Mote has recently had an update! Many staff are already using Mote, which is a Chrome extension we invested in last year. It empowers staff and students to provide verbal feedback and add voice notes to Google Classroom, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The latest update for Mote now enables you to add audio to Google Forms and students can also respond to a form using audio.

To find out more then watch the Mote for Google Forms video where I demo how this works.

Mote Certified EducatorIf you’re already using Mote, then I highly recommend becoming a Mote Certified Educator. You will need to demonstrate your mote knowledge and will earn an exclusive certification. It’s a great way of becoming familiar with all of Mote’s features. You just need to get at least 12 out of 15 questions right and there is video help too. ➡️ Apply Now

This term we are focusing on digital skills to support your learning and develop employability skills for the future.

Over the next couple of months you will be asked to complete interactive tutorials to learn about different Google Workspace apps. As each skill is completed successfully, you can earn digital badges with increasing levels of difficulty 🥇🥈🥉 along with QXTRA points.

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

We’re excited to announce Google Voice, our new college telephony solution.

Voice is a new telephony service from Google. It lets you take your number with you and make calls from your smartphone, Chromebook, or computer. There are lots of features to explore such as voicemail transcripts and smart spam filtering. To help you get started we’ve prepared this short guide.

Make and receive calls

Go to or download the Google Voice Android or iOS app to make and receive calls. Alternatively, you can also access Google Voice from the Gmail side panel. If you’re working on a Chromebook or desktop computer remember to keep Voice or Gmail open so you don’t miss any calls.

Find a number in Google Voice

You can search for numbers either using the Google Voice app or Google Contacts. Just remember that internal extension numbers such as 2224 no longer exist. Each Google Voice user or room phone will have a full UK number.

Remove old phone extensions in Google Contacts

Google Voice syncs your contacts from Google Contacts as well as the college Directory service. You may still have contacts in your personal address book that include the old college four digit internal extensions. To help you find and remove these we have created a Google Sheet to help. Simply make a copy of the Cleanup Google Contacts Phone Ext sheet and follow the instructions.

Change your microphone and speaker settings

To make and receive Google Voice calls, use your built-in microphone and speakers or connect external audio devices, such as headsets. Change audio devices before or during a call. If you use a headset for incoming calls on your computer, you can also choose a second device to ring. Then you can hear calls even when you take off your headset.

To manage audio settings open Google Voice and click on the Headset on the top right. For more information read Change your microphone and speakers.

Send calls to voicemail

When people call your Google Voice number and you don’t answer, the calls go to voicemail and are automatically transcribed. You can also link Voice with Google Calendar to automatically forward calls to voicemail outside your working hours.

To send calls to voicemail after your working hours:

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. At the top right, click Settings.
  3. On the left, click Do not disturb.
  4. Turn on the Calendar setting you want:
    Follow working hours – Send calls to voicemail when Calendar shows you’re not working.
    If this option is inactive, you need to set your working hours in Calendar.
    Follow out of office – Send calls to voicemail when Calendar shows you’re away from work.

Additionally, you can send calls to voicemail temporarily by enabling Do not disturb. To learn more read Send Google Voice calls to voicemail.

Record a voicemail greeting

You can record a custom greeting for your voicemail on Google Voice. To record a new greeting:

  1. Open up Settings on the top right corner.
  2. Select Voicemail on the left.
  3. Select Record a greeting.

For full instructions read Set up or change a voicemail greeting.

Screen your calls

When you get calls to your Google Voice number, you can screen your calls to hear the name of the caller before you answer the call. After hearing the caller’s name, you can take the call or send it to voicemail. By default, Google Voice will also automatically block spam callers. Learn how to Turn on call screening.

Update your email signature

If your email signature included your old college phone extension then be sure to remove this number. You can either include your personal direct dial number, department phone, or the main reception number which continues to be 02380 367200.

Learn more about Google Voice

To learn more about Voice explore the following resoures:

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