New Google Classroom Tools Feature Differentiated Learning

hero_logoGoogle just announced several key new features for Google Classroom that allow teachers to differentiate work for their students. Teachers can now assign work to students or groups of students.

With this feature, students can also discreetly receive extra practice if they’re struggling with a new subject.

They have also announced new notification methods for when students submit work late or resubmit. Check out the latest updates on Google’s blog here.

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Google Arts & Culture for Android & iOS

google-arts-cultureI have long been a fan of Google Arts & Culture (previously Google Art Project). It allows individuals to explore museums, exhibits, and historical topics around the world. For example, you can tour the works of Vincent Vangogh, explore Ancient Kyoto, or wander around the Lincoln Home (to name a few).

Previously, the robust features of Google Arts & Culture was reserved for computers. Now, however, you can download the free pap for your iOS or Android device. This is a great way to let students explore the different tools and features available via Google Arts & Culture on your classroom tablets or even on student smartphones!

Take an Online Course from Harvard – For Free!

harvard_wreath_logo_1Harvard University is one of the most distinguished names in education. In addition to its brick and mortar classes, they offer a variety of online courses. In fact, a number of their courses are offered for free! If you would like to stoke your passions for Shakespeare, you can take a course on Hamlet. If you are interested in public health, check out the course on the Opioid Epidemic. There are hundreds of courses to choose from. You can browse and search on their website.

Be S.M.A.R.T. and set Goals for the New Year!

If you want to set some new year’s resolutions, try doing it the SMART way. Write down your goals and tweak them so that they are:

  • Specific: Clear & well-defined.
  • Measureable: Able to determine successful.
  • Agreed Upon: Agreed upon with all stakeholders.
  • Realistic: Within available resources, abilities, and time.
  • Timed-Based: A set deadline.

SMART goals are easier to achieve and measure. Give it a try!

3 Ways for Educators to use G-Suite Team Drives

At the end of September, Google released Drive for Teams. This is a new way to organize collaborative tools and folders within the existing Google Drive ethos.

Content ownership and sharing are managed at the team level, and new roles give more granular control over team content. Team Drives help streamline teamwork from end-to-end, from onboarding a new team member (add her to the team and she instantly has access to all of the work in one place) to offboarding a departing team member (remove him from the team and all of his work stays right in place), and everything in-between. –Google Cloud Blog

I’ve had the opportunity to play with Team Drives. It certainly has the potential to make my life as an educator a little easier. Here are three ways that educators can use Teams in their school:

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Courtesy of Google Cloud Blog

Collaborate across Division/Grade Level/Department

Educators do not work solo. Instead, we often work together and collaborate on many different levels. Using Google Teams, you can create digital, collaborative work spaces. If you are working with others at the division, grade, or department level, Drive for Teams is a great place to engage with your peers. You can share files, a Google Doc, and more. Additionally, no more hunting for that file or document that someone shared with you two months ago. It’s all in the same place!

Collaborate on Classes

If you team teach a class or want to collaborate with others who teach the same subject, Team Drive is a great place to do that! You can share educational resources (work sheets, lessons, projects, etc) and engage with your colleagues remotely. This is a great way to make collaboration easier.

Collaborate on Administrative Projects

Many educators have administrative duties. If you are working on a project with others, a Team Drive is a great place to organize and share resources. You can set up a team drive for each project, adding only those who are working on the project. You can share large files, images, Google Docs, and more.

Ultimately, I think that the new Teams features will add higher levels of usability and organization to the existing set of G-Suite Tools.

Why You Should Become a Google Certified Educator (That have Nothing to do with Badging).

If you look to the right of my page, you’ll notice that I have a handful of badges. One of them, is the Google Certified Educator badge. Collecting badges can be a nice way to show off (and teachers really need to toot their own horn once in a while). However, there are a lot of substantive reasons to take the plunge and become a Google Certified Educator that don’t involve the flashy badge.

Try Out New Google Tools

While you may be familiar with the whole set of G-Suite Tools, most of us spend the majority of our time on one or two (hint, hint – gmail and Google Docs). By becoming a Google Certified educator, you’re forced to learn more about the tools you may neglect. For example, when I went through my re-certification, I spent a lot more time learning about all of the cool things you could do with Google Sites! I was forced to spend more time in platforms I normally don’t use.

Learn new Tricks with your Favorite Tools

You may spend all day every day in Google Docs, but how deep do you really go? If you’ve been looking for an excuse to learn more automated tricks, studying for your Google Certified Educator exam can help you to delve more deeply into the tools that you use on a regular basis. Learn how to write code in Google Sheets, find add-ons for Google Docs, or create a self-graded quiz in Google Forms. No matter how well you know a tool, you can always learn more.

Get New Ideas for Using Tools in the Classroom

I was not a big fan of the previous iteration of Google Certified Educator exams. I felt that they focused on minutiae and rote memorization. Google really stepped it up on this new exam. Now, it’s interactive and requires real-world application. In fact, one or two of the questions gave me ideas for my own classroom. That’s probably what I like best about the new exam, you learn something while taking it.

Get Verification of Your Skills

You know your a Google guru, maybe your boss knows it as well. Now, you have proof! Nothing better than proving your abilities with something concrete! Okay, maybe that is a little bit of badging…

View & Access over 6,000 Photochrom Prints from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has published its collection of more than 6,000 photochrom pictures from the turn of the 20th century. The collection includes images from Europe, Asia, and North America from the 1890’s-1910.

You can view and access the collection here.

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Detroit Photographic Co. Chicago River elevators. ca. 1900. Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2008679501/. (Accessed November 15, 2016.)