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.

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 –

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 To register, visit 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 and register here.

Google Chrome: The Power of the Omnibox

What’s an Omnibox? I have always referred to the bar at the top of a browser where you type in a URL as the “address bar” But I was informed that in Google Chrome, that bar is so much more. It’s the Omnibox. It can:

  • Search the web and visit addresses
  • Search for apps, bookmarks and browsing history
  • Create bookmarks
  • See security, pop-up and extension alerts
This week was the first two of six Chromebook events I am helping to lead with Lucy Gray, Joe Donahue and the Google Apps Team. We presented in Boulder on Monday, Chicago on Wednesday and next week, we’ll be heading to Austin and New York.
My topics were actually Gmail and Calendar, but we were also responsible for demonstrating some of the amazing things you can do with the Chromebooks or even just Chrome. Over the last month or so, I have been exploring the Apps and Extensions in the Chrome Web Store.
Here are my favorite Apps and Extensions:
  • Scratchpad – A simple note-taking app. Take notes offline and optionally syncs to the cloud when you’re online.
  • URL Shortener – Shorten url with, the Google URL shortener, and share with many different service!
  • Screen Capture – Capture visible content of a tab, a region of a web page, or the whole page as a PNG image. Support horizontal and vertical scroll when capturing whole page, with an all new autosave capability.
  • App Jumper App Launcher – Quickly launch Apps from browser toolbar. Organize Apps and Extensions into Groups. Manage Apps and Extensions with ease.
  • SdTimer – Great in-browser timer which can count down from any time. Shows time on tab title and buzzes once done.
  • Chrome 2 Phone – Google Chrome to Phone Extension enables you to send links and other information from Chrome to your Android device.
If you haven’t already, take 15 minutes and explore the Chrome Web Store.  I can honestly say now that Chrome is my browser of choice.
Do you have any Apps or Extensions that you like and think I should share with the educators at the Chromebook Events?

Utilizing Appointment Slots in Google Calendar

During the first of four days of Google sessions at Google Days in Minot, ND this week, the Gmail team announced a new feature in Google Calendar. This new feature would allow people to view available time slots that you have set up on your calendar. They are able to select that time slot and it will be both reserved on their calendar for you and will conveniently appear on your own Google Calendar as well.

For step-by-step directions, visit

Source: http://

It was finally on Thursday, during the 3-hour working session at the end of the day that I finally got a chance to sit down with some of the attendees and work with this new feature.  Using Appointment Slots was relatively easy. The directions at took us through the steps to develop the schedules for each of the labs.

We used Appointment Slots at #gdminot to set up Calendars for teachers to sign up for the different computer labs in the building. So, we actually needed to make a unique calendar for each of the labs, yet we wanted to have all the calendars showing together when we embedded it on the Google Site. The issue that we ran into was that Google Sites  wouldn’t allow us to embed multiple calendars.

How to embed multiple Google Calendars:

  1. Click to the right of your calendar, click the drop down menu and click calendar settings
  2. Click the link for Customize the color, size and other options
  3. scroll down to the bottom of the page and on the left select all the calendars you want to include
  4. Scroll back up and click the update HTML button
  5. Cope the code to your clipboard
  6. Open your Google Site and go to the page you want to embed the calendar on.
  7. Click edit
  8. Click the Insert menu and scroll down to More Gadgets
  9. Click on the Featured gadgets and select the “Embed Gadget”
  10. Click the “select” button
  11. Paste the HTML code in the blank box
  12. Change your width to 800
  13. Change the height to 600
  14. Click the checkbox that will include the scrollbar
  15. Click OK
  16. Save your page to view changes.
I know this seems like a few too many steps, but it was worth it to see all the calendars in one place. Give it a try!

CR-48: The Google Chromebook

My daughters wanted to know what was in the box when we opened it on April 14, but I knew immediately what it was. I had been hoping since I had filled out the form for the pilot program, that I might receive a Chromebook

I’m sure you will agree that there’s nothing like unboxing a new computer. They’re so clean and pretty and they are a blank canvas.

Usually, the first thing that I do with a new laptop is install my must have apps like Skype and Tweetdeck. But the only installs on this laptop were going to be Chrome Apps. I knew I wanted to take it with me to the NJECC meeting the following day, so I spent about 30 minutes checking out a few things making sure it was ready to go.

      1. Turn it on.
      2. Take a picture using it’s camera for your profile
      3. Log in using your Google Account
      4. Select a Theme
      5. You are ready to go!

The next day at the meeting, I had some more time to look into things. (Yes, I was multitasking.) I found Tweedeck and Diigo in the Chrome Apps store. I also realized there was no way to take a screenshot from the keyboard, so I installed a screenshot app as well.

I am happy to report that after 2 hours of heavy browsing, I still had 74 % battery life. Even after an additional hour, I still had 62% power remaining, but the meeting was over, so I shut down. One of the benefits to the CR-48 that I found out in the following days, was the built-in 100mb of Verizon 3G per month. I realize that this is not a lot, but to have this available at no extra charge during the 2-year pilot, was awesome. (You can purchase additional data.)

So, just over a month later, news has come out that Google will be leasing out these computers. You can read about it here. There is some skepticism about this hardware that you can read about here and here, but on the whole, reviews have been positive and helpful.

I’m enjoying it and so are the other four users that have accounts on it.

Have you tried Google Cloud Print?


So perhaps I’m a little behind, but when I was in Australia a couple of weeks ago at the GTASYD someone mentioned something called Google Cloud Print.

On my home network, I have been having a problem getting my Win7 laptop to print over my wireless network. Not having read the FAQs for Google Cloud Print, I thought it might be an easy solution. The bad news is that after reading a post about it on the Google Mobile Blog, I learned that this application only works on mobile devices, so it will not work from my Win7 laptop.

The good news is that it will work from my:

Who needs the Win7 laptop at this point anyway? Really!

If you have a mobile device such as the ones listed above, or an iPhone, consider adding Google Cloud Print to your list of tools. All you will need to do is alter some settings, in Chrome, on the computer that is attached to your printer. Follow the directions here and you’ll be able to print form the Cloud.