Tag Archives: Ed Tech

Exploring Digital Citizenship with Google

One of my goals next year is to improve upon and expand our existing Digital Citizenship model. So I’m excited to attend Exploring Digital Citizenship with Google with Craig Leach. Any school that incorporates technology needs to include meaningful, digital citizenship. In conjunction with Common Sense Media, he has been developing a Digital Citizenship Course.

He starts by telling us to explore Digital Citizenship in our backyard. It’s never hard to find stories about digital presence resulting in negative consequences. He provided us with 5 local stories that we explored, ranging from cyberbullying to student arrests. We engage in group discussions about the themes behind these topics. One element that I noticed is that schools are so focused on being reactive to these events instead of preventative. Dealing with incidents of cyberbullying or bad behavior online necessitates a broader educational program, including teachers, students, and parents (who are often left out). It needs to be consistent and pervasive education; if you are focusing on Facebook behavior, then you’re not preparing for the next tool. These incidences and events expand outside of the Classroom.

We next explored the definition of Digital Citizenship. Common Sense Media defines Digital Citizenship is “The ability to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world.” An approach to digital citizenship needs to include balance: powers and perils. So you should talk about ready access to media, but also address copyright infringement.

Craig tells us that the topics that he likes to tackle inlcude:

  • digital life
  • internet safety
  • privacy, Identity & Digital Footprints
  • Cyberbullying, Communication, & Relationships
  • Searching, Evaluating and Citing
  • Reaching the Community

I like that it doesn’t wholly focus on “Stranger Danger.”

When Craig got a classroom set of iPads, he created some digital expectations and classroom guidelines for technology use. His acceptable use policy included protecting the devices as well as appropriate behavior inside and outside of the classroom. He recommends having students build their own policy in their own words.

We talked a little about Google Searching; show them how to find effective sources and assess it. He recommends that you explore google search tools and advanced search features. Navigating and negotiating online tools is important.

By using Google Research tools, especially features like “search by license,” you can engage students in conversations about licensing, copyright, and plagiarism. One of the great things about Google Tools is that they allow you to to instigate a number of empowering conversations about online engagement.

Are you Future Ready?

Courtesy of Pixabay

Courtesy of Pixabay

The keynote speaker this morning is James Sanders from Classroom in the Future. I love the title of James’ talk “A Resume Full of Failure.” He begins by telling us that he “fails all the time.” We work so hard on avoiding failure, that we forget that it’s an integral part of learning. In fact, google “succesful people who have failed,” and you will find a list of impressive people that have not only failed, but failed miserably.

James tells us about his childhood working in a mill. He learned how to drive specialized vehicles and doing hard, demanding work. He also spent quite a bit of time going to the doctor and the hospital as a result of his work there. In the process, however, he learned a lot about himself; in order to learn about yourself, you have to make mistakes. He tells us that “we are a collection of all of the mistakes that have come before us.” We have to learn from what has failed and take that and try to do better. He then tells us his resume of failure. He tried to become an entrepreneur t-shirt developer, that failed. He then tried to get his kids on tumblr… not a good idea. He then worked as a teacher with students in rows, and they went all “Lord of the Flies.” He next tried to create an online gambling website. He then was exposed to the KIPP Academy of Opportunity and their Chromebooks programs. The Chromebooks were a prototype at the time. The Chromebooks made it possible for his classroom to be mobile, the internet access allowed them to connect with students from around the world, and students could engage with material outside of the classroom. They used the Kiva project, investigating  entrepreneurs, and making investments around the world.

Even though this roll-out was great, they had a number of problems that arose. Chromebooks were quickly damaged. So, they had to start teaching students how to treat their devices.

He also found that traditional lessons didn’t work very well. For example, a current events project was quickly written after a student grabbed an LA Times that morning. Instead, he made students create their own newscast! You can see their news network here. Students couldn’t do this at the last minute, it required planning, structure, writing, and production. If you tried to do this at the last minute, it would fail miserably. However, in keeping with his method of learning by failure, he got so excited that he had all of the students create their own YouTube accounts. As a result, students start to post things that were not appropriate to learning, including an aspiring rapper whose language on his YouTube channel was…. you can figure it out.

