Category Archives: Google Products

Information and updates on Google products such as the search engine, Google Drive, and Android.

Google Classroom vs Apple Classroom

The use of Google products and Apple products has grown significantly in the educational environment both in school and out of school. Whether it’s iPads or the Google Drive app, these devices have become common for learning due to the connections and education that they bring between the teachers and students. Although both companies have lots to offer, deciding which one to work with is mainly based on preference and choosing the one that will be most beneficial for you.

Both technological companies have created multiple apps and resources to better educate students and a familiar app that has been around for a while is Google Classroom which focuses on making it easier for teachers to assign work and help students stay organized in terms of submitting assignments as well as getting updates of new work. But recently Apple created their own app, also called Classroom, to assist teachers and students in their academics.

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A student’s point of view of an assignment

 

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The Google Classroom App

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a student completes the assignment, they can directly turn it in their work, such as a Google Doc, link or file and mark is as done. In a Classroom’s homepage, students are also offered a whole list of assignments  (done and not done) that are sorted by date to help them stay organized of what needs to be finished. And even students have more than one class that uses Google Classroom, the application helps them see all the work that needs to be done all at once. There is also a comment section under each assignment where students can ask questions they may have for the teacher.

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A student’s point of view of a classroom homepage

What teachers may enjoy about Google Classroom is the organized and easy system of assigning work and turning in work and also the fact that it is 100% paperless,  so they don’t have to worry about having large piles of work cluttering their desks. Teachers who are most likely to get the most out of Google Classroom are those teaching English or even Science since students can easily attach essays and research papers from Google Drive.

But while some may find Google Classroom to be more beneficial, others could prefer Classroom which is offered by Apple. The use of iPads in school have become more common throughout the world. So it seems logical that these iPads should include an app that can help “teachers focus on teaching so students can focus on learning,” which is the main goal of Classroom. Unlike Google Classroom, the Classroom app is focused on making a lesson more interacting between the teacher and student. First students are offered a Shared iPad they will use throughout the class when working on an assignment. And as they work, teachers are able to use an iPad to view what app each students are using at that moment as well the ones that were most recently used by that student. There is even a Screen View option where teachers can see the same screen that is opened on a students iPad (the student will be notified if their teacher is viewing their screen). This app can be very helpful for teachers to make sure that students aren’t getting sidetracked.

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Quick Tip for Smartphones: Taking Screenshots

Sometimes you want to show pictures of your screen for various purposes, such as showing a screen from a website or making a how-to. It’s not too hard to do from a computer using a tool like Snagit for Google Chrome, but what if you’re using a smartphone or tablet? Fortunately, that’s even easier. On an Android device, press and hold down the volume down and power buttons, and on Apple devices press and hold the sleep/wake button and press the home key. That’s all it takes. On Android you can find your screenshots in the Screenshots folder in your Gallery, and on Apple in your Camera Roll. You can share, email, or upload your screenshots just like any other picture. What will you use mobile screenshots for? Continue reading

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Using iPads in the Classroom

Teachers can utilize iPads in the classroom to greatly enhance the learning experience of their students by keeping them engaged and by teaching material in new ways. iPads have several useful features as well as a plethora of educational apps and uses, one of which is airdrop. Using airdrop, teachers can project wirelessly from their iPad what is showing on their screen. Teachers could open a note-taking app (like the free one Notability) and write notes or math problems on their iPad screen for students to see. What they write is projected in real time onto their projector screen. Thus, they can teach and write things “on the board” while walking around the classroom, checking on everyone and gauging their understanding. Also, when students are using the iPads in the classroom, the teacher can require them to turn on airdrop so that all their screens appears on the projector screen, deterring students from surfing the internet or going on apps that they are not supposed to.

Students could also load a powerpoint presentation onto the Google Drive app on an iPad (also free) and more readily present, changing the slides when they want to. The teacher is free to grade and enjoy their presentation, as are all other students (who no longer have to sit and change the screens). 

Furthermore, students can use iPads or even their own phones to play games like Kahoot or participate in e-classrooms like through the Socrative app. Kahoot enables the teacher to make a fun, competitive game online, which students can then access through any mobile device and play together. This provides a fast-paced, engaging way for students to review material and for teachers to gauge their understanding. Socrative is similar in that you can see the realtime student responses and engage the entire class. However, Socrative is probably better for topics that require more thinking; as the upbeat game-showy atmosphere of Kahoot, while exhilarating at first,  could quickly become stressful if you are trying to solve math problems.

With the easy video-making apps available (mostly for free) on iPads, students can make videos in under 30 minutes and send them to the teacher so that the teacher can play them for the class. Our iPads have iMovie and Animoto, which can both be used for entertaining yet educational review or case study. For instance, a teacher could assign small groups topics to explain to the class in short, often memorable videos. No doubt this alternative method of introducing material would stick in students’ brains very readily.

