Great Features of Google Docs

With Google Docs, you can create and edit text documents right in your web browser—no special software is required. Even better, multiple people can work on the document at the same time and every change is saved automatically.  If you are new to Google Docs – check out the Google Docs Learning Center.

Helpful tips with Google Docs:

  1. Voice Typing:  This new feature allows you to talk into the Google Doc and it will type the text for you.  Go to Tools / Voice Typing and allow the use of the microphone.  I helped a dyslexic student complete their homework using Voice Typing and it was awesome.  More directions ?

  2. Research Panel:  The Research panel is a window that opens next to your Google Document and allows you to search Google for websites, images, word definitions, or quotes without leaving your document.  To open the Research Pane go to Tools / Research. The best part – it automatically creates a link on the page where they got their information. More directions ?

Want to learn more?  Every Wednesday morning join the “Breakfast Club” at 7:15 am in Colette’s office if you want 1:1 help with Google Docs or any tech situation.  Just drop by!

Google Apps training material

I often am asked to come to a school and provide a basic Google Apps for Education (GAFE) training during a faculty meeting.  Below is the sequence and activities that I use for a 2 hour training.  Feel free to use or adapt as needed.

Google Apps for Education (GAFE)  http://goo.gl/KbhjhE

Activity 1:  Getting Started with a Google Form

Lets collaborate on a project by using a Google Form to collect data for the Mystery Book project.  Purpose of this activity:  See how a Google Form can be used to easily collect data.

  • Find a partner:  One person can be the recorder & one person can be the researcher
  • Locate a fiction or nonfiction book that you want students to share for a specific subject area or grade level. Each person should recommend (at least) one book.
  • Fill out this Google Form with your collected data and image URL
  • Here is a link to our collected RESULTS (linked removed for privacy purposes).


Before we move on …

6 Ways to collect data using a Google Form

  1. Have students conduct experiment in classroom and one member goes to teacher’s computer to enter data for that group
  2. Have students create surveys using Google forms and display on own computer; students travel from machine to machine to fill out the survey
  3. Email the form to participants to collect data (can embed the form in the email); must know all members email addresses
  4. Email the form by using a distribution list from your contacts  (very easy if using Google Apps since all domain names are the same)
  5. Share the URL of the published form; consider using a URL shortener for easy access like:  http://goo.gl/, http://bit.ly/ or http://tinyurl.com/
  6. Embed the form in a Google Site, wiki, blog or website.

Let’s brainstorm ways you can use Google Forms in your classroom:

  1. Surveys
  2. Exit ticket
  3. Collect favorite books you read the last term
  4. Supply inventory
  5. Get to know you survey
  6. Science lab data collection
  7. Checking in on long term project
  8. Voting

Activity 2:  Researching with Google Docs

Now that we have collected some book titles, each participant will conduct some basic research about the book to prepare for the Mystery Book Project.

Each participant should open a COPY of the Mystery Book research project document.

Helpful Google Docs tip:  To easily share a document with others where you want them to have a COPY of the document (versus viewing or editing) is to edit the end of the URL like this:

Thing to try on the Google Doc:

  1. Go to Tools / Research and open the research pane on the side of the Google document.  Search for your book title and locate the author’s name.  The research pane keeps the search process as part of the document writing process.
  2. What happens if you click on the Preview / Insert Link / Cite buttons in the Research Pane?
  3. Answer some of the questions. Notice the options for text formatting:  fonts, style, line spacing, indent, color, bullets, etc.
  4. Select one of the questions:  Go to Insert / Comment to leave a comment about this question.  For example:  Not sure who would like this type of book?  Comments are great for giving feedback during peer/teacher review process.
  5. Look at the options for inserting images into Docs.  You can crop images, recolor, adjust brightness, add borders, etc.
  6. Check the Revision History:  Go to File / See Revision History.  This is especially helpful if you want to see who edited a document or revert back to an earlier version.
  7. Select the blue icon SHARE.  Share this document with your partner for editing purposes.
  8. Find the grey folder icon next to the document title.  Selecting this will allow you to move your document to a specific folder.

Helpful Google Drive tip:  Have every students create a folder in Drive for a specific units/subject.  Students SHARE the Drive folder with the teacher.  Every time a student places a document, spreadsheet or slide presentation in the folder it will automatically be shared with the teacher.

