Firstly, thank you to everyone who has provided feedback about the apps that are making a difference. It’s been great to hear so many successful and innovative uses of technology to facilitate distance learning. In this post, I wanted to share some of the apps that have proved to be the most popular. 

Screencastify – Record your screen

Screencastify was one of the apps we looked at in the training before we closed. Screencastify has proved to be a popular app for creating recorded lesson content and providing feedback to learners. We recently upgraded to the premium version enabling recordings longer than 5 minutes and access to advanced features. I’ve made this video ? providing an overview of how to get started with Screencastify if you’d like a refresher.

If you’d like to develop your screencasting skills further, Screencastify have online courses available that contain pedagogically sound ideas for using screen recordings in lessons. Start with the Master Screencaster course which shares how you can use this to support learning. Next, progres to Screencastify Certified Genius to learn how to use Screencastify with Google Classroom. I’ve completed both courses which are well worth doing and they each take about 45 minutes to complete. ?Get started

Google Meet

Google Meet is being constantly updated by developers at Google in order to add the features most needed for distance learning. Here is a brief summary of the latest updates:

  • Teachers can create a meeting link in Google Classroom ? and students can join a meeting from Classroom;
  • Only meeting creators can mute or remove other participants in a meeting;
  • Meeting participants will not be able to re-join meetings once the final participant has left;
  • Schedule a Google Meet ? video call through Google Calendar;
  • Present a tab ? – You can now share an individual tab in Google Meet. This has an unexpected and useful feature. You can share audio from a Chrome tab in Google Meet, perfect for streaming a YouTube video or any other audio/video to your class during an online lesson.
  • Tiled view – See up to 16 people at the same time in the tile layout option in Google Meet. Alternatively, if you’d like to see more than 16 at the same time, check out the Grid View Chrome extension.

? Get started

Mote – Voice commenting in Google Docs

Mote is a new Chrome extension that gives you the ability to leave verbal feedback in Google Docs, Slides, and Classroom. This promises to be a big time saver for marking and is a nice way of giving more personalised feedback to learners. To learn how to get started with Mote, watch this video.

Google Jamboard – Collaborative whiteboard

Jamboard is Google’s collaborative interactive whiteboard. It’s useful if you’d like to write and draw using your Chromebooks touchscreen. Jamboard is a core G Suite app, which means Jam files get saved in Google Drive and can be set as assignments in Google Classroom. Watch this video ? to learn how to use Jamboard to set a collaborative assignment for your students. ?Get started

Flipgrid – Video discussions

Flipgrid is a tool developed for education and owned by Microsoft. You can use Flipgrid to set a question for your learners, asking students to reply in video format rather than text. As a teacher, you have full control enabling you to moderate videos and disable selfies. I think this could be a powerful tool for asynchronous distance learning. To see Flipgrid in action, take a look at the distance learning grid I shared last month, and feel free to post your own reply about how distance learning is going for you and your students- ?Get started

Google Workspace Skills training enable students and staff to learn by doing, interacting with apps like Google Docs, Slides, and Jamboard to complete tasks. As each skill is completed successfully, you can earn digital badges – bronze for beginner, silver for intermediate and gold for advanced!

Over the next couple of weeks we’re asking students and staff to complete the Google Workspace Skills tutorials and and earn your digital badges. Each interactive tutorial takes less than 5 minutes to complete.

All badges you complete will be shown in your own personal digital skills passport – along with the overall badges (awarded when all Bronze, Silver, and Gold badges are completed). To see the badges you’ve earned head over to

Getting started with Google Workspace Skills

To get started:

  1. Go to;
  2. Open the Google G Suite Skills classroom;
  3. Go to the Classwork page to access the assignments;
  4. Keep track of the badges you’ve earned by visiting

Firstly, I wanted to congratulate you all on what a smooth transition it has been moving to distance learning. In the training I delivered the week before campus closed, Google Meet and Screencastify were new to many. Since then, it really has been amazing to see how everyone has taken these technologies, explored new Apps, and found innovative ways to use these in your online lessons.

On Monday 1st June we will have our first Virtual INSET day. You can view the programme for the day here. We hope it will give you a chance to reflect – to review in departments, to share, upskill, plan and build upon good practice.

