Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Power Up Your Hyperdocs with YouTube Preview

The Hyperdoc Handbook by Lisa Highfill, Sarah Landis and Kelly Hilton took the EDU world by storm, and for good reason. Since this book was published, educators have been designing empowering lessons with Google Docs and more. A popular Hyperdoc feature is to include links to YouTube videos. Until recently, these links existed in the Doc as a hyperlink. These hyperlinks opened the video in a new tab for students to watch. 

An issue I've seen with students is that when they tab hop, they can often be tempted to veer off task. When working through an activity such as a Hyperdoc, keeping students focused on the task is imperative. Recently, Google Docs has been updated to give you the option to add a YouTube link in the form of a "pretty little Smart Chip-like button." See below.

 

When a student hovers over the "YouTube Chip", a small preview will appear below. This preview gives them more information, at a glance, about the video.


If student hovers over the actual image of the video in the preview, they will see a button appear that says Open preview. 


When they Open preview, in the bottom right corner of the tab, the video will open up and play. This allows them to type on the Doc, take notes and more while watching the video. They can do this from the convenience of the same tab. No tab hopping necessary.


The screenshots shown above are from a Mini Report Eduprotocol. It was this past school year where I saw students using this feature completely on their own. I learned of this cool trick from students. What cool things will your students teach you this upcoming school year?

If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@techcoachjuarez.com.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.



Monday, July 11, 2022

Easily Customize Your Google Classroom Banner with Google Drawings

Since the advent of the COVID-19 shift to distance learning, creating a cool looking Google Classroom banner has been all the rage. When creating a custom banner, many people have been aggravated by the height and width requirements for the banner and cropping it to make it fit. Canva has some social media templates for banners that can be used, but in Google Drawings, you can set the area to be the exact size, 800 W x 200 H pixels.

Below is what a default banner looks like when you create a Classroom. To add your own design, click the Customize button in the top right corner. (Hint: This process is something to know for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Exam).


In the menu that pops up, click Upload photo to add your own custom design. If you click Select photo, you will be able to choose from Google's preset image options and themes.


To create your own design in Google Drawings, first click the File button on the top toolbar. Near the bottom, click Page setup.


In the menu that pops up, it will be defaulted to Standard 4:3. Click that and select Custom.


The default measurement unit is inches. Click Inches and switch it Pixels. The first number on the left is the width. Set it 800. The second number is the height. Switch it to 200. Click Apply.


Immediately you will see the dimensions of the canvas in Google Drawings switch to a wider look. 


Be as creative as you like in setting up your Classroom banner.


When done creating, click File, hover your cursor over Download and click JPEG. This will download the image to your computer for easy upload to Google Classroom.


When you return to Google Classroom, click Customize and then click Upload photo. Your computer's files will pop up. More than likely, your JPEG will be in the Downloads folder. 


When you select the JPEG file, it will be uploaded to the Classroom at the perfect size and ratio.


I want to give a big shout out to my friends at Covina Valley USD in Covina, CA who helped me with the process and ideas for this blogpost. During our Google Certification Bootcamp in June 2022, questions arose about this process and we were able to figure out this hack. 

If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@techcoachjuarez.com.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.




Friday, May 27, 2022

An Easy Way to Get Started Using Dropdown Menus in Google Docs

 

Recently, Google Docs added a new Dropdown menu feature. It can be easily accessed by typing the "@" symbol. The first time you try it, it will be at the top of the menu that appears. After the first time, it will be located at the bottom. Scroll down to access the feature. It can also be found via the Insert menu on the top toolbar. 


When you select Dropdown, you will be prompted to create a new dropdown or use a previous one. You will be given the options to use their preset options as well. 


When creating your own Dropdown, by default, you can create 4 options, but you have the ability to color code them and add or subtract options. 


Below is an example of what this feature can look like. In the example, I have written a narrative with Dropdown menus inserted at strategic points. This can be a comprehension exercise for students to show knowledge of the characters in a story. The Dropdown will show one of the options, but if the student thinks the option is incorrect, they can click it to change the name to the correct answer. 


Below you can see the three sample Dropdowns and the available options.




This is just one simple way to begin using the new Google Docs Dropdown feature. How might you use this feature in your role? If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@techcoachjuarez.com.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.



Friday, April 29, 2022

Power Up Your Collaborative Lesson Design with Wipebook!

 

Floor to ceiling whiteboard walls are luxury most educators do not have. I am one of the fortunate educators whose learning space has floor to ceiling, magnetic whiteboard walls. They make teaching students and leading professional learning sessions a blast. But what about the times when I am not in my learning space where I don't have this amazing luxury? In those instances, Wipebook the rescue!

The Cardinal Innovation Center in Orosi, CA

When I teach and or present in spaces other than my own, Wipebook allows me to design lessons as if I was still in the friendly confines of the Cardinal Innovation Center. Pinning up Wipebook pages around the room allows me to quickly and easily increase my dry erase, writable space to give students and teachers the ability to get up and make their thinking visible. With their ideas up, on the walls, on Wipebook pages, the ease and opportunities for feedback increase tremendously. In addition, this is conducive to fostering collaboration. 

In my book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Supporting Digital Learning, my co-author Katherine Goyette and I promote a 4 C's lesson design style. We begin with a learning target/goal/standard and use a simple 4 square diagram to map out how students will engage with each of the 4 C's as a way of reaching the learning target/goal/standard. As we like to say, "When you plan with the 4 C's in mind, the tech takes care of itself."

Wipebook is great for departments and PLCs to collaboratively design 4 C's-infused lessons and learning experiences. They are lightweight, flexible, easy to transport and fit well on a tabletop. This allows all colleagues to easily gather around, brainstorm and plan. Simply gathering around a Wipebook page to design a lesson is like a family gathering to share a meal. In this instance, colleagues are sharing some edu-fellowship and fostering a culture of collaboration.

