The annual ISTE conference was held last week. It is during this conference that the biggest brands in field of educational technology, and technology in general, announce new products and new product features. Here are the highlights from what Google and Microsoft announced during this year’s ISTE conference.
Five New Things from Google EDU
Measurements in Google Earth Chrome and Android versions.
The Chrome and Android versions of Google Earth finally got a measuring tool last week (iOS version will get it soon). This is a feature that was always a core element of the desktop version of Google Earth. Having a measurement tool in all versions of Google Earth opens up a world of possibilities for its use in math lessons. Watch my video to learn how to use the measuring tool in Google Earth.
Add Audio to Your Virtual Tours in Google VR Tour Creator.
This is an update to the VR Tour Creator that was launched just a couple of months ago. This update lets you add audio to each of the scenes and points of interest within your VR tours. Watch my new video to learn how you can create a VR tour that includes audio.
Customize Your Google Forms Fonts and Color Schemes.
Technically, this was announced before the ISTE conference, but it is worth repeating. After years of waiting for this, Google Forms users can now choose the font style that they want to use. Additionally, users are no longer restricted to the color schemes that Google thinks is best. Google Forms users can now customize the color scheme for each of their Forms.
Locked Mode in Google Forms Quizzes.
This update is a response to a request that teachers have made for years. Locked mode in Google Forms will be a setting that you can activate in Google Forms when you create and distribute a quiz. The locked mode will prevent students from leaving the Google Form until they submit their final answers. Locked mode will be available in the fall.
It is important to note that Locked mode will only work on Chromebooks that are managed by your school. So if you don’t use school-managed Chromebooks you’re going to need to find another solution to prevent students from opening new tabs or windows while completing an online assessment. One possible solution is the new Lockdown Browser option from Otus.
Google Classroom Gets a Classwork Section.
Google Classroom now has a section called “classwork.” The Classwork section is where you’ll now place assignments and reference resources for your students. In the Classwork section you can organize materials according to unit of study or topic instead of just organizing materials by date. A header of Classwork will now appear at the top of your Google Classroom page.
Five Microsoft EDU Updates to Note
Add Forms to Assignments in Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Forms provides a good platform for creating quizzes and surveys. You can now add your Forms to assignments that you distribute to students through Microsoft Teams.
Use Rubrics in Microsoft Teams
This was actually announced a couple of weeks ago, but it is worth sharing again. You can attach rubrics to assignments for students to see before and after completing an assignment. Equally important, you’ll be able to grade an assignment using that rubric without having to open multiple tabs or windows.
Dictation Available to More Users
From Immersive Reader to Dictation, Microsoft tries to make their products as accessible as possible to everyone. To that end, Dictation is now available in the Win 32 versions of PowerPoint and Word. This is in addition to all of the other places that Dictation is available including the Windows 10 version of OneNote.
Math Quizzes in Forms
Microsoft Forms has an excellent math feature. You can use this feature to create math quizzes in Microsoft Forms. After creating your quiz you can add that form to an assignment in Microsoft Teams.
MakeCode for LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3
If you’re lucky enough to have the budget for LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, you’ll want to check out Microsoft MakeCode for LEGO MINSTORMS EV3. MakeCode is a drag-and-drop, block-based, programming interface that students can use on any computer to program their robots.
These were last week’s most popular posts on FreeTech4Teachers.com:
1. Five Google Classroom Improvements Announced During ISTE
2. How to Use Flipgrid to Publish Instructional Videos
3. SeeSaw Unveils a New Activity Library – 1500+ Activities to Use Now
4. How to Create a Virtual Tour That Includes Audio Narration
5. Vynchronize – Watch Videos and Discuss Them in the Same Window
6. A Lesson for Beachcombers – How Seashells Are Made
7. Exciting New Features Coming to Scratch Later This Year
Bring Me to Your School
My fall calendar is almost full! If you would like to bring me to your school for a professional development day, please get in touch. I offer professional development workshops on G Suite for Education, Teaching History With Technology, and many other topics. Click here to learn more or send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to book me today.
Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com book me today.