A welcomed upgrade: The New Google Sites

You are going to love the New Google Sites!!

new sites

The New Google sites, in my opinion, is so much better than the old “classic” sites. The programing is very straightforward and user friendly and the end product is easily viewable on mobile devices! To see the differences between classic and new sites click here.

In just a few simple steps you can quickly create a detailed, professional, and organized website with as little or as much content as you’d like.

As with other G Suite products, it saves automatically for you! One important reason to make the switch soon is Google has announced that sometime in 2018 they will begin their depreciation of service to the original Google Sites, see more here.

If you’re ready to make the switch, or create a brand new website, check out my detailed tutorial!

Here are some links to sites I’ve created with the New Google Sites:

https://sites.google.com/yorktown.org/technology/home

https://sites.google.com/yorktown.org/gafe

https://sites.google.com/yorktown.org/communicatons/check-us-out

I hope you enjoy working with the New Google Sites as much as I do!!

 

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New Video Options in Google Slides

While scrolling through my Twitter feed last night, I came across a very interesting tweet by @TomEMullaney about adding a cropped YouTube video into Google Sites. I thought to myself: yeah, right. I checked out his video and was incredibly surprised that I hadn’t known about these features yet. After testing it out myself, I just had to share!

It all starts in Google Slides. Create a presentation and video optionsgo to: Insert, Video, and then search for or paste a url to a YouTube Video, and then insert it into your slides. Once inserted, right click on the video and you’ll see “Video Options”. This is where all the magic happens!

You should now see three awesome features which you can apply to your video: Start & End time, Autoplay when presenting, and Mute audio. options vid

Can you imagine how incredibly helpful these options will be when doing a presentation?

Just alone the ability to “crop” the timing of your video to display just a specific section is game changing! I work with many teacher who will suggest the students pick a video that is two minutes or less. That’s not an easy task! Often, children waste more time finding short clips then they do on the rest of their content. This editing addition will surely help save time and distraction for all!

 

One final update to videos in Google Slides, is the ability to now add videos from your Google Drive. This means you don’t need to rely on YouTube only. It works the same way as you would insert a YouTube video but this time you’ll just search for the file in your drive. **Don’t forget though, if the video is in your drive, you need to share it first or else it won’t be visible in your presentation when others try to view it.

To go a step further, once you’ve added/edited these videos, you can easily take this slide presentation and insert it into your Google Site (these video options are currently only available in Slides, therefore this is a workaround to having cropped videos in Sites).

I hope these new video additions help to bring more creativity into your classroom while using the Google Suite!

 

 

Post to individuals or groups in Google Classroom

Google Classroom has finally created a feature I know we’ve all been looking for. As of today, you are now able to post to just one individual or a group of individuals instead of the previous all or nothing method.

Gone are the days of sharing documents from your drive and having students make copies because of group instruction. With this new feature, differentiated instruction really is possible.

When you’re in your classroom, simply click on the type of post you want to create and then up top next to the class name you are posting to, you will see “All students” with a drop down arrow next to it. Click on that arrow and each student in that class will be listed underneath with a check box next to. Simply un-check the all students box to manually select the individuals you want to post to, or just un-check the select student you don’t want to receive the post. Whichever is the lesser of work.

classroom-post

Google, you haven’t failed me yet! I truly believe their team looks at all the feedback they receive from fellow educators. This is just one of the many items I know has been submitted that they’ve added or changed to continually make this product better!

Google Translate is Awesome

Today I was approached by a teacher  who was concerned about a student’s lack of communication in the classroom, being that they are new to America this year and hardly speaks any English. I was asked if I knew of any programs we could purchase that would allow the student to speak in Spanish and have it translated to English to assist with their transition.

translate

I immediately thought of Google Translate. I’ve used this tool before, and always knew you could type your text and have it converted to the desired language, but I wasn’t sure if there were any audio components added. With teacher present, I typed in translate.google.com (if you just search for it, Google will give you a quick and simplified version but not full functions) and was brought to their translation site. Google Translate- a simple, easy to use language to new language translator.  I selected my language as Spanish (don’t choose Detect language ) and BOOM, a microphone icon appeared, YES! I clicked on the microphone icon (you need to “allow” it on your device) and spoke out loud “Hola, Como Estas”, which it then immediately wrote on the other side “Hello how are you”. I was incredibly impressed at its’s speed and accuracy. I  followed up by speaking “muy bien y tu” and it translated it perfectly, including the comma between “i am fine, how are you?”.

Another thing that I really liked, was when I typed in a word and translated it, I received the definition of the word, along with the type of speech, a sentence using the word, and other words that may relate to that word. This information was provided in both the original language and the translated language. I found this very useful, since not every word has the same definition in other languages.

Google Translate also has options to speak the text on the screen, in original language and translation. It gives the user a clipboard icon, to copy the text and paste in other locations, or a share button to share the translation via email, Twitter or Google+. There is also a handwriting feature available to write your text if you’re using a touchscreen (handwriting with a touchpad is not easy). I also like that with Google they always think there is room for improvement. For that reason, after a translation is made, a button appears to suggest an edit which will in return help improve future translations.

