Google Classroom: Turning in Group Work

google classroom groups

Currently Google Classroom does not have a feature for group work. Here is my work around.

Create a Spreadsheet

I use Google Sheets to have students indicate who is in their group. Alternatively, when I assign students to groups, I will list out their names on a Google spreadsheet also.

Google Classroom makes it easy to share the spreadsheet. Attach a Google Sheets file from Google Drive and set it as “Students can edit file” if they choose their own groups or “Students can view file” if you have assigned the groups.

Suggestion to have the first column say “Group Leader” to indicate which student is going to take responsibility for the group work documents.
Google Sheets group work sign up

Tip from Alice

I number all of my assignments to make it easy to keep track of them in the gradebook. This also creates a nice file structure in the Google Classroom folder in my Google Drive. Click Here for my blog post on this.

In addition to numbering the assignments, I also start any documents students will be using in connection with this assignment with the same assignment number. This makes it clear for the teacher and the students which documents go with with assignment. This is particularly helpful when an assignment has multiple documents.

Attach Template

Attach the template or graphic organizer with a status of “Make a copy for each student.” This ensures that the students work is shared with the teacher and is in the assignment folder in Google Drive.

This creates a copy for each student, not for each group.
google classroom assign group work


Group Leader

The group leader will need to open the group work document and click on the blue share button. The group leader will add the group members to the document to allow them to edit.

The group leader will also need to modify the document title to add the names of the group members to the end of the document title.

Group Members

In Google Classroom the other group members will need to click on “OPEN” and click on the X on the right hand side of the attached documents.
google classroom delete default assignments

Turning In

Once the group work is completed, the group leader will “TURN IN” the document to Google Classroom.

The other group members will go into Google Classroom and click on “MARK AS DONE.”
Google Classroom Mark as Done

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Mobile Google Slides: Adding an Image

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 4.16.43 PM

If you are on a Mobile device such as an iPad, android tablet or your phone you probably have the Google Drive and Google Slides app.

If you are using Google Slides on the Mobile device you will notice that you can not add an image to the slides. Here is a tip I learned from Jon Corippo.

Convert to PowerPoint

If you take your Google Slides and export to PowerPoint and open the PowerPoint in Google Slides you are able to add images to the slides. You can then convert back to Google Slides when you are done adding images.

Open the Google Slides App


Open a Google Slides Presentation



Triple Dot

Click on the triple dot icon in the upper right hand corner to reveal options for the presentation.

Share and Export

Choose “Share & export” from the settings options.




Choose the “Save as PowerPoint (.pptx)” option. image


Tap on Slide

This will launch the presentation in Google Slides as a PowerPoint file. Notice the orange P in the upper left hand corner.



Plus Button

Tap on a slide to reveal the edit options. The plus icon allows you to add elements to the slide.



Add Image from Camera

Choose the option to add an image from camera. Click the blue checkmark.

Triple Dot Again

Once you have inserted your images you can convert the file back to Google Slides. Click on the triple dot in the upper right hand corner. The first settings option says “Office Compatibility Mode.” Click on this first option.




Back to Slides

Choose “Save as Google Slides” to convert the file back if you wish. Note that this is a NEW copy and that the original Google Slides presentation remains without pictures.

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Second Life in Education

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 2.24.41 PM


Second Life is a 3D virtual space where each player has an avatar that has the ability to explore the world. Second Life is free to use, although you are able to purchase virtual items within the space. Second Life is a tool that could be utilized in the classroom. A caution is the required bandwidth and computer processing power. Second Life is also a community of players. Setting students loose to explore the virtual spaces of Second Life could potentially cause them to interact with elements that may not be appropriate.

Purchase an Island

Second Life allows you to purchase specific space to build and create. This space can be crafted for your students to interact and learn. This space can be set up to have students meet, create, interact and most importantly explore. As the teacher you design the learning environment in the physical classroom. This becomes literally true in Second Life. As an instructor you have complete creative control to set up an exploratory environment for students.

Virtual Field Trips

When it would be impossible to take your class to Globe Theater, Second Life can allow for virtual interactive field trips. Many historical places, museums and locations have been recreated in Second Life. Rather than simply watching a slideshow of images, students can use their avatar to explore, wander, and “touch” things in the virtual environment. This can be significantly more enriching and immersive.

Online Interactions

Students in your face to face class are able to use Second Life in a variety of ways, however, Second Life can have some positive benefits for students enrolled in a fully online class. The classroom can be recreated in Second Life to give students the classroom experience. This would include intermingling with classmates, conversations, sharing and discussion. Getting outside of the traditional classroom structure Second Life provides collaborative space for students to create, meet, explore and engage in inquiry based learning.  This gives online students the feeling they are physically together when they are separated by distance.


Machinima is a technique of using video games or virtual worlds to create videos with a storyline that is outside of the game itself. An example would be students using World of Warcraft to have their characters (toons) act out a scene from a Shakespearean play. Second Life can act as a stage for students to recreate historical events, carry on a debate or otherwise demonstrate their learning.

