Friday, 11 September 2020

Unified Gmail on iPadOS

 It's finally here!

As a Gsuite Admin , I have long looked forward to the roll-out of the new, unified experience in Gmail. This was rolled out recently on the web, but as an iPad institution, the eperience on iPadOS is the one we have really looked forward to. And it arrived this morning on my test account!

The Meet app on iPadOS has had its ups and downs over the last few months (crashing frequently and more recently not being able to share your screen) but now with Meet integrated properly into Gmail, there is no longer a need for the standalone Meet app. Presenting your screen works as long as you access the meeting from Gmail.

It is also great that the experience across different devices is becoming more streamlined. This really is what users want - to have a familiar experience regardless of the device that they pick up.

What do you think?

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Live-stream lessons using Google Meet (and iPad if you have no webcam!)

Google Meet

With a return to school imminent for South African teachers, there is a lot to think about. This week I have been measuring classrooms to try and see how many we can get into each venue while still maintaining a safe 1,5m distance. The answer? Not many! This fast-tracked my thinking into solutions that would mean we could still teach the same number of students, but in many more venues and with the same number of teachers.

The obvious answer to this problem would be live streaming. If your school is in a fortunate enough position to have the infrastructure to support it, having a teacher's lesson beamed to other classrooms in the school (and even those who are unable to attend school) is a godsend.

And making use of Google Meet's built-in live stream feature makes this possible.

Now, in order for this to work, you would need a few things.

Firstly, a decent internet connection that can upload the stream. If you have multiple people streaming simultaneously, this would need to be even more robust.

Secondly, you would need a device with a webcam and a microphone. iPads or tablet devices would seem ideal, but unfortunately you can't live stream or record your Meet from these devices. A laptop computer or desktop with USB webcam or microphone would work just fine.

We are fortunate that all our teachers have both a stationary desktop PC and an iPad, so we will be using both in this instance. Here is how it will work.

The teacher will start the Meet from the desktop computer. There are many ways to start a Meet (like by visiting in a browser or from within Google Classroom) but in order to start a live stream, it needs to be created from within Google Calendar.

Once you create the event and click to add video conferencing (see below) ...

You will then be able to add a live stream 

The link that is generated will then be what needs to be shared with your audience. I would recommend pasting it into the Google Classroom of the relevant class, along with timings etc. so that students join at the appropriate time.

When streaming this across classrooms to your own school, the link can be emailed to the teachers in the other venues or simply shared in a collaborative Google Doc.

Once the session has been created, the teacher will join the session with Google Meet, as you would normally do when having a video conference. Then click on the three dots in the bottom left of the screen to open your options menu.

Once open, you would see the option to record the meeting and also start the live stream.

It is important to remember that if your desktop has no camera or webcam (like I mentioned is the case with my school) it would look something like the screenshot below:

And this is now that you would need to open your iPad and join the same Google Meet. If you're signed into the same Google account (as you probably are) then the Meet will show up on your Meet app, or you could click the link in Google Calendar. Meet is also pretty clever in that it will switch the video stream to whoever is speaking and since the computer has no audio or video, the iPad should automatically be detected.

At this point the teacher should make sure the iPad camera is pointed at them and possibly the board if they want that visible. You could even switch to the back camera for a better picture (this will depend on the camera quality on your iPad) and if you want to present content from your iPad screen you could do that too. 

All of this may seem somewhat daunting, but for this reason, one thing that is impossible to overemphasise is training. It is absolutely crucial that you allow enough time for teachers to be trained in how to get this set up. Allowing time to practise before they actually have to go live is a critical step in building confidence.

Anyway - this post was looong. I hope it gives an idea of how this could work. Feel free to shout if you have any questions!

stay safe

PS. You could also replace the iPad with a phone if you need to!

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

@snapplify have just released over 5000 textbooks for FREE #ebooks #remotelearning NV Check my BIO for the link #linkinbio #zaedu

Want Free Textbooks? Snapplify's got you covered!

Amidst the global crisis of COVID-19 we have seen Edtech companies do their bit to help out where they can. Kahoot has given teachers a free upgrade to the premium tier which adds more question types, Google has extended its offering of Meet to allow for live streaming with up to 100,000 participants and up to 250 in group video calls.

But what has just been announced might be the most beneficial of all to students in our current South African context. EBook platform Snapplify has just made more than 5000 educational titles FREE until the end of the school year.

Snapplify partners with a ton of publishers (too many to count...maybe I'm just lazy) and they have been working ridiculously hard to get these guys on board to help out.

I have done a quick search and found books for every subject I could think of. These also include teacher guides and student study guides. Popular series like Mind Action or the Zoom interactive books (seriously, if you haven't checked these out you should!) are there and to download them is a very straightforward process.

Simply create a free account, check out the books you want and then download the Snapplify Reader application for your platform. They have apps available for all the major platforms

If you've found this information useful, please go and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @techteachersa

Take care!

stay home

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Pixar - telling stories course on Khan Academy

 What an amazing course this is! If you haven't yet checked it out, do so now! Hear from the people behind iconic stories just how their minds work in getting their creative juices flowing and making their personal stories something that millions can relate to.

Pixar - Stories in a box

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Sketchnoting - Explain Everything

#DI2020 using @explainevrythng Beautiful design #inspire #future #edtech #zaedu
I had the privilege of attending Design Indaba 2020 at the Artscape Theatre and took the opportunity to test out my #sketchnoting skills.

What was nice, was that they reached out and asked me to comment on my experience and feature me on their site...not bad. Watch this space!

Anyway - try it out!

Explain Everything is one of my MUST-HAVE apps on an iPad. Apple have tried to bring in some tools natively on the iPad (system-side screen recording, mark-up, etc.) but so far nothing beats Explain Everything.

We have just switched over to Explain EDU - the once-off payment app without cloud features or collaboration, but for our needs, it works out better financially in the long run.

If you need advice - give me a shout.

Devices devices devices! #DI2020 #edtech #zaedu

Design Indaba at Artscape ! #everyonecancreate #designindaba2020