Tag Archives: Google Docs

Leave Voice Comments in Google Docs with Kaizena

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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I recently returned from the 2015 annual ISTE Conference in Philadelphia. It’s always exciting to learn about the new tools and features that are available to educators and students. One of my favorite tools on the market is Kaizena, a tool that you can use to give audio feedback to students in addition to coordinating your feedback with rubrics and learning tools. You can learn more about the advanced features of Kaizena, here. While at ISTE, I learned that Kaizena launched a new tool that will allow teachers to add voice comments far more easily and much faster! Kaizena has recently introduced their “Kaizena Mini” add-on that will allow you to leave voice comments and written notes on students’ documents within Google Docs itself. This way, you do not have to launch a third party tool to apply these features.

HOW TO LEAVE VOICE COMMENTS IN GOOGLE DOCS

AddOnsInstall Kaizena Mini Add-On

While inside of the document you would like to annotate with voice comments, simply go to Menu → Add-ons → Get Add-ons. When the Add-On window launches, simply search for “Kaizena.” Next, click on the “+ FREE” next to the Kaizena Mini Add-on, and follow the instructions to install the software on your account.

KaizenaOpen Kaizena Mini

With the software installed, simply go to Add-ons → Kaizena Mini → Open Kaizena Mini. This will launch the mini recorder on the right hand side. You should select that you are “giving feedback” and then choose the person receiving feedback from the menu (or add someone not listed), and then click continue. To leave feedback, highlight a portion of the text and click “+ New Feedback.” You can then select a voice comment, text comment, or even insert a link.

Leave voice omments

Once you have finished adding voice comments, the user will see the highlights on the document and be directed to open Kaizena Mini in order to hear the corresponding feedback. This is a great way to leave not just text but also audio feedback on student work while never having to leave Google Docs! Voice comments are a great way to provide in-depth and individualized feedback and, using the Kaizena mini recorder, you can do so faster than ever.

EdTechTeacher leads Google Workshops throughout the Summer and a few Google Jamborees during the School Year. However, you can always connect with us on twitter via #ettgoogle or learn more on ourGoogle Apps for Education Resources page.

5 Ways School Administrators Can Use Google Apps

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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One of the most powerful ways that administrators can encourage their faculty to adopt new technologies in their classroom and curriculum is by modeling effective application of new digital tools. With Google Apps for Education, there are many tools that are helpful for administrative tasks, providing a number of ways to effectively model technology usage on a daily basis.

CREATE A SHARED GOOGLE DOC FOR FACULTY MEETINGS

Use Google Docs to create and share meeting agendas. Not only will it prep your faculty for meetings, but they can use the document to keep shared, electronic notes; this is especially useful if you have a designated individual to keep minutes. You can include live links for content, embed materials, create & share calendar events, etc. These are not possible in a static, paper document and not only demonstrate your commitment to adopting new technologies, but also help spark the imaginations of your teachers in applying these new tools in their own classrooms.

USE A GOOGLE FORM FOR CLASSROOM OBSERVATIONS

If you visit and observe classes, then turn your classroom observation forms into Google Forms. Having an electronic form will save you time and space. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can complete the form easily on a portable device. Also, by using a Google Form, you can quickly email the contents to faculty, department chairs, and HR. Here is an example form for observation.

USE GOOGLE FORMS FOR SIGN-UPS

If you need chaperones for a school dance or field trip, lunch duty, or detention, Google Forms is a simple way to have faculty and staff respond. You can easily share a form via email or post it on your school’s website. With the new Google Forms Add-Ons, you can limit responses by automatically turning off the form when you reach maximum participation, set up notifications when faculty respond, and export it to a shareable Google Doc when you need to share information (such as chaperone contact information or time slot sign-ups for an event).

USE GOOGLE CALENDAR’S “APPOINTMENTS SLOTS” FOR MEETINGS

One of my favorite features in Google Calendar is setting up “Appointment Slots.” Keeping an “open door” can be tricky; it’s difficult to get your work done when you are regularly interrupted. Posting your calendar can also be problematic as even if you have nothing scheduled, you may want that time reserved for administrative work, phone calls, or lunch! With appointment slots, you can designate certain times you are available for meetings. This is a great way to have your faculty sign up for face-to-face time with you as well as keep you organized.

If you would like a step-by-step tutorial, check out this great video by The Gooru.

 

COLLECT IMAGES & VIDEOS VIA A SHARED FOLDER

Schools often struggle collecting images of field trips, school plays, and other activities. If you would like to facilitate this process, then share a folder with the community that they can use to upload videos and photos. When you designate a shared folder, be sure to explore the various options available to you and apply them appropriately. You may want to share the folder only with the certain teachers and students, the whole school, or the broader community like parents and alumni. The flexible sharing options make it easy to individualize. What makes Google Folders such a great way to collect materials is the fact that most people use their phone as their camera. With the free Google Drive App for Android or iOS, they can upload directly from their device.

Google Apps is a flexible and robust tool that can facilitate not only teaching, but also administrative duties. Additionally, by modeling effective use of technology with your own administrative tasks for your faculty, you familiarize them with available tools and encourage them to apply them in their own classrooms.

For an opportunity to learn more about using Google Apps for Education, join EdTechTeacher and Google for the firstEdTechTeacher Google Jamboree. Registration is FREE! The deadline to apply is January 7th.

Track & Rate Skills Inside Google Docs

I posted earlier about Kaizena’s new “tags” feature that allows you to tag, rate, and track student skills. Here is a great video that highlights how to do this!

Track & Rate Skills Directly in Google Drive

One of my favorite tools for providing feedback in Google Drive is Kaizena, which allows you to leave voice comments on documents. Today Kaizena launches an enhanced feature: tags. Tags allow you to track and rate skills, saving your comments for future use. Not only does this provide effective feedback for students and a means to track skill development, it’s a real time saver for grading papers.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 8.23.53 AM

Here is a summary of what these new features in Kaizena can do:

  1. Track and rate skills – tags can be rubric criteria, common core standards, your local state, region, or country’s standards, learning objectives or outcomes…anything.
    1. The first time you type in a tag, we save it for future re-use.
    2. Every tag gets a rating. You can change the tag’s rating levels to match, say, your rubric levels.
    3. After you’ve tagged a highlight, add a voice comment, type a text comment, or add a resource. Or any combination.
  2. Save feedback for future use
    1. Remember that voice comment you just made? Save it to the tag, and every time you use that tag in the future, it will reappear. You can even save multiple voice comments or a combination of voice comments, text comments and resources to a tag (psst: tags get really powerful in combination with resources).
  3. Skill summary
    1. If you made five “transition” tags with different ratings, then “transition” would appear in the summary as an average of those ratings. This is like a rubric summary, but smarter: students can click on each tag in the summary and see the evidence for the score they received.

Voice comments saved educators time while enabling better student outcomes, and tags continue this legacy:

Better student outcomes

  • Knowledge of strengths and weaknesses is a prerequisite for improvement
  • Transparency: showing the evidence behind a rubric score builds trust between educators and students

Save time

  • Re-use your feedback
  • Get rubric criteria out of your head as you read

5 Time Saving Ways Teachers can use Google Forms

This is reblogged from my original post at Edudemic. It is part of my Google Drive series which includes “10 Things Every Teacher Should be able to do on Google Docs.”

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One of my favorite features of Google Drive is Google Forms. If you’re unfamiliar with this, think of it as a way to create quick surveys that can be used for a number of applications. Google automatically aggregates this data into a Google Spreadsheet, making forms a great way to quickly collect and share information. I have seen educators and administrators use Google Forms in the most creative and inventive ways. If you’re just starting with Google Forms, here are five ways that you can use them to streamline your classroom!

Collect Contact Information

At the beginning of the year, I find that a great ice-breaker with my students is to share a Google Form that asks their name, contact information, and something unique and interesting about themselves. Not only do I get pertinent information (like which email they check), but I also learn a little bit more about my them.

Similarly, it is often necessary to collect information from parents for special events. For example, if you are taking a field trip with your class, a Google Form is a quick and easy way to collect emergency contact information from parents/guardians. Again, the information is gathered into a Google Sheet so you don’t have to spend time entering data later and you can electronically store and share the information with other chaperones – no more clipboards or manila envelopes!

Bell Ringer & Exit Ticket Activities

Google Forms are a great medium to engage students in bell ringer and exit ticket activities (a means to gauge what a student has learned at the end of a lesson). With a bell ringer via a Google Form, students have something to engage with right away when they enter your classroom. Some teachers elect to create a simple check-in (how are you feeling this morning?) or a reflection on the previous night’s homework. Likewise, if you want students to check in before leaving class with an exit ticket, a Google Form is a great way to check for understanding. You can ask key and reflective questions about the topics you covered that day. If you build your form as fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice, you can even use a tool called Flubaroo to automatically mark it!

Collect Homework

Collecting homework is often an onerous task. Google Forms can help to organize the process. If students are answering exploratory questions, they can do this via a form that you create so that you have all of their responses timestamped and in one place. Even better, if students are working on projects that they post online (a blog post, a video, an audio recording) then a Google Form can allow you to collect the web links to their completed work. This is a great way to organize creative projects that can otherwise be cumbersome to track.

Survey & Check-In with Students

Touching base with students on a regular basis is crucial but can be difficult to do. Google Forms provide a great medium for you to check in with your classes and get individual responses. “How is the pace of the course?” “What has been your favorite lesson and why?” Using a check-in system regularly allows students to feel that you are invested in them and their education; it also provides a safe place for them to leave meaningful feedback such as what elements of the course are challenging, how they interact with their peers, and best ways to engage them in learning.

Creating Rubrics

Google Forms can also be used to create rubrics for assignments, speeding up your grading and allowing for consistent feedback. Again, because the data aggregates into a spreadsheet, it’s easy to transfer that information directly into your gradebook. Here is a great video from the Google Guru that shows you how to set up a grading rubric:

There are a lot of great things that you can do with Google Forms, and this is just a quick and simple list. Play with Google Forms to figure out new and interesting ways that you can employ them in your classroom and at your institution. To get started, check out this video tutorial from EdTechTeacher.

Looking to learn more about Google Apps? Space still available in EdTechTeacher’s August 7-8 Google Infused Classroom workshop in Los Angeles.

10 Things Every Teacher Should be able to do on Google Docs

Google Docs is a powerful word processing tool that many schools have adopted. As it’s similar to Microsoft Word and other word processing tools, most of its features are intuitive to use. However, in addition to completing many of the functions of a traditional word processor, Google Docs provides even more capabilities that can be invaluable to educators. Here are ten tricks that can make your life easier with Google Docs:

Share & Collaborate with Google Docs

One of the most powerful features of Google Docs is that you can share and collaborate on documents with others. Think about all the times where you work on something at home and then email it to yourself at school or put it on a thumb drive. How about the challenge of students who “forgot their essays” or couldn’t print their homework? Not only does Drive solve this, but it also opens up possibilities for real time collaboration and feedback.

Sharing with individuals is relatively easy. Click the blue “Share” button in the top right corner and input the email addresses for those you want to collaborate with (add a message if you would like), select if you want them to be able to “edit,” “comment,” or “view” and click send! If you give someone editing privileges, then you can collaborate with them on a document in real time (up to 50 people can edit a document at once)! Another unique feature about Google Docs is that users do not need an account to see what you are sharing. There are two ways to share, first by sharing with a gmail account and second with a link. Either way collaborators will have the ability to edit, comment, and/or view.

google docs

Comments And Suggested Edits

Sometimes, you don’t want to make changes on a document. When I am providing feedback on a writing assignment, for example, I want students to craft their project in their own words. I use “comments” instead of making changes directly to their paper. To add a comment, highlight the word or section you would like to change and press the “comment” button. This will open a comment window where you can type and leave directions or feedback.

google docs

Others can reply to your comments when they make changes or ask for clarification. This actually creates a conversation directly in a document. It could also be used for student reflection as they write about why they make their changes. Another great tool is “suggested edits.” By using “suggested edits” you can make changes to the document that others can either “accept” or “decline.” It’s a great way to keep one another up to date with edits especially if you are building a collaborative document.

Revision History

One of my favorite tools in Google Docs is “Revision History.” If you are collaboratingon a text with another, you can use this feature to see what changes they have made and restore an earlier version of the document if necessary. I like to use it with my students so that I can observe the evolution of their writing. This feature has become the most valuable tool in my teaching arsenal. Revision history also can show a teacher whether or not the student is actually making changes to their work. Additionally, it can be reaffirming for a student to witness the progress of their work so that they can see how far they have come over the course of a project.

google docs

Add-Ons

Recently, Google released a suite of “Add-ons.” These Google Doc specific extensions have allowed educators to unleash more powerful features within Google Docs and Sheets. To find and apply Add-ons, simply open a document and select “Add-ons” from the menu. You can then browse the suite of available tools and apply those that you want. Some of my favorite Add-ons are EasyBib (for creating bibliographies), Google Translate, and Kaizena (for leaving Voice Comments). You can also find third party apps such as Lucid Charts to create diagrams and mind-maps that you then directly drop into your document. More Add-ons are added daily.

Leave Voice Comments

Sometimes written comments are not enough. Fortunately, Google allows you to leave voice comments with third-party applications. One of my favorite is Kaizena. With this free tool, you can leave voice comments throughout a document just like you can with traditional text comments. To see Kaizena in action, check out their brief tutorial here.

Research Tools

google docsGoogle will allow you to do research right within the document! With the Research window pane, you can perform a basic Google search, search images, access Google Scholar, find quotes, and look up words in the dictionary. You can even search by usage rights (key when teaching students about copyright and licensing). When you put content from the research pane into your document, it will even include the citation with a footnote at the bottom of your page in the format that you choose (MLA, Chicago, etc). It is a great tool for academics.

Image Editing

With its latest update, Google Docs now allows you to edit images within a document. If you want to include an image in your Google Doc, you can position it by dragging and dropping, wrap text, resize, crop, and change the border. It’s a great time saver when you are creating a document with diagrams and images.

Insert Special Characters

google docsGoogle Docs has a robust library of special characters, accented letters, and different alphabets. You can use the “Insert Special Characters” feature while you type. Simply go to “Insert” and then “Special Characters” (right next to the Ω symbol). You can browse symbols by alphabet, purpose (math, technical, copyright), and more. Their library is vast, and they are updating it constantly. If you need to insert a mathematical formula, check out Insert → Equation to access easy tools for creating sophisticated mathematical formulas.

Download As

If you want to save your Google Doc in another format (such as a Word document), the “download as” feature is your friend! This will allow you to access and edit content on different machines or to send it to others. I often download my Google Docs as PDFs to post on my class website or as memos to distribute on email lists.

Email as Attachment

If you want to share your Google Doc with someone who doesn’t have a Google account, then you can do this with the “email as attachment” feature. Go to File → Email as Attachment. This will bring up a window that will allow you to select the format in which you would like to send your document (PDF, Word, etc) as well as a space for you to write a message. The document will come from your email address jus tas if you sent it from GMail or Outlook.

More Than a Word Processor

Beyond using Google Docs as a word processor, these features allow it to become an editing platform, collaboration tool, research aid, and much more. After exploring many of these features, I’m sure that you will find even more uses on your own!

To learn more about using Google Docs and Google Apps in the classroom, EdTechTeacher will be offering a number of hands-on sessions during the July 28 Pre-Conference Workshop day as well as during the July 29-30 EdTechTeacher Summit in Chicago.

Google Drive & the Paperless Research Essay!

