Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sharing a Google Document

In my last post, I shared how people who haven't used Google Drive can access it from their account. In the next few posts, I'm going to show some of the ins and outs of Drive and the other Google Apps for Education (GAFE).

How to Share a Document:

There are a few ways to share a document. The first way would be to share the document directly from your Google Drive. In order to share, you simply click on the file and choose the share icon at the top, or you can right click on the file and click on the same icon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

MDE Grant Opportunities to Get a Drone or 3D Printer For Your School

Kent ISD EdTech Blog
I just got an email from a fellow tech person, Ron Houtman, from the Kent ISD on a great opportunity to bring STEM resources into your classroom.  Not only does the grant cover the cost of the drone or 3D printer, but it also covers the cost of a sub for the day.

To learn more information about this amazing opportunity, check out the Kent ISD EdTech Blog. The deadline for the grant application is December 15th, so if you're interested in the chance to bring wonder and excitement into your classroom, you'd better hurry.

Google Apps for Education (GAFE)

There seem to be two camps in our school district when it comes to Google Drive, those who love
it and have embraced it, and those who don’t understand how it works and treat it as if it is some magical place. To try and clarify it for the second group, I’ll start out by asking how many of your use the shared drive at work?

Many of the people who have shown concern over the idea of saving files to the cloud have no qualms about saving files in our shared drive, an offsite server, which is pretty much the same thing. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing tips and tricks on how to use some of the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) such as Google Docs (think MS Word), Sheets (MS Excel), Slides (MS Powerpoint), and Forms. While there are quite a few differences between the Microsoft and Google versions of these programs, and while the Microsoft versions are far superior in some aspects, many people won’t notice much difference switching from the old standby to the cloud based GAFE versions.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Finding Previous Trimesters' Students in Illuminate

For those of you who have new students this trimester, it can be be confusing trying to pull Illuminate data from for your students from last trimester.  I've had a number of teachers come to me saying that, when they go to the test in Illuminate, all, or some, of their students are gone.  If this is the case, it is most likely because you now have different students rostered to you.

Once you've logged into Illuminate, go to your Control Panel and choose any date from the trimester from which you are trying to see the data; this can be from any previous trimester that you have entered student data.

Friday, December 4, 2015

How to Use the Technology That You Finally Got In Your Classroom

Since taking on the role of one of our building's technology coaches three years ago, I wondered about the best way to share the different ways that teachers could utilize the laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks that students were using in their rooms.  Obviously, the best way would be to sit down with teachers, find out what content they were teaching, and then pick a couple of possible tools that would work for them.  For teachers who are new to using technology in the classroom, they need that one-on-one attention, but for teachers who are comfortable with technology, sometimes they just want to refresh what they've been using, or need a tool for something that they've never tried before.

After looking online for ideas from other blogs and websites, I found numerous compilations of different online tools, but they were typically a long list of sites, and quite often, were not set up in any format that made it easy to find what I was looking for.  Other issues that I found were that the lists tended to be for either iPads, or for windows based computers, so some of the sites were useful, while others weren't. I took the best of each website, added others that I found on my own, and created a Google doc, called Educational Technology Resources, which is broken down by the method of instruction being used, and soon, updated with grade level appropriateness.  This is a living document, so make sure to check in often to see what's new.

A Very Belated Welcome Back to the New School Year.

Now that we're back and have had a chance to experience some of  the new technological initiatives that our district is starting this year (Chromebooks at the high school, Illuminate, Reflect, Atlas Rubicon, go big, or go home, right?) I've decided that its time that I resumed my posts here on the Instructional Technology Blog.  I'm going to start posting tips and tricks, throughout the month, to help people become more comfortable with the technology that we have available.

The first set of tricks that I'm going to share are meant to help you save time and use the mouse less.  Using the Tab button along with either Ctrl or Alt button allows you to quickly switch between open tabs, or windows respectively.

If you hold down the Ctrl button and hit Tab once, it moves you to the next open tab.  Each time you hit Tab while holding Ctrl,  it moves you to the next tab, the next tab, etc.  I find it easiest to hold the Ctrl button with my thumb and use my middle finger to hit Tab when I'm doing this.