In order to share how technologies are being used within lessons, we have created a new Distance Learning Training site that contains over 20 video examples created by colleagues. These videos showcase how colleagues are building in approaches to peer work, checks on understanding, assessment and feedback as well as examples of how Google Meet, Classroom, and Screencastify and many other apps are being used.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to this site by creating some fantastic videos that show how they are using technology in their lessons. Special thanks go to Mandy Wood, Rachel Sansom, Anthony Pagett, Mark Robinson, Laura Barbey, Keiran Shipperley, Arran Hunt, Ceri Reece, Dave Tipper, Jodie Lindsay-Watson, Chris Palmer, Bill Campbell, Anneka Wass, Nyki Inskip, Georgina Crooks, and Lynne Milton.

We don’t want the Distance Learning Training site to be a static resource, so if you’d like to share something that is working well which you think your colleagues would benefit from, then please do get in touch and I’d love to feature your work.

At Barton Peveril, we use a variety of technologies to make courses more engaging and improve access to learning for students. Online learning technologies like Google Classroom have brought exciting opportunities to reconsider how we teach, engage with or involve learners in different ways.

In this guide, we will look at some of the online learning technologies we have available that can be taken advantage of for distance learning in the event of a college closure due to Covid-19.

Live Online Lessons

Google Hangouts Meet is Google’s video conferencing tool that enables you to talk face to face with learners and engage with your class remotely. All your students need is Wi-Fi access and a device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. 

Lesson content can be shared in a live video stream with groups ranging from a few people up to hundreds. Hangouts Meet includes the ability to share your screen, ideal for displaying a presentation or other content with the class. 

Google has recently made it possible to record a lesson hosted in Hangouts Meet as a video in your Google Drive. All lessons must be recorded, and if you wish these recordings can be shared in Google Classroom afterwards for students who couldn’t make it.

To improve the remote learning experience for teachers and students using Hangouts Meet, Google have made several improvements:

  • Only meeting creators can mute or remote other participants in a meeting;
  • Students cannot start/stop a meeting being recorded.

Learn more about Google Hangouts Meet >>

Assignments and Feedback

Google Classroom is a well-established online learning tool at Barton Peveril that you can use to keep students engaged while they’re at home. For instance, start a virtual class discussion to explore lesson content and talk about what they’re learning. You can also give students feedback about their work in Classroom when marking an assignment.

Tracking student understanding and progress can be achieved through combining Classroom with Google Forms. Quizzes in Forms offer automatic marking and enable you to embed content such as images and videos. When you share a Google Forms quiz using Classroom, you can easily assign it as an automatically marked assignment.

Learn more about Google Classroom >>

Recorded Lessons

Screencastify allows you to record your screen, perfect for creating recorded lessons for a flipped classroom or distance learning. It is available as an extension in Google Chrome that can be used from a Chromebook, PC, or Mac. In addition to recording your screen, it combines annotation tools, adds a voice over with your microphone, while also including a picture-in-picture overlay of your webcam. Everything you record is saved to Google Drive so you can easily share the video with students in Google Classroom.

Screencastify is giving educators a premium upgrade to increase from the 5 minute limit in the free version. Go to and use “redeem coupon” with the code CAST_COVID.

Learn more about Screencastify >>

Distance Learning Resources

Useful resources we’ve found from across the internet:

Access to premium versions of educational apps made free during the Covid-19 school closures:

We’ve set up a Flipgrid to share our distance learning and online learning experiences with one another. Click on the link below to go to the Flipgrid and record a short video ?.

? Say hello!
? Share how you and your students have been getting on with distance learning.

What is Flipgrid?

Flipgrid is a great example of the Social Learning model. It’s easy to create an online discussion between everyone in a class and because the students need to record videos, they speak thoughtfully and plan their responses. Students can also reply to others in the class using videos or images for a full, controlled, educational social media experience.

The best bit? It’s free for education! There is even a comprehensive Flipgrid Educator’s Guide available that starts at creating an account then goes through managing grids, collaborating and other innovative ways to use Flipgrid.

Google Classroom email notifications can be a bit overwhelming, particularly if you have been added as a teacher on additional classes. In this article, we take a look at a couple of ways you can better manage email notifications you receive from Google Classroom.

Turn Google Classroom notifiactions on or off

Notifications about comments or submissions of student work in Google Classroom are enabled by default. Each one will generate an email message which can soon add up if you have been added as a teacher for a large number of classes. You can change these notification settings at any time. To do this simply follow the instructions in Turn notififcations on or off or watch the video below to find out how.

Create a Gmail filter for Google Classroom Notifications

Instead of turning off Google Classroom notifications, you might want to keep receiving these notifications but just better organise them in your Gmail account. This can be acheived through creating a filter in Gmail to automatically label and organise Classroom notifications for you.

  1. Launch Gmail.
  2. Click the Down arrow in the search box at the top.
  3. In the From field enter as your search criteria. If you want to check that your search worked correctly, see what emails show up by clicking Search.
  4. At the bottom of the search window, click Create filter
  5. Choose what you’d like the filter to do. We recommend the following options:
    • Skip the inbox (Archive it) to keep these messages but remove them from your main inbox;
    • Apply the label > New label to add and apply a new label called Google Classroom to these messages;
    • Also apply filter to maching conversations to organise existing classroom notifications.
  6. Click Create filter.

This year the digital learning group attended Bett at ExCel London in January. Bett is the largest EdTech show in the UK, featuring a wide array of education technology to explore and seminars to learn from. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the highlights from Bett.

Read more

Barton Peveril students have been showcasing the range of assistive technology that is available for all students and staff in two lunchtime sessions. The students involved demonstrated the technology being used in their learning support and study support sessions.

This table shows the apps that were being showcased, many of which have appeared on the myBarton Digital Learning site.

RevisionOrganisationNotetaking & typingConcentrationReading & study skillsSelf care
Get RevisingTodoistTyping clubNoisliRead & WriteSleepTown
MemriseRescue TimeEvernoteForestGrammarlyShine
QuizletClass TimetableNotedFreedomSpeechnotesRelax Melodies
ScreencastifyEgendaTomato Timers

Barton Peveril is taking part in a JISC national survey on digital learning and need as many responses as possible. Your views will help shape our future digital strategy and help us to offer you a better digital experience.

The survey should take about five minutes to complete. Each student who completes the survey will have an opportunity to enter a prize draw for a chance to win a Google Home MiniAmazon Echo DotGoogle Chromecast, or Sony Bluetooth Earphones.

Survey closes Thursday 19th December and winners will be announced Friday 20th December.

We recently joined the Google Classroom originality reports beta. This is an opportunity for you to pilot a new unreleased feature in Classroom and help shape the development. For more information, see this blog post.

What is Originality Reports in Google Classroom?
Originality reports is a new feature that brings the capabilities of Google search right to your student assignments and marking interface through Google Classroom. The learning tool helps both teachers and students thoroughly review and analyse coursework to make sure it is properly cited and avoid unintentional plagiarism. This feature was designed to help students improve their writing and spot potential issues while saving you time while marking.
Can’t we already do this with the Urkund Plagiarism Checker?Urkund Plagiarism Checker is a Chrome extension that we have purchased and made available for all teachers. Google Classroom and Urkund are integrated, enabling teachers to easily check student work for plagiarism directly from the Classroom interface. If you’ve used Urkund before, please try the Google Classroom originality reports and let me know what you prefer. Neither is free, so your feedback will help us make an informed decision when we come to renew the Urkund license.

Getting Started and FAQs:

  • Share this post via Classroom announcements with your students to help them learn more about how to use the tool for their assignments
  • Check out instructions for Originality for instructors on the help center
  • For additional support reach out to the Classroom Community Forum

Submitting Feedback
Did you know you can send feedback directly to the Google for Education team via the “Send feedback” button within Classroom? Feedback on products in their early stages have big impact on product design. When submitting bugs, feature requests, or user confusions, be sure to start with “Originality Report.” Always include screenshots with feedback.

This feature was designed to help students improve their writing and spot potential issues while saving you time while marking. When a teacher enables originality reports for an assignment, all students will be able to create reports up to 3 times for Google Docs files before they turn them in to spot check and correct potential missed citations.

Once the feature is generally available, teachers will be able to access originality reports at no charge for up to 3 assignments in each course they teach. Colleges that would like unlimited access can upgrade their teachers to G Suite Enterprise for Education. During the beta, all users can use originality reports as much as they need.

I look forward to hearing how this beta works for you and your students.