FREE Google Play Books! But your Wallet is Required

Danny's Google+ post where I saw the freebies

Popped over to Google+ for a quick hello to that stream. Saw this cool little share from Danny Silva who works for CUE and was one of the lead learners at GTAUK10 where I earned my Google stripes.

I wondered what CK-12 was so clicked through – looked legit (which it is). So, I re-shared his post. I tweeted it. All good…

And then I actually clicked all the way through to get a copy of one of the free titles. They were free because CK-12 is a non-profit shared under creative commons licence.

Intro to the basic algebra book

But to get here, I had to make sure my Google Wallet is active. It didn’t cost me anything but my bank details had to be up-to-date. Am I being cynical or is this Google Play FREE book share a teaser to get your Google Wallet in good order? Or to get users into Google Play?

After the wallet: on Android or Web?

BTW: the book is 610 pages long (who studies basic algebra for 610p?) and one of many free titles in Maths and Science. If you want to browse them please don’t let me stand in your way – after all they cost you nowt! Links to iPad and Kindle versions here. Possibly no wallet required…


FREE Google Play Books! But your Wallet is Required

Email reply creates Comment in Google Docs

Okay. This is pretty cool functionality…

It starts like this:

Comment in Google Doc

Google Text Doc. You highlight some text and insert a comment which appears down the side. Nothing happens. The comment sits there and that’s about that really.

Highlighted text from the GDoc with the comment below it, delivered via email

But, when someone replies to your comment. It triggers an email to the original commenter. You can see the original comment I made: *this is a bit vague*

Reply to the email to send comment reply

If you reply to that email the message body becomes the next response in the GDoc comment thread.


Comment conversation in Google Doc

Simple and awesome. After I tweeted this, Mark Allen replied with a similar feature:

Mark AllenMark Allen ‏ @EdintheClouds

@daibarnes Students share Docs comment-only with teacher. Teacher’s interventions and student’s response visible in revision history. #awesome


Google Apps for Education offer some great tools that can really boost your teacher or learner workflow! None of these big systems are perfect but if you cherry pick the best features as learning tools, you can end up with a great pedagogical toolset.


Email reply creates Comment in Google Docs

Going, Going, Gone: Google sells SketchUp

Y8 pupil video on top of Moodle peer review assignment

I’m a big fan and user of Google SketchUp 3D modelling software. You can build all sorts of things in SketchUp and then create an AVI movie and export it to showcase your work (image above shows this in action). It works very well in the classroom, engaging pupils beyond standard expectations, boys and girls alike – every year I introduce it to Y8 and am blown over by the amount of time the majority spend working on their creations. Also, we have started using it in GCSE Graphic Design course instead of ProDeskTop (blogpost about that here). But I’m not going to miss SketchUp because it is only changing ownership. See this official blogpost for more info. I’m mildly concerned about the future of SketchUp in schools. Google are good to education. Trimble are the new owners and they will be seeking revenue streams. But a grand don’t come for free.

This is also symptomatic of Google’s move away from products that do not sit comfortably and compliment their development to a fully online ecosystem via Google Apps, Google+ and the Google OS on chromebooks. I don’t think there’s a way SketchUp could work in the cloud and therefore no way it could be part of Googles online strategy. I’m making this up of course – I have no idea about Google’s strategy; it does seem logical that they are building an ecosystem. Other products have disappeared seemingly because they are built with the wrong code or do not somehow provide what Google are seeking to achieve – thinking WonderWheel and her friends.

Let us hope SketchUp continues to be free to educators and learners. It is truly an awesome product.

Going, Going, Gone: Google sells SketchUp

Google Teacher Academy UK – GTAUK

#GTAUK twitter feed
#GTAUK twitter feed

I am a Google Certified Teacher. Whatever this means – elitist, exciting, exclusive, awesome, globalisation, brilliant, egotistical – Google offer a fantastic range of tools that are more or less free to teachers and pupils. Well, a grand don’t come for free, so that makes us – the users – the product generating revenue for Google through advertising. Do I look bothered? Well, yes I do, somewhat. But I use Google products all the time in my work and leisure. Reservations are not dissimilar to what Doug Belshaw writes here.

Today was GTAUK12, the second GTA in London. I was at the first and it was awesome; inspiring and energising – I can still recollect the buzz I felt that day, a privileged invitee to Google’s offices. And now I have a badge!

Most importantly, what the day brought was many great teaching and learning resources. And so it did today. So here are a few I found:

  1. My bookmarks tagged GTAUK
  2. Google Sites resources from Zoe Ross
  3. GTA Resources homepage
  4. MoodTurn for a calming display and music (came from somewhere GTA)
  5. ThinkB4U – digital safety site fr teachers, pupils and parents
  6. A school’s Google Apps homepage – interesting organisational approach by Ian Addison
  7. Google Public Data Visualiser – like the awesome gapminder
  8. All Googles education projects for pupils to enter
  9. Google Art Project – much talked about and worth a look
  10. A GCT’s free guides to Google – by Richard Byrne, curator of Free Technology for Teachers
  11. Google Doc on Interesting Ways to use G+ in school (<18’s cannot sign up yet so keep this in mind)
  12. Google Maps by friend and legend Tom Barrett (there would be no GTA outside the USA without him!)
  13. Collection of GCT projects from Jim Sill.
  14. Google Chromebook classroom YouTube channel
  15. Jim Sill’s site on teenage pregnancy
  16. Google Apps training group running end of April and into May, all via G+
  17. Using G+ in the classroom. Student work from the gentleman that is Chris Allan.
  18. Teaching science on YouTube
  19. Personalised learning from Kevin McLaughlin
  20. Best of the Web video – great editing and in French too
  21. Making YouTube playlists
  22. YouTube for Teachers, the work of James Sanders
  23. A tip, not a link – make YouTube safer in classrooms by switching safe mode on at bottom of any YT web page.
  24. Intro to Google Apps Script for those who want to take it to the max, and the webinar to go with it
  25. Awesome HTML5 web experiments on chrome including infographic on evolution of the web
  26. Google Chrome ninja tricks
  27. Google Webfonts
  28. Slick presenting timer for IWB including stopwatch, countdown and YouTube alarm
  29. Make comics with Pixton
  30. Online video editing with Stupefix Studio
  31. Animation creator Zimmertwins
  32. Engage the class using any device with Socrative
  33. Back channel chatter to use in class TodaysMeet

I have undoubtedly missed many great links. All the resources used on the day are on link #3. My bookmarks include those from GTAUK10.

If there is anything else you think should be on here, please reply in the comments or tweet at me.

Finally, I made a quick twitter list of all the GCT’s I could find whilst GTA was on today (let me know if I missed you and I’ll add you – and apologies :). You can subscribe to it or follow the people on it. Mostly they are the newly certified Google teachers. Welcome to you all! The more the merrier.

Google Teacher Academy UK – GTAUK

ICT in Subjects Planning Website

Homepage for ICT in Subjects
ICT in Subjects Planning Website - click image to view


If you have been following these early posts for the ICT in Subjects project, you may realise I am a bit daunted by all the planning that will be necessary to make a success of it. To help me stay organised and allow others – inside and outside school – to monitor progress of the project, I have created a Google Site to curate all ideas and thoughts.

If you would like to comment or contribute to the site, please email me to request access.

There is a lot to do and I will be aiming to keep it simple.

So far the site has these pages:

ICT in Subjects Planning Website