Thursday, May 31, 2012

Youtube.com/Teachers



There was a time when you had to convince teachers that Youtube had any classroom value.  Don't get me wrong, there has always been a way to incorporate a video or two into a lesson.  Today, it is a whole lot easier with Youtube.com/teachers.  

The channel was released months ago, but continues to be updated with the latest playlists for all your subjects.  Head over to the site and you will land on a page that features some of the hottest videos for the classroom today.  Tap through the list of featured videos that are hand picked each week from channels like TEDEducation to jump start your week of teaching.
  
Scroll down a little further and find playlists for all the testable* classes from elementary to high school.  Working with
CUE and teachers like the amazing, James Sanders, Youtube searches their huge vault of videos for videos relevant to subjects like High School: Statistics & Probability. 

The channel doesn't stop at great subject matter playlists, but it also goes into detail on how to get started using Youtube in your classroom. 




Check out the Getting Started tab for a tutorial on how to create and customize your own Channel.  

If you still need inspiration on how to use Youtube, just click on the
Top 10 Ways to Use Youtube.  This list is not only helpful to you, but also to your administration that needs a little more convincing.  

Working with
Teacher and FlipTeaching expert Ramsey Musallam and yours truly, the Types of Videos and Video Production Tips page will help you get a better handle on "feeding the beast".  The tips are there for you to begin uploading your own resource videos for your students and teachers around the world.

In the tools tab, you will find great examples on
Screencasting Hardware and Software and video editors so you can start flipping your classroom in no time. 



Are you creating awesome playlists for your own classroom or school? Click on the Suggest Videos tab and let them know.  Perhaps your playlist will end up on the site and start helping countless teachers from around the world. 

I can help guide you through the process at some of the Google Apps Summits popping up around the world.  Looking to get started sooner than later, join me at the 
CA Google Apps for Education Summit July 12-13th in Santa Clara CA.

* As a video production teacher, I always feel a little left out of the standardized tests. :(


To learn more about YouTube in Education, don't miss the Google Apps for Education Summit produced by EdTechTeam in partnership with Google, coming to a region near you in 2012-2013: http://www.gafesummit.com



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Inbox 0 for Google Apps Users Tip #3


In anticipation of the upcoming Rocky Mountain Google Apps Summit, I will be posting a series of #inbox0 tips for Google Apps users. Thanks for your interest! +Cory Pavicich


Are you an inbox horder?

#inbox0 tip #3
: Make choices about an email the FIRST time you see it. DO IT, DELEGATE IT, or DEFER IT.

Many people love the Superstars feature of Gmail, but I'm not a big fan. Why? staring and flagging emails is an often abused way to not have to decide what to do with a recently read email. Most of us are guilty of reading emails, closing them, and then leaving them in our inboxes as a reminder to deal with them later. However, avoiding decisions about email is the #1 way to NOT get to Inbox 0. Instead, decide to decide what to do with your email.

There are only four decisions you can make about an email (with apologies to the much more gifted @gtdguy David Allen, whose Getting Things Done system best defines this advice).


Delete It
Do It
Delegate It
Defer It


That's it! There are no decisions that you can make that do not fit into one of those three categories. So how do you use this to get you to Inbox 0?

Delete it: Of course, you should never delete an email in Gmail. So archive instead. Is something reference material or noise? Go ahead and get it out of your inbox as fast as you can. I recommend keyboard shortcuts, and then advanced search tools (covered in a later tip).


Do It: When you open an email and it's a simple decision, usually a yes/no or informational question, then you can do it right then. However, when you are "checking your email" DON'T reply to emails that take more than two minutes to resolve. That's work, and emails that require more than two minutes are work that should be organized and prioritized. 2+ minute emails should be deferred.

Delegate It: Can someone else do this better, faster, or easier than you? Is it another person's job to resolve this email? Don't do work that someone else can/will do for you, especially if it's their job. Good email habits have clear boundaries. Here's your opportunity to set your own.

