Big News for Google Classroom!

The Google for Education blog announced some awesome news for Google Classroom today. The most important of which is multiple teachers in each class!

Teach together: Whether it’s a substitute, a teacher’s aide or a department chair, almost every teacher and professor is supported by other educators. So starting today, you can have multiple teachers in a Classroom class. To try it out, just go to your class’s About page and click “Invite teacher.” Additional teachers can do almost everything the primary teacher can do: they can create assignments or announcements, view and grade student submissions, participate in the comments on the class “stream,” invite students and even get email notifications – everything except delete the class.”

multiple teachers 2

This is great news for co-teachers, in-class support, substitutes and any classroom arrangements that have multiple teachers. Enjoy!

Google+ Photos Coming to Google Drive

This is such great news! According to the Google Apps Updates blog you will now be able to access your Google+ photos from Drive.

“They will appear in a new menu item called Google Photos, and can be shared, moved, and renamed like any other Drive file.”

For those of you that have your mobile devices set to automatically back up photos and video to Google+, this is awesome!

This should be available in your Gmail account now, and in your GAFE account soon.

20 Percent Time

20% TimeI’ve been feeling lately like there’s something new I would like to sink my teeth into. But how would I find the time and how would I pick just one thing? For a few years now, I’ve been talking about Google’s 20% time. I decided that I would do a little research as to how educators are implementing this time in their classrooms, so that I might possibly approach my administrator to implement this in my work week.

Just recently. I learned about Morgan’s Apps for Autism from her teacher Vicky Davis. Morgan Tweets links to apps that could potentially help autistic people. As part of the requirements for her project, Morgan outlined it here. In addition to Twitter, she uses Tumblr and Pinterest to share the resources that might influence the lives of people with autism.

Over the summer I learned about the organization that Rory Fundora’s daughter founded. Though not designed with the 20 percent time in mind, Rory’s daughter, Mallory, decided on her own that she wanted to to raise $600 to sponsor 2 children, one from Amazima and one from Project Have Hope. Mallory surpassed her goal and now manages countless resources to raise money in the name of Project Yesu to fund food, medicine and education to the children of Uganda.

So, where did the concept of 20 percent time come from? Back in 2006, one of Google’s Technical Solutions Engineers wrote about how the company was “enabling engineers to spend one day a week working on projects that aren’t necessarily in our job descriptions. You can use the time to develop something new, or if you see something that’s broken, you can use the time to fix it.”

Many educators, since beginning to use Google Apps and other Google products, have adopted this concept into their classrooms.

Kevin Brookhouser, a High School English teacher in California, implemented this 20 percent time concept for his students. On his website, I teach. I think., Kevin outlines his rules and expectations and provides some project ideas for his students. You can read more about what Kevin has designed on his site.

Thomas Galvez, a psychology teacher at the American Community School in Abu Dubai, is implementing 20 percent time with some of his classes this year. Thomas has designed project guidelines (along with a rubric) to direct his students on how to appropriately use their time. At the end of the semester, students will submit a video demonstrating that they have met the objectives of the project. You can read more about Thomas’s project on his blog.

Pam Rickard, a science educator in California, provides time every Friday in her Make2Learn Lab for students to work on their 20 Percent Time projects. Pam outlines on her site the project rules and expectations and stresses that “Failure IS an option”. Pam shares student examples via video and recommends her students take a look at the following sites for inspiration.

A.J. Juliani, a high school English teacher in Pennsylvania, implemented the 20 percent concept with his 11th graders. Like the other educators I’ve mentioned, A.J. described his project objectives, but this time, there was no intent to grade them. Instead, he was looking for students to report their “accomplishments”. A.J. looked at accountability, standards and curriculum and required independent reading assignments related to the projects. You can read more about A.J.’s experience on his blog.

If you want to learn a little more about Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, watch their Ted Talk as the concept was inspired by their Montessori School experience. Would you believe that 50% of all Google’s products developed by 2009 originated from 20 percent time?

I need to give some serious thought as to how I would want to spend 20 percent of my time. I’m open to suggestions.

Untapped Apps on Google Drive

I presented for the Google Education on Air conference earlier today.  Here’s a link to the resources I shared: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1r8knG7JkGV8R-FTSbpeyj7IF92j5GJIhSGjDwtgCugU/edit

As I went to share it in this space, I found this post I had drafted in October before Hurricane Sandy hit NJ. I hope the additional suggestions are helpful.

Have you taken a look at what you can install in Google Drive? By installing these apps, you can access them easily in Google Docs. There are no additional username and passwords, the apps travel with your Google Account not your device and are simple to use. Let’s take a look at just a few. You can find them all in the Google Drive Apps section of the Chrome Web Store.

Pixlr Editor
This is an online image editor. If you are looking for a replacement for Picnik, this app contains lots of the features that you would like to see.  There is no registration required and Pixlr runs quickly.

HelloFax
HelloFax makes it easy to sign documents and send faxes online. You’ll never need to print, sign and scan documents again! Integrate Google Drive & HelloFax and you’ll be on your way to a paperless office. HelloFax has two primary features:

WeVideo
WeVideo is the world’s premier platform for collaborative video editing. This video editor enables you to create your own movies with simple drag-and-drop functionality and a timeline systemizing your edit. Effects, music, transitions and graphics can be added instantly – no need to wait for all that rendering any more!

GeoGebra
GeoGebra is free dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that joins geometry, algebra, graphing, and calculus in one easy-to-use package. Our desktop application from http://www.geogebra.org is used by millions of students and teachers around the world and has received several educational software awards in Europe and the USA.

Twisted Wave
TwistedWave is a full featured audio editor that allows you to edit audio files in your Google Drive. You can also use Twisted Wave to edit sounds off your computer. This app is similar to Audacity or Aviary.

RightSignature
Send contracts, forms, proposals, applications – any document you need signed – for legally-binding e-signature with a few clicks. Your customers fill out and sign documents online in any web browser, or even on an iPad, iPhone, or Android device.

FREE PD: Google Education On Air

If you are not already watching, you should be. These live webinars (using Google Hangouts) are top notch. Watch them live or watch the archive.

My last one is tomorrow at noon EST. It will be hosted from my Google+ page at https://plus.google.com/113091647598120328318/posts

Web Apps for Education (Diigo, EasyBib, Glogster, Pixlr Editor, Slide Rocket)
The education web apps available to everyone online is growing every day. We will take you through some of the most popular educational web apps: DiigoEasyBibGlogster EDUPixlr EditorSlide Rocket. And the best part is, they are all free.

Please contact me on Google+ or Twitter if you would like a spot in the Hangout. You are welcome to showcase an app that you like if you just let me know ahead of time. Hope to see you there!!

Looking to Learn Something New? Come to NJ!

March is a busy month in NJ for professional Development

Maximizing the Possibilities of a Connected World

NJECC 26th Annual NJ Educational Computing Cooperative Conference
Co-sponsored with NJ Dept. of Education and Montclair State University
MARCH 13, 2012
Keynote Speaker: JON LANDIS
Post-Conference Workshops:
March 14 & 15, 2012

Conference Booklet – http://www.njecc.org/site/files/2012registrationbrochure.pdf

From My Classroom to Yours

Digital Content in the Classroom
Create, Integrate, Assess!

Annual From My Classroom to Yours Conference
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
on the campus of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Pomona, New Jersey

A teacher-to-teacher conference that offers teachers, technology coordinators, and educational administrators the opportunity to share “best practices” for teaching and learning.

First Educational Technology Symposium at West Essex March 17, 2012!

This special free event has been designed to educate K-12 teachers, administrators, media specialists, school boards and interested community members on the innovative use of technology in education.
For information, contact Raquel Williams at rwilliam@westex.org. To register, visit www.westex.org/wetech. To read the press release, click here.

The first ever NY/NJ Google Apps Summit!
This event will be held at the Kean University STEM building on March 22 and 23, 2012.

Register now as it is filling quickly. Come hear from Googlers, Google Certified Teachers and Google Apps Certified Trainers on how to deploy, implement and sustain Google Apps in your school. Take a look at the conference grid at https://sites.google.com/site/nynjgs12/conference-sessions and register here.

2012 – The Year I went with Apple


I have never owned a Mac. I used them in college. I’ve used them in Mac districts that I work with. Bu I’ve never had one as my primary computer. Until now.

When they asked me at my new job at Kean what type of laptop I wanted, I jumped on the chance to try something new. It was time to get a Mac. I have had an iPad since they were released in early 2010. I’ve had an iPod Classic and an iPodTouch for many years. I even got the iPod Nano and watch band for the holidays this year. But, I wanted a chance to learn about the operating system and some of the software packages only available for Macs. (Perhaps I wanted some of my friends that have Macs to stop picking on me as well.)

So, my Macbook Air was delivered to me at work just about a month ago. The first thing I did was install the Chrome browser so that I would have access to all my personalized apps and extensions that I had used on my Chromebook and PCs. But since then, these are the apps that I’ve asked the office to install for me.

I’m happy I made the change as I look forward to seeing what some of these pieces of software can do, but honestly, I really only use the Chrome Browser. The rest is just gravy. (Yummy gravy.)