Hyperlinks! In Google Docs and Slides! In the iPad Apps!

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 7.22.47 PMI have so much love for Google Apps for Education, and I am extremely excited about the update I recently discovered for the iPad apps (as I’m sure you could tell from the title of this blog post). As I was working on a Slides presentation, I tapped on an image and found that the update I’ve been hoping would happen, has! Now you can add hyperlinks to your Slides and Docs from within the iPad apps! Text, images, and shapes can all be turned into hyperlinks with one tap.

How Does It Work?

Tap on the image or shape you want to be hyperlinked, or highlight the text you want to be a link. A list of task options will appear. “Insert Link” will be one of the options.IMG_2240

IMG_2239Tap Insert Link and you’ll be able to either type in the URL or copy and paste a URL from a website.IMG_2243You are also able to add a link by tapping the image or highlighting the text you want to be the link and then tapping the plus sign at the top right of the actions menu. IMG_2245In addition to linking to an outside website, you’re also able to link to another slide in the presentation.IMG_2242You can’t tell just by looking that an image has a link (hyperlinked text will turn blue and become underlined). If you tap on any image, you’ll be able to tell whether the image has a hyperlink because the menu options will change from “Insert Link” to “Open Link” and “Edit Link.”IMG_2244

Classroom Applications

Now that students can add hyperlinks to their Docs in the iPad apps, students using only iPads have more options when collaborating on documents. One option is to “hide” links in documents by highlighting the text to be the link and tapping “insert link.” Another is to participate in a great creative writing activity: Choose Your Own Adventure slides (more on this later). Students can link to their own content or to others’ content, and so can you (if you choose to work on your iPad).

What Do You Think?

How might this addition to the iPad apps in Google Docs help your students to be creative and collaborate? Let us know in the comments!

 

Sharing Student Work: From iPad to Google Drive to the World

DriveThe iPad is an excellent tool for students to use when creating content. They are able to make different types of presentations, annotate still images, and create dynamic videos using content from multiple apps. But how does a student share work once the it is completed? Let’s look at how a student can share work (not just turn work in to the teacher) using the camera roll, Google Drive, and QR codes.

Taking Work off the iPad

The first step in sharing work is to ensure that the work has been saved to the camera roll. Different apps have different ways of making this happen, but most of the time you are looking for the send/share button– a square with an arrow coming out the top). Tap that icon and there will be an option to Save to Camera Roll. Again, different apps have different ways of showing this. If you don’t see something that looks like this image, just keep looking for the Save option.IMG_1946Once the content is in the camera roll, open the Google Drive app. Look for the + sign. Depending on the version of Drive that you are using, it will either be in the top right corner or the bottom left corner. Tap the + icon and look for the option to Upload. Choose Photos and Videos.Drive_Add

Tap the location you want to choose from– either the entire Camera Roll or one of the albums you have created. Tap the small thumbnails of any image or video that you wish to upload. When you are finished selecting, tap the check mark in the upper right corner. Your images will begin uploading immediately.Drive_UploadNext, tap on the “hamburger” menu in the top left corner (3 stacked lines) and go to the Recent tab. The images or video that you just uploaded will be at the top.Drive_RecentStudents can share their images or videos with you by tapping on the 3-dot menu to the far right of the document name.  He or she will choose “Add People” and then type in your email address when prompted. Tapping on the pencil will allow students to change the permissions of the document. Students can add a message if desired and then tap the send arrow.

You will find the work students shared with you in your “Shared with Me” tab in Google Drive.

Now comes the fun part. In my district’s GAFE domain, all documents have the default sharing setting of, “Anyone in Your Domain With the Link Can View.” This means that anyone logged into their account on our domain can view the document. However, this setting needs to change if you want outside viewers to see the product. Whether you do this next part or you have your students do it, you’ll need to be on a computer to change the sharing settings within the document.

  1. Sign into your Drive. You can access this from the waffle menu at the top right of the Chrome browser or by typing in drive.google.com.
  2. Right-click on the document (video, image) you want to share.
  3. Choose Share.Drive_Share
  4. Click the down arrow next to where it says, “Can View.”Drive_Share_Down_Arrow
  5. Click More.Drive_More
  6. Select the radio button next to “Anyone with the link can view.”Drive_Anyone
  7. Save!

