Jul 312013

Chromecast from Google. Wireless video display to an HDMI TV or projector, with no remote. It uses devices that are already in classrooms: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android devices, and (wait for it…) anything you can do or view in a Chrome web browser window on the Mac and PC. Get started in 3 easy steps: plug Chromecast into any HDTV, connect it to WiFi, then send videos and more from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your TV with the press of a button.

Best of all, it’s only $35 – about 1/3 the cost of an Apple TV.

Amazing. Needless to say, I’ve ordered one – approximately 10 minutes after I knew of it’s existence. I’ll let you know what I think once it comes in 3-4 weeks.

Jul 172013

The article How To Download The Entire Google Fonts Catalog from The Next Web details an amazingly simple way to add over 1,100 totally free fonts from Google Fonts (who knew?), using the SkyFonts service/app from Monontype.

Once the service is installed on your Mac or PC, you can add any of the Google Fonts here at will, and they are instantly available (at least they were in Pages on my Mac) to use! It could not be more easy!

Also, in case you didn’t know, you can add any of these same fonts to be used within Google Docs/Drive. When editing a document, click on the Fonts drop-down menu (between the paragraph style (probably ‘Normal text’) and the font size drop-down). At the bottom of the Fonts menu, you’ll see an option to ‘Add fonts…’ I’m not sure how many you can have available, but the selection is incredible.

Jul 122013
Permalink: http://goo.gl/4ngaF

Here’s the plan for our session today. We’ll learn about:

  • Presenting from your iPad: How to control and project your classroom computer, and how to project your iPad screen to your classroom computer & projector
  • Screencasting – creating learning objects with some cool interactive white board type apps
  • Creating rich media projects like narrated slide shows, picture- and full blown eBooks, and full movies.
  • Classroom quizzing and formative assessment with free web-based tools
  • Finding good places for educational iPad apps

Here’s the presentation from today’s session, using Google+ Hangout On-Air (YouTube Video). You can also get ‘hard copies’ of the presentation below:

Apps, links and resources for each area above:

Jul 112013
Permalink: http://goo.gl/AdRlw

Thank you for joining me at the URSA Conference to learn more about an amazing device that is becoming more and more commonplace in our schools – Google Chromebooks. I will give you a brief tour of the Chromebook and make sure to save time to answer all of your questions. Remember, you can always get back to this information with the permalink above, or you can visit the Chromebook tag on my site.

Jul 112013
Permalink: http://goo.gl/vs1Tl

Thanks so much for joining me to learn how to work faster and smarter on your Mac. Today we will cover a LOT of tricks that can save you little bits of time, but when used together can save you a lot of time you didn’t know you were wasting.

Along with some serious hand’s on experience today, here’s a few more resources that you might find of help:
Mac Keyboard Special Keys and SymbolsWe’ll spend some time today looking at keyboard shortcuts since the goal of today’s training is to get that left hand out from underneath your chin while working on the computer. Here’s the name and symbol of all of these ‘custom’ keys in the image at right:
We’ll use this list as the agenda for the training, and as a reference. We may not get to all of these, but we’ll give it a shot!
  • System Preference Goodies
    • Expose – See everything, or nothing at all…
    • Spaces – Set up different work ‘areas’ or desktops to group similar tasks
    • Speech – Tell your computer what to do, or have it read anything back to you.
    • Trackpad – Make your trackpad do more than just move your mouse around – add right-click and window scrolling with different gestures.
    • Universal Access – Built in screen zooming, Zoom (Option Command + & -) Have to turn on first (Option Command 8)
  • Desktop Shortcuts
    • QuickLook (Spacebar)
    • Spring Loaded Folders
    • Applications Folder (Shift Command A)
    • Desktop Folder (Shift Command D)
    • New Finder Window (Command N)
    • Close Window (Command W)
    • New Folder (Shift Command N)
    • Screen Capture (Shift Command 4)
    • Hide (Command H)
    • Spotlight (Command Spacbar)
    • Command-Z will undo the last thing you did… Anywhere.
  • TextEdit or other Text Editor like Microsoft Word
    • Hidden Keyboard (Option Key)
    • Thesaurus (Option Esc)
    • Select All (Command A)
    • Copy, Paste, Cut (Command C, V, X)
    • Undo (Command Z)
    • Bold (Command B)
    • Italic (Command I)
    • Underline (Command U)
    • Save (command S)
    • to desktop (Command D)
    • New (Command N)
    • Don’t save (Command D)
    • Quit (Command Q)
  • Safari
    • Jump down a page (Spacebar) or up a page (Shift Spacebar)
    • Enter a new Web address (Command L, then just type – no need to delete the blue text)
    • Switch tabs (Control Tab to go right, Shift Control Tab to go left)
    • To quickly go to one of your first 9 bookmarks in the Bookmark Bar (Command 1 – 9)
  • Finder
    • Application Switching (Command Tab)
    • Window Switching (Command ~)
    • File/Folder icon in Open window: Control click to see path, click, hold and drag to copy to a new location.
    • Click the Finder icon in the doc opens up a new window.
Jul 102013
Permalink: http://goo.gl/UkczC

