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Schools’ Essential Guide To Google Classroom – Time-Saving Tips & Hacks You Need To Know

Google Classroom is Google's very own hub or landing spot for classroom connectivity and collaboration. This free tool helps educators easily manage and assess the progress of learners, whether it be from school or in the comfort of their own homes! 

Google Classroom allows you to set up a class within minutes. This not only simplifies both teaching and learning, it is also a great way to enhance communication with both students and guardians.

Unsure of where to start with Google Classroom?

Discover how to create/manage your class and assignments in minutes.

Create A Class

After you log into Google, click on your nine dots in the top right-hand corner.  It is here you will find all of your Google Apps. By clicking on the classroom icon you can see all of the classes you have created. If this is the first time you are logging into Classroom, you might be prompted to indicate whether you are a teacher or student; make sure you select teacher. Next, click the plus sign in the top right-hand corner and select “create class”. When the pop-up window appears, you can then name your class and simply click “create again”. 

Once your class has been created, you can change the theme that has automatically been selected for you. To do this, look in the bottom right-hand corner of the banner and choose “select theme”. Your choices will appear in a gallery and you’ll be able to choose one that appropriately represents your content matter. Once you have decided, select “class theme”. 

You can also upload your own photo matching banner dimensions of 1000x250 pixels, however, different sized images may not work within the banner. 

How To Add Your Students

Next, we’re going to discuss how you can add students to your classroom

At the top of your classroom, you will notice four tabs; stream, classwork, people and grades. In this instance, we are only going to be looking at the “people” tab. This is where you can add students, parents or other teachers to your classroom. The first way to add students is to go to the people tab and look under the students heading, then click the “add people” icon. From this point, you will be able to enter your students email addresses manually or copy and paste them from a list, if you have one available to you. 

Once they log in, they will automatically see the class icon appear and can simply click “join.” While this may be more time consuming on your part, it is easier for your students. 

The second way you can add students to your class is by giving them a join code.  This is most common. You can find this code at the bottom of the people tab before you add students. In addition to this, you can also find it by clicking on the settings gear, where the class code can always be found. By clicking on the arrow next to the code, you can display it larger on your screen. Once you have copied your code you can paste it anywhere you would like, such as an email, text or class website. The code can also be reset or disabled if you wish for your students to no longer join using this code, once it has expired.

To join the classroom, students can log in to Google Classroom and click the plus sign followed by “join.” They will then need to enter the code provided and will automatically be accepted into the classroom. 

How To Create Announcements for Your Students

Now that you know a little bit about how Google Classroom is set up, we can take a look at how to create an announcement for your class. This is great for when you need to give reminders to students or simply make general announcements.

When you click on the classroom that you will be working with, it will open up into the stream. From looking at the four tabs at the top of your screen you will see stream, classwork, people and grades. The stream is where you can post both general announcements or reminders. At the top of the screen there is also a box that says “announce something to your class,” this is where you can type general announcements. 

Once this has been clear, this will open your announcement window where you have a number of different options to choose from. 

If you'd like to send your announcement to more than one class, click on the drop-down arrow next to the name of the current classroom that you're in. Then check the boxes next to the classes that you would like to receive this information. 

If you do choose to send the announcement to more than one class, then you do not have the option of sending it to specific students. However, if you send your announcement to only one class, you can choose which students you would like to receive your announcement. This feature is especially useful when you are trying to differentiate or communicate to students on an individual basis. To do this, simply click the drop-down arrow next to “all students,” you should then see a list of all the students that are enrolled in your class and you can then choose accordingly. 

From here you can type the information needed for your announcement, as well as attach documents, files, images, videos or links by choosing where you want to get your attachment from. Keep in mind that when in the announcement feature all files will be viewable and not editable by students.

When you have finished entering the information you need, click “post” to add it to your stream. This will allow all students to see your announcement when they first click into your classroom.

How To Create Assignments for Your Students

Let's keep going in the class work tab in Google Classroom. If you have not yet done so, we highly recommend first creating topics so you can best organize your Google Classroom for your students.  

You can also create assignments for when you want students to turn in their work, this can be done via the class work tab in Google Classroom. It is here you can also create a spot for classroom materials that you want your students to have access to.

