Google Classroom is coming!

I just got my preview to the new Google Classroom, and it looks awesome! I’ve just started playing around with it since it was enabled on our district Google Apps for Education environment – but this is going to make life so much easier for teachers and students. Check out the video above to get an idea of how powerful it will be. I believe the plan is to open it up to all GAFE users by September, but it still might be worth trying to sign up for a preview if you’d like to get a look at it before then.

http://www.google.com/edu/classroom/ – Request an invite here!

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Summertime and Changes!

So the spring and end of the school year were super busy, as they always seem to be. I fell behind on blogging, but here I am again. Highlights of some exciting things that have been happening lately…

– My Genius Hour presentation at the Region 10 Digital Fluency Conference went great! I was a little nervous when my session room was filled to the brim, but so excited when I found out most of my audience was classroom teachers. Even though I was sure everyone would already know about all of my ideas and cool discoveries – but I found out I was definitely able to share some new information. And my audience was able to share and teach me some new things, so I would call the day a success. If you’d like to view my presentation, click here.

– The school year ended, and I finished my 4th year as a classroom teacher. I enjoyed trying things out at a new campus in a new district this year, and I loved meeting a new group of kids. My experiences will be very different next year, however, as I will be moving into a full-time position as an instructional technology specialist. I will be housed in my district’s professional development center, and I will  regularly go out to junior high campuses to help support teachers. I think my new position will be rewarding and challenging, but very different from what I have been used to before.

– Right now, even though I have only been out of school for 4 days,  I am currently back at it and attending the Ed Tech Team Texas Google Apps for Education Summit. For 2 days, I have been learning  and practicing all kinds of interesting things about Google. Some of my favorite presentations so far have been on maximizing the benefits from Google Chrome and student ePortfolios – I’ll make sure to share some notes and cool ideas after the conference.

I also hope to get some time this summer to decompress, research some new tools, and enjoy time with my daughter before she starts kindergarten. Hope you are able to enjoy your break, too!

Tips and Tricks for Google Apps for Education

One of the things that I am asked to help teachers and students with most is Google Apps for Education (GAFE). I am proud to be part of a district that is utilizing this tool, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about how powerful it is. It can also sometimes seem overwhelming to new users, and with features being added all the time, I am constantly learning and trying new things, too.

Below are a few of my favorite resources for users of all levels on how to make Google Apps for Education work for you. The tutorials and help sections straight from Google are extremely helpful, but sometimes it’s nice to have information in multiple formats/styles. Please let me know if you’ve got others that I can share with my teachers!

RISD Google Apps Training – specifically designed for Richardson ISD, but lots of good information

100 Important Google Drive Tips for Teachers and Students and Google Drive Video Tutorials – from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

GoogleDrive Blog

Google Tutorials – from Richard Byrne: Free Technology for Teachers

Beginner and Intermediate Webinars for GAFE – From ESU 5 Technology Integration

 

Free! Region 10 Digital Fluency Conference – May 6th : EDIT

EDIT: Unfortunately, registration for the conference has filled and closed. If you’d like to check out the online schedule, I know many presenters will be sharing links to their information after their presentations. You can find the schedule here: Region 10 Digital Fluency Conference Schedule

Also, make sure you follow @R10Tech on Twitter to get the latest news on what’s happening in the North Texas area. 

With STAAR testing prep, meetings, and my own daughter registering to enter Kindergarten next year, I have not been very active here on my blog. I am working to set up a schedule to help keep that from happening again, so you should be able to check back in here regularly to find some new resources, ideas, and events.

For anyone near to the Dallas area, I wanted to let you know about our Region 10 Educational Service Center’s annual Digital Fluency Conference coming up on Tuesday, May 6th. The conference is completely free, and it will be a great opportunity to hear from teachers, educational leaders, and students (yes!) about how technology is changing the way that learning takes place in our schools. I’m excited to attend sessions, but I will also actually be presenting for the first time on my own! I’ll be sharing my ideas and experiences with incorporating Genius Hour into my science classroom and how Google Apps for Education can help the process run smoothly.

I know I mentioned that the conference is FREE, and you can earn CPE credits by attending. There will be door prizes, networking opportunities, and some awesome local food trucks to enjoy. (like Jack’s Chowhound, Easy Slider, and Mo’Jo A Go-Go)

Click HERE to register. If you’d like to view the conference schedule or get more information, visit the conference webpage HERE.