For years we have pushed for staff to use Google Drive to store their documents and files because we all know that technology fails eventually, and it happens at the most inopportune times. But the upside is that Google does an excellent job of backing your content up regularly, so it will be there even when your laptop or flash drive might crash on you. It’s rare, but it happens, so why not be on the safe side.
The concern by some was that they think they have to have the Internet to access their content on Drive. That’s not accurate. Rich Kiker does a great job in the video below showing you how to access your Drive content even when you’re without Internet access. I’ve been using this for years, and it works great! If you want help getting it setup, let me know.
Now that you are back in your classroom and spending some time reviewing previous resources for the coming year, you might have noticed there is a new look in Google Drive. Here’s a quick overview from Google on the changes. Hope it helps!
If you’ve been hearing the hype of Google Classroom and impatiently awaiting its release, it’s finally here. Just go to http://classroom.google.com and get started. If you are a Chrome browser user (and you should be), you can also add the Classroom Chrome App. I already added it to the students’ Chromebook logins, so it’ll automatically show up once they log into the Chromebook in any class.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then watch the introductory video below and learn how Google can make organizing your class workload into a much more efficient, paperless system that you and the students will enjoy. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Many of you have emailed me to ask about Google Classroom and when you might get access to it. According to Google, it will be turned on any day for our system. We still have some unanswered questions about how it works with multiple domains (woisd.net vs. wostudent.net), but we will get those answered as soon as it launches.
That being said, Kelly Fitzgerald from Leander ISD has done an incredible job of identifying each of the icons you will come into contact with in all of the menus that we have seen in the Beta launch. It will truly help you get started stepping into this new product. Be sure to scroll through her slides below.
Also, keep an eye out on the Google links in the sidebar of this blog as we add new links to helpful resources Google Classroom specific links.
As for the actual launch date of Google Classroom, if you are logged into your school Google account, go to Google Classroom. If it gives you a welcome screen and offering to let you create a class, you are good to go. If it gives you the screen telling you about it coming soon, then we are not live yet. Just hang in there. It will go live any day.
If you’ve never watched TED Talk videos, you’re really missing out. They are short, to the point videos about certain topics. In this case, it’s speaking to a crowd of educators dealing with the subjects of engagement, empowerment, and buy-in. Ramsey Musallam, a high school chemistry teacher, encountered a life threatening health experience that had him rethink everything he did in teaching the same students that quite possibly could end up being the people charged with saving his life one day.
Ramsey’s three rules to bring to your lesson planning that may spark learning in your students:
1. Curiosity comes first. “Questions can be windows to great instruction but not the other way around.”
2. Embrace the mess. “Trial and error is still a part of what we do every single day” as both learners and lead learners.
3. Practice reflection. “What we do is important. It also deserves our revision.”
Consider these findings:
(click on HERE for a larger image)
Another friend of mine here in Texas, Amy Mayer, has done a nice job of sharing the differences in the new look of Google Drive. She based her video off of a blog post from Alice Keeler.
Aside from the look of Drive changing, the biggest change is now instead of having the option to look at Shared items, it now says Incoming. New word, pretty much the same outcome. Hope you find this helpful.
So you’ve posted an upcoming test date on your Google Calendar and have it shared with parents and students. You might even have it embedded in your blog. Excellent. How about adding the test review to it? If you put your review is in Google Drive using Docs or one of the other tools, it’ll be so easy to share it out using this process. Or, maybe there’s an upcoming student trip that requires a permission slip. You sent one home, but sometimes they just don’t make it to the parents. Add it to the event on your calendar where parents can easily download it.
Again, let Richard Byrne walk you through the process.
How to Add Attachments to Google Calendar Events
The Google Calendar portion of your Google Apps account is a great tool that you can use to keep parents informed of what’s happening and when. Parents and students can subscribe to the calendar using their own Google accounts and even have the dates feed into their smartphones if they so wish. You also have the added bonus of being able to embed a Google Calendar into your class blog. The next few blog posts will introduce you more to Google Calendar and the things you can do with them.
Let’s start with the basics. My friend, Richard Byrne, made several great videos about this tool. Here’s one dealing with creating new calendars (because you can make more than one in your account) and using the Share feature to allow others to collaborate on it with you. Think team teachers needing to add/edit due dates or coach/assistant coach needing to add/delete/change game or practice times.
A Short Guide to Creating and Sharing Google Calendars
While our older students are great at searching for Creative Commons images through tools such as CompFight or Creative Commons Search, our younger students still might need access to free images that do not require as many steps for their presentations. Enter OpenClipArt. This great Google add on just might be the answer you’re looking for.