It's important to note that, in order for your classroom to run seamlessly, we suggest that files are pulled from your Google Drive and not from your computer. You can visit settings in Drive to automatically convert all files uploaded into Drive to Google editor format.

You can use the topics previously set up when creating your assignments. To do this click on the create button and choose “assignment.” Like the other Google Classroom features, you can choose to send an assignment to more than one class or to specific students. There may be many instances where you might want to send an assignment to just a small group of students in order to differentiate or for group work. Remember that if you choose more than one class to send this to, you will not have the option to send to specific students. 

Next, you can fill out your assignment title, instructions, points for the assignment, due date and of course topic. If you select to use grade categories in the settings of your class, you will see the option to choose a grade category and it will have a default point value that you chose in your settings. However, you can change the point value as needed. 

You will have multiple attachment options, including documents from your computer, drive, videos or links to other websites, which you can also include within your assignment. 

If you want to allow your students to type on the document and simply hit “turn in”, you will need to attach a file. To do this, click the Google Drive icon and select the file you wish to attach to the assignment and click “Add.” You will now see the options for student viewing or editing. Then click the drop-down menu beside the words “students can view file.” 

You will have the following options to choose from:

  • Option one- Students can view file: This will allow students to view the file only, they will not be able to edit. 
  • Option two- Students can edit file: This will allow all students to edit the same document, brainstorm or sign up for a topic.
  • Option three- Make a copy for each student: This option automatically generates an editable copy for each student individually, allowing students to edit the document and turn it into you without saving or downloading.  This is the most commonly used setting if you wish for students to each complete their own version of the file.

The drop-down arrow next to the word “assign” gives you the option to assign now, you can save this assignment as a draft, or schedule the assignment to go out at a later time. 

Many teachers like to give students access to classroom materials but don't require anything from them in return, this can also be done within the “classwork” tab. We would recommend creating a topic for each unit labelled “class materials.” 

You can keep materials separate from your assignments by going to “create” and choose “materials”. When adding your files, it is the same process as adding an assignment, the difference being you will not have the option to make a copy for all students. 

You can however add several files to one post or create separate posts. If you don't want the students to be able to edit your document, you will need to confirm that your file is on “view only” in your sharing settings. Once you add materials to the appropriate topic, the student will be able to view any files you add.

We’ve taken you through how you can use Google Classroom to support your distance learning. Using announcements, topics, and assignments in Google Classroom will help you streamline teaching and learning in the virtual environment. 


We have hundreds of videos and micro-courses that can help support your G Suite for Education in your school or district. Simply click here to book a call with  MobileMind.


Utilizing GSuite for Education – Distance learning made easier over school breaks

Distance learning is becoming a necessity in our everyday lives, both as educators and students. This is not just limited to school time, but also over school breaks. Even during the current circumstances, it’s still incredibly easy for students to face daily distractions or become unmotivated to complete assignments. As educators, tackling these challenges can sometimes be difficult, but is certainly not impossible with the right preparation and communication in place.

Below we go over what to consider when it comes to distance learning over school breaks and what you can implement to make it easier for both yourself and your students.

Prevent Distractions With Engaging Resources

Typically the completion of school work during a school break isn’t in the forefront of a students mind. In order to overcome this, learning resources need to be engaging and visually appealing, whether it be via documents, presentations, video or audio.

A great way to ensure more interest on the students' part is by varying the learning resources available to them. Taking more of a differentiated approach as opposed to just sending all students the same old text-filled files is a great start.

Google docs and Google Slides  are two great alternatives for providing more engaging information to your students, making education more exciting and easily digestible. 

How To Make Your Google Documents and Presentations More Engaging

Google Docs:

  • Guide students on exactly what they need to do and how they can achieve specific outcomes. This will not only improve communication, but also eliminates any unnecessary downtime spent by students trying to understand what is required from them.
  • Link to websites that provide valuable information relevant to your subject matter. This limits the amount of time students need to spend browsing external sites and makes their research path clearer. 
  • Ensure information is segmented out in a way that makes it easier for students to navigate the document.
  • Incorporate imagery to break up text and make your resources easy to digest. This also caters to those who are visual learners.
  • Use bullet points and tables where possible to further structure your information.

Google Slides:

Follow the instructions listed above, however you can add these too: 

  • Incorporate image, video and audio files to cater to both auditory and visual learners.
  • Indicate in your presentation when you are moving onto a new subject matter or section of the assignment. Use strategies such a new title slides, new slide colors or headers, or clearly indicating topic shifts in the notes section.

