How to email a Google Doc (Without Leaving Google Docs)

The best feature of Google Docs is the ability to collaborate with others. Sometimes, you need to send a copy of a Google Doc to someone who doesscreen-shot-2016-09-15-at-8-08-10-am not work in the Google atmosphere. You can easily email a Google Doc as an attachment to someone right within the document! To do this, click on File –> email as an attachment.

Next, in the pop up window, select the form you would like (PDF, MS Word, Rich Text Format, HTML, Plain Text, Open Document, or just paste it into the email itself! Enter the email address, include a message, and your email is sent! This is a feature that works even if your domain does not have gmail enabled (although you should tick “send a copy to myself” if you would like a confirmation of the email).

This is a great way to send off finished drafts or to share material with individuals who do not work within the Google platform.

Coding in the Classroom with Swift Playgrounds

I was so excited to see Apple announced Swift! This is a game changer for coding in the classroom… or just in the home. Check out Jonathan’s wonderful overview of this new tool.

Jonathan Wylie: Instructional Technology Consultant

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The recent release of iOS 10 unlocked a creative coding opportunity for iPad classrooms called Swift Playgrounds. It’s an iPad app that lets you solve interactive puzzles that are designed to help you learn the basics of how to code in a programming language called Swift. It is aimed at students aged 12 and over and is part of Apple’s Everyone Can Code initiative. So, if you are looking for new ways to start coding with students, this could be a great new platform for you to explore. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Swift?

Swift is an open source programming language that was developed by Apple engineers and released in 2014. It was created to help developers build apps for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. Swift has its origins firmly rooted in another programming language called Objective-C, but Swift is generally considered to be more concise. The…

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How (and why) to add a photo to your Google Account

I work a lot in the Google platform, both within my school as well as my peers at other institutions. It’s a great collaborative platform. I’m always surprised to find that most people don’t have a photo set for their Google Account. There are actually some good reasons to set a photo (even if it’s not *your* photo):

  • It gives your account personality and branding.
  • It allows senders to know they are sharing with the right person.
  • It can help you to keep multiple accounts straight.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-1-30-09-pmAdding a photo to your Google Account is easy. Open up one of your Google Apps, like Google Drive. At the top right of the page, you will see either the initial of your first name or a photo (if you or your administrator has previous set one). Click on that circle and then click on the text “change.”

Next, a window will pop up that allows you to upload a photo, access photos from Google Photos or Google+, or to take a photo (if your computer is equipped with a camera). You will then have the option to crop the photo, align, and enter a caption. Then click “set as profile photo” and you are done!


Free Meditation & Mindfulness Tool for Teachers

Mindfulness meditation is enjoying a moment in education. If you’re unfamiliar with the practice, mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique” and is often paired with meditation practices. Once viewed as a new-age fad, the benefits of mindfulness and meditation have be backed by science, which have found that it helps reduce stress and provides relief for a variety of ailments from insomnia to pain relief. You can find some peer-reviewed studies from the National Institute of Health. Additionally, Harvard recently published findings that brain scans show that the brains of meditators have more gray matter (linked to enhanced senses, increased memory, and executive decision making). 


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

With these findings, it’s no surprise that meditation and mindfulness are enjoying some attention in the education. KQED Mind|Shift has published a series of articles on the benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation practices in schools for both students and teachers. Also, Edutopia has published a series of articles to help introduce these tools in classrooms. Many educators are implementing these exercises to help students manage stress and anxiety, improve memory, and address behavior in their schools.

Several years ago, I came across mindfulness and meditation practices in a few educational conferences. It wasn’t until I had a series of stressful events that I listened to my friend Larry Kahn and decided to give it a try myself. It has now become a regular practice for me and I can attest to its benefits. Recently, I learned that one of my very apps (I am a paid subscriber), Calm, has implemented The Calm Classroom Initiative to help bring meditation and mindfulness to classroom across america.

After you are accepted into the Calm Classroom Initiative, they will send you “tips, suggestions, and best practices to introduce mindfulness to your classroom and get your students excited about meditation.” This is a great way to bring these resources for both you and your students. Please note that Calm has in no way provided me incentives (financial or otherwise) to promote their program. This is a personal attestation to the value of their tool.

Apple Introduces Apple Teacher Learning Center

In case you weren’t paying attention, yesterday Apple held an event and launched the iPhone 7. However, September 7th also saw the launch of a great new resource for educators: the Apple Teacher Learning Center.

business-925900_1280This free new program allows educators to access training resources for using Mac, iPad, and their built in apps to build creative and engaging lessons. The resources in the Apple Teacher Learning Center can help you to build personal learning environments, harness accessibility tools to empower students who learn differently, redefine assessment, and enhance the tools in your classroom.

The Apple Teacher Learning Center awards badges after you have mastered various tools and stages. Once you have completed all of them, you earn the ultimate Apple Teacher logo badge to proudly display on your blog or print out and post it in your office! Sign up today!

5 ways Agora can make collaboration in your classroom easier

This is a sponsored blog post by Agora (and advertiser on this site)

Collaborative work usually means more paperwork and more things to keep track of for teachers. Let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t have time to add one more thing to our plates. So instead of worrying about where you’re going to find the time to go over project submissions and feedback, let technology do what it does best – automatically track work submitted, interactions and organise the data beautifully.

New platforms like Agora are focused on being the background support that allow teachers to run meaningful collaborative activities without the hassle.

Tracks all student progress automatically

Agora makes it easy for students to submit progress on their work, think individual and group projects, and then keeps track of where everybody is at. No extra input needed on your part. You create the project or set of tasks that students will be working on, add due dates if you want and then let them work on it at their own pace. Technology does the rest.


Students will see a progress bar showing how much of a project they’ve completed and you get an overview chart showing progress for each individual student that you can click on to see details.

Allows students to give each other feedback.

With Agora students can comment on each other’s work, share resources and provide specific notes on how work can be improved.

Think about how beneficial seeing what other teachers are doing is for you. You pick up many great ideas and get a tangible sense of how you can do things differently from teacher blogs and sites like teacherspayteachers. The same concept applies for students learning.  By allowing everyone in the classroom to see each other’s work at different stages learning goes through the roof. Work that can seem daunting suddenly seems within reach and questions that might have remained buried, surface out of curiosity for how someone else did it.


Generates beautiful custom reports

Being able to measure and communicate progress is key to a successful collaborative classroom.

With Agora you can create custom reports for what each student has been working on given specific time dates.This allows you to keep everyone in the loop of what’s happening.  You can also see big picture charts of where every student is at and what work is missing.  (Goodbye weekends of fighting with excel or blackboard!)


Integrates with what you’re already using

Agora integrates with Google so that students can login with gmail accounts (no need to create extra credentials). You can also easily link to google documents, embed youtube videos if they’re doing something like practicing speeches, or creative media work and drag and drop images to upload them.  

It’s simple

Agora’s interface is clean and straightforward. It has what you need and nothing more. No extra bells and whistles that can be confusing. Think about it like air. It’s there to serve you and allows you to do the things you need, but you don’t notice it most of the time. Learning and helping you achieve your goals are front and center.

You can sign-up now for early access to Agora and get a free month of their premium version if your refer another teacher.


Common Sense Media – Free Digital Citizenship Curriculum (Limited Time)

Common Sense Media has just announced that it’s Digital Citizenship textbooks are currently free via iBooks until September 30, 2016. After September 30th, the iBooks will go to $8.99 per device for the teacher edition and $1.99 per device for the student workbooks.

You can download the books via the iTunes store here.