Thursday, December 8, 2016

Going Chrome

So your school is going Chrome and Chrome Book!  Wow, this may seem scary at first, but once you get use to Chrome - you will LOVE it!  The big change has to do with mindset. Yes, I am talking about growth mindset.  It is working from a stationary location like your desktop computer at home or work to taking all your work and putting it in The Cloud.  So, we are going to start with some basics questions I am asked regularly.


What is The Cloud?

The Cloud refers to Cloud Computing and has nothing to do with the weather.  Merriam-Websters Dictionary defines Cloud Computing as "the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer." Translation - in education settings most school that go Chrome use the G Suite for Education, also referred to as Google Apps for Education.

What are the main tools in the G Suite for Education? There are many tools in the G Suite. An image is posted below showing all those tools with some basic data that has been reported by educational communities using these tools. The main tools most teachers and students use are:

Drive - The ultimate powerhouse to store your information. Store your files securely and access them from any device using Google Drive. You can also open and edit your files from any device. No more forgetting files from home or bringing the wrong flashdrive. Google Drive is great for creating and collaboration on classroom assignment. You can view the history of documents to see when and how long the document was created and who actually participated in the assignment. You can build Docs, Sheets and Slides all in Drive easily and at varied levels of private and viewing access. You may story any type of file in Google Drive safely and securely.


Calendar - A tool to help organization and collaboration. Easily attach documents from Google Drive to a day or time in calendar. Great for attaching PDF's of Homework assignments for those student that always forget to take reinforcement work home. Create calendars for specific events and share calendars and activities easily. Even sound out invites to events, reminders for projects, quizzes and tests.


Classroom - According to Google. "Google Classroom is mission control, designed with teachers and students to connect the class, track their progress and achieve more together."  It is the ultimate teacher webpage.  Easy to access, easy to update, easy to use.



Gmail Email that allows teachers to communicate and collaborate easier, share resources faster and use time more efficiently. It allows people to create labels, search for messages, organize your inbox and use chat with other employees in the school.




Docs - An online place to write letter, papers, tests and share in many formats.  It allows users to write, edit and collaborate in real time.  Showing people on the document with you and what changes they are making. Documents may be shared easily for collaboration.  They may also just give viewing access as well.  Like other tools, this also has a history so you may see who participated on a document and when. Makes collaborative assignments easy to manage and complete.

Slides - an online tool to help design presentations for the classroom.  It is very similar to Power Point.  Create, edit, collaborate on a presentation that is accessible online anywhere with Internet and Google Access - This is basically everywhere.




What is an App or an Extension?
Educators need to understand that both Chrome Apps and Extensions are different creatures. Apps are applications that can be ran inside the Chrome Browser offering a specific purpose.  The may be obtained through the Chrome Web Store.  To access the store click on the colored waffle on your screen in the upper right corner, as pictured below:

Then Click on Web Store, as pictured below, 1st icon:
A wonderful example of an APP is Speak Text - this app allows student to highlight test on webpages or in the G-Suite for Education and it will read the highlighted text to them,

Extensions, like Apps, also may provide productivity elements, However,  they add an Extension Button, a picture in the tool bar.  What they do is extend Google Chrome.  A good example of an extension for the classroom would be Grammarly for Chrome  "Grammarly's free writing app makes sure everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free. Adding Grammarly to Chrome means that your spelling and grammar will be vetted on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and nearly everywhere else you write on the web. Once you register your new account, you will start to receive weekly emails with personalized insights and performance stats (one of our most popular new features). Working on a large project, an essay, or a blog post? No sweat. You can create and store all of your documents in your new online editor."

What are some Apps and Extensions I should know about?
I am a believer in using APPS and Extensions for education and for my personal online use. Using them in our personal online use also helps us use them more frequently and understand how they operate. Below are  just a few basic Apps and Extensions categorized for School and Home:

School:
Cite This For Me: Web Citer - This browser extension allows students to  quickly create a properly formatted website citation for the APA, Chicago, MLA, and Harvard citation styles, which can be easily save or copy to the clipboard for use in documents.

Google Translate -  a Chrome extension allows you to translate entire pages with a toolbar button. The extension automatically detects whether the site you're on uses a different language from your Chrome default, and can offer to translate it automatically. Users can also easily translate snippets of text, as well as listen to the proper pronunciation of translated words and phrases.

Jot - Create easy to do lists, task lists and even short notes.

Chrome Visual History -   lets you see your Chrome history by breaking it down visually by site in the form of a pie chart. See the sites you visited the most today, this week, this month, and all time!

Home:
Honey - Automatically search for coupon codes when doing online shopping.

Data Saver - Compresses Data for More efficient searching on the Internet using Google Servers to compress website data before it hits your Chrome Browser.  Helps to save data on Phones.

Awesome Screen Shot: Capture and Annotate - Captured screenshots can be saved right to the user's computer or uploaded to awesomescreenshot.com for easy sharing.   

Good luck with your new Chrome and Chrome Book Adventure!!  I will be back with another insightful topic next month.

Karen Brooks

Monday, June 6, 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Potential "Game Changer" in Google Apps Presentations

As you know, Google updates many of its applications frequently throughout the year. However, one tool that has seemed to go unchanged is Google Presentations, until yesterday!

While everyone was busy celebrating Star Wars Day, Google released its new Q&A feature.

To help you understand how this new feature works, Jonathan Redeker, a fellow Technology Integration Specialist, and U.S. History and Government teacher from the Goshen Central School District, has shared his screencast demonstrating how this tool can be a potential "game changer" for student engagement.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It just keeps getting better....

Google Classroom has added yet another small, but effective enhancement for teachers! Now you can SCHEDULE your posts for a certain time and date instead of immediately sharing with students or saving to your drafts.


There were so many teachers that we work with who wanted this feature to be there, and now it is.  Looks like Google is listening closely to your needs, so please continue to share your thoughts on their help desk.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kahoot! adds TEAM MODE

If Kahoot! wasn't already a great addition for the classroom, they recently added a  Team mode  option for small group assessments.
Students can create their own team name, and then insert the name of each of its team members, allowing the teacher to collect data for both the team AND individual students.




A Kahoot reminder:
There is an option for teachers/creators of Kahoots to insert YouTube videos as part of the question page The video will play in it's entirety before the timer begins to countdown, but the answer options are still visible for students to answer at any time.  It is definitely worth a try for a short assessment!

As always, please reach out to any of us at Model Schools with questions.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Expiration dates on shared Google documents?

Yes, it's true- You can now set expiration dates on your shared documents within Google Drive.

Whether you have shared a folder or a document with another individual, you can now set an expiration from within the sharing window.  Once you choose who to sharing with and have set their viewing and editing rights, you can hover over their name, causing a small stopwatch icon to appear.

However, expiration dates will only work for users with "Can Comment" or "Can View" access.  Editors and owners have unlimited access to files within Google Drive.  If a user previously had full editing rights, by setting an expiration date, their rights will automatically adjust to "Can View".


By clicking on the stopwatch, you can then set the time limit for how long a user will have access to the document or folder you are sharing.   The default expiration date is for 30 days from current day, but also includes another option in the drop down menu for 7 days.  If necessary, you can choose a custom date, which will allow you to choose from a calendar window. 





The expiration date feature is applicable to everything within the Google Drive suite; Docs, Slides, Spreadsheets, and Drawings.  Sharing within collaborative Google Forms currently does not allow for expiration dates.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Changes in Create a Question feature- Google Classroom


On April 7, 2016, Google announced a new option to POLL your students within the "Create a Question" option in Google Classroom. This addition will allow teachers to quickly check for understanding by populating results immediately to gain instant feedback.















If you're interested in polling your students to gather answers, choose CREATE A QUESTION, switch the option to MULTIPLE CHOICE, and then allow the students to see the summary of responses.






Once the teacher clicks on the STUDENT ANSWER page, a live results page will show you the student feedback.  Students are also allowed to view their peer results once they provide an answer.  

As always, if you need any assistance with this, please email any of us with your questions.