Tag Archives: Google

4 Ways Administrators can use Google Drive

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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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.

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The Beginners Guide to Chromebooks

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius

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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.

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5 Quick Tips to Get Started with Google Drive

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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One of the most ubiquitous tools in educational technology today is Google Drive. If you’re unfamiliar with Drive, think of it as two elements:

  1. Online “cloud” storage where you can throw files of all sizes (up to 1TB) and access from everywhere
  2. A scaled down office suite that includes docs, sheets, and presentations tools.

If you would like get to know Google Drive, here are 5 tips to help you get started. While you can use Google Drive with any browser, I urge you to use Google Chrome (free for all devices), as it will enable all features and ensure a more stable experience with this tool.

Get Started With Google Drive: Sign in or Create an Account

If your school is Google Apps for Education or you have a Gmail account, then Google Drive has already been set up for you. Just go to drive.google.com (or simply Google “Google Drive”) and login with your Google credentials. If you’re new to the Google platform, you will be asked to create an account. Once you have signed in or completed the account setup, you will find yourself in your Drive window where all of your files and documents are stored. I recommend that you bookmark Google Drive (clicking the star in your Chrome Browser) for faster access.

Left MenuOn the left hand side you will see your navigation tools: your My Drive Folder (with a drop-down arrow to access all the folders you create), your Incoming (for files shared with you), Recent (where you can quickly access the documents you’ve worked on most recently), Starred(you can mark important documents with a “star” for quick access), and Trash (where documents you delete are stored for 30 days or until you empty the trash).

Create a New Document

The core suite of Google Apps within Drive allows you to create a Doc, a Sheet(spreadsheet), Slides (presentations), and Forms (a great tool that you should explore as you become a more advanced user). Creating a new document in Google Drive is simple. Click on the red “New” button in the top left and select the type of document you would like to create. When you have done this, a new tab will open with your blank document. To title it, simply click on the “untitled document” in the top left and then enter the new name. One of my favorite features about working within Google Drive is that all changes are saved automatically. I don’t have to remember to hit save before logging off of my machine. You will be able to access the most recent version from any machine with a web browser and internet connection.

The Wonder of Cloud Storage

You’ve probably heard the phrase “in the cloud.” What this means is that content is not stored locally (on a computer or other device) but rather it is hosted on the web. The benefit of this is that you can access content from anywhere without having to have the actual device that created it. It also won’t take up valuable space on your hard drive. In addition to documents that you create within Google Drive, you can store your files (videos, images, documents, etc) in the cloud for your own access or to share with others.

Share a Document for Real Time Collaboration

One of the most unique features of working within Google Drive is that you have the ability to collaborate with others on the same document in real time. To share within a document, select the blue “share” button at the top right of the document. You can share at various levels: with specific individuals (via email address), individuals within your domain (if you have a Google Apps for Business or Google Apps for Education account), individuals with the link, or publicly on the web. Additionally, you can give other users the ability to “edit,” “comment,” or simply “view.” This allows you to select the appropriate level of openness for specific documents.

Sharing levels

For example, if you want to share a document for input, but don’t want the viewer to make any changes, then “comment” is the appropriate level of sharing. Those with access can read and leave comments throughout, yet they cannot change the text itself. Good Drive promotes collaboration, so other people can share with you the same way. When a document is shared with you, it will appear in yourIncoming folder. You can access it from there, or move it into My Drive for better organization.

Right now, Google Apps for Education users are allowed unlimited data storage, Chromebook Users 1TB, and individual users 5GB (you can buy more storage for a small fee). To upload a file to Google Drive, click on the red “new” button and select “upload file” or “upload folder” and then select the file(s) you would like to upload. However, if you are using the Chrome Browser you can literally drag and drop files in the browser window! Just like documents you create within Google Drive, you can share these files with others (although editing privileges are often limited).

Go Mobile!