Connect to Students with Technology

When it comes to distance learning over school breaks, having access to the necessary platforms to complete assigned tasks is vital, as well as ensuring both incomplete and completed assignments are stored in one easily accessible place. This not only helps you organize and assign new work to your students, but it also makes working from home easier for them, leaving room for more productivity and prevents loss of interest due to poorly managed assignments which are hard to access.

Utilising online tools such as Google Classroom and Google Drive is a great place to start! 

Google Drive

Google Drive is a central hub for the secure storage and easy access of your files; whether that be documents, presentations, audio or video files. From your drive you can easily share these files with your students, their guardians, and your colleagues.

With the potential of home distractions being more prevalent than ever before, ensuring that students have access to well-organized materials will reduce the likelihood of potential online distractions, which may lead to procrastination and the incompletion of work.

Whether it’s sharing documents with individuals or your entire class, the simplicity of Drive makes it an easy to manage and accessible solution for both educators and students alike.

Google Classroom

This is a free solution for both educators and students, where you can set up classes, post assignments and provide insightful feedback to your students efficiently and effectively. You can even differentiate and personalize content and assignments for different students. Classroom not only allows your students to get started on work with little distraction time, but it also provides you with the opportunity to plan your semester in advance, giving structure to your workload.

Additional Features That Will Improve Your Classroom Experience

  • Organizing your classrooms with topics will allow you to easily keep track of the units you have taught, create and announce assignments, as well as locate existing assignments.
  • Add due dates to your assignments. This is an effective way of giving your students a target to work towards. With a sense of urgency created, they are more likely to complete the work assigned to them over their school break.
  • Add some engaging learning materials and resources to your classroom before creating your class.

If you are using any education apps, ensure you are making full use of the Google Classroom integration opportunities that are available. Unsure if the apps you use can be integrated with Google Classroom? Click here to find out! 

Consider Home Dynamics

It is understandable that during school breaks students lack the strict schedule we are used to seeing within a regular school day. Therefore, it’s important to cater to this difference in the most effective way possible. 

A common issue that we tend to face is a lack of internet access. To account for this, Google Drive has a feature known as “offline mode.” This is easy for your students to enable while connected to wifi so they are still able to access docs, sheets and slides should their internet become unstable.

Communicate with Parents, Teachers, and Students 

Due to the amount of communication typically carried out over school breaks being limited, upfront communication is key to prevent any confusion from both your students and their guardians.  Fortunately, Google Classroom allows you to communicate with both students and parents via email. 

Posting and scheduling announcements is a very effective way to communicate with your class to provide helpful reminders (i.e. when an assignment is due or to provide additional information on a topic or tips for their current assignment.)

Classroom also includes a feature where guardians can receive email summaries on any assignment changes and updates. The guardian summary feature allows parents and guardians to opt into automatic updates about announcements, class activities, upcoming assignments, and missed work. This is especially useful over school breaks; using this will not only ensure there is no breakdown of communication, but will also provide parents with the necessary resources in the instance students need help completing the given task. 

Throughout the pandemic, MobileMind has taken the lead on supporting schools and districts with their distance learning, providing free resources on how to use G Suite for Education and how to use it effectively and efficiently.  In addition, the Google for Education team has been listening to educators and has made several improvements to key classroom apps over the past year. Distance Learning with G Suite for Education has never been easier.

If you have already purchased or are planning to purchase G Suite Enterprise for Education licenses, visit the following link to see how you can claim FREE Google Professional Development Services.

Google Shouldn’t be the Only Hero of Your School’s PD Story

Once upon a time, there was Google. And Google was a hero...as usual.

Here’s a short story of how a different hero saved one school's PD.

A crazy, record-setting deep freeze has just swept the nation. As a result, it left the schools across the U.S. in a mad scramble to provide remote learning for their students.

 “Flee from here!” 

“Go home!”

“Take a computer with you!” 

It became a virtual learning frenzy!

Consequently, all the educators and leaders of the districts needed guidance.

So, Google came to the rescue, of course, and did not disappoint.

In fact, the educators were amazed at the generous amount of educational resources at their fingertips...for free!

“Our virtual learning problems are over!” the leaders exclaimed. 

