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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Training for Google Apps is Just a Click Away.





If you haven't heard, Google has made a new extension available called Training for Google Apps.  If you're new to Google Apps or just want to know more about them, you MUST install this extension.

One of the many cool things about the extension is that it's app specific.  By app specific, I mean that if you're in Google Slides, clicking on the training icon in the upper right will present you with a plethora of training videos about Google Slides.  For example, if you're putting together a Slides presentation and want to insert a video but aren't sure how to, simply click on the Training for Google icon and scroll to the video.

And, as the name implies, training is not only available for Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets, but it's also available for other Google Apps such as Google+ and Google Calendar.

I can really see the value for not only teachers but students as well.  Now, there's little excuse for a student not knowing how to insert a chart or copy a slide in Google Slides or how to rename or copy a Google Doc.

I couldn't recommend installing this extension enough.  If you use Google Apps, installing is a no brainer.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Google Brings Art and Culture to the Classroom





Google recently re-launched their Arts and Culture app and website, and it's great! Not only are the app and site great for exploring the world of art, but they also allow you to take virtual tours of museums, historical sites, and famous cultural sites around the world.

History is also well represented.  Clicking on the historical events tab will present you with countless events in history.  Each event provides a cornucopia of pictures, artwork, letters, and historical sites.

Whether you're teaching art or world history, Google's Art and Culture app and site will take your students on a great field trip.  Works of art are separated according to the artist, art movement, color, and medium used.

For example, after clicking on Vincent van Gogh, you'll be shown a brief biography followed by his artwork.  You can organize his work by timeline or by color.  Click on a particular shade and you're presented with his work that closely matches the shade.

One of the killer features of Google Arts and Culture is the ability to use it with Google Cardboard.  You can take a virtual reality tour of over 20 locations around the world, such as the Temple of Zeus.

The site and/or app is a must for those that teach art, world cultures, or history.  The app is available for both Android and iOS.  More information about Art and Culture can be found on Google's blog.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Start Your School Year Off With This Tech



For some, it's way too early to talk about the beginning of the next school year. For others, the next school year is just around the corner.  I know that some teachers have the same routine year in and year out for the first couple days of school.  But, with technology slowly creeping more and more into the classroom, I thought I'd offer a few ways to change it up a bit and set the tone of the school year with some tech.

1. Peardeck:  I've touted Peardeck as a great way to engage your classroom.  Start the year off using Peardeck to have your students introduce themselves to you and their classmates.  Students can use Peardeck to either draw or write about themselves, all the while having it displayed on the projection screen.  You can also pose various questions to students about their likes and dislikes, showing the results on the big screen in front of the class.

2. There are a couple of ways you can use Google Slides.  First, have students create a Slides presentation about themselves, which they can share with the rest of the class.

3. The second way to infuse Google Slides into the first day of school is to use Google Slides Q & A.  Pose different questions about likes and dislikes, as well as finding what their interests are.  You can even prepare a pre-test to get an idea what the kids know or don't know about the subject.  Ask students to pose questions about the class itself as far as rules and procedures go.

4. Introduce the students to the world of blogging.  Use Kidblog to have the students blog about themselves.  They then share it with their classmates.  Have the readers pose questions to their classmates in the comments section.

5. In much the same way students use Peardeck, you can use Google Drawings.  Have students create illustrations about themselves.  They can search the internet to find pictures that represent who they are.

So there you go, just a few ways to introduce your students to the tech you may be using during the year.  Feel free to share how you use tech in the classroom on the first day of school.