In addition to working within a browser, you can access Google Drive using a Smartphone or a Tablet with the Google Drive App for iOS or Android (free). This gives you access to your files on the go and allows you to upload content directly from your tablet or smartphone. If you’re like me, your phone is your camera. Using the app makes it easy to create and share on the go. For example, you can take your vacation photos on your phone, upload them directly to Google Drive using the app, and then share them with others.

Google Drive is an incredibly flexible tool that you will find adapts to many of your digital projects. Once you have mastered the basics, move on to more advanced features: “10 Things Every Teacher Should be able to do with Google Docs,” “5 Time Saving Ways Teachers can use Google Forms,” and “5 Ways to use Google Presentations, not as Presentations!.”

Learn more about Google Apps this Summer with EdTechTeacher!

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Google Makes TeleStory & Toontastic Free for Everyone

Jennifer Carey:

Great news about these creative tools!

Originally posted on Jonathan Wylie: Instructional Technology Consultant:

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In surprising news today, Launchpad Toys announced that they had been acquired by Google. Ordinarily, this may not be of much interest to educators, but as of today, Toontastic and TeleStory are completely free for iOS devices and that includes all the in-app purchases that were previously a paid upgrade! Both apps are great storytelling apps for any classroom that uses iPads. Both apps are current favorites with educators, but their newly free features are about to earn them a whole lot of additional fans.

GOOGLE buys launchpad toysToontastic, if you have not previously tried it, is an amazing digital storytelling app for the iPad. Teachers everywhere love this app because it is simple to use and has a built-in story arc that actively encourage students to build a well-structured story. I have seen Toontastic used in Kindergarten all the way up to high school. Such is the versatility of this app…

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Free Technology for Teachers: Explore the World with the Google Cultural Institute

This is reblogged from my post on Free Technology for Teachers

I am a big fan of the Google Cultural Institute; it’s an amazing repository of Artistic Masterpieces, Wonders of the Natural World, Historical Artifacts, and more. By using it as a repository of digital materials, it’s an easy way to access cultural content from around the world in my classroom. I can pull up a high definition image of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and use its powerful zoom features so that students can see the impasto brush strokes. We can explore the Street Art of Sao Paulo with a Google Street View for a unit on modern art or the Ruins at Angkor Wat

Free Technology for Teachers: Explore the World with the Google Cultural Institute.

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3 Ways to use Google in Art & Art History

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius

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Google has become one of the most popular tools in schools today. With its broad and flexible system of apps, there are many ways to adapt them into a classroom to help you explore new and dynamic ways of presenting materials or having students build projects! If you teach in the art department (with either Studio Art or Art History), here are three ways to use Google to facilitate your classroom workflow and to allow students to showcase their work.

GOOGLE DOCS FOR WRITE-UPS

Google Docs is a quick and easy to master word processor. Where it excels, however, is in its ability to track progress, share your work, and collaborate with others both at your school and with peers from outside of your institution. My Art and Art History teachers love using it as a tool for students to write research essays, synopses, or other written assignments. Because of the collaborative elements, it’s an excellent tool for group projects and/or peer editing. When students are finished with a project, they can share the final version with the teacher. With the “revision history” feature, the teacher can track a student’s writing over a period of days and hours, witness group contributions, see how a student incorporated peers edits, and more.

SHARED GOOGLE FOLDERS FOR PRESENTATIONS & DIGITAL SHOWCASES

Create Folder

Shared folders within Google Drive have so many uses in the world of Art! To create a shared folder simply open Google Drive, click “new,” and select “folders.” Give the folder a name and then share it by selecting it with a single click and then choosing the “share” icon. You can share a folder with a single person or a group of people depending on your needs. Students and others can then submit content directly to that shared folder.

My Art History teachers love using shared folders as a repository for presentations. Often, high-resolution images of art create robust files that are too large to email. With a shared folder, this is no problem because students can simply upload their presentations directly to it; with Google Apps for Education, there is no limitation on file size or storage, so space is not an issue! With a shared folder for presentations, students can continue to access the content for future reference.

In studio art, a shared folder is a good way for students to submit images or videos of their work in progress or as a finished product. As Google Drive has free apps for both iOSand Android, students can also upload directly from the camera roll on their smartphone or tablet!