There is another way to share the link. It starts in the same way:

  1. Right-click the document you wish to share.
  2. Click “Get Link.”Drive_Get_Link
  3. Click “Sharing Settings.”Drive_Share_Settings
  4. Follow the same procedures as above.

Next Step: Make the QR Code!

Again, you’ll right-click the document (video, image) you wish to share. Choose “Get Link” (as pictured above). Copy the link– it’s already highlighted. Visit a QR Code creator website– I prefer  to use i-nigma.com. Go to Create Barcode. Drive_QRCopy and paste the code. You can give the QR code a title if you wish (it’s much easier to identify QR codes if you do this!) and then right click on the QR code image generated.Drive_QR2

What Do You Think?

How do you have students take their work off the iPad and share it with you?

Connect Your Classroom Using #MysteryHangouts

Hangouts_IconI am passionate about helping teachers connect their classrooms bring the world to their students. One way I’ve done this is through promoting Mystery Hangouts and Mystery Skype. The tool isn’t the point (although I do lean toward Mystery Hangouts and that will be the focus of this post)— the purpose is to help students with deductive reasoning, critical thinking, and questioning skills as well as to bring students from around the country and around the globe into your classroom. All you need is a web-connected device with a camera and a willingness to try something new!

How Does a Mystery Hangout Work?

Mystery Hangouts can be run in a number of ways, but the most basic form is like a big game of 20 Questions. Teachers find a partner class in a different state, and they meet up over Google Hangouts. Classes take turns asking and answering yes-or-no questions designed to help the class narrow down where the class is located, and the first class to find the other wins! Sometimes students need to find the state of the partner class, and other times the students will locate the city of the partner class. That all depends on how much time you have— it’s much more challenging and time-consuming to locate the city! However, if you are partnering with a class in your same state, you’d want to find the city.IMG_5099

Once you have a partner class, you and the teacher will probably email back and forth to determine how the connection will happen. One way to create the Hangout is through a calendar event in Google Calendar. It’s a great way to start it off because when you create a calendar event, a Hangouts link is automatically generated. Add the partner teacher to the event, save the event so an email will be generated, and the partner class can join the Hangout through that link by clicking on it in the email!Mystery_Hangout_Calendar

Another way to create the Hangout link is by creating an event in Google+ and inviting the partner teacher to the event. When the time comes to join the Hangout, you’ll find the link in your events in Google+.

Mystery_Hangouts_Event

A third way is to use Hangouts to call your partner class, but the first two ways are more convenient. It’s easy to miss a Hangouts call!

During most Mystery Hangouts, students have specific roles. One of the resources I have used for determining roles is a this blog post by Pernille Ripp. She and her students came up with the roles together. Other great resources for learning more about a Mystery Hangout or Mystery Skype are:

If you’re not sure about what types of questions to ask, check out this blog post. It has some great starter questions that you can have in mind when you have your students come up with the questions they’d like to ask. One thing I like to do, especially with the younger students, is have a desk map in a protective sleeve for them to write on. As questions are asked and answered, students can eliminate states by crossing them off with whiteboard marker. When they are finished with the game, they can reuse the map for the next time.

Once each class has found one another, some classes like to share interesting facts about their state or city. Others will ask questions back and forth about what life is like in the other state. In some cases, the Mystery Hangout will be the beginning of a longer collaboration between two classes.IMG_5073

How Do I Find a Partner Class?

The Mystery Hangout Community on Google+, is a great source for finding partner classrooms. Just post a message to the community letting them know your grade level and availability, and more often than not you will get a response. You can also reach out to tech coaches or other connected educators– they probably know someone who knows someone. You can also find partner classrooms using Twitter or other social media. Be sure to use the #mysteryhangouts or #mysteryskype hashtags.

Common Core Connection

The nature of mystery location allows students to practice several of the 4 Cs as they communicate, collaborate, and think critically. They may also have to use their creativity if they come across an issue that requires “out-of-the-box” thinking. Every student is engaged in this type of activity— they are on task, they stick to their roles, and they are determined to be the first to find the other class. Students work together to maintain the forward movement of the game, and depending on the grade level, they collaborate on adjusting their questions if necessary. The more calls the students participate in, the better they get at thinking critically in order to ask the right questions to narrow the location down quickly. When students create presentations about their city or state and write reflections at the end of the call, they are also working on their grade level writing standards. Turn the reflective writing into blog posts and students are then working toward even more of the Common Core State Standards for writing.

What Do You Think?

Have you tried Mystery Hangouts or Mystery Skype? Please share your experiences and any resources you may have!

Translation Made Easier with Google Translate

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 10.43.59 AMThe Google Translate app has gotten some great updates for the travelers of the world, but their updates can greatly impact classroom conversations, as well. I have to admit that I’ve had the app on my iPad for quite some time and I haven’t done much with it, but I’m pretty excited about the updates and I think I’ll be using it more now! The updates allow for better translations to occur (think of your newcomers!!) and it also has visual recognition using the camera (again, think of your newcomers!).

How Does Google Translate Work?

The app launches with the languages set to English and Spanish. The language on the left is the input language, and the language on the right is the output. Tap on either language to change it. One option on the left (input) is also “Detect Language” if you aren’t sure about the language you are hearing or seeing. Google_Translate_1Enter text into the app by typing, speaking, writing (with a stylus or finger) or use the camera to snap a photo of some text.

Google_Translate_3

In the settings tab, tap on Handwriting if you’d like to turn off automatic typing when you are writing on the screen.
Google_Translate_5If you do choose to use the camera to snap a photo of some words you’d like translated, there will be some directions when you first launch that option.

Google_translate_2There are a pretty good number of languages available for translation. Tap on either the input language or the output language for all the options. Tapping on the arrows in the center will also swap the two languages for a quick input/output switch if you are having a conversation with someone who speaks a different language.

Google_Translate_6The settings gear at the bottom of the home screen has a lot of options for input, including dialect specifications. You can also hide offensive language using the settings.

Google_Translate_4

Common Core Connection

Using Google Translate can benefit all students learning to speak another language. Common Core does not have a World Languages component as of this publishing, but using this app can make the Common Core State Standards much more accessible for your English Learners, especially those in the early stages of language acquisition. It can also assist your English Only students in learning a language of their choice, which will only enhance their communication and cultural awareness.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Google Translate in the Classroom?

Need More than the Docs App Can Do? Use the Desktop Version!

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 1.35.58 PMThe Docs App on the iPad is great and it allows for students to quickly create and share documents with others. Students can change the font to a limited number of fonts, they can change the size and color of their text, they can highlight, and they can also add a bulleted or numbered list. But what if they need to do more, such as double-space their text, see the revision history of a document, or use research tools? Have them use the desktop version!

How Does It Work?

The desktop version of docs or drive is accessed through a Web browser. Start by having students open Chrome or Safari (or whatever Web browser they use) and go to drive.google.com. From there, they will log in with their Google Apps account username (their email address) and password. The screen will then look like this:

drive_desktop_1This screen is really more of a viewer. Even if you choose one of the folders or documents from your Drive, you will won’t be able to do anything with it. In order to be able to edit, you need to open it in the desktop version. On the left, you’ll see three little lines. Tap those lines for the menu. Then choose Desktop Version.

drive_desktop_2You will be brought to the desktop version right away, but you will have to go through a few more steps before you are able to edit a document in the desktop version. Scroll through and select the document you want to open by tapping on it.drive_desktop_3You’ll be sent back to a very basic editor. drive_desktop_4You could edit the document from here by choosing Edit, but you’ll want to remind your iPad that you are trying to use the desktop version by choosing the two little down arrows next to the Edit button. drive_desktop_5The iPad really resists doing this, as you can see, so remind it again that you do, indeed, want to use the desktop version.drive_desktop_6After this, your document should open right away and you’ll have access to just about everything you have on the computer.drive_desktop_7

For example, you might not be able to create a table in on the iPad, even in the desktop version. But you will be able to double space documents, see the revision history, and use the research tools within Docs.

What Do You Think?

Yes, this process can be frustrating, but it provides additional functionality to Google Docs if your students are using iPads and there isn’t access to computers. Or have you found a better way? If you have, please share!

Contact Your Entire Class Quickly with Gmail Groups

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 2.32.33 PMContacting entire classes of students with gmail is quick and easy when you create a contact group for each of your classes. This action was a request from a group of teachers that I work with, and I’m sure other teachers are wanting to email classes, too. One way to do this is to set up email groups for each class within Gmail so you can quickly send a mass email.

How to Create A Group

Sign into your Google Apps for Education account at http://gmail.com. On the left, you will see where it says Mail in large letters. Click on the down arrow to get a menu. Click on Contacts.

contactsAs I often tell teachers, there are multiple ways to do anything within Google. Some methods are easier than others, but it’s all about personal preference. I’ll give you a couple of options for creating your groups.

Directory

The fastest option is to check and see if your domain has kept access to the Directory. You will find this in the menu on the left. directoryIf you do have access to the directory, clicking on it will bring up every email address in your domain. You can go through and click the checkbox next to each of your students’ or colleagues’ names. When you are finished with the checkboxes, choose “Add to My Contacts.”

Next, go through your contacts and check the names of the people you are adding to a particular group. Then click the down arrow next to the icon of three people, and check the box next to the name of the group you are adding them to.add group members

If you haven’t created the group yet, click Create New. Name your group. Any email address that is checked when you create the new group will be added to the group.

You can see what groups a contact belongs to by looking to the far right of the screen. You can always undo the action if you need to. groups on right

You can also set up the new group before you go through the directory. Just choose “Create New Group” from the menu on the left and give the group a name before you go through the directory.

AddNewGroupAdd to Contacts

If you are in a Google Apps for Education Domain, you may have everyone in your domain as part of your contacts list. In the menu across the top, there is an icon of a person with a + sign. If you choose the down arrow next to the icon, a field will appear and you will be able to type a contact’s full email address into the field. Those contacts that are in your domain should populate and you’ll be able to arrow down to highlight the name and hit tab so you can type in the next contact. A comma  is automatically entered between each email address. When you are all finished, click Add and your new contacts will appear in your contacts.add addressesGo through the same procedure as above to add these new contacts to a specific group. Make sure to click Apply if it is an option.

If you make a mistake typing in an email address or name, click on that person’s name in your contacts list. The contact information will come up on the next screen. Hover your mouse over any field, including the current email address, in order to edit any part of the information. No need to hit a save button- just click outside of the field and the updated information will be saved automatically.

Group Contacts on the iPad

Creating a group in Gmail makes it easy to contact students if you are emailing them from a computer or from the desktop version of Gmail on the iPad. As you can see, typing in the first part of the group name brings up the group you created.contact listThe group doesn’t become one of your contacts, however, which makes it a little more difficult to email from the iPad. In order to quickly email all students from the iPad, send a blank group email and cc yourself. Any time you need to contact your students, do so with a “reply all” from that original message.

 What Do You Think?

Have you found an easier way to email students quickly and easily? If so, share it here!

 

 

 

 

It Happened for a Reason: Reflections on #GTAATX

IMG_4411I believe that things happen for a reason. The reason isn’t always clear to me at first, but as days progress and thoughts process, the reasons start to unravel and become revealed. Rewind to spring of this year— I was pretty disappointed when I didn’t get accepted into the Google Teacher Academy at Mountain View. The timing (summer) was perfect, and the location (California) even more-so. But I knew that there was a reason why I wasn’t accepted into that cohort, and I promised myself that I’d apply for the Austin, Texas cohort. Fail forward, right? So after learning I was accepted to Austin, I started looking for the reasons. Slowly but surely, I’m discovering the reasons why I believe I was meant to be a part of this particular group, and I’ll probably learn more reasons as relationships continue to develop.

Social Media as The Great Equalizer

From the moment we were accepted, we became a team. We connected through different social media channels, such as Google+, Twitter, and Voxer. I was a Voxer newbie, and frankly I still am to some degree, but that didn’t stop me. I wanted to be part of the conversation early on, and I’m so glad that we all dove in head-first. We talked about everything from gym habits to choice beverages to district technology practices. It made meeting face-to-face for the first time feel like a reunion with old camp friends that I hadn’t seen since the summer before. The feeling that we were a team, even though I didn’t know a single other person in the cohort before the academy, is just one reason why I believe I was put into the Austin cohort.

Tools and Problem Solving

Interestingly, I didn’t have too many expectations about what would happen going into the GTA. I figured we’d learn some cool and different ways to use Google tools, get to know one another a little, make a plan to do something upon our return, and have a good time. I knew it would be awesome and I’d feel mind-blown the whole time, and it was and I did, but not in the way that I thought I would. We spent a lot of time identifying a problem that is important to us in our roles within our districts or schools, and we used the design thinking method to come up with a statement of purpose for a project we want to tackle.

Photo: Danny Silva

Working hard to consider the issues I face. Photo: Danny Silva

We collaborated for feedback on our ideas and we helped each other work through that process. We walked away with the beginnings of a plan. I had already started a project in my district that was the beginning of this plan, but now I am better equipped to consider everything I want to do with my plan to move it forward, and I have people I can call on for feedback and conversation surrounding my plan, because so many of us are taking on the same issues. There’s some comfort in that, and those connections are another reason why I believe I was put together with this group of educators.

Effective Feedback Makes Things Happen

Effective Feedback allows for a creator to iterate. When feedback is, “this is good,” it doesn’t give the creator anywhere to go. When feedback is more like, “Have you considered doing this?” or “Think about this from a different perspective…”, well, now we’re talking. During the GTA, I put my big idea out to a group of like-minded educators with similar passions and the desire to make similar changes in the world.

Photo: Amy Mayer

Look at all that collaboration! Photo: Amy Mayer

Even though I have a start at my moonshot idea, there are perspectives that I hadn’t considered, and there are aspects of my project that could use some improvement. I am not sure where in my plan the improvements will happen quite yet, but I have a better understanding about where my project is going thanks to the effective feedback and thoughtful questions that I got from my peers at the GTA. Yet another reason.

We’re All in This Together (sing it with me!)

There have been numerous times over the past few years when I have listened to or participated in conversations with other teachers that have left me feeling… unsettled. I didn’t like what I was hearing, but I didn’t contribute my own ideas because they were so far outside of the reality of the conversation that I just didn’t want to have to explain my thinking or be looked upon as crazy, jaded, and idealistic.  I have always know that there are others nearby and far away who are just like I am—idealistic (and maybe a little crazy). They are willing to speak up and stand up for what they believe in order to turn our ideals into reality. I know now for certain that I am not alone and that like-minded educators are just a few clicks away. This is probably the most important thing that I learned at the Google Teacher Academy.

Photo: Amy Mayer

Team #FancyFruit! Photo: Amy Mayer

In the End, It’s All About…

… the connections. It’s always been about the connections for me. I’m so fortunate to have spent time in Austin, Texas, with my cohort and new friends. It was fun, and it was crazy, and it was difficult, and it was challenging, but most of all, it was inspiring. I can’t wait to see where we all go with our moonshot ideas and I hope we’ll be able to work toward them together!

Photo: Danny Silva

Photo: Danny Silva

YouTube: Add Sections to Your Channel

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.44.56 AMIn a previous post, I talked about how to create a playlist. Making playlists is the first step when gathering videos for a lesson, and once you’ve done this, making playlists easily accessible to students is the next step. This post will show you how to edit your channel navigation so that you can put a playlist on the home page of your channel for easy access. Students are able to view your playlists by choosing playlist from your channel menu, but adding the playlist to your channel for a short time gives them immediate access to the lessons. One of my favorite things about doing this is that you can put a playlist up for a unit of study, and when you are finished with that unit, you can hide that playlist and put your next one on your channel’s landing page.

Edit Channel Navigation

This video will walk you through the steps for editing your channel navigation. This must be done in order to put a playlist on the landing page of your channel. It will enable you to add sections to your channel.

Add A Playlist to Your Channel

If you aren’t already there, click on the menu next to the YouTube logo in the upper left and navigate to “My Channel.”YouTube My ChannelNow that you are able to add sections to your channel,  you will click the “Add Section” button. If you don’t have this button on your home page, please watch the video above! The button will be located under the area for an Unsubscribed Channel trailer. This is an optional video that you can create to let others know what your channel is all about. Add a Section to ChannelClick on the Content dropdown menu and choose Single Playlist. When you do this, a new set of menus will appear underneath the Content and Layout menus. You can also change the layout from horizontal to vertical.Add a Section 2There are two options under Choose A Playlist. Click on the option on the right that says “Find playlist.” This will bring up all the playlists you have created. Choose the one you’d like to display on your channel.Add a Section 4A preview of what your playlist will look like appears, and if you are satisfied, choose Done in the upper right-hand corner of the workspace. Now students (or anyone who visits your channel) will be able to see this playlist when they visit your channel.

Remove the Playlist from Your Channel

Removing a playlist will not destroy it, but instead it will hide it from the front page of your channel. To do this, hover your mouse over the playlist you’d like to remove. In the right-hand corner of the playlist, you will see the edit icon (pencil) appear. Click the pencil.YouTube edit buttonYou will now see the menu that you used to add the channel to your section, and in the upper right-hand corner you will see a trash can. Clicking the trashcan will remove the playlist from your channel’s home page, but it will not remove the playlist from you account. You can always add it back if you change your mind by following the steps for adding a playlist to your channel.Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.29.10 AM

What Do You Think?

How have you used YouTube playlists on your channel home page? Do you have other suggestions for helping your students find your videos easily?

 

 

 

How to Create a Playlist in YouTube

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 5.11.28 PM

Gathering videos on a YouTube playlist is an awesome way to collect video resources for your students. You can include videos you’ve created for students, and you can also explore YouTube for videos that others have created for educational purposes. This post will just deal with creating the playlist. In the next post, I will show you how to edit your channel so that you can put your playlists on your channel for students to have easy access to the videos you want them to watch.

How Do You Create a Playlist?

1. Make sure you are logged into YouTube with your GAFE account (if you use Google Apps for Education in your classroom) or whichever account you will point your students to.YouTube sign in

2. Search for a video you want to add to the playlist.YouTube video search

3. Click on the video you want to view and/or save, and look at the menu under the video. You will see an “Add To” button. YouTube Add to

4. If you have already created some playlists, you will see all of them when you click on “Add To.” Check a playlist to add the video to that list. If you do not already have a playlist, choose “Create new playlist.” You will have the option to make your playlist public, unlisted, or private. Public playlists are always available on your playlists page. Unlisted playlists and private playlists are available to your eyes only. To share a playlist with students, it must be public. You can change this at any time in playlist settings.

YouTube Create PlaylistScreen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.33.10 AM

 

5. Now that you’ve created a playlist, where do you go to see it? Click on the menu next to the YouTube icon at the top left. You can either click on “My Channel” choose one of your playlists from the ones that are listed in the menu.

YouTube MenuPlaylists can be as long or as short as you’d like them to be. You could have a playlist for each unit of study, or you could have a playlist for each week– whatever works best for your students.

What Do You Think?

How have you used YouTube playlists with students?

 

Google Drive: How to Share Folders When Using iPads

DriveIf your students are using iPads in the classroom and you have Google Apps for Education, here is a relatively quick way for students to share folders with their teachers. The best thing about shared folders is that anything a student puts in his or her folder is shared with the same permissions as the folder. In other words, if the student shares a folder with the teacher and then adds a document to that folder, the document is already shared with the teacher and the student doesn’t have to take any extra steps in sharing the document.

Using Google Classroom will do all of this for you, but if you aren’t using Classroom and you still need to share folders (and you aren’t ready to try out using gClassFolders yet), this is an easy way to do it.

The Steps

  1. Launch the Google Drive app and have students sign in using their Google Apps account.
  2. Tap the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Choose “New Folder.”
  4. Title the folder and tap Create. Students should follow the same naming convention:  For example, Period_1_LastName_FirstName
  5. Now back at Drive, the student needs to tap the little i on the right side of the folder. This brings up a Details menu.
  6. Tap the Share button.
  7. Type in the email address of the teacher. Make sure to have “Can Edit” checked.
  8. Tap the blue check mark, and you’re done!

The teacher will now see all of the share folders in the tab marked “Incoming” (which used to be Shared with Me). Folders can be moved from Incoming to My Drive in order to organize them into one folder in your Drive for each class period.

Visual Steps

I like to see things in video form, so here are two short videos I created to show the process.

What Do You Think?

How have you streamlined the process of sharing folders for your students, aside from using Google Classroom or gClassFolders?