Friday, October 31, 2014

Google Apps for Education Update Alert



As initially announced last month, this week we’ll be rolling out unlimited Drive storage to all Google Apps for Education schools at no charge.

Stay tuned for future updates on Google Apps Vault and enhanced auditing tools coming later this year to Google Apps for Education.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Google for Education Blog post

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: Get on board with StoryBoardThat!





StoryboardThat is an online tool that will allow you to create a storyboard using a drag and drop interface.  It offers many different scenes, such as, town, home, school, work, historical, US history, patterns, outdoors, and mythical and futuristic. Characters, shapes, textables, web and technology and your own images can be uploaded to the storyboard too.  There is an audio option that can be included in the storyboard.

In addition, when the storyboard is completed, you have a few different options on displaying it.  You can print it, view it as a slideshow, download the images, download as a Powerpoint presentation, or make it visible to the public.

This application even provides resources and activities for teachers to use in their classroom.  It can be used for narratives, grammar, characters, literary elements, life skills and much more.

Click on this link to view my storyboard that I experimented with.  Enjoy!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Screencastify and Chromebooks


Screencastify is a great extension that is available in the Chrome web store.  It will allow you to create videos or screen casts.  Instead of using Screencast-o-matic on my laptop, I wanted to use my new Chromebook.  I downloaded the Screencastify extension and created my short video in minutes! It was quick and easy to learn.  Here is my short, 'how to' video on reserving, editing, and deleting an event on a Google Calendar.




A great feature to Screencastify is that once you complete the video you create, it saves it in a folder called, 'Screencastify' in your Google Drive.



I would highly recommend downloading this extension and trying it.  You will not be disappointed!


  


Friday, October 24, 2014

Yes! Add-ons for Google Forms!



In the spirit of giving you even more flexibility and customization, we’re launching add-ons for Google Forms--new tools, created by developer partners, that bring even more features to your surveys (just like add-ons for Docs and Sheets).

Check out the growing list of available add-ons, several of which are particularly relevant for education, from the “Add-ons” menu in Forms, or by directly visiting the Forms add-ons store.

If you have already disabled add-ons for your domain in the Admin console, Forms add-ons will be defaulted off. To change this setting, click on Google Apps -> Drive > General Settings and check/un-check the “Allow users to install Google Docs add-ons” box.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

#ParentCamp South Jersey



Have you ever attended a ParentCamp?  Well, the first ParentCamp will be held at the William Davies Middle School in Mays Landing, New Jersey on November 15, 2014. If you are in South Jersey, I would highly recommend it!   

What is it?

ParentCamp is an un-conference where parents, teachers, students, and community members can come together and learn from one another about what is best for kids.  Traditional conferences vary from un-conferences in several ways. Parentcamp.org explains:

 

Traditional Conference

  • A speaker stands and delivers a presentation.
  • The audience participation is minimal.
  • The typical room setup is a presentation screen with the audience seated in rows facing the speaker.

 

Un-conference

  • The discussion leader sits among the group members to lead the discussion.
  • The expertise and experience “of the room” is harnessed from the start of the session.
  • Face-to-face perspective sharing leads to relationship-building, networking and a sense of “we’re all in this together.”

 

The un-conference setting allows all stakeholders to participate and learn from one another in a collaborative setting.  


To register for this event or for more information, please visit www.parentcamp.org.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Forms + Flubaroo = Success !!!




Did you know that you can use Google Forms for exit tickets, assessments, quizzes, or survey? It also can be used to track student growth.  Google Forms allows you to collect information from an audience where the information is saved in a spreadsheet.  Once the information is in the spreadsheet, it can be manipulated accordingly.  Some examples of that are, sorting, filtering, or including      
add-ons.

Login to your Google account and go to Drive.  Click on the 'Create' or 'New' button and select 'Forms'.

