Google Classroom Update Feb18

Google Classroom Feb 6 iOS update

google classroom logoThe Google Classroom iOS app was updated on Feb. 6, 2018. It includes two new features for teachers as well as bug fixes and performance improvements. Now teachers can grade questions and rename their classes on iOS.

Google regularly updates its app. This is a general reminder to update your apps often to take advantage of new features


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Translate a PDF using Google Drive

open with google docs

Do you have a PDF in another language that you need to translate? Google Drive/Docs makes it very easy to translate a PDF document. You can do this in two easy steps on your computer. (It doesn’t work on a tablet or smart phone).

upload documentStep 1: Convert your file to text

  1. Go to on your computer.
  2. Upload the file from your computer (click and drag or New | File upload)
  3. Right-click on the file (two-finger click or ⌘-click on a Mac)
  4. Select Open with | Google Docs.

You can now view your converted document. Note that some of the text formatting may be lost and tables, columns, lists, endnotes, footnotes, etc. may lose their format.

translate documentStep 2: Translate a text document

  1. With the document open, go to Tools | Translate document in the top menu.
  2. Type in a name for the document and choose the language that you would like to translate to.
  3. Press Translate to see a new document with the translated text in a new tab.

Use Explore in Google Slides to Build Better Presentations

explore header

Google Slides

Google Slides is the G Suite product that lets you create presentations right in your browser. You can even work on a presentation at the same time as other people. All you need is a G suite account, which you have if you have a Gmail account. Google Slides is even easier to use with Explore. (Explore is also available in Docs and Sheets.)

Explore in Google Slides

The Explore feature was added to G Suite in September 2017. Explore can help you design better presentations in less time. Based on the content of your slide, it dynamically suggests designs. If you don’t see any suggestions, you may have too much text on the slide or your images may be too small. Try modifying those features and removing any added shapes to activate suggestions. You can use also use Explore to add images and other content to your presentation.

Add Content with Explore in Google Slides

Use explore to add content from the web or from your Google Drive. When you enter a query in Explore Search, you will receive results from the Web, Images and Drive.

Explore search results for slides

slides explore web resultsWeb Search

Use the Web Search results to find content from the web that you can use. A select number of results are shown in the Explore window. When you click on a link, it opens in a new tab. To see more results, you can click on See all results on Google.

insert image in Google Slides exploreImage Search

Find images and add them quickly and easily to your presentation. Hover over an image to display the + symbol and add it to your presentation. A hyperlink to the source image is automatically added to the inserted image.


Search your Google Drive for content. Clicking on a result opens the file in a new tab.

Google Slides Challenge

If you are new to Google Slides, do the tutorial from G Suite Learning in as little as 10 minutes. If you’re experienced, redesign an old presentation using Explore.


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Use ChatterPix Kids in the Classroom

image of 5 steps to a video in ChatterPix Kids

chatterpix kids

ChatterPix Kids (or ChatterKid) is an interactive app for adding voice and text to any image. Its ease of use makes it very accessible to children, and the 30 seconds time limit forces them to be thoughtful and concise. The app is free, from Duck Duck Moose, and is only available for iOS. When you first open the app, the first thing that you will see is a short video that shows you the 5 easy steps to using ChatterPix.

5 Easy Steps to Creating a Video in ChatterPix Kids

  1. Take/Import a Picture
  2. Draw a Mouth
  3. Record a Message
  4. Decorate
  5. Show your Friend

Features of ChatterPix Kids

  • Take a photo or use a photo from the Photo Library
  • Draw a talking mouth to make the video more interesting
  • Save to Gallery (and edit later) or save to Camera Roll

Ideas for Using ChatterPix Kids

  • Take a picture of your invention and let the invention describe itself.
  • Create a talking animal to present your animal research.
  • Use 3-4 facts from your biography to create a 30 sec video.
  • Create a public service announcement for your environmental issue to share with students in lower elementary.

Differentiation Using ChatterPix Kids

  • Give the child the photo needed.
  • Limit the use of design features (frames, stickers, etc.) to help focus the activity.
  • Use the stickers and frames to teach design features.

Considerations for Using ChatterPix Kids

  • Students have to complete the process and get to Gallery for their work to be saved.
  • Students can combine several 30 sec videos in iMovie to make a longer video

Examples of ChatterPix Kids in the Classroom

  • Examples of ChatterPix Kids in the classroom
  • Do you use ChatterPix Kids in your classroom? Leave a message in the comments.

Have a question about using technology in your classroom? Email

Use Online Quizzes in the Classroom

question marks on trees image

quizziz icon kahoot iconOnline Quizzes

There are many online tools that allow you to quiz students in fun ways. Two of these tools are Kahoot and Quizziz. Kahoot follows a freemium model with a plus version that is meant for trainers. Quizziz is completely free and there is no limit on the number of quizzes that you can create or play. Both tools can be used in a group setting or by individual students.

These tools can be excellent for formative assessment to determine your students’ understanding of the material, either individually or collectively. Have students test themselves to find out their areas of strength and weakness for personalized learning. Teachers can create quizzes, but there is no reason that students couldn’t too!


The features depend on the choice of tool. This blog post compares them. In brief, Kahoot has more varieties of games, but Quizziz offers tighter integration with Google Classroom.

Considerations in Choosing a Quizzing Tool

Choose the tool based on the feature that you’re interested in. Consider the following features:

  • Timer
  • Leaderboard
  • Pacing
  • Homework or learning center use
  • Random order option
  • Feedback

Try IT Out

Create an account on each site, and create a quiz that you can use with your class in the next 2-3 days. Compare the dashboard/teacher console in each tool to find out which one matches the way that you like to work. Have an idea how to use one of the tools?  Leave a comment or make a post on this Padlet.