ISTE and ASCD merge

Shout out to Jeff Bradbury of TeacherCast, Ask the Tech Coach, and Educational Podcasting Today for putting this on my radar.

He and I had just wrapped up an interview for an episode of Educational Podcasting Today and Jeff said to me “So, what do you think of ISTE and ASCD?” and I was like, “uhhh, they’re fine?” and he said “no, the news.” and I was like… “what are you talking about?” So then he filled me in.

It turns out that ISTE, the giant edtech nonprofit who, amongst other things, puts on the annual ISTE conference and ASCD, the giant education and professional development nonprofit who, amongst other things, publishes bunches of books and magazines, have merged.

The statement on their webpage states that ISTE, which stands for International Society for Technology in Education, and ASCD, which stands for Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, “will unite and become divisions of a new education nonprofit organization.

So, there will be a new umbrella company that both of them operate underneath. That’s pretty much all that we know now, but I do think that it’s worth noting the confirmation that this presents between curriculum and technology. They’re no longer viewed as entirely separate in these nonprofits and they shouldn’t be entirely separate in our classrooms either.

This was finalized on November 14th with an ASCD member vote. It’ll take effect in January.

Continue reading ISTE and ASCD merge

Synth Shutting Down

The audio tool Synth was shut down earlier this fall.

The team behind Synth has turned their attention to their new project: Focusable. If you had recordings in there that you want, the site states “if you need help getting access to your content please reach out at” Hopefully, you’ll be able to recover what you need.

So, what if you were counting on Synth?

If you’re looking to facilitate audio discussions, you can use Flip, which is well-known for video discussions, but can also be used in mic-only mode, or Padlet, which has an audio option as well. You could also use Mote in a number of ways: doing it in Google Slides jumps out to me as a good way to facilitate discussions. 

There certainly are other simple audio tools–Vocaroo,, Cloud Audio Recorder, and more… but I think Flip, Padlet, and Mote might be the best for discussions.  I could probably list 5 other potential options though!

[Image Source: ]

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Comment with Emojis in Google Docs

📣 Guess what’s here? Emoji Reactions in Google Docs!

📺  Check this out in video form on TikTokInstagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺 

Smiley face! Face with open mouth! Thinking face! Face with tears of joy! Pile of poo! We all love emojis and now we can use them in lieu of comments in Google Docs.

Now if you highlight some text you’ll see 3 options on the right side of the screen: add comment, add emoji reaction, and suggested edits. Other people who have editing or commenting access can then click on the same emoji to upvote (now it’ll show the same emoji with a 2 next to it) or they can highlight the text and add a different emoji.

How to add emoji reaction in Google Docs as Comments

You can add multiple emojis to the same spot as well.  If you click an emoji reaction that you’ve already added, it’ll make that reaction go away, or if there is more than one of it, it’ll reduce the number by one. When you hover the cursor over them, you can see who the emojis are from. They can also be resolved just like comments. These emojis also appear in the comments menu in the top right corner, near the share button.

Emoji reactions are just like comments – they can only be added or viewed if you have editing or commenting access. People who are only viewers will neither see the emoji reactions nor be able to add reactions of their own. 

I love that Google made it possible to add ANY emoji, not just a handful, like thumbs up or smiley faces. Plus, when appropriate, there are different skin tones and gender options, including gender-neutral emoji.

(This update is available in ALL Google accounts including free ones.)

📺  Check this out in video form on TikTokInstagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺 

Continue reading Comment with Emojis in Google Docs

Google adds Dropdown Menus and New Smart Chips to Google Docs!

OMG you can have dropdown menus in Google Docs now—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

📺 Check it out in video form on TikTokInstagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺 

These additions primarily relate to the Google Docs smart chips menu that pops up when you type in an “@” symbol. Well, it now features a boatload of goodies. Many of them are just quick access to things we already had access to within the regular toolbar menus, but some surprises popped up recently.

Let’s run through all of the stuff that’s in there— 

  • People – tag people in your doc
  • Building blocks – insert templates that Google provides for things like meeting notes and email drafts
  • Files – add links to Google Drive files
  • Checklists, numbered lists, and bulleted lists
  • Images, drawings, and charts
  • Dates – easily jump to your calendar
  • Text formatting selections – normal text, heading, title, etc.
  • Calendar events
  • Page components like page numbers, page counts, headers, footers, page breaks, and watermarks—by the way, it’s crazy easy to add watermarks to Google docs now, have you tried it?
  • A table, plus some slick table templates that Google provides
  • Horizontal line, table of contents, bookmarks, footnotes, equations, special characters, and links.

Most of that is not that big of news, and almost all of it can be accessed from one of the normal menus at the top of the screen.

The big one is the last option in that “@” menu, which I left out in that list— Dropdowns!

You can select one of their pre-made dropdown sets or, the big news for teachers, you can make your own set

You can put in as many options as you want (at least as far as I can tell—I added 30 in my test).

You add the text and then select the color for each option. If this is a dropdown you’ll use regularly, you can even save it to use in the future! Plus if you copy the dropdown, you can then paste it elsewhere with the same options! It’s really rad.

Dropdown is also in the Insert menu at the top of the screen, so you can get to it from there too. 

There are lots of potential applications in the classroom from multiple choice questions, to a work feedback cycle, to the management of student-paced or personalized learning setups, and more!

These dropdowns and the smart chips are available to ALL GOOGLE USERS.

📺 Check it out in video form on TikTokInstagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺 

[GIF Source: ]

Continue reading Google adds Dropdown Menus and New Smart Chips to Google Docs!

Seesaw Improves How Students Interact with Teacher-Created Assignments

📺 Check this out in video form on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺

Back in March, Seesaw announced a set of updates that I’m pretty excited about.

For those of you not familiar with Seesaw, I often compare it to a combination of an LMS, a digital portfolio tool, and a parent/guardian communication tool.

Screengrab from Youtube Video showing the Seesaw app interface and the new updates for locking and unlocking items

It’s most often used by elementary teachers – case in point, 29.2% of the people who responded to my podcast survey use Seesaw, and of them almost 37% of them were PreK-6th grade teachers, and 0% were 7th-12th grade. (The other 63-ish% were in other roles like tech coaches etc.) It’s crazy though because it’s great for all ages.

Let’s talk about the updates!

  • In the past, if you sent an activity to your students, they were able to delete pages from the template. Now, students cannot delete the teacher-created pages, but they can create pages that they add.
  • In a similar vane, students often accidentally deleted locked elements in activities.  Now students are not PROMPTED to unlock things. It’s possible, but they have to do it with intention and aren’t likely to do it on accident.​
  • Students also tended to accidentally reorder activity pages—typically when scrolling. As the release says, they have ”adjusted the sensitivity of the reorder action in the Pages menu and disabled page reordering on drag gestures to prevent this issue.” That means that it’s not likely to reorder pages by accident when scrolling.​
  • In the past, there were also problems with students accidentally creating new pages while drawing. They have now fixed that issue as well.
  • And, finally, while many activities require students writing or drawing, some involve manipulatives that need to be moved around the screen. Previously, when opening one of these pages, the pen tool was selected and students ended up drawing on things instead of moving them. Now, the app intelligently starts with the move tool if there are movable shapes and the pen tool if there are no movable shapes.

📺 Check this out in video form on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts. 📺

[Image Source:, featuring the app interface from]

Continue reading Seesaw Improves How Students Interact with Teacher-Created Assignments