Wednesday, July 6, 2016

ISTE 2016 Round Up!

I had the good fortune to attend the annual ISTE conference this past June out in Denver.  ISTE is a great educational technology focused conference to attend every so often to keep a good pulse on what's coming/going/successful in the world of technology integration.  This year, I was able to attend as one of two Wisconsin ISTE "Making IT Happen" award winners.  We were able to attend a nice luncheon along with other award winners from across the country.

With fellow Wisconsin "Making IT Happen" Award Winner, Kaye Henrickson

The rest of this blog post is going to highlight some things I saw or learned about while at ISTE that I want to share with other educators.


I attended a great session on day 1 that shared out about Augmented Reality by Matt McGuire from Canada.  I appreciated his analogy that "Augmented Reality" is like when you are watching an NFL game and you see the yellow 'first down line' or the '2nd and 10' marker on the field. Those items aren't really there -- that's augmented reality. You're looking at reality through a lens and something else is there.  AR is like a fancy QR code where something in the scene you're looking at is the 'trigger' for something else to happen.  I'm familiar with AR and this is nothing new, but he shared some great apps and examples of where AR is being used in education that I will reference below.  One company that is making a lot of these apps is Daqri. Here's an overview video of their products to get a better sense of AR if you are interested.
  • Elements 4D (iOS | Android) - print out and create physical cube nets of the periodic elements. Use your tablet or phone and in the app, when you look at those cubes and put them together, you will see visual of what's happening.  See a chemical reaction happen! See the weight and other characteristics.  Free! Go download it and try it out.
Example of Elements 4D being used on a tablet to show chemical reactions happening.
  • Anatomy (iOS | Android) - See the parts of the body laid out and manipulatable on your tablet or phone.  Point your device at a special print out and see the anatomy come to life.
  • Enchantium (iOS | Android) - Print out little circle discs and using this app, you can see 'strings' you can pluck on your device to make certain sounds and chords. Very cool. Here's a sample video if you want to see how this works.
  • AR Flash Cards (iOS | Android) - print out animal flash cards and lay on the table. Use the app and hover over them and you will see animals appear on screen. Tap the animals to hear the sounds they make. Good for younger ages.
  • Quiver Vision - print out and color some pages and then use the app to see those things come to life.  Create your own flag. Design your own sneaker. 

He mentioned other apps to look into and there are more in his presentation if this interests you.  My wonder coming away from this is -- now that Android Apps will work on Chromebooks, would these work well in a Chromebook classroom?  Some friends at ISTE did some digging and don't think this will work just yet as the camera on a Chromebook doesn't react the same as a rear-facing camera of a phone or tablet, but I have to believe this is coming along soon.


Google for Edu made (4) great announcements at ISTE (blog post here).  Here's a quick summary of my thoughts on this as I was able to see some of this used while at ISTE.
  • Expeditions App is now live! We were able to have Google Expeditions visit us this past spring while they were traveling around trying out Expeditions with classrooms.  I'm very excited that the app is now out there for anyone to download. I'm anxiously awaiting the ability to CREATE your own expeditions with words, visuals and audio.  A teacher being able to make their own expedition will be amazing!  With this announcement, Best Buy for Education is now also selling Expeditions 'kits' that classes can purchase which come with devices, headsets, a teacher tablet, carrying case and router.  I know some educators that have pieced together their own kits and this price for a 30 kit ($10k) seems a little high to me.  My guess is there will be more partners that release kits in the coming months and competition is a good thing.
  • GoogleCast for Edu - I am an avid Chromecast user at home. I love being able to fling something I'm watching on my device up onto the TV.  This announcement now makes this easier to do in the classroom and you don't even need a Chromecast! All you need is the GoogleCast for Edu app installed in your browser.  You can then invite students to 'cast' their screens to your computer (with your computer being connected to the projector).  Great for letting students take the lead in sharing and learning!  Intro video below explains how this works.

  • Google Forms adds Quizzes! So we've all created some quizzes using a Google Form, but the process to grade usually involves using an Add-On.  Well, Google for Edu now built in some features to Forms to make quizzes more of an easy reality. This is great for formative assessments where you just want to do a quick check for understanding.  Here's a blog post from Jeff Herb that outlines how to build a quiz in Google Forms.
  • Bundled Creative Apps!  Google for Edu is now working with other developers to bundle together apps at discounted prices for Edu.  The first package of apps contains Explain Everything (diagraming, explaining, recording), WeVideo (video editing, movie making) and SoundTrap (audio editing, podcasting, music recording).  All 3 are great creation apps that will help take students' ideas further.  Video below is an example from a middle school that worked with these apps.  What does this mean for your classroom? Well, hopefully more student choice. You'll have to talk to your tech director or administrator that handles the finances to figure out if your school or district can purchase these apps but this is a great step in the right direction for more solid creative choices on Chromebooks. 

I was also able to attend a Google Partner session and Google Trainer session where some other information was shared about what's coming, but I'm under NDA to not share that information until Google announces it themselves.  More cool stuff is coming!


I attended some sessions on Digital Citizenship in the hopes of finding some more good examples or models to follow for how to teach children to be responsible online.  Some good discussion came from these sessions and a few resources I will link below.  Here are some of my takeaways:
  • We are very good at telling kids what they can't and shouldn't do online. How do we change the conversation to really have them be a citizen instead of just covering the etiquette?
  • We all 'rent' space online when we use services like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat.  Unless you purchase your own domain name and build a website (i.e., you don't really have any 'land' online that is yours to control.  This analogy was shared by Dean Shareski and I appreciate how he views having space online. (Dean's Slides)
  • Dean shared some great videos I had not seen before that would be good to incorporate into lessons on digital citizenship:
    • Sincere Compliment - story about a student who started a social media account to boost others up.  Great to build community at a school.
  • Attended another digital citizenship panel. This site by Jason Ohler has lots of resources I plan to dig through a little more.


I also dug a little bit more into Learning Management Systems. We use Moodle in my district and I was curious about some of the features of some others as I see more and more classes going online and blended.

While at ISTE, I was video interviewed by Sean Cavanagh about challenges with tech in the classroom for Education Week (original post).  The video is below.

To round things out, I also poked and prodded into other tools out there that will help us streamline some efficiencies in our district so we can route 'digital forms' better or steal some time back from our current paper processes.  Nothing big to share there yet as I'm still on that quest.

Thanks for reading - I hope I was able to share some things with you that might impact your classroom.  Please comment back if this impacted you in anyway.  #Impact.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Being 'Technology Rich' vs. 'Technology Integration' in the Classroom

At one of our district TILT (Tech Integration Leadership Team) meetings this past year, it was mentioned in a conversation about some of our classrooms being "Technology Rich" versus a classroom that is truly utilizing technology to where we could say "Technology Integration" was occurring. I've been thinking about this a lot over the summer so I thought I'd throw some thoughts out there and see if others have some ideas to contribute.

I work in Franklin Public Schools near Milwaukee, WI.  We don't have money growing on trees, but when it has been time to plan for technology, we have been pretty smart about our purchases (budgeting, seeking grants, etc).  I've been really proud of our planning for technology as we look at what we want to be occurring in the classroom and then work backwards to find the technology pieces of the puzzle that will get us to that full picture.  Not all districts do this. I have talked with others that just make a decision to go buy technology and then figure out where it will fit and I can't think that way.

We started our 1:1 program in Franklin last fall (2014) with a Chromebook for every student in grades 7-11 and are expanding this fall of 2015 to grades 5 and 7-12.  During my first year of 1:1, I focused on teaching teachers ways to manage their students digitally, collect work digitally and the like.  I also tried to teach more 'strategy' for using devices so teachers could think about ways to engage students differently.  That's the background on where I'm coming from as I get to what it means (in my opinion) to be 'Technology Rich' as opposed to full on 'Technology Integration'

Part of my trying to better define this stems from this graphic that was passed around online a while back from Bill Ferriter that centers on "What Do You Want Kids To Do With Technology?"

At times, I will meet with teachers during a team plan or other meeting and ask "What do you want your kids to do? To show? To prove their learning?"  Frequently, I will get answers from the left column.

"I want my kids to make an Animoto"
"I want my kids to make a flyer."  
"I want them to blog."  

Over this past year, our district has shifted to Standards Based Learning so this has forced us all to up our game during conversations like these where they are more streamlined because we have to talk about the standards that a unit of design is going to address.  The 'right' column is hard.  If you choose "I want my students to make a difference" as an example, there isn't just something quick and dirty you can point to as a solution.  We are all challenged to find the right tools, uses and learning to get us to the answers on the 'right' side of the column...or above the red line as has been a mantra in our district the last few years.

Back to my purpose for this blog post.  I want to hear from others what you think it means to be 'Technology Rich' in the classroom versus what you think it means to be doing 'Technology Integration.'  I'm not quite convinced I have the right terms there so I'm open to changing those.  Let me share what my thoughts are and then please respond in the comments.  As a caveat, when I say 'tech' -- I could mean both the hardware (Chromebooks, tablets, phones) and the tools (Google Apps, websites, media creation tools).

In thinking about this, I think my view of a classroom being 'technology rich' means some of the following:

  • Technology is readily available in classroom or environment (carts available when needed or students have devices at their ready)
  • Students appear ‘busy’ and using technology 
  • No clearly defined purpose or goal for using the technology
  • Not furthering student learning or deepening student understanding
  • Technology might be “babysitting” the students
  • More focus on completing a task as opposed to growth or reflection of learning

When I'm working in a class, I'm looking for the following to see engagement by students so that I know the technology is being used to almost all, if not all of it's potential.
  • Students using technology for a clearly defined purpose
  • Students could not get to the next 'checkpoint' of learning without tech
  • Tech is enhancing or transforming student work (SAMR)
  • Mini-lessons from teacher to model effective use (how to search, good design)

That's where I'm at...I'd love some feedback to help me make this more robust. I'm working with some school districts before school starts and I want to clearly define the difference between these two schools of thought.

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 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...


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.


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.


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 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 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!

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?

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.

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! :)

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:

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.

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?  


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,