Have you looked at Google Docs lately?

Every time I turn around they’ve added a new feature to Google Docs. It’s tough to keep up, I know. I subscribe to the Google Docs Blog, which is quite helpful.

Allow me to bring you up to speed on some of the latest additions/improvements:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Have you seen what they’ve added to the Drawing features in Google since it first came out? You need to take a look! There is so much more flexibility and so many more shapes to pick from. You can also now create your own custom filled shapes.

Picture 4
Image Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 12, 2009

You can now share an entire folder. Apparently this was the most requested new feature. Just put all the documents you want to share into the folder and then share it with your Collaborators.

shared_flderpng
Image Source: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/

Also on this same day, Google announced that you could upload more than one document at a time. I thought this was great. Especially when bringing new teachers into Google Docs. So you want to convert all your science PowerPoints to Google Presentations?? You can now do it all in one batch. Simply click on Upload –> Select files to upload –> Select destination folder –> Start Upload. It’s that simple.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I guess after making it so simple to upload all your documents, Google decided it was time to make it simple to download your documents as well. I was excited when I read about this as I needed to remove some of my older Google Docs, yet wasn’t quite ready to part with them. This option really works for me.

You can now download your Google Docs in MS Office or Open Office Formats or as PDFs (up to 500mb at a time) in a zipped file. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the files you want to download by checking them
  2. Click on More Actions (on the right of the Google Docs screen)
  3. Click on Export
  4. If you are exporting a lot, you can select the option to have Google e-mail you when the export is done. Otherwise, you can just wait and then either Save or Open the Zipped file.

Some other features you may consider checking out:

  • The Equation Editor –> Click on Insert – Equation
  • Language Tools –> Tools – Translate document
  • Formatting –> Insert – Page break
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Going Ga Ga Again

gaga

Back in January I spoke about Google Apps with Dean Shareski and Alec Couros‘s classes. There have been a few changes. We said goodbye to Google Notebook and for many Google Video. We have welcomed Drawing tools to Google Docs and Themes to Google Forms.

I’ve changed the way I am sharing some of the information with Dean’s class tonight. I’ve shared my presentation above. We’ll be meeting in Eluminate as we did back in January if you’d like to join us.

Also, if you have time to take a look at some additional resources. These are the top three I suggest:

19 Interesting Ways to use Google Docs in the Classroom

Google Tools Comic Book

Google Almanac

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.

Searching Google in a Snap

I was really honored when Lori Abrahams (SL Lor Fredriksson) asked if I would be interested in presenting at the DEN in Second Life. I had talked about it with a few fellow ed-techies before, but had never really jumped on it. This time was different.

Lori and I chose to focus on one of the Google tools, so I selected searching strategies as the focus of my first-ever formal Second Life presentation. Please consider joining me at the new DEN Auditorium on Wednesday evening, April 29 at  5 PM  SLT ( 7 PM CST, 8 PM EST). I will be talking about:

If you can’t make it, or you’re not into virtual worlds yet, take a look at the slides I posted on Slideshare so you can get an idea of all the things you can do to find the information you need IN A SNAP!

P.S. Don’t forget to bring your Google Account and password with you.

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy All The Time

knowledge

You can try though. And we did. And we’ll do it again on May 28, 2009 for the next Google Learning Institute at the CMSCE, Rutgers University.

expectations

There are a few things that we will plan to do differently. It’s tough to say since the feedback was positive, yet the participants were of two skills sets. (Compare the three comments.)

speed

I’ve had a few days to reflect on last Thursday’s GLI and the discussion that GCTs Erica Hartman, Kern Kelley, Jesse Spevack and I had afterward. I also read the evaluations several times and look forward to speaking with Mark Wagner about moving forward with a possible third GLI this summer. I’ve spent the weekend thinking about the 110% effort I give towards my preparation for a professional development event and that I expect when I go to experience someone else’s presentation I have rather high expectations.
Here’s some PD thoughts  I’d like to share:

  1. Describe your event accurately and stick to the description.
  2. Make sure when you prepare for PD that you have materials that accommodate every level of user. Have some step-by-step literature available as well as resources for delving deeper into the topic.
  3. Prepare for every type of learner. Try to provide printed materials, digital copies of those materials, video tutorial links and additional reading resources as well as any other relevant data you can provide.
  4. It’s always better to have too much prepared than too little.
  5. Make sure you come with a feeling of flexibility so that when technical issues arise, you can go to plan B. (Let’s face it: Have a Plan C and D as well.)
  6. Make sure you take an extra dose of patience with your morning coffee so that you don’t get frustrated with the attendees. They haven’t seen the presentation ten times like you have. They may need more time than you planned.
  7. You may think you are the expert in the room, but always plan that there is someone in the room who knows more than you do. Invite that person to contribute to the presentation. (This will work out nicely for you should you come across something you don’t know or that has changed since the last time you saw it ie. an updated version of software.)
  8. Thank everyone for attending your session / workshop and give them your contact information. The PD doesn’t have to end when the timer rings. Encourage your attendees to take a look at your social bookmarks, subscribe to your blog or follow you on Twitter. Go ahead, give them your e-mail. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

I really do read the comments that people leave on evaluations. I try to adjust and improve my work based on those comments. Please leave a comment if I’ve left something off this list – we’d only benefit from it. Thanks!

Pictures from the 3/26/09 Google Learning Institute
Pictures from the 3/26/09 Google Learning Institute

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

French Fries for the Brain

gyag-bgbag-bobvyegrb-bggoyoggylger

Or so I thought. I figured this one would take me no time at all.

I was honored when Dean Shareski asked me to do a quick presentation for his pre-service students this coming week along with the pre-service students of Alec Couros. Well, in typical Lisa fashion, I got caught up in what should have taken me an hour or so to prepare. I’ve presented on Google Apps, Tools, Resources, however you want to phrase or look at them, dozens of times. But every time I prepare for a presentation I get caught up in all of the fantastic resources out there. I am proud to be part of the Google Certified Teacher network, but there are also other extremely innovative educators out there who have resources to share. It’s difficult to keep up with the resources educators have created. What I thought would be just another review of a past presetnation and a look through my bookmarks ultimately turned into an entire Sunday Google Fest, 3 cups of coffee and anything but french fries for my brain. (Add in glare from husband and two children.)

So, how do I wrap this all into a neat 45 minute package? At least when I prepare for the Google Teacher Academy and only have 20 minutes, it’s for ONE specific tool. Dean wrote that he was “thinking of things like iGoogle, docs (including forms) Notebook (although I see they may not be supporting that anymore) Picasa or any other key educational tools, tips or tricks. It’s your show.” Those of you that know me know that I have a certain, should we call it, enthusiasm, for what I teach. I could spend 45 minutes alone on just saying hello to the class. So I chose to create a new presentation that focused in on the 6-application suite of Google Apps Education Edition. Of course, by doing so, I was leaving out iGoogle and Google Reader, so I also addressed those tools.

Never mind the fact that this was the last weekend before Educon, I wanted to dedicate some time to continuing my UDL Toolkit for a group of educators I’m working with on Wednesday and I’m mentoring some teachers with their SMARTBoards this week as well (and this is the schedule I’ve been given):

  • Period 1 4th grade general studies
  • Period 2 Set up and questions
  • Period 3 Using the SMARTBoard with K-2 students
  • Period 4 General technology questions
  • Period 5 Foreign Languages
  • Period 6 Middle School English
  • Period 7 Middle School Math
  • Period 8 Science K-8
  • Period 9 5th grade general studies

Having said all of this, thanks to Dean and Alec, I’ve gathered some really great resources on using Google Apps and Google Apps – Education Edition. Some I already had in my Diigo / Delicious (I maintain both). Some were new to me and I’m so glad to have found them. I don’t know if we’ll get to these resources during my time with the pre-service classes Wednesday night, but I will be able to point the students here to check them out and I wanted to share them with all of you as well.

Have some others to share? Please leave a comment. Thanks!

These two articles are worth a read, if you haven’t already:

Colorado State University Partners with Google to Enhance E-mail and Collaboration Services
http://newsinfo.colostate.edu/index.asp?url=news_item_display&news_item_id=979928202

Go Ahead and Blog; the Experts Would Approve
http://www.techlearning.com/article/8908

These resources developed about Google Tools are phenomenal:

A comic book by Kern Kelley
Google Tools Comic Book

Google Earth is our Paper: A Five Part Series by Tom Barrett

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
  5. Part 5

Google More – a wiki created by Mark Wagner
http://googleined.wikispaces.com/

The Google Almanac by Kyle Brumbaugh, Jerome Burg, Cheryl Davis, and Kathleen Ferenz
http://sites.google.com/site/gctalmanac/

Not sure where to start: Try with one of these 40 ideas: https://sites.google.com/site/thingstolearnwith/

Another PD Site by Cheryl Davis https://sites.google.com/site/classlearningnetwork/Home