So, one day, the leaders of the districts called a virtual gathering on Google Meet.

They wanted to check-in with their faithful subjects.

But, what they heard...was disturbing.

They didn't hear how smoothly everything was going or how great it was to teach from home.  They heard murmurings full of pain and anguish.

For instance, one teacher stated, “There is so much available, I don’t know where to begin or how to use half of it.”

“I thought I was decent with technology, but I’m more confused than ever,” said another teacher.

“How are we supposed to: 

  • get the teachers up to speed with all of this technology,
  • provide professional learning that makes sense,
  • and have a way to monitor progress?” exclaimed the technology specialist.

Sound familiar?

Ok, let’s cut to real-time. 

Yes, that’s a dramatic, silly story, but guess what?

It is so realistic.

The Real School PD Story

Education is unbelievably demanding on all fronts. With weather craziness and the unfortunate challenges presented by a global pandemic, I bet there isn’t one teacher out there saying, 

“Bring on another computer program for me to try and figure out. I have all the time in the world!”

Let’s face it, administrators and tech specialists don’t have time to undergo lengthy training on how to effectively integrate new or existing technology into their school's PD either. 

So, what ends up happening? All of these outstanding resources  Google for Education provides are simply not used to their full potential or, worse, not used at all. 

What a waste.

Schools need a plan to ensure that technology works seamlessly together to support student learning during this difficult time. 

Educators need professional development that is personalized, practical, and convenient.

In other words, they need a hero...someone to save the day by making their life easier, not harder.

Sound too much like a fairytale?

What Is a Professional Learning Platform?

First of all, it’s not a fairytale.

It’s real, logical, and life-changing for teachers right now.

A professional learning platform houses all of a school's PD (and so much more) in one learning hub, available at the click of a button through our Chrome extension.

MobileMind is an example of an all-in-one professional learning platform that offers teachers:

  • Personalized professional learning (Teachers can begin at their skill level.)
  • Micro-courses (Information is chunked into short bursts and easy to digest.)
  • Human feedback (Certified teachers grade their challenges and offer helpful, live feedback.)

This platform offers administrators:

  • Progress Reporting (They can view progress and track and collect data for accountability purposes.)

If you are interested in learning more about MobileMind’s all-in-one platform, click here and schedule a call.

How to Choose a Professional Learning Platform

It is not easy to choose the most effective professional learning platform for your school's PD.

This is a huge decision. 

Technology is front and center. 

But, if teachers don’t know how to integrate technology into their classrooms effectively, they miss rich opportunities to transform learning by using it. 

However, choosing the right platform doesn’t just affect teachers. 

In addition, it affects the technology coaches, professional learning specialists, and administrators.

That’s a lot of people to keep happy, and each of these professionals has very different needs and expectations that the school's PD platform must accommodate. 

Technology Coaches 

The technology team needs something easy to roll out to all staff members, including administration.

Gone are the days of gathering everyone in the library or cafeteria for hours at a time to have professional training on a new computer program.

MobileMind is so user-friendly that the tech coach or instructional leader can simply tell the staff to check their email, click the link, and get started. 

It’s truly a breeze from there. 

Administrators

School and district leaders need a platform that allows them to view learning progress and access information they can collect for reporting and accountability.

MobileMind offers leaderboards.  They show who the top-performing learners are, the learning paths they are taking, badges earned, and even compliance reports to compare learners’ progress.

The MobileMind HQ plan has an area where Administrators can even develop learning paths specific to their school, including onboarding new teachers. These paths cover everything a new teacher has to read, sign, learn – you name it.

As a result, it makes training new employees nearly effortless.

Teachers

Teachers need online PD that is easy. They are already overwhelmed with all of the technology currently available to them. 

Learning that is personalized and self-paced is a huge bonus. The reason being, teachers have very different skill levels when it comes to technology. 

An all-in-one platform like MobileMind allows teachers to set their learning pace, choose their learning path, do hands-on challenges, and get feedback from certified teachers.

In addition, they can do it all from the comfort of their own home when it fits their schedule.

Practical Professional Learning Is Not a Fairytale

In conclusion, the right platform for your school's PD should be personalized, practical, and convenient. 

MobileMind has impacted over 11,000 teachers who have completed over 242,000 micro-courses. 

So, will you be the hero of your school’s PD story?

You will be, if you deliver your school’s professional learning through a user-friendly, impactful platform.

And...we would love to help you with that.

For more information about MobileMind, book a call with us at mobilemind.io/schedule-call.

MobileMind HQ beta has launched!

MobileMind HQ beta has launched! Even more exciting, all of our new features are now available to our districts and schools at no extra cost!  You have 60 days to opt in and take advantage of this incredible offer.  We have free webinars scheduled (beginning Oct 8), Click here for more info on the webinars and individual sessions, or go ahead and schedule a free virtual individualized coaching session with our success team.

MobileMind HQ extends our current product offering to allow districts to leverage the power of MobileMind for internal creation, communication, and reporting. As a group of former teachers and administrators, we understand the number of trainings, compliance modules, and PD initiatives that are required throughout a given year. Our goal with MobileMind HQ is to provide a single home to manage and report on these wide-ranging activities while leveraging MobileMind’s innovative and intuitive technology for improved results. As part of MobileMind HQ you’ll be able to:

Create

  • Courses - Create your own courses with challenges for your educators /staff based on the needs of your school/district. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to get you started.
  • Badges - Create your very own badges to award for completion of a set of MobileMind courses, your own courses, or a combination. 
  • Learning Paths - Create your own learning paths to curate a list of MobileMind courses, your own courses, or a combination.  Arrange them in any structure you wish for your educators and staff (Example: New Teacher Learning Path consisting of school policy courses you create, as well as some MobileMind Google training they will need to be successful.)

Review

  •  Review/Grade - Each course you create comes with a challenge that leverages multiple choice, text, URL, and image submissions. Anything beyond multiple choice (which are auto-graded) will appear on the organization's reviewer page for you and your team to evaluate.

Report

  • Enhanced reporting - In addition to enhancing our existing reports, we are introducing a Learning Path report and a Compliance report.  With this MobileMind hq compliance report, you will easily be able to see who has and has not completed learning paths, badges, or even individual courses.  (Example: If all new teachers must complete a New Teacher Learning Path, you will see at a glance who still needs to complete the training). Step by Step Instructions

Manage

  • Manage your teachers - Additionally, all district / school leaders will now have the ability to manage their own users and groups.  Step by Step Instructions 

As is normal for a beta product, we can’t guarantee a totally smooth ride. If you come across any issues, we’d love to hear about them. Please report any issues directly to the support team.

Orange Students head back to school with potential 3 phases including MobileMind

The following is taken from Orange Town News. Read the full report here.

Orange Town News, in Connecticut, are reporting that students are to return to the classroom from 31st August in a potential 3 phase approach having spent nearly a year out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under what the district refers to as ‘key mitigation strategies,’ there will be mandatory face coverings, cleaning/hygiene protocols, cohorting, social distancing, a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system and families encouraged to drive students to school.

Vince Scarpetti, Superintendent, said; ‘The summer always passes by pretty fast, but by no surprise, this summer went by in a flash and a blink of an eye...Administrators, teachers and parents were very busy getting ready for the beginning of the school year.’

He said parents had a big decision to make, whether to send their kids back to school and that one of the biggest concerns from parents was around what remote learning will look like in the first phase.  “Another question that’s come up is ‘am I able to change my mind?’  Absolutely, yes,” Scarpetti says.  “This is a personal decision that families need to make based on what’s right for them.  We support all of you throughout this process.  The decision to change will take place on Monday of the following week.”

“I hope that we don’t enter Phase 2, which is hybrid, or Phase 3, which is total remote.  Why do I hope that?  Because that means the metrics have changed.  But in case we do, we need to be prepared,” he says.

Evelyn Russo, curriculum director for the district says the plan, whether in school or not, focuses on social-emotional lessons with consideration of the well-being of all children.  “We have to teach students about the new protocols and procedures.  We will teach students how to work remotely if we do need to make that shift.  We know that student achievement is based on staff development,” she says.

Staff has spent the summer learning new tools and resources that they’ll need to use in today’s changed world.  “We are going to rely on MobileMind, which has learning paths and micro-courses that teach in minute-long videos and then a task which a teacher engages in and submits for feedback,” Russo explains. “They’re really internalizing the learning by actually doing it and then getting feedback. It will allow teachers to increase their knowledge at whatever level they are.  We needed teachers to become familiar with all of our distance learning tools and digital resources.”

Want to see how MobileMind can assist with your phased return to school? Simply click here to book a call with one of our team.

The NEW MobileMind!

MobileMind is thrilled to announce the official launch of our new and improved personalized professional learning hub!  From distance learning to Google certifications, we have schools covered with the simplest and most effective professional learning solution for leaders, teachers, and staff!  We’ve already received some amazing feedback from those who are already learning in the new version of our platform, and we are excited to show you some highlights! 

With new streamlined onboarding upon logging in for the first time, learners tell us a little about themselves so we can point them in the right direction. 

We suggest a learning path to get our educators started, but learners are always welcome to explore on their own.

Another fresh feature is the personalized dashboard page, tailored for each learner!  The widgets on this page may change daily based on a learner’s achievements, progress, and feedback.  In addition, the dashboard provides learners with announcements from us or their leaders and updates from Google.  Learners can even submit a support ticket right form their dashboard, and our educator support team is waiting to help them as they progress through their micro-courses!

Our new filtering features make it easier than ever for learners to find what they are looking for.  From the Learn tab, educators can now search by Learning Paths, such as Distance Learning, Google Certification Level 1, or Special Education.  

Learners now have an at-a-glance view of which micro-courses must be completed in order to earn desired badges, which demonstrate competency of a particular skill or set of skills.

In the In Progress tab, courses are now separated by courses learners have begun, which courses need review, and which courses have been submitted and are awaiting feedback.

The Achievements tab displays all micro-courses completed, all badges earned, and all completed Learning Paths.

Learners will still see the challenge window appear when they launch a challenge, which contains the video and challenge instructions.  This box still follows learners as they complete their challenge, so the video and instructions are always at their fingertips.

After submitting a challenge, learners will even see a few suggestions for relevant courses so they can hop right into another micro-course to continue their learning!

Finally, leaders still have visibility into learner progress as educators engage with the MobileMind micro-courses.

We would love to give you a live tour of our platform and answer any questions you may have about our personalized learning solution.  Want to learn more?  Click here to schedule a call!

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Slides

What is Google Slides?

With Google Slides, schools have the capability to create and present wherever they are - and from any device. This web-based tool is integrated into your Google Drive and can be located when you select a new file, along with Google Docs and Forms. Slides is a great way to enhance standard-looking presentations - minus the convoluted process. Whether you’re new to Slides or setting up online presentations from scratch, you can choose from a vast array of themes and fonts, then embed videos and animations with ease. 

Like many tools in G Suite for Education, Google Slides is a highly-collaborative application. As long as you have an internet connection, Slides can be accessed from a remote location - ideal for carrying out virtual team meetings and lessons for training, demonstration and revision purposes via a Google Hangouts Meet session.

Benefits for Teachers

  • Save time by choosing from a wide range of presentation themes and templates
  • Proficiently format slides, change text, import images or videos and more 
  • Browse a variety of themes designed for use by schools - from notepad and blackboard to modern, science and technology - with fun and eye-catching graphics! 
  • Create and edit Slides from your smartphone, tablet or desktop
  • Ability to view Slides with both online and offline access
  • Edits are made in real-time and changes are auto-saved, so you’ll always operate from the most current version of Slides
  • Track previous versions of your presentation using the Revision History feature
  • Compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, allowing you to open, edit, save and convert to Google Slides 
  • Securely share Slides by email or as a Google Drive link, with controlled access to view, edit or comment
  • Chat with students or colleagues directly or post comments to their attention
  • Publish online using a secure link or embed Slides into your school’s website or blog

Google Slides for Distance Learning

Google Slides is a practical and creative solution to ramping up the engagements and collaboration levels. Teachers can create a slide deck to support video lessons they’re presenting via Google Hangouts Meet or assignments using Google Docs. In turn, students can produce their own Google Slides to accompany virtual presentations to their teacher or to small groups and entire classes online. Not only is this a more engaging style of teaching, it will stimulate your students’ creativity and communication skills.

Why not go even further to create interactive adventure stories and digital books for each subject? Another great idea is to get students involved in ongoing assignments, such as producing interactive journals and portfolios. With Google Slides, teachers can check on their students’ progress at regular intervals with the view and comment features. Your virtual class’ development during any distance learning period can also be shared by keeping department heads and parents informed with recurring presentation reports. 

