Easy Formative Assessment in Google Apps

Using Google Apps in your classroom with your students? If not, you should be. There are just way too many tools within the Google Apps environment that can make your life so much more efficient and the students so much more empowered. Take a look at Pear Deck as an example. One of the best parts about using this tool is that both the teacher and student can log into the Pear Deck system using their Google accounts. So, no need to create new ones. Yeah! Another time saver.

As always, let me know if you need help getting rolling with this tool. Always happy to help out.

Chrome & Chromebook Apps For the Classroom

Kelly Clark has a nice post about apps student use in Chrome and on Chromebooks. Each of these apps will also work on any Mac or Windows device running Chrome, so don’t think they’re only for the Chromebook users. You can find them linked below. Mouse over each and see what you think. Click on the one’s you’d like to read more about and maybe add to Chrome. If you want them on your Chromebooks, shoot me an email with the link to the one(s) you want and I will add them in the Dashboard so they appear automatically when students log in.



Access Google Drive Offline

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.

Google Classroom is LIVE!

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.

Google Classroom: A great introduction

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.

3 Rules to Spark Learning

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.”

New Look to Google Drive

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.