Jul 112016
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/IdZR0l (capitol i after the slash)

In this two-day course, we’ll get you up to speed on the incredible array of services and applications that Google provides to teachers and students for free. If you have Chromebooks in your classroom, this workshop will open your eyes to the possibilities and realities of a paperless classroom, as well as having a place to showcase student work, collaborate with experts in the outside world, and managing your limited time in a more effective way.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Create a Google Site to provide information to students and parents, highlight classroom activities, and showcase exceptional student work.
  • Create a collaborative Google Slides presentation, and publish it to their Google Site.
  • Be able to effectively use Google Classroom for assigning and collecting student work digitally.
  • Create a lesson plan utilizing additional Chromebook apps where students will create a project, demonstrating strategic and/or extended thinking.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Apr 062016
 

I just got this great question from one of my teachers:

Is there an easy way in Gmail to forward a folder full of emails to another email address?

There is a way to save and move those messages, but not how you are describing… Google has a service called Google Takeout (https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout) where you can create an archive of ALL of your Google data, or just from selected Google services. You can create an archive of all of your email or just those emails within one or many labels (folders) and download the archive to have as a backup.

Getting those emails back into another Gmail account is more of a process. There is no way to import directly an email archive (you would think that would be the case since you can create and download said archives…). This is the best article that I found explaining the steps to import them into a new account using the free Thunderbird email program.

And… Now that I’ve written and researched all of this, I did a bit more research and found an easier solution. There is a Chrome browser extension called Multi Forward for Gmail that will allow you to select multiple emails to forward at once. Read the reviews for some tips on how to use and it’s limitations (you can only forward 100 messages/day). Let me know if you try it and it works for you!

Apr 052016
 

I just got this great question from one of my teachers:

Is there an easy way in Gmail to forward a folder full of emails to another email address?

There is a way to save and move those messages, but not how you are describing… Google has a service called Google Takeout (https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout) where you can create an archive of ALL of your Google data, or just from selected Google services. You can create an archive of all of your email or just those emails within one or many labels (folders) and download the archive to have as a backup.

Getting those emails back into another Gmail account is more of a process. There is no way to import directly an email archive (you would think that would be the case since you can create and download said archives…). This is the best article that I found explaining the steps to import them into a new account using the free Thunderbird email program.

And… Now that I’ve written and researched all of this, I did a bit more research and found an easier solution. There is a Chrome browser extension called Multi Forward for Gmail that will allow you to select multiple emails to forward at once. Read the reviews for some tips on how to use and it’s limitations (you can only forward 100 messages/day). Let me know if you try it and it works for you!

Dec 162015
 

My wife always accuses me of not telling her about all of the great apps and tech that I come across. It’s probably true, but I don’t want to fill up her phone with a bunch of stuff that she may or may not find useful. It’s my job to try out new things and share the best with the teachers I work with, not hers.

Well, the tables have turned! She told me about an amazing app that she just loved and has saved her a lot of hassle and time dealing with the LOADS of email offers that clutter up inboxes of us all on a daily basis. I thought that it was easy enough in Gmail to just choose all of the unread messages, scan through them, uncheck those that I might want to maybe look at, and delete the rest. I put off giving the app a try for a few weeks. It was a mistake. I was wrong.

Once I tried her suggested app, it liberated the amount of “Bacon” (not really spam, just email offers that at one time I signed up for) in my personal email account to the point that I actually didn’t DREAD logging in to see the one or two emails that I wanted to read. Honestly, I went from 50-70 emails a day down to just a handful.

So, THANK YOU Kelly for introducing me to Unroll.Me!

Here’s how it works. Sign up for this FREE service at https://unroll.me, or download their app for iOS (Sorry Android folks… Use the web interface or hold out for the app). Then, add one or many email addresses to your Unroll.Me account – most major email platforms are supported. I started with just my personal Gmail account. Then, Unroll.Me scans your inbox(es) for any potential messages and then prompts you to do one of three things with those messages:

  • Unsubscribe from the source (and the unsubscribe actually works!)
  • Keep messages from that source in your inbox, and continue to receive them as usual
  • Or, choose to “Roll Up” messages from that source into one daily digest email from Unroll.Me where you can view all of your rolled up messages for the day.

So, instead of 50 or so messages to sort through each day, you have one message with all of your offers that is easy to quickly scan through. The roll up includes a thumbnail of the message with the title, so you can easily tell what the content is. You can open any offers in the roll up with a click, or just delete the one roll up message and be done. The original email of any messages that you choose to roll up will be sent to an Unroll.Me folder in your email client.

It took a day or two for the volume of email coming in to go down, and every few days I open the app back up to “train” it for additional offers and messages that were not in the prior groups. But, just to show you how much this app has reduced my inbox clutter, take a look at the number of messages I’ve taken care of with this service:

UnrollMe Stats

Over 120 different senders. Almost 70 I’ve unsubscribed to. Only 5 that I actually want to see individually. The remaining 55 rolled up into a single daily message.

Bliss. Pure bliss. And I hope that you can start your New Year with the same feeling with all of your email clutter. Again, a big thank you to my brilliant wife for sharing this with me!

Now, I just need to add my 14 other email accounts and start training them as well… First World problems. Merry Christmas to you all!

 

Feb 242015
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/xcNbUX

Gmail Tips – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Here are the links that were included in the presentation:

Jun 042013
 

I don’t know about you, but I have been curating a list of my working associates, friends and family ever since I got my first email address. Once cell phones came along, I started collecting phone numbers and contacts this way. Then, I came to work at my current job where they handed me a sweet Palm Treo 700. At the time, I combined all of my contacts, emails and phone numbers in to one grand list and was happy!

As time wore on, I added more contacts, changed and added email addresses, changed email providers, got a smart phone, etc. Each time I made a switch, I did my best to migrate and merge my contacts. Over time, errors were made, duplications happened, and things were a mess.

I thought I solved the issue two or so years ago by deciding to make my work Gmail account the master of all of my contact information and did my best to clean it up and set up my computer to sync with Gmail. Once I got an iPhone and various iPads, I thought that by setting it all up through Google as an Exchange account, things would just work.

It seemed as it was for a while, but then one day after adding a new contact on my phone, I tried to bring up that information in Gmail….. No luck. I had no idea how long this was the case, but it appears that Google changed their system as of January 31, 2013 to not support Exchange for new devices/setups but would allow it to work if you had Exchange set up prior to the switch.

It seems that I did have contacts syncing, but I was syncing with my iCloud account. So, if I were using Apple Mail or Contacts, creating and syncing new contacts was fine. Since I spend 90% of my email time on Gmail in Chrome, that wasn’t doing me much good.

Long story short, I’ve spent the last two days getting contacts off of my phone, cleaning up the mess of duplicates and detritus, and creating one ‘Truth’ of my contact information that I will here on out sync with. You can read a great overview of the changes and process here, but here’s what I did…

First step – make sure to get all of my contacts off of my phone. I was not sure if any sync was going on, so I turned to My Contacts Backup Pro from the App Store. I had to pony up the $2 since I had more than the 200 contacts the free version will support. With all of the duplicates and junk, I had over 1500 to clean up. Oy! This app was slick. Tell it to back up your contacts, and it will generate an email with a contacts file attached that you can send to yourself or any other address. You can also set it up to do a one-time or regular sync to Dropbox so that if the only place you have contacts are is your phone, you won’t loose everything when you drop the phone in the toilet. 😉

BACKUP! Before doing anything else, I didn’t want to end up loosing ALL of my contacts, so I made a backup up my current list with the Contacts app on my Mac. You can do this by opening up Contacts, heading to File –> Export… –> Contacts Archive… and following the steps from there (image). So, I now have a backup of all of the contacts on my Mac and all of the contacts on my phone. Next I imported all of my phone contacts into Contacts, and moved forward.

Second – clean up the duplicates and random contacts that accumulate over time. As I said, I had over 1,500 total contacts. I KNOW that I don’t know that many people (or at least that many that I want or need to communicate with). The Apple Contacts app does ok with this sort of task, but I wanted to do it faster and better. I looked in the Mac App Store and found Address Book Clearout (UPDATE: New version for Yosemite and El Capitan is now Contact Clearout).

After importing my phone contacts into the Contacts app (File –> Import… and browse to your saved My Contacts backup file), Address Book Clearout could do it’s work. It did a really great job with identifying and helping me process contacts that were either identical, All & More (one contact has everything a similar card has, plus some additional information), close matches, and possible duplicates. If you trust it, you can eliminate all of the duplicates that come up as identical, as well as keep the ‘all and more’ cards with one click for each type. I didn’t trust it (yet) so I went through all of my duplicates one by one. The program also lets you easily drag addresses, notes, phone numbers, even contact photos from one card to another so that you can clean things up and make one card perfect so that you can delete other similar duplicates.

For me, this process took about a day. But I went from 1,500 contacts down to 680 some odd. Much improved!

Third – Cleaning up Persons/Companies and updating Groups. I went back to the Apple Contacts app on my computer for this. I had a LOT of contacts that looked different, but I had added them once as a Person when they were really a business or mailing list, and some individuals that I had listed as companies. Contacts in this situation may have been duplicated as people when they were really companies, so I had to merge them back up.

As far as adding people to the Groups that I wanted, Address Book Clearout has an interesting grid view to add people to groups, but I had too many contacts and too many groups for it to be functional for me. I again went through my list and just drug them into the group(s) I wanted them in in Contacts. This took another half of a day, but this really helped me out and I’m now down to 640 contacts.

Now, I have one ‘Truth’ of my contacts on the Apple side of things – My iCloud/Mac and my iPhone. I again made a backup from Contacts called ‘Clean’ with the date so that I again had something to fall back on if things got catastrophic during the next phase – Googlization!

Fourth – bring in Google Contacts and eliminate further duplicates. At this point, I could have just imported my ‘Clean’ contact list into Gmail. However, I had more fine grained control if I used Address Book Clearout for processing dupes. So, I exported my Gmail contacts to a file, File –> Import… them to my Mac/iCloud Contacts app so that I can process the duplicates with Address Book Clearout. Again, I made a backup once I was done, dated and called something like ‘Combined Clean’ – this may be the most important step since the next step is on the SCARY side.

Fifth – Delete your Gmail ‘My Contacts’ and import the combined clean list. I told you this would be the scary part. I didn’t want to deal with any more duplicates (but I did anyway), so I selected all of the contacts in My Contacts and deleted them by heading to ‘More –> Delete contacts’. Once I saw a blank list in Gmail, I went back to the ‘More’ menu and selected  ‘Import…’ I selected my latest, cleanest contact list, and patiently waited for the spinning icon to stop while it uploaded my 7 mb of contact information. I had a few dupes since Gmail really didn’t delete ALL of my contacts, but I took care of them quickly with ‘More –> Find & merge duplicates…’

Now, I have one complete ‘Truth’ for all of my contact information that I will add to and sync with other systems and services. Whew!

Last, I need to wrap this all up and get my new clean list back on my iPhone – where all of the trouble began. To do this, I went to the Settings app on the iPhone, scrolled down to ‘Mail, Contacts, and Calendars’, and turned off Contact syncing in both my iCloud accounts and work Gmail accounts. Again, it’s a scary thing but I have lots and lots of backups by this point. Now, I need to set up a new account that is only for contacts, called a CardDAV account. The instructions on how to set this up are here from Google. If you are still syncing contacts from another account, you’ll need to scroll down on the same page and set up Google contacts as your default account, so that when you add new contacts on your phone they’ll be instantly updated and added to Gmail.

That’s it! It’s a lot, I know, but I was SO happy when I added a new contact and updated another on my phone and could see the updates a few seconds later in Google Gmail Contacts.

Leave a comment below if you have any other questions about the process, or if you know of a way I could have done this faster/simpler/better.

Apr 192012
 
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I just can’t tell you how great our move to Google Apps in all 6 of the school districts in our region has been. Gmail is amazing, but the added benefit of Google Calendars and especially Google Docs just puts it over the top.

Google Docs is getting more and more powerful and feature-rich seemingly daily – and I find myself needing to use MS Office less and less (and I cringe each time I need to do it). More and more people are just living in their web browser, and taking the time to open an application, create or find the needed document to open seems like wasted time.

This article lists 50 tips for using Google Docs in the classroom. It’s a lot to take in at once, especially if you are just getting started using Docs. Take in a couple at a time, and use the knowledge gained to make Docs an integral part of your classroom workflow.

Even better, your students can sign up for a Gmail account for free – and they get access to these same tools, taking you one giant step closer to a paperless classroom.

Jan 182012
 

Google Apps for Education has brought some amazing tools to Garfield School District, to the SEDC region, and to all that use this service around the US. I’m constantly finding new ways that these tools can and should be used in the classroom to make both teachers and students life easier. If I were to share them all with you, it would take much more than the time that we have allotted today, so I’ll try to highlight 10 of my favorite uses or applications that you have access to simply by logging into your school email account. 

Before I begin, however, I’d like to direct you to an amazing resource that will help guide our time today, and will be a valuable resource after – the Google Apps Education Training Center. Whatever you’d like to learn how to do in Google Apps: Gmail, Calendar, Docs Sites, or some of their other tools, this site has easy to follow instructions and training modules that will help you learn how in just a few minutes. 

Now, let’s go to the Top Ten List!

  1. Gmail: Creating contact groups for parents, classes, teachers, & organizations
  2. Gmail: Built in Chat using textvoice – even video!
  3. Calendar: Creating different calendars for classes, projects and school activities
  4. Calendar: Sharing your calendars as a web page
  5. Docs: Manage documents with multiple editors, up to 50 simultaneous editors/collaborators, adding and replying to comments
  6. Docs: Improving the writing process with feedback and revision, tracking progress, and publishing work
  7. Presentations: Collaborative presentations that student groups create from your template
  8. Spreadsheets: Collaborative editing of spreadsheets – up to 50 at once
  9. Forms: Collecting student/parent contact information, and then creating contact groups in Gmail
  10. Forms: Check and submit assignments, or delivering quizzes and assessment – even automatic grading and score notification!
If you’ve never seen or experienced a collaboration session in a Google Doc, feel free to join me here or type in http://goo.gl/s5aXd to take a look! Also, if you have any questions about what I’ve presented today, or anything else about Google Docs, let me know here.