Why Not Minot?

Google Comes to Minot

I went to a conference in Minot,

Presented by the Google group.

I was so impressed those two days,

I even felt to be in the loop!

From Google Earth to Search and more,

I left each session and with tools galore.

The leaders were all fun, energetic and bright,

And kept us enthralled, knowing our plight.

I left this workshop with both optimism and pride,

And will keep these tools with me and close to my side.

THANKS!!

Mark Reinig – Fairmount, ND 58030

I think this poem from attendee, Mark Reinig, sums it up. Cindy Lane, Lainie Rowell and I read this on the way to the airport to catch our flights home after the two-day Google Workshop for Educators held in Minot, ND.  We then forwarded it to the other Lead Learners that had presented with us: Ken Shelton, Katie Morrow and Steve Dembo.

Apparently, the local news covered the event as well as Craig Nansen, the district technology coordinator for Minot Public Schools is currently the only Google Certified Teacher in North Dakota.

Minot Daily News
http://minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/540143.html

KMOT-TV
http://kmot.com/News_video.asp?news=40689

This was the largest Google Workshop for Educators that Cue has run with about 130 educators attending. Educators rotated through a total of 10 sessions including:

  • Search Part 1
  • Google Docs
  • Picasa
  • YouTube
  • Google Sites
  • Search Part 2
  • Google Maps
  • Google Earth
  • Sketchup
  • Even More

All the sessions were hands-on and the tech staff from Minot (including Brian and Alicia) kept everything running smoothly. But besides the poem, what I really wanted to share were the speed demos that we all chose to present at the conclusion of the first day. Now, I will tell you that Steve wanted to call them “Steve Dembos”, but we didn’t have time to take an official vote. These are the tools that we each had 3 minutes to demonstrate to the group:

I had a great time presenting with these GCTs and learned something from each of them. What a pleasure.

Why not Minot? Seriously, I think I may have to go back for another visit.

It’s a GTA in the UK

Image Source: http://www.funonthenet.in/

Today, Google announced the next Google Teacher Academy. This time they will be hosting the resource and networking packed day at the London offices at 76 Buckingham Palace Road.

“The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region. “

Event Date: July 29, 2010

Application Deadline: 11:59 PM PDT (UTC/GMT -7), June 17, 2010

Applicants will be notified whether or not their application has been accepted on or before June 24, 2010 PDT.

SPECIAL NOTES:

Please read through all the requirements and directions BEFORE completing this application.
Educators worldwide may apply, but must pay for their own travel and lodging.
Previous Google Certified Teachers are not eligible.

 

10 Steps to a Gmail Makeover

It all started a couple of weeks ago at the Google Teacher Academy for Administrators. Hank Thiele and Cory Pavicich did a fifteen minute segment on how to effectively use your Gmail. I have to admit, that even though I’m a major Google Apps user, I was still pretty much relying on Microsoft Outlook to keep myself organized. I must have been crazy.

When Hank and Cory started speaking I had over 14,000 e-mails in my inbox. I am happy to report that as of today, just about 14 days later, I am at inbox zero. Here’s what I did:

1. Archiving
I was not archiving my e-mails at all. When you archive an e-mail it moves out of your inbox, yet it will still come up in your search results. All you have to do is click the Archive button when you are in an e-mail or select a group of e-mails and click More Actions – Archive.

2. Delete
Once I started searching through my e-mails, I realized how much junk was in there. I deleted all the Mailer-Daemons and the solicited coupons /ads / catalogs that had expired.

3. Labels
I created three Labels (or folders) for my mail. The easy ones to quickly lower the number in my inbox were Labels for Twitter, Facebook and my administrator. I started with Twitter and did a search for anything from Twitter and then created a label named “Twitter” and moved it all there. I then did the same thing for Facebook and for my boss.

So, I am proud to say that about 30 minutes after Hank and Cory were done with their presentation, I had reduced my inbox from over 14,000 to about 8,000 just with the first 3 steps.

Over the next week or so I took the following actions to further reduce and organize my inbox:

Filter by e-mail address, subject, keywords, etc.

4. Filters
I created filters for mail coming in and applied them to existing messages. I took a look at the mail each day to see what I was receiving and created Labels and then filters based on what was appearing in my inbox. This took a few days as different e-mails come on different days of the week and it’s easier to organize your inbox a little at a time.

5. Mark as read
I went into each of the Labels that I had created and selected all the mail in the Label. I then “marked as read” and Archived all the messages in each of the Labels to ensure that none would remain linked to my inbox.

6. Colors
Since I accumulated numerous Labels, I began color coding them based on my personal system. But the colors are definitely helpful and if you use the filters, much of your mail will appear in your inbox with the colored Label attached to it. This helps me make a decision quickly as to whether or not it needs my immediate attention.

7. Delete some more
It did get to a point that I was not sure which Label to move some e-mails into and I did not want to make a “Miscellaneous” Label, so I needed to either select where to put things or make a decision as to if it was okay for me to permanently delete them. It was tough at first, but did I really need registration confirmations from January 2008?

8. Starred messages
Since I was used to using the feature in MS Outlook that allowed me to flag e-mails for follow-up, I needed to find a replacement in Gmail. The Starred messages feature in Gmail would accomplish exactly what I needed with a couple  of additional features. I took a look at what I had marked in Outlook that still needed attention and Starred it in Gmail. I then click on the “Starred” button and was able to view all of my Starred messages regardless of their Label.

9. Check out a few more things
Subscribe to the Office Gmail Blog to keep on top of new features as they are released as there is an entire Gmail Labs section that is worth taking a look at. While logged in, click on Settings and then on the Labs tab. Here you will see all the Gadgets that have been developed for Gmail. By default, they are set to “disable”, but you can choose those that you would like to enable and then click “save changes”. One that I chose to enable was the “Green Robot“. It changed the icons in the Google Chat window to indicate whether someone was chatting from an Android phone (which I frequently do).

10. Be Decisive
Hank gave a very wise piece of advice. He suggested that when you get a new piece of e-mail, make a decision about what to do with it. Give it a Label. Read it. Delete it. Archive it. But, don’t just leave it there. It took me 14 days to whittle down from 14,000 e-mails to zero. I feel like I’m going to be more responsive to people now as they are not going to get lost in the shuffle. Well, I hope so anyway.

Do you have any Gmail tips to share? I would love to hear them. Please share them here.

Feeling Googley at the NJECC Annual Conference

This will be the third year I present at the NJECC Annual Conference. This year’s theme is “Teacher as Learner” and Will Richardson is delivering the Keynote. The lineup of sessions is phenomenal with topics on music technology, using technology to assist English Language Learners, Google Apps, Virtual Worlds, and many other uses of hardware, software, web 2.0 applications and the concepts behind using them to improve teaching and learning in the classroom.

My session, This is Not Your Grandmother’s Google, is described in the program as:

It’s time to go beyond Google.com. Discover Google’s Wonder Wheel, Similar Images, Insights for Search, Custom Search Engines, and Language Tools and learn how to find resources effectively and efficiently.

Click to view on Slideshare.net

Many of the resources I will be sharing during our session:

Of course it always depends on who attends, what questions are asked and what our needs are. We’ll be using the hashtag #NJECC tomorrow if you would like to follow the conference. I’m looking forward to seeing many familiar faces there and having the chance to make the acquaintance of some NJ educators that I have not yet had the chance to meet.

Sweet Searching with Google

There are so many search tools available in Google that this past August when I presented at the Google Teacher Academy in Boulder, Colorado, I named my presentation “Google Search: At A Mile A Minute”. I spoke as fast as I could and showed as much as I could in the 30 minutes I was allotted.

But, I have to tell you that it’s tough to stay on top of all the options that Google comes out with for Search. It is worth the effort though.

Today at the monthly NJECC meeting, Samantha Morra, Sarah Rolle, Liz Bagish and I will be presenting part 1 of a 2 part series on Google Apps to our organization. We are all Google Certified Teachers, so we divided up the topics we wanted to cover and I chose Google Search.

This is the list of Search features I’ll be demonstrating and why I chose these specifically. (Bear in mind that I only have about 25 minutes.)

Google Show Options – We’ll be talking about addressing all learners and looking in information in different formats.

Wonder Wheel

Timeline

Also along these lines we’ll look at Google Squared.

I’d also like the group to know that their schools can import their entire libraries into Google Books and what information they can see about each book there. I’ll focus on:

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Searching the Book
  3. Popular Passages
  4. Book Reviews
  5. References from other Books
  6. References from Scholarly Works

This will lead nicely into Scholar Search which we’ll touch on briefly. (Well, everything will be brief, right?)

We’ll cover that Google Scholar searches:

  • Reputable articles
  • Journals
  • Books

We’ll also make clear that Google Scholar does not search:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Blogs
  • Popular websites

I wanted to show the NEW Google Image Swirl and I will when I show everyone some advanced Image Search strategies including Similar Images, usage rights and searching by color, picture size and style.

We’ll look at Insights for Search and what the trending topics are for New Jersey for the last 30 days. We’ll talk about how students can compare this information to other parts of the U.S. and other countries.

Lastly, we’ll make sure that people know how to be alerted to any information that is important to them using Google Alerts. I will demonstrate to benefit of Google Alerts and suggest them for your school, district, people you know (like relatives), yourself and topics you are interested in.

I’m hoping everyone is able to learn a few new search techniques. Everyone has their own style, so not every tool I show them will necessarily meet their needs or the needs of the students in their classrooms. And I know I’m leaving so many great search tools out. But I only have 25 minutes. :)

Rumors Confirmed – Google Teacher Academy #7 in August

Google Teacher Academy

Boulder, Colorado

August 5, 2009

cert_teacher1

Just over 300 educators in the United States have been certified through the Google Teacher Academy and they are gearing up for the 7th cohort this summer on August 5. In order to apply for the Academy you must complete an application including a one-minute video. Both are reviewed by a panel of educators from across the U.S. (Please read some excellent suggestions for your application at Kevin Jarrett’s blog.)

Should you not be prepared to travel to Colorado and you are in the New Jersey area you have another option this July. The CMSCE at Rutgers University has had to pleasure of hosting the Google Learning Institute in partnership with Cue along with fellow GCTs Erica Hartman, Kern Kelley and Jesse Spevack this past March for 40 NJ Educators ranging from 2nd grade through higher ed. We had such an overwhelming response, that we scheduled a second GLI for May 28 (coming up in just a few short weeks) where we will be joined by GCTs Erica Hartman, Andrew Gallagher and Jerry Crisci. But, we still had a waiting list of area educators looking to learn about all the Google Apps and how they can be used to improve teaching and learning.

GWE

Piscataway, New Jersey

July 15 and 16, 2009

On July 15 and July 16, Kevin Jarrett, Kern Kelley and several middle school students from Maine and New Jersey will join me to host a two-day Google Workshop for Educators. This two-day event will take you beyond the one-day fast-paced introduction to Google Apps and end in a proof of concept project. For more information and to register for this event, please visit the Center’s website.

My Aha! Moment of the Day February 27, 2009

The picture taking MACHINE - Kevin Jarrett
The picture taking MACHINE - Kevin Jarrett

I really thought that my Aha! Moment regarding the reload was going to be that it was worth all the time it took to help plan it. During the months leading up to the Google Teacher Academy Reload for the 2nd Cohort I came to know Cristin Frodella, Product Marketing Manager, Apps – Education Edition, Google a little more as she turned down some of my ideas for sessions. My mind went crazy with making sure the Cohort was kept up to date, that the Agenda was populated with the resources from the presenters I had asked to share that day. There was so much to be packed into 2/27/09, yet plenty of time for the educators to socialize and network with each other.

There were countless moments during the day that could have counted as my Aha Moment.

It could have been having been completely distracted as Kevin Jarrett surfed on http://FailBlog.org using his Broadband access as I ignored my GPS and made every wrong turn possible heading into NYC early Friday morning. (That was a first for me – being in the car with someone surfing the Net on their laptop – I so wanted Kevin to be the one driving.)

It wasn’t the fact that the Google Teacher Academy is a wonderful opportunity and continues to be fulfilling as I already knew that or I wouldn’t have offered to help organize the day.

It’s not the experience of going to the Google building in NY. We joke about the micro kitchens, game room and the services that go along with being employed by Google, but the most enticing element of being there is the level of energy. I think I already knew that. I just needed a reminder. (I could take another reminder anytime.)

And then the presentations that I had seen ahead of time came to life. I thought for sure that these would contain my Aha! Moment as each contained a piece of knowledge that captured my interest – too many to list here.

It wasn’t the Monster Milk Truck from Jerry Crisci.

It wasn’t the Google Bunch Video from the Sitterleys.

It wasn’t seeing the definition of  Copyright from Kristin Hokanson.

It wasn’t the Ocean Layer in Google Earth 5 from Bruce Poldermanlealia

It wasn’t that Nancy Sharoff aka Laelia Laval wore purple hair in real life to match her purple hair in Second Life or that 17 GCTs completed this Google Form during the 30 minute demonstration to either be a Buddy in SL or that they wanted a Buddy in SL to help build the presence of GCTs in the virtual world.

It was the Web 2.0 Smackdown. Just when I thought everyone was completely exhausted and that their brains were on overload and that I had kind of ruined the mood of the room with a failed attempt at leading a question and answer period using Google Moderator, I announced the Smackdown. I wasn’t sure it was going to go well. I figured there were three things working against a successful Smackdown:

  1. Comments from the attendees that they were unprepared as they were unaware this type of activity was going to happen at the Reload.
  2. The Web 2.0 Smackdown was scheduled at the end of a rather long day.
  3. What I thought was a bad feeling in the air due to a failed attempt to use a piece of technology I was not that familiar with. (But hey, who knew I was leading the day? I was only supposed to HELP!)

Here is a list of the tools that were demonstrated. They weren’t all Web 2.0, but it wasn’t about that, it was about sharing tools that we liked and we wanted to share with our GCT colleagues. Even Barry Bachenheimer who had been fighting laryngitis all day wanted a second turn. But we had to bring the day to a close.

  1. http://www.polycom.com/global/documents/support/user/products/video/pvx_quicktips.pdf
  2. http://makeownringtone.com/
  3. http://p22.com/musicfont/
  4. http://www.livescribe.com
  5. http://play.typeracer.com/
  6. http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/index.htm
  7. http://camfrog.com/
  8. http://scratch.mit.edu/
  9. http://mywebspiration.com/
  10. http://issuu.com/
  11. http://www.xtranormal.com/
  12. http://www.voki.com/

I love the enthusiasm. I love the collaboration. I love the willingness to try to new things and to learn from one another.

You just can’t beat that. That was my Aha! moment. What a way to end the day.

Image Source: KJarrett's Flickr Stream
Image Source: KJarrett's Flickr Stream