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.
Aug 112011

You can find this information later by heading to the Google Apps tag on my blog.

First, let’s REALLY go beyond Gmail. Google keeps a page of tips that will take you from a Gmail White Belt to a certified Ninja Master!  Here is a friendly, downloadable document version in PDF that you can save and print.

How is Google Docs different than Word or whatever else you have used before?

If the above video space is blank, you can view it here.


or you can view the presentation here.

DEMO: Using Google Forms and Flubaroo to create and grade a quiz – complete with auto-emailing results. Take the quiz now!


Additional Resources for Google Docs:

Google Calendar & Sites:


Additional Resources for Google Calendar and Sites:

Mar 222011

There is a little-known trick in Gmail (and in turn Google Apps users) that will let you delegate multiple ‘virtual’ Gmail addresses to a single account.

In Gmail, account names with periods anywhere in them are ignored. Also, and more importantly for schools, Gmail will ignore anything following an account name appended with the ‘+’ plus sign.

Yeah, it took me a second as well to grok what that can mean for teachers….

I have worked with a few different elementary schools, and they would really love to have their students be able to use Gmail, along with some of these new, amazing Web 2.0 tools such as Animoto and Prezi. These services require that you have an email account to create an account. The problem is that Gmail requires (by mandate of federal law) that account holders be at least 13 years of age. If the school/district does not have a student email solution, or if their solution is that students can use Gmail, that leaves anyone under 13 out of luck.

If I would have known about the Gmail addressing trick, the problems would have been solved for these teachers and students. Now I know that 1 Gmail account can be managed by 1 teacher, but have as many unique ‘users’ delegated by using the + addressing trick.

Let’s explore… Let’s say that you teach 5th grade, and you create a new Gmail account called ‘tanners5th’, so your address is tanners5th@gmail.com. Now, if you wanted your students to use any web services that require an email address, you allow them to sign up as:

…and so on using whatever naming convention you want. The tanners5th@gmail.com account will receive any and all messages addressed to any of these delegates – Gmail ignores the + and what follows, but keeps it in the address so that you can easily use filters or can see what message was directed to whom in your class.

One account for the entire class, but as many unique email addresses as you need to sign up for these excellent Web 2.0 tools. A very neat and clean solution!

Mar 172010

During an email and computer security training today, I was asked how to set up the password recovery options with an alternate email address and text message alerts in Gmail. I had always guessed that it was the same for Google Apps type of accounts as it was for regular Gmail accounts, but it turns out that they are indeed different. 

In the Google Apps accounts (our solution for school email accounts), there are no automatic alerts or password recovery features. Since they are managed locally, you always have the option of contacting your local technology specialist to help. If Google had to field phone calls from their millions of mail account holders, it would be difficult to say the least to provide that sort of service. 

So, in short, you can’t set up that recovery information for school accounts as I have been presenting this entire year, and for that I feel badly. Here’s what Google says about the matter:

Note to Google Apps users: Automated password recovery isn’t available for your account at this time. Please contact your organization’s IT admin for help with password recovery.

However, for regular Gmail based accounts, you can do it, but it’s kinda buried. I thought about posting the direct link to the page here, but then it would look like some of the phishing scams that I been training teachers about to avoid at all costs! 


Here’s where you go:
–> Log in to Gmail, then Settings –> Accounts and Import tab –> Google Account settings (at the bottom, and you may have to re-enter your password again in the new window that opens) –> Change password recovery options (near the top).

On this final page that opens up, you can set the alternate email addresses, a cell phone number for SMS alerts, and view/modify your security question. If any changes are made to your account – whether you are the one making the change or not, you will be notified through that other email address and via text message if you provided your phone number.

Sep 302009


The link above will take you to a little bit of open source software that will allow you to back up your Gmail messages locally. Here’s the description from the site on what it does and how it works:

This program is aimed to backup and restore of your GMail mailbox. You will need to activate the IMAP access to your mailbox, to do so, please open your GMail settings and under POP/IMAP tab activate this option.

The messages are stored in the local directory in files which names follow the format YYYYMMDD-hhmmss-nn.eml where YYYY is the year, MM the month number, DD is the day number, hh are hours, mm are minutes and ss are seconds when the e-mail was SENT. For the case there is more emails with the same timestamp there is the number nn which starts with value 1. Label assignment is stored in the file labels.txt which is the plain text file and it pairs the emails stored in the file described above with the assigned labels.