Did you know that you can power up your Google Meet meetings with Google Meet add-ons? In this video, I share some useful ones for online classes.
Top Google Meet Extensions to Level Up Your Meetings
- Just a little while ago, we released a video that compared Google's Meet with the Zoom product for video conferencing and unsurprisingly, Zoom came out on top. It is just right now, a better product. It has more features. It is just more ready for prime time than is Google Meet but Google Meet has one significant advantage over Zoom and that's the fact that it's a web app. It is browser based meaning that if we extend the functionality of our web browser by the use of other web apps or by adding browser add-ons or extensions, we can make our Meet experience better. And this is especially important for the educators out there who are in droves starting to use Google Meet and they are trying to manage the classrooms and all of the chaos that's involved as effectively as possible with a very limited toolkit which is currently the toolkit that is within Google Meet. So we can help. There are some extensions that will significantly help organize meetings. Now this isn't just for teachers, although it is primarily focused on educators, but anybody running a meeting within Google Meet can take advantage of these browser add-ons that we're gonna show you today on DottoTech. Steve Dotto here, how the heck you doin' this fine day and I wanna start out today's video with a shoutout and a thank you to all of the teachers and educators across the planet who have been having to learn an entirely new skillset in delivering their courses to their students through distance education and video conferencing. This was never expected of you before and it's unfair that we are asking you to do it now but my gosh, you're doing such an incredible job. I just wanted to offer some thanks to you and to let you know that we notice the effort that you're putting in and we thank you so much for it. My wife is a teacher and I have seen the trials and tribulations as she has learned how to deliver to her students through video conferencing and you guys are just doing a great job. And maybe we can help a little bit and that's actually what today's video is for. Google Meet, as it is out of the box, is rather limited as far as a lot of different meeting management functionality which means it's also limited for lessons, for educational lessons. I'm going to show you today a series of different add-ons that you can add to enhance Google Meet to make it a more valuable tool as far as delivering online courses or online meetings. This is gonna be valuable for both the education and the business community. But before we begin, a couple of things kinda housekeeping items. First of all, today's video is a little on the long side so I'm gonna include time stamps in the description below or you can just jump ahead in the video to a topic that you happen to be interested in so you don't have to watch everything that is leading up to it. That is number one. Number two is this video relies on installing browser add-ons or extensions into your Chrome browser in order to expand the functionality of Google Meeting. And so if you know how to install browser add-ons, you can just plunge ahead but for many of you, you might not know how to install a browser plug-in or what that involves so we've created a companion video to this video which is a little tutorial on installing browser plug-ins or extensions in Google Chrome. Now this is especially useful for teachers who may have students or, more importantly, student's parents who are going to wanna be able to install a functionality on the student side so that you can use a lot of the different tools that we're gonna be showcasing today. So that is linked again, in the description below and I welcome you to share that with your community to help them install the browser plug-ins so that everything runs a little bit more smoothly. So that's the housekeeping. Let's dive into the extensions that I believe will make a big difference in expanding the capabilities of Google Meet. I think we will fire things up by starting a Google Meet meeting of my own. So I've got this running in the background so it's available to me at all times as we go ahead. So I've started a meeting. It's running and ready for us to use. Now the first add-on that I wanna show you is one that's called Google Jamboard. Now Jamboard is a really interesting story. Jamboard is part of a hardware initiative that Google has undertaken to make a huge ass interactive white board that interfaces with the internet and allows you to do these wonderful online meetings using this whiteboard. Now it's a fairly expensive piece of hardware and it's not what I'm recommending you use but the software that's attached to the Google Jamboard can be used stand alone and we can use it as a whiteboard because unfortunately, Google Meet doesn't have a shared whiteboard or any whiteboard functionality for that matter to allow you to be able to have like a chalkboard that you can doodle on and share with your students. I think it's just an enormous thing that they've missed but let's fill in the gap and we're gonna fill in the gap by using Google's Jamboard. Now let me show you how it works. Google's Jamboard is not actually a browser extension. There are some browser extensions and there are some browser add-ons that we're gonna be talking about today and there are also things called web apps. Web apps