Let’s brainstorm ways you can use Google Documents in your classroom:

  1. Any and all rough draft writing
  2. Peer editing
  3. Collaborative notetaking
  4. Shared resource lists:  books, links, images
  5. Classroom newsletter – publish to the web and embed doc on website
  6. Monthly calendar (table)
  7. Posters – use image options (recolor, crop, borders)

Activity 3:  Shared Slide Presentation for Mystery Book Project

The power of any of the Google Apps for Education tools is collaboration. Participants will will collaborate together to create a simple Slide Presentation that can be used two ways:

  1. Print as posters with a QR code
  2. Embedded as a slide presentation in a website, blog or wiki

The purpose of the Mystery Book slide deck is to create promotional posters to entice readers to read a book — without telling them the author or book title.  Users will need to click on the link or scan the QR code to reveal the title.  Perfect for a book display!

Editing the Google Slide deck:

  1. The Slide Deck has already been made and the link allows anyone with the link to edit.
  2. Notice that I already created a simple design with colors and fonts.  Go to Slide / Edit Master.  I find that this saves time and students focus more on the activity than editing the slides.
  3. The editing of Slides is very similar to Docs.
  4. Slides has some basic transitions and animations – but not as much as PowerPoint.  Go to View / Animations to see the options.
  5. You can embed YouTube videos in Google Slide decks.
  6. Users can write in the speaker notes section and print the slide with notes, if desired.
  7. I created the QR code with a Chrome extension:  goo.gl URL shortener.  Users will need a QR code reader (i-nigma) to scan the code & view the website
  8. Embed slideshow:  Go to File / Publish to the Web and you can choose options:  slide size, auto advance, repeat and get the embed code. This code can be embedded on a Google Site, website, blog:  <iframe src=”https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/14dW7XfofgJXjIMqLFnnXoD-936kmKu3EaPnUwT9EkBU/embed?start=true&loop=true&delayms=3000″ frameborder=”0″ width=”960″ height=”569″ allowfullscreen=”true” mozallowfullscreen=”true” webkitallowfullscreen=”true”></iframe>
  9. Go to File / Download to print slides as PDF or JPEG files.

Let’s brainstorm ways you can use Google Slides in your classroom:

  1. Rough draft of PPT then download Slides into PowerPoint for final editing/animations
  2. Every student create 1 slide for all class slide deck
  3. Embed slide deck on website for rotating presentation
  4. Images only slideshow
  5. Notecards for research
  6. Flashcards for vocabulary

GAFE Session Notes:

  1. Formative assessment – GDocs great for teachers to easily check in on student writing
  2. Long term paper – place all documents, research, images into a folder and have the student share the folder with the teacher
  3. Workflow – Decide on a naming convention for all assignments:  P3 Last First – Assignment Name
  4. Ipad vs desktop https://sites.google.com/site/colettecassinelli/ipad
  5. Use Chrome browser and Print directly to Google Drive – great for database articles because it saves a PDF of articles directly into drive & then students can move pdf into research folder.

Using features of Google Search & the new Research Panel in Docs

I’ve started creating some simple screencasts of different ways you can effectively use Google search and Google Apps for Education for teachers and librarians.  This first video showcases the “preview panel” in the Search results panel as well as filtering the results using the sidebar and “related searches”.  Too often I see students looking at the first results from a Google search and not taking advantages of these features.  The video also introduces the new Research panel that is now built into Google Docs which is great way to continue to see your search results right from your document and use the link & citation features.

Join our 40-day blogging challenge

My 8th grade students are participating in a 40-day blog challenge.  Each day two different students post an idea on our Tread Lightly blog of how to be a good steward of the environment by recycling,  reducing emissions, using less packaging, planting trees, etc.  Our blog project was inspired by “Tread Lightly” a 40-day challenge sponsored by Taking It Global.  Go to:  http://treadlightly.me/challenge.html and read about their challenge.

From October 24 to December 2, we will join others around the world in blogging about our commitments and encouraging others to do the same on our class blog located at:  http://ccassinelli.edublogs.org

tread_lightly
http://ccassinelli.edublogs.org

Since I only see the 8th graders twice a week I needed them to work on this project outside of class.  I divided the students into teams of four.  Each member has a specific job to assist their teammates with their blog posts.  Here are the roles:

  • Production editor – Your job will be to make sure your teammates post their entries on the correct date.  You will also be in charge of moderating any blog comments on your posts and assign someone to respond to the comment.
  • Technical editor – Your job is to help your teammates with how to post their blog entry.  You should be pretty good with computers and willing to spend some time learning about Edublogs.
  • Creative editor – Your job will be to assist your teammates in selecting images, media or creative entries to go along with their blog post.
  • Communications editor – Your job will be to check the spelling and grammar of your teammates blog posts and maintain communication between group members.

Each teammate drafts their blog post in a shared Google Document and we maintain the 40 day schedule on a shared spreadsheet.  Writing on a shared document allowed the students to write and edit their post and see what their teammates were planning.  I wasn’t too concerned about duplicate ideas – I just encouraged the students to put their spin on their idea or support it with different facts.

Students are required to support their writing with facts and citations and give credit for images used.  Some students are planning on making motivational posts using Big Huge Labs and comics with ToonDoo to post along their writing. Towards the end of the 40 days each team will add an embedded Google Form to survey their readers or check their knowledge.

One of the ways to be successful whenever you start a blogging project is to make sure someone is reading the blog and students are receiving comments.  I signed up our class with Comments4Kids http://comments4kids.wikispaces.com/.  Teachers list their class blogs on this wiki and I direct my student to visit those student blogs and leave comments and have them invite those students to follow our 40day challenge.

We’ve received comments from a variety of classes – like students from Gary Bertoia’s 9th grade class at Saigon South International School in Vietnam and Russ Goerend’s 6th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies classes.  Having other students read and comment on their blog post have motivated our class and raised the quality of writing.  Students are teaching each other and moving forward with this project with little teacher intervention though I do moderate all incoming comments.

Please consider joining our 40-day challenge and tell us your idea for reducing your carbon footprint on the environment at http://ccassinelli.edublogs.org

Change Our World for the Better – A Letter to the Next President

The Journalism class at my school participated in the Letters to the Next President writing project sponsored by Google and the National Writing Project.  Below is the submission by our assistant editor:

We want to have our voice heard.  Here at our [school] in Beaverton, Oregon, more than 75% of our student body was not able to vote in your election this November.  But we still have strong opinions on important issues of the day and about where our country and our whole world is going.  We want to help you change our country for the better and thus, change our world for the better. Although we could not help to choose our new president, we can still share or views so that you can keep teenagers in mind, as well as registered voters, during your presidency. We are the future and we will be voting in the next election, but we want our voice to be heard today as well as in four years.
 
From a poll conducted in some of Mr. T. Manning’s government class, some strong opinions on key issues of the day were voiced.  Many students cited the war in Iraq and the environment as topics that needed the most focus.  One government student stated that we need “to take care of the environment or it won’t be there for our children or grandchildren.”  “The economy, which is in such a bad condition right now, is interrelated (with) many other issues, such as energy and oil and the war (in Iraq).” The student who voiced this opinion also stated that she was strongly against the Iraq War and saw health care as a top priority. 
 
In a class of mostly fifteen- and sixteen-year-olds, the topic of energy and oil came up a lot more than you would expect from a pre-driving group.  One of the students said that she felt that it is really important for our country’s survival to become energy independent.  Many of the students also ask you to “focus on developing and improving alternate energy sources” to help stop our dependency on oil.  A couple of the students talked about the benefits of drilling in Alaska to remove our dependency on oil from foreign countries, but also one student wants “the long-term effects of offshore drilling and the harnessing of geothermal power* to be thoroughly considered.”  The student goes on to state that “medical advances might be hindered through the destruction of resources which have potentials (that are) not fully understood yet.”  Many other students cite the environment as an important issue; they ask you to protect the earth and save resources.  One student went on to say that “the environment should be saved, but not to the point where businesses can’t even open” because the land is being protected. 

Other issues mentioned briefly were same-sex marriage, tax breaks and health care.  One student asks for a “mandate to all people” regarding health care.  Another student states that “same-sex marriage should be allowed.  (Marriage is) a person’s choice, not society’s.”  The majority of the government students are against same-sex marriage, but it was not an overwhelming majority; many students said that marriage and sexual orientation are life choices not to be controlled by the government.  Many of the students said they were for tax breaks “to strengthen the economy,” but some were against such breaks.   The issue that was most strongly talked about was the war in Iraq.  The majority of the students were against the war, citing the enormous cost of the war as one of their main reasons for opposition.  Some ask you to pull the troops out or to at least not send anymore, but two students feel that we need to finish what we started.  One stated that “the Iraqi people cannot be left behind unless we know that there is a stable government (in Iraq),” while the other pro-war student insists that “if we pull troops now, we will have a bigger mess than we did to begin with.”

 So in conclusion, we hope that you keep our opinions and the opinions of other under 18-year-olds in mind during all your days in office.  We are considered to be too young to make a good decision while voting, but as you can see, we have our country and the whole world’s best interests at heart.  We would like to congratulate you on your amazing accomplishment, but also remind you of something you are probably told all the time: you have just accepted the job of either leading our country out of our “funk” or further into the dark.  We congratulate you and put our country in your hands and just ask you to keep us in your heart and mind.