My recommendations for creating a Google Form:

  • at the top left side of the screen, rename the Form immediately
  • use the same form name (file name) for the name of the Form
  • type in directions
  • prompt the audience to type their names 
  • make important questions required
  • if this is a quiz, shuffle the question order
  • create and view responses in a new sheet, this is the default
  • show progress bar at the bottom of the quiz
  • share the link to the form on your webpage, Google Classroom group or Edmodo group, and shorten the link by putting a check in the checkbox

    Optional:

    • modify the Form layout by - 
      • inserting an image 
      • inserting a video 
      • inserting a header 
      • inserting a page break
      • select a user-friendly theme
    • go to a specific page based upon a response
    • type in 'help' text for the questions to clarify requirements of the question
    • un-check 'Submit link to submit another response'

    Once you send out your form and assuming it is a quiz, the teacher should take the assessment to fill in the answer key.  Once the assessment is completed, all of the data will be saved into a spreadsheet.  You can install the add-on called Flubaroo.  This add-on will grade the assessment.  

    Perform the following steps:
    • click on 'Add-ons' at the menu bar
    • search, install and accept the terms for  'Flubaroo'
    • click on 'Add-ons' from the menu bar, select 'Flubaroo', 'Grade Assignment'
    • step 1:  setup the grading assignment, points, etc for each question
    • step 2:  select the entry that is the answer key to the quiz
    • Flubaroo will create a new sheet called 'grades' with the list of the grades for each student.
    It is that easy!  In my opinion, the most time consuming part is thinking of questions to put on the quiz! I hope you find this post helpful!


    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Transfer Ownership of Google Document - Not Really!





    Have you ever wondered how to transfer ownership of a document from your private Google account to a Google Apps for Education account?  Well, legally, you cannot do this. Google will not allow you to transfer ownership of a document from a private gmail account to a Google Apps for Education account.  
    However, there is one way to work around with it.  Here's how:

    In your private gmail account:
    • Share the folder with the GAFE account. The folder should contain the files you want to transfer ownership.
    In your GAFE Account:
    • Go to your Google Drive
    • Click on 'Shared with Me'
    • Put a check mark in the checkbox for the folder you shared from your private gmail account
    • Click on 'Add to My Drive',
    • Now the folder will be listed under 'My Drive'
    • Click on 'My Drive'
    • Click on the folder
    • put a check mark in the checkbox for the files that are in the folder
    • Click on 'More', 'Make a Copy'
    • There will be two version of the file, one that is shared and one that is owned by the GAFE account
    • Create a new folder in the GAFE account
    • Move all the 'Copy of' files into the new folder
    • Rename the file(s) that is owned by the GAFE account, put a check in the checkbox, Click on 'More', 'Rename', assign a new name
    • Now all of the files you wanted to transfer ownership to are in your GAFE account and not shared with the private gmail account.
    You can go back into your private gmail account and remove the sharing permission on the folder.  If desired, you can delete the entire folder.

    Unfortunately, if you have many files and folders, this process can be very time consuming.  An alternate would be to just share the files and folders with your GAFE account and it will update the changes accordingly.   

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    New Features and Improvements of Google Classroom



    Google introduced new features for Classroom today.  A few features that are included are:


    • Invite students more easily with Groups
    • Mark assignments as "Done"
    • More Teacher Controls
    • Sort the class roster by first or last names
    • Export all grades

    Invite students more easily with Groups

    If you already have a Google Group set up for your class, you can now use that group to invite students to Classroom. 

    Mark assignments as "Done"

    Not all assignments require students to submit work online — like reading a chapter or conducting an experiment — so Google added the ability for students to simply mark assignments as "done" if there's nothing to turn in. The Assignments page is a bit easier for students to keep track of upcoming work. 

    More Teacher Controls

    Teachers can now set permissions for whether or not their class can post or comment in the stream, they can mute individual students from posting or commenting and can even view previously deleted items in the stream.

    Sort by first or last name
    And now teachers can also choose to sort students by first or last name, depending on their needs.

    Export all grades

    Teachers will now have the ability to download grades for all assignments at once, making it easier to export assignments to any gradebook. 

    To read the original blog post by Google for Education, click this link.



    Thursday, October 9, 2014

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014

    Google Classroom vs Edmodo



    In my opinion, Edmodo and Google Classroom are both considered to be a virtual classroom, they both serve the same purpose. They assist teachers with their classroom workflow and assist with managing classroom assignments.

    Both applications will allow teachers to post assignments and announcements, however, since Edmodo has been out for a longer time, it has more features that is not included in Google Classroom.

    One of the biggest advantages Edmodo has is it allows teachers to have a co-teacher account.  For example, if there are two teachers teaching together in one classroom, Edmodo allows you to share that group with both teachers.  In addition, it also allows you to create quizzes directly in the group, access a class calendar, and install apps from the Edmodo store.  Another advantage Edmodo has is Snapshot. Snapshot is aligned with the math and language arts common core standards and it allows teachers to create assessments for these subjects in grades 3-12.  Google Classroom, unfortunately does not have these features at this time, but I think Google will improve the Classroom application and have these or similar features eventually.

    However, if you are using Google Apps for Education in your school district, I would highly recommend using Google Classroom. It is much easier to hand out and manage assignments using the Classroom interface.  Classroom gives the teacher the option to allow students to view, edit, or make a copy of the document for each student.  If the teacher hands out an assignment and selects, 'make a copy for each student', it will put a copy of the document in each student's classroom folder in their Google Drive.  If the teacher selects, view or edit, it will keep one copy of the document and will allow the class to share the document.  Although, Edmodo allows you to integrate your Google Drive, I don't think it handles assignments that way.

    Furthermore, Google Classroom automatically creates classroom folders for both the students and the teacher in their Google Drive.  There is no need to use gClassFolders to manage student rosters and folders. Once the student joins the group, Classroom automatically handles this task for the teacher.  Edmodo does not interact with student folders.

    Another feature Google Classroom has is it allows the teacher and students to email each other.  Note, they are only allowed to email within their group.  This can be a great feature for communication and feedback on assignments or if a student is absent.

    Again, if your school district is using Google Apps for Education, all of the apps integrate well with Classroom.  In my opinion, it just makes sense to use it!

    In conclusion, I am introducing Google Classroom to many teachers in my school and some are embracing it, while others still prefer to use Edmodo, and that is okay.  I certainly do not want to force an application on teachers when they do not want to use it.  However, I feel it is up to the teacher to determine which application works best in their classroom.  I think they are both great tools and definitely should be utilized.

     

    Saturday, October 4, 2014

    Google Classroom in Action

    Mrs. Winkler's - 7th grade Language Arts Class

    Students and staff at the +William Davies Middle School seem to be adjusting well to Google Classroom.  I have had positive feedback from staff and students on using it.  They are surprised on how easy it is to learn and how intuitive it is with handling classroom assignments between teacher and student. 

    The picture above displays Mrs. Winkler's 7th grade students using a 1:1 initiative with their school issued netbooks.  In addition, we allow students to bring their own device to school.  Note:  there was one student who was using his phone to navigate to Google Classroom.  

    My learning goal for students is as follows:  "I" will demonstrate an understanding of how to use Google Classroom, where "I" is the student.

    My technology integration lesson for students include  following:
    • to login to their Google App for Education account
    • are introduced to Google Drive, docs, etc, file and folder management
    • to join a class using Google Classroom
    • to open an assignment in Google Classroom
    • to turn in, un-submit an assignment
    • post a comment or note to an announcement or assignment
    • understand the folder structure that is generated by Classroom
    • proper terminology associated with Classroom
    My training for staff on Google Classroom includes the following:
    • create groups for their classes
    • distribute the class code for the students
    • create announcements and assignments
    • grade assignments
    • comment on assignment
    • return the assignments
    • distribute attachments to students with view, edit, or make a copy for each student capabilities
    • understand the folder structure that is generated by Classroom 
    • attach links, videos, and files to the stream
    • obtain assignment details
    At the end of the lesson, I had students fill out my digital exit ticket.  This exit ticket is a Google Form and is another example of how Google Apps makes it efficient and easy to collect and analyze data. 

    So far, using Google Classroom in daily classroom activities is having a positive effect on both the students and teachers.  I will continue to encourage and support teachers who are willing to take the risk and "un-learn and "re-learn" the technology tool.  Although Classroom has only been out since August, in my opinion, using Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom will make the classroom workflow much more efficient and a teacher's life much easier!