are full blown applications that run within a web browser, that's what Jamboard is, and we find it in our Google Drive. It is in the, if we go into Google Drive which I'm doing right here, and you go new. You create a new document. If you go down to More, below Google Docs and Sheets and all of those sorts of things, in the kind of lesser known tools within Google Drive, you will find there, oh Google Jamboard and you, like me, will probably go, the first time you look at it, hmm, never heard of Jamboard before. What the heck is that? Let me show you. Jamboard is just a simple whiteboard but it's a really nicely implemented whiteboard and it's available for free and it's right here a part of the Google suite of tools. We can choose a pen tool and we can draw to our hearts content on it. We can add additional graphics to it. Let me just add, let's have some fun. Let's add a bitmoji graphic because this product is flat out amazing. And I'm gonna just drop this graphic in. So you can use this whiteboard in order to share with your students. But just a minute Steve, you just opened a Google Doc, you haven't actually show me how to do this within the Google Meet. So let me backtrack for a moment and let's open the meeting. Here's the meeting I had running in the background for this purpose exactly because I wanna be able to show this sort of stuff. And if I click on present now, it brings up my screen sharing options. I'm gonna choose a Chrome tab because I've opened Jamboard in a tab. I'm gonna share it out and when I share it out, they are then seeing my Jamboard. Now here's the thing, is I can't actually click on it and make any changes here within the meeting. I actually have to go back to the Jamboard tab myself and I can modify it there. I can draw more and I can edit this whiteboard within the application itself. But I'm gonna show you some additional kind of interesting creative ways to use this tool a little bit later in today's video. But for now, I just wanna continue to walk through the features that are built into Jamboard because it's got some nice additional features. One is you can apply a different background, lined or you can create a, or you can create graph paper. I like putting a completely black background in which I find very restful on the eyes. You have a whole different series of types of pens. This is kind of like a, kind of a brush type pen, and if we use it we can almost do calligraphy type stuff I guess. Now we are, of course, having to use the pen. There we go, the keyboard, the mouse. One of the tools. But it does gives us a nice whiteboard to work with. One of the features that I really like in it is this little note functionality where if you're kind of vision boarding or you're kind of putting together some sort of a mind map, you can be putting ideas down that you can be putting in and it creates little sticky notes with each idea that you create and then later on you can take those notes and you can move them around etc. Now this is, the way that I'm showing it to you right now, is a presentation whiteboard. It's a one-way whiteboard where I'm sharing with you the content that is within this Jamboard. It is actually an interactive whiteboard and if anybody else is signed in to the Jamboard along with you, they could edit it and they could make changes on the fly. So it could become interactive but there are some challenges as far as doing that, making sure that the students know which browser window they are in. So that option exists and if you wanna use that option, you just have to share the Jamboard with your students as with any Google Doc, you can share it as a document and then it becomes a collaborative document that your students can share with you. That's a creative way to use it. It's a little bit more confusing and I wouldn't do it with a large group. With a small group of students, I would consider doing it but that's a terrific way to create an interactive whiteboard where there was no whiteboard capabilities at all in Google Meet before then. That's my first tip is Google Jamboard. Play with it. It's an awesome tool. The next tool I wanna show you is a tool that you can actually use really nicely with Jamboard or variety of other different tools that were gonna be showing you and it can be found at the Google Chrome store. Now most of the different or actually all of the different extensions that we're adding here, you can find by going to the Chrome webstore. And you can go to chrome.google.com and there you can search for all of the different extensions and add-ons that we are showing you today. Of course we will have links to them in the description below, but the next one that I wanna show you is one that allows you to turn a single monitor into several virtual monitors. And this is really a cool process. It's called Dualless, meaning I don't have one monitor, I don't have two monitors. I don't have dual monitors, I only have one and I've already installed it in my computer We can actually see it here as a browser extension but let me explain to you why it's important and how it works to begin with. So the reason that it's, how it works is it takes our computer screen and it splits it into multiple displays. As if we had two displays hooked up to our computer. Now why is that important and especially for online meetings? Because a really nice technique for delivering online meetings is to have your meeting living in one window on your computer where all of your different, where the Google Meeting