In my former life, I was a 4th/5th grade teacher. I was good at it. I [mostly] knew what I was doing. I loved the kids, and they loved me. I happily showed up to work, and knew my purpose.
Times have changed a bit. I am now in the middle of my third year as a Technology Integration Specialist. In this job, I rarely know what I'm doing. My "kids" are [mostly] teachers, and sometimes I'm not exactly sure how they feel about me. I still happily show up for work, but it's only because in this crazy adventure that has become my job, there are a few pretty cool, impressive, and awesomely geeky people who have really inspired me on my journey. While I could actually list hundreds of them, these four kind-of-a-big-deal people have really impacted me over the last year or so:
Any chance you, or someone you know owns a dongle that is compatible with an iPhone 6 or iPad mini connection?? I would love to borrow one for my presentation in Seattle!
No, but I have something EVEN BETTER!
I think I would like to set up a page that the parents can access for information from our room. I really don't know how - is that something you come and help teachers with?
I love this question! I work with a lot of teachers who don't consider themselves very techy, and for them, the idea of having a full-fledged website can often cause more stress than the solutions it provides. As I was driving to visit this particular teacher, I was scrolling through my mental Rolodex, trying to think of the simplest, most manageable solution for her. As I was assessing what she already knows, it occurred to me that she's been very brave about using her Google Apps for Education . . . and then it hit me: Google Docs.
SHEEEYA! Challenge gleefully accepted! As the ever-brilliant Alice Keeler would say, "The answer is always a spreadsheet!" (**I would beg to differ that the answer is typically "more cheese," but in this case, her answer works better.)
For this challenge, I created a very simple chart in Google Sheets, with rows for the dates of the challenge, and columns for each of the classes. You could do a similar Sheet with columns for each student, but this time, they are doing a class challenge and wanted to pit "teacher vs teacher." Once the data cells were built, I simply deleted the extra rows and columns (for a more tidy appearance - they're easy to add back in), and changed the fonts and colors (to make it pretty).
If you've never created a chart from a Sheet before, never fear - it's easy to do, and you can always delete it if you don't like what you see.
Once the chart is inserted, it's time to start adding data. The graph will automatically update as data is inputted, so there is no need to redo the chart as you and your teaching partner start logging your minutes.
Here is the real live chart, so that you can see the progress as this competition progresses:
Kudos to Cassi Kutzler and Brandon Cox for this awesome idea! Click here to grab a copy for your class, and get reading!
As is going to become my yearly tradition, I am spending the hours while my family is upstairs watching the Super Bowl downstairs NOT watching the Super Bowl. Last year's post was 5 SUPER Ways to Use Google Drawings, so I thought I'd KEEP in that same strand, but go with a different tool (and another of my favorites!): Google Keep!
If you've never been there, Keep is a handy little note-taking app that lives inside your Google suite. I say "IF you've never been there" as if that's a thing . . . turns out hardly anyone has even heard of Keep. When I mention it, a strange look spreads across people's faces as if I had asked them if they'd ever heard of Google Nose. So, IF you've never been there, try typing keep.google.com into your Omnibox and see what happens. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Surprised? Never knew that was hiding there?? Take heart - neither did a lot of people. So now you can start transferring all of those dog-eared, smudged stickies that have been cluttering up your computer screen to digital format - with added benefits!
My favorite thing about Keep is that, just like the other Google Apps, it's live, dynamic, and collaborative. There's even an app for that (download for iOS or Android). I can add something to a note on my phone, and BOOM - it's there on my computer. I type a note on my computer, and POW, I (and anyone with whom I share it) can instantly access it from a phone. I can also add labels to categorize my notes in any way I wish. Personal, work, inspiration, or whatever suits my needs - there's a label for that because I get to make it.
And so, without further ado, here are 5 SUPER ways to use this little-known tool:
I'm sure there are a gagillion more uses for this tool, and I will be sure to KEEP note of them as I discover or hear about them, as should you!
Oh, and PS: