Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Get instant feedback from your students with GoSoapBox

Getting instant feedback during class is a great way to adjust your content and delivery to the immediate needs of your students. There are several great apps that you can use for this purpose, and GoSoapBox is one of the most useful. In addition to instant polls and quizzes, GoSoapBox also has a ‘Social Q&A’ feature, allowing your students to vote on the questions they want answered. Another useful tool is the ‘Confusion Barometer’, which shows you if your students are understanding the class.


How do I get it?

Teachers and lecturers can sign-up for GoSoapBox here. It is free for K-12 and university educators to use with up to 30 students. Paid upgrades are available for larger cohorts.

GoSoapBox is completely web-based, and your students do not need to sign-up for an account. They simply join the class session using the access code you provide.

How do I use it?

1. After logging into GoSoapBox, create an event using the Create button.

Create button

2. Give your event a name and click the Create button.

Create event

3. Click on the Moderation Portal link to configure the features of your event.

Moderation panel link

4. From here you can manage all elements of your event. Click Enable and Disable Features to enable/disable the confusion barometer, quizzes, polls, discussion and social Q&A.

Enable and disable features

Select features

5. Once you have configured your event, click the Go Back To Moderation Panel and then Go Back To Event buttons (the buttons are at the top of the screen).

6. From the event page, you can utilise the features you have enabled. This includes viewing the confusion barometer and social Q&A, creating polls and quizzes.

Event panel

7. Once you’re ready to go, locate the access code at the top of the event moderation panel.
Note: This will also be in the email sent to you when you created the event.

6. Give the access code to your students and ask them to login at https://app.gosoapbox.com/

Join GoSoapBox event

7. Your students can now access and utilise the features you have enabled.

Student view

Learn more

You can learn more about GoSoapBox and its features at http://help.gosoapbox.com/



Tuesday, 17 February 2015

5 great add-ons for Google Docs


Add-ons have made many powerful new features available in Google Docs. The number of add-ons available continues to grow every week, so in this blog post we bring you five more great ones to check out.




All of these add-ons can be installed by:

1. Opening a new Google Doc.
2. Selecting the Add-ons menu > Get add-ons.

1: Table Formatter

The Table Formatter add-on provides a heap of templates for customising the look of your tables. Most are very similar to the table styles found in Microsoft Word. To apply a style, you simply click inside your table and then select the desired style. Another great feature is the ability to save your own custom templates based on table formatting you have created.

Screen capture of the Table Formatter screen


2: Wizkids CAS

This add-on extends the capabilities of the built-in equation editor, adding the ability to solve equations and plot graphs from within Google Docs.  Check out the demonstration video to see it in action.


3: Easy Accents

Great for teachers and students teaching or learning other languages! This add-on lets you insert accents for different languages right from the sidebar in Docs. No need to copy and paste them from elsewhere. There are currently fourteen languages supported.

Screen capture of easy accents screen


4: Openclipart

This add-on has been around from the beginning, but it is well worth a mention. It provides quick and easy access to more than 50,000 royalty-free images you can use in your Google Docs. It’s great for younger students, or indeed anyone who wants to add some colour to their document!

Screen capture of openclipart


5: ProQuest Flow

This add-on is a must for any tertiary education students, lecturers or academics to take a look at. It works in conjunction with a free ProQuest Flow account and allows you to add in-text academic references and a reference list to Google Docs. You can also use your ProQuest Flow account to streamline the collection of references whilst undertaking research. You can learn more and see a demo here.
Note: Your tertiary education institution must have a pre-existing relationship with ProQuest before you can create your account.

Enjoy these add-ons, and be sure to look through the others in the add-on store to find more that suits your needs!





Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Change display view & density in Google Drive

There are a couple of easy ways to customise the Google Drive web interface to suit your needs. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how to change the view and display density of the interface.





Change the view

Your Google Drive files can be displayed in either a list or grid view. The different options are shown below.

Grid

Drive-grid-view



List

Drive-list-view



To change the view, simply toggle the Grid view / List view button at the top right of the Drive screen.

Drive-grid-list-button



Change the display density

Note: This is setting is really only effective if you’re using the List view to display files.
Display density refers to the amount of white space between and around items in Google Drive. There are three levels of density:

Comfortable

Drive-list-view



Cosy

Drive-cosy



Compact

Drive-compact



To change the density, select the Settings cog button at the top right of the Drive screen and select Settings. Change the Density option to your desired level.

drive-new-settings

Drive-settings



Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Customise themes in Google Slides

Google Slides have a good range of themes you can use to add some colour and fun to your presentations. However, sometimes the look and feel of the theme might not be quite what you’re after. The good news is that you can use the Edit master feature in Google Slides to make changes to colours, fonts and images in the theme. Editing the master will automatically implement the changes across all the slides in your presentation. The end result is your own customised theme.


Here’s how to do it:

1. Create a new presentation and select a theme.

2. Select the Slide menu > Edit master.

3. To change the background, fonts and colours for the entire presentation, click on the Master slide (at the top) and make the desired changes.

4. To change the background, fonts and colours for specific layouts in the presentation (such as the title slide), click the layout slide and make the changes.

Slides-edit-master

5. All changes will be saved automatically. When you’re done, simply click one of the slides in your presentation (far left) to continue working.

Tip: You can rename the theme you have edited to created new themes you can re-use later. To do this, click the Rename button at the top of the Edit master window.

Have fun getting creative with your own custom themes!







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