Thank you for joining me today to take a tour of 60 of my favorite iOS apps for education in 60 minutes. We will be moving pretty fast, so please use the resources below as your reference and session notes.

Follow along here where you’ll find links and descriptions of all of the apps covered in the session today. If I didn’t mention one of your favorites, please let me know about it and also take a look at the favorites that others have contributed.

You can also search for apps by grade, subject, Utah Core area, device and cost at UEN’s Apps4Edu site.

Here’s the presentation for our session today:

Paperless Classroom? ePortfolios? Easily Accomplish Both with Google Docs!

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Jul 102013
Permalink: http://goo.gl/mRpok

UEN Faculty Lounge PPT or PDF versions

Google facilitated the Education On Air Conference, a virtual conference for educators focused on and around Google Apps for Education, featuring their master teachers. I sat in on a few sessions – Managing Digital Portfolios w/ Google Tools from Kern Kelley, and The Paperless Classroom with Google Docs from Eric Curts. Both sessions were great, and both spelled out and reinforced a vital process or workflow for teachers and students to easily and successfully use Google Docs for every day work, for group projects, and for digital portfolios.

I have a few teachers that have gone down this road of using Google Docs exclusively for student work, and their Docs/Drive inboxes have exploded with student work – and has been a struggle for them to manage. What I learned during this conference, and what I’ll share with you today has made their Google Docs lives easier, and will help make the lives of the teachers that will follow this path much easier from the start.

This session will assume that you are familiar with using Google Docs. If this is not the case, you may want to check out my presentation on Project Based Learning with Google Docs.

Here’s the bullet points for success, and then I’ll explain each in detail below:

  • Digitize student work, and store it all in Google Drive
  • Students create folders for their work, and share that folder with their teachers.
  • Teachers create folders for documents to share with students
  • Teachers create an ‘Assignment Hand-In’ Form for students to submit both information about the assignment as well as the link to the assignment.

With this workflow in place, it’s fast and seamless for students to turn in their work, and for teachers to manage and grade the mountain of student work.

Now, let’s see how it all works… Below is a presentation of the full description to implement the Google Drive Paperless Workflow. If you don’t have much time, you may be more interested in the Overview version.

Digitize Student Work

No matter what a student does, it needs to end up in a digital form, and then saved in their Google Drive space. All of your students will obviously need a Gmail account – either directly from Google or through a school/district Google Apps domain.

Digitization is a breeze for any sort of document, presentation or spreadsheet by working directly in Google Docs, but what about math homework or artwork? Enter the cell phone camera or a web-cam connected to an accessible computer! Students snap a photo of the work, and save that file in Google Drive. If it’s a skill in PE, acting in a play, or any other physical activity, capture a video and upload it to YouTube. Anyting that a student does can be quickly and easily digitized with the right tools.

Student Folders

With all of their work available in Google Drive, students will have a complete record of their own learning. Their best work can/should eventually end up in a Digital Portfolio, but let’s just stick with the Paperless Classroom workflow for now. Students create a folder for each of their subjects (which can be later organized by school year) with a standard naming scheme: Subject/Period – Last, First or something similar. Then, they share this folder with their teacher making sure to grant edit rights. Now, when it comes time to ‘hand in’ their homework, all they need to do is to drag the file/document in Google Drive from their ‘My Drive’ list to the appropriate class folder. Since the folder is shared, the file is automatically shared with the teacher!

One quick tip to make this easier for students… When creating a new document for class, train your students to head to Google Drive, and then to their class folder prior to creating a new document, sheet or presentation. Once they are viewing their class folder, NOW click the big red ‘Create’ button. Once they choose the type of document to create, they’ll get a message asking them to ‘Create and Share’ this document following the sharing rules for the folder – which is EXACTLY what you and they want!

On the teacher’s end, they can organize these shared folders in Google Drive however they’d like – by school year, subject, or period. Just create a folder, and drag the shared student folders into it. Here’s the great part – since you used a folder naming convention, your folder is all automatically organized alphabetically by the subject or student name. No more long, long, long list of student work!


Obviously, teachers often need to hand out assignments or documents to students. To help make this instant and paperless, teachers should make two folders to share with their students.

The first is a ‘Hand Out’ folder with View Only rights. Here’s where you’ll put documents and/or assignment templates for students to access and view – and you don’t need to share it with EVERY student EVERY time. If it’s an assignment template, the students can use ‘File –> Save a copy’ to save the assignment outline to their own Google Drive to edit. Make sure that if you do share a document this way that students rename it from ‘Copy of Assignment 1’ to ‘Last, First Assignment 1’ to make viewing/grading easier later.

The other folder is a folder that will contain editible documents for collaborative papers and presentations that you’d like all of your students to be able to access and edit. Share it with your students with their email addresses, and give full Edit rights. Now, any document that is in that folder, students will automatically have access to!

Assignment Hand-In Form

This last step is an extra step for your students, but it is the last piece to really making management and grading easy for teachers. Create a new Form in Google Drive with the following items:

  • Class Period or Subject (You can make a new form for each class, or use a ‘choose from a list’ question type for this for all of your classes)
  • Quarter/Semester (optional)
  • Last Name
  • First Name (If you teach elementary, you may want to add all of your students in a ‘choose from a list’ question type)
  • Assignment Title/Name (should be a ‘choose from a list’ type to make sorting easier & reliable later on)
  • Link/URL for the Assignment

Assignment link/URL? Students can publish their work with a copule of clicks so that anyone with the link can access the document. They do this by clicking on the big blue ‘Share’ button on the top right of every Google Doc type. The document will list ‘Private’ for access, and the student below as the owner. Click the ‘Change..’ link next to Private, and choose ‘Anyone with the link’ and save. This step is bypassed if the student shared class folder is in place, with the document in that folder, of course.

Students will still need to ‘turn in’ the assignment by adding it to their shared class/subject folder with you, so why you need the assignment link in this form? The form will allow you to sort the contents by any of the fields or questions asked, and the link will allow you to quickly access that assignment right in the form spreadsheet – without needing to go to each students folder, finding the correct assignment, and opening it up.

With the Assignment Hand-In spreadsheet, you can sort by name, assignment, class – whatever to group the work as you like, access the student’s work with a single click to make your comments or edits, close the assignment and instantly access the next one. You can even add in your own information in the cells to the right with notes, grades or scores – as long as you don’t add columns to the left or change the information gained from the form, you’ll be fine.

This form/spreadsheet brings this whole process and workflow together and wraps it with a bow.

Student Digital Portfolios

With all student work digitized, available and easily shared in Google Drive, the creation or showcase of a student’s best work is now a relatively simple task. Using free online tools such as Google Sites or WordPress, student can share and link to their very best work for this year and for the school years to come. This portfolio can not only serve as a showcase for students, parents, and teachers but could also be quite useful when students apply for a job or attempt to get into the college of their choosing. All of the hard work of collecting and organizing student work is done naturally in the process outlined above. All that is left is to identify the students best and linking to it on their own web site.

If all of that setup was a little too complicated for you, you should give gClassFolders a try. This is a script that you can use with a Google Spreadsheet of your students names, email addresses and the name of the class of yours they are in. Once you have the basic information listed, you just need to follow these instructions and the rest will be done auto-magically for you!

Going Paperless with Google Docs 2013 PDF

Going Paperless with Google Docs 2013 PowerPoint

Again, I have to thank the fine folks who presented at the Google Education On Air Conference. Below are links to the resources and information that they shared with myself and the other conference attendees to help them both make Student Digital Portfolios something easy to accomplish and to get us to the promised land of the Paperless Classroom.

Jul 092013
Permalink: http://goo.gl/R40Gs

Thanks for attending my session at the URSA 2013 Conference today! The permalink above will bring you back to this post anytime, so hopefully that is the only thing you’ll need to write down! We have much ground to cover, and I’ll move quickly, but PLEASE feel free to ask questions at any time.

Attached below is a PDF and PowerPoint version of the workshop for today – the links are active! Just click on the app or service that I’ve linked with the underlined words, and you’ll be taken to that resource immediately.

iPad Now What for 2013 (PDF)

iPad Now What for 2013 (PowerPoint)

Quicklinks to the apps and services in the presentation: