Sunday, September 21, 2014

Making a Custom Google Forms Banner with Google Drawings

Earlier this month, Google updated Google Forms so we can now customize the look of a form.  Since I'm all about the snazz, I immediately took to this!  I just made a template for a banner to share out to my staff with some directions on how to get started.  Took some screenshots along the way and included those on the template as well.

EXAMPLE: I was creating a sign up form for a PowerTeacher Gradebook training in my building.  Here's the final form below with custom banner I whipped up using Google Drawings...


Banners just have to be 1200 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall (like Google+ Event or Hangout on Air custom banners).  

Here's a link to the Google Drawing Banner Template I made.  The template contains directions and screenshots for how to set up a custom banner.  If you like this, save it to a Google Drive folder of yours for access later!  Enjoy!



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Podcasts I Listen To


I host a new podcast called Te@cher Tech T@lk through www.edreach.us with edtech colleagues and friends Tammy Lind & Judi Epcke.  Between our bi-weekly regular shows, we are each doing a very short 5-10 min podcast around a specific topic.  We're calling these "Tidbit" episodes.  On our first Te@cher Tech T@lk TIDBIT podcast, I did a little 'mini-lesson' on what exactly IS a podcast and how does one consume a podcast?  That term gets thrown around a lot but I still get questions from people related to, "what is a podcast?"  Click the link above to get a listen to a short synopsis on what a podcast is!  I'll wait...

...done?  Good.  So, now that you know a podcast can be audio or video one consumes, I wanted to share some podcasts that I listen to.  I should preface this also by saying that I work in technology so a lot of the podcasts I listen to have to do with technology.  But, I'll also share some podcasts I listen to for fun as well (though those are pretty geeky too).  That's the beauty of podcasts -- there is more than likely something out there that will interest you.  You just have to search and find it.  Favorite TV show you like? Chances are someone does a podcast about it.  Like gardening? I'm sure you can find a podcast with tips for gardeners.  Enjoy listening to authors talk about their books?  Probably something out there for you.  

I should also share that I don't necessarily listen to all episodes of the podcasts I've chosen to spotlight below. I occasionally skip them depending on life...and that's okay. I share that because I don't want people to think that if you start listening to a podcast you always have to catch every episode. That's the beauty of podcasts.  Dip in when you want.  I also have a 35-40 minute commute to work so that lends itself to having some time to kill.  During the summer, if I'm cutting the grass, I'll listen to a podcast.  During the winter, if I have to shovel...podcast.  Clean the house...podcast.  Plenty of time when I'm doing "mindless" work where I can multitask and listen to something.  So here goes...podcasts I listen to...

TECHNOLOGY PODCASTS

This Week in Google (iTunes Audio | iTunes Video | YouTube Channel) - Part of the TWiT (This Week in Tech) network.  My new favorite part of this show is the “Google Change Log” where they share what’s new from Google in terms of updates, releases, etc.  The group that leads this discussion also talks about legal, social and political implications related to web based tools and Google.  They release their shows in both audio and video formats on iTunes and YouTube.



All About Android (iTunes Audio | iTunes Video | YouTube Channel) - Part of the TWiT network.  This is a new listen for me.  This is a show all about the Android platform.  The group shares the latest news and updates.  They also share a new app they are using and ways to use it. They release their shows in both audio and video formats on iTunes and YouTube.



MacBreak Weekly (iTunes Audio | iTunes Video | YouTube Channel) - Part of the TWiT network.  This was one of the very first podcasts I listened to. This show focuses specifically on Apple/Mac related news.  The panel is very knowledgeable when it comes to technology and would be a good listen for those interested in the ‘super geeky.’  They release their shows in both audio and video formats on iTunes and YouTube.


EDUCATIONAL PODCASTS

Mobile Reach (iTunes) - Part of the EdReach network. Some super tech knowledgeable friends of mine now host the show and share out uses for mobile devices in the education and the classroom. They share apps, uses, tricks, tips.  Good conversation to listen to.



Google Educast (iTunes | YouTube Channel) - Part of the EdReach network.  Some Google Certified Teachers & Trainers talk new news related to Google and how it impacts education. This is a weekly listen for me as I get a lot of good tips for using Google tools from this group.  They also do this as a “Google Hangout on Air” which means it saves to the YouTube Channel if you would rather watch the show than listen.


EdListen (iTunes) - This is a new listen for me. Fellow Google Certified Trainer, Bjorn Behrendt, puts out this audio only podcasts where he sits down with usually one other person to talk about topics related to education.  Recent topics have centered around Moodle, using Google in education, productivity with Calendars and other tools.  I’ve been enjoying listening to this.

FUN/ENTERTAINMENT PODCASTS

Nerdist (iTunes) - “Nerdist is a place where we nerds come together and share the nerdery that we find.” Chris Hardwick is a TV personality who puts out this audio podcast where he interviews actors, comedians, and the like.  I really enjoy the one-on-one conversations and the people he brings in.  Probably because I’m a geek. I don’t listen to ALL shows, but he puts them out fast enough that I usually find a name of someone I’d like to hear speak so I listen to THAT show.



Tuesdays with Aaron (iTunes)) - Aaron as in THE Aaron. Aaron Rodgers.  This is a weekly radio show that ESPN Milwaukee does that they also put out as a podcast.  Jason Wilde, a sports writer, does a one-on-one chat with Aaron each Tuesday during the Football season.  They discuss the previous game and look ahead to the next opponent.  I really appreciate how the conversation is very candid and sometimes gets into the hard questions.  Wilde also takes questions from fans which leads to some good conversation.  




You Look Nice Today (iTunes) - This podcast comes out NOT very often.  This is a group of three guys that sarcastically take topics and spin them out to absurd ideas.  I can’t really even describe the premise for the show as each show is it’s own thing. Their tagline is “a journal of emotional hygiene.”  I appreciate their ‘schtick’ and high brow humor.  Their shows are very few and far between lately.  



WTF with Marc Maron (iTunes) - If you don’t know what “WTF” stands for, don’t listen to this show. Marc Maron is a comedian that started his own podcast. He does one-on-one interviews with mostly comedians and actors.  He swears.  A lot.  Tagged “explicit” because of that.  This is another one I don’t listen to every show but occasionally catch a name I want to hear in a conversation.  






iFanboy (iTunes) - Alright. Confession time. I'm a geek. I know...I know...you didn't know this far into the post that I like geeky things.  I used to collect comic books; not so much anymore. The guys that do this show do it weekly and share out what's new in the world of comics. They also do movie reviews of comic-related movies when they come out which I enjoy. This is one that I find myself occasionally listening to just to hear what's new in the world of comics.  They do a great job.  




Word Balloon (iTunes)  - This is another comic related podcast.  John Siuntres, who's a radio personality in Chicago, does this interview podcast where he talks one-on-one with writers, artists and creators. I really enjoy conversation shows like this to find out what a creator goes through during the creation process.  This is another that I catch every so often when I recognize a name of a creator he is interviewing.


So there you have it.  Those are the podcasts I listen to. 

I highly recommend checking a podcast out. Find something that interests you. If you find it in iTunes, just click SUBSCRIBE and listen to a few episodes to see what you think. If you have an iPhone or iPad, use the PODCASTS app to download some podcasts.  If you have Android, check out Pocket Casts or if you have a Galaxy S3, you can use the KiesCast app that comes with the phone.  All different ways to get the media on to your device and if you can't figure out a way to do it...Google it. :)   Thanks for reading.


(Please share in the comments what podcasts you listen to! I'm always looking for new ones to try out!)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Midwest Google Summit 2012 Takeaways


I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the 2nd annual Midwest Google Summit this past Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in Wisconsin Dells and would like to share some of the takeaways and resources from the conference.

Check out the Resources page here where all presenters linked up their presentations online.  You'll definately find some good Google resources!  All my sessions are on this page of my 'workshops' site.  I presented on using Google Drive, Hangouts, and Chrome.  You can also see messages posted to Twitter with the #mwgs tag and find what people were conversing about.  What follows are 10 quick tips, snippets or things I take with me back to the real world.

1. Voxer - this is NOTHING Google related, but Andy Crozier introduced me to this app (iPhone/Android) that is a 'walkie-talkie' app similar to how the old Nextel phones used to work. Helped me keep in quick contact with sending short audio bursts to others walkie-talkie style.  Quicker than texting.  Can also text and send pictures through the app as well.  Super efficient.


2.  "Popout" of a YouTube video - Mark Garrison showed this in his YouTube session and I loved it.  Right-click (or Control-Click if using Mac) on any YouTube video and one of the menu choices that comes up is 'pop-out.'  This forces the video pop out to it's own window, but more importantly, you can COPY that URL and put it on your site.  When users click the link from your site, the video will open in it's own tab at almost full screen.  Can also change the end of the text in the URL to 'small,' 'medium,' 'large,' 'hd720' or 'hd1080' which will affect the quality or crystal-ness of the video as it plays.  Awesome little nugget.



3.  TabCloud extension for Chrome - I picked up a few new extensions or apps at MWGS, but Stacy Behmer introduced this one to me that's great for educators or presenters.  After installing, you go through and open the tabs you want open for teaching a class or presenting.  With all the tabs open (videos, notes, sites you plan to go to during the lesson), you click on TabCloud and 'save' that instance of Chrome with all those tabs open.  You do this before your class as you're getting all set up and you can name the 'tabcloud.'  Then, when you're getting ready to teach/present later, you go to TabCloud and click that tabcloud and wa-la --- all the tabs open and you're all ready for class or your presentation.  Genius.  Go watch the video to learn more.  .... See what I did there with the link the video all 'popout' style? :)



4. WatchDoc extension for Chrome - Another extension that Stacy Behmer shared with me was WatchDoc.  Allows you to see docs from Google Drive that were edited recently.  Great if you're a teacher that has files shared with students so you can see who touched what recently. Can open the doc right from this list as well.  TIP: 'desktop notifications' are turned on by default which allows a little popup window to appear everytime a doc is updated. This can get annoying so right-click on the extension and go to OPTIONS and uncheck 'desktop notifications.'



5. Symphonical - I presented on Google Hangouts and had 3 colleagues 'hangout' in to talk with the audience.  Friend Jennie Magiera shared an app you can use to manage projects while IN a Hangout called Symphonical.  Allows you to easily assign tasks, set deadlines and project manage.  All work is saved in your Symphonical account, which you can sign in to using your Google credentials.  Neat web tool and Hangout app!



6.  Hangouts Toolbox - While in the same Hangout, friend David Freeburg shared another Hangout app to definitely add called "Hangouts Toolbox."  This gives you more controls over audio settings for each user, more on camera fun tools like faces and just a lot of great features!


7. Google Groups - I've been very familiar with Google Groups (different from Contacts) and I'm a part of many but I've been starting to look at using these with students or thinking about them more on a mass scale. Hank Thiele shared (slides) logistics for setting these up and great tips when thinking about using Google Groups with your domain.  Lots of great ideas here.  

8.  Coulees.  Learned what they are. Enlightened. (Googling the definition doesn't do it justice.)



9.  Sean Beaverson's Demo Slam - I was thoroughly impressed with our Demo Slam competition at the end of the summit where we have 3 minutes to show one 'cool' thing.  Sean started a Google Doc at his computer and then opened that same doc from the Google Drive app on his phone and showed that he could edit the doc from his mobile device just like at the computer.  But that wasn't it...with the voice dictation capabilities built into the smartphone, he was able to dictate RIGHT into the document from his mobile device.  Pretty cool use of the technology, kids.  

10.  Connections.  This is cheap way to end the blog post, but I'm doing it anyway.  Loved all the connections that were made.  Enjoyed hearing and seeing what others are doing in their districts or how they are using these tools to connect online.  Whenever I introduce Google Apps to people for the first time, I try to show the importance of how all these tools are connected.  Loved seeing the 'people' side of that this weekend.  Great time.  Great people.  Great fun.  

Thanks for reading.



P.S. A last second #11 just for Andy (and Hank):









Monday, August 27, 2012

Google+ Hangout with Aaron Rodgers!



This past week, I was browsing around on Facebook and saw a post from the Green Bay Packers Facebook page about a "Google+ Hangout with Aaron Rodgers" taking place the following week on August 28, 2012.  Being a Packers subscriber of everything, I also received an email about this, saw a Tweet and saw a Google+ mention as well.  For those that don't know, a "Google Hangout" is a group video chat.  Think of it like Skype, but you can video chat (or 'hangout') with up to 10 other people.  The Packers did one of these with Clay Matthews back in the spring if you want to see how it works.  I use Google Hangouts all the time.  I meet online with other colleagues when we work on group projects and record our Mobile Reach podcast through a Google Hangout as part of the Edreach network.  I'm also hoping Google Hangouts can be our 'virtual meeting place' tool for Franklin Public Schools where I work (they need to still open up the full features to K-12 education domains...little pressure, Google!)

Quick awesome sidenote, Google Hangouts just recently rolled into GMail, so if you have a GMail account, you can start and participate in a Hangout with others.  Brief video here explains.

So, saw the mention of this and saw that in order to be one of five selected to participate, you had to make a 30-60 second video of yourself explaining why you should be selected.  Sat down at my computer on Wednesday night (Aug 22) and recorded myself talking about why I'd like to talk with Aaron Rodgers. Easy enough...



One little caveat here to something I mentioned in my video application -- I thought I would be notified in time to get questions from others (staff / students) but the time flow of things didn't work to my advantage. Still, I made sure to ask questions that I thought would be beneficial to any staff or students that see the final product. ;)

After the video was done, I followed their directions and responded to the Google+ post with a message and a link to my video...


On Friday (Aug 24), I received a Google+ message from the Packers account saying I was "in consideration" for the Hangout with Aaron Rodgers and to email an Packers.com employee account with some information about myself.  

On Sunday (Aug 26), I received another email asking to connect over Hangout later that day to check and test settings for the Tuesday Hangout.  Met online with Duke from the Packers organization to go over logistics and he told me I was one of 25 to be picked for the 5 seats and I would know more in the next 24 hours.  

On Monday (Aug 27), I was leading a tech training in my district and didn't get to check email until around 11:30, but when I did, there was an email saying I was one of the 5 finalists! That means I was picked to "Hang Out" with Aaron Rodgers on Tues, Aug 28 @ 2pm CT!  The Hangout was streamed live (through a cool feature called Hangouts on Air) and I made sure to OVER share the link through my Twitter account, Google+ and Facebook!

MY THOUGHTS PRIOR TO THE HANGOUT
So obviously the Packers and Aaron Rodgers fan side of me is super excited!  I was told to prepare 5-6 questions and I have a few of my own.  What would you ask?  I wasn't able to get student questions like I said in my video because I had to submit the questions before I was picked.  Hoping to do students, staff, family, Bears fans proud.  ;)  

The 'learner/technology geek' side of me wants to take a step back for a second and look at this.  How cool is this from a technology and personal standpoint?  More and more, we get to connect virtually online with others.  I'm finding myself doing this all the time.  How can we teach this to and impart this on our students to do things like this?  To reach out to others through the internets and make a connection?  I meant what I said in my video -- I want to showcase things like this to others so they can think, "How can I do that? How can I connect with an author of my children's stories?  How can I connect with an engineer around a topic we are learning about?  How can we connect more?"  The technology is there.  How are you as an educator going to use it?


MY THOUGHTS AFTER THE HANGOUT
What a humbling and surreal experience.  It was pointed out to me by many that I was the 'oldest' one in the Hangout. Awesome.  I was impressed with how conversational Aaron was.  Very down to earth.  Just wanted to talk. We were only supposed to go 15 minutes but he hung out with us longer and the total show ran 30 minutes.  It was great to hear his responses and thoughts related to being a role model, how he learns something new and social media.  The educator part of me is excited to hopefully use clips from this where he talks about NFL players using Twitter inappropriately or just being aware that pictures can be taken of you at any time.  Some good content there.  The fan part of me was really just overall impressed with how he carries himself.

Thanks to all for the kind thoughts, jokes, questions, and congratulations.  Was a great time and I'm glad I was able to share it with so many.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Using Google Forms FormEmailer Script


Over the past 5-6 months, I've been looking for an ideal way to have submitted Google Form responses go to my students in the form of an email and I think I finally have my solution!  This has been around for a while and I remember looking at the FormEmailer script a while back but for some reason I didn't go as in to detail with it and didn't think it would fit my needs.  Double backed to it today and I'm super excited to use this going forward!  Here are some directions and my use case to share in case others want to try using this.

First, I created my rubric Google Form.  An example of this is here.  This Google Form would be only for me to fill out as the teacher.

STUDENTS' EMAIL ADDRESSES
I made sure the first question was "Email Address."   This part would probably take me the longest going forward. I entered all my student's Google Apps for Education email addresses as a drop down menu choice.  So my kids could see the form linked up on our class website, I would make a COPY of the spreadsheet/form and take out the first question so no one could submit this form or see other's email addresses.  (I wouldn't want a curious student filling out the original rubric and have the FormEmailer script running to send a copy to whoever, would I?)

FormEmailer SCRIPT
After the form was ready to go, I had to install the FormEmailer Script.  Honestly, I don't know that much about scripts in Google Spreadsheets other than they are little bits of code that can make things happen.  Thanks to Henrique Abreu who created this FormEmailer script and his website has great directions for showing how this works.  Again, I know nothing about code and I could get this to work so give it a try! :)

STEPS TO USING THE SCRIPT
I followed Henrique's video and the steps below the video to install the script in my Google Spreadsheet.

I went to TOOLS > SCRIPT GALLERY and did a search for "FormEmailer."  Two scripts came up.  The screenshot below shows the one you should install to your spreadsheet.


After installing the script, I went to FormEmailer > SETTINGS and I created the email that my students would receive. I followed the advice given in Henrique's video to use the "placeholders."  If you don't know any HTML coding, you can uncheck the HTML box on the left and just craft the email the way you want.  If you do know HTML coding, you can leave this checked and add little codes where needed to do things like bold or do a linebreak

and so on.  My Email to my students is below:

TEST, TEST AND MORE TEST
After crafting this email, I went and filled out the form, making sure to choose my own email address as the "student" for now just to test things out.  I saw the data from the form go into the spreadsheet.  I then went to FormEMailer > PROCESS MANUALLY and was asked what row to send, so I chose row "2" which is where my student submission was.  The email went through and looked good but I tweaked a few things back in the FormEmailer > Settings area and ran again until things looked the way I wanted.

THE TRIGGER
After testing a few times, I decided I want to turn on the ability for the form to automatically go to the recipient when the form is "SUBMIT"ed.  The details on Henrique's site didn't say how to do this in the newest version of the script so I threw out a call on Twitter.  Thankfully, new tech friend Michelle Russell shared with me what a "trigger" was and how to turn it on.

I went back in to the spreadsheet and went to TOOLS > SCRIPT EDITOR.  I clicked on "Copy of FormEmailer" as shown below.

The Script window opened where all the code for this script was located.  Scary.  I didn't touch any of it!  Go to TRIGGERS > ALL YOUR TRIGGERS.  


In the "All your Triggers" window, I clicked ADD A NEW TRIGGER and made sure the windows showed what is shown below.  
Run = timeDriven
Events = From Spreadsheet & On Form Submit

I checked out the notifications link and you can have the spreadsheet email you if there's a problem. I set that to email me immediately if there's a problem.  Screenshot below of my choices.

I clicked SAVE in the Triggers window and then went to FILE > SAVE in the script window just to be sure everything saved.  



I then tested filling out the form and seeing what happened.  Totally worked!  Any new submission sends the email address in that row the email I created with the details.   Screenshot below of the email the students will receive.  



So in the end, I now have a digital rubric I can use with my students to be able to quickly and efficiently email them feedback on a project.  Entering student email addresses into the first question of the form is what will take me the longest, but for that little bit of time for the bigger payoff of authentic feedback (and no paper!) it's totally worth it.  I suggest you try it out and see what you think.  This is a also a great resource for administrators looking to do walk-throughs or staff feedback forms when visiting a class.

P.S.  Check the "help/troubleshooting" section of Henrique's site if you run into any problems.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why the BLACK In My Internet World??



I just wrote an email to my staff about what's going on in the internet world today and I thought I would share this through my blog as well, because the implications affect all of us and how we use the internet.   

=================================

All - 

Just sharing some answers here before the questions come up today.

Q:  Okay, I went to Google this morning (Wed) and the logo is all blacked out. What gives?  

-or-

Q:  So, My kids were researching some information today (Wed) and Wikipedia is gone!?  AHHHH!

Today (Wed), is a day where larger companies and organizations on the web are "blacking" out some or parts of their sites as a way of speaking out against some legislature known as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) that are currently before Congress.  The Senate will begin voting on these bills next week (Jan 24).  

Personal thoughts: You might be thinking, "but piracy is bad, right? Why wouldn't you want to stop online piracy?"  The reason many are opposed to this is because while these bills are being touted as focusing "online piracy" the implications for this would give the government control over the internet and take away the sense of freedoms on the internet where we can create our own content, start our own businesses, and really have the internet be a wide open frontier.  If the gov't starts to regulate the internet, they would get to have a say in what websites you can go to, how online businesses can be run, and really clamp down on what we can and can't do.  The whole purpose of the "world wide web" is that it's open to all to explore, create, communicate, and collaborate.   I personally don't want to see the government have any kind of regulation over the internet because I think there are many at the top that don't have a sense of what the fundamental foundations of the internet are supposed to be.

So, what can I do?  Here are a few links with more information:
  • Article with a lot of details about these two bills
  • More answers and facts HERE along with a 2min video that really shares the thoughts behind this movement.
  • Great info graphic HERE with a lot of details & an online petition if you want to speak out against these bills.
  • See what people are saying online with the #stopSOPA tag
  • OR -- use the freedom you have on the web and do a search on "stop SOPA" or "stop PIPA" and see what you find!
Just wanted to educate all on what was happening around us today in case you hear about it on the radio or see it on the news so you have a little more background information. 

Thanks for reading,
Chad

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Apple & Google: Get Along!


Setup
This blog post about Apple and Google not getting along when it comes to the iPad and Google Apps for Education comes from my being inspired by the "This Week in Google" podcast episode #120 with Leo LaPorte, Jeff Jarvis and Gina Trapani.  While writing what's below, I also stumbled on my friend Scott Meech's open letter to Apple & Google which is very similar to what I'm writing about and I wholeheartedly agree with his thoughts.  

Caveats
I am not going to pretend I have any kind of insider knowledge for how the companies of Apple and Google work.  I am part of the Google Certified Teacher network and also an Apple Distinguished Educator and I'm very proud of both accomplishments. I get to network with some fantastic people that are doing some really great things in education, but I have no inside scoop on anything.  The following thoughts come purely from my own use of Apple and Google products/services and reading or listening to some online content that is really disheartening.  I'm not out to upset anyone. I'm just trying to change the world.


History
There's no love lost between Apple and Google.  I'm currently reading the Steve Jobs biography.  Admittedly, I'm not even halfway through it yet, but everyone is talking about it.  I've listened to some podcast reviews where others have shared some of the stories about how Steve Jobs had offered Google some valuable retail space on the iPhone home screen in exchange for Google not pursuing their own touch enabled software in the form of Android.  We know now that Google did not accept that offer.  I share all this so people don't think I'm naive in saying, "Why can't they just get along?"  I get there is a lot of competition between these two companies and that competition drives the marketplace.

Educational Device
My philosophy when using technology has always been, "the right tool for the job."  If I'm moving around the building to help a teacher, that tool will probably be my smartphone, an Android based HTC Evo.  I can quickly add something to my to do list, snap a picture or shoot off an email.  If I'm going to a meeting, it might be my iPad or laptop so I can take notes.  Lately, it has been more likely that I will grab my laptop instead of my iPad and we're getting to why that is. 

iPads?  Chromebooks?  MacBooks?  Netbooks?  Wind--- nevermind.  I find myself constantly feeling like a hypocrite when I talk to others about which device would be "best" for the classroom.  The iPad is very versatile in that the camera has many uses.  The Apps are pretty much unlimited.  The ability to AirPlay when connected to an AppleTV in the classroom makes the iPad super attractive in terms of being a great teaching device.  Hands down, this is a great device for the classroom.

Chromebooks from Google are also a viable classroom device, especially for those districts that have gone with Google Apps for Education.  Any student can log in to any Chromebook and access all of the content that is contained in his/her Google account.  The services just work and help to take out a lot of logistics (saving to a flash drive, having to email files home, saving on one computer in the school) that make for lost time.
Educational Service
Google Apps for Education has really taken off.  Many school district are "going Google" where students and staff are able to have a Google account that will let them access all the great features that fall under the Google umbrella.  Apple doesn't have anything that's even remotely close to this.  Apple has the iWork suite, but the functionality and flexibility provided by Google Docs far outweighs the current versions of iWork.  I say versions, because you would think you could take a Pages file from the Mac and "iCloud" it to your iOS device, but you can't.  I'm sure Apple is working to make this happen, but it's not there yet.  Currently, Google Apps for Educations offers a lot for educational institutions and the cost is great for school districts (free).

The Problem
So, here in lies the problem.  Google Apps for Education doesn't work well in the Safari browser on the iPad or iPod touch.  Google Documents and Spreadsheets "kind of" work, but it's not a manageable solution.  Recent speculation also suggests that Apple is doing what it can to "divorce" itself from Google.  Apple reportedly bought a "map" company with speculation being that they are trying to get Google's mapping services off iOS devices.  The "divorce" article linked above also states that Apple might use Bing as search results for Siri, the iPhone 4S voice assistant.  Siri-ously?


The Plea
As an educator, it is very frustrating to see two companies that both offer great products for education to be so far away from making something beautiful.  If Google Apps for Education worked on the Safari iOS browser like it does on the desktop, then both parties would be in an #eduwin situation.  Google's services would be utilized by students that would grow up and hopefully seek out Google Apps for Business as a viable solution for their companies.  Those same future entrepreneurs would see how versatile the Apple products are and no doubt continue to purchase them.

I heard or read somewhere that both companies say it is the other's "fault" that Google Apps won't work on the iPad.  I would hope that two companies that claim to put education at such a high standard could work together to find a way for these two products/services to work together.  Both have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So, in closing ... Please, Apple and Google, find a way to make some beautiful magic for the educational arena by allowing Google Apps for Education to work seamlessly on the iOS platform like it does on the desktop computer.  Both of you will come out winners.  Do it for the children.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Google Multiple Sign-In


With many school districts "going Google," some educators are finding that they might have multiple Google accounts.  Switching between these can be frustrating in your browser, but fortunately, Google has a built-in feature that users can turn on called Multiple Sign-In.  Google's directions for turning this on are here.

For those that need to see some visuals, the steps for turning this on are outlined below...

Go to the Multiple Sessions Sign-In Page and log in with one of your Google accounts.

If you logged in to a PERSONAL account, you might be at the Account Overview page (shown below).  Look for MULTIPLE SIGN-IN and click EDIT.




If you logged in to your Google Apps for Education account OR after you click EDIT from a personal Account Overview page, you will get to a page that looks like this....



Click ON for Multiple Sign-In and then click SAVE.

After saving your choice, click on your Google account name on the top right and choose SIGN OUT.

Go BACK to the Multiple Sessions Sign-In Page and log in to ANOTHER Google account.

Repeat the same process as above and turn on "Multiple Sign-In" for this account and then sign-out when finished.

What will happen now going forward is that when signed in to one of your accounts, you can go up and click on your Google account name in the top right of the browser and choose SWITCH ACCOUNT (shown below) to easily switch to another account.


After choosing SWITCH ACCOUNT, you will see your other accounts listed that have Multiple Sign-In enabled (shown below).  If for some reason you don't see your account, you can click the choice that says "Sign in to another account" and after entering the credentials for that other account, it should show there in the future.  



Once that is all set up it's very easy to SWITCH accounts in your browser!  As a tip, always pay attention to which account is showing on the top right of the browser in the black bar to know which account you're in.  And if you switch accounts on that tab, it sometimes might not switch accounts on the other tabs you have open so make sure to close all other tabs as to not confuse the browser.  

BONUS TIP:  

In Chrome, you can open a separate window that is totally independent of the account you're currently logged into. This is called the INCOGNITO window.  Go to FILE > NEW INCOGNITO WINDOW (or CMD+SHIFT+N as a shortcut) and a separate window with a "blue" border will open.



The little icon of the spy in the corner tells you that this is the "incognito" window. :)  This is great for doing demos or showing students how to log into an account without having to log out of an account that you currently have open.  Screenshot below.





Friday, February 4, 2011

Google Earth Navigating Activity

Working with a 7th Grade Social Studies teacher on using Google Earth for the first time with students.  Our final product will involve Lewis & Clark's expedition and having students create a Google Earth file with pins for locations from the trek.  

As a "Getting Started" activity, we are going to have students using this handout and possibly the links below to learn how to NAVIGATE around in Google Earth.  

Helpful Links:


Please share any projects or ideas you have for using Google Earth!