is happening and having additional information perhaps a slide show, notes that you're working with, a collaborative document, like we were just working with on a separate monitor so that your meeting can be going and can be managed but you can have ancillary information living in a second monitor. It's a really efficient way to do things. But a lot of teachers and a lot of people are presenting meetings from notebook computers or desktop computers that only has a single monitor. They don't have multiple monitors so they can't set up that kind of functionality. Dualless does it for you. When we click on the extension, it allows us to choose the ratio that we wanna split our screen and whether we wanna do it horizontally or vertically. I don't know why you'd wanna split it horizontally, that seems, or sorry, vertically. It seems to me kind of confusing to split the screen this way but as far as the horizontal split, let's choose a 50/50 split and you'll see exactly what's happening. Now this is cool. What you see here on the right hand side right now is the Google Meet meeting that I am running. Now there's nobody in the meeting with me but that could be a live meeting running right here. Now this is where it gets very cool. I can go back say to that Jamboard group that we were just talking about just a few moments ago, or that Jamboard session and I can go in and I can still be modifying the information in that and if I was screen sharing it straight through to the group right now, it would be appearing in the screen. Or, now this is where it kinda gets a little bit mind bendy, you can be going on with a meeting talking to your students here and you can have them, if they're running Dualless as well, they can have both the meeting open in one screen and the Jamboard open in another screen and you can be talking in the meeting and collaboratively working on the document at the same time. How cool is that? That's the kind of creative ways that you can start to apply some of these tools to expand the functionality and really create a much more interactive experience. Now you don't just have to use this for a tool like Jamboard but you could have speaker notes. You could have a slideshow prepared here. You could have anything else running in this second window that will help you deliver more effectively content into your class. This whole idea of setting up split monitors if you don't have multiple monitors on your computer, is a real, I think it's a really creative use of the technology. Of course if you're lucky enough to have multiple monitors, Bob's your uncle. You've got, you don't need to use this tool but it's still important to know it because you can share it with your students so they can benefit the same way. Dualless, creating virtual, two virtual monitors out of a single display. The next extension that I'm gonna show you is essential I think, especially in larger meetings and what it does is it allows reactions to happen on the screen. In Zoom, people can give you a thumbs down or there are all sorts of different interactive reactions that they can deliver to the presenter so the presenter knows exactly what's happening. But we don't have that in Google Meet. So there's a add-on called Nod which you can install and you find it here. It's Reactions for Google Meet which you can add to Chrome. No I'm gonna just pause here for a moment, I'm not gonna take you on a demo of Nod because there are a whole bunch of teachers out there creating tutorial videos for other teachers who are doing a fantastic job creating these videos. And I think they deserve a little bit of traffic and frankly, they do a better job. They speak with more authority than I can showing some of these tools because they're using them day-to-day in the line of fire. And here is just one of those teachers. His name is John Sowash and he has done a great job of showing several of the different extensions that I'm showing you today from a teacher's perspective. So we're gonna link to his videos to show you how to use a few of these tools as well. Which I think, as I say, I think he does a better job than I can. I'll you bout them there right now but you can go there to learn how to do them. So congratulations to John. His channel, he's teaching a whole bunch of things on using Google Meet and doing online teaching and he's just one of a whole bunch of different teachers who are doing this to support their colleagues. And so I appreciate the work that they're doing and I'm learning from it as well. So well done John and go have a look at his channel and make sure you subscribe to his channel when you go to it as well. So that is Nod. Now just so you, I should tell you a little bit what Nod does is it does a couple of things that are very important. The first one is it will allow students to give you a little emoji, a little laugh, a little smile, a little happiness, let you know, or sadness or they don't understand to give you an idea of what's going on and that will be attached to their video signal. But it allows them to raise their hand which is where I think it becomes so valuable in larger lessons so they can raise a hand to ask a question. So you can have some control in the busy meetings where student's can stick up their hand, you can answer them and then they can start to talk to you. So that is Nod. The next extension I wanna share with you kind of goes hat and hand with Nod and that is a tool called Push to Talk. Now Push to Talk is, this is one of the, it's called Google Meet Push to Talk. There it is. This is one of those tools which I just don't understand why Google hasn't built it in to the application begin with. It seems to me this should be just standard operating procedures. In every other meeting tool that I know of, people can enter the room in a muted state which eliminates a lot of chaos as meetings start. Google Meet does not allow that. That's something that they hopefully will correct in the not too distant future. But if you do have a muted microphone in all of the other applications, all you have to do to open your mic is press the space bar on your keyboard. That's the same as basically pressing a walkie talkie open key so you can talk. So if we look back at using Nod, student raises the hand. Teacher goes, Steve, what do you have to ask? You hit the space bar. You ask a question, you release the space bar and you're muted again. It's a beautiful rhythm to communications and it really eliminates the extra noise and it helps everybody concentrate on what's happening in the meeting. Google Meet Push to Talk will add this as an extension to, and it has to be added on both sides of course, the students have to have it as well as the teacher but this allows the student to do just that, to be able to push down on the button and to be able to talk and then to release it. Now, one side note, is because Google doesn't allow us to enter the meeting in a muted state, the teacher has to tell students at the beginning of the class to mute their microphones all across the, have them all muted so that they can use the Push to Talk in order to communicate. But that will add a lot of control to what could otherwise be chaotic meetings. The last add-on I'm gonna talk about is specifically valuable to teachers and I know this is valuable because in our Zoom videos, we have had many teachers ask us if this feature is available in Zoom which it is not. But there is a way to do it in Google Meet and that is to track attendance. So if you just go in and you type into the search, attendance tracker or attendance within the Chrome webstore, you will find several different attendance tools. Now this is the one that I'm gonna point you at which is called Google Meet Attendance. By the way, to add any of these, you just click add to Chrome. You'll notice I don't have it added because I don't have the expertise to be able to use or the need or the opportunity to be able to put together a large meeting to take the attendance. Having said that, this is a little bit of a complicated app to use but the author of the application has a video here in the Google Chrome store which will walk you through it. But here's effectively what happens, is when you start your meeting once all your students are in place, you run a little script which is in Google Meet which will go through all of the people in attendance and transfer their name over to a Google spreadsheet, to a Google Sheet so that you have a listing of all of the students that are there. This is a lifesaver for teachers. Especially you've got classes of 20, 30, 40 or larger where you need to take attendance. You would lose a lot of time manually taking attendance. This is an automated procedure that you can do at the start and at the end of class. It'll export all of the names into a spreadsheet making it easy as can be for you to capture your attendance. Now the process is easy but setup takes a little bit of expertise. He walks you through it all in this video. So we'll be sharing a link to this below as well but Google Meet Attendance. Now here's a case where we have a product that's available for the Google Meet that we don't even have in the Zoom ecosystem. So this is one case where there are some tools that are even better for teachers that we would have found within Zoom. There's not a lot of cases like that but this is definitely one of them. Every one of these tools that I have shown you today is free to use along with Google Meet. So there's no reason not to try them. Now if you do start to use these tools, I would love it if you told me in the comments how they're working for you. And even more important than letting me know how these tools are working, if there are other things that you are doing, other ways that you're using Google Meet or other add-ons or other attachments or other techniques that's really helping you in your classes and instructing your students, please share those ideas with me especially if you think they're valuable to share with other teachers. And if I can, I will then make videos for this channel to share them with other educators so all of your hard work can be amplified to other educators right across the country. Now, and I do look forward to those comments and questions and I do read each and every one even if I'm not able to respond to every one. Now if you found today's video to be useful, a couple of favors I would like to ask of you. First and most importantly, share this video with other educators, with your colleagues to help them learn to use these tools more effectively as well. Secondly, give us a like and give us a thumbs up. That's always appreciated and the Google algorithm honors it and then they share it out a little bit more which helps us as well. And finally, if you're not yet subscribed to this channel, what the heck are you waiting for? Click on that subscribe button, ring that notification bell and I will see you next time for more DottoTech. Until them I'm Steve Dotto. Have fun storming the castle.
Learn How to Install Google Chrome Extensions
- Our web browsers are really pretty incredible tools, they're almost like operating systems for the internet, and we can modify what our web browser can do and is capable of by adding extensions or web apps. I'm gonna show you how to do that today on DottoTech. Steve Dotto here, how the heck are you doing this fine day, and today on the show I have one mission and one mission only, and that is to show you how to find and install browser add-ons or browser extensions. Now this should not be something that causes you anxiety but I know for a fact that a lot of people get a little bit uptight when they're considering having to add browser extensions of browser add-ons in order to complete some sort of a task on the internet, so I will make it easy for you as we walk through it today. Fair deal? All right, let's dive into it. First of all, a browser extension or a browser add-on works almost identically across all different browsers. I'm gonna be showing it to you right now in Google Chrome, but the exact same process happens within Apple's Safari browser or within Firefox, or within Microsoft's Edge browser, it's the same process installing browser extensions and browser add-ons. And as I say what they do is they add to the functionality, they add to the capability of the browser, because browsers as they sit have a certain number of features that are built into it, but by adding extensions we can make them work with other apps, we can make them do other things, especially work with other apps. So for example, if you take a look here, here is where all of my extensions live in my web browser here in Chrome, and you can see the ones that I use most often. The first is LastPass, this is my password management tool. So here I have access to all of my passwords within the browser where I need them. That's a perfect example of what an extension should do for us in a web browser so I installed the LastPass add-on into my Chrome extension here, I signed into my LastPass account and now I have access for signing in to all of my accounts. Now the reason that I recorded this particular video was as a companion video for some educational videos that we're doing to help teachers and students, so we're gonna use some educational apps as examples for installing extensions, but this works for everybody that needs to install a browser extension. Now it all begins for us at something called the Google Chrome Store, and all you have to do is go to chrome.google.com. When you're there you've got a search field and you've got the most common and most popular browser add-ons and extensions listed out for you here. Now, if you're looking for one specific one or you're looking for an idea you can type it in. So if you were for example wanting to put in the same browser extensions that I have here, if you wanted to add LastPass, you just type in LastPass, do a search, and there we have LastPass. Now I've already installed it in my browser but if I hadn't I would have this same add to Chrome button. So let's show you how to install one of the extensions that we were talking about in the other video that I was talking about, and one of them is called Dualless, which allows you to split your screen if you have a single monitor here it allows you to split the screen. So I've typed in the search and there is the browser extension. And we'll have all of the links to all of the browser extensions that we talked about in the video, we'll have them all in our description as well. But all we do here is we click add to Chrome. Actually before you do that, let me cancel that, instead of just straight adding it to Chrome, by clicking on it you can go through and you can read it and you can see any demos that they might have, any videos that they have that will demonstrate it and you'll see a description of what the extension does. And some of them are better written than others, to be perfectly honest. Some of them work really well and other ones just kind of work so-so. Some of them just work on the operating system, like this one because this is just gonna split the screen, other ones will create a connection to another application that you run, such as my LastPass that I was showing you moments ago, or my Evernote web clipper which allows me to clip content into Evernote. So they work either just solo or they work in conjunction with other apps. Now typically speaking if you're gonna be installing an extension that works with another app, there might be several to choose from, always look for the one that was created by the company of the app that you're using, because it's typically going to work better. Regardless, once that's all done, you click add to Chrome, it couldn't be easier, and it asks if that's exactly what you wanna do, you say add the extension, you give it permission, and now it has been added to Chrome, and do you see here in the very top of my browser window that we can see that Dualless has been added to Chrome. You can use this extension by clicking on the icon and typically speaking when you install an extension it will be turned off until you click on it and you turn it on. Now in this particular case, what this browser extension's gonna do is it's gonna split my computer screen into a couple of different windows, so that I can show, if I'm screen sharing, I can have my browser open in one window, and perhaps the video conference open in another window and it basically replicates having multiple monitors at the same time. It's a fairly useful utility, and you can see here that I can go through and I can choose, oh there it is I split my window into two, so you can see actually an open window that I have for Google Meet open here and we have the browser open on the other side. So it gives you a good idea just how this works. I want a different format, a different ratio, it gives me that. Let me try and get back to normal so that I can continue with you. So Dualless right here. Oh, if you've made it, if you've got too many, this is actually good, if you've got too many icons, if you've got too many browser extensions installed and you can't see them all 'cause you don't have the screen real estate, the little three dots here will allow you to go and it'll allow you to navigate to any ones that you can't see, and I'll just go back to full screen. So there you've got the ability to go through and install extensions. Now if you want to turn off extensions or remove them, you go into, the easiest way to do that is to go into, again, under the three dot menu in the browser, go into your settings, and in your settings you can choose extensions. And when you choose extensions there you can go through and you can turn on or off extensions. You can have extensions on your computer that you haven't invoked, that aren't active, and you can turn them on and off. Now I have a ridiculous number of extensions here on my screen because I'm constantly testing out different ones, but you can see the ones that are turned on and the ones that are turned off. And just by flipping this toggle I can turn any extensions off that are on, and on that are off, so you have total control, and if there's something that you're never going to use, you can click on remove. Now before I leave this, and this works pretty much identically on all the browsers, I'm not gonna spend time showing you that right now, but it works the same in Safari as it does in Firefox, as it does here in Google Chrome. Now before we leave, there's two other things that I need to tell you about. The first is there's also a type of browser extension called a web app, which is far more capable than these simple little apps that we're talking about right now. These apps that install here in the menu bar do very simple, very basic things. Over here on the other side of the menu bar, we have the app screen, and you can install web apps in the same Google Store, but web apps are different than browser extensions in the fact that they are actually fully capable almost full applications. So if we say, go into Google Drive, if we invoke the Google Drive web app, it actually has it's entire application in the web browser window, it's got it's own menus. We click here and down pop menus, so we've got a full navigation interface and a full app interface within a browser itself. So web apps are far more capable but effectively they do a lot of the same things as do extensions or add-ons, and people will sometimes call one the other, they'll call and add-on a web app, and they'll call a web app an add-on, but just recognize that truly web apps are more capable versions of extensions or add-ons. The second thing that I wanted to tell you is what I've just shown you does not work in mobile. Even though we use the Chrome browser or the Safari browser on our smart phone or on our tablet, we can't install the same extensions on those platforms, because the extensions relate to the operating system as well as the browser itself, so because we're in a mobile environment we can't extend the functionality the same way on a tablet or on a phone as we can on our desktop. So all of the different browser extensions, all of the different browser add-ons that we show you here, you can't use in your mobile version. I hope you found this little tutorial today to be useful. We will include links in the description below to other documents that will help you walk you through this if you need further information on any of these topics. Now I do have a few favors to ask. First of all, if you've enjoyed the video and found value, please give us a thumbs up, and if you have any comments or questions I look forward to reading them in the YouTube comments. Additionally, if you've not yet subscribed to our channel, what are you waiting for? Click that subscribe button, ring that notification bell and I will see you next time right here for more DottoTech, until then, I'm Steve Dotto, have fun storming a castle.
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