Defer It: Beware urgent work in the disguise of important work. Often the urgency of an email will entice you to break the two minute rule outlined above. But few urgent emails are also important (they just seem like it. When something comes into your inbox and it will take you more than two minutes to respond, defer it into a trusted system. For the Google Apps devotees, how about Google Tasks?

Once you've decided that an email cannot be Deleted, Done, or Delegated, and you've Defer it, go onto the next email. Once all your email is clear, THEN you can decide, from within your trusted system, what work is really important. But if you take on new email projects while there are still unprocessed emails in your inbox, you might as well assume you are doomed to inbox \infty.

I will have more #inbox0 tips in the coming weeks, but sign up for the Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit and attend my series of Gmail management workshops!

To learn more about Gmail and all the Google Apps for Education, join us at a Google Apps for Education Summit!
Register now for the CA Google Apps for Education Summit July 12-13th in Santa Clara CA and the Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.




Managing Google Docs in the Classroom

 "How do I manage my Google Docs with so many  documents coming in from so many students?" 
Google Docs makes it easy for teachers to collaborate with their students and not have to worry about losing their homework, but tracking down assignments can be a nightmare. There are a number of ways to approach this from the teachers perspective and the students perspective here. This is how I manage them  step by step.



Step 1) Students create a new Collection (aka  Folder) for my class and title it: Subject - Name
For example: Science - Johnny

Step 2) Students then share the Collection/ Folder with me.

Step 3) I make a new Collection/Folder called Period 2 or whatever makes sense. Find the student Collections (in the lower left under Collections shared with me) and drag them to my newly created Collection.

Step 4) Click here to copy the Assessment Collector Google Spreadsheet
(You must be logged into your Google Account).

Step 5)  I embed this Google Form into my class website.
Don't have a website yet? Think about using a student as a webmaster.

Step 6)  Once I've edited the names of the assignments and students have copied and pasted their  links, I can filter the list by period or assignment.


Then I can use the built-in Viewer tab. (You may see a button asking you to load the tab).



This tab allows me to view, comment or edit the Google Doc, Spreadsheet or Presentation 'handed in' without ever having to leave the window. I can then click NEXT through all the collected  assignments.

An important aspect of this process is that the students are sharing work in a way that teachers can edit while simultaneously building their own collection of assessments.



Optional
Step 7) One limitation of the viewer is that it only reads URLs that begin with http not https. You can use the built in Find and Replace feature or if you're a little adventurous, set it up a script to do it automatically. The script is included in the spreadsheet, you just have to turn on the Form Submit trigger.

Step 7a) Select Tools > Script editor
Step 7b) Select Resources > Current script's triggers...

Step 7b) Click the link No triggers set up. Click here to add one now.
                      Change On open to On form submit and click Save


Step 7c) Click Authorize > Click Close and Exit that tab.



This means whenever a student copy and pastes a URL that starts with https it will replace it with http.

[Printable version of these steps HERE]

To learn more about managing Google Docs in the Classroom (and to see Kern Kelley speak) come to the Google Apps for Education Maine Summit on August 17 & 18, or to a summit in a region near you.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Google Drive App: WeVideo

In my previous post Google Drive. What’s in it for me?, I wrote that I am really excited by the possibilities of Drive Apps. Today I wanted to share about the WeVideo app that provides collaborative video editing that can be launched directly from within Google Drive


In the past few years, we have seen a number of attempts at getting people to edit their video in the cloud. A number of people I know were using Jaycut quite extensively until it was purchased by Research in Motion (RIM) and was closed. YouTube has a pretty functional editor that works well for a number of quick projects, but it lacks Google Docs/Drive integration. Now we have WeVideo which is not only fully functional editing and creation in the cloud, but it also comes with the full integration of Google Drive storage. 



With WeVideo, users can launch the creation process directly from within Google Drive. The user has to grant permission to the App the first time, but otherwise it’s pretty much plug and play. No longer do teachers have to send kids off to another website only to have them waste valuable time trying to remember their user names and passwords. And teachers don’t have to set up user accounts. Woot!

What are some of the features of WeVideo?



  • Collaborative--users can upload videos and images and edit a video together.
  • Up to 15 minutes of exported video each month (with WeVideo watermark) for free. There are “credits” available that allow users to remove the watermark and buy more export minutes.
  • Ability to connect a WeVideo account to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Vimeo for direct publishing
  • Ability to store exports in Google Drive
  • Some pretty cool abstract motion graphics
  • Themes, transitions, audio clips, and lots of fun effects


I put together a really quick proof of concept that shows some of the possibilities. I am definitely no Jim Sill so I’m sure you’ll be able to do much better than I have. Have fun creating!

To learn more about WeVideo features, start here or join us for a Google Apps in Education Summit in your region. I'll be leading a Google Drive workshop at each event.




Friday, May 25, 2012

Google Groups Essential(s): "My Groups"

As mentioned in a previous post, the reasons why you want to be mindful of this tool as an organizational sharing structure is because the time saved in management and organization is quantifiable and grounded in common sense.

That said, how do you create your own groups?
  • Go to your "My groups" page 
  • Click on "Create"
  • Name the group 
  • Create a group email address. 
    • This step is really important because the folks you share with (whether that is via email, document, website, etc) will see the group email address but NOT the individuals that are in that group. This can be useful if you are grouping folks together around sensitive information.
  • It is at this point where you will want to add a description. 
    • Again, this is important because your description is how folks in your organization can find your group within the directory. 
  • Determine access level for the group. 
    • This is essential for opening or closing up these spaces for public or private consumption for the organization. 
    • note: you are not locked into this decision and you can adjust and change it as needed.
  • Click on Create 
  • Now, you can start to invite members or you can add them directly without even sending an invitation. 
    • note: this does not make it anonymous, as the users will receive notification that they have been added to a group
It's important to note that the ability to "create groups" is not native to an Apps install and so if you are hoping to be able to leverage some of the awesome that is "My Groups;" your domain administrator will have to enable the feature to create your own group. 

We will look more at domain management of google groups in a further post and we will dive DEEP on the 2nd and 3rd at the Summit! See YOU There!

To learn more about Google Groups and all the Google Apps for Education, join us at a Google Apps for Education Summit!

Register now for the Google Apps for Education California Summit July 12-13th in Santa Clara CA and the Google Apps for Education Rocky Mountain Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Templates Galore!

Ever heard of the saying "Don't reinvent the wheel"?  If you sit down one day to create a document in Google Apps you might want to search the numerous templates that are available.  It is a great place to start when looking for anything from invoices to presentations to book report templates. 


To access the thousands of templates open up your Google Apps and select Create > From Templates.  You can narrow down what you are looking for by the type of document or by the category it might fall in to.  You can also try searching the template section for something you are specifically looking for.   Once you find what you need you can Preview it and select Use This Template which will place the document in your files.

There is another saying that "It is better to give than to receive.", and so the option is there for you to submit a template as well.  Simply create the document in your own files and then when you are ready to share it, you navigate to the template gallery and select  Submit a Template found in the top right hand corner.  Fill out the required information and viola!


Learn more about templates and all things Google at the Google Apps for Education Rocky Mountain Summit in colorful Colorado on August 2nd & 3rd.

Research Based Decisions with Google Scholar

Another of my favorite search tools to share with educators and students is Google Scholar, a specialized tool that searches only "scholarly sources" rather then the entire internet. During the time that I was performing the literature review for my dissertation (from about 2004 to 2008) this was a more powerful and relevant search tool than the academic databases the university library paid tens of thousands of dollars a year for... and it's only gotten better since.



Naturally, your local librarian may have a bone to pick with Google regarding what constitutes a "scholarly source" but in general this includes peer reviewed journals, university publications, some trade journals, and occasionally trade magazines (like T.H.E., Technology Horizons in Education, for instance).  You can read about the inclusion criteria (for webmasters) to learn more.

Many sources are available full text in one click from Google. Others can be accessed in full text with a few clicks through to the original web-based sources, such as ERIC. Some, though, are still locked up in paid databases such as JSTOR. Still, I've found it easier to locate these sources with Google Scholar and then check to see if the university has access to those specific articles... and Google Scholar now offers Library Links to give you easy access to documents that you have permission to view in your institution's library.


