Recently I was notified that all my hard work had finally paid off! I am officially, Google for Education Certified Trainer. They are some of the most challenging and time consuming exams I have ever taken! It was all worth the effort, nothing ventured-nothing gained. You may be wondering what on earth does this get me? To be honest, it doesn't change my game plan. However, with this certification I must keep up with the updates, changes, and additions to Google for Education. This will help me better serve my community. Staying on top of things in the Google World helps me make others Googley!
It is very rare that a website that is totally awesome finds me instead of the other way around! This morning, as with every Monday morning, my inbox is overwhelmingly full of emails that were in need of some type of correspondence. In there amongst the typical emails, I found a message from Sophie. She was asking me if I would be will to promote their Internet safety ideas by sharing a link their website through my website. So, doing what any responsible teacher would do, I took time to check it out. I wasn't going to share any link with my teachers, students, and parents without investigation. My first thought was how the heck did they know I had a website, we are, after all just a very small school district in a small town. Upon reviewing I found a wealth of information on how to keep kids safe on-line. It is just the thing that we promote all year long! Also, with a deadline approaching for the monthly school newsletter article, this was perfect timing. I can make the deadline with something important to share with the parents and I will be pleased to add a link to Comparitech on my website but not only that, I gave a shout-out to them on Twitter! It is I who should be thanking them for finding me in a small school district in a small suburban town!
I like finding helpful websites for students and teachers. It seems like the best ones are the ones I find accidently or just happen to stumble across while I am researching something totally unrelated. There is so much information, "educational" websites, lesson plans, etc. on the WWW it is very time consuming to pick through it all to find items that are relevant. I find it incredibly satisfying when 1. someone else has already sorted through the trash for me (that's when Twitter, blogs, and vloggers come in handy) or 2. something has come about by simply clicking on a link from one of those resources mentioned in #1. So, without anymore talking here is what I found!
Kids have a curiosity that is good for learning about everything in this world, from What Happens When You Swallow Gum to Why are Some Lakes Pink. Wonderopolis answers what kids are curious about. I love it! Have you ever wondered how schools were created, or why water boils faster at low atomic pressure? Those are actual questions asked by kids and answered by experts. Give it a try, search for one thing and I bet in no time you'll be searching for the meaning of life.
The second website I accidently found via some blog or lesson plan page somewhere in cyperspace is...(it was so hard to find that I had to go search through my research to find it again but now I am back with the link)...Reach Out Reporter brings science resources into primary classrooms or home or wherever! Wherever you are right now click on the link. You will find news updates, articles, and videos that are science related, kid friendly, and most of all interesting, current, and relevant. Teachers will wonder how they lived this long without it and kids will thank you.
Let me know if you find anything interesting and worth sharing accidently or on purpose! I would love to hear from you and share your findings with others.
It seems we are stuck in the Google it stage. There are many kid friendly search engines designed to keep our kids and students safe while online. I had some time the other day and started experimenting with some search engines and here are the results. I took one word, penguins, and put it in the search box or omnibox (Google's term because it does so much more than just searching).
This is by no means a complete list, there are numerous search engines available for young and old. It is simply your preference. I did turn Google Safe Search On and found no difference in the results with Safe Search turned off, this may not be the case with all searched.
It has been awhile since I entered a blog post! There really isn't a good excuse, I am just not in the habit of doing it, yet. Of course I have been busy preparing the students for their PARCC assessments, which started this week. Thankfully, Spring break has rejuvenated most of us and we are ready to administer the yearly assessment.
When I am not preparing the students or teachers for yearly assessments, teaching GAFE, or showing off the newest and greatest digital learning tool, I like to surf the web and find these new tools. My down time includes watching tutorial videos, playing with learning games, learning a new Google skill or shortcut ( cmd+D cmd+F and cmd+shift+T my personal favorites), reading blogs, etc. All is the name of keeping learning fresh and using meaningful tools.
Here are a few of my go-to sites:
Richard Byrne has a fabulous blog and it is chock full with current, useful, free tech stuff! Here is the link to his blog, I also follow him on Twitter (that too is a great resource). freetech4teachers
Another one of my favorites was or is the Gooru. Recently they went to a new website with a different format, I am still not sure how I feel about it, I haven't liked it so far but change is a process not an event. I signed up to receive e-mail updates on everything Google (there is more than Google) or you can follow the Gooru on YouTube or Twitter, here is the new website: The Gooru on BetterCloudMonitor
Finally, I have watched Common Sense Media expand over the past couple of years. There are now this technology integration resource jungle! Known now as Graphite, there you can find information, lessons, and resources for topics such as: Internet Safety, Bullying and Cyberbullying, Research, all the Core Subjects, and so much much more! Check Graphite out!
Have fun checking out these resources, I know they will be helpful to you in your classroom. Enjoy!
I came across a video recently and I saw similarities between the students in the video and our students. We are very fortunate to have the amount of technology that we do at each school. The students get the opportunity to use iPads, Apple Laptops, and Chromebooks and giving them a choice can be more beneficial to their learning strengths. I have always liked giving my students various ways of showing mastery and it amazed me what some students are capable of creating, but they have to be given the chance. Using Google Apps for Education is an easy way for students to communicate, collaborate, and share their thoughts and ideas but it is also good for allowing them a choice when doing an assignment or project, making slides vs. a video, typing a paper vs. creating a blog, let them experiment, you too may be amazed!
One school took it a step further, here’s their story:
My Favorite GAFE Updates in 2015
There have been many updates in Google in 2015 and choosing only 5 for this article proved difficult. If you are new to Google Apps For Education then your choices were probably a little easier to make. I decided to choose one from each main GAFE. Here they are in no particular order:
Voice Typing- Compose documents using your voice! It works in 40 different languages and on your computer or mobile device. Check under tools tab in Google Docs to give it a try.
Prevent viewers from copying, printing, or downloading your documents. You will find this option under ADVANCED in the “share” menu. Some of the functions that will not be available to viewers once the owner's settings have been checked off are:
There have been so many changes to Google Classroom this year that choosing my favorite has proven to be the most challenging. Honorable mention goes to: adding a folder automatically in my Drive, adding another teacher, and being able to add material in more than one classroom. My favorite is, the ability to post in Classroom and having it save as automatically as a draft. Now a lesson can be created ahead of time and then post the assignment, announcement, question, etc. at a later date!
The new and improved Gmail search. In the past the search option did not give you results from your Spam or Trash, now it does and let’s you know that is where it was found. Let’s face it, we have all trashed something that should not have been trashed, and if you are like me, I never look in my Spam folder for an important e-mail! Important doesn't end up in my Spam folder often in Gmail but nothing is perfect, not even the Google algorithm for mail.
Check Google Calendar
Since we are on the subject of accidentally trashing something. Google Calendar
now has a way to recover deleted events. You can now restore single or recurring
events. You can find deleted events for each calendar under the drop down next to the calendar and click on “trash”. Check out the next screen shot to locate the "trash". Click on trash and restore your deleted event(s).
That does it for my list for last year. I am sure that this year will bring many exciting changes to Google Apps for Education. I will bring you changes each month in this newsletter and you can get all the latest updates from Google for mobile and computer here.
If your students are writing in Google Docs and sharing all their documents with you, your Google Drive is going to be inundated with documents. The best advice I can offer is to have your students create a writing folder in their Google Drive, label it writing, and have them share the folder with you. You can make a class writing folder in your Google Drive and drag all your students' folders into your folder. As long as your students are writing documents in their writing folders they will automatically be shared with you.
When it is time to correct all those documents and you find yourself constantly typing the same comment over and over, there are a few things you can do to save yourself some time. The shortcut for inserting a comment in a Google Doc is cmd+option+m, it may only save a few seconds at a time but they will add up. Another time- saver would be to create a document with frequently used comments, then you could copy and paste, (cmd +c (copy) cmd+v (paste)), your comments instead of continually typing the same thing again and again. Below is a video from Caitlyn Tucker that will show how to add "shortcuts" that you can create in preferences under your tools tab in Google Docs.
I hope these were helpful.
As most of you know I attended MassCUE last week in Foxboro. I had stopped by many vendor booths during my 2 days at the conference and signed my contact information numerous times hoping to receive resources that I deemed, "worthy to share". As I was sifting through my mountain of digital mail I did come across some useful resources in between the "upgrade", "free trial", and "freeiums" (you know those sites that are only free for a certain amount of time or are strictly limited unless you pay). I will spare you all the nonsense and get to good stuff.
Join people around the world and teach our children Digital Citizenship! It's all about keeping kids safe! For more information on #HaveTheTalk visit Common Sense Media.