Teachers could also use an automatically graded survey platform such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey to assess or probe pupils, who could use either their phones or iPads to answer the surveys. Since these grade and report their responses automatically, it saves teachers time and is a personal way for students and teachers to explore their understanding.

Another way teachers have used iPads in the classroom is by using them to talk about sensitive subjects like sexting that students might not feel comfortable speaking out about for fear of being judged by their classmates. One teacher used an app like Notability to conduct a class discussion. While she asked questions to direct the conversation, students wrote their responses on the app and held it up for her to see, and even the shyer students could contribute. 

With two iPad carts in AHS and so many interesting and engaging ways to use them in the classroom, the variety of methods which teachers can use to edify their students is expanded vastly. The only thing left to do is to explore all of the tantalizingly easy-to-use approaches to using them in the classroom.

Sources:
Burns, Monica. “Resources for Using IPads in Grades 9-12.” Edutopia. Edutopia, 13 May
2014. 
Web. 29 Mar. 2016.

 

 

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Google Classroom Quick Tips

googclass

Google Classroom is a blended learning platform for schools that aim to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. Classroom saves time and paper, and makes it easy to create classes, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized. Teachers can quickly see who has or hasn’t completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback and grades right in Classroom.

How to Use:

  1. Sign in through click teacher Google Apps for Education username and click Next. Remember: Your Google Apps for Education username looks like myname@myschool.edu.
  2. Teachers can accept an invitation to teach a class by navigating to Classroom directly or by clicking the link in the email invitation.  
  3. Click add at the top of the page and click Create class. Enter the class name in the first text box.
  4. Click the class you want to add students to.
  5. At the top, click Students.
  6. Click Invite.
  7. Check the box next to the students you want to invite or check the Select all box to invite all the students listed.
  8. To see other contact lists, click My contacts.
  9. To see all the students in your school’s domain, click Directory. You can also search for a student by name in the search box.
  10. Check the box next to any additional student you want to invite.
  11. Click Invite Students.
  12. Enjoy!

Tips and Benefits:

  • Easy setup—Teachers set up a class, invite students and co-teachers, and then share information—assignments, announcements, and questions—in the class stream.
  • Less time and paper—The simple, paperless assignment workflow allows teachers to manage student work quickly, all in one place. 
  • Better organization—Students can see assignments on the Work page, in the class stream, or on the class calendar. All class materials are automatically filed into folders in Google Drive.
  • Enhanced communication—Teachers can create assignments, send announcements, and start class discussions instantly. Students can  share resources with each other and interact in the class stream or by email. 
  • Works with apps you use—Google Forms, Calendar, Gmail, Classroom share button to share from other websites, etc. 
  • Affordable and secure—Like all other Google Apps for Education services, Classroom contains no ads, never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes, and is free.

Sources:

https://support.google.com/edu/classroom/?hl=en#topic=6020277

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Tools to Make Learning Easier – Google Classroom

With a computer in every classroom and access to one for every student at school and at home, Google Classroom provides a way for teachers and students to stay on the same page, encouraging learning and effective teacher-student communication. The video illustrates just how simple and helpful Classroom is for a student, from receiving the email to join the classroom to viewing assignments and due dates to emailing teachers and classmates with questions.

*For safety and legitimacy reasons, there is no way for a student or someone outside of a school or official organization to make a “classroom” (thus, this video focuses mainly on how Classroom looks to a student).

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Snagit Logo

Techsmith Snagit: Easy Screenshots in Chrome

Let’s face it, using a computer can be hard, and it can be even harder to explain how to do something on the computer. Techsmith Snagit for Chrome is a free-to-use tool that makes it easy to take and annotate screenshots of webpages. It’s easy to install from the Chrome Web Store. Once it’s installed, it’s easy to use. Just click on the S icon, then choose the type of screenshot. You can drag and select a section of the page, take a picture of the entire page, or even use the Scrolling mode, which will capture the entire webpage, even if it doesn’t fit on a single screen. Once a picture is taken, you can name it and use the easy tools to draw annotations. Once saved, the files are placed in the Techsmith folder in Google Drive. You can alternatively download the snapshot directly or copy a link to it for easy incorporation in a website. In the example below, I take a picture of the AHS website and highlight the link to iParent. To view any of these images in more detail, click on the thumbnail to see the full-size version.

Opening the Snagit menu
Opening the Snagit menu
The editor after taking the screenshot
The editor after taking the screenshot
Annotating the screenshot
Annotating the screenshot
The final, annotated screenshot
The final, annotated screenshot

For more information about Snagit for Chrome, please visit the Techsmith website at https://www.techsmith.com/snagit-google-chrome.html.

