UTB Newsletter - Issue 23- 2019 your fortnightly dose of fresh ideas, updates and tips

Welcome to the latest UTB newsletter!

In this issue...

  • Something to make you think
  • Audio in Google Slides!!!
  • G Suite for Education Deep Dive course
  • A classroom idea
  • Something we think you'll like
  • Something else we think you'll like!
  • Blog posts from the UTB team
  • An awesome extension to use with Google Slides
  • Tips and Tricks
  • Looking ahead to 2020
  • Want to join the UTB team? Now's the time!
  • Find out how you can win a FREE ONLINE course with UTB

Something to make you think...

What's next for Ed-Tech? Critical hopes and concerns for the 2020s.

An interesting article looking at what the future might hold for technology and education.

It can be easy to overlook the impact that the use of technology has had not only for our students but broader implications as well. Some key issues raised...

  • Technology to encourage equality
  • Impact of platforms, student data and AI
  • The impact of the IT industry on decisions being made around education
  • Technology in education - sustainability and climate change

Check out the article here.

audio in google Slides

Many of you will be pleased to hear that Google is now rolling out the ability to add audio to Slides.

If you weren't one of the lucky ones who got it in the first round, it's on it's way now or you may even already have it by the time you read this!

The sound files need to be stored in your Drive - my tip would be to create a folder for all the sound files and make the sharing permission on the folder 'Anyone with the link can view'.

That way, any files you add to the folder will automatically take on that sharing permission and you won't have to remember to change it each time you add a file to your slide deck.

Our latest and greatest online course is now live!!!

g suite for education deep dive

We are so excited to bring to you our G Suite Deep Dive! This has been a labour of love for the entire UTB team and we are stoked to be finally able to share it with you.

This course is designed to take help you master the core G Suite apps and skills that you can utilise in your classroom!

Watch the video below and Adrian will tell you everything you need to know!

Classroom idea...

As it gets nearer to the end of the school year in the Southern Hemisphere, teachers are often on the lookout for purposeful activities to keep their students engaged and on task.

I used to use photofunia.com for students to create reflections of their year or to create posters with meaningful, personalised quotes to leave for next year's students. (It also meant the following year, new students weren't coming in to a bare classroom 😁.)

There are a huge number of photographic templates that students can add themselves to. You can search the site by categories or scroll them all - you might want to give a time limit when it comes to choosing effects! Some students find it hard to make a decision when there's so much to choose from.

Create your new image, downlaod it and combine with a site like Canva, Adobe Spark Post or Google Drawings to add the text.

A purposeful, engaging task to keep your students focused.

There are so may ways you could use these tools - we'd love to see any examples of how you use them with your students... #utbSHARE

Something else we think you'll like...

Here at UTB we are great believers in not reinventing the wheel. We are all far too busy for that!

Recently I came across this blog by Matt Miller, all about using G Suite tools in the K-2 classess. It has links to a number of Slides templates that you can copy and tweak for your own students.

Check it out - it has 20 templates that are mostly literacy and maths focused and if you're a Microsoft school, convert them to PowerPoint.

You could also combine the slides with the Slip-in-Slides add-on (more about this a little further down!) - what a handy feature for younger students - they only have to navigate their way to one slide deck.

Or you could use the master slides to add a couple of different templates into one slide deck and the students then select the one you want them to work on.

Check them out and potentially save yourself some time!

blog posts you may have missed

Check out the practical, helpful tips in our blogs below.

Something you want us to blog about? Make a request here or check out our website to see all our posts.

Customise the Control Centre on your classroom iPads - There are a lot of great features within your iPad that are often unknown to teachers. These can be organised into your Control Centre for quick access. From locking your students into particular apps to recording the screen, even having text read aloud to you! Find out how you can take control and customise your Control Centre. - By Lara Kirk

How to use the Google Slides 'Master' feature purposefully - Google Slides is one of my favourite tools when it comes to creating purposeful and relevant tasks for students within G Suite for Education. There are just so many ways you can utilise this tool, and using the master slides feature is one of the lesser known gems. This blog explores a way to encourage more student agency with this option.- By Donna Golightly

Using a flag and categories to better manage your emails in Outlook on the web - In the 10+ years that I have been training people in email tools, I’ve discovered that many people use a ‘mark it unread again’ system to ‘manage’ their email. Is it any wonder their brains feel overloaded and their inboxes are out of control?! In Outlook on the web, using a flag or categories is a much better way to tag messages that require follow up or action.- By Samantha Vardanega


If you use Google Classroom and Google Slides you just might love this new Slides Add-on.


You don't actually have to use Google Classroom with it - it works with any slide decks that you have all in the same folder. The beauty of Classroom is that it automatically makes this folder of Slides in your Drive for you.

What does it do?

It allows you to add extra slides into a slide deck you have already shared with your students.

Imagine you have shared a slide deck with your students that has a writing activity for them to complete. You would actually like all their writing on one slide deck but you are reluctant to share them all as you don't want students racing ahead. Now you can share that initial task, then at a later date push another slide to the same deck they already have.


TIPS AND tricks

Attach files in Microsoft Forms

You can now allow students to attach files when completing a Microsoft form.

When you create the form you choose the number of files, size limit, and file type.

It's rolling out in stages- so if you don't have it quite yet - it's on it's way to you n the very near future.😉

Collapsible text boxes in Google Sites

You can now add collapsible text boxes into a Google Site to help condense space.

If you have a large body of text you can make it collapsible, so viewers of your Site would click on the text to expand it out and read the full content.

If your students are using Google Sites to create a website it's a great addition for them to consider - when would it be appropriate for them to use this function and how would it affect the end user?


It's been awhile now since Google introduced the ability to create a new Doc, Slide or Sheet by simply typing docs.new, sheets.new or slides.new.

Recently though they have added a few more.

You can now create a new Form with forms.new, a new Site with sites.new, a new Keep note with keep.new and a new Calendar event with cal.new.

Tip: If you, or your students, create new documents this way, get into the habit of moving them as soon as you have created them to keep your Drive organised.

But did you know it's not just G Suite tools that this nifty trick works with?

  • canva.new will open a new Canva project for you.
  • playlist.new will create a new Spotify playlist.
  • link.new will take you straight to Bitly to create a new shortened link to use.
  • sell.new will take you straight to ebay.

Any company or organization can register its own .new domain to help people get things done faster so keep an eye out - I'm sure there will be others available in the future to help us navigate our way quickly around the internet.

looking ahead to 2020

The UTB team are planning out their calendars for next year. We are aiming to make sure we are giving you what you need, where you need it!

This would be a great time for you to let us know what sort of training and workshops you'd like to see us offer near you. Our plan is to get dates and locations locked in now so you can talk to whoever is in charge of the PLD purse strings at your school and get booked in early.

If you've never been to any of our training you can check out some of our feedback here -we're pretty proud of our 4.84 out of 5 rating from over 1700 workshop trainees!

So fill in this form and let us know what you're after! We'll let you know our plans soon!

Join the UTB Team as a trainer!

We have a few training opportunities to join the UTB training team in Australia and New Zealand.

We're keen to hear from people who may be interested in full time, part time or casual work with us.

If you are a passionate educator, digitally savvy and keen to explore training options fill in this form to express your interest. We'll get back to you with more details!



We love getting your feedback about ideas you've used from this newsletter or from one of our training sessions!

In fact, we get such a kick out of it that every fortnight we want to give someone who shares the love a free online course of your choice - valued at up to $300!

Click here to check out our courses!

All you need to do is a share a photo or video of an activity that was inspired by something we shared with you (could be from face to face, online training or the newsletter), with a quick caption telling us what's happening in it!

Here are a couple of ways you can share...

  • Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us in with @Usingtechbetter, #utbSHARE and #utbPD
  • Not on Facebook, Twitter or Insta? No worries - email it to us at support@usingtechnologybetter.com and we'll share it out on our social media


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Created with images by Efe Kurnaz - "untitled image" • Thomas Le - "untitled image" • Kekai AhSam - "My brother backflipping off a local spot in Waikiki, Oahu called “Walls”. Got very lucky with this shot shooting into the sun. Also made some great memories at this spot." • Daniela Holzer - "Bike" • Christopher Burns - "Vivid Sydney" • Erol Ahmed - "Fragrant bay leaves grow on large deciduous trees. When collected, they can be dried and added to recipes for a herbal flavor and scent. I collected these from the San Francisco Flower Market and clipped them off the branches. I hope they all dry well for cooking." • John Barkiple - "A stem demonstrator at Craft Lake City presented his electrical contraptions."