GOOGLE SITES AS A PORTFOLIO OF WORK

Students in Art classes often have a portfolio of work that they are especially proud of and want to showcase. Google Sitesis a great place for them to highlight their work. A Google Site can be personalized and has the ability to embed images, video, documents, presentations, and even folders from Google Drive, allowing students to create and curate their own digital portfolios. With Google Sites’ shared settings, students can publish their portfolio only to themselves, broaden it to their community (a particular teacher, their classmates, the faculty as a whole, or the school or district), or to the world. Teachers can help students decide their appropriate audience based on their age, school or district policy, or the objective of their showcase.

Google’s tools support teachers and students as they produce, share, and curate material across a variety of contexts. While these are three ways that I have seen teachers in Art and Art History use Google in their classroom, how else can you envision using these tools and apps?

To learn more about using these tools, EdTechTeacher will be offering a Google & iPads Pre-Conference Workshop as part of their February 9-11 iPad Summit in San Diego.

5 Ways School Administrators Can Use Google Apps

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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One of the most powerful ways that administrators can encourage their faculty to adopt new technologies in their classroom and curriculum is by modeling effective application of new digital tools. With Google Apps for Education, there are many tools that are helpful for administrative tasks, providing a number of ways to effectively model technology usage on a daily basis.

CREATE A SHARED GOOGLE DOC FOR FACULTY MEETINGS

Use Google Docs to create and share meeting agendas. Not only will it prep your faculty for meetings, but they can use the document to keep shared, electronic notes; this is especially useful if you have a designated individual to keep minutes. You can include live links for content, embed materials, create & share calendar events, etc. These are not possible in a static, paper document and not only demonstrate your commitment to adopting new technologies, but also help spark the imaginations of your teachers in applying these new tools in their own classrooms.

USE A GOOGLE FORM FOR CLASSROOM OBSERVATIONS

If you visit and observe classes, then turn your classroom observation forms into Google Forms. Having an electronic form will save you time and space. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can complete the form easily on a 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.

USE GOOGLE FORMS FOR SIGN-UPS

If you need chaperones for a school dance or field trip, lunch duty, or detention, Google Forms is a simple way to have faculty and staff respond. 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 faculty respond, and export it to a shareable Google Doc when you need to share information (such as chaperone contact information or time slot sign-ups for an event).

USE GOOGLE CALENDAR’S “APPOINTMENTS SLOTS” FOR MEETINGS

One of my favorite features in Google Calendar is setting up “Appointment Slots.” Keeping an “open door” can be tricky; it’s difficult to get your work done when you are regularly interrupted. Posting your calendar can also be problematic as even if you have nothing scheduled, you may want that time reserved for administrative work, phone calls, or lunch! With appointment slots, you can designate certain times you are available for meetings. This is a great way to have your faculty sign up for face-to-face time with you as well as keep you organized.

If you would like a step-by-step tutorial, check out this great video by The Gooru.

 

COLLECT IMAGES & VIDEOS VIA A SHARED FOLDER

Schools often struggle collecting images of field trips, school plays, and other activities. If you would like to facilitate this process, then share a folder with the community that they can use to upload videos and photos. When you designate a shared folder, be sure to explore the various options available to you and apply them appropriately. You may want to share the folder only with the certain teachers and students, the whole school, or the broader community like parents and alumni. The flexible sharing options make it easy to individualize. What makes Google Folders such a great way to collect materials is the fact that most people use their phone as their camera. With the free Google Drive App for Android or iOS, they can upload directly from their device.

Google Apps is a flexible and robust tool that can facilitate not only teaching, but also administrative duties. Additionally, by modeling effective use of technology with your own administrative tasks for your faculty, you familiarize them with available tools and encourage them to apply them in their own classrooms.

For an opportunity to learn more about using Google Apps for Education, join EdTechTeacher and Google for the firstEdTechTeacher Google Jamboree. Registration is FREE! The deadline to apply is January 7th.