How to Add Questions for Students to YouTube Videos

With the popularity of flipped classrooms showing no sign of waning, a new crop of web tools for teachers are emerging to help support instruction. In this post, I take a look at four ways that teachers can add questions to a YouTube video for their students to answer when watching a video at home or on their own.

1. Educanon.com

For a more polished approach, check out Educanon.com. It works with YouTube, Vimeo or TeacherTube videos. You can add students to your online class, and even assign them video lessons of your choice. You can also watch student progress, question by question in real time, as they work through the video. Teachers can have up to eight classes, and can arrange videos in the order that they want students to watch them

To get started, simply copy and paste the link to the video into the Educanon video builder. Then, add a question at the appropriate time in the video. Unlike the YouTube question editor, Educanon stores all student responses so you can go back and check for student understanding at a later date. Educanon is also in beta, but is currently free to use.

educanon

2. EDpuzzle.com

The last site I am going to share is called EDpuzzle. It is a little more versatile in the sources it allows for your video with YouTube, Khan Academy, TED, National Geographic and more as supported sites. Once you have chosen your video you can trim the beginning or ends to get the content you really need. You can also record an audio track for the video to describe it in your own words or to relate it to what you have been doing in the classroom. If you don’t need a full audio narration, you can leave voice comments at specific points in the video.

Like Educanon, you can create a class, add students and get a record of results as they come in from students who are watching your EDpuzzle videos. You can also assign a video as homework for students that are in your class. Edpuzzle.com is also a free service for educators, so feel free to check it out too.

EDpuzzle

3. Google Forms

As a couple of people have reminded me on Twitter and in the comments below, the recent introduction of video to a Google Form means that you can now integrate a YouTube video alongside questions that you may have on a Google Form. All the student answers will be recorded on a Google Spreadsheet, and could potentially be graded for you with the Flubaroo script. This would work a little differently to the options above, because you cannot insert questions at a specific point in the video without splitting the clip and having several smaller clips. However, it could still be a nice option for teachers who are flipping their classroom and looking to add questions to a YouTube video. To add a video, create your form and go to Insert > Video, or click Add Item and choose video. Then paste the link to the YouTube video you want to use.

Google Form Videos

So, the next time you want to add a little more interactivity to videos that you assign to your students to watch, check out one of the options above to help you add questions to YouTube videos.

Setting Default Apps on the iPad with Google

If, like me, you are a Google Apps user who loves to use their iPad, you may have longed for the ability to have your favorite Google services set as the default apps on your iPad. Well, you can, to a degree, and here’s how.

DriveGoogle+ on iOSgmailGooglechrome

Today I saw a post on Google+ by Chris Betcher, a Google Certified Teacher and Trainer, that reminded me how to do just that. It’s simple really, and there is no need for workarounds or even jailbreaking your device, because Google has done all the hard work for you.

Whether you realize it or not, Google has updated its iOS apps so that they can talk to each other. For instance, it you click on an email link while inside Chrome, the iPad will automatically open the Gmail instead of Apple’s Mail app. The same applies for links that lead to a file in Drive. Clicking the link inside of Gmail will open the file in the Drive app, instead of Safari. Found an interesting link in Google+?  Tap the share arrow, and you can open it in Chrome.

Setting Default Apps on the iPad

Apple doesn’t allow you to set default apps on the iPad, so how is this possible? Well, it is all down to a bit of clever engineering from Google. If you navigate to the Settings in Gmail or Chrome, you will find a menu option called Google Apps. Clicking that, allows you to choose a Google iOS app to open something that may normally be opened by Safari or the Mail app.

So, all that is left to do is to wean yourself off some of Apple’s default apps. Mobile Safari is a great browser, and the Mail app is very solid too. However, if you find yourself in these apps when you would rather be in Google’s apps, all you need to do is shift your focus to using the Chrome and Gmail apps instead.

Using Google on the iPad can sometimes be a bit of an ordeal, but in case you haven’t tried it, the experience is very much the same on Google’s Android tablets. You can set default apps on Android, but if you use Chrome to access your Google Drive you will still be forced into the mobile view and warned that you are using an incompatible browser when in the Desktop view. Still, progress has been made, and Google’s commitment to mobile devices is clear, even if the support is not coming quite as fast as some of us might like it to! 🙂

For more information on setting Google’s apps as default apps on the iPad, watch Chris Betcher’s video below, and check out this follow-up post on how to set Gmail as the default mail app on iOS.

Take Control: Customize the New Google App Launcher

App Launcher Customizer for Google

The famous black bar is gone, and has been replaced with a new icon based app launcher. Personally, I like it, but I know there are still some that are having trouble letting go of that iconic horizontal menu. However, there is a great Chrome extension that will help make that transition just a little bit easier – App Launcher Customizer for Google.

Once installed, you have the option of adding or removing any of the standard apps that appear by default in the new app launcher. You can choose from over 170 Google apps and services, and sort them so that they are organized just the way you want them. It’s as simple as dragging and dropping.

App Launcher Options

However, that’s not all. You can also add custom bookmarks so that you can save some of your most often used websites alongside your most often used Google services. Simply click the Add Custom Shortcut button and add the URL of your choice. Best of all, your settings are synced via Chrome sync so you can enjoy your new custom layout in any Chrome browser you happen to be signed into.

Essentially, App Launcher Customizer for Google does the same thing that Big G Black Bar Sorter did, (it’s now removed from the Chrome Web Store), but is still a very useful extension to have, and one that could make your life just a little bit easier every time you are online. The video below has a walkthrough of what you can expect when you install this new app.

How to Preview a Page as a Viewer in Google Sites

When working on a Google Site, the view you get as the owner, is sometimes going to be different to the view a visitor gets when they access your website. Google has a built-in option called Preview page as a viewer, to deal with just this problem. It shows you exactly what your Google Site will look like to someone who does not have access to your site as an editor.

Best of all, it is very easy to do. Make sure you are signed in to your Google Site, then click More > Preview page as a viewer, (or use the keyboard shortcut g then p). Your site will then open in a new tab, minus the editing bar you normally see across the top of your page. Instead, you will see a small yellow rectangle at the top of the page that says “Preview page as a viewer”. If you have asked Google to optimize your site for Mobile visitors (More > Manage Site > General > Mobile) you will also see the option to switch to a mobile preview, but in my experience, this is often not a pretty sight!

preview page as a viewer

Why would you want to preview a page as a viewer? Well, if you are anything like me, you may occasionally (read: often!) forget whether or not you changed the sharing settings on an embedded Google document. In the editor view on your site, everything looks fine, and it displays just like it should. However, visitors who do not have access to a document see a placeholder denying them the ability to see it without first requesting access. It is an easy problem to fix, but a quick preview of the site as a viewer can help alleviate problems like this before they arise.

Using Google Forms for a Contact Page on Google Sites

When I create custom Google Sites, one of the things I often add is a Google Form on the Contact page. It’s a quick, easy, and stylish way to give visitors to your website a way to contact you without ever having to leave your site. Here’s how to set one up.

Start by creating a form in Google Drive, but keep it simple. The more fields you add, the less likely people will be to use your form. So, Name, Email and Comments is usually fine for most circumstances, but feel free to change that up as required, (see below).

Google Sites Contact Form

Next, insert the Form on a Contact page of your Google Site. You can add a paragraph explaining that it is a way that people can contact you about anything you have seen on the site, but again this is optional. So, go to Insert > Drive > Form and select the Form you created.

insert google form

Now adjust the Form settings. I usually recommend leaving the border and title boxes unchecked. That way, you get a nice clean look and it does not immediately look like you have embedded a Google From. Leave the width blank and it will automatically fit the width of your site, and play with the height until it looks right for you and displays without a scroll bar. Then save your page.

Google Form Settings

To get notified of form submissions, go to the Responses spreadsheet that is associated with your Google Form. Then click Tools > Notification rules. This allows you to set up email alerts for form submissions, so check the box that says A user submits a form, and choose how quickly you would like to be notified of that action. Most of the time I select Email – right away, but if your inbox is full and overflowing, you may prefer the daily digest. Click Save to store your preferences.

notification settings google spreadhseet

And that is really all there is to it. From this point forward, visitors to your Google Site can submit questions and comments through the embedded Google Form, and you will get notified of their submission by email. Easy, right? 🙂

Create Great HTML Classroom Newsletters for FREE with Google Sites

Recently, I came across a great Google script by Romain Vialard on how to create nice looking email newsletters from a Google Sites page. It is simple to do, requires no programming skills, and could be a great way to go paperless in the classroom. So, if you are an elementary teacher that sends home newsletters every week, or you are an administrator or a coach who needs to keep communication lines open with parents, read on.

The premise is simple. You build your newsletter by creating a page on a Google Site. If you already have a classroom website that is a Google Site, all the better, but otherwise, you can create a Google Site for free with a Google Account. Then edit the page like you would with any other page, but consider some creative layouts like the three column layout with a header and footer.

Google Sites Newsletter

You can insert images and hyperlinks with ease. Embedded videos do not work when delivered as email, but you can take a screenshot of the video and link that image to the online version of the video, or add a link to say watch the video here. Of course, you can add as much text as you want, and rich text formatting will be retained.

Once your page is complete, it is time to send it to your readers. Install the free Chrome Newsletter Creator app, or visit Romain’s website, and paste the link to your page into the newsletter script. Add the email addresses of the recipients, choose whether or not you want to add a record of your email to a Google Spreadsheet, and click Send.

Initially I had some issues with adding recipients to the text box, because it did not deliver the newsletter to all the email address I added. However, if you click the spreadsheet icon to the right of the text box (see below) you can select a Google Spreadsheet that you have pasted the email addresses into, and use that as your mailing list. This worked much better for me with larger numbers of recipients.

newsletter creator

In no time at all, you can check your email to find the finished product. It looks great in Gmail and most other clients. The page title is used for the subject title of the email, and the rest is neatly packaged into a professional looking HTML newsletter that you created with little effort and no cost.

gmail classroom newsletter

Of course, you could take this one step further and use a freely available HTML newsletter template from the web, paste the code into the HTML box in  a Google Site, and use that as a template for an even nicer looking custom newsletter. I tried it, and it worked pretty well. You don’t need to know any HTML code to edit the content, but if you want to tweak any of the colors or design, it would be useful. You can see a video demo of Romain’s script below.

If, like me, you spend a lot of your time using Google Apps, you may well have forgotten most of the intricacies of how to use Publisher or Word for newsletters, but Google Sites is easy to learn. So, why not give it a try? Feel free to leave your thoughts on this tool below.

5 MORE Chromebook Tips for Teachers

Lots of people enjoyed my previous post with 5 Chromebook Tips for Teachers, so I decided to follow it up with five MORE quick tips that will help you start the school year in the best possible way with Chromebooks. So, see the presentation below for more Chrome OS tricks.

Tips include…

  1. Taking Chromebook screenshots
  2. How to access your Mac or PC from your Chromebook
  3. Printing with Chromebooks
  4. How to connect your Chromebook to a projector
  5. The Hapara Teacher Dashboard

And, if you haven’t seen it already, you may want to check our a previous presentation I did that was a Chromebook 101 for Teachers. Feel free to leave any tips of your own in the comments below.

What’s New for Schools with the Latest Google Drive Update for iOS?

Google has updated its iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch version of Google Drive with a clean new interface and a few new features ahead of the impending introduction of the new iOS 7 operating system for Apple’s mobile devices. So, what’s new and what’s still to come? Let’s find out.

Google Drive iPad App Update

What’s new for educators?

Visually, users will notice an immediate change in the layout and feel of the new Google Drive app. It now mimics many of the features you find on the Android app and you can view your files and folders as a list or a grid. The details panel is all new, and includes an image preview of your file at the top. From this panel, you can now copy the link to any document so that you can paste it into another document, app or email. Finally, there is an update for Google Presentation files. You still cannot create or edit these files, but there is a new viewer complete with speaker notes, a slide sorter view, and a true full screen mode.

Google Drive for iOS

What teachers still need

We badly need  support for tables. Why has this taken so long? Android users have it, but iOS users can’t view or edit tables and this can be a major inconvenience. I’d also love to see more sharing options. Why can’t we share documents as “anyone with the link”? Better still, why can’t Google Apps for Education users have domain sharing options to share files with everyone in their organization? And what about Google Presentations or Google Forms? Can we expect to see those added any time soon?

Conclusion

Overall, I love the update. I like the cleaner look, the ability to copy links and the nice new viewer for Presentations, but Google Apps for Education users will continue to seek further updates to increase efficiency with Drive on the iPad in the classroom. Let’s hope that comes sooner, rather than later. In the meantime, be sure to check out my guide to a Paperless iPad Classroom with the Google Drive app. It has been updated to include screenshots from the latest version of the Drive app.

5 Chromebook Tips for Teachers

Chromebooks seem to be the hot new device that everyone is talking about, so if you are lucky enough to be starting the school year with some of Google’s laptops, check out the quick presentation below that has 5 Chromebooks tips especially for teachers. The tips include…

  1. Saving to Google Drive instead of the Files app
  2. A new full screen mode for the latest version of Chrome OS
  3. The Screen Magnifier that lets you zoom in on specific parts of your screen
  4. Enabling Caps Lock on a Chromebook
  5. Help with Offline Apps that make your Chromebook more versatile

You may also want to check out a previous post I did that was a Chromebook 101 for Teachers, and if you liked this, be sure to click through to see the followup to this post that has 5 MORE Chromebook Tips for Teachers.

How to Add Favicons to Google Sites

Some time ago, I talked about how to add an Apple Touch Icon to a Google Site. Today I want to show you how to add favicons to a Google Site. It is quick, easy, and a fun way to add some extra style to your website.

What is a Favicon? A favicon is a small icon associated with a website that you will see on every tab, and/or in the address bar next to the URL, depending on what browser you use. You can make your own favicon with any number of free favicon generators out there, but sometimes I just like to head over to FreeFavicon.com and download one of their free, ready-made favicons.

free favicon.com

Once you have the image you want, you first need to make sure that you have the filename correct. Google Sites only recognize favicons that are named favicon.ico. If you have it named as anything else, you will need to rename the file first, otherwise the standard Google Sites favicon will remain.

Next, go to More > Manage Site > Attachments > Upload and select your favicon. After that, you are done. You should see the favicon appear on the tab at the top of the page, or in the address bar of your browser within seconds.

upload favicon google sites

It is a very quick tweak, but another way that you can build Google Sites that don’t look like Google Sites. For a video walkthrough of this process, you can watch the awesome Stacy Behmer below: