Monday, November 28, 2016

The NEW Google Sites!

For those of you who are Google Sites fans (or foes) and have been waiting for this long anticipated update, the wait is over!  This is a MASSIVE change from the previous version and is worth a second chance if you felt the original Sites was too intimidating.  Plano ISD teachers already have access to start making their own beautiful websites immediately and without too much of a learning curve.  I've included excerpts from G Suite for Education Google Sites cheat sheet.  Please click here for more in depth instructions.

Please feel free to contact any of us in Instructional Technology to help you start developing your own Googlelicious websites.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

YouTube Live - Communicate, Collaborate, and Connect with this Awesome Tool!

YouTube Live is a game-changer when it comes to communicating, training, collaborating, and connecting. You can host a "Live Stream" or schedule an "Event". Both allow you to save and edit (YouTube has excellent video editing tools!) the recording as well as live chat with participants. Here are a few ways to use YouTube Live:

News Flash: Google Hangouts on Air has moved to YouTube Live (no longer on Google+). 

You can still do what you need to do, like schedule recordings or just record your how-to video with no audience, using Live Streaming "Events". 

IMPORTANT Message for Plano Educators
On the Plano ISD network, you will be unable to install the encoder plug-in to use Stream-Live at the present time (but you can do it at home!). However, it will work just fine if you create an "Event" rather than Stream Live.

Getting Started

1. Go to and sign it to your PISD YouTube account using your PISD email address and network password. 
2. Click "My Channel" on the left of your screen. 
3. Click "Video Manager" button in the top center of your screen. 
4. Click "Live Streaming" on the left and select Events (see image above).
5. Click "Schedule New Event". 
6. Enter a title, when you'd like the even to start (either now or later), a description, tags, and then be sure to select the correct privacy setting for your webinar:
    • Private - only you or specific people that you invite.
    • Unlisted - only those who have the link can access it; not searchable on the web.
    • Public - anyone can view and anyone can search and find it.

Example of YouTube Live Event settings

7.For Plano people, under "Type" be sure to select "Quick - using Google Hangouts on Air" as this option does not require the encoder plug-in. 
8. Click the "Go live now" button. 
9. Click "Start Broadcast" in the hangout. Now you're live!
10. Share the link with others by clicking the Links button on the bottom right of your Hangout. 

Copy and paste the YouTube link into an email or however you're sharing it.

11. If you'd like to have a chat going at the same time, grab that same "YouTube Page" link from step 10 and paste it into a new tab in your browser. You'll see the chat box on the right. Viewers can enter questions/comments in the chat box ONLY if they sign in to their YouTube account. Otherwise, it will not be visible. Read more on how to archive the chat below.   

Give it a try! 

Here is a short how-to video how to start a YouTube Live Event. Remember to select your audience, either Public/Unlisted/Private. 

More good step-by-step instructions for when you're ready to start your YouTube Live event.


To give credit to participants for attending/watching, check out these options:

  • Chat - Ask participants to type their name in the Chat box at some point during the broadcast so you can take attendance. BEFORE you finish the broadcast, click the chat pop-out button and print the chat record (or print to PDF). 
  • Form - Ask participants to complete a short Google Form at the end of the broadcast so you'll have the attendance in the Google Sheet. An exit ticket like the one below. Just copy and paste the link into your chat or presentation.  
YouTube Live Exit Ticket screenshot
Link to Form:

Contact Us

There are many more tips and tricks to YouTube Live Events. I was trying to keep this blog post short 'n sweet. Please feel free to contact any one of us in Instructional Technology to help you with perfecting your YouTube Live skills!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why Nearpod is an App You Will Love

If you haven't discovered Nearpod yet, your students might be missing out on some great teacher-student collaboration opportunities. Nearpod is a web 2.0 tool that allows you to push a presentation to your students and keep them on the same screen with you. It has amazing potential both as a presentation tool and an assessment tool, as you can embed polls and other formative assessment tools throughout the presentation.Your students can respond to a prompt by drawing or writing the answer to a question, you (and only you) can see in real time the answers that your students provide, giving you instant feedback on formative assessment. Additionally, you can choose to anonymously show a student's work as an exemplar to the rest of the class.

In addition to making an in-class presentation more interactive, Nearpod also allows your students to view a presentation for homework or as a review. Nearpod is "device agnostic," meaning that it works flawlessly on any device a student might use - iOS or Android phone or tablet, laptop, desktop, Chromebook, etc. There is a paid version, but the free version will give you plenty of options.

Below are some sites and videos to help you get started. Check out Nearpod today!

Nearpod Getting Started Guide

10 Ways to Use Nearpod in the Classroom

Nearpod Instructional Videos Playlist

Nearpod and Google Classroom Integration:

Happy Nearpod'ing! As always, feel free to contact one of your friendly Instructional Technology Specialists if you have any questions about this fantastic tool.