What’s New in Google Classroom – August 2017

August 2017 Google Classroom Updates

help in Google ClassroomGoogle Classroom is Google’s learning management system, which was introduced in 2014. Throughout each school year, and over the summer, Google releases new features and updates to Classroom. If you have a suggestion of a feature for Google Classroom, click on Send Update inside Classroom to share you idea.

Google made a number of changes to Classroom over the summer holidays. There are two features that were on my wish list: the ability to display the class code full screen, and new page views where a student or teacher could see all the student’s work for a class, and the status of the work. Other updates include the ability to reorder classes on the home page, to grade quizzes question by question, assign decimal grades for assignments, use the Google bar to quickly switch to other G Suite products, and transfer ownership of a class to another teacher. Google Classroom now integrates with QuizizzEdcite, and Kami. You can get more details about the updates in the blog post from Google.

If you’re new to Google Classroom, or want to improve your use of Google Classroom, check out the Training Center. This hub contains video tutorials, tips and tricks from teachers, guides that you can download, and access links for webinars. If you have other questions (or tips to share), you can also take part in the Help Forum. For more tips, follow the #FirstDayofClassroom hashtag on Twitter.

Use Operators in Google Search

I cringe a bit when I watch this video that I made in 2010 due to the voice, and my emphasis, but even more importantly, some of the information is no longer valid. Here’s a highlight of what’s different in using Search operators in Google now.

  • +word used to be a verbatim search where word had to exist on the page, but this was deprecated in 2011, and now it is a search for word on Google+ pages. You can still use “word” to do a verbatim search for either a word or a phrase.
  • ~ used to be  a synonym search and is now used for nothing

The video is still valid from 1:04 to 3:53. The only curiosity is that a search of define:iron gives many more results than define iron, and I haven’t figured out why that is. Answers welcomed.

Operators covered in the video

  • OR
  • verbatim/phrase search
  • * wildcard search
  • define

If you’re doing a Google search, and need help with the operators, take a look at Advanced Search.

Google Slides Update on iOS: Layouts and Themes

Last week’s (23/03/16) update of Google Slides on iOS included two significant new features. Users can now easily modify themes and slide layouts in the iOS App. Google Support provides the following steps for accessing the new features:

Add a theme

  • Open a presentation.
  • Tap More .
  • Tap Change theme.
  • To apply a theme to all slides in your presentation, tap a theme.

Change the layout of a slide

  • Open a presentation and select a slide.
  • In the slide picker, tap the slide you want to change.
  • In theIMG_0785 menu that appears, tap Change layout.
  • Choose the layout you want to use.

 

Note that the update still does not allow you to add an image as a background to a slide.

Try out the features and share them with your students.

Check out Document Outline in Google Docs

This month, Google added a new feature to Google Docs, that shows you an outline of your document. It works on laptops, and Android tablets and smart phones. Take a look. It could be useful for generating an outline for students from a sample work (teacher use) or for students to create an outline of a report (student use) as an initial step in the writing process.

Better Searching – Google Drive

Have you noticed that the search options in Google Drive have changed, and by changed I mean greatly improved?! I’m excited to be able to search by owner, and to be able to specify if a search term can be found in the title, or in the content of the file. Check it out when you have a chance. Click on all the drop down arrows to see all the options. To access the search options, click on the arrow beside the search box in Drive.

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