Training in Google Apps
There are lots of options to learn to leverage more of the many features in Google Apps. Some people like to read how-tos, some like 1:1 assistance, others like to watch how to videos. One tool that you may not have tried is the new improved Training for Google Apps. I know I just mentioned this tool a few weeks ago, but it is worth mentioning again as teachers and students are settling down to work. This is a chrome extension. If you had installed the Synergyse Training for Google Apps extension, just delete it and reinstall the new version. This will give you the question mark icon up in the top right across all the various Google Apps. Just click on it to get just in time training, right in the app. I know that several teachers were wondering how to use email to notify parents, but not expose all the emails. There's a video on using cc and bcc that can pop right up when you need it.
Don't want to have an the icon? Go to the training portal and click on the app you need help with anytime. The dashboard can also help you keep track of what you have been learning.
Google Tour Builder
I found out last week that since Google My Maps is not part of GAFE, that our students would need parental permission in order to add it to our suite of tools. However, it is no longer blocked for faculty and staff.
I found what I think are 2 workarounds for this. One, I mentioned last week, was National Geographic MapMaker Interactive, which I believe is accessible to all. The other one is Tour Builder with Google.com. I tried logging in from home as a student via the incognito window and it seems to work. Please let me know if it is not accessible at school. This Tour Builder started as a Google Earth experiment. It is actually very cool. It's free and you can use it on a chromebook. If you have ever tried to use Google Earth on just about any device, you know it is a giant bandwidth hog.
The Tour Builder is kind of a combination of Google Earth, Maps and Slides. It is far more intuitive to use than making a tour in Google Earth. One feature that I noticed was the ability to upload your own videos ( vs using only YouTube videos which may be blocked). You can add up to 25 images/videos to your tour. Check out the video below for a tutorial. Please let me know if students cannot access this tool on chromebooks at school. Two other things I noticed watching a couple different tutorials (1) I do not have the "record video" option when I go to add photos/videos and (2) The historical imagery feature is not available in 2D mode.
Google Docs StoryBuilder
This is just a funny little tool to build a short text based video. John P and I have both used it as an intro to BreakoutEdu games. I can see it being used in an ELA class. Choose the characters and write up the conversations that they would have. Or use it as a history/social studies prompt. What would the conversations at the White House have been like during the Bay of Pigs crisis? Create your own version of a political debate...lots of possibilities.
There is also a "Masters Edition" where you can virtually interact on a document with dead masters. Kind of strange- but check it out here.
An example of a Docs Story about the atom and how thinking changed over time.
Our 4th graders have once again participated in this project, as they have for the last several years. This project has been developed by Lisa Parisi, a teacher on Long Island. Students create videos using a central theme of peace and a song as the background. This year's choice was K'NAAN's Wavin' Flag. Lisa splices all of these together into one video. This year the children made 2 videos- one playing a game and another singing the song. There were 20 participating schools from the US, India, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Greece, Venezuela, Ireland and Guatemala.
Here's the final cut... HES is there~ 42 seconds in. I will put the full HES only videos at the bottom of the post.
So what does Peace Day have to do with Global Literacy? The more we know about the world we live in, the people who share this planet with us, the more empathy we and our students develop, as well as increasing more awareness of the issues faced by others. Without this knowledge and empathy it is difficult to even begin to solve some of the global issues we all face.
I was fortunate to participate in a webinar recently by Laura Krenicki, a middle-school social studies teacher (Gr. 6) at William J. Johnston Middle School in Colchester, CT. She is also a teacher consultant for the Connecticut Geographic Alliance (the outreach division of National Geographic), and adjunct faculty at the University of New Haven & Eastern CT State Univ.,Connecticut. The webinar is recorded and can be accessed here.
Laura shared an absolutely amazing livebinder of resources for geography, social studies, global literacy... which can be found at http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=2060427
(Note: Click on tab for "Laura Krenicki - Global Literacy and Geography" in the Livebinder).
