Tuesday, September 30, 2014

As we get ready for a Chromebook Rollout one of the more important things we need to embrace is Google Drive.  The core suite of tools on a Chromebook revolve around Drive.  It will be important for us as teachers to use drive as often as we can so that we know its strengths as well as its weaknesses.  I will admit, Drive is not Word, or Excel.  There are many times where I have had to revert back to the Microsoft Equivilent.  Most of the time, I can do everything I need to do in Drive and I prefer to be able to access all my documents from anywhere.

One great resource for Google Drive tutorials is the freetech4teachers blog - here.

One new tool in Docs is the add-ons.  You can access add-onsby opening any Doc, or sheet and going to the add-ons pull down menu and selecting "Get Add-On".  Feel free to browse through them and play with some of them.  Once you install one it should be available to you in the future.  

Some great add-ons:  

Docs: Easybib - Bibliography made easy
           Kaizena - Add voice comments to your students documents.

Sheets:  Flubaroo - Grade Google forms tests
              Doctopus - send out files, work with rubrics


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chrome as your default browser.

Most people know that I don't hide the fact that I am a Google Chrome junkie.  Before that I was a Firefox junkie, but the most important part is that I have not been a fan of Internet Explorer for many years.  Reasons are that there are many pages that display information that IE just doesn't show correctly, as well as all the missing functionality of plugins and extensions.

In this short article I will explain some of the best ways to use Chrome as your default browser.

  1. Log into the browser.  By logging into the browser you area able to sync your bookmarks, extensions, and saved passwords between devices. You were probably prompted the first time you ran Chrome and if you didn't do it then, you can log into the browser by going to the  button in the upper right hand corner.  Choose log in, if it says that you are already signed in, your one step ahead. 
  2. Install Extensions - When you a new tab, you should see your apps listed.  One app is the chrome web store.  You can install many different extensions that are really helpful.
    1. IE Multi - this will allow you to open SIS from within Chrome and everything work.  Essentially it is using IE engine inside the tab you select.
    2. Ad-Block Plus - This plugin blocks a lot of those annoying ads as well as some malware that tries to install on your computer before it has a chance to show up.  It's a great app that you rarely have to do anything with.
    3. Ginger - This extension checks your spelling and grammar when you are creating emails.  It will work in some other text entry places as well, but it has helped me many times by correcting my grammar and spelling mistakes.
These are just a few extensions that I use in Chrome.  The best part is that if I go to a new machine and log into Chrome on that computer, my extensions will start showing up soon.  If you are a Firefox fan, many of these extensions are available for that browser as well.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Google Earth

Google Earth is another one of the free applications from Google that I believe has some great impact in Education.  Many students are visual learners and any time that you can give something visual to correlate to something your saying will have a positive impact on them. 

There are many ways that you can use Google Earth in almost any classroom.  Science and Social Studies classrooms come to mind first with their ability to show locations of events, natural resources, and current events on an interactive globe.  English classrooms can show where events happened in a book, or maybe if the story didn’t have a location, it would be interesting for the students to try and place where the story happened based on literary clues on climate, ethnicity, language, and culture.  Google Earth is better than having every pull down map ever made right in your classroom.

Many people believe that Google Earth has its place in trying to find your house in a satellite image.  While this is true and students find it interesting to view aerial and satellite photography, there are many other things you can do.  For a quick look, load up the application and turn on features in the bottom left hand corner.

If you want more information on how to use in your classroom, I would be glad to help, or you can just do a quick search on Google Earth in a ____ classroom.  There are many resources out there and here is one to get you started.

How to Teach with Google Earth

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google Docs

Google Docs is a great way for students to type and store documents.  All students have an account that includes email and docs storage.  The Documet portion is a full featured word processor that does about 90% of everything you would normally do in Word.  I would not say it is a complete replacement, but does almost everything you need to do.  Some of the greatest benefits to using Google docs are accessibility and colaboration.  All of their files are available to them wherever they have internet, and Docs saves their work all the time.  This keeps from loosing papers or not having access to their paper because it was in a different format at home.  Collaboration is a very great benefit as multiple students can own a document which leads the way to peer editing and proofreading concepts. 

Google Docs is not without faults.  There are occasionally bugs in the sharing aspect (I currently have a bunch of documents that I can't delete.)  Also, sometimes the page loads in a strange manner, or the curser acts oddly.  Both of these things can be fixed very quickly by just refreshing the screen (F5.)
Here is a document by Richard Byrne at over google tools.

Google for Teachers -

Tech Thursdays

I would like to invite all of you to a new program that I am starting, Tech Thursdays.  This will happen, you guessed it, on Thursdays, at 7:35 in the HS Computer Lab.  This will not be "training."  What this will be is a 15-20 minute introduction to one new piece of technology each week.  This could be a new piece of equipment, or most usually one service/web application.  The general outline for each morning will be a quick overview of the application, a short demonstration of how it can be used, and most importantly, you it can effect your students.  I will post information on this page about the application as well as links to additional information.  If you would like further help, or want to discuss how to implement it in your classroom I will always be glad to help.

Tiger Tube

I have added a new addition our technology resources.  The site is called TigerTube, and from the name you can probably assume it's a YouTube knockoff.  You would be correct in this assumption.  There is two purposes for this site.  The first is a place for teachers to place videos that they want their students to be able to access.  It is a very easy process to download a video off of youtube, then reupload to this site.  This would provide a non-blocked, safe place for students to view educational content.

The second use, is what I am most excited about.  My goal is for this site to be a place where students can submit videos of content that they have created, either for class, or just something they have done on their own.  Many of our students have done work they should be proud of and this is a great place to show it off.

I encourage you to submit your own videos, or give assignments (possibly extra credit) for quality student created content.