Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert

Google Apps update alerts

Link to Google Apps update alerts

Posted: 30 Mar 2015 02:58 PM PDT
People using Google Sheets will now have more powerful conditional formatting options. This launch will add the following features:

  • Ability to add gradient conditional formatting rules (e.g. green -> orange, where the lowest numbers are shaded green and the highest are shaded orange, with gradient shades in between)
  • More style choices like bolding, striking through, and italicizing text based on conditional formatting rules
  • A new look for the conditional formatting editing pane
  • Import/export of color scale conditional formatting


Conditional formatting can be added by highlighting the relevant cells and selecting Format > Conditional formatting from the menus.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Help Center

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates
Posted: 30 Mar 2015 02:42 PM PDT
Google Drive allows you to store and access your files anywhere—on the web, on your hard drive, or on the go. We’re now making it easier to store and organize your photos and videos in Google Drive as well.

Moving forward, people using Google+ Photos will see their photos and videos automatically in Google Drive. They will appear in a new menu item called Google Photos, and can be shared, moved, and renamed like any other Drive file:


This feature will start rolling out for consumers today in Drive for Android, iOS and the web, and will roll out gradually to Apps customers in the coming weeks. A notification in Drive will give people the option to add a Google Photos folder to My Drive, allowing them to manage their photos and videos alongside other types of files if they so choose. Existing Google+ Photos users will notice their photos and videos available in Drive in the coming weeks.

Note: photos and videos backed up to Drive via Auto Backup will not count towards storage quota, but Apps users may want to review their Google+ Photos Auto Backup settings to avoid inadvertent syncing to their corporate Drive account.

See the Help Center for more information on organizing, syncing and deletion options.

Release track:
Rapid release (gradual rollout) starting in the coming weeks, with Scheduled release to follow two weeks after rollout to Rapid. See the release calendar for specific dates as they are available.

For more information:
Help Center
Get the latest Google Drive apps from Google Play and the App Store
Drive blog post

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates
Posted: 30 Mar 2015 02:11 PM PDT
A new version of the Gmail app for Android is now available on Google Play. New features include:
  • All your inboxes in one place―view all your mail at once, regardless of whether it’s from your work or personal accounts, using the new “All Inboxes” option. This way you can read and respond to all your messages without having to hop between accounts.
  • Conversation View―if you’ve set up separate inboxes in Gmail for your Yahoo, Outlook.com and other IMAP/POP accounts, messages in these accounts will appear neatly stacked as one conversation, just like your Gmail messages.
  • Smarter Search―searching in the Gmail app for Android now comes with better auto-complete, so you can find what you need even faster.
  • Other helpful features―larger attachment previews to help you see what’s inside, the ability to save to Drive with a single tap, and new animations that make opening and closing conversations more smooth.

Note: The search auto-complete feature is not available for Google Apps for Government customers

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Get the latest Gmail app for Android on Google Play

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Inaugural EdCampSoJersey a HUGE Success!

"If you build it, he will come!"  That line is from the 1989, The Field of Dreams movie starring Kevin Costner.  All I can say is, it is true!  The inaugural EdCamp South Jersey event was a huge success! We had 137 attendees, a full session board, and most importantly, we had a great day learning and sharing with other educators, administrators, technology staff, parents and students

Considering this was the first Edcamp in Southern New Jersey, I was surprised to see the session board fill up quickly!  People stepped out of their comfort zone to present on a topic they were passionate about.   It was amazing to see the session board come alive! The sessions ranged from technology, STEM, digital portfolios, to special education topics to bridging the gap between teachers and administrators and much more!. Click on the link to access the session board. 

One of the sessions I attended was on 3D printing by Kevin Jarrett. I learned so much in this session.  I was curious about creating my own 3D images.  He suggested to use Tinkercad or SketchUp to perform this task.  He had everyone create a Tinkercad account and we went over a few features of the application.  He also explained how to change the filament in a 3D printer, and also printed out a 3D object on the Makerbot Replicator printer.  

The next session I attended was on Gamificiation by Chris Aviles.  He demonstrated his grading system by increasing the points for questions, quizzes, and assessments, He explained how he redefined his terminology to reflect a gaming atmosphere. It really put a new twist and a different perspective on traditional grading and classroom assignments.

Another session I attended was Dave Zirkle's session on Maker Meetup.  He explained the process of taking old and/or broken toys, computers, and electronic devices, and restores them into working robots.  He modeled the parts needed to rebuild a broken toy and also explained how to code and download it to the toy.


Finally, my session was on the importance of digital portfolios.  Cynthia Leatherwood and I presented different methods of using digital portfolios.  She uses it to keep a writing portfolio for her students.  Cynthia has her students create and share folders with her so that she has access to her student's writing assignments using Google Drive.  I use digital portfolios to track technology literacy for the 8th grade students by using a digital portfolio template that I created in Powerpoint and Google Slides.  Students must insert their assignments into the digital portfolio template in which I grade.  The template is outlined with section requirements and specifications.  Click here to view the digital portfolio template in Google Slides.

In conclusion, it was an awesome day!  There were new friends made, and some were reunited with old colleagues.  However, I know for certain, there was a lot learning taking place within the walls of the William Davies Middle School that day.  

The Davies Technology Department - Reunited

Some of the Edcamp South Jersey Organizers

Thank you to all the organizers who made this event a true success.  I enjoyed working with everyone and I look forward to planning the second #Edcampsojersey event in March 2016. 

Click here to view more pictures from Edcamp South Jersey

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tech Tip Tuesday: Looping in Google Slides

If you are wondering how you can continuously loop through a Google Slide presentation, no need to look any further, just follow the directions below.

  • Open up the Google Slide presentation
  • Select 'File' from the menu bar
  • Select 'Publish to the web' from the drop down menu
  • on the next screen, make sure 'Start slideshow as soon as the player loads' and 'Restart the slideshow after the last slide' is checked off
  • then copy the URL address of the presentation and paste it into your object or in a new window of your browser.
  • You are done!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert

Google Apps update alerts

Link to Google Apps update alerts

Posted: 20 Mar 2015 11:03 AM PDT
Today we’re announcing a new feature that will allow Google Apps admins to automatically notify their users of any newly installed app from Google Apps Marketplace. After installing a Marketplace app from the Admin console, admins will have an opportunity to choose whether to send a notification to their users to inform them about the newly available app:

The notification will only appear to the people in the OU or domain for which the app has been installed. The notification will appear in each person’s Notification Center and will describe how to access and launch the app:

Note that for domains not currently using Google+ and potentially unfamiliar with this kind of notification, the Notification Center icon will appear in the Google One Bar whether admins opt to utilize the post-install notification feature or not. This area will be used for notifications from other Google Apps moving forward, so admins may want to inform their users of this UI change in advance of this launch.

This new feature will be gradually rolled out to all domains starting the week of March 30th.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release (gradual rollout), starting the week of March 30th

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates
Posted: 20 Mar 2015 09:58 AM PDT
Last year we launched add-ons, tools created by developer partners that provide even more helpful features in your documents, spreadsheetsand forms. Previously, the ability to install add-ons was controlled centrally by Google Apps admins in the Admin console, but users retained ultimate control of choosing which individual add-ons to install or remove.

Today we’re releasing a couple of updates to help developers share their add-ons with an even wider audience and give Google Apps admins more consistent control over which add-ons are used in their organizations.

Developers can now choose to make their add-ons for Docs, Sheets and Forms available for installation across entire domains, which automatically creates a Google Apps Marketplace listing that is easy for customers to find. Admins can then install these handy add-ons for their whole organization using just a couple of clicks.

Admins will continue to have a “disable add-ons” option for their users, but they can also whitelist add-ons via the Google Apps Marketplace for their entire domain or a specific team. Check out the Help Center for details on the available options.

Keep in mind that it will take some time for add-on developers to publish their apps for domain-wide installation, so you might not find all your favorite add-ons in the Apps Marketplace yet.

Note: this launch will not impact existing add-on installation settings.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Help Center
Google for Work blog post

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert

Posted: 18 Mar 2015 02:09 PM PDT
New versions of the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps are coming to Google Play today. New features include:

  • Reading view in Docs: hides the formatting toolbar, allowing for scrolling through documents with more room to read. To edit or make formatting changes, just tap the blue pencil icon.
  • Performance improvements

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Get the latest Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps on Google Play
Google Docs G+ post

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

EdCampSoJersey is coming to South Jersey!

Edcamp South Jersey will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at the William Davies Middle School in Mays Landing, NJ.  This will be the first Edcamp held in this area.  

Edcamps are a unique way to provide professional development because they are informal and encourage a conversation.  

During the event, attendees will make new friends, share lesson ideas, teaching methods, technology integration tools, and much more.  The session board will become populated during the morning of the event, and people will start to fill the classrooms to join conversations on various topics.  It truly is a conversation, not a presentation!  In addition, for some reason you do not like the session you are in, simply leave and find another session that will better accommodate you. 

Edcamp South Jersey is:

  • free
  • non-commercial and conducted with a vendor-free presence
  • hosted by any organization interested in furthering the edcamp mission
  • made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event
  • events where anyone who attends can be a presenter
  • reliant on the “law of two feet” that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

Visit the Smore to Explore EdCamp South Jersey.
Visit the EdCamp South Jersey website.
Register for your FREE Ticket!

The William Davies Middle School is located in Mays Landing, NJ which is southern New Jersey and is about 20 minutes north of Atlantic City.  Here is a map of the location.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Quick Understanding of the SAMR Model

SAMR stands for Substitution Augmentation Modification and Redefinition.  It is a model and common language that teachers can use to evaluate how they implement technology into their classrooms.  It can be used as a reflection tool on technology integration.

Here are examples of apps or tech tools that fit into the SAMR model.

The +William Davies Middle School is a front runner on using technology.  Every teacher has a laptop and their classroom has an Elmo document camera and a projector.  The students in 7th and 8th grade are 1:1 using Dell Netbooks with Windows 7 and 6th grade students are sharing Google Chromebooks.  We are a Google Apps for Education school and a BYOD school.  

Many teachers feel more comfortable using technology than others.  The teachers who are not tech savvy may be in the substitution stage, which is fine.  As a Technology Integration Coach, I give them praise, encouragement, ideas and support to use and try new technology tools that will engage students and make their lessons more tech based.  Teachers who are tech savvy, are leaders and encourage one another to try using tools in the modification and/or redefinition levels.  However, technology should never replace teaching, it should be used as a tool to enhance learning.  

Here are the definitions and examples of using the SAMR model:

Substitution:  Technology acts as a direct substitution tool, with no functional change. Teachers and students use new tech tools to replace old ones, for example, MS Word with Google Docs.  
  • Dictionary.com
  • Google Docs
Augmentation:  Technology acts as a direct substitution tool, with functional improvement.  
  • Haiku Deck
  • Google Docs
Modification:  Technology allows for task design.  Tasks are being completed using technology. Technology is being used  more effectively, redesign new parts of the task and transform student learning.  
  • QR codes
  • Audioboom
  • Google Docs and collaboration
Redefinition:  Technology allows for the creation of new tasks that were not previously foreseen.  It is the highest level.
  • Google Apps for Education
  • Google Classroom
  • Edmodo
  • Voicethread

More information on the SAMR model can be found at:
EdTechChat BamRadio Network
Common Sense Media
Kathy Schrock, A Guide to Everthing - SAMR
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert

Link to Google Apps update alerts

Posted: 10 Mar 2015 02:46 PM PDT
Sending and receiving emails is something we all do many times a day, and it nearly always works flawlessly. When something does go wrong, however, it’s not always clear that there is even a problem and, once identified, it can be very difficult to determine the problem’s root cause.

With today’s launch, we’re adding greater transparency for Google Apps admins into any mail flow issues that arise with Email alerts. These alerts can be managed by admins in the Admin console and will trigger email notifications to super admins (or other designated recipients) around the following potential mail failures (see Help Center for more details):

  • Exchange journaling failure
  • Smarthost failure
  • TLS failure


Mail flow notifications can be managed in the Admin console under the Reports > Manage Alerts > Email section.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Help Center

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates
Posted: 10 Mar 2015 10:55 AM PDT
Last year we brought you the new Google Calendar app for Android, built to save you time and help you make the most of every day. Today, we’re bringing the new Google Calendar to iPhone:

Just like on Android, you’ll get the following features:
  • Assists, which make suggestions that save you time creating events.
  • Schedule View, which makes your calendar easy to scan and lovely to look at. 

Plus, Google Calendar for iPhone works with any calendars you've already set up on your phone.

The Calendar app for iPhone is available now in the App Store.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Help Center
Google for Work blog post
Get the new Calendar app in the App Store

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tech Tip Tuesday: E-Signature in Google Drive

The original post is from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Both of these apps are integrated with Google Drive so you can work seamlessly on the files hosted there.

1- HelloSign

HelloSign allows you to easily sign your Drive documents online.”Choose any file in Google Drive and add your signature (or text, date, checkmark, etc.)  It’s that simple. You can sign and send any type of document (PDF, Word, Excel, etc.).” You can also use it to request signatures from others. You simply upload the document you want others to sign then assign the signature field and send off your request. When you integrate HelloSign with your Drive, you will get a special folder in your Drive for your signed documents and signature requests.

2- DocuSign

Similar to HelloSign, DocuSign also enables you to easily sign your documents and PDFs online. You can also use it to fill out forms and collect signature from others. “With just a few clicks, you can sign or send any document for signature right from Google Drive or Gmail. No printing, faxing, scanning, or overnighting required.”  Watch the video below to learn more about DocuSign

Monday, March 9, 2015

Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning Day
is on Friday, March 13th

Digital Learning Day is about giving every child the opportunity to learn in a robust digital environment everyday, with the goal of success in college and a career.

During this event, I thought it would be a cool idea to use a new and/or different tool in your classroom.

Some of the ideas are

  1. Backchanneling using Today’s Meet
  • Instead of writing, have students participate in a digital classroom discussion.
  • Give your room a name
  • Select the duration of the room
  • Hit ‘Create Room’ button
  • Enter your name and press ‘Join’
  • Enter your message and press ‘Say’
  • Copy the URL address and paste it into Edmodo or Google Classroom so the students can access it.
  • Students do not need an account.
  • The teacher would have to moderate it to make sure students stay on task.

2.  Presentation tool using Voicethread
  • easy to collaborate and share

  • Have your students build a building, town, or city with this application.  
  • Recommend students to use the Chrome browser.
  • Students do not need an account.

4.  Flip your classing using Nearpod or Socrative
  • You can create a student response presentation and assign it to your students.
  • Students do not need to create an account.
  • Just share the presentation code with students and they will join it.
  • Students can access your presentation on ANY device.

5. Digital Storytelling with StoryBoardThat
  • students can create a digital story

  • will bring characters to life by documenting their journey.
  • allows students to virtually follow along with a book.

7. Start Writing with Inklewriter
  • Help students write and publish interactive stories.

8. Study with Quizlet or Google Forms and Flippity
  • Create flashcards, practice quizzes and games to help students study.

9.  Create concept maps with Popplet, Text2MindMap, or Google Drawings.

10. Classroom Connection with Skype or Google Hangout
  • Teacher will need to create an account.  

11. Create QR Codes with Goo.gl or Kaywa
  • allow students to quickly go to a website by scanning a QR Code
  • create book reviews or videos

12. Allow students to create a website using Google Sites to portray their work.

  • allows students to create interactive pictures.
  • Can be used for landmarks, periodic table of elements, book/character reviews
  • Many possibilities

15. Canva

  • is a free-to-use design software where you can choose from a wide selection of free images from the library or you can upload your own image.