The "killer" feature of Google Scholar is this though...

If you've found an article that is directly relevant to what you're researching, writing about, or trying to decide in your school, how do you traditionally find more like it? You look in the back at the works cited, references, or bibliography. But, this vein of relevant materials only moves backward in time. If you find an article published in 2000, it will only reference articles published in the 90's or before. Wouldn't it be great if you could go the other way - forward through time?

Google Scholar let's you do just that with the "cited by" feature. So an article published in 2000 may've been cited 54 times since then, and by clicking on the "Cited by 54" link, you are presented with all 54 of those resources... and you can then click on the "cited by" links for each of those sources to see the works that have cited them since their publication date! You can now follow the vein of relevance forward in time to more timely resources - and even search for specific topics within the citing sources.

Yes. That is awesome. Especially for making meaningful research-based decisions in education. See why I like it?

Perhaps better yet, you can now have your own "24/7 research team" scouring scholarly articles...  and emailing you whenever a new and relevant source is discovered. Just use Google Scholar Alerts.

Last year, Google also added Google Scholar Citations, a simple way to compute citation metrics and track them over time. For instance you can explore who has cited Albert Einstein's work over the years. If you're involved in scholarly research yourself, you can also click here and follow the instructions to start tracking citations of your own work. For example, you can view my Scholar profile to access a few documents of mine that appear in Google Scholar... sadly, it seems nobody has been citing my work, at least in a way Google can automagically track. ;)

The latest magic available from Scholar actually appears as a tool in Google Docs. While in a Doc, use the Tools menu to select "Research." The new research sidebar will appear to the left of your doc. Here is the key excerpt from the Research Tool help page:
Narrow your search results to only articles by selecting “Scholar” from the drop-down menu in the search bar. Once you have selected an article you’d like to read or reference, click on that entry in the search results. You will see a Web or PDF hyperlink in the upper left-hand corner of the entry that will take you to a web or PDF version of the article itself. You will see a Cited by hyperlink in the upper right-hand corner of the entry, showing how many times the article has been cited, that will direct you to the Google Scholar list of sources that have cited this article. Clicking on either of these links will open the result in another window. 
At the top of the search results list, you will see an option to change the citation format. Click the drop-down menu and select from APA, Chicago or MLA. The search results below will change in format based on this choice. 
To insert an article citation into your document, select the article and click Cite.
If you'd like to learn more about Google Scholar, there are excellent FAQs and help files, and some advanced search tips. The Google Scholar Blog can also help keep you up to date with new features, new resources, and other changes, such as their new modern look.


You can also learn more in an exciting and inspirational face-to-face environment (with Googlers and Google Certified Teachers) by joining us at a Google Apps for Education Summit in your region.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Inbox 0 for Google Apps Users tip #2

In anticipation of the upcoming Rocky Mountain Google Apps Summit, I will be posting a series of #inbox0 tips for Google Apps users. Thanks for your interest! +Cory Pavicich


Are you a hunt and peck emailer?

#inbox0 tip #2
: Your time is valuable, so don’t waste it with a mouse! Know your Gmail shortcuts!

Who doesn’t think a hunt-and-peck student typer is ill-prepared? How is your slow navigation of your email account any better? Know your shortcuts! If you think your time is valuable, quit wasting it with your mouse.

Turn on your shortcuts by going to your Gmail Settings, and finding it under the General tab:

Once you've turned on shortcuts, it's all about practice. But remember that the extra time you put in now will pay off in thousands of saved seconds for years to come. Of course, you will need to learn all of the shortcuts. Luckily, there is a shortcut for that. You can press the “?” key to get a full list of Gmail shortcuts.


I will have more #inbox0 tips in the coming weeks, but sign up for the Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit and attend my series of Gmail management workshops!


To learn more about Gmail and all the Google Apps for Education, join us at a Google Apps for Education Summit!
Register now for the CA Google Apps for Education Summit July 12-13th in Santa Clara CA and the Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.




Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Design Features of Google Sites

Google sites is a great way to publish content to the web for a wide audience. Teachers and students are using Google Sites in a variety of ways in education.  

  • As a classroom web page
  • For Student ePortfolios
  • For a unit or project
  • As a digital resource for teachers, parents, board members, community members or clubs
  • See examples here
To take Google Sites to the next level, I like to start with the simple theme in Google Sites and then begin playing with the colors, fonts and design of the Google Site.  


Organization
In order to get more real estate on your Google Site (more links visible on the front page) in an organized manner, I like to use Horizontal Navigation.  With a few simple organizational clicks you can change the navigation from the side bar to horizontal navigation with drop down menus.

You can learn how to use Horizontal Navigation here.



Design
In order to help you with creating a new header for your Google Site I like to use ColourLovers and PicMonkey (a replacement for Picnik).   Using ColourLovers you can find colors that look good together and create a pattern based on the colors you like.  Then, you can import the colored pattern into PicMonkey and add some text, boarders and images if you would like.  Then, I add this new header for my Google Site.

You can watch my screencasts on how to use ColourLovers and PicMonkey here. 
*Note...the screencasts are examples of me using Picnik (no longer active) and not PicMonkey.  I think you'll find that both of these sites use the same type of editing and you will be able to create and edit in PicMonkey just as easily as Picnik. 


-Molly

Want to learn more?
Join us at one of the Google Apps for Education Summits this year!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Google Docs: More than just "Plain Text"



Google Docs: More than Plain Text
If you've dabbled just a bit or maybe even dove deep into Google docs the past five years you've been through quite a few iterations of the text based version of this wunderkind tool. From basic clunky collaboration (remember writely), to the insanity of document free for alls; folks writing on top of each other, and wonky workarounds like horizontal lines and tables. It is safe to say that Google Docs has changed quite a bit the past five years.
One thing that has not received much love or attention is the formatting bar. Formatting features are no longer in the conversation when it comes to choosing your collaborative classroom document creation tool.  Looking back at the dull and drab out of the box features like fonts, colors, commenting, bullets, alignment, and tables; it really goes to show just how badly we needed a tool like this available to all of our teachers and students. 
Questions like, “Why would I need a wiki if my document creator can do all of this,” were running through folks heads as the next iteration of the tool(s) came and took our use to the next level of text document design. Functional design and organizational features like headings, headers, footers, footnotes, bookmarks and the underused Paint Brush formatting, which makes big changes in a snap, made it an easy sell in the classroom.
What flipped the script and changed things during the 10’-11’ school year was some of the advanced-ness that came into our collaborative document tool. The Ability to quickly insert nuggets of awesome like math equations, collaborative mind maps, drawings, and advanced use of hyperlinks (linking to emails, bookmarks, TOC) makes collaboration and co-creating handy, convenient, and ├╝ber easy.


But, those really great features are nothing compared to what we have at our disposal today and how easily we can leverage the single space document creation tool with our learners.

The latest Image insertion is tremendous. Quick access from different sources, it is amazingly simple, easy to use, and makes sense to users. 
  • Upload
  • Take a snapshot
  • By url
  • Your Albums,
  • Integration with Drive
  • Search.

The New Research toolbar (left) provides the power of Google Search and reference into the document itself. Quick access to Google web search with relevant and useful vetting of sources. Quick checks for quotes, images, and the web, make it a decent research tool for students to use. Pagination view is great for page counters or printers as well.
















#Gdocs
To learn, practice, play with these and even more Google Docs features, tools, and latest nuances; join us at a Google Apps for Education Summit!
Register now for the CA Google Apps for Education Summit July 12-13th in Santa Clara CA and the Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.


Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Publishing to YouTube

by Jim Sill

I remember writing a letter to the editor of our local paper back in 8th grade.  It was part of a class project about trying to change our neighborhood.   Every morning, I searched frantically through world news, local arrests from the night before, & page after page of advertising  just to find my letter IN PRINT!  I recall running around the house showing my entire family my 2 paragraphs.  I eventually cut it out for the world to see anytime they visited our refrigerator.  I was published.

Times have certainly changed when it comes to publishing, hasn't it?  With dwindling newspaper subscriptions and more tech savvy class projects, teachers are looking for today's equivalent of publishing student work.  Enter Youtube.  Sure there are plenty of other video hosting sites, but ask any kid to rank their coolness factor and YouTube will rate the highest.  

Youtube receives 48 hours of video every minute.  From all over the world, videos pour into what seems like a bottomless abyss of storage.  Students, especially my own, love seeing their work on YouTube.  I even find them often rethinking their work because they know it will be shown on the site.   For many teachers, uploading videos there comes with some trepidation.  Part of worry among educators comes from lack of knowledge on how to manage the files we upload.  YouTube allows you the ability to control how people see your work.  




Once you sign in to Youtube, you will be able to drag and drop videos right into the upload screen. There you can choose how people will be able to see your video.  This comes in three flavors: Public, Unlisted or Private.  




Public
This adds it to the zillions of other videos on the site.  Using keywords, tags, user names and more, anyone can search for and view your video.  This is wide open and a great way to get everyone to see your video.  This means EVERYONE.


Unlisted
Anyone with the link can view your video.  Choose this option and you will be given a private link to your video.  This means that only people who know the link can view it (such as friends or family to whom you send the link). An unlisted video will not appear in any of YouTube's public spaces (such as search results, your channel, or the Browse page).  This is a great way to share videos with relatives that don't have a Google account.  Be careful of posting this link on social networks.  Once the link is out there, anyone can use it.


Private
If your video is set to Private, only you and up to 50 other users (that you choose to invite) will be able to see it your video.  The video will not appear on your channel, in search results, or in playlists.  You are essentially using YouTube to store your video, but not make it available for the general public to see.  The catch with this one is that anyone that you choose to invite must have a YouTube/Google account.  This might rule out poor Aunt Marilyn in Rosendale.

By just taking the time to understand these three options,  you can start to take advantage of this amazing resource for publishing student work for everyone or just a couple people to see.  Kids will frantically skip world news videos, FAIL videos, and countless advertisements, just to find their video from your class.  Once they show their family, they will copy the embed code and paste it on their Facebook wall for all the world to see.  Ahh…to be young again.



In the workshops that I will be doing at some of the Google Apps EDU Summits, we will explore many other ways to use YouTube to intelligently start showing the world all the awesome things you are doing in your classroom.  Hope to see you there.



If you are wondering about how to introduce the topic of staying safe on Youtube, visit the Teen Safety page to get started.



To learn more about YouTube in Education, don't miss the Google Apps for Education Summit produced by EdTechTeam in partnership with Google, coming to a region near you in 2012-2013: http://www.gafesummit.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Inbox 0 for Google Apps Users tip #1

In anticipation of the upcoming Rocky Mountain Google Apps Summit, I will be posting a series of #inbox0 tips for Google Apps users. Thanks for your interest! +Cory Pavicich


#inbox0 tip 1: Your inbox is NOT your task list. Decide what to do the FIRST time you open an email, and then Archive, Archive, Archive!


Many of us keep emails in our Gmail inboxes to remind us to do something later. Maybe you star it, or use Priority Inbox so that it drops to the "read and important" label. You should never open an email more than once before you decide what to do with it. Decisions take energy, and you are wasting yours looking at the same emails again and again.


To get control of your inbox keep your tasks in a task list, NOT your in inbox. Gmail makes this easy by providing you with an integrated task list. 

Gratuitous shot of my empty inbox
But how are you supposed to manage your Tasks in Gmail, knowing that new emails will distract you at every turn? Use Google's secret Canvas View for tasks! Bookmark https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas so you can manage your tasks without having to manage your email!



I will have more #inbox0 tips in the coming weeks, but sign up for the Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit and attend my series of Gmail management workshops!


To learn more about Gmail and all the Google Apps for Education, join us at a Google Apps for Education Summit!
Register now for the CA Google Apps for Education Summit July 12-13th in Santa Clara CA and the Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.





Rocky Mountain Google Apps for Education Summit August 2-3 in Boulder CO.