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Google Forms: Formative Assessment Tips

Google Forms Google Drive

If you use Google Forms for formative assessment quizzes here are some tips for managing the resulting spreadsheet.

Ask for Student ID Number (SID)

When organizing data it is important that your data match. Trying to sort data by student name can be sketchy when students type in their own name. They might use “Robert” one day and “Bob” another. They may simply misspell their name. While I do not need the students ID number it is harder for students to get creative in how they fill it out. This makes it much easier to sort and organize the results.

First Name

Rather than ask for “name” make 2 questions. One for “First Name” and one for “Last Name.” This way you can easily sort the resulting spreadsheet by either first or last name. This is also very handy when putting the results in the gradebook.

View Responses

From the edit screen of the Google Form you want to “View Responses” in the toolbar in order to open the spreadsheet of data. (The first time you will want to leave the defaults in the pop up window and click on “create.”)
view responses google sheets

Answer Key

After creating your Google Form go to the live form and take the quiz. For first name put “Answer” and for last name put “Key.” Fill out the form with the correct answers. This makes the first line of data in the spreadsheet the correct answers.

google forms answer key

Freeze Bar

By default the first row of the spreadsheet is frozen. This allows you to scroll through all of the student answers and still see the questions. If you were the first person to answer the Google Form quiz and you used “Answer Key” for the name, then the second row contains the answers.

On the left hand side, between rows 1 and 2, hover over the freeze bar. You will notice the cursor turns into a hand. Click down on the freeze bar and drag it down to freeze the first 2 rows. This will freeze the answer key at the top of the spreadsheet. As you scroll through the student answers you can compare their answer to the answer key easily.
freeze bar



Hovering over the column indicators will reveal a small drop down arrow. Click on this to choose to sort the sheet. You can sort the results by Last Name, Period, etc…
sort sheet

Sort each question. This will allow you to cluster which students answered what. Since the results of a Google Form are instantly in the spreadsheet as students submit you are able to quickly identify which students answered each answer choice for a particular question. Divide up the students by who answered what to provide a differentiated activity.

Multi – Column Sort

You probably want to sort by multiple columns. Such as by Period, Last Name and then First Name. There is a blank box to the left of column A and above row 1. I call this the “awesome box.” Right click on the “awesome box” to reveal a list of options for the entire spreadsheet. Choose “Sort range…”

awesome box


Check the “Data has header row” checkbox. Choosing “Add another sort column” allows you to sort by multiple columns at once. The order matters. If you want to sort by Period and then Last Name you need to sort by Period first and Last Name second.
sort range google sheets

Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting allows you to color code the cells based on the answer. For example if the student put down the correct answer the cell background color will be green. If a score is less than 70% you can have the background color be red. This allows you to easily identify trouble areas and find selected answers quickly.

Click on the column indicator of a question to highlight the entire column. Right click on the column indicator and choose “Conditional formatting.”
conditional formatting google sheets

There are a variety of ways you can test the data for the conditional formatting. If you have an exact answer you are looking for choose “Text is exactly” from the drop down menu. If you are testing numbers you may want to choose something like “Greater than.”
conditional formatting

Choose the formatting options that will display if the cell has that value. You can add multiple rules.
add another rule conditional formatting

Example of Conditional Formatting

Conditional Formatting

Posted in forms, Google, Spreadsheet | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Google Drive: Do NOT Share Everything in a Folder

Folder Image by Ken Hess

Folder Image by Ken Hess

One trick for collaborating using Google Drive is to create a folder in Google Drive and to share the folder. Anything you put into the folder will automatically have the same sharing permissions as the folder.

Sharing a Folder

Previously I had blogged about how to share a folder in the new Google Drive. Create a folder, click on the share icon in the toolbar, add permissions.

Sub Folders

You are able to create a folder within a folder. Go to the folder in Google drive and click on the “New” button to create a new folder. This folder will be nested inside the first folder. Usually by default a folder is private; however, the sub folder will take on the same sharing characteristics as the parent folder.

This is also true for any documents you put into the parent folder.

Organizing but Not Sharing

Occasionally I have need to have files in a shared folder to NOT be shared with my collaborators. Perhaps I have some brainstorming notes or something else that is related to the project but not intended for others to see.

Peer Evaluations

This is especially true when I am working with students. I want to create a folder for peer evaluations. I set the folder to anyone can edit which allows the students to comment on the work of other students. I use a Google Form to have students provide feedback and to give me data to analyze about the peer evaluations. I want to save the form and the spreadsheet in folder with student work, however, I do not the students to have access to the spreadsheet.

Change Sharing Settings

While any documents or folders within the parent folder automatically take on the sharing settings, these can be modified on a case by case basis.

