Tools & Tips Tuesdays

Moment and Cropping Photos with Google tools

This week I am sharing Moment with you. This tool allows you to track the amount of time you spend on your device. It is so important for us to be mindful of screentime both in and out of the workplace and find a healthy balance for technology use. The app also offers a free course that challenges you to make a small change to your daily habits.

Google Tip: Cropping Photos

Try using the cropping tool.  While resizing can change the aspect ratio, or size of a photo, cropping can chop off areas of the photo.  The crop tool looks like Inline image 1 and can be accessed in Google Docs, Google Slides, or Google Drawings. When you click on the photo, the crop tool appears in the toolbar.

Teacher Innovator Awards

The Henry Ford would like to recognize America’s most innovative teachers.  Nominations for this award will be accepted through February 28th. Nominate an innovative teacher today.

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Doodle For Google & Attaching files to Google Calendar events

Happy New Year! This week I am sharing Doodle for Google with you. It is the 10 year anniversary of this contest put on by Google. The question for the contest this year is “What inspires you?”. The contest awards winners with college scholarships and tech packages. For more on the history of Google Doodles visit https://www.google.com/doodles/about.

Google Calendar Tip: Attach files to your events

Where was that agenda you made for this meeting?  What is it called?  Eliminate the need for these questions by attaching files to events in Google Calendar.  When you create the calendar event, in the Add Description Section, click Attach, select a file from your Google Drive or Upload a file, click Save.  

MITECS

The Michigan Department of Education has released the Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students (MITECS).  For more information visit http://www.techplan.org/mitecs/.

MACUL

The 2018 MACUL Conference is fast approaching! This year’s conference will be in Grand Rapids March 7th-9th. See you there!

FutureMe.org, Task Lists and Google Keep

I wish you all a restful and safe holiday break! This week I am sharing Futureme.org with you. This tool allows you to schedule an email to be sent to yourself in the future. Do you have specific goals or a resolution in mind for when we return in 2018? Send yourself an email reminder for when you return from break. You could have your students write a motivational message to themselves, too.

Gmail Tip: Task Lists & Google Keep

Stay organized and tackle your to-do list with Google Task Lists. In Gmail or Google Calendar, you can keep a list and organize tasks.  Your task list is identical in Gmail and Google Calendar.  When you add items to your list, you can give them due dates that automatically throw the task on your calendar.  You can also add notes to any given task. My personal favorite is the ability to link a related email to an item on your task list.  To do this, when you are reading an email, click the More button, click Add to Tasks, and change the description of the task to best meet your needs.  Then, when you find the time to address that task, you can click on “related email” under that item in your list and get down to business, rather than sifting through your email.  To access tasks in Gmail, click the Mail drop down menu and click on Tasks. To access tasks in Google Calendar, under My Calendars, click on Tasks.  If you don’t see Tasks, but see Reminders, click on Reminders to toggle to Tasks.

Looking for a place to jot down quick notes? Google Keep is a great tool for organizing your notes, lists, photos, and audio.  I also love that Google Keep can now talk to other G Suite tools and you can pull your notes into a Google Doc or Google Slides.

Panoform, Canned Responses and Read Receipts

This week I am sharing Panoform with you. This tool allows you to create your own Virtual Reality experience. Can you imagine how much a tool like this could transform learning? Students will not only be consumers of VR but creators, too.

Gmail Tip: Canned Responses and Read Receipts

Do you ever get asked the same question over email more than once? A canned response is a predetermined response to common questions. It eliminates the need for you to type the same response over and over again. To enable canned responses, in gmail click the gear to access Settings, click on the tab at the top that says Labs, click Enable next to the lab called Canned Responses. To create a canned response, when you are composing a message in gmail, click the drop down arrow next to the trash can, choose Canned Responses, and choose new canned response.  That canned response is then saved so that the next time you get the same question, you just click on the canned response that you already have drafted and ready to go.

Do you ever send an email and wonder if the recipient ever received it? A read receipt confirms that the recipient opened your message.  To request a read receipt in gmail, when you are composing the email, click the drop down arrow next to the trash can and click Request Read Receipt.  You will then be notified once your message has been read.

Classhook & EdPuzzle *Bonus Gmail Tip

This week I am sharing Classhook and EdPuzzle with you. Classhook is a great place to look for videos on a specific topic that you are teaching. Whether you are launching a lesson or reinforcing a concept, video can be a powerful tool. EdPuzzle is a great tool to create interactive videos that support blended learning. It makes your students participate during a video lesson and allows you to track their understanding.

Hour of Code

Happy Computer Science Education Week!  If you haven’t noticed the Google Doodle yet, check it out.  I’ve shared many resources and activities to get your students coding.  As you participate in Computer Science Education week, please share your learning on Twitter using the following hashtags: #CSEdWeek #HourOfCode #wbsdpln

REMC Virtual Courses

To learn more about emerging trends to integrate in your classroom, REMC offers virtual PD.  Click here to register for one of the upcoming courses.  These three week courses are free to Michigan educators and can be taken just to learn or earn SCECHs.

Gmail Tip: Undo Send

Did you know there is a way to unsend an email? Click on the gear in the upper right hand corner of Gmail, click Settings, in the General tab check the box that says Enable Undo Send.  You can set the cancellation period for a maximum of 30 seconds.  This means that if you realize in the moment that you accidentally didn’t mean to hit send, you will get a quick message at the top that allows you to click Undo.

Helpful Google Chrome Extensions, Google Chrome tip, and Gmail limits

This week I am sharing some helpful Google Chrome Extensions with you. An Extension is a tool that you can add to Google Chrome that enhances the browser’s functionality. Tab Scissors, Tab Glue, and Tab Resize are great for doing split screen. Some of my other favorites include Goo.gl url shortener, Grammarly, and Crafty184. For more extensions, visit the Chrome Webstore.

Google Chrome Tip: Logging into the browser

One of the affordances of using Google Chrome as your browser is that you can log in.  When you do this, your bookmarks and settings will always be the same regardless of which device you are using.  For more support on logging into Chrome, visit https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/185277?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en

Gmail Tip: Email Limits

Did you know there is a limit as to how many emails you can send per day? Gmail limits users to no more than 500 emails per day.  Also, each email allows a maximum of 50 recipients.  This can be tricky for educators when we try to email a large group.  Some alternatives to get around these limits would be to email each individual class separately (copy & paste the same message), use Remind to communicate or create announcements in Google Classroom.

Mozilla Web Literacy & Google Applied Digital Skills *Bonus Google Tip

This week I am sharing Mozilla’s Web Literacy lessons and Google’s Applied Digital Skills curriculum with you. Both of these resources are beneficial when it comes to digital literacy. Digital Literacy is the ability to navigate and understand technology in order to use it safely and effectively. Some examples of foundational digital literacy skills include:

-Understanding what the difference is between a download and an upload

-Understanding how to operate various devices such as a PC, tablet, smart phone, etc.

-Being able to navigate the internet, determine credible sources, and synthesize information

-Understanding best practices for email

-Being able to collaborate, create, and learn in a digital space

One of my favorite activities from Mozilla’s Web Literacy is Tag Tag Revolution. It teaches HTML coding through embodiment. Students gain a better understand of what this web literacy skill of writing code is like.

One of my favorite lessons from Google’s Applied Digital Skills is If-Then Adventure Stories. Students collaboratively use Google Slides to write an If-Then Story. Here is a quick example of what a digital If-Then story could look like.

Gmail Tip: How to configure your inbox

Did you know you can choose how to format your Gmail inbox?  This may help with productivity when it comes to managing the time you spend on emails on any given day.  When you are in Gmail, click the gear for Settings, click the Inbox tab, choose the inbox type of your choice (Default, Important first, Unread first, Starred first, or Priority inbox).  I have more Gmail productivity tips coming your way! Stay tuned…

Adobe Spark & Story Corps

This week I am sharing Adobe Spark and StoryCorps with you.

Adobe Spark is a tool you can use to create aesthetically pleasing graphics, web pages, and video stories for free. I love the ease of it, too! Just sign up with your Google Account. Click here to see how other educators are leveraging this tool in their classrooms. Last year, some WBHS students created websites for their science project on gemstones.

StoryCorps has the mission of preserving and sharing humanity’s stories through audio recordings. This is great in an educational setting for many reasons. One benefit of this is having students write and conduct interviews. In November, they have a neat project they do called the Great Thanksgiving Listen. Adobe Spark is a great way to go deeper and add a visual to your story. Here are some examples of what this might look like.

Google Tip

How to get the Shareable Link to a file in Google Drive:

Open the file you want to share, click Share, click Get Shareable Link, click the drop-down menu to choose the link sharing permissions you would like, copy the link.  This link then could be emailed out, housed on a webpage, etc.

Coming Soon: Computer Science Education Week

This week I am sharing coding and computational thinking resources with you. Computer Science Education Week is coming up December 4th-10th. Coding and computational thinking are important when it comes to digital literacy and digital citizenship. While many of you have heard of Code.org and CS For All, I’ve also included some other resources and activities that you can do with students:

Mozilla Web Literacy

Computational Thinking Google Resources

CS Unplugged

Resources from last year

Google Tip

The Noun Project now has an add-on for Google Slides and Docs.

Flipgrid

This week I am sharing Flipgrid with you. This video discussion tool is great for technology integration in any subject area or context. It embraces student voice. Simply create a grid for your class, add a discussion topic, and curate short video responses from students. Flipgrid is a great tool to use for exit tickets, assessment, reflection, debates, and more. It brings that social media feel into the classroom, too. Here are a couple Flipgrid examples from PD events hosted in West Bloomfield this past summer. Check out #FlipgridFever to see how other educators are leveraging Flipgrid in their classrooms.