We all know that maps are not solely used for teaching geography, but lately I have seen more and more people use maps in really interesting ways to display content in ELA, social studies and math. I'm just going to highlight a few here. Some are old favorites- from Tom Barrett's math maps and other I have just seen recently. Here's a quick article from Edutopia- 10 Reasons to Use Google My Maps in the Classroom. The author, Kevin Zahner, has a short video that you may be interested in.
I've been a fan of Tom Barrett's work for years. He was an elementary math teacher in the UK, now working in Australia. He pulled together lots of "Interesting Ways" to use various tools, using his own ideas, tested in his classroom, as well as crowd-sourced ideas. These came about in about 2010, but the ideas are solid. This is just a screenshot of one of his math maps projects. There is a whole page of resources ( from GTAUK 2010) to be found here.
Google Lit Trips
Follow the story with maps- or create your own. "What is a Google Lit Trip?Lit Trips are downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. These are generally made or shown on Google Earth, but you can just as easily do them with Google Maps- embed placemarks with youtube 360 degree videos.
Google's My Maps & Hyperdocs
I liked Lisa Highfill's idea, which began with a basic- what did you do on your summer vacation- expanded to putting placemarks of the places they visited on a Google Map, adding images, etc and ended up as a hyperdoc on Explorers. Kelly Hinton created a hyperdoc using maps as well- Northwest Passage. * Note- you may have to switch to your personal google acct if your school domain does not allow you access ( yet) to my maps.
Richard Byrne has a quick tutorial video- see below. Donny Piercy has a google site with lot so ideas. Google has a whole online - free- self- paced course
Mapping out a Field Trip
How about National Geographic MapMaker Interactive?
Have you tried Geo Guesser?
It's fun... and educational too
Oh the Places You'll Go...
Try it out.. how can you use maps in your class? Would adding place help some students connect with the material... offer other options to demonstrate learning...
How do you learn to use new tech tools? If you were a typical student- Just Google It! Google knows all. Actually, I think YouTube may be a better choice for many. All kidding aside- many times, I will just google it, knowing that I may have to sift through the results. But when I need to learn how to use a tech tool, aside from the youtube videos, there are some great training resources out there.
The Google Training Center offers courses, training, and certification at various levels- from Educator Level 1 all the way to Certified Innovator. These are self-paced, and of course- free! There are quizzes, etc... and perhaps we can talk to admin about getting some pdps, etc. for completing these courses- unless badges and the relentless pursuit of knowledge is enough to drive you.
If you want to learn more about how to use any particular Google tool- just try out some of their basic tool resources. The image is from their Training resources and offers discrete lessons that you can go through to learn more, and ideas from other educators about how they use these tools in the classroom.
One of the icons you may notice on the image to the right is for Synergyse. This is currently a chrome extension. Google acquired the company last spring. The way it works is pretty cool. It is "just in time" learning. If you enable the extension, and are working in docs, and have a question about how to do something- simply click the button and it can walk you through it. Here's a one minute video to show you a bit more about it.
Quick Go-To Experts
*Depending on what I need, I will check out:
* Richard Byrne's FreeTech4Teachers site (I get a daily update). Richard is a former social studies teacher in Maine. He keeps his site current, stays on top of new developments, posts useful videos, comparisons of tools and guides.
* EdTechTeacher- for innovative ideas for iPads in the classroom, as well as other stuff, or try Ctrl-Alt-Achieve- for more Google Chrome ideas.
Eric Curts' Ctrl Alt Achieve is my go-to site for all things chrome. He has excellent resources, recorded webinars and more. But if you just need chrome extensions? Try Kasey Bell's Chrome extension database. Google or chromebooks for special needs? Cannot go wrong with Mike Marotta's ChromeAT site.
Looking for more on specific topics?
By far, the most extensive online community and PD offerings for educators- aside from Google + groups, has to be edweb. There are communities for just about anything you can think of and free webinars practically every day. These are always recorded. You get a certificate for attending live and can earn one by watching a recorded webinar and taking a very short quiz. I just wish they still did google calendars.
Check out edweb.net!
As Promised- What's new in GAFE?