Google Teacher Tribe VIP Member! #gttribe

Wow, so excited to have received this email announcement from dear colleague, Kasey “Shake Up Learning” Bell and new friend, Ditch That Textbook‘s Matt Miller:

You are now a VIP Member of the Google Teacher Tribe!

Welcome and thank you so much for your early support of The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast! We are so excited to share this journey with you.

Grab Your VIP Badge! 
As a thank you for your support, we would like to give you a digital badge that you can place in your email, on your blog, your website, wherever you like–to help spread the news about the Google Teacher Tribe.

Follow Us on Social Media

Use the hashtag: #gttribe 


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Free Professional Learning! Education On Air #googleedu

Register today for Education on Air: It Takes a Teacher, a free online conference to connect educators around the globe. On December 3rd, attendees will have access to 100+ sessions featuring renowned thought leaders and opportunities to learn about how Google tools can be used to  boost student engagement, collaboration and productivity.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Google Enhancements! Multiple Columns

Engadget reports the following good news for GoogleDocs users:

the Drive team added a couple more often-requested features to the product today, including: autocorrect for misspelled search terms, the ability to split documents into multiple columns and an auto-save feature that creates a copy whenever importing and converting non-Google formats.

Sure enough, you can find it quite easily:

One neat feature is that you can highlight the content on the page and format it in two columns, as shown below:

Read this article

How long have you been waiting for GoogleDocs to include columns?


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Backup To and Transfer Between Cloud Storage @cloudhq_net @multcloud

Just two weeks ago, I helped a colleague migrate their Microsoft OneDrive data from a Microsoft-based OneDrive account (personal) to an Office 365-based OneDrive for Business account (work-related).
Adapted from this image from Budget

There are several ways to accomplish moving data, whether Google or Microsoft or something else:
  1. Use CloudHQ.net.  You can sync content back and forth between a variety of services, which makes it a pretty neat deal at $9.90 per month (if you need that level of redundancy).CloudHQ.net also offers the opportunity to have a 15-day free trial, which works well for staff who are leaving and may just need a one-time task. However, you can obtain additional days of usage by referring CloudHQ.net to friends and colleagues. Another benefit is that you can set ownership for documents that are transitioned to a new location. There is also a Chrome add-on, Gmail Label and Email sharing, worth investigating (watch video) when transitioning from one email system to another.
  2. Try MultCloud.com. Using MultCloud.net, you are able to “transfer, migrate, backup, sync, move, integrate, manage many cloud drives such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, MEGA, SugarSync, Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon S3 as well as FTP, WebDav, etc. And, transfer files across different cloud drives, such as transfer data from Dropbox to Google Drive.” MultCloud.net has also created a Chrome add-on that you can use to easily move/copy content. 
Making backups of critical data is important. These these tools make accomplishing that easy!

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Exploring Virtual Teaching Environments

This blog entry originally published at TCEA.org/blog. Read it there!
While learning management systems (LMS) of yesteryear (e.g. Moodle, Blackboard, Sakai) remain powerhouses of centralized control for educators, most of the teachers I speak to are no longer interested. 
It’s as if they are saying, “Ok, why does virtual class management have to be so difficult? I want simple solutions that help me get my work done rather than force me to learn arcane workflows.” As a result, we’ve seen educators eschew solutions like Edmodo, ever on the hunt for the easiest, most powerful tool.
Consider new classroom tools as the latest iteration of learning management systems. For example,  Moodle and Blackboard provided one iteration, Edmodo and Schoology another, and now Google Classroom and Microsoft Classroom are the latest iteration. Let’s explore this most recent iteration.
Update: Since this blog entry was first submitted for publication, both MS Classroom, OneNote Class Notebook and Google Classroom have released powerful new updates that may not be reflected in the feature list below. For example, OneNote Class Notebook now has a “take it on the go” feature. Click links above for more info about each. More video tutorials will be added below to illustrate features so be sure to check back from time to time!
Watch these MS Classroom Video Overviews exploring various features.

What Is Classroom?

The goal of any virtual classroom system, or LMS 3.0, involves providing a suite of online tools that empower students and staff to connect, create, collaborate, and facilitate organization. Microsoft Classroom, like Google Classroom, offers integrated word processing, spreadsheet, slideshow presentation, and cloud storage. Yet it goes one step further with OneNote Class Notebook, facilitating the grading of assignments and full integration with MS Classroom Assignments. MS Classroom, by itself, is a powerful classroom collaboration tool. But add OneNote Class Notebook,and you’ve made it simple for educators to distribute assignments, draw/use digital ink to create and annotate content (e.g. an algebra teacher writes the pythagorean theorem with a stylus or the tip of her finger on the screen and OneNote’s “ink to text” feature converts it into typed text). Then you can add audio comments and feedback to student work along with digital ink feedback.

Features and Benefits

Both Google and Microsoft have a wealth of features. Let’s take a peek, adapting this support document to facilitate a feature comparison. I’ve also added components (e.g. MS Snip/video links to the MS Classroom side or links to Google’s support page) to the “Yes” response if they include items readers new to MS Classroom may be unaware of.


Feature List

Microsoft Classroom

Classroom

Google Classroom

Classroom
Save Teachers Time
Add students easily. Yes, and you can add students through a quick search as well as throughSchool Data Sync*. Students can join a class with a code, giving you more time to teach..
Manage multiple classes—Reuse existing announcements, assignments, or questions from another class. Share posts across multiple classes, and archive classes for future reference. Yes, you can post assignments to multiple classroomssimultaneously.
Reuse existing announcements, assignments, or questions from another class. Share posts across multiple classes, andarchive classesfor future reference.
Teach together—Co-teach a course with other instructors. Yes, you can easily add co-teachers. Co-teach a course with up to 20 other instructors.
One-click worksheets—From a worksheet template, create an individual document for each student with one click. Yes, with OneNote Class Notebook integration, you can create individual documents, as well as provide templates for students to use in a content library. From a worksheet template, create an individual documentfor each student with one click.
Rich assignment materials—Add materials to your assignments, like YouTube videos, Forms, PDFs, and other items from your cloud storage. Yes, a wide variety of media (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, MS Sway, Slideshare) can be embeddedby pasting in the link. Documents can be included in Conversations component of MS Classroom as well as embedded in OneNote Class Notebook. Add materials to your assignments, such as YouTube videos, a Google Forms survey, PDFs, and other items from Google Drive. Teachers and students can draw on, write notes, and highlight documents and PDFs in the Classroom mobile app.
Customize assignments—Add optional due dates, create customized grade values, and track which assignments are graded. Yes, each assignment can have due dates and times, as well as custom grade values. You can also quicklyassign grades via a connected OneNote Class Notebook, grades auto-synching to MS Classroom. Add optional due dates, createcustomized grade values, and track which assignments are graded.
Prepare in advance—Draft posts and assignments, or schedule them to automatically post to the class stream at the scheduled date and time. Yes, you can schedule assignmentsin the future. Draft postsand assignments, orschedulethem to automatically post to the class stream at the scheduled date and time.
Quick exit tickets and polling—Post a question to students, then view results within Classroom. Yes, as well as take advantage of Microsoft Forms or Excel Online Surveys. Post a question to students, then view results within Classroom.
Customize your class theme—Change the default color or theme image for your class. Yes, custom banners, icons and titlesare available. Yes. Change the default color or theme image for your class.
Keep resources in one place—Create a class resource location for documents, such as your syllabus or classroom rules. Yes, use OneDrive for centralized location for online documentscreated, and/or OneNote Class Notebook with built-in search, passworded access to sections, and more. Yes. Create a class resource pagefor documents, such as your syllabus or classroom rules.
Keep students organized—Classroom creates a Calendar for each class, adding assignment due dates to the calendar. Students can view upcoming work in multiple places. Yes, create assignment due dates and see those appear in calendar immediately. Students can view upcoming assignments, as well as review completed ones. Students also have a “Mark Done” option they can select and that turns the work in.
MS Classroom also features a private “chat” between teacher and student for feedback regarding a particular assignment.
Yes. Google Classroom creates a Google Calendar for each classand updates the calendar with work and due dates. Students can view upcoming work in the class stream, on their work page, or in the class calendar.
Keep teachers organized—Review student work, including assignments, questions, grades, and previous comments. View work by one or all classes, and sort by what needs reviewing. Yes, one place to review assignments, student comments/questions, as well as the option to view items in OneNote Class Notebook. Yes. Review student work, including assignments, questions, grades, and previous comments. View work by one or all classes and sort by what needs reviewing.
Grade quickly and easily—Sort students by first or last name, see who has turned in work, draft grades to share with students later, add private comments when returning work. Yes. Yes. Sort students by first or last name, see who’s turned in work, draft grades to share with students later, and add private comments. Plus, add annotations and visual feedback to student work in the Classroom mobile app.
Transfer grades—Export final grades to spreadsheet format or to a CSV file for upload elsewhere. Yes, you can export grades through a CSV file. Yes. Export final grades to Google Sheets or to a CSV filefor upload elsewhere.
Integrate with other favorite teaching tools—Sync your existing Classroom classes with partner applications. Yes, OneNote Class Notebook allows for integration with multiple LMSs, including Edmodo, Google Classroom, Moodle, MS Classroom, Schoology and many more. Also, Office 365 Suite of online and installed programs (e.g. Word,Powerpoint, OneNote, Excel). Yes. Sync your existing Google Classroom classes with partnerapplications.
Communicate and Collaborate
Access anytime, anywhere—Access Classroom on the web or via the  Android and iOS Classroom mobile apps. Yes, iOS  and  Android apps are available. Also features OneDrive cloud storage and OneNote apps for all platforms (e.g. iOS, Android, Windows, Mac). Yes.
Real-time feedback—View, comment, and edit student work in real time. Yes. Yes.
Create class discussions—In the class stream, post announcements, engage students in question-driven discussions, or move important topics to the top. Yes, you can use MS Classroom Conversations feature. Yes.
Manage class discussions—Control who can post to the class stream and mute individual students from posting or commenting. Yes. Yes.
Share content—Share links, videos, and images from websites to Classroom. Yes. Yes.
Push content to students’ screens—Push web pages instantly to a class. Students can also share their screen with their teacher. Yes*.
*Note: You can push or “distribute” content instantly using OneNote Class Notebook(which is “baked into” MS Classroom). These pages are instantly available via OneNote Online for students.
Yes.
Easy Admin Support
Affordable and secure—Like other services, Classroom contains no ads and never uses your content or student data for advertising purposes. Yes. Yes.
One sign-in—Teachers and students can sign in to Classroom with a single sign-on. Yes. Yes.
Professional development —Get your teachers using Classroom quickly with free online training. Yes. Professional learning online is available and a click away in OneNote Class Notebook. Yes.
Personal data protection—Classroom is covered. Yes. Yes.
*More on MS School Data Sync: “School Data Sync imports school roster data from the school SIS (like PowerSchool) and synchronizes it with Azure Active Directory and Office 365 so that Classroom (or any other application) can use the roster data to create online classrooms, have context about the student, and even enable single sign-on.
Schools can also use Microsoft School Data Sync to automatically create classes and add students based on the school’s student information system (SIS) roster.” Watch this short video about School Data Sync!
And, this chart doesn’t even mention online surveys and/or forms, both of which are available through Google Forms and Microsoft Forms (read this post by TCEA Board Member, John Bimmerle, on Microsoft Forms). That will be the subject of a future blog entry.

