Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Everything is (Auto)Awesome! Five Super Rad Features of Google Plus Photos

Awesome Post from Michael Wacker 
Director of Professional Development for EdTechTeam

I love Google Plus for sharing and connecting with colleagues, following trends and topics, and keeping in touch with family. Recently there have been rumblings that the photo sharing, editing, and organizing, element built natively in G+ will soon be a stand alone application. Similar to Blogger in many ways, you will still have access to the account, be able to post to Google Plus, and use the same circles for sharing your images. I love this idea, but here’s where it’s a bummer for me. I actually have found that Google Plus is a really great place to follow and connect with some pretty prolific photographers out there. Simply following 500px opened up a myriad of photogs with amazing images, scenes, and beauty being shared as a steady stream on my page or mobile.

However, this post isn’t about the rumor or possible separation of photos from G+ or about how I wish Picasa Web Albums would stay relevant in this convoluted toolbox of apps and features. This post is about the (Auto)awesome-ness that is the photography tool built into the app and ecosystem and what I think are the raddest five elements and features of the Google Plus Photos tool belt available to everyone right now!
If you are using Google Plus, you must begin leveraging the auto backup feature from your phone, tablet or mobile. It works on both iOS and Android, and it works in the background. Before you back everything up the first time it is important to go into the settings and customize your G+ Photos. There are a lot of options and features that you may want to turn on for yourself. The ability to customize when you auto backup your larger videos and photos and decide if you want it only on wifi (to keep your data use lower) is especially important if you have concerns over data use on your mobile. As far as storage goes; in Education, we get 30 GB of storage in our EDU accounts. That is a lot of storage. Did you know that you can also buy additional storage for individuals within a domain? But the best part of this customization, is that you can choose what size you want to backup the images at. If you choose a smaller size 2048 x 2048 for example, it WILL NOT COUNT against your storage capacity. You can upload an unlimited amount of standard size photos, but full size photos will count against your Google Drive storage quota. 

Go into the settings and customize your G+ Photos

Customize when, how, and what size
Tip:  If you approach your quota, photos will auto adjust to the standard size.

Auto Awesome

What it does
When you might get this effect
Adds falling snow
Take a photo that has snow in it
Removes moving objects
Take 4+ successive photos of something with movement in the background (like passersby)
One photo showing full range of movement
Take 4+ photos of the same scene (with something moving)
Short animation
Take 5+ successive photos of something moving (while holding the camera still)
Merges photos of a group of people to show everyone at their best
Take 2+ successive photos of a group of people smiling
Combines partly overlapping photos into one wide view
Move the camera right or left to capture 3+ photos of partly overlapping areas
Photobooth style grid
Take 3+ successive photos of someone with the same background (works best with faces)
Tip: Get effects manually (Android only) You can choose any of your photos and make a Motion or Mix from them. Open the Photos app > touch the Photos icon at the top left to open the menu > Auto Awesome. Touch the create icon at the top right to make a Movie, Motion, or Mix.

Auto Movies

StoriesParty ModeAs a teacher or administrator, I could see using the “Party Mode” feature for date and time contained projects, class trips, class photo albums, etc. When invited to an event, if you enable party mode, all of your pictures during the duration of the event can be automatically backed up to the album by anyone on the invite list. The ability to share an auto backup album this way, makes sharing with classrooms, families, and communities easier. To turn on Party mode just open the Google+ app. Select the event and then check or uncheck the box next to Party Mode. If you see the upload icon in your notifications tray, it is on and it'll automatically turn off as soon as the event ends.
+1 More... AutoAwesome Photobombs 
In this blogpost the "latest feature" is highlighted 

Auto Backup

The auto backup gets really good after you upload from your computer, phone, tablet; almost immediately you will receive a notification. In your settings you will notice an auto enhance and an auto awesome setting and feature. Auto Awesome lives up to its title, by automatically enhancing, cleaning up, and organizing your photos. When your photos match certain criteria, autoawesome creates copies of those images and turns them into, short animations or wide-screen panoramas. Automatically combining multiple images to capture the best shot, or creating a Don't worry, your original photos aren't deleted. Auto Awesome just makes a copy of them & your original photos are still in your Google+ photos.

Awhile back Google released Auto Movies, which is an enhancement built on combining your images and videos and putting them to sound. Your phone and autobackup is busy plugging away at telling the tale of your adventure while you are refueling, on to the next adventure, or asleep for the night. Next time you look down at your phone, voila G+ just created the first draft of your movie scrapbooks from your photos and videos captured during your last escapade. This is great because you can go in and make your own movies from pictures possibly missed by the autoenhancements backup the first time. Truly it is amazing to me that built into the android G+ app is a robust mobile movie editor. Basic Edits your children of all ages can make can make are: Add title, Change music, Change the style, Add a scene, Remove or re-order scenes, and Swipe a scene away to remove it.
“If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again” - Groucho Marx
We love to share our travel stories, don’t we? What a way to prompt storytelling through multiple means! Most recently the G+ Photos team has released another autoenhancement called, Stories. Stories are built on the autoawesome features and are location based.
"weave your photos, videos and the places you visited into a beautiful travelogue," -Anil Sabharwal -Google's director of product management
Stories are created automagically when you autobackup photos and videos to Google+. It will also work if location history and geo tagging of photos is enabled when you upload at a later date.

Now with Auto Awesome Photobombs, you too can get a celebrity photobomb—no red carpet required. We’re starting with surprise appearances by +David Hasselhoff, everyone’s favorite crime-fighting rockstar lifeguard.
Of course the following day is April Fool's, right?  #autohoffed

Monday, September 22, 2014

A 21st Century Education For All - It's Now A Student Rights Issue

From: Mike Niehoff
Systems/Leadership Coach
Fresno County Office of Education

Re-blogged from Changing is Learning

My educational pedagogy has always been based on the constant attempt to look at every educational experience through a student’s perspective.  It could stem from my early background as journalism/media professional or from my lifetime interest in advocacy.

Naturally, I think far too often educators have not looked at things in terms of student impact or perspective when implementing lessons, activities, programs or even pedagogy.

And now, at a time when the world of work and education are changing so dramatically, I am forced once again to ask what are we doing in our educational system designs that are considering student perspective, student interest, student voice, student choice, student impact and more?

Essentially, are things as crucial as educational technology, web access, use of social media, real college and career opportunities, mentoring, job shadowing, individual students interests things that can be considered optional or left to the whims of particular school boards, administrators, teachers or other educational entities?

I will respond with a profound “NO.”  I think that all students should have access to real world tools and resources, web access for their education, choice and voice in their academic program, opportunities to provide constructive feedback to their educational leaders and mentors, etc.  In other words, these are now non-negotiable.  And if they are truly non-negotiable, I think they have become inalienable student rights.

That is right.  These are now student rights issues.  If we believe that all students have the right to a free K-12 public education, what does that mean and look like?  Again, school boards, administrators, leaders, teachers and others should not be able to opt out of things that can easily be identified as educational rights.

No one would argue that all students should have access to things like transportation, seats, co-curricular programs and more. Then, why is at acceptable for a student at one school to be using 21st century tools while another student down the road (literally in most cases) is using outdated resources from a 20th century model?  It’s not acceptable.  It’s an equity and equal rights issue and therefore non-negotiable.

Part of the challenge is having all stakeholders agree what is essential, what are inherent educational rights, what is pedagogy vs. what is mandatory, etc.

But could we not look at the world of work and agree that certain tools, resources and technologies are not optional there? Do we see companies and/or government agencies option out of technology, social media, the Internet and more?

One would be hard pressed to find that somewhere.  So, we can look outside schools and see what are the essentials necessary to be a working, functional and literate member of our society.

If we look at the Internet, technology and social media as literacy foundations – which I think we can easily demonstrate that they are – do they again not become essential and rights for all?

I was very fortunate to help create a 21st century high school that opened up with, among other things, a Student Bill of Rights. And in addition to one-to-one student laptops and more, we added foundational elements such as student surveys from teachers quarterly about how to improve their educational experiences.

It seems that if we truly want to transform education for all students that we will have to approach the challenge from a student educational rights platform. I would love to think that all school boards, administrators, teachers, educators, politicians, and community leaders would get on the same bus and do what’s right for kids.

Interested in learning more about Google Apps, Chromebooks, or Digital Learning?  Don't miss one of the EdTechTeam Summits coming to a region near you!  www.gafesummit.com

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Excited for the Third Annual EdTechTeam Colorado Summit


I love living in Colorado! From the first time I saw the Rockies, I knew this was where I wanted and needed to be for the rest of my life. All of it. Like for reals, immediately. And from now on. The scenery is amazing and the weather is unbeatable; nevermind what you see on the news about the blizzards all winter; that’s not hitting us on the front range. No, we bask in over 300 days of sunshine per year. Couple that with a warm summer breeze and the cool Colorado rain that inspires the best musicians and it becomes clear why I love my home.

I say and share this because we are one month away from the Third Annual EdTechTeam Colorado Summit. I am excited to share the beauty that is mid-October in Colorado with educators from around the Rocky Mountain Region. This event has been a beacon of awesome the past three years. Collaboration, connections, innovative ideas and sharing, and each year the feedback is amazing.

Third annual event is a bit of a big deal in my eyes. There are so many great educators and leaders that have left inspired with a mission to change their classroom, their school, and their district after these events, which is awesome. Yes, this is a big part of why I love working with teachers and schools, those moments of inspiration and excitement. Each year at the event, the schedule is stocked full of lessons, ideas, and examples of children and adults leveraging collaboration, research, inquiry, and publishing within a single walled garden environment. It is an amazing experience.

This year, I will be leading four new sessions. A two session make and take deep dive in Google Sites for anyone looking to create or kick up their portfolio, student spaces, web sites, and more. We will look at ways to customize by building a banner, creating a front page slider, embedding image maps with multiple links, creating a favicon, insert dynamic objects or media, and customizing the layout to maximize access and communication. I will also be leading a session on facilitating small group instruction utilizing Google Apps and Chromebooks guided by the question...
"How can we leverage the synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and research tools available to us and tighten feedback loops and learning transparency in your classroom." 
Lastly, I will lead a super fun 30+ Buckets of Googlicious Awesomeness which is a fast-paced, high energy, highlight reel showcase, and fun tour of some of the lesser known or underused hidden gems available with your account.

Over and over again, the feedback tells the simple and powerful story; if you come to an EdTechTeam Global Summit, you will leave inspired with ideas and excitement for your classroom and schools. It is absolutely true. I get to observe and experience it in schools all over the globe. I can’t say how much it means to me to know that my kids teachers may be in the audience next month. These tools open up communication and collaboration with low risk and a relatively easy entry point for everyone and that type of access, changes EVERYTHING!

The best part about this this year is that we are bringing in a rock star team with experience and background at all levels in education. Really fortunate and excited to announce this group as the foundation of the team that will bring the fun and learning next month.

Also, just as I am building a better hands on Google sites workshop; the team is busy building their own new workshops, sessions, inspiring keynotes, and this year for Colorado we will be featuring a spotlight on Future Ready Schools. Join us as we share the vision and work to make the concept become a reality for 1,000 plus school districts around the country.

Finally, I want to take a moment to strongly encourage the beginners, the rock stars, the leaders, and the curious to come and join us for a weekend of fun, learning, and sharing in Boulder next month and give this beginning of the year the rocket fuel you need to have the best year ever!

Keynote- Day X.png

Chris Clementi | Leslie Davison | Katie Christie | Stephanie Schroeder | Candy McGregor | Ben Wilkoff | Christine Archer-Davison | Jen Jonson | Dana Levesque | Chris Moore | Jacki Sloan | Nate Ubowski | Zoe Midler | Peter Jones | Kevin Croghan | Shauna Polson | Mindy Williford |
Beth Mossholder | Kelly Sain & Kim McMonagle | Julie Stewart | Bobby Lehman | Nannette McMurtry | Jason Oliver | Jeff Sanders | Lisa Norton | Nate Paul | Laura Mitchell | Jessica Raleigh | Cate Beck

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Magic of iOS Strands at EdTechTeam Summits

When the iPad came out it was a relatively cost effective way  to get devices in the hands of students and it sold well in education. In the early days, teachers were forced to cobble together workflows, manage carts, deploy apps and deal with purchasing. While the management systems are improving and the app integration is becoming more seamless, teachers still need to navigate a complex digital landscape. The payoff is huge because iPads have the ability to really empower students, especially when it comes to creation. .  

Most schools and teachers do not live in a single digital ecosystem.  A majority live in a mixed environment and have to navigate between Google Apps, iPads, different apps and computers. Our team is committed to creating the best high energy, hands-on professional development  to help you navigate the digital landscape while focusing on effective pedagogy.  

For years, the EdTechTeam has been the force behind a series of  Global Summits featuring Google for Education. This year, we have had 58 events (and counting) world wide, and one thing that is clear is that there are a lot teachers with iPads looking for professional development dedicated to them.  Google has dramatically improved the the functionality of its core suite on iOS and the addition of Google Classroom can put  Google Apps at the center of any successful iPad program. While we will increase our focus on the intersection of Google Apps and iPads at our Google events, we’ll also offer other independent sessions that expand to the unique potential of iPads for learning.      

You will start to see not only iPad strands at our Google for Education events, but also events dedicated solely to iPads and related applications… our new iOS Summits.  We are excited to watch these grow and have events planned in Texas, Minnesota, New Zealand, Wisconsin and California… with more in the works.

If you carry a Chromebook, MacBook or PC you’ve always had sessions tailored to your use with the web as the platform. We are now excited to offer the iPad toting crowd the same access to empowering and inspiring hands-on professional development.  Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on upcoming events,  additional iOS resources, and related announcements.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rethinking Google Drive on the iPad

Awesome Presenter at EdTechTeam Summits

Rethinking Google Drive on the iPad

The iPad is well-known as an amazing creation tool, but with Google Drive’s “Open-In” feature on the iOS platform - the iPad has quickly become a collaboration device extraordinaire.

Google Drive is best known for apps like Docs and Slides, and these are great platforms for students to work collaboratively on documents and presentations. However, Google Drive has one under-used feature that offers a secret collaborative power . This hidden power of Google Drive sits in the layers of the “i” button.

Inside the layers of the  “i” button lives the “Open-In“ feature -  and this is where the collaborative magic happens. Almost any product you make on the iPad can be uploaded to Google Drive and housed in the cloud - but its what you do from there that is the magical part. I find most educators are not taking advantage of this “Open-In” feature of Google Drive - and if you have not used it...stop what you are doing and check this out! Here is how it works.

Two Amazing Collaboration Scenarios using the Open-In Feature:

Here is how students can collaboratively create an iMovie - using the Open-In feature.

First, students work together to plan a movie project. Next, they go out and gather footage and edit it  - and then save it to the camera roll. Before now, this individually produced footage would stay housed on just one device and combining it was a bit laborious.

That was 2012 - it’s 2014 and the power of Google on an iPad has changed! Now students can go to Google Drive, choose the upload button and then upload that iMovie from the camera roll into their Drive accounts - but wait it gets better. They can either add their iMovie to a shared folder or share it directly with a partner who can then use the “Open-In “ feature and open that shared movie on their own device. This effectively allows for the combining of footage and the production of a collaborative iMovie. Voila - collaboration in iMovie - not just the regular Google Apps.

Book Creator:
First, students create their own chapter of a book in Book Creator. Next, they choose the option to export it as an ePub and then choose the “Open in” selection.

That is when a student would choose to upload their chapter to a shared folder on Google Drive.

Next, the teacher or Book Creator App Captain (a student assigned to all tasks and assistance involving Book Creator) would select the “i” button on each chapter submitted. This would give way to  the  “Open-In” feature.  The next step would be to select Book Creator and start combining each of the uploaded chapters into one big class collaborative ebook.

With the recent Book Creator updates - that class book can be uploaded as a movie and shared using YouTube or Blogger - making sharing out to parents even easier than before.

A similar scenario can be accomplished with almost any app on an iPad - so go ahead have fun use the “Open-in” button and redefine your classroom in ways that will turn students into collaboration gurus.

To learn more great tips like this, come to an iOS Summit near you - the first one hits Austin, Texas in October!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Google Calendar and Tasks - The New Online Planner

This week millions of students went back to school with Chromebooks.  As teachers and students are embracing these new digital tools the way we've always done things is changing.

Out goes the student paper planner, Meet Google Tasks and Google Calendar!

Now that students are 1:1, they should start keeping their to do’s, schedules, and reminders all in the cloud. Google Calendar and Tasks are the perfect solution!

Google Calendar and Tasks as an Online Planner

Here are a few tips on transitioning into Google Tasks and Calendar.

  1. Keep all your test dates, due dates and sports/hobbies in Google Calendar.   Google Calendar gives you a variety of views to see your events at a glance.
  2. Keep all your nightly homework to-do’s in Google Tasks.  These are things that you can check off.
  3. THINK - do you want to set your Google Task on the date that you are going to do the homework or on the date that the homework is due.  Tasks will show in your Google Calendar - on the Due Date you set in the advanced settings.  Make sure to be consistent with how you add your homework so you know when to complete it.
  4. Set your new tab page to your task list by using the Chrome extension New Tab to Tasks.  This way you are always just a control + T away from writing down your to-do’s or crossing off homework!

It’s time to bring your homework and to-do’s into the digital age!

Now get back to crossing off those tasks!

Published by Molly Schroeder - EdTechTeam Director of Summits

Join us at an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education
Interested in learning more about Google Apps, Chromebooks or Digital Learning? Don't miss one of the EdTechTeam Summits coming to a region near you! www.gafesummit.com

October California Events
EdTechTeam San Diego Summit - October 4-5th at Coronado High School - Register Here
Pre-Summit October 3rd - Learn more!

EdTechTeam Marin Summit - October 19-20th at Tamalpais High School - Register Here
Pre-Summit October 18th - Learn more!

Additional Events can be found at www.gafesummit.com