Thursday, April 27, 2017

Creative Organization of Your Drive Folders, Keep Labels, Google Classroom Topics and More with Emojis

I recently posted Tips for Organizing and Managing Google Drive and Tip # 7 suggested using special symbols (~ # ^ *) to group and order drive folders. I've done this for years and I've been quite happy with this practice. 

"The best plans of men and mice often go awry." - Robert Burns

I was exploring my Google + stream and I came across a post by John Sowash that flipped this well establish practice upside down. I always love learning something new!

John shared the E.A.T - Emoji Any Time and showed how he uses the Emojis to organize his drive folder.

The functionality is really the same as using the special symbols, but it allows me to be a bit more creative when organizing my favorite drive files. I had quite a bit of fun experimenting with different emojis. I loved finding an emoji that I felt connected to the content in a folder. 

I've always used colors to connect folders with similar content, but now I can also use the same Emoji to group these related folders together in my Drive View.

I also love that the Emoji sticks to the drive organization as I dig deeper into my folder structure. 

You can also incorporate Emojis into Google Classroom to highlight and organize your topics.

It also works to group Google Keep Labels since you can't color code the labels. 

Finally, I had some fun and updated my Twitter Profile. I'm not changing the world of education with Emojis, but I am having some creative fun. 

You can find and explore different emoji extensions in the Chrome Webstore to find one that works best for you. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Communication with Google Classroom - Creating a Class Resource Page

Technology Is Not Pedagogy. EdTech at it's best is a resource when it is used to support and enhance sound pedagogic practices connected teaching & learning.

We live in a digital world and as educators, this is not something we should be avoiding with our students. Classrooms rich with digital resources help students connect with essential resources to support teaching and learning.

A typical high school student might need to keep track of a wide range of resources connected to 6 or more different teachers. As a result, many students struggle to keep track of all their school stuff. Students need help managing and organizing classroom resources. Google Classroom can serve as a portal for students to access resources connected to all of their classes in one digital space. 

When a student goes to Google Classroom they get a visible list of each of their teachers on the Welcome Screen. 

Connecting Students to Resources Using the About Section of Google Classroom

This post is primarily focused on the "ABOUT" tab in Google Classroom. You can learn more about the classroom stream and connecting students to Google Classroom on the Classroom Essentials Page.

The "ABOUT" section of Google Classroom can be used to connect students to essential resources for each class. 

Add class materials (Teacher View)

Teachers can add frequently used digital resources to the about section of Google Classroom. This section supports attachments, Drive files, YouTube Videos, and links. I've linked my AP Environmental Website, our Google + Community, and my AP Environmental Resource Google Drive Folder to the ABOUT section. If you need help getting started with creating a class resource page in the ABOUT section, click here

Google Drive Folder (Teacher View)

The ABOUT section also links directly to the teacher's Google Classroom Folder. This section will populate with student work distributed and collected in the Classroom STREAM.  If a teacher is not using Google Classroom to distribute and collect digital assignments, this folder will be empty. Students only have access to their assignments connected this folder.

If you want to share files with students outside I recommend that you create a View-able Drive Folder and add a link to the folder in the ABOUT section of Google Classroom.
Google Drive Folder (Student View)

 Calendar "View in Classroom"

This Calendar displays "Due Dates" Of assignments posted in the Google Classroom Stream. Students can view individual classes or all classes in this calendar. Currently, only assignments post in this calendar.

Calendar "Open in Google Calendar"

When a Google Classroom Class is created a Google Calendar is automatically created for the class. The Classroom teacher has edit access to this folder and every student has view access. This Google Calendar will automatically post.  The calendar can also be made public and shared with parents. 

Google Classroom creates a calendar for each "Section" a teacher creates in Classroom. If you prefer to use one calendar for all of your classes or sections, create a calendar and add the link to the ABOUT section. 

If you need any additional help working with Google Classroom, I recommend exploring the G Suite Training Extension by clicking on the help icon. This connects you to an interactive and searchable collection of video tutorials. 

Extend Your Learning with this resource document for teachers: 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Google Secrets - Even More Google Goodness

There are many resources connected to Google that can support collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity outside of Google Drive and Google Search. 

Here are a more than a few of our favorites and we've included additional resources in the interactive document below. 

  • Google Keep - Hang on to every thought and find it right when you need it.
  • Be Internet AwesomeTo make the most of the Internet, kids need to be prepared to make smart decisions. Be Internet Awesome teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.
  • Google Poly - Explore the world of 3D and download 3D objects or convert them to animated GIFS.
  • Made With Code | Google CS First - Google projects created to inspire and support coding for students and in classrooms. 
  • Google Expeditions | Google VR - Take students on immersive, virtual journeys. Field trips to virtually anywhere.
  • Google Earth for ChromeWith the new Earth, we want to open up different lenses for you to see the world and learn a bit about how it all fits together. 
  • Smarty Pins - Google Maps based geography and trivia game. Supports geography, history, and search skills.
  • Google My Maps - Create and share custom maps. Mark locations with images, video, and descriptions. 
  • Google Arts & Culture - Brings together millions of artifacts with the stories that bring them to life, in a virtual museum.
  • Google Products - Explore a comprehensive list of Google products designed to help you work and play.
  • Slides Carnival - Explore free presentation templates and focus on communicating your ideas.
  • Google Trends | Google Visual Trends - Find out what's trending on Google right now. Search trends connected to current events.
  • Fun Facts - Type “fun facts” in Google Search or the Chrome Omnibox and you get to learn something new. 
  • A Google a day - An online Google Search Puzzle Game that supports search and research skills. 
  • Tour Builder - Show places visited and the connected experiences along the way using Google Earth.
  • Google News - Comprehensive up-to-date news coverage, aggregated from sources all over the world.
  • Chrome Experiments - Showroom of web browser based experiments, interactive programs, and artistic projects.Showroom of web browser based experiments, interactive programs, and artistic projects. 
  • AI Experiments - Showcase for simple experiments that let anyone play with artificial intelligence and machine learning in hands-on ways, through pictures, drawings, language, music, and more.
  • HyperDocs - Interactive digital workflow solutions that connect the 4 Cs to student-centered learning. 

What are your favorite Google Tools that we've missed?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tips for Organizing and Managing Google Drive

ISTE Standards for Students - Empowered Learner

Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.

Learn More: ISTE

Technology Is Not Pedagogy. EdTech at it's best is a resource when it is used to enhance sound pedagogic practices connected teaching & learning.

When exploring a resource for your classroom, it is important to always consider why the tool or resource will be used. Tech for the sake of tech will not get it done. 
Why Organize Google Drive? - The answer is simple, teaching and learning are easier when you are organized. 

Google Drive has become a powerful resource for teachers and students. I must admit that when I first discovered Google Drive about 10 years ago, I was not particularly interested. What could it do that I couldn't do with one of my many incredible flash drives? (By the way, I can't remember the last time I used a flash drive?)

Fast forward to today and Google Drive has become the central hub for almost everything my students and I do. I can't imagine my digital life without it.  I've learned a lot about Google Drive over the years and I know that I will continue to explore and discover new tips and tricks to maximize my Google Drive experience. 

Here are 7 tips that can help both new and experienced users make the most of Google Drive. 
What am I missing?
Please add your favorite Google Drive Tips and Tricks to the comment section at the end of this post.

Tip 1: Search Tips

It should be no surprise that the search features in Google Drive are awesome! Click here to learn about some of our favorite basic and advanced Google Drive Search Tips.

Tip 2: Starred

Have a folder or a file that you use all the time? Right click on the file or folder and then click on "Add star." Starred files can quickly be accessed by clicking on the "Starred" menu option on the right.

Tip 3: Colors

By default, all the folders in your Google Drive are gray. You can quickly change the colors of the folders to help you visually organize your Drive.

Tip 4: Recent

Quickly access files that were recently opened or modified.

Tip 5: Shared with me

Rule 1 of "Shared with me" - Don't delete or try organize anything in the folder. If there is something you want to use either make a copy or if you are collaborating click "Add to My Drive". Click here to learn more about Shared with me.

Tip 6: "MOVE HERE" vs "ADD HERE"

"Moving" a file or folder takes it from one location and moves it to another. "Adding" a file or folder allows it to be viewed in multiple locations. Click here to learn more about these two options. 

Tip 7: Ordering Files

Click on "Name" to reverse the alphabetical list. (Folders are always first in Drive.)
Click on "Last modified" to order files by date. The small arrow reverses the order from recent to oldest.

You can also order folders or files in the view by adding a special character or number before the name.

What are your favorite drive organization tips? 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Google Essentials for Teaching and Learning - Resources and Tutorials

We've organized a collection of resources and tutorials that focus on our essential Google Tools for Teaching and Learning. While this site is broken down to cover the basics of G Suite for Education, we do believe that future ready classrooms need more to do more than just know how to use technology. These student-centered classrooms use technology to help develop the essential skills of communication, critical thinking, creativity, & collaboration. Good pedagogy always trumps good technology. We hope that anyone using this site will also explore why and where G Suite can help enhance learning in the classroom.

