Jan 12

Need STAR or Re-certification Points?

Ditch That TextbookThe Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit is making an encore – for ONE WEEK only.  Earn a total of 9 points by watching the videos, reading the notes, and submitting your request for the certificate of completion.  The summit closes on Wednesday, January 18th at midnight (Pacific time)

Presentations can be found here:
Digital Summit

Once you’ve completed the summit, head over to the Staff Portal to complete documentation to receive your points in Edivate.  The link can be found here:
Documentation Form for Edivate Credit

Aug 18

New Features in Google Classroom!

This is great news!  Teachers have asked – and Google has responded.  Click the link below to see all the new changes coming to Classroom.

Taking Learning Beyond Classroom Walls with new features for Back to School

New in Classroom

Apr 15

Google Slides – a lot like Glogster…but FREE!

Google Slide Poster

A teacher asked me this week about Glogster.  I hadn't used it in a while so I did some 
There are 2 versions...Glogster and Glogster EDU.  
Glogster (https://www.glogster.com/) is 9.99 for 1 user.
The EDU version (http://edu.glogster.com/) is free but restricted to 1 teacher and 10 student 
Google Slides is a free alternative.  Like Glogster, with Google Slides you can:
  • add images, video, text
  • add images and videos right from Google Slides – you don’t have to leave the program to do that.
  • arrange your content on the slide
  • change the size of the slide – make it larger to look more like a poster
  • share by publishing – once published you’ll get a URL that can be shared with others or embedded onto a website.
Here is a sample of a poster I created with Slides – and the poster that was created with Glogster.  Very similar.   To get a custom sized canvas in Slides, go to File, Page Setup and choose custom.
Google Slides Tip Sheet
Here is the link to the published slide – just so you can see what it looks like published to the web:  

Nov 13

All Aboard the GAFE train!

GAFE Train

Nov 10

Google Apps Updates – Find ‘missing’ emails more easily in Gmail

Coming soon to Gmail…

Sometimes emails are mistakenly marked as spam or put into Trash, and they can be difficult to discover via search. To help address this issue, Gmail will now search in both the Trash and Spam folders (only Trash was indexed previously). If a match is found, a footer at the bottom of search results will indicate the match and direct the user to view the messages.

missing gmail 1



In addition, if a search query is too general to return useful search results, a different footer will now be shown guiding the user to try refining their query using Gmail advanced search.

missing gmail 2

Aug 25

Google Apps Updates – New Features in Google Classroom

This just posted from the Google Apps team!  Great new features!  Read the full post at this link:  http://goo.gl/2lxlJY

  • Question-driven discussions
  • Reuse posts
  • Bump posts to top of stream
  • Make due dates optional
  • Attach a Google Form to a post (next few weeks)
  • Calendar integration (next month)

Apr 21

New in Google Classroom!

  • You can now add multiple teachers!  Teacher can invite other teachers to join their classes – great for co-teaching!In the About section, click Invite Teacher.
    Classroom Invite Teachers
  • Draft posts and assignments.  Teachers can save their work on an announcement or assignment and post it later once it is ready to go.Classroom Save Draft

We have been asked during our demonstrations about these 2 specific items.  It’s nice to see that they’ve been added! Google Classroom is constantly adding new features.

To get the latest updates on Classroom and links to more information on using these new features, follow the link below.

Classroom Updates and Links

Apr 01

Play PAC-MAN in Google Maps!

Welcome, Player 1! You can now play the classic arcade game PAC-MAN in Google Maps with streets as your maze. Avoid Blinky, Pinky, Inky, (and Clyde!) as you swerve the streets of some famous places around the world. But eat the pac-dots fast, because this game will only be around for a little while.

Game rules


  •  PAC-MAN avoids  the ghosts
  •  pac-dots score 10 points each
  •  PAC-MAN can eat power pellets to attack  the ghosts
  • Beware of flashing ghosts, which are about to change back to dangerous colors

Ghost point value

200 400 800 1600

Extra points


Apr 01

Google Apps Updates – New Google Drive User Interface

Last year, Google started a gradual roll out of the new Google Drive User Interface while retaining the ability to return to the old Drive User Interface.  In the Settings drop down menu you will see either “Experience the New Drive” (if you’re in the old interface) or “Leave the New Drive” (if you’re in the new interface).

Old DriveNew Drive










Users have had the option to experience the new Drive, but for scheduled release customers, the roll out of the new Google Drive User Interface as the default user interface will occur in early April.  In the first half of May at the earliest, Google will remove the option to return to the old Drive User Interface via the Settings drop down.  At least 2 weeks before the removal of the option to return to the old Drive User Interface, Google will show a notification in Drive about the upcoming change.

To switch now to the new Google Drive User Interface, click the Settings wheel and choose “Experience the new Drive” to become familiar with the new interface.

Mar 06

10 Ways to Use Google Drawings in the Classroom


10 Ways to Use Google Drawings in the  Classroom
Shake Up Learning



Feb 04

Google Apps Update Alerts – 2/3/2015


Offline access to Google Docs editors auto-enabled when signing into Chrome browser on the web.

When working in a Chrome browser, people using the Google Docs editors with offline access enabled can work on files even when not connected to the internet. Files are synced so they can be viewed and edited offline, allowing for continued productivity regardless of one’s internet connection.

Setting up offline access manually can be cumbersome, so in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to just sign into Chrome on the web and visit Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides―and offline will be enabled automatically. This is already the default behavior on Chrome OS, so nothing will change there.

Google Apps admins can still centrally enable or disable offline access for their domain in the Admin console (see the Help Center for instructions depending on your version of Google Apps). Existing settings for domain-level offline access will not be altered by this launch.

Note that Google Apps users should not sign into a Chrome browser on public/non-work computers with their Google Apps accounts to avoid unintended file syncing.

Nov 20

Google Classroom!

Google Classroom is a free suite of productivity tools including Gmail, Docs and Drive.  Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google document for each student.  It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each students to help keep everyone organized.

Easy setup, saves time, improves organization, enhances communication, is free and secure.

Classroom is available to you now.  Visit classroom.google.com to sign up.  If you’d like to schedule a demonstration in your classroom, email HelpDesk.

Watch the video below and click this link for more information!


Feb 17

Twister – Create Fake Tweets


Create fake tweets using the Twister template.  This template allows you to create fictional “status updates” that can then be printed off for display purposes or copied into a presentation or added to a webpage.  Students could be asked:

  • What are the most important people in this topic?
  • What was their most important moment within the topic?
  • What would their comment be about?
  • What particular keywords would they use within their comment?
  • What hashtag could they maybe use at the end of the message?
  • What nickname did they have/could we invent to use as their username?

Make your tweets serious – or even comical.  :-)



Cleopatra Tweet

Feb 17

Timeline Creator


Timeline creator

Abe Lincoln Timeline

Feb 17

Fakebook – Create a Fake Profile


Create a fake profile for a fictional/historical character.  Very simple template to use.
Ben Franklin Fakebook



Jun 26

Twitter for Classroom Use?

Online discussions are a mainstay of online courses.  With the instructor in the role of chat moderator, the integration of the live chat format can take on different forms within an online course.  Twitter chats may be helpful for holding class discussions as well as facilitating other types of student-instructor communication, which may be required or optional for students. Below are a few of the possibilities you could try.

Required Participation

  • Engage in a conversation structured around a predetermined topic or discussion
  • Review reading assignments to better understand students’ comprehension of concepts and progress with the materials.
  • Propose solutions to a given problem.
  • Conduct a meet-and-greet session in which class members introduce themselves
  • Invite a featured guest who is active on Twitter to answer student questions

Optional Participation

  • Hold virtual office hours at scheduled dates and times when your students know you are logged in and monitoring Twitter for their questions.
  • Conduct an exam review session
  • Set up general question and answer sessions
  • Create an opportunity for students to earn extra credit for participating in Twitter communication with classmates that helps to share resources

Enhance Communication in the Classroom

  • Conduct a Book Club
  • Include an In-Class Back channel.  Allow “live-tweeting” during class sessions.  Encourage students to tweet in-class and even show the stream via computer monitor while the lecture is taking place giving them the opportunity to ask questions or comment on the content.
  • Post Class Announcements
  • Alternative Class Assignments
Adapted from Social Media in Online Higher Education, Implementing Live Twitter Chat Discussion Sessions, 2012.  Read full article at http://goo.gl/s6KCg.


Jun 20


A new Pinterest-style site for educators (and students)

eduClipper is a powerful curation platform designed specifically for educators and students.  It’s quick to setup, easy to use and completely free!  With eduClipper you can clip content from the web, collaborate with colleagues, organize the content info eduClipboards, and share your collections quickly and easily.

With eduClipper you can create clips from URLs, images, Office documents, Google Drive, PDFs or HTML Embed Code from sites including YouTube, Prezi and more.

Once signed up, a teacher can create classes and either upload rosters or give students an access code to their class page.  The teacher can also assign permissions to the class that require approval before clips are created, moderate comments, etc.  To sign up, students would need a valid email address which is required to activate their account.





Jun 13

Google Fonts

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get during our Google training sessions is about adding fonts.  Users like to have font choices.  Last May, Google updated Docs and added 450 new fonts to its library.  These are the same 450 fonts Google already features on its Web Fonts site for web designers. Before the update, the selection of fonts in Google Docs was limited to standard like Arial, Georgia, Trebuchet, Courier, Verdana and Comic Sans.

The new fonts won’t just suddenly appear in a long drop-down menu.  Instead, you will need to select the fonts you want to add one-by-one.

Add Fonts in Google

Add Fonts in Google

May 22

Twitter Chat #spschat

Twitter WordCloud2

Join us this summer every Tuesday from 2:00 – 3:00 pm to discuss educational strategies and connect with other instructional gurus.  Be sure to register if you are thinking about participating.  You will be included in the information on how to get connected and will be asked to provide input on the weekly topics of discussion.  1 STAR and 1 Recertification point will be awarded for each week that you connect with us.  #spschat

1st Chat – Tuesday, June 25th, 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Join us each week for a total of 8 weeks.
This is an online event.


Click here to register for this event:  http://goo.gl/rQWdg

May 13

Student Response: Who Needs Fancy Clickers?


Ever wonder what your students in your class were thinking about a topic, but never felt you could get a good feel for it because only a few would answer your questions?  You might think to use a classroom response system or “clicker” but what if you don’t have those in your building?  What if the equipment is already being used by another teacher?

Poll Everywhere is a great way to create stylish real-time experiences using laptops, computers, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices.  Poll Everywhere is another way to gather live responses in classrooms that’s simple and flexible.


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