Let Google Calendar Suggest A Meeting Time

Google Calendar’s Suggested Times feature automatically finds an event time that works for all of your invited guests. It’s an often overlooked feature, but can be very powerful and super convenient when you schedule meetings with multiple guests. The Suggested Times feature works best when all guests have an updated Google Calendar, so we recommend keeping your calendar up-to-date with all your daily events.

To use this feature:

1. In Google Calendar, create an event. (Note: The start time is not as important as the duration of the meeting at this stage)


2. Add guests and click “Suggested times.” The resulting list will include upcoming times where all participants are available for the duration specified in Step 1.

3. Select the time from the list, then Save.




EdPuzzle should be on your shortlist of essential tools. Why is EdPuzzle essential and so useful?

Simply this, take any video from YouTube or Khan Academy (and other sites) and make it interactive by embedding questions right in the video.

This allows for:

  • self-paced lessons. It lets students move through content they already understand to focus on what challenges them. Students are also able to stop and review content they missed the first time the teacher taught it. 
  • students to ask questions that they too embarrassed to ask in class
  • teachers to easily add images, interactive graphs, websites and comments to a video lesson
  • students to respond to teacher posed questions. There is a useful “big-brother” aspect to this. As a teacher, I can see how many times a student watched a particular segment (or if they watched it at all).  I’ve had students watch segments of a video up to 5 times to answer a particular question. This lets me know if my question is too hard or the concept is too challenging.
  • full integration with Google Classroom.

Take it another step. Tape yourself either during class delivering the content or in advance of class. Now your lesson is archivable and interactive in ways it never was before.

By the way, I rarely go to edpuzzle.com as I usually use the chrome extension to do my edpuzzling. It gives me all the utility I need and saves me some clicks.

To learn everything you could ever want to know about EdPuzzle, check out its YouTube Channel.


Flipgrid – A Video Tool for the Classroom


Flipgrid is a video discussion platform. It couldn’t be easier for students to use as they simply click a big green + button and begin to talk. As a teacher, I can control how long their responses are supposed to be.

I used the tool this year in two similar but different ways. I have my students journal every couple of weeks usually via a blog or google docs. Instead of a written journal, a couple of times I asked students to do a video journal.

Here is one such example as this student reflects on an in-class simulation. It gets even richer as students begin discussion threads and go back and forth discussing and debating ideas. Below is a screenshot of a portion what I see as a teacher. You can see each video has its own unique shareable url. I can easily comment on any of these posts with a typed or filmed comment. You can also see that “4th wall” of teaching is partially penetrated. These kids are viewing what their classmates have to say. Blake had 11 classmates view his responses. The discussion moved beyond the classroom.

I also used it for quick status reports as my students did a month long maker-space project. Simply clicking through the video responses was a quick and easy way for me to gauge student progress.

Stacy Roshan is a Flipgrid superuser and posts quite a bit on her own blog about Flipgrid. Here are some highlights.



Preview Files in Google Drive

It may sound obvious, but sometimes the best way to find something is to start looking.  Google Drive lets you quickly preview more than 30 file types and quickly flip between files until you find the one you want.

To see a preview of a Google document, right-click on the file name and select “preview.” Once the preview window is open, you can click on the arrows on either side to flip to other files. And right from within the preview, you can watch video files or scroll through multi-page documents.

You can select and copy text from the preview — even for a PDF or Microsoft Word document — or use the zoom buttons to see a file in more detail. Each file preview also gives you one-click access to share, download, print or open a file for editing.

Via: google drive blog

Find Quality Videos More Quickly

I frequently check YouTube for videos for my classes. I’ve found some gems, but I’ve also waded through some dreck.  This video shows how to use YouTube Playlists to find quality videos much more quickly, curate videos for your classes, and to use playlists in lesson plans.

Other video tips, use EdPuzzle to further edit YouTube videos. As FCS teachers, we all have the extension added to YouTube. Just click Edit with edpuzzle.

Finally, if concerned about distracting thumbnails for other videos and content, use a tool like safeyoutube.


Become a Google Certified Educator

One of the best ways to effectively learn how to use Google Apps for Education is to become a Google Certified Educator. Several FCS teachers are already certified!

Google offers two educator certifications so that you can show mastery at the level that’s right for you. They also offer an innovator certification and the option to become a Google Certified Educator.

Click any of the links above, or check out the Certification Policies and FAQ.