Google Translate is capable of translating over 75 different languages. It is incredibly user friendly and provides fast and accurate translations using different forms of media. I will most certainly be making this a recommendation for anyone looking to work with different languages.

EXTRA, EXTRA: Might I note, the Google Translate App on Android and Apple is equally awesome! Download it today- it’s free and even let’s you download an offline translation file for use when not using data!

Pocket: a great tool for web bookmarking

I recently made a post regarding Pinterest, a social bookmarking site which has really taken over the DIY, Food creation, Fashion lovers network, among many other fascinating topics. Pinterest is a great tool if you like social interaction along with getting absolutely consumed for at least an hour of your time. On the flip side, when I need to quickly access something on the web with no frills, just a quick and easy list of sites, videos and photos to revisit, I use the program Pocket.

download (1)

Pocket has a website as well as an App and a Chrome add on making it easy to find and save websites, photos, and videos for later use. Pocket is very simple to use and syncs over all your devices so no matter where you log in, all of your saved items are accessible. With just the click of a button, you can add the URL to an item and its automatically saved to your list. You can view your saves in tile view to make it more visually appealing or keep it at an organized list view. A key feature of Pocket is that once an item is saved, it becomes a condensed view, removing most of the ads focusing on the content itself. Should you need to view additional information, you can always click on the save and view the original source.

add a siteHere is a photo of the add button, as well as the search tool to find your own pins. There is even an option to “send to friend” symbolized by the email icon, where you can share saved url’s with your friends.

 

Pocket featuresPocket gives you some simple tools to easily organize and find your saves. On the left side of the screen, or by clicking the icon in the top left of the app, you can view your list, archives, favorites, and items shared with you. You can also sort via Articles, Videos and Images. Furthermore, each pin can be tagged with topics of your choosing, which can then be selected as a filter when viewing your saved URL’s.

Saved URL’s can always be edited, re-tagged, favorited, archived or not, and deleted at any time.

 

Some additional features of saved URL’s included the ability to share directly  from Pocket to Twitter, Facebook, and Buffer, as well as making a recommendation to your profile or to a friend.

 

 

How Social Media is Affecting the 2016 Presidential Election

As part of an assignment for a social media class I’m taking in my last semester at Fordham, I was asked to write about a broad topic, How is Social Media affecting the 2016 Presidential Election. Here is my response:

In relation to the 2016 presidential election, social media is playing an integral role as to how the public views each candidate. With the combination of Facebook feeds, celebrity tweets, and constant memes being published, it’s hard for someone to build an honest and unbiased opinion.  Candidates’ reputations are being twisted and strewed based upon strong individualistic opinions leading the politically under educated to sway more toward their peers’ evaluations rather their own opinion based upon pure fact.

As a result of social media, the 2016 Presidential Election has become more of an entertainingly joking matter rather than something actually considered important and educational. It has taken the Americana out of being a voter. Instead of users deciding who will be the best person for the job, they are deciding who can out meme each other with ridiculously caption photos and memes.

Should one’s opinion differ from their networked “friend”  such user is left to either refrain from sharing it in fear of disappointing their followers or freely post and then create a negative connection with possible “un-friending” as a result. In a CNN Article titled “Presidential election tests Facebook friendships” Chelsea J. Carter writes, “Nearly one-fifth of people admit to blocking, unfriending or hiding someone on social media over political postings.” She continues to say, “[T]he biggest gripes: The offending person posted too often about politics, disagreed with others’ updates, or bothered mutual friends with partisan political postings.” Here are just three of the hundreds of memes intended for politically frustrated Facebook users:

memes 1

 

As quickly as a user builds an opinion on their choice, or lack thereof, they feel empowered to impress that opinion onto their followers, seen almost as a form of social media bullying. Here are two examples of how one’s opinion can be shared in a meme to demean anyone who has an opposite opinion:

memes2

As a result of social media, many users rely heavily on such memes and posts to entertain them and influence their vote to match those of their befriended posters instead of building their own fact based opinions. Because social media has made it incredibly easy to share just about anything online, basic best practices often fall short as a user eagerly shares the latest anti-Trump, Hillary-hating, or down-with-Obama post. Often at times, sources are not vetted before sharing with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of viewers. As a result, it becomes very easy to only accept what you see rather than seek the information yourself. With the click of a button, any falsely accused, negative report can be “retweeted” or “shared” with that user’s followers for even more ignorant spreading without proper understanding or knowledge.

Google Scholar- A great search tool for effective researching

Google Scholar- A great search tool for effective research

Doing research is a common activity found in every classroom today. In the schools I work in, most of that research is being done digitally, on Chromebooks or tablets. With the overwhelming amount of resources out there, how can one be sure they are effecting researching? A great starting point is found within Google called Google Scholar.

Within Google Scholar users can freely search an abundance of scholarly literature consisting or articles, references, citations, patents. case law and more. A great feature of Google Scholar is that users can create “Alerts” for search queries and receive an email when something comes up. Secondly, within the “My library” section users can save articles for later use. There’s even a My Citations section that will search and find and save any articles written by you, the user!

To get up to date information regarding this topic , follow their blog here:http://googlescholar.blogspot.com/