Google Mapping Tools

The tools I have to share with you this week are all mapping tools from Google. Tour Builder, My Maps, Tour Creator, and the NEW creation tools in Google Earth. Below you will find the link to one of my presentations on Google Earth & My Maps. One of my favorite places to get started is Earth Education.

Map That! Using Google My Maps & Google Earth in the Classroom

Accessibility with Chromebooks

The tips I have to share with you this week are some accessibility features. Remember that accessibility is a benefit for everyone, not just students with an IEP.

1. Student chromebooks have the ability to read aloud any text on the screen by enabling the select to speak feature. They can also enable the dictation tool to speak to type.

2. This Chromebook simulator is a helpful tool to use to model the steps to turn on accessibility features. Keep in mind that some topics in this simulator, such as printing, do not pertain to the district setup.

3. You can utilize live closed captioning in google slides while you are presenting to the class. To do this, open an existing slide presentation and click Present. In the bottom panel toolbar that shows up in presentation mode, click Captions and allow microphone access. Start speaking. You can also customize the caption text size and position by selecting the dropdown menu next to the Captions button on the toolbar. Closed captioning features are also built into Youtube and Hangouts Meet.

Check out the Tools for Diverse learners course in the Google Teacher Center and the EDU in 90 episode below to learn more about built-in accessibility features for chromebooks. Did you know you can adjust the playback speed of a YouTube video? Click on the gear in the bottom right hand corner of the video to customize the video playback speed. Accessibility!

Twitter Tips & Bitmoji custom text

The tips I have to share with you this week are some Twitter best practices.

1. As you dive into Twitter, be cognizant of students on the no-photo list. Make sure these students are not in any photos that you are tweeting out.

2. You can include multiple hashtags within a tweet, as well as, include links. When you use multiple hashtags, remember to leave a space between them. You can also click on those hashtags to view other tweets that mention the same topic. Hashtags are a great curation tool.

3. Start a discussion by replying to other’s tweets. Twitter is a great space for conversation. Feel free to ask questions, too!

For more information on teaching and learning with Twitter, check out this guide.

Check out this tweet that I recently retweeted. It shows how to add custom text to your Bitmoji using the Bitmoji extension!


Google Data Studio

The tool I have to share with you this week is Data Studio. Google Data Studio is a platform that helps visualize data via interactive dashboards. Google Sheets connects seamlessly with this tool and is great for creating easy to read and easy to share reports. Here is an example of an interactive report. Change the filters to view visuals of different data. Think about how transformative this can be for reading logs and other educational data we track! If you are interested in using Data Studio and need support, don’t hesitate to reach out. Take a look at this reading example.

More googliness:

  • Update coming soon to closed captioning in Google Slides! This update will allow you to customize the caption text size and position when you are presenting in Google Slides. Select the dropdown menu next to the Captions button on the toolbar to utilize this feature.
  • 👻Have a Google Home or use Google Assitant? Try this command “Hey, Google! Get spooky.” and get an hour-long playlist of spooky sounds and music.
  • 🎃Here is a Halloween Magnetic Poetry template from Kasey Bell


The tool I have to share with you this week is Nearpod. This is a tool that helps students engage with your lessons through their student devices. Nearpod allows you to create interactive lessons and has a library of ready to use resources. This tool also helps you assess students as you go. Nearpod is flexible and can be adapted for use in any subject area and any grade level. They even have free lessons for social-emotional learning. Watch the video below to learn more.

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Becoming a Google Certified Innovator

The Google Certified Innovator program is something I’ve wanted to be a part of for a long time. I knew that being a part of this program would mean participating with a community of educators working to transform the learning communities we serve and advocating for change. I was seeking a new space for my personal growth. I was craving another experience similar to that of the Master’s in Educational Technology (MAET) overseas program I was in at Michigan State University. I wanted a work hard, play hard environment where I could meet and connect with new people who share some of the same passions I have in education.