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period - which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Slides, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Hangouts Meet

What is Google Hangouts Meet?

Google Hangouts Meet, or just Meet, gives educators face-to-face time with their students - the best alternative to teaching from a physical classroom. With Hangouts Meet, schools can maintain the flow of communication - between students, parents, guardians and fellow faculty members - across a secure platform. You may automatically associate video conferencing with the corporate sector, however; Google Hangouts Meet is an essential tool for educators when it comes to distance learning.  Individual, small groups or classes (up to 250 participants until September 30, 2020 for G Suite customers). 

Now, schools can broadcast live lessons amongst small groups or classes (up to 250 participants for free), run 1:1 or board meetings, as well as schedule calls with the aid of Google Calendar. That’s not all - schools can record training and instructional videos for offline access too. 

Benefits for Teachers

  • Simple to set-up regular classes via the Hangouts Meet, through a Calendar invite, or by using the Meet link within each Google Classroom
  • More than one way to add participants, either by video link or phone, with dedicated numbers and a unique PIN to keep the conversation secure
  • Ability to share your screen during lessons and to visually walk students through any issues during individual or small group sessions
  • Present Google Slides that can be shared as supplemental learning resources
  • Microphones and chat features allow students to actively participate 
  • Teachers can pre-record sessions and share these for future offline viewing - ideal for internet issues and revision purposes
  • Use Hangouts Meet to keep parents and guardians informed about their children’s progress, issues or concerns
  • Consider using Digital Training for Students - with free video lessons to increase their knowledge about using Google eLearning platforms
  • Encourage your class to become an online community by teaching them how to start a Hangouts Meet call so they can virtually collaborate on assignments in pairs or groups (this feature has to be turned on by your Google Administrator for your district)

Google Hangouts Meet for Distance Learning

To tackle the feeling of isolation and nurture a sense of community, Google Hangouts Meet allows teachers to see, listen and speak to their students, which effectively minimizes the distance in distance learning. Virtual lessons, demonstrations and catch-ups can be scheduled or conducted at your convenience, and sustain a free-flowing channel of communication. This will improve the level of engagement and understanding and help teachers recognize any gaps in learning - with real-time chats, Q&As and group interactions.

The major benefits for distance learning are the offline opportunities for schools. Hangouts Meet allows teachers to pre-record or share recorded sessions to avoid internet connectivity issues disrupting distance learning (Google Docs, Sheets and Slides can be accessed this way too - in offline mode). If students are unable to attend virtual classes, these recordings can be saved and watched at a later date. Simply organize these in clearly color-coded folders in your Google Drive, then send shareable links to view the videos via Google Classroom, email or your school website.

Google Hangouts Meet even benefits parents, guardians and caregivers who have been thrust into the interim teacher role - they will need a bit of support from schools too. 

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period - which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Hangouts Meet, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Forms

What is Google Forms?

Google Forms is a web-based app that schools can use to create forms for their own data collection needs. Teachers can use Forms for quizzes, insightful surveys and record online registrations for students who participate in video lessons via Google Hangouts Meet. Forms can be shared via a link, copied and pasted into an email or embedded in a page on your school’s website, like a blog or added to an announcement or assignment in Google Classroom.

It’s a simple tool to create forms, then analyze, summarize and report on the results you collect with charts and graphs as visual aids. Not only is Google Forms free - it doesn’t require any special or additional software to operate. All you need is a Google account - or access to your school’s G Suite for Education - then approximately 10 minutes to complete it and share with your class.

Benefits for Teachers

  • Teachers can create quizzes or surveys with both open-ended and closed-ended questions that are auto graded and give you options for when to release the grade to the students
  • Forms can include drop-down menus, check boxes, multiple choice, checklists, ratings and text box options to gather your answers
  • Get feedback about lessons and assignments from students, plus parents, guardians and caregivers
  • Easy-to-use interface so teachers can quickly create and organize forms with ‘drag-and-drop’ functionality
  • Add images to questions and response choices 
  • Add videos to questions
  • Customize your Forms with different colors and animated header options to make them more engaging and promote creativity! Plus, you can choose from 20 pre-set designs to add background images or upload your own
  • All the data collected will be saved and easy analyzed as Google Forms is integrated with spreadsheets
  • Teachers can preview the form to see how it will look to your recipients
  • You can add unlimited questions and receive unlimited answers at no extra cost

Google Forms for Distance Learning

Google Forms help you to continue meeting curriculum requirements for students - even in a distance learning environment. That’s great news for teachers who may see learn-from-home scenarios as a struggle to overcome due to an increase in distractions, upsetting typical routines and cope with short- to long-term change. Another significant change is that a physical presence to supervise and nurture your young learners has been transferred to parents and guardians. That’s why Google Forms is a reliable tool to engage, interact and keep virtual discussions going. You can release the scores to the students right away to give them and the parents immediate feedback.