The pages on this Google Essentials site will connect learners to different resources and tutorials connected G Suite for Education for teaching and learning. There is some overlap on each page. We did this because our initial rollout is page by page. We will eventually reduce some of the overlap from page to page to complete a page that is more about the whole of G Suite.
  • Google Drive - Create, communicate, and collaborate using Google Drive. Drive resources include Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Forms, Google Sheets, and Google Drawings
  • Google Classroom - Classroom allows teachers to post announcements, assignments, ask questions, share resources, and create a calendar of due dates in a secure online location. Classroom helps teachers and students manage workflow and organize digital activities.
  • Google Keep - Quickly capture what's on your mind and get a reminder later at the right place or time. Collect and organize resources. Speak a voice memo on the go and have it automatically transcribed. Google Keep also integrates with Google Documents.
  • Chrome Browser - A fast, secure, and free web browser built for the modern web. Chrome syncs bookmarks across all your devices, fills out forms automatically, and so much more. Chrome is the ideal browser for Google educators.
  • Chromebooks - This page is designed to help teachers, parents, & students explore the essential characteristics of Chromebooks and the Chrome OS.
  • More - Explore additional teaching and learning resources connected to Assessment, HyperDocs, Google+, Google Sites, Blogger, Google Search, Google Calendar, and more. 
Essential Tip from the site.
If you need help when working with G Suite Education Resources, click on the G Suite Training icon near the top right of the computer screen. G Suite Training consists of searchable interactive video resources and tutorials to support teachers and students.
If you do not see the G Suite Training Symbol, make sure you are signed into Chrome and then add the G Suite Training Extension. Not all Google products have dedicated G Suite Training videos, but more are being added each day.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Innovative Educational Blogs for Inspiration & Motivation

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
~ Mark van Doren

I have been teaching for over 20 years and I still love walking into a classroom and learning with my students. I love almost every moment of every day and I cannot ever imagine not being a teacher.

This week, I have been reflecting on my dual experience as a Technology Coordinator and Science Teacher. I currently serve Neuqua Valley High School as a 0.6 Instructional Technology Coordinator and a 0.4 AP Environmental Science teacher. Despite the stress of sometimes juggling the responsibilities of both positions, I wake up each day inspired to learn how to do something a little better. I like to think of myself as a Life-Long learner with a Growth Mindset.

Things were different for me 10 years ago, it was all about my classroom. I was solely focussed on my students and perfecting my craft.  (I hope that I never find perfection, but it is a great constantly moving target to aim for.) I really only wanted to master my content and find ways to help my students do the same. There was one huge flaw in my plan, I was mostly on a solo mission. I was not an active collaborator in any way. I realize today that this was a huge mistake.

What changed for me?

Looking back, I realize that the growth of the educational blog was what tipped the balance. While many of the blogs I started with no longer list, here are 5 blogs I would recommend for any educator who is looking to get started exploring innovative ideas to help all students. This is not an exclusive list and I know there are many other incredible and innovative educational blogs. Please share your favorites in the comments below.

  • The Principal of Change - Stories of learning and leading.
    George Couros - "I am a learner, educator, and Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership consultant. I am also the author of "The Innovator's Mindset". I believe we need to inspire our kids to follow their passions, while letting them inspire us to do the same."
  • Mindshift
    Mindshift - "MindShift explores the future of learning in all its dimensions. We examine how learning is being impacted by technology, discoveries about how the brain works, poverty and inequities, social and emotional practices, assessments, digital games, design thinking and music, among many other topics."
  • Ditch That Textbook
    Matt Miller - "You just don’t have enough time to keep up with everything. You’re looking for some new, creative ways use technology and keep students engaged. I’m Matt Miller, and I know exactly how you feel. It’s my passion to equip teachers to thrive in this new era of education and think differently about the craft of teaching."
  • The Innovative Educator
    Lisa Nielsen is The Innovative Educator. "She found school boring and irrelevant. That ticked her off so she became a public school educator who works to help change that for others. She does this by finding and sharing innovative ways to prepare students for relevant and real-world success."
  • Cult of Pedagogy
    Jennifer Gonzalez - "When I was in the classroom, I felt alone in my nerdiness. The teachers’ lounge was never a safe place, and finding others to share my real thoughts and feelings with took a lot of work. I learned to stifle the urge to gush about some new strategy I was planning to try or to open up about a struggle I was having with my students. I came to expect that my genuine questions would be met with sarcasm. Most of the time, anyway. I did work with some amazing people, too, and I’ll be yanking them over here as quick as I can."
I highly recommend subscribing to each of these innovative blogs.

5 not enough for you? Then, I highly recommend exploring the Teach 100 List of Educational Blogs. (Spoiler alert - There are more than 100 blogs here!)

What blogs or educators do you follow? Please share in the comments below.

Popular Posts