Even though I am “techy,” I always espouse that it’s never technology all the time. In fact, my classroom is always a hybrid environment. As such, my students write traditional, robust research essays every year. This assignment requires that they engage in sophisticated academic research, build a thesis, and then structure an academic argument. For many of my students (I currently teach 10th grade US History), this is the first research and argumentative essay that they have written. It’s a challenging project. In conjunction with our new roll out of Google Apps for Education, I decided to make this year’s research essay a paperless endeavor. This met several academic and school-wide objectives – building Digital Fluency and digital literacy across curriculum as well as promoting Ransom Everglades’s Greening initiative.

All Work Must be Written Within Google Drive

One of the benefits of drive is that it allows you to import documents from other platforms (such as Microsoft Word) either by converting them to a Google Doc or

Screen Capture of "Revision History"

Screen Capture of “Revision History”

using Drive as Cloud storage. However, this would defeat my intention of better watching how my students’ essays developed. As such, I required that all work be created within Google Drive itself. Students were not permitted to import content from another tool or copy and paste from a word processed document.

I did this because I wanted to watch how my students’ writing evolved throughout the assignment using the “see revision history” tool. This feature allows you to see how the document progressed – when content was added, changed, or otherwise revised. It’s incredibly useful in long-term projects as it not only allows you to keep tabs on your students’ progress, but it allows you to see what changes they made (substantive and minor) throughout the project.

Break it into Steps

I believe that larger projects should be “chunked out” so that students work on the process – focusing on the necessary elements step by step rather than trying to throw everything together all at once. As such, students had to submit to me: A thesis statement, Annotated Bibliography, Detailed Outline, Rough Draft, and Final Draft all through Google Drive.

I explained to them my expectations on each of the assignments and showed them how I would view their process using the track changes feature. I believe in being transparent with my students – I let them know why this process was important.

Peer Review with Comments Rather than Changes

Highlight content and select "make a comment" button to leave comments.

Highlight content and select “make a comment” button to leave comments.

One of the biggest changes for students (and teachers) in revision is that you’re doing it on screen – this means you cannot circle and underline, rather you highlight and comment. Still, it lends to a different focus in the revision process. Some students like to correct spelling and grammar for their peers. However, I find that when developing writing skills, it is always better for the author to make the adjustments and changes themselves. A such, I instruct students that if they noticed a lot of typos, they should leave a comment directing their peer to proofread. If a phrase was awkward, they should leave a comment explaining why the phrase was problematic and suggest that the student rephrase it.

Providing Feedback to Students

One of the best features of Google Drive is that it allows me to leave student comments in a variety of ways. I wrote an article a little while back entitled “Google Drive: A Better Method for Giving Student Feedback.” It highlights the fact that by working in the cloud, students and I can engage in a conversation; the comment process is no longer static. Additionally, it provides both me and the student greater flexibility in the process. Another cool tool that works in conjunction with Google Drive is Kaizena, a cloud based app that allows you to leave voice comments on a student’s a paper.

Watching the Evolution of Writing

The best feature of Google Drive is that, using the track changes tool, I can view the evolution of a student’s work. Overall, the writing process is the most important element of the work. Even if a student’s final product is not up to par, I can look at how often they worked on it, what changes they made, how they addressed their peers’ and my critiques, and overall how their paper evolved over time. Additionally, it provides greater accountability for the students – they know that they cannot just throw the paper together at the last minute, as I can see when content is added.

Engaging in a paperless research essay was a new journey for both me and my students. While the change in context and kinesthetics at time was uncomfortable (I don’t always like reading on a screen and neither do many of my students), there were numerous benefits that outweighed those drawbacks. The primary benefit was that students could work on the project wherever they were – on any computer on campus, on their cell phones while riding the bus to a game, or at home making changes before they turned it in.

I know that my students and I both need to engage further with Drive to feel fully comfortable with this tool (we had to with Word as well, although the 1980’s and 1990’s may seem far away). Still, I’m excited to move forward with a more portable, flexible, and greener assignment.