Four times. I applied to MTV16, COL16, and TOR16. Three rejections, but I wasn’t giving up. My fourth application was to NYC19 and I was accepted! The application process changed since I had applied in the past. My challenge that I submitted also changed. Back in 2016 my challenge was about managing educational screen time (which I think is still a challenge today). My 2019 challenge was about addressing the technology skills gap between adult learners and young students.

How I found out I was accepted in the program was funny. I had been added to a Google Hangout Chat called #NYC19 Innovators. I was a little confused because I hadn’t received an email confirming this acceptance. This seemed to be a common feeling with others in the chat. Ironically, the acceptance email had gone to our spam. We were all relieved to know this was an official, real thing that was happening! I hadn’t even met my cohort yet but we all celebrated in the chat together. We got to know each other pre-academy through this hangout chat, a hangout video call, Voxer chats, and uniting to solve a Breakout EDU challenge. There was already a sense of camaraderie before we arrived at the academy.

Day one of the academy, I arrived at Google early. I sat and waited in the fun googley chairs in the lobby in excitement. I heard a loud and energetic group of people walk in and instantly knew those were my people, my cohort.  It was a surreal feeling. I was greeted with a hug from my coach, Christine Lion-Bailey, they escorted us upstairs and we hit the ground running. The flood of hospitality and belonging continued all week long. We learned that we are 1 out of 2,200 innovators globally. We connected with our teams, went through design thinking, rang the #FailBell, toured the YouTube Space, and became familiar with “yes and” feedback.

Day two began with a sense of gratitude and sharing of G Thanks from day one. We learned about the core skills of innovation: accept every offer, make your partner look good, error recovery over failure avoidance, and zealous communication. Googlers came and spoke to us. We empathized with the feeling of imposter syndrome. We developed prototypes to solve our challenges using no technology. We attended Spark Camp sessions facilitated by peers in the cohort.

On day three, we did identity sketches, went through the user testing phase of design thinking with our prototypes, learned about Google Data studio, visited the Grow with Google space, worked on our roadmaps, launched our pitches for solutions to our challenges, and graduated from the academy. Academy week was a whirlwind and flew by. I left feeling many different emotions. I was mentally exhausted, overwhelmed, inspired, motivated, driven, happy and thankful. I got what I asked for; a work hard, play hard experience, new global connections and friends, professional growth. I was surrounded by great role models and diverse perspectives, or as we like to call ourselves, like-minded wackos.

Being a Google Certified Innovator is still a lot to process. Post academy, I am scrolling through the photos of our short time together. I am lucky to have had this experience. I catch myself reflecting on it often and smile when I get a ping from the group. Our conversations are ongoing and I look forward to the next time we are reunited. We are here to transform, advocate, and grow. We stand by the four foundations for a culture of innovation: curiosity, agency, collaboration, and risk-taking. We are forever connected. We are #NYC19 innovators.





Google Expeditions

The tool I have to share with you this week is Google Expeditions. Expeditions has explorations for any subject are. The VR expeditions will work on Chromebooks. There are over 900 expeditions for VR. If you are more visual, you can refer to the curated content here, too. One of my favorite tours is the Wonders of the World tour (since I am trying to visit them all). I must say The Great Wall of China, Chichén-Itzá, Rio de Janiero, and Machu Picchu look just like that! The AR Expeditions are great for bringing abstract concepts to life. Check out Mt. Fuji on my desk! If you would like help integrating this into your lessons, let me know. I’m here to help!


Pear Deck & Global Read Aloud

The tool I have to share with you this week is Pear Deck. This is a Google Add-On for Google Slides. It helps make your slides presentations more interactive. Students can join your presentation session/lesson by joining with a code. The slides get pushed out to display on participant screens and allows them to submit responses to tasks. This is a great tool for checks for understanding and IT’S FREE! Check out these example slide decks from Be Internet Awesome.

The Global Read Aloud is back starting on 9/30/19! Visit the website to sign up and check out #gra19 on social media.