James then started to have his students post their work online. He then began to put himself out there even more. He started a podcast show. However, his hashtag “pen is mightier,” which became #penismightier caused a few problems. Their Edunation Cast didn’t take off, so they decided to push it a little further. He drove up to Google and tried to pitch an educational angle at Google. He joined them to help develop “YouTube for Schools.” The goal of this was to move towards unblocking YouTube. He moved to San Francisco and then started another company called “Classbadges,” which allowed teachers to award digital badges to students.

After his work at Google, he moved to DC and joined the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows. While there, he started the White House Film Festival. I’ve seen some amazing student submissions with this project. Students get to highlight their own learning experience; it gives them a powerful voice that is then witnessed by the Federal Government.

James finishes by talking about his experience teaching in Los Angeles, where the school to prison pipeline is a reality.

He said that in our classrooms, we need to take risks to disrupt this. There isn’t an easy solution. As teachers, we need to take big risks and be willing to fail… and if you take big risks, you will fail. It’s not easy, it’s hard. At the same time, the rewards for success are immeasurable. We write our own script, and we need to try to do more. Put yourself out there, and let your students put themselves out there. HIs latest project is Future Ready Schools. Start looking at what schools should have today; more big idea projects, what do you need to be successful in your job? What do students need? Being Future Ready means. Look for that window, the opportunity to relight your fire and allows you to put yourself out there. If you keep pushing through your failure, you will find what works for you.

Use Zaption to Enhance Video Content

This is reblogged from my post on FreeTech4Teachers.

Video has become a more ubiquitous element in education today: YouTubeVideos, Kahn Academy, Flipped Content, iTunes U, and more. However, most teachers don’t want their students passively absorbing content. Rather, they want to make sure that students are engaged with the material. A great tool for incorporating more responsive features in your lessons is Zaption, which you can use to create interactive videos via a web browser or their free iOS App.

Take the Zaption Tour to see what’s possible.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.55.49 PMWhile Zaption does offer a robust, subscription model, the free tool will allow teachers to do a lot with both existing videos as well as those they create. After you sign up for an account, select “New Tour” on the top left of your screen. This will open the editing screen. The great thing about Zaption is that everything is drag and drop. So if you’re a bit lost, just try clicking and dragging something! If you want to add video, you can search for content online (YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, Nat Geo, etc), the Zaption library, or upload your own videos…

Read the rest of the article here: Use Zaption to Enhance Video Content.

5 tips to help school administrators make the most of Google Calendar

The is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius

new-google-calendar-810x456

One of my favorite Google Apps resources is Google Calendar. If your school has enrolled in Google Apps for Education, it is part of your GAFE suite of tools. With a Google Calendar, you can more effectively organize and plan your administrative tasks. Here are some quick tips to help you to effectively wield your Google Calendar tools.

Use a Shared Calendar

With Shared Calendars, multiple people can view and even edit the same calendar. It’s easy to manage a shared calendar with your Administrative Team, Clubs, Faculty, or even parents using Google Calendar.

create shared google calendarYou can give members the ability to subscribe to the calendar to view updates or even grant them the ability to edit it. To do this, simply open up your Google Calendar and scroll down to “My Calendars,” press the down arrow and select “Create new calendar.” Give the Calendar a Title and include a brief description. Next, check the box “share this calendar with others” and select your sharing settings. Do you want it to be a public calendar that others can only view, share it out publicly only with people in your organization, or do you want to invite specific people who can then add items to the calendar?

Google Calendar Sharing Settings

Google Calendar allows you to be flexible here with multiple levels of access and sharing; for example, you can allow some people to view and others to edit. As the creator of the calendar, you can always change or revoke another person’s access to it. This is a great way to keep a group organized. By keeping a shared calendar with faculty, you can schedule tests and major assignments to make sure students don’t get overwhelmed. If you have resources, like computer labs or iPad carts, you can allow faculty to “reserve resources” on a campus calendar.

