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!

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

 

Google Form Templates

Google Form Templates

Our district is really jumping into the use of Google Apps for Education, and I think our teachers are starting to realize how many great things can be done through Google. We have a few teachers using Google Forms for things like warm-ups, but I have been learning about how powerful they can be.

On Twitter tonight, I came across a great list of Google Form templates from Kern Kelly of The Tech Curve to import into your Drive. They are specifically designed for educators and include self-grading quizzes, surveys, and discipline forms. I know sometimes it can be overwhelming for a teacher to create something new from scratch, so hopefully templates like these will make it more likely that you will use Google Forms in your classroom.

I’ll try to do another post in the future about some more specific ways for making Forms work for you. In the meantime, check out some of the links below:

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Recap of ITIC

Last week, I posted about attending the Instructional Technology Integration Conference (ITIC) that my district has put on for the last three years. I got to hear some great presentations, and I actually co-presented a session on assessing student understanding with another teacher from my campus. I was a little bit nervous to present before even having the chance to attend the conference first, but I think that all went well. I feel hopeful that I shared some new tools like ThatQuiz, Padlet, and Today’s Meet with teachers and school leaders from my area. I have to remember that technology integration is part of my daily job, so I get the opportunity to read blogs and Twitter feeds and play around with these types of things regularly. Just because I’ve heard of something before doesn’t mean that everyone else has – and I think everyone can put their own spin on new ways you might be to use an existing technology.

Outside of my presentation, I really enjoyed the sessions by Tammy Worcester Tang. In Beyond Copy and Paste, she gave great quick tutorials on tons of different Web 2.0 tools and linked them to ideas and assignments that could be implemented in the classroom right away. During her Go Paperless talk, she highlighted the use of Google Forms as a teacher dropbox to collect URLs of student work for easy grading. Beyond submitting separate URLs for each assignment, students could also keep a running portfolio of their work in Google Drive and send the teacher a link to access that living document throughout the year. I especially love this idea for my Science classes. Instead of lugging around crates of spiral notebooks to grade at the end of each unit, I could just peek into a student’s digital journal to look at all of their notes, photos of their lab observations, and other creations.

I’ve heard other good feedback from the conference, and I found some new, active people to follow on Twitter. I’ll definitely make plans to attend (and present!) again next year.