More Google Classroom goodness – add a co-teacher

Yes, Google Classroom is a long way off becoming a fully featured LMS but Google keep adding amazing features that make is even more user (and teacher!) friendly. The latest one I found out about is adding another teacher as a co-teacher to your class in Google Classroom.

Below is a short video tutorial showing exactly how to do it. The steps are:

  • Login to Google Classroom
  • Select the class
  • Click on the ‘About’ link
  • Click on the ‘Invite teacher’ link on the left hand side of the screen
  • Select the person in your contacts you want to add as your co-teacher (must be in your Google Apps domain)
  • Confirm by clicking on ‘Invite’ in the dialogue box

Yet another reason to explore the possibilities of Google Classroom!

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Differentiation using Google Classroom

When I first heard about Google Classroom last year I was excited. Was this going to be a free LMS that integrated with the already excellent Google Apps for Education (GAfE) suite? Would it be bigger and better that Moodle or Edmodo? How would it integrate with Google Drive and Google Sites?

When Google Classroom finally hit the cloud, I admit that I felt it was a bit of an anti-climax. It was so simple with limited functionality. It didn’t take me long to realise the simplicity was actually a huge advantage, and I got excited all over again. It was so easy to create a class and enrol students, set an assessment, create a template to share with students automatically, provide links to resources, keep track of student progress and accept submissions. Better yet, since it’s initial introduction, it is now available as an app for Android and iOS as well as being browser based.

I still think of myself as something of a beginner when it comes to Google Classroom. I’m looking forward to further experimenting with its application in both high school and adult learning educational environments. I do believe that it is potentially a tremendous tool to support differentiation, particularity in mixed ability environments. Here is an infographic I have put together based on my experiences, outlining some ideas on how Google Classroom might be utilised to support differentiation.

DiffAndGoogleClassroom

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Google Apps & digital literacy

One of the great strengths offered by Google Apps is the opportunity for collaboration and interaction. In many instances, the learning curve is not very steep so teachers and students can be up and running quickly.

Students in particular are quick to grasp the technical aspects but may not necessary have the digital social skills to conduct themselves appropriately. They may need some education around digital citizenship.

“Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t do or say something in real life, don’t do it online either.”

There are lost of resources and theories around digital literacy. One concept that resonated with me was a poster by Adams12 Five Star Schools that suggested digital literacy consisted of 3 parts:

  1. Technology literacy
  2. Information literacy
  3. Digital citizenship

Often students are confident and jump in with the first but may actually lack skills in the second and third. The poster below “15 Rules of Netiquette for Online Discussion Boards” might specifically be around student forums but a lot of the ideas apply to a wide range of Web 2.0 activities. It’s a great starting point for discussion if you are looking at establishing your own “Code of Conduct” for a Google Apps for Education implementation.

Netiquette in Online Discussion Boards infographic

Thanks to Online Education Blog of Touro College for this graphic.

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Google Apps – transforming learning

Google Apps has made quality software accessible to everyone at little or no cost. In education, it provides educational institutions with cross-platform software that’s free and feature-rich. The wonderful thing about Google Apps for Education is that it is more than just a productivity suite. Yes, it makes managing the school computer labs and educational technology assets easier. Yes, it makes educators’ lives easier by letting us access what resources, plans, records, etc on the go.

The best thing about Google Apps for Education is that it goes beyond a productivity suite and offers functionality that can actually transform learning. I love reading about how other educators are creatively using Google Apps in the learning environment. It’s also great to have the chance to experiment with the possibilities.

Below is an infographic looking at Google Apps within the SAMR (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) framework.

Want to find out more about SAMR? Visit sites.google.com/a/msad60.org/technology-is-learning/samr-model for an easy-to-read but detailed overview.

SAMR  made easy with Google Apps (infographic)

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Which Google app works where?

A lot of us have discovered the awesomeness that is Google Apps. As the Googleverse evolves, more and more options are becoming available across different devicWhich device works with which Google App?es and operating systems. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to keep track of what you can do with which device.

This can be especially tricky when trying to manage a Google Apps for Education domain in a BYOD (bring your own device) environment. Which operating systems work best? And which are best avoided?

To help unravel the functionality and compatibility puzzle, I have put together a simple document. It shows the equivalent Microsoft Office applications and a grid showing the functionality across operating systems.

Click here to see the Google Apps Compatibility Across Operating Systems document.

I have been fortunate enough to have tried almost all the platforms and apps, excluding Mac OS. I would have to say the least Google friendly is Windows mobile/RT. I don’t know if that’s just my experience or consistent for everyone.

Recently I revitalised some old Windows laptops by replacing the OS with Linux Mint. What a pleasure Google Drive is to use in the Chrome browser! I highly recommend a Linux Mint install for old, tired Windows hardware.

Do you disagree with any of the information in my compatibility document? Then click on the ‘contact me’ link to the right of this post to let me know or post in the comments below (after all, Google is all about collaboration, right?)

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Infographic-Mobile learning: are workplaces missing out?

Okay, so this is not strictly speaking about Google Apps. But this inforgraphic does contain some interesting information about how we learn in our personal lives compared to work, particularly using our Internet connected smart devices like smartphones and tablets. And Google Apps can certainly better facilitate our use of mlearning (especially capturing informal learning) in the workplace.

Feel free to share and distribute this infographic.

Infographic on mlearning in the workplace.

Infographic on mlearning in the workplace.

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Template: Basic interactive poster using Google Drawing

For some of the subjects I teach, students are required to create a digital text (as part of the General Education for Adults (CGEA) vocational qualifications). A simple test to work out if a text is ‘digital’ is-can it be consumed in its entirety by printing it out? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then it does not meet the criteria for a digital text. Another way of looking at it is a text that is multi-media, multi-modal or interactive (alright, enough of the academics already!)

So I have been looking at ways for students to create these digital texts using Chromebooks. I was considering Prezi but did not like the idea of students having to create an account, having everything public, etc. Plus, am I the only one that gets a little motion sick with all that zooming and whirling?

So I looked to Google Drive…

I have only just very recently become acquainted with the delight that is Google Drawing. It is so easy and flexible to use. So I played around with creating a simple digital text template. Here is a preview of what I came up with:

SMLInteractive poster-basic

Yes, it’s simple but I thought it was a good starting point. From here, it can be adapted to many different abilities and outcomes and hopefully inspire students to totally reinvent the poster with their own touches and design.

I am planning to develop a more sophisticated interactive poster template to share. In the meantime, here is a link to the template for your own use.

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Google Apps Tutorial: How to use slide master in Google Presentation

I’m a big fan of Microsoft PowerPoint. It has so many powerful features making it far more than the tool for mass boredom that it is usually (ab)used for. To be honest, Google Presentation is very basic in comparison. The great thing is, like many other Google tools, it is constantly evolving and improving.

In this tutorial, I show you how to use one of the most recently added features, slide masters, to quickly and easily liven up your Google Presentation.

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A journey across the Googleverse

I am a huge fan of G Suite for Education (formerly Google Apps for Education) after many years as a staunch Microsoft Office user. No, it doesn’t mean I have left the Microsoft offerings behind completely but I am finding more and more I am looking to Google Drive solutions first.

G Suite makes technology so much more accessible by

Image of a globe with Google App icons

Join me on a trip through the Googleverse. Image: CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported, Valentyna Sagan

doing away with the need for software licenses and heavy duty hardware. It also makes available powerful collaboration tools and makes sharing so easy. My perspective is education, particularly adult and secondary, but many of the ideas can be embraced in other environments, too.

Google Apps can help facilitate both differentiation and efficiency. Sure, there are limitations but Google are constantly evolving the platform. I’ll be honest, there are still times I turn to Microsoft PowerPoint in particular  but I am constantly surprised at how much can be accomplished within the Googleverse.

Here I hope to bring together practical tips and ideas, both my own and from others, to help you along with your Google Apps journey.

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