Set up Appointment Slots

Google Calendar also allows you to set up appointment slots without sharing your whole calendar with others. This is a great way to hold open office hours or allow people to book time with you; it will also let your faculty, students, other administrators, and parents know your availability without publishing your entire calendar. Note that you can only use this feature with a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) or a Business account; it will not work on a personal account.

When you open your calendar, switch to Week or Day view. Click on your Calendar anywhere and select “Appointment Slots” from the pop up bubble. From the drop down menu, select the Calendar you want to use. I recommend using the calendar you use for professional appointments – rather than a shared calendar – so that you don’t inadvertently schedule a conflicting event. Remember, sharing appointment slots will not reveal your whole Calendar only the time slots you designate available for appointments. Give your Appointment Slots a name, such as “Ms. Carey’s Office Hours,” and set the times for your appointments. When you have finished, copy the appointment page URL and click save. When you share the URL with others, they will be able to schedule appointments with you. If you would like a step-by-step tutorial, check out this great video by The Gooru

Sync your Calendar Across Devices

If you’re like me, you’re always on the run; going to a meeting, a class, or just trying to grab a bite of lunch. My Smartphone is my organizer on the go because it’s readily accessible and I can see my schedule at the touch of a finger. One of the great things about Google Calendar is that it resides in the cloud, so you can sync it wirelessly across devices without thinking about it! If someone emails you a calendar invite and you accept it on your desktop, it will populate your calendar on your laptop, smartphone, and/or tablet. Likewise, if you are stopped in the hallway and someone asks for a meeting, you can schedule it on your Smartphone and it will then appear on your calendar across all of your devices. Here are the instructions for setting up Google Calendar syncing with your with Android & iOS devices. If you need a little extra push to keep you going, you can even have Google Calendar send you a reminder with a text message directly to your cell phone (price subject to your texting plan).

Schedule a GHO Video Call

GHO Link in CalendarsVideo conference calls are becoming more popular as they allow you to engage beyond a disembodied voice. Google Calendar allows you to not only schedule a video conference call, but to include a link within the calendar appointment that users simply click to join. This is much faster than logging into Google Hangouts or Skype and inviting people manually. With aGoogle Hangout, you can have up to 10 people in the same call; so you can easily navigate remote meetings, interviews with multiple participants, and more.

Add Attachments to Calendar Events

Often, our calendar events include meetings to review different documentation, such as policies and procedures, or to discuss a specific agenda. To keep everything organized, you can attach a document to your event. This is a feature that requires you to enable “Labs” in Google Calendar.

goole labsNOTE: Labs are features that have not yet been broadly rolled out and are still in beta. It is important to know that sometimes Labs features are buggy. If you experience problems, simply disable Labs. To enable the “Event Attachments” Lab click on the the gear in the top right corner, then select Labs, scroll down and enable “Event Attachments.”

Now when you create a new event you will have the option “add attachment” available. When participants log on to the calendar, they will see the attachment and have the ability to download it.

There are a lot of great ways that Calendar can make your administrative duties more organized and streamlined. Explore other tips and tricks as well as more Lab options.

Learn more about Google Apps this Summer!

Google-Workshops

  • Google & Chromebooks
  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • Google Apps & iPads
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

4 Ways Administrators can use Google Drive

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

google_drive-810x456

One of the most effective ways for Administrators to empower and encourage their faculty to use new and innovative tools is to model best practices by employing them in their own administrative duties. Google Docs, a tool withinGoogle Drive, includes a number of robust features that can streamline teacher’s administrative tasks and highlight their ability to foster collaboration among peers and students. If you need a quick tutorial on Google Drive, check out this article on Daily Genius. Here are four ways that Administrators can use Google Docs to both streamline their own administrative tasks and model effective use of technology.

