What's new in GSuite?

Google has announced a number of updates. Below are a few that I think are important for teaching and learning.

The first noteworthy update is that they have brought some accessibility enhancements to Sheets, Slides, and Drawings. Google has added Braille support for Sheets and screen magnifier support in Slides and Drawings.

Next, it is now possible to search within a folder in Google Drive. The only catch with this is that the folder must be located withing your 'My Drive'. You are not able to search within a folder that is in your "Shared with me" area unless you add it to your Drive.

Finally, the Jamboard was brought in as a core GSuite service. For those who might be unfamiliar, the Jamboard is an interactive whiteboard that facilitates collaboration. While we currently don't have any of these on campus, I am excited to see that Google has brought this in as a core service as this points to stable support of the product. I am excited about investigating how…

Always Get to Moodle

We create a new Moodle instance each year with a unique URL which includes the numbers for the academic year. This can create a problem if you bookmark the site and then come back the next year. The bookmark you created will take you to an old Moodle instance.

You can always get to the current Moodle by entering "" in your browser's address bar. Even better, it is  possible to edit your Moodle book mark to do the same. The animated gif below shows the steps. This was done in the Google Chrome browser, but the steps should be very similar for other browsers.

Links to Edit BookmarksFirefox Google Chrome Safari Micorsoft Edge

Text to Speech with Read&Write for Google Chrome

What it Does and Why The Read&Write for Google Chrome extension (free) contains a number of different tools. The first and most visible is its ability to read Google Docs aloud (TTS, text-to-speech). When paired with the Texthelp PDF Reader extension (free), web-hosted1 PDFs may also be read aloud. In addition to reading the document aloud, the read-aloud function highlights each word as it is read. I have found in my own experience that I am able listen and read faster in this way, having the document read aloud to me, than I can read to myself. Having a document read aloud has a number of implications for student learning.

A few of these include:
Comprehension - Having a document read aloud can help a student better comprehend the material.2 It can also assist those who are non-native speakers.  Document Review - Have a document read aloud provides an easy means for all students to proof their work. This could also be used as a tool by instructors, using the tool to read papers …

Updates to Google Calendar Coming

As I posted back in October, Google is updating the Calendar user interface. The change will occur on January 8. Up until now users could opt-in, but now the change will be pushed to all users. You can see what the new calendar looks like below.

You can read more about it in the official announcement from Google here.

Adobe Photoshop Content-Aware Fill Majic!

If you have never seen content-aware fill in Photoshop, it is majic.
Watch the video below for a demonstration.

Updates to Google Calendar

Google has announced that it is updating the UI (user interface) for Calendar. If you are interested in learning about the changes and new capabilities check this page.

One thing to note:
This will roll out gradually. Google gives the admins the choice of how this change will be rolled out the the domain, either automatically or manually. The automatic roll-out begins November 14 with a deadline of February 28,2018.  Check with the Beloit College IT department for a specific timeline for our domain.

Check this post for the full details of the update.

About Stories

I enjoy Vlogbrothers videos. This one below addresses (at about 1:07) an important issue in the world of teaching and learning. Namely storytelling, and particularly the question of what is a, or your, story about? This is a key thing to think about as you are drafting your stories - what are the stories about? Not, what is the plot, but what overarching topic/idea/emotion/subject is your story about? What is the point you are attempting to illustrate? Why is your story important? Put another way, what is the point?

These are questions with which a storyteller must grapple and answer if they want to create a good story. If you are looking for tools to help you or your students draft a (digital)story please check out this website: Digital Media Toolbox Libguide. I have put together resources and recommendations to help create the best product possible.

P.S. Flat Dr. Pepper is just saddening to think about.