As we are transitioning to online learning, teachers are realizing the benefits of face-to-face contact with their students. Whole class discussion, guided reading groups, and teaching whole-group lessons can all be done using Google Meet.

As teachers utilize Google Meet, some common questions have come up. Fortunately, I stumbled upon some pretty amazing tutorial videos from Eric Curts at https://www.controlaltachieve.com/. His videos are very clear, concise, and quick! Take a look.

Using Nicknames

By now we’ve all heard about the importance of using a Nickname for your Google Meet. This ensures that you have complete control over the functionality of your videoconference. By using a Nickname, you control when students can enter the Meet and ensure that they cannot rejoin the Meet once it ends.

Basic Use and Features

In this video, Eric demonstrates how to see the participants in the Meet, manage the attendees (such as muting and removing members), utilize the chat feature, present your screen to other Meet members, and use the mobile version of Meet, among a few other features.

Google Classroom Integration

For those of you who use Google Classroom with your students, Meet is now integrated right into Classroom. The integration will generate a link that works the same way a Nickname works. It will also generate a link to invite others who may not be in that particular Google Classroom, allowing teachers with multiple Google Classrooms the ability to hold one Meet for multiple classes.

Grid View

Grid View is an extension that allows you to see up to 16 participants at a time during your Meet. Eric’s tutorial video will teach you how to install the extension and also how to use the options found in Grid View.

Ways to See Students While you are Presenting

I have been asked, quite frequently, if there is a way for teachers to see the students in the Meet while they are sharing their screen. Eric describes 3 different ways teachers can make this happen: through utilizing multiple displays, logging in on a second device, and by using an overlay of the presentation.

Virtual Whiteboard

Finally, teachers want a way to integrate a virtual whiteboard into their video calls. While Eric does offer a couple of suggestions for this, it involves adding another extension or two. Alternatively, I offer up the suggestion of using Google Drawings. Since everyone already has access to the program, there’s no need to download or install anything new.

One way teachers can use Google Drawings during a Meet is to open up a blank Drawing and then share their screen. Students can see what the teacher is doing with the Drawing, however they cannot interact with it. If teachers wanted to open up the Drawing so that students could interact with it, they could create the Drawing, make the link EDITABLE, and share the link in the chat of the Meet. They can also create the assignment ahead of time in their Google Classroom or iLearn course, and share it that way. Eric Curts made a wonderful resource on how to use Google Drawings, for anyone who is new to the program and would like to give it a try.

Built In Videoconferencing with Moodle (iLearn)

And let’s not forget about Moodle (iLearn)! There is also a magnificent video conferencing tool built right in, called Big Blue Button. It has many of the same features of Meet, AND it includes a built in whiteboard. Some of the other features of Big Blue Button are

  • Supports real-time sharing of slides (including whiteboard), audio, video, chat, emojis, breakout rooms, and screen
  • Create multiple activity links to online sessions within any course
  • Restrict students from joining a session until a teacher joins the session
  • Launch BigBlueButton in a separate window
  • Create a custom welcome message that appears at the top of the chat window when joining the session
  • Specify join open/close dates for the session that appears in the Moodle’s calendar
  • Record a session
  • Access and manage recordings

If you have questions about Meet, or would like more information on Big Blue Button for Moodle (iLearn), please don’t hesitate to contact the Tech Coach!

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