Real-Time Collaboration

One of the most time consuming administrative tasks is writing policies, drafting communications, and updating school documents. Often this is done in a collaborative setting with other administrators, educators, students, and/or parents. Rather than email files back and forth, draft your work on a Google Doc and share it with others for their input. You can share at different levels, giving your collaborators the ability to “view,” “comment,” or “edit.” This can give you control over who makes changes before a final draft. To review changes in a document, go to File → See Revision history. This will allow you to see what edits were made and by whom.

Community Whiteboards

Faculty live a life on the go and as such, it is easy for them to become isolated from their community. A solution to this is posting an embedded Google Doc on a blog, website, or other digital bulletin board. By selecting File → Publish to the Web and select the “embed.” You can then include this on your electronic medium of choice. Faculty can leave notes, engage in discussions about ideas, etc.

Make Comments for Evaluations

Narrative comments are an important component of evaluating faculty. With a Google Doc, you can share your reviews with Department Chairs, HR, and the Faculty being reviewed. You can even populate a document using a Google Form with the docAppender add-on.

Newsletters

Google Docs allow you to include images, live links, and more. You can easily format a school newsletter (using Google’s collaborative features with contributors) and then share it with your Faculty, Staff, Students, and Parents. With “view only” privileges, individuals can still read content, click on the links, and make a copy for their own records. An electronic newsletter saves on printing and mailing costs and allows you to easily catalogue and digitally archive content for later access.

These are three simple tips to help you get started using Google Docs to complete administrative tasks. By harnessing the power of its collaborative tools and ability to share with people both inside and outside of your community, you can streamline your own work while modeling effective and powerful technology use for others.

Learn more Google Docs this Summer!

administrative tasks

  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • Google & Chromebooks
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

An Administrator’s Guide to Google Forms

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

google-forms

The Google Apps for Education suite includes a number of robust tools that can streamline administrative tasks. In addition to making your job as an administrator easier, using them allows you to model effective technology adoption with your staff. One of my favorite tools to tackle this type of tasks isGoogle Forms, one of tools within Google Drive. Here are five ways that Administrators can use Google Forms in their schools.

Google Forms for Classroom Observations

Classroom observations are a key tool for evaluating faculty and providing them valuable feedback. One way to make providing feedback faster and easier is to turn your classroom observation forms into Google Forms. Having the form in an electronic, interactive format will make the process less cumbersome and store the data digitally for future access. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can complete the form easily from your portable device. Also, by using a Google Form, you can quickly email the contents to faculty, department chairs, and HR. Here is an example form for observation.

Faculty Sign Ups for Events

If you need chaperones for a school dance or field trip, lunch duty, or even detention, Google Forms is a simple way to have faculty and staff respond and sign up. You can easily share a form via email or post it on your school’s website. With the new Google Forms Add-Ons, you can limit responses by automatically turning off the form when you reach maximum participation, set up notifications when someone completes a form, and export the results to a shareable Google Doc when you need to dispense information to others (such as chaperone contact information or time slot sign-ups for an event).

Collect Info from Parents

When you schedule field trips or other activities, you often want to collect parental contact information in the event of an emergency. You can easily collect information such as phone numbers, email addresses, and emergency contacts using a Google Form. Because the information automatically aggregates into aGoogle Sheet, you can then share this information with chaperones and sponsors. As it can be accessed digitally, a chaperone can easily access the spreadsheet with their smart phone and contact the appropriate individual wherever they are.

Schedule Meeting Times

Everyone in a school has a busy schedule and finding a time to meet can be a challenging endeavor. You can send out a Google Form for people to indicate their availability. To do this, create a form, use the “checkbox” question option, and list available dates and times. Individuals can select all of the dates and times they are available to meet.

After all of your participants have responded, you can easily view the responses as a spreadsheet. To more easily visualize the results, select Form → Summary of Responses to pull up a visual graph

Summary of Responses Graph

Survey Your Community

Google Forms is a quick and easy way to survey your community both formally and informally. Many schools survey their faculty, students, and parents on topics ranging from experiences at the school, health and wellness, professional development, communication, and more. With Google Forms, you can easily create and distribute surveys, collect the data in a Google Sheet, and share it with appropriate personnel to analyze and assess.

These are five simple ways that administrators can employ Google Forms to facilitate their role as well as model technology use at school. For even more ideas, you may also want to read this article or watch Leading Change in a 1:1 Classroom.

Learn more about working with Google this Summer!

Google-Workshops

  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • Google Apps & iPads
  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

The Beginners Guide to Chromebooks

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius

chromebook-810x608

In 2014, Chromebooks surpassed iPads in the world of education. There are a variety of reasons for this: economic needs, more “laptop like” feel, and the ubiquity of Google Apps for Education in schools. If you find yourself the owner of a new Chromebook, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not quite a laptop, but it also isn’t a tablet. Chromebooks are actually their own unique tool outside of these categories. They are just different enough that they can require a little time to get used to. Here are some quick tips to help you familiarize yourself with this new tool.

What are Chromebooks?

Unlike iPads, there is no single manufacturer Chromebooks. In fact, you can buy them from a variety of vendors, with different specs, and prices from $199-$1,100. In general, a Chromebook is a laptop styled machine. Much like PCs run Windows and Macs run OSX, Cromebooks use Chrome OS. While they are designed to run primarily using an Internet connection (via Wireless or 3G/4LTE on select models), you can also use them in a limited capacity offline (data will sync and save when you connect to the web again). Because the OS is a simple system, it boots up in a matter of seconds (unliked a few minutes with computers and tablets). This lightning fast startup is a plus for those of us who grow impatient waiting for everything to start on our systems. Most Chromebooks are structurally robust, making them more resistant to damage and thus excellent tools for children that are less careful with their devices. Unlike computers or tablets, all of your Chrome OS programs, files, and even your personal profile live on the cloud. You don’t need to install software as everything lives on the web!

Getting to know Google

One of the biggest shifts for traditional computer users is moving away from the concept of installing software to have available while offline. Rather, Chromebooks leverage web tools as well as Chrome Apps and Extensions to add functionality. It can take some time to get used to not having desktop applications such as Microsoft Office or iWork. Instead, the Google Drive suite of tools – Docs, Sheets, and Presentations – allows teachers and students to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Most users find the streamlined versions of Google tools much simpler than more robust, traditional word processors. Additionally, with its “share” features, you can easily collaborate with others. Google Drive (with unlimited storage for GAFE users and free 1TB for Chromebook users) allows you access to all of your files, no matter how large. If you would like an overview, read 5 Quick Tips to Get Started with Google Drive.

Navigating a Web Based OS

Another shift that can be an initial struggle for new Chromebook users is transitioning to a wholly web-based system. Chromebooks offer limited software installation on the device itself. Instead, it encourages you to employ web-based tools. As the majority of developers are shifting to the cloud, this is becoming an easier process. You can collaboratively edit videos using WeVideo or YouTube editor, access books via Google Books or Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader, and stream digital content with YouTube. In fact, browse the Google Chrome Store and view their list of tools; if you can’t find a web based version of a tool that you already use, you should be able to find an excellent or even superior substitute. Here is a great repository of web-based tools to use in your classroom.

Finding Your Stuff

You don’t have icons, a finder menu, or a start menu on Chromebook. Instead, you navigate your system using the launcher (the 9 Dot Menu at the bottom left of your screen). If you are a Chrome browser user, then you will be familiar with this tool. The launcher is located on the bottom left of your screen. When you click on it, you will see Chromebook’s default tools (e.g. Chrome Store, Drive, Gmail, etc) as well as any additional tools that you have added. If you are looking for a file that you have downloaded, then click on the “File” icon in this window to open up your “downloads” folder. This is where you will find any documents, images, or other tools that you have downloaded to your device.

As with all tech tools, the best way to learn to use a new device is to play with it and create! Now that you have the basics, take it out of the box and explore what’s possible.

Learn more about Chromebook Creation this Summer!

chromebooks

  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • Google & Chromebooks
  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org