Within a document click on the blue share button. The pop up window will indicate who the document is shared with, clicking on the text that says “Shared with…” or on the word “Advanced” in the bottom right hand corner will open the sharing window.
click on these links

The advanced sharing window allows you to change editing rights or REMOVE collaborators from a document. Next to each persons name is a drop down menu to change from “Can edit” to “Can comment” or “Can view.” Remove the collaborator all together by clicking on the “X” on the right hand side.
remove or change permissions on sharing google docs

Document Level Permissions

Each document has it’s own sharing settings. Placing a document into a shared folder does not permanently alter the documents sharing settings. Moving the document out of the folder will restore the documents previous share settings. This allows you to temporarily allow access by some collaborators by placing documents into a folder. You are then able to easily restrict access again by taking the document out of the folder.


Let’s say I have a document that is privately shared with person A and person B.
privately shared document

I have a folder that is set to anyone with the link can view and is also shared with person C, D and E.
share folder anyone with the link can view

If I move the document into the shared folder, it will be shared with person A, B, C, D, and E and will now have the sharing permission of anyone with the link can view.
Anyone with the link can view

I can remove editing rights from person B and C from the document by clicking on the blue share button in the document and removing their individual permissions.
Remove permissions

If I take the document OUT of the folder. It will go back to being privately shared. It will NO LONGER be shared with person D and E. Since at the document level I removed permissions for person B they also will no longer have access.
Untitled drawing (4)

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iPad in Physical Education Bootcamp


I believe Physical Education is an important part of schools. Being an expert in EdTech, I will occasionally encounter a comment along the lines of “You can not use technology in PE.” I know many excellent PE teachers who are not only using technology in their classes, but are doing amazing things with it.

Fellow Google Certified Teacher, Jarrod from Australia, has an amazing website ( with uses for technology in the Physical Education classroom. Jarrod has been a big help to me on several occasions. He is also the creator of the Move-It Chrome extension that I use everyday. You can follow Jarrod on Twitter @mrrobbo.


The PE Geek is offering a FREE bootcamp in using iPads in PE. You can sign up by going to the PE Geek website:

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Google Classroom Deployment: Advice from David Malone

If your school is considering using Google Classroom, or is already using Google Classroom, here is some advice from David Malone on managing Google Classroom from the administrative perspective.

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10 Reasons to Introduce Google Classroom to Blackboard

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Sharing in New Google Drive: Get Sharable Link

get sharable link

The new sharing interface of Google Drive shows you an option to share explicitly with certain people. If you are looking to share with a wider audience, click on “Get shareable link.”


Clicking on the link automatically switches the sharing settings to anyone with the link can view. This is great news for students and teachers who are less practiced with using Google Docs.

Copy Link

The link is automatically copied to the clipboard. The only next step is to select done.
sharing google docs anyone with the link

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Create a Unique Google Forms URL for Each Student



One of the presentations I did in the Google Booth at Educause this year was on using concatenate for a spreadsheet. While you do not need to know the word concatenate to do this trick, it is wickedly useful.

Data Disaster

One of the best tools in the Google Apps suite is Google Forms. It allows any user on practically any device to fill out a Form. The user does not have to be logged in, have a Google account or even know what Google is. The data collected from the Form can be viewed in a spreadsheet and manipulated any number of ways. It is a beautiful thing.

The problem is the end user. When you let other people enter the data they can get creative or make mistakes in how they enter information. When sorting and organizing information, consistency of the data is very important. As much as possible I try to use multiple choice or choose from a list when users fill out forms to force the response options to be consistent.

Unfortunately there are fields you would not typically want to make multiple choice. Name, ID number, email address, etc… the person filling out the form has to put this information into a text field.


Google Forms allows you to pre-populate the fields of the Form. This means you can create a unique URL that when someone clicks on that link some of the boxes will be filled out already. Click Here for an example.


If you use the same Google Form repeatedly, such as for a daily warm-up, each student can have a unique URL that automatically pre-populates their SID, First Name, Last Name and Email Address.

For peer evaluation where students have to fill in the project title and name of another student, having a unique URL will allow the students to go straight to the rubric and bypass filling out the text fields.

When putting on a professional development (PD) conference event the same evaluation form is used for each session, each presenter. Rather than relying on the end user to enter in the session title, presenter, room number, session slot, etc… these can be pre-populated so the person filling out the form only needs to rate the quality of the presentation.


  1. Create a Google Form.
  2. In the edit screen under the Responses menu is an option to “Get pre-filled URL.”
  3. Fill in the fields you want to be pre-populated with place holder data.
    Example: LASTNAME in the Last name field.
  4. Click submit.
  5. Copy the unique URL provided.
  6. Locate or create a spreadsheet that contains the information you want to pre-populate.
  7. In the blank column next to your data type an equals sign, quotation, and paste the URL between quotation marks.
  8. Locate the placeholder data in the URL.
  9. Highlight the placeholder data.
  10. Type “&&”
  11. In between the ampersands (&) place your cursor.
  12. Type the cell reference for where in the spreadsheet that information is located.
    Example: “&A5&”
  13. Fill down in the spreadsheet by holding down the corner of the cell with the formula you just created and pulling down. This will create a unique URL for each row in the spreadsheet.

Educause Slides

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