Wednesday, 13 March 2019

G Gems 32: If you're Appy and you know it...

If like so many people,  you'd love to be able to set up your own app but don't have a clue where to start Glide might be right up your street.

Glide works with google sheets to help you create FREE apps within minutes.

This could be used for all manner of purposes including:

  • PE Club Timetables
  • Revision Session Timetables
  • Holiday/Weekend Session Timetables
  • Subject Apps with links to key resources
  • Directories
  • List of students and staff for trips
  • many more uses
Here's a very basic screenshot of the sheet I used to test this out.  
I've included the type of social media platform and the link to them in separate columns. This is the result.

Pretty simple to do.

Here is how it appears in the app - I chose the dark mode setting but light is also available.

Click here to go to the live app

In your dashboard it's really easy to control and you can update your google sheet via the dashboard or in sheets itself.

Why not give it a try? You can be up and running in minutes!

Monday, 4 March 2019

G Gems 31: Just a quickie

It's been quite a while since I've had time to sit down and write a blog. There's been a lot going on in my real world of work and family so it's been hard to take the time to do anything lengthier than a quick twitter or Facebook post.

GMAIL updated

ImageOverall I'm liking the new update to gmail app but the very white interface has certainly divided opinions. One thing I really like now is the right click option on an email that allows you to use the "find emails from" and "find emails with this subject" feature.

This has already proved very useful and has sped up my workflow.

Embed videos into Google Drawings

If you want to embed videos into Google Drawings, here's how to do that in this much under utilised tool by using google slides first.

Google Sheets for Education Support Staff
As I work very closely with a team of educational support staff, I'm always on the lookout for ways to make their lives easier in G Suite.  I've put together a Youtube playlist of google sheet videos and gifs that my team have found useful which you can view here: Google Sheets Playlist

The list includes topics like using sparklines, combining data from 2 cells into 1, conditional formatting based on contents of other cells and more...

If you or your school is interested in some bootcamp style training specific for Educational Support Staff, why not contact @Appsevents1 and see what can be arranged? 

If you are a member of Educational Support Staff, join my Facebook group too or follow the hashtag #googleESS for updates, tips and tricks. 

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

G Gems 30: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


It's December 2nd and this is the first chance I've had since half-term to sit a write anything on here.  The Autumn term, as always, is a long and busy one but Christmas is homing into view and it won't be long until the days start getting longer again!

I'm very fortunate to have just returned from Vienna, having led a Support Staff Bootcamp and the Vienna International School for @Appsevents.  It was my first time in Austria for 30 years and what a beautiful city Vienna is: clean, friendly and calm. Although I flew in late on the Thursday night and flew out again late Friday night, after a very intensive full day of training with the excellent staff at the International school, it was great to be able to fit an an hour or two at the Weihnachtsmarkt in Marksplatz. One 
of the school staff, Jeremy, offered to show me around and I was able to take in some sights, buy a couple of hand crafted gifts for the family and enjoy a warming mug of GlΓΌhwein in the fresh Vienna air (-4 degrees having left London at 13 degrees). 

I really enjoy the Support Staff Bootcamps for 2 reasons: The first is that I can guarantee within any group (this week there were 19) there will be a range of ability within G Suite but that everyone is a mini-expert at something.  It may be one tiny aspect of one of the G Suite products, but from tiny acorns..... The second reason is that quite often, schools adopt G Suite for Teaching and Learning purposes and the support staff kind of have it thrust upon them. This can be daunting and occasionally resented...but once we dive into what G Suite can do, everyone comes away with some positives and beginning to think about the possibilities. 

So I'd like to thank all the staff at Vienna International School for their positivity and hospitality during my visit. Well done to the 24 teaching staff who gained their Level 1 educator certification with @BogdanCopil who ran their 2 day bootcamp alongside and thanks again to @Appsevents for the opportunity and my schools for allowing me the time. 

Here are just a few tips and tricks you might like to try:

1.  Housing documents in multiple team drives

One of my favourite aspects of Drive is the ability to use the SHIFT + Z trick to add documents to multiple folders, meaning 1 version exists in many places but everyone has access to the same live version, no copies. 
Due to the nature of Team Drives, this isn't an obvious option, in fact, many think it's not possible - but it is! 

2. Qlearly - organise your tab windows for different purposes

This new kid on the block is a handy way to organise your tabs for different purposes - it comes with a template of ideas which you can edit as you see fit.  Have a board set up with sections for each class, or each role and save the commonly used sites for that purpose in each to open quickly and easily at the touch of a single button. 

3. Mac users - upgrade to Mojave

The latest version of ios for macs allows screen recording and screen shooting with annotation as standard using CMD + SHIFT + 5

And finally

My students current favourite thing in feedback...

Using Google Keep to provide animated GIF feedback in slides and docs.

Save your favourite GIFS to keep and in slides or docs, just pull those gifs into the docs to give students engaging feedback.
I've noticed increased improvement rates in student work as they're keen to see what the next GIF will be.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

G Gems 29: Half-term tricks and treats πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

Half-term tricks and treats πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

It's been a crazy half-term with back to back Open Evenings, parent consultations, running an ESS Bootcamp in Aberdeen with Appsevents and leading lots of staff CPD as we've started to roll out Lenovo E500 Flip Chromebooks to staff at my schools. 

I've got to say I love mine, it light, works as a tablet, has a garaged stylus that is very responsive and the key thing for me, I charge it every 3 days, not every 30 minutes like I did with my old laptop.

The ability to use apps like Squidnotes and Jamboard on my chromebook has been a godsend for me as a MFL specialist, eliminating the clunkiness of adding special characters when writing on screen. Now I just get on with it which keeps the pace high but also, I believe, develops students' comprehension skills as they have to read handwriting rather than typed fonts. 

As colleagues have come to me with questions, it's been great fun trying to find resolutions to issues and it's a work in progress at this stage.  We're still looking at the best way to use Smart Notebook on our chromebooks as many staff, especially in maths and science, have a large bank of lessons they want to keep using. 

Here are just a few tricks, treats and new features that I'm loving at the moment:

Tabcloud is a great little extension that enables you to build specific tab set up for different purposes.  I use it to create a tab cloud for each class. Each 'cloud' is customisable and when opened, will bring up all the tabs you're going to need at once in a new window. As you will see from the screenshot you can preload any number of sites including classrooms, drive, website etc. 

Keep Awake extension is a great extension for chromebooks when using in class or for presenting.  It does what it says on the tin, preventing your chromebook from going to sleep when in 🌞mode and allowing sleep in πŸŒ”mode. Get the extension here

Jamboard has come to web as well as devices now and the two make a great team. Projecting from a desktop on screen in class and then roaming the room with the Jamboard app on my chromebook, I can allow students to contribute and control what's on screen.  Great for redrafting, peer assessment and organisational thinking. Jamboard has some amazing features. 

Check out my video intro
 to Jamboard here 

CC - Closed Captions in Slides
is another terrific addition to Google Slides, enabling presenters to speak and have subtitles display almost immediately. Ok, so it's not 100% perfect yet but if you speak clearly it's pretty darn accurate. Great for presenting to groups who may have hearing difficulties and also for video recordings using Screencastify. This enable you to limit your slides to minimal information (as we all should) and then talk through the key points. 

Just go to present and click the CC button in the control bar that appears at the bottom. is another great tool for gathering quick information. Post a poll or question, display a code and get your audience to vote from their devices.  You and they will see results appear in real time. Here's an example of what your audience would see.