Thank you for your consideration,

Katie M, Valiant Pride Assistant Editor

 *Geothermal power “is energy generated by heat stored in the earth, or the collection of absorbed heat derived from underground, in the atmosphere and oceans.”

—Wikipedia.com

Tech Tip Tuesday – Teaching Revision & Google Templates

By MaryFran Lynch

Revision

Last week we introduced you to Google Docs and gave you some ideas of times you might want to use the text feature to collaborate with your colleagues and times you might like to have your students use it. This week, we’d like to introduce you to one of the great features of Google Docs, Revision. The Revision feature keeps track of changes, when they were made, and, if the document has been shared with collaborators, who made them. It also gives you the opportunity to compare two versions of the document, and to revert to any of the previous versions. Whether you’re working on your own, or working with others, having a history of the different versions can be really helpful.

As a collaborator revises, their changes and comments can be made in different text colors. As a teacher, this gives you a great record of who has done the work, and when it was entered. You’ll need to be sure your students invite you to the Document as a collaborator so you have access to it and can revise it or leave comments on the document. And the great thing about leaving comments is that when you are ready to print, and click the Print link, none of the comments will show.

You’ll find this feature under File > Revision History
Teaching students how to revise is an important skill, especially when they are working collaboratively. Recognizing the need to teach that skill, Google teamed with Weekly Reader to help you teach revision skills in your classroom. Here you’ll find downloadable PDF files you can use with your students to help them learn collaborative revision skills.
Screen shot of Google Templates for Teachers and Students

Templates

Google has made it so easy to use Google Docs! They’ve even thought of a number of times you might like to use Google Docs and have made a Template Gallery with over 300 templates that are ready for you to use! You’ll find Templates under New > From template…

There you can perform a search for the kind of template your might like. There’s even a section devoted to Students and Teachers. You can find templates for your students to write a paper or for you to write a lesson plan. There are templates to help you make an online math quiz or templates to record grades.

But it doesn’t stop there. You’ll find templates for all kinds of things! Here are just a few examples of the kinds of templates Google is there to help you with:  calendars, invitations, gas mileage calculator. Take a look, more are becoming available all the time.

Just as with any Google Doc, you can share your template with others to collaborate or view, using the steps outlined last week.

Tech Tip Tuesday is written and published weekly by MaryFran Lynch and Colette Cassinelli.  The archive of all tips are located at:  http://sites.google.com/site/techtipstuesday/.

Tech Tip Tuesday – Intro to Google Docs

Google’s focus will always be providing high quality search results but many of their other products have revolutionized how individuals share information and collaborate on documents.

This week’s tip is to introduce you to Google Docs & Spreadsheets.  Google Docs makes creating, editing and sharing documents so easy and best of all – it’s FREE!  Your documents are stored online and you can easily access them anytime and from any computer.
Do you know what that means?  No more keeping track of jump drives … no more emailing documents back and forth from home to work … no more worries about incompatible software programs.
HOW IT WORKS
First of all you need a Google account. You’ll be able to use your Google Account to use many of the tools Google has, and you don’t need to sign up for a Google e-mail account to have one. You will, however, need to provide an e-mail address and a password while filling in a short form.  Once you receive your verification e-mail, you’ll be ready to try Google Docs.If you have a gmail account, you can get to Google Docs by clicking on Documents usually found at the left-hand top of the page. Or you can go to http://docs.google.com/ and click on the NEW button (upper left) to create a document, spreadsheet, presentation or form.  You can start from scratch or upload an existing document that you already have on your computer.
Google Docs has basic editing features like font effects, images, tables. If you’re interested in more advanced publishing features, you can easily export the files to other programs (hint:  you can download your docs in a variety of formats:  HTML, OpenOffice, PDF, Word, RTF and more).
THE BEST PART
So why use Google Docs?  Your document is stored online. And now you have a document online, you can access it from any computer at home and work (or Starbucks!) but here’s the best part … you can invite others to view or edit the document online (use the SHARE button on upper right side) and everyone can make changes to the document, EVEN AT THE SAME TIME!!!
Just think .. no more emailing drafts back and forth to team members … everyone can add their own revisions to the same document and watch it improve.  Google Docs encourages collaboration and keeps the documents organized in one location.  You can view the revision history to see who made which edits or even revert to a previous version.
IT’S SO EASY
So now you have an easy way to create or edit existing documents from anywhere, share and collaborate instantly, and eliminate confusing email attachments and version-control issues.
Watch a video on getting started with Google Docs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyjY8ZLzZrw

Coming next …  Google Doc templates, forms for data collection, using Google Docs with your students, publishing your documents online and even more!
Tech Tip Tuesday is written and published weekly by MaryFran Lynch and Colette Cassinelli.  The archive of all tips are located at:  http://sites.google.com/site/techtipstuesday/.

Image credit:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Usbdrive_icon.svg

Featured in Google Docs for Education blog

Last month Google Docs sent out a request to educators to share how they use Google Docs in Education.  Selected entries are showcased on their blog and mine was chosen!!!  Here’s what i submitted:

In my attempt to avoid sitting through days and days of PowerPoint presentations in my high school computer classes (and boring the students in the process), I decided to upload each of my students Online Safety PowerPoint’s to a Google account and the class joined the presentation. One student talked aloud while everyone listened and chatted about the presentation.  The students asked questions in the chat, added their own information and followed along in the presentation.

For the first time I can EVER remember as a teacher – 100% of the students were engaged in the presentation and participated in the chat.  The students were enthusiastic and offered insightful and appropriate comments.  The students liked being able to add their input without interrupting the presentation.  I will definitely use Google shared presentations again.

I love Google Docs and use them all the time in my classroom.  Here are a few other ideas:

  • Editing stories written by newspaper staff
  • Collecting addresses for mail merge
  • Surveys
  • Collaborative group planning for projects
  • Collecting real time data (science experiment, calorie counting, etc)

Check out how other Educators are using Google Docs here!

Top Ten Tools 2008

Colette’s (updated) Top 10 Tools

  1. tool.jpgGmail. I love this web based email system and the fact that I can access it from any computer. Not only do you get tons of storage but I like the way it keeps the threaded conversations together. Gmail chat is also nifty.
  2. Google Docs. Google docs are great for collaborating and sharing information with others. You must invite friends to participate in your documents but it’s so easy to edit ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!.
  3. iGoogle Ok, ok, so I love of all the of the Google products – but I do use them and find them easy to use. iGoogle is a personalized page (which I make as my own homepage) that you can customize with all kinds of widgets like: weather, calendar, CNN news, Google Reader (RSS), Gmail notifier, jokes, etc…
  4. del.icio.us. I can’t believe how much I depend on this social bookmarking tool to remember sites I have visited but also for sharing cool sites with my friends. Now I don’t need to be that annoying friend who always sends emails recommending websites (I can’t help myself) – if I find a site and know my friend’s del.icio.us name I can tag the site as: for:ccassinelli and then when that user goes to their del.icio.us account they can add my favorite to theirs. This is very helpful for group projects!
  5. flickr. This web-based photo sharing site is awesome for uploading photos to share with friends. I like how you can create different albums and tag photos for easy sorting. I also love snooping through my friend’s albums too!
  6. My first RSS aggregator was Bloglinesand I still use it today. I like how I can create folders for all of the ed tech blogs I read. Here are my folders: personal, ed tech bloggers, under consideration and last chance. When I stumble across a blog I might be interested in I add the feed in the under consideration folder. When I find that I enjoy the blog and read it often it moved up in rank to the ed tech bloggers folder while some of those are demoted to last chance before I decide to do away with the feed.
  7. Audacity. This easy to use FREE audio editing software is easy to use for podcasting and editing audio files. You will need the LAME Mp3 encoder if you want to export your audio files at MP3 instead of WAV – but it’s easy to download and install.
  8. Wikispaces. I’ve already mentioned my love of wikis in my blog but for collaboration and easy editing – wikis are the way to go. I also love the fact that Wikispaces gives FREE wikis to teachers. Thanks for the support!
  9. Voicethread – A great tool for encouraging collaboration in your classroom. Upload photos and add text, audio or voice comments with a web cam. My new personal favorite way to get students to share comments with each other.
  10. Moodle. I started using Moodle this last year with a few of my computer classes but will use this open-source course management system with all my classes this year. It’s easy to use, has built in blogging and modules (quizzes, journals, docs) that make it easy to keep all class documents in one area.

TOP 100 TOOLS FOR LEARNING – SPRING 2008
as collected by Jane Hart

 

2007 Top Ten Tools: http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/colettecassinelli.html (my current list is pretty similar to the 2007 list. Hey – I like what I like!)

Photo Credit: http://flickr.com/photos/cayusa/2221656599/