Schools can create worksheets and customize their forms to reach out and ask meaningful research questions to a select group of students, parents or teachers and analyze the data to draw unbiased conclusions from - using graphs, data tables and pivot charts. Quizzes, tests and ‘midweek check-ins’ are ideal ways to assess levels of understanding from your distance learning lessons. Schools can also administer surveys to both students and parents with the aim to gain valuable insights so they can improve home learning techniques.

To manage your surveys easily from a remote location, teachers can add limits, like preventing participants from skipping any questions, adding a maximum character count to text fields, including a topmost number of checklist options to select, use response validation, or ggo to section based on answer features, etc. This will also improve the quality of your data. 

When they’re ready. Google Forms are easy to share with links via Google Drive, email or published on web pages for the parental community to see too.

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period - which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Forms, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google 

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page 

Distance Learning Essentials: Google Drive

What is Google Drive?

Google Drive is a cloud-based storage service that enables you to store and access files online. Any documents, photos, videos, presentations, etc you save will be synced to any device you access it from, including smartphones and tablets. Google Drive is also fully integrated with other useful distance learning tools in G Suite for Education, such as Google Docs, Slides, Forms, Gmail, Drawings, etc - as well as other platforms and online services like YouTube, Google Analytics and Google+.

It’s also FREE - and easy to start using while learning from home. You just need an existing Gmail account or recommend setting one up to parents and guardians for students who don’t already have one.

Benefits for Teachers

  • Great backup solution: store lesson plans and student assignments, plus photos and videos which won’t become corrupted over time like a USB device
  • Allows you to send large files: Teachers can send learning resources - from large documents to lengthy video files - to students or co-teachers via Gmail
  • Handy search options: You can quickly locate files (by owner) using the built-in keyword search feature or scan documents using the optical character recognition tool to find specific data sent by other users, such as students, colleagues, or parents
  • Share files easily: Teachers can share files and folders by sending a link to their students to access from their free Google Drive - ideal for creating assignments, work, and providing feedback 
  • Open and edit various files: If you’re experiencing difficulty opening documents or video files, Google Drive is compatible with most file types, including PDF, PowerPoint presentations, JPEGs, Word docs, WMV, MP4 and more

Did we mention how incredible Google Drive is as a storage solution for schools? With each Google Account, you get 1-TB of storage - which is included for free too. Because of the ample storage space, you can view images at full resolution, without the need to be compressed! This means your students benefit from the same number of gigabytes, with access to Google Drive (and other G Suite tools) when they use their student S Suite Gmail account.

Google Drive for Distance Learning

Google Drive is a great collaborative home learning tool because it’s so simple and straightforward to use. Teachers and students can quickly share files as well as create brand-new files- all with the ability to insert images, tables, links, and more! Google Drive is ideal for making learning and revision remotely interactive - and connecting with parents or guardians to show them their distance learning progress.

With Google Drive, you can:

  • Create Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, and even Sites to be used as part of virtual lessons or distance learning reports
  • Save and share docs and Gmail attachments in one safe place, conveniently organizing your files into color-coded folders and sub-folder categories
  • Access from your smartphone or tablet, which allows you to screenshot images of your documents, which can be converted into PDF format
  • Use the large amount of storage to keep a record/ archive of files during the distance learning period for completed assignments, email attachments for revision - plus it’s great to back up your photos and videos

We’re Here to Help You...

At MobileMind, we’re committed to supporting schools for short- and long-term distance learning. We understand it’s a difficult adjustment period, which is why we’re here to help. Take a look at our tips and advice on how practical and easy-to-use online applications, like Google Drive, will benefit your school.

Find out more about Distance Learning tools from Google 

Click here to visit the MobileMind Live page

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