right now. It comes to G Suite domain administrators for schools and enterprise on May 22, 2018, and to other G Suite users with an eligible site on June 19, 2018.

  1. Open your classic Google Site at sites.google.com
  2. Click the gear icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Click Manage Site
  4. At the bottom of the menu on the left hand-side, click Convert to New Sites.
  5. Choose the sharing permissions for the new site
  6. Click Start to begin the transfer

If everything looks good, and you have made any changes that you need to make, you  need to hit the Publish button to make your site live. When you do this, you will be asked if you want to keep the URL from your old site had, or to start fresh with a new URL.

If you choose to keep the URL you had before, (a useful option if your site is being linked to from multiple places), then the existing URL will automatically redirect users from the old site to the new site. It also means that any URL shorteners that you used, (bit.ly, tinyurl, etc.), will continue to work. If you choose a new URL, be sure to let people know about the new location for your Google Site.

Will Everything Transfer?

In theory, most content should transfer pretty well to the new Google Sites. However, your site won’t necessarily look the same as it did before, and that’s kind of the nature of the beast here. Pages and navigation will be the same, but you may need to tweak your layout, and the fonts and colors will have been modified so that they are in line with the theme options in the new Google Sites.

Widgets, iFrames and custom HTML will likely not transfer well to the new Google Sites, but File Cabinet pages, attachments, embedded Google documents, and YouTube videos should make the transition as expected, albeit with some minor changes. For instance, File Cabinet pages will be converted to an embedded Google Drive folder with all the files you previously uploaded.

A full comparison of what you will see when you convert your old Google Site to the new Google Site can be found on Google’s help page, What to Expect When You Convert a Site.

I Can’t Convert to the New Google Sites

If you’re reading this after June 19, 2018, and you still don’t see the option to convert to the new Google Sites, your site may not currently be eligible for transfer. Google doesn’t offer much guidance here other than to say you should continue to check back for when it may be eligible.

Alternatively, you could copy and paste content from the old Google Site to a new Google Site, providing you don’t have too much content to transfer.

Apple Classroom vs. Google Classroom

Apple Classroom was released in March 2016, but from things I read online, or hear when talking to other educators, I feel that it still gets mistakenly compared to Google Classroom. I can absolutely see why that happens. Both products have very similar names, and both were created to help solve technology problems in the classroom. However, the truth is, these two products could not be more different. So, in this post, I wanted to take some time to run through everything that Apple Classroom can do, and compare that to Google Classroom, in order to give you some ideas on how you can use these useful tech tools at your school.

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