If you haven’t been to Google Arts & Culture lately (previously Google Art Project), then check out some of the new features. I recently discovered that you can organize and search by: Historical events, Historical figures, and Places. As a history and social studies teacher, this is a great feature. For example, if I’m teaching Ancient History, I can do a search for Alexander the Great and pull up a series of images, maps, quotes, and more that are in the Google Arts & Culture database. Likewise, I can search for his famous victory during the Battle of Issus and pull up corresponding works of art. It’s a great tool to explore visual resources on various topics.
“Innovation” — there’s a reason it’s a provocative and powerful topic in the landscape of education. Public, Charter, and Independent Schools are all feeling the pressure from disruptive innovation as well as turning to innovative practices to solve curricular, financial, and recruitment woes. The reality is, we are living in an ever-shifting landscape. Traditional routes of career readiness are no longer reliable, previously “safe” jobs (think accountants, lawyers, and doctors) are now seeing job security fade away, and “traditional” schooling is coming under more scrutiny. The cost of university education is having many individuals rethink the options of pursuing higher education given the relatively flat career landscape facing them on graduation. As such, schools are now looking at innovative practice to help them solve these problems – how can they prepare their students for the jobs of the future (especially if we don’t know what those jobs are)? As a Technology Leader, I am often a part of conversations about innovation. This is not to say that innovation is all about technology, but radical innovation often encompasses employing new technologies. Innovation is challenging… it’s hard. Why? Because it necessitates culture shift and “organizational culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner” — Peter Drucker.
Facing the challenges of innovation in my career and public life, I am especially excited about attending this year’s ATLIS conference in Los Angeles, California (April 24-26) as its theme is “Magic Magic Happen” and its focus is on innovation. I know that I will be inspired by the keynote speeches of Jaime Casap (Educational Evangelist) and Tim Fish (Chief Innovation Office of NAIS); both of them have worked with Independent Schools, helping them to innovate their curriculum and institutions. Looking at the posted schedule, I’m excited to learn more about innovative curriculum enhancements such as incorporating coding into the whole curriculum, implementing gamification, and creating new educational spaces, such as maker spaces in the library. Even better than learning about these initiatives, I’m especially excited to learn how to support them at my institution through transformative professional development and creating & fostering a culture of change.
This year’s ATLIS conference is the most exciting yet. If you are exploring innovative curriculum and technologies in your school, this is the year to attend! You can still register on the ATLIS website.
I am regularly helping people become more acclimated with Google tools. Recently, I went back over to the G-Suite Learning Center and was amazed at its complete overhaul, robust features, and ease of access and use. The new learning center focuses not only on teaching users about its tools, but helping them to migrate from common platforms such as Exchange. Information is organized in a variety of ways: tool, tips and tricks, switching from Microsoft, and (my favorite) use at work.
If you’re responsible for training people on G-Suite, this is a great resource for you. For example, if you want to do a training on GMail, select the “GMail” option under “Learn by Product.” You will find a variety of useful instructions, including the “Cheat Sheet” which includes instructions for performing basic functions in GMail.
Perhaps the best feature of these resources is that it updates when Google Updates. No more scrambling to create new training resources after the release of a new feature or, worse yet, an updated look! Everything you need is in G-Suite Training.
A few months ago, Google began testing a new feature in its Enterprise suite – Team Drives.
Google Team Drives are shared spaces where teams can easily store, search, and access their files anywhere, from any device. Unlike files in My Drive, files in Team Drive belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay exactly where they are so your team can continue to share information and get work done.
If you are incorporating more project based learning into your classroom, Team Drives are a great way for students to collaborate and share, especially on robust projects. In addition to creating content, they can use it to store materials, bibliographies, media, and more. Additionally, as everyone in the group “owns” the product, you don’t run into a problem when one of them tries to submit content via Google Classroom.
To learn more about Team Drives in G-Suite, click here. If you do not yet see it as an option for your G-Suite account, contact your administrator.
If you are anything like me, your Google Drive is a bit of a mess. No matter how much I try to keep it organized, documents and files find their way outside of my carefully crafted and structured filing system. This isn’t just an issue for my Google Drive account. I have this problem in general.
Well, the benefit of using Google Drive for your file storage is that you get to use Google’s Search features within you Drive. If you type a key term (like the document title) in the Google Drive Search Bar, it will pull up all files with that title and it will also search within the document for key terms. If you would like to narrow your search further, you can edit features such as: owner (to find that file shared with you by someone else), shared with (to find that document you’re collaborating on), file-type, dated modified, and more.
So, even if you’re terrible at organization (like I am), you can always find the file that you’re looking for!
The new Google Forms allows you to create self-grading quizzes right within the form (no need for an add-on!). This is a great way to create bell-ringers, exit tickets, or quick assessments. Creating a self-graded form is easy!
First, create a new Google Form and give it a title. Next enter your questions (for auto-grading, they will need to be in the form of multiple-choice, check boxes, or drop-down. Once you have created your quiz, click on the settings button (the gear shaped icon in the top right). Select the “Quizzes” tab and toggle on “Make this a Quiz.”
Next you can select when students will see their scores and if they can answers they left blank.
Next, you will need to set your answer key. At the bottom of questions you have already created or new ones that you create, there will be a blue “Answer Key.” Click on this button. You will then select the right answer(s) that will be used as the key. You can also set the number of points each question is worth.
Once you have set all of your answers and point values, the quiz is ready to go! You can share with students via email, link, or even QR code!
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 does 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.