Start by writing your learning target/goal/standard at the top and drawing a basic 4 square diagram. Each of the 4 C's (communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking) will go in one of the 4 squares. From here, the conversation begins on how students will meet the learning target/goal/standards via each of the C's. If you download, the Wipeboard Scan app, you can easily keep a record of your planning with you and reuse the Wipebook. One of the simple, yet brilliant things about Wipebook is that they are reusable. Try doing that with chart paper! 

Below is a sample from a "Causes of WWI" lesson my colleagues and I designed with Wipebook. 


My wife (co-author) and I use Wipebook when we lead 4 C's lesson design workshops. As mentioned, they are lightweight, flexible and easy to transport. In most instances, the spaces in which we lead workshops and professional development have little to no dry erase whiteboard space. With Wipebook, we are covered.

My wife Katherine and I right before our 4 C's Lesson Design session at 2019 NSTC Conference in Palm Springs. This was the first time we used Wipebook to facilitate this session.

Below are some action shots of our first session using Wipebook. In each image, you can see how the versatility of Wipebook made it easy to facilitate collaboration. 




You can see some teams collaborating on the Wipebook while at the same time using devices to research strategies and standards. This provides a healthy balance of tech and non-tech in the lesson design process. 



As my colleague and good friend Joe Marquez says, "Teaching is a collaborative sport." Wipebook is a simple, yet powerful tool for fostering collaboration amongst educators. Many of us have fond memories of sharing family meals and the great conversations shared. Wipebook can bring a similar feel to the lesson design process. Oftentimes, lesson design can feel like a chore, and it becomes dreaded, but what if it felt more like sharing a family meal? I can't imagine much dread in that. Let Wipebook help you set the table.

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.








Monday, March 28, 2022

Translation in Google Docs Made Easy with Docs Paragraph Translate

Translation of text is one of the most basic ways we can begin to support English learners. When you don't speak another language, this can seem like a daunting task. Though not the most difficult thing in the world, opening Google Translate in another tab and hopping back and forth to copy and paste text is tedious and annoying. But what if you could translate targeted text from right within Google Docs? Would that be so much easier? Spoiler alert, the answer is yes and the Docs Paragraph Translate Add On in Google Docs is here to help.

Start by going to the Add-Ons tab in Google Docs, go to Get add-ons, search for Docs Paragraph Translate and install. Once installed, it'll appear in your Add-ons list as seen below.


After opening it, you can set it to Auto-detect the source language or set it exactly to the language you want. If your source language is English, Auto-detect will work fine. 


Set your target language for which you want to translate to. These settings are automatically saved so you don't have set them each time, unless your want a different language.


On your document, select the text you want to translate. With the Add-on open, click Translate.


Immediately, the translation of the selected text appears in the side panel. From there, click the part of the Doc where you'd like to put the translation.


Below, you can see the translation right beneath the text that was originally selected.


In my 17 years working with English learners, I have seen them be more successful with language development when providing side by side translation of their home language and English. This Add-on has been a life saver for quickly translating directions and other important pieces of text as I curate learning experiences for all learners. How will you use the Docs Paragraph Translate Add-on?

If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@techcoachjuarez.com. My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.




Friday, March 25, 2022

Update to Chrome Reading List: Quite a Handy Little Feature

Recently, Google Chrome was updated to include a Reading List button next to your Chrome profile picture, to the right of your extensions. You may have seen this and wondered if you accidentally added an new extension. What this button does is to open your Chrome Reading List as a side panel on the right. Click the button shown below to check it out.

If you are reading a website, and you want to save it for later, but not set it as a bookmark, the Reading List will be your best friend. With the Reading List open, click the button labeled Add current tab. This will save the URL (link) to your Reading List.


In addition, you have another way to see and access your bookmarks. If you'd like to see your bookmarks vertically, rather than horizontally across the top, the Reading List will display them on the right side panel.


This new feature can be useful for students as well. If students are doing research, they can add their search results to the Reading List for easy access. When they are finished, and no longer need the links, they can quickly delete them from the list. 

If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@techcoachjuarez.com. My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.







 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Jumpstart the Writing Process with Google Keep and Google Docs

 

In 17 years as an educator, a frequent pain point I have seen teachers deal with is frustration with students struggling to manage notes and sources when working on a research project. These are essential skills that successful adults possess. Please share these tips with your students to help them better manage their notes, sources and writing process.

In the example shown below, a student is working on a research paper on volcanoes. All of the research is being done online. While the student searches for sources, they are copying the links of the websites they plan use and cite.


To make the sources easy to find and use during the writing process, this student puts each source as its own note in Google Keep. Notice how this student is mindful to properly name each source for easy, future reference.


When the student is ready to start writing in Google Docs, they open the Google Keep button on the right side panel.


Immediately, their Keep Notes are available. The student has bullets and information in addition to the link to source on each note. This makes it easy to copy and paste information into the Doc to help jumpstart the writing process. This is great if they're using direct quotes.


If they click the three dots on any note, the entire contents of the note can be immediately imported to the Doc.


When they are ready to add citations, students can use the built-in Citations tool in the Tools menu within Google Docs.


This allows students to easily cite any source, whether a website, blog, book, magazine, etc. With the links saved in Keep, it is quick and easy to copy and paste those links into the Citation tool for instant citation of a source.


Google Keep and Google Docs work very well together when it comes to enhancing the writing and research process. Keep also integrates similarly with Google Slides. This can be useful when creating presentations. How might you use Keep and Docs with your students?

Share the video below with students to show them how to do all the things mentioned in this blog post.


If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@techcoachjuarez.com. My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.