Conclusion

These two third generation LMS players are quite evenly matched, offering school districts who are looking for an alternative to Google Classroom that relies on robust, familiar MS Office tools a rich alternative. Given the speed with which Microsoft is working to add new features, both should reach parity soon. However, OneNote Class Notebook, OneNote Learning Tools, Collaboration Space, and the ability to quickly disseminate handouts and resources to students via the Content Library give Microsoft Classroom the edge. What’s more, OneNote serves as a great ePortfolio solution that can integrate with a variety of learning management systems, including Google Classroom. Depending on your needs, there is no reason why your district or school couldn’t mix and match the various tools (e.g. Google Classroom + OneNote Class Notebook, MS Classroom with YouTube) to get the desired results.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

App-Smashing with #GoogleApps Tools #gafe

This blog entry originally published by TCEA TechNotes blog
“How do you blend tools to solve a real-life problem?” That’s a question that pops up often for me. A popular concept from using iPads is “app-smashing,” which involves taking what you made in one app and dropping it into another. Usually,this results in a refinement of the initial product, enhancing it with audio or video, so that the overall product is improved. You can do the same with Google Apps tools.
Let’s consider these real-world scenarios which may all be solved by combining key Google tools such as Sites, Forms, and Sheets:
Classroom Scenario:
Students have asked how they can know who else has signed up to attend an after-hours, academic field trip. To automate the process, you realize you can create a Google Form to capture student registrations, which are saved to a Google Sheet, and those responses can be displayed on a Google Sites location.
District Scenario:
Staff have a variety of questions regarding a new initiative. They want to make sure you, the administrator, are getting the responses. To eliminate email traffic (after all, who needs more email?), you want them to fill out a Form with their question. Then, you and your team are able to record your response in an additional column. Both their questions and your responses appear in a Google Sheet housing the responses.
Solution:
Create a sample Google Sites location that provides some background information on the event, has the Forms link, and displays the responses (as well as any additions you have made). Share the link via social media or email the link to the Sites location to those who need it.
Let’s walk through what this might look like:

Step 1 – Create the Form and Sheets spreadsheet which houses the responses submitted.

To begin, develop your list of information queries. For example, in the case of the classroom scenario, you might want to include queries like the following:
  • Your First Name
  • Your Last Name
  • Your District Email
  • Staff or Student?
  • Attend Field Trip?
Once the person has completed the form, they would be shuttled off to the Google Sites location that is to be created in Step 2. In truth, you could probably complete Step 2 first to get the link, or just come back and edit the form. Another key component of this step is to create the Responses form and designate where those responses will appear in a Google Sheet. To verify the form is working, submit a fake response. Once the response has been submitted, you will notice that the Responses Google Sheet has placed your responses beneath a column corresponding to the information queries.
After the last column in your responses, add another column entitled “Status.” In this column, you and/or your team will update the status of each form submitted. In the case of questions, you can type a short response, being sure to set the format for the column to “wrap text.” You will also want to set up notifications on your Google Sheet featuring the responses to the Form so that you receive an email every time the form is completed. Here’s one example with data partially blurred to protect the innocent:
Google
Note: This Sheet’s responses shows the request and status for unblocking content.

Step 2 – Create the Google Site

Create a Sites location with three tabs to include the following:
  1. Home – This tab is your “Welcome” screen that allows you to provide background information for visitors to the Google Sites location.
  2. Ask for Help – This tab includes a link to the “Ask for Help” Google Form. The form is actually embedded in the Google Sites page, enabling visitors to fill it out and submit it without having to leave the Sites location.
  3. Check Status – This tab features an embedded copy of the Google Sheet which houses your responses.
Once your Google Sites location has been created, you can share it with others, even using a URL shortener to make it easier to share.
As you can see, you can add even more information to your Google Sites. But this makes it easy to quickly capture and share information and questions without being inundated via email with people’s requests for assistance. It also more quickly organizes the information for your review, and externalizes it so that anyone you designate can look it up via Google Sites. This eliminates people calling or emailing you repeatedly to ask for the status. And it helps create a knowledge database that facilitates information sharing with interested individuals.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Bend It Like Beckham, er… Google Sheets! #edtech

This blog entry first appeared at TCEA TechNotes Blog
at http://www.tcea.org/blog
“Bend it like Beckham” is a term that meant little to me as someone not interested in soccer. That is, until I saw an engaging movie with my family a few years ago. One of my favorite movies, Bend It Like Beckam, is described in this way by Wikipedia:
The film is about the 18-year-old daughter of Punjabi Sikhs in London. She is infatuated with football (a.k.a. soccer in the United States) but her parents have forbidden her to play because she is a girl. She joins a local women’s team, which makes its way to the top of the league. Its title refers to the football player David Beckham, and his skill at scoring from free kicks by curling the ball past a wall of defenders.
So what does that have to do with Google Sheets? The idea is that you can use a technology (such as the free Google Sheets) to score and to get the job done, in spite of difficulties and obstacles. At a recent Google Educator Level 1 Certification class I had the opportunity to help facilitate, I had the opportunity to share some of my favorite Google Sheets add-ons and tools. Here is a quick overview of those:
Mail Merge ToolsLooking for a quick way to send out bulk email to others? Take advantage of one or both of these tools, listed in order of preference:
  • FormMule – Allows you to quickly add create information in Google Sheets, then “email merge” it together. This is a great feature because it allows you to organize the mail merge fields in columns in Google Sheets, then drop the column headers into the text of the email, blending them together. It’s my go-to tool when sending email via Gmail and there is a need to send complex instructions or links that are customized for each individual (represented by a row in the Google Sheet).
  • Yet Another Mail Merge – Allows you to quickly “spam” or bulk email people.
Styles: This add-on allows you to customize the look and feel of your spreadsheet, adding headers, coloring rows in alternating colors (e.g. row 1 is grey, row 2 is white, row 3 is grey, row 4 is white, and so on). It meets a need those of us who use MS Excel have to quickly customize the look and feel of a table in a spreadsheet. The Styles add-on makes it easy to achieve a similar effect.
QR Code Generator: This is an easy way to generate QR codes for students or to inventory items. One of my favorite uses for this involves creating HTML or web links to various resources with a QR code, then having QR Code Generator auto-create them. After that, it’s just a matter of printing them out on sticky labels or having students stick them on their intended targets. This add-on also makes it easy to create a text label for each QR code generated so you are not left guessing as to what you are looking at, or trying to scan it with your smartphone’s cross-platform (e.g. Android, iOS, Blackberry) Inigma QR Code Reader app.
Split Names: This is an absolute must-have add-on. Although you can use complex formulas to split names (e.g. “Juan Guhlin” to “Juan” and “Guhlin” in different columns), Split Names makes it a cinch. You are also able to separate out salutations and other elements commonly included.
PowerTools: This particular add-on has so much to offer, you probably will want to read the web site for it. Some of its best features include making the process of dealing with extra spaces, formulas and data in the wrong format, inserting or deleting cells and shifting adjacent data, changing case, or swapping values easier. Also, you can click once to AutoSum numbers in every row or column, as well as sum and count cells by color. PowerTools also makes it easier to search all selected sheets for certain values, formulas, notes, and hyperlinks, as well as split values in a column by any delimiter, string, or by position (think Split Names with more features). You can also automate a variety of tasks, and much more.
What are some of YOUR favorite Google Sheets’ add-ons that help you “bend it like Beckham?” That is, get the job done for free? Please share them in the Comments section below.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure