Tag Archives: organization

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

The is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius

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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

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View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

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5 Ways to Be More Productive in the New Year With Evernote

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 3.26.14 PMIf you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I love Evernote! I’ve written about it several times:

Evernote: A Great Tool for Organizing Teachers & Students

Using Evernote to Go Paperless in the Classroom

Using Evernote for Research

Evernote is an excellent tool to help you organize your projects, ideas, notes, and more. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to be more organized, then check out these 5 great tips to help you become more organized and productive in the New Year with Evernote.

Getting Started with Evernote

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Evernote is one of the most popular organization platforms out there. If you’re not using it, I’m sure that you’ve heard of it.

If you have been wanting to try Evernote but haven’t been able to find the time to sit down with it, check out these great tutorials from Evernote themselves:

Getting Started with Evernote for Mac

Getting Started with Evernote for Windows Desktop

Getting Started with Evernote for Windows Phone

Getting Started with Evernote for Windows 8 (Touch)

Getting Started with Evernote for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

Getting Started with Evernote for Android

These introductions are simple, well organized, and easy to follow. They’re great for figuring out the basic ins and outs of Evernote!

Use Evernote to Work Smarter & Boost Productivity

5330351382_b13249418cEveryone knows that I’m a huge fan of Evernote. If you’ve wanted to use this amazing tool on a task but not sure how to get started, check out these great tips from Joshua Zerkel. After reading them, pick out a project and get started! Remember that Evernote is a free product that is cross-platform compatible!

Four Tips to Master Evernote on your iPhone

Four Tips to Use Evernote on your iPhoneI love Evernote.  I use it for just about everything and encourage my students to employ it in their studies to help them stay more organized. Today, Cult of Mac published a great “How To” for using Evernote on your iPhone. Be sure to check it out!

Evernote is a fantastically useful service, with clients for the web, Mac, PC, and iOS. The iOS version is as full featured as the desktop version, a rarity these days, and really makes Evernote my go-to app for keeping track of stuff of all kinds.

Here, then, are four fantastic tips and tricks to get the most out of the Evernote app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch….

Read the complete article here at Cult of Mac.

Using Evernote for Research

My students are currently working on two projects: a digital story and a research essay. Both of these assignments require ample amounts of research using a variety of sources – books, academic journals, and yes, even websites. This time around, I took a moment to show my students Evernote, a handy little tool for organizing, well, everything. Better yet, it’s free! If you’re not familiar with Evernote, check out this introductory video below and be sure to visit their website.

I find Evernote especially useful to students who are trying to organize a variety of media for some type of presentation or research project. Its great search features and innate organizational tools help even the most disorganized student to “keep it together.”

For these particular assignments, I like to encourage my students to create a notebook for their project “Research Essay” or “Digital Story” will all work well. This is where they will store all of the material that they find for their topic.

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Next, I make sure that they have downloaded and installed Evernote’s webclipper. This allows you to save anything that you pull up online – images, documents, videos, etc. It goes right into  the folder that you select.

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 8.28.45 AMNow you may think “I don’t want them to just use the web.” However, remember, that many traditional resources are now digitized! Virtually all academic journals are hosted online via repositories like JSTOR. Many books are also hosted digitally via institutional databases or resources such as Google Books or Project Gutenberg. Even for those resources that are in traditional “paper” format, students can take pictures with their smart phones (preferably using a document scanner like Genius Scan that will enhance the images and store them as a grouped PDF) and then send those materials off to the same Evernote folder!

One of the best features of using the web clipper is that it includes the information students need to cite their sources. A struggle for many beginning scholars is that they are just learning about citation and copyright. Often, they do not realize they are missing key information until later, when they are formulating a bibliography or works cited page. This can be detrimental if the resource is no longer available or, worse yet, they don’t know where they found it! However, with Evernote and the Evernote clipper, it’s now all at their fingertips on any device (their computer, smart phone, or tablet). It’s phenomenal!

Perhaps the greatest feature of using Evernote and Evernote webclipper is that it truly does save time and energy. Instead of copy and pasting content and URL’s (hoping not to forget anything) into another document that you then email to yourself or put in the cloud, it’s all simply one click. Literally! Click it (perhaps add some notes and/or a few tags) and you’re done! Finito! Fertig! It’s all stored for you to go back and read over, think about, and organize into a final working piece.

I can tell you, I’ve never seen a piece of technology picked up as quickly as Evernote when my students begin their work on a new research project. Now… if I could just get them as eager about it when organizing their general course notes…. Perhaps a post for next time?

Teaching Students to Use Technology to stay Organized & Study – a Case Study

This past weekend my school, Trinity Valley, gave me the opportunity to teach a one day Saturday enrichment course for students that focused on using technology to help them stay organized, manage their materials, and take their work on the go. The course was entirely voluntary and students could attend portions of the day. I organized it into three sections:

9-11 Organization

11-1 Study Skills & Tools

1-3 Mobile Tools, taking it on the go!

I was pleasantly surprised about the interest. I had 19 students sign up for the class and ultimately 16 attended. Additionally, there was a sports conflict. I had numerous students message me asking for a second offering as they could not attend. Interest was high (especially as there was no extra credit or mandatory attendance).

I built a Google Site (that you can see here) for the course, telling students the programs that I would be using and requesting that they sign up for accounts and download applications in advance.

Many of the programs had some overlap for organization and study. Largely, I wanted students to get familiar with a variety of powerful tools and then choose one or two that they could then focus on and, hopefully, implement in their own studies and daily life.

Applications I Highlighted

install_graphic-vflx6Z89XDropBox –  It is an excellent cloud storage program that you can use to sync content across devices and platforms. If you would like more information on DropBox, see:

Evernote – Evernote is a program that will allow you to ‘remember everything,’ – you can input notes by hand, pictures, voice notes, to do lists, clips from websites, and more. Evernote syncs logoacross platforms and devices. For more information on Evernote, see:

imagesGoogle Calendar – A free calendar resources that allows you to sync across platforms, collaborative calendar, set reminders (that will even pop up on your cell phones), and more. For help on how to get started on Google Calendar, see:

unnamedGoogle Drive – Incorporating Google Docs as well as 5GB of free Cloud storage, create and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and more. To learn more about using Google Drive, see:

MindMeister – MindMeister is a collaborative, online mind mapping tool that has recently been merged with Google Drive! It is one of my favorite classroom tools. To learn more about MindMeister, see:

In addition to these specific tools, I discussed other mobile options for students to use on their Smart Phones or Tablets such as Electronic Student Planners and Smart Phone Document Scanners as well as Flash Card makers. All of these tools can help to further empower your Smart Phone as a truly comprehensive and malleable computing device.

The Scavenger Hunt

To help students learn about each of these programs, I devised an interactive scavenger hunt. The winner of which would get a prize (iTunes card, Evernote Premium Subscription, etc). If you are interested in looking at those further, I will post them below.

DropBox Scavenger Hunt

Evernote Scavenger Hunt

Calendar Scavenger Hunt

Google Drive Scavenger Hunt

MindMeister Scavenger Hunt

What I Will Change Going Forward (aka – What Did I Learn?)

The first thing that I learned is that six straight hours of work shop teaching is way too much! I think that if I offer the course again, I will limit it to four hours. The mobile element can really be incorporated into the rest of the lessons and doesn’t need its own unit.

Also, it is important to remember that software doesn’t operate in the same way on all of the same platforms. Some of the instructions I gave were not applicable on an iPad or accessible at all on a Microsoft Surface. While it likely is not feasible to be able to prepare a separate lesson for each device, it’s important to realize that a student will not be able to use all of the features on every device.

All in all, I think that the program was a success and I would love to offer it again applying what I learned the first time around.