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Citation add-ons in Chrome: Paperpile and Easybib

Paperpile is a free, easy to use, add-on in Google Chrome (especially in Drive and Docs). Basically, it is a citation device that allows users to research topics in a side bar and then easily make customized citations and annotations. While Paperpile is a highly professional tool and used by researchers and university students alike, it is simple enough and useful enough for high school and possibly younger children to utilize. It could also be useful for teachers working toward degrees (such as a Master’s).

Paper Pile Academic User Stats
Paperpile Academic User Stats, released by Paperpile.

For instance, when Paperpile is added into Chrome, should you need help navigating and using it, it provides a simple guide to help you get started, as well as many other resources.

Paperpile Quick Start Guide
Paperpile Quick Start Guide and beginning instructions in the research bar, screenshot

The simplicity and availability of Paperpiles would be useful both for students prone to forgetting to record their citations until the end of the paper to quickly research and save their citations in just a couple of clicks, staying in the document the whole time. Usually, myself included, students must go through the time-consuming process of researching something (in a book, a website, etc.) and then going to an external website to cite sources. While websites like easybib.com or owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ make citing sources much easier, it is annoying to have to leave the document and spend valuable time inputting sources. This is why many students forgo this process while writing, only to have to laboriously re-research their sources at the end. Students and teachers can save time by using Paperpiles or even the easybib add-on. Here is what the Easybib add-on bar looks like to the right of a document:

Easybib bar, screenshot
Easybib bar, screenshot

In addition, multiple add-ons can be acquired without cluttering the document. For instance, the bar on the right can be closed when not in use, ready to be accessed with just one click.

Ready to use add-ons
Ready to use add-ons, screenshot

These in-document citation add-ons are user-friendly and efficient, and can be easily downloaded free of charge right into the document. 1,399,188 people are using the easybib add-on at the time of publication, and there are 13,572 users of Paperpile. Both teachers and students could benefit from these Google Chrome add-ons.

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Google Scribe

 google scribe

Google Scribe is a product launched by google that provides text completion service. Using information from what you have already typed in a document, Google Scribe provides related word or phrase completion suggestions. In addition to saving keystrokes, Google Scribe’s suggestions indicate correct or popular phrases to use.

google-scribe-exampleThis addition to Google should allow for high school students that struggle to type essays, projects, or any writing piece quickly in school. This feature also helps students out with their grammar, and spelling of many words, whereas without this feature there would be many mistakes. In our high school I know that there are a few kids who have limited language skills and this program would allow them to learn, while also taking notes, or doing their homework!

 Google Scribe could help students format their essays if they are confused at home and don’t want to contact their teacher for help. All students or teachers have to do is start typing and as they near the end of the sentence suggestions start to be made which teach all students and teachers correct grammar and spelling.

google-scribe-example-2In conclusion, this feature would improve our grammar, spelling, and overall students would learn the correct way to type any writing piece they may have. It is a simple easy way of improving our skill set in high school and later on for college.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2011/05/google-scribe-now-with-automatic-text_26.html

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-scribe.html

 

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“Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”

Writing essays and reports has become part of a student’s daily life. Whether it’s for a book report, a science research paper, or even an article for a newspaper, students are constantly writing literature for school. But in order to complete these assignments, students constantly have to search for sources of information to understand and support the topic. And it doesn’t help that they have to search through thousands of websites and books to find the right facts needed.

Hours of searching for information can become a hassle, unless a student uses Google Scholar. Google Scholar is an online search engine specifically created to help make searching for scholarly literature and academic resources much easier and faster. The saying “don’t believe everything you read on the internet” has been around for generations. But unlike the ordinary Google app, Google Scholar filters in only articles, books and documents that would also be found in a local library’s catalog and database. So there is no need to worry about finding false information. The product also makes life easier by automatically providing a citation for every link provided for each search. Now there is no need for a student to make their own MLA or APA citation for every source of information used.

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Just like Google Search, there are an infinite amount of keywords to type into Google Scholar to find the best results. Just by typing in an author’s name, Google Scholar has offered hundreds of results that include books, citations, and PDF files that include the words ‘Mary Shelley.’If a student ever wants to save a link that they plan on using for future research, they are able to add it in the ‘My Library’ and go back to that article whenever they want. And in case a student wants to find the latest additions to a certain topic, they can choose or customize any time range that they wish.

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Whether a student wants to learn about a scientific breakthrough, or just needs to create a bibliography, Google Scholar is the most reliable and organized product to help students with their school writing assignments. But Google Scholar can also be beneficial for Publishers, Journalists, and Authors who wish to keep track of the use and popularity of their own articles. Overall, it’s no doubt that anyone can benefit from the use of Google Scholar.

Learn more about it at https://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/about.html and see why their slogan is Newton’s quote, “Stand on the shoulders of giants”.

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