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.