Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Flubaroo Now Shares Grades Through Google Drive!

Just when you think Google Classroom and Flubaroo can't get any better, the integration improves! Now teachers have the option of sharing their Flubaroo grades directly to student Google Drives. Through the magic of Google, a folder will automatically be created in your teacher Drive called, "Flubaroo-Shared Grades". Each student will receive a Google doc that will have their grade, allow comments, and include the questions and answer key if selected. This Google doc will be located under "Shared with me" in their Google Drive.

This new feature opens up the ability for teachers to share grades with students even if student email is not activated within the district or for lower grade levels. The Google docs with questions and answers make great review sheets which can be easily moved and organized within the student Google drive.

For full instructions on this easy process, see "Share Grades via Drive" in the "Help Center" of Flubaroo.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Share to Google Classroom: OpenEd

One of the great additions to Google Classroom this school year has been the "Share to Google Classroom" button. It is popping up in technology tools that teachers already know, use, and love! Clicking this magic button automatically adds  resources right into your existing Google Classrooms with no muss and no fuss

One great resource site that is totally integrated into Google Classroom is OpenEd.
OpenEd added the "Share to Google Classroom" option this year but also allows teachers to import Google Classroom rosters. This makes access easier than ever before. If you are new to OpenEd, it has a huge online collection of lesson plans, videos, assignments and assessments for grades K-12. Though many of these resources can often be found in other places, like Khan Academy, it does provide that easy one-stop-shopping-spot and the Google Classroom integration that makes it SO sweet!

To get started:
  • Create  an OpenEd account using your school account---so you can get to your Google Classrooms!
  • Sign up using your Texas school so you see the TEKS !  Though it is fully aligned with Common Core standards, if you sign in as as Texas school, the Reading and Math TEKS will also be included in your list of standards to choose from. 
  • Start searching through their great resources.

There are two ways to work between Google Classroom and OpenEd:

Look for the "Share to Google Classroom" button in other tech tools that you are currently using!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Flubaroo is For You!

 Flubaroo is For You!

Last week our "Tech Trick and a Treat" training covered the use of Flubaroo. Flubaroo is a free add-on in Google sheets that allows you to quickly grade quizzes and tests created in Google forms. So, we create in forms and grade in sheets!

Now don't tune me out because you think this is just for the big kids! Flubaroo is a perfect tool for teachers throughout all grade levels. Since Google Forms can contain pictures followed by questions, even little ones can easily take a quiz in forms.

Today I am posting the basic steps we covered. If you are familiar with forms, sheets and add-ons in Google, then this quick list is all the information you will need. If you need this step-by-step guide with lots of pictures, then I have a document for that too:  Tech Trick and a Treat: Flubaroo is For You!

Warning: if you are creating as your walk through these steps, Flubaroo will not grade a spreadsheet until it has two or more responses--the key (which is your response) plus another response. Find a friend to take your quiz!

Step 1: Create a Google Form with your test questions
If you have created forms before, the only critical thing to remember here is to check the top, two boxes in the settings if you are sending within your school domain. This will allow you to email responses to students using their username.
Also, checking “only allow one response…” will limit students to taking the quiz just one time

If using outside of your school domain, you absolutely must collect names and emails as the first questions in your Google Form!
Step 2: Customize the look of your Google Form
Make it cute by selecting “Change Theme” on the top of the form. Select one of the themes on the right, or click “customize” to see even more options. There are so many ways to personalize your forms. Just get in there and play!
Step 3: Take your own test! 
This is an important step since this will be the KEY to your quiz. To easily do this, just select "View Live Form" at the top of the form you just created. Once you finish taking your quiz, go back to the tab with the form you were editing.
Step 4: Share your form with students so they can take your test!

Go to “Share” in top right corner of the form you created, and copy the link. Use the URL shortener in the pop-up window, and just paste this link where students can access. In Google Classroom, a Google form can be added as a link or directly from your Google drive.

Step 5: View Responses in Google Sheets and add Flubaroo!
We now select “View Responses” from the top of the form. Every Google form magically creates a corresponding spreadsheet to collect information. You may need to select "create new spreadsheet" the first time you view responses. Now you should see all of your student responses. 
Here's where the Flubaroo part comes in:
  1. In the spreadsheet with student responses, click “Add-Ons” 
  2. Select “Get add-ons”
  3. Search for Flubaroo--it usually is the first one there--and click the +Add
  4. You must agree to the access it requires--it will include email since it sends from your email

Step 6: Select your new Flubaroo Add-on and Grade!
  1. Click “Add-Ons” again
  2. Select Flubaroo (it may ask to enable Flubaroo on that spreadsheet)
  3. Select “Grade assignment” in the drop down menu
  4. There will be two pop-up windows to set-up the grading:
Step 1:Determine which information is a question or student information 
  • if it is username, name, period etc...choose “student information”
  • If it is a question, set to “grade” and weight the question (1,2,....10)
  • You can also “skip grading” for questions
  • or use the new feature: grade by hand (For info:  )
  • then “continue”

Step 2: Pick the Key--it should be your own name/user account --(the test you took first)
Hint: if you forgot to take your own quiz. exit the grading and take it! Then go back to grade again. Your name will be at the bottom of that list.
  1. Now Grade! (click "continue")
  2. Once grading is complete, “X” out of the pop-up window to view the grades.
  3. The spreadsheet will have two “tabs”: the one with everyone’s answers, and the one with the grades.
Step 7: Email results to your students
  1. Go back to “add-ons” on your sheet with the grades
  2. choose Flubaroo
  3. Choose “Email Grades”
  4. From the pop-up window, select the cells which contain the email for your students--in our district, this is “username”
  5. Check the items you wish to include: scores, questions and answer, personal message      
  6. Hint: if your quiz is a review, including the correct answers creates a study sheet for students 
  7. Click “continue”and grades are emailed! 
Now do do need more visual to walk through this process? Try the "Fluabroo is For You" Tech Trick and a Treat training doc!

Visit the Flubaroo Help Center for additional information such as using numerical ranges and auto-grading!
Enjoy your tech trick!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Help! I Can't Open my Office Documents in Google Drive!

Yes, unless you own a Chromebook that awesomely and automatically updates, then this can happen to you. Don't panic! Check the following to make sure you have exactly what you need to open those Office products in your Google drive without changing their format.

1. If you can usually open Office documents in your Google drive without an issue on your computer, make sure you are logged into your Chrome browser so that all of your extensions are ready to go.

2. If this is all new to you, then we probably just need to add the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides extension to your Chrome browser. Don't worry! It's easy, and you should only have to do it once!

  • Click the blue button to "add to Chrome"
  • You will have to give it permission to access all kinds of stuff, but just close your eyes and do it!
  • Once it finishes adding itself to your Chrome browser, try to open your Office document again.
  • Now, the Office document  should open. The extension can clearly be seen in the URL 
  • When you open the Word document, you can also see that the extension is working by clicking on "File" and seeing the words, "Office Compatibility Mode".

You are good to go!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Converting Office Documents to Google Docs

You have an Office document safely backed up in your Google Drive, and now you need to share it with your team. But, wait! You can't share documents saved in their original Office format.
No worries. Let's  convert that document to a Google doc,. "Convert" really creates a new copy, so you even get to keep your original just the way it is!

To convert:
  • Double-click to open the original Word document in your Google drive that you wish to convert
  • The Word document will open in a new tab, and the tab will have the big "W" for "Word" at the top.
  • Now for the conversion part:
    • Go to "File"  ,"Save as Google Doc" or 
    • Go to "Share", and the pop-up will  give you the option to convert
  • The Google doc version will now open in a new tab with the Google doc icon at the tab-top
  • Your Google Drive will now have two version of this document: one in the original Office format and one in Google doc format
This process is so simple and easy, that pretty soon you will become a real "convert" and create everything in Google Drive!

Confused by the duplicate documents? Look at the icons!

As you start converting Office documents to Google docs, slides, and sheets (and you will!), you can easily tell the two products apart by their icons. Seems silly, but it helps when the drive gets crowded.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Limitations of Office Documents in Google Drive

So, you have backed-up your Office documents to Google Drive! Good job! Now you can:
  • Open and view your Office documents
  • Open and do some editing
  • Download your documents from Google Drive
However,  there are a few caveats that you need to be aware of as you work with these Office documents from within your Google Drive.

1. Office documents do not share all the wonderful magic of Google docs, but have three limitations:

  • Editing is somewhat limited
  • They do not save automatically
  • They can not be shared at all. You must convert first!
These limitations are immediately noticeable if you are accustomed to working with Google docs.

2. NEVER insert Office documents from your Google drive into Google Classroom !!

Because the Office format can't be shared, these Office documents really get messy on the student end if shared for editing or as a template in a Google Classroom assignment.
If you must do this ....insert as "read only"!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Backup with Google Drive

It's that time of year again! In this last week of school, teachers will pack away their classrooms for the summer and say good-bye to students for a much needed summer break.
But wait.....!
Did you remember to backup your documents?

Teachers now have years of digital products, representing hours of hard work, all saved somewhere in the school's servers or, heaven forbid, on the local C drive of their classroom computer. It is up to each individual teacher to ensure that these are safely backed-up. Since we are a GAFE school, Google Drive is the perfect solution.

The New Google Drive has made this even easier this year since all of your documents can be uploaded in their existing form and opened in Google Drive without ever being converted from their Office format. This means that you can access your school documents in their original Office format from any computer at any time from anywhere!  So let's get started:

Step 1:
Make certain that you are using the new Google Drive
Make certain that "Convert Uploads" is NOT checked in settings

Step 2:
Create a new folder in your Google Drive to house your school documents. 
Since our teacher documents are housed in each person's H drive, this was the file name in this sample. 

Step 3:
Upload your folders to Google Drive!

There are two ways to upload files and folders to Google Drive.
A. Drag and Drop directly into the Google drive folder
B. Browse and select the files and folders by selecting "New">"File Upload"

If you have time, carefully selecting folders and files to upload can help you clean out your "digital closets", and you can delete from your H drive as you go.

Now your school documents are safely backed-up, and you can access them from anywhere on any device at any time in their original Office format!!

There are a few things you will want to know about working with Office documents in your Google drive, so tomorrow's post will have information on opening, sharing and converting these files.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Google Classroom Touts Four Improvements!

 Google Classroom has a reward for all those hard working Texas teachers during this week of STAAR testing! When we get back to the business of teaching and learning, there are four great, new improvements in our Google Classrooms!

1. We can now add other teachers to our Google Classrooms! Just go to your "About" tab in your Google Classrooms and invite your co-teachers.

Once invited, these teachers can:

  • Create assignments or announcements
  • View and grade student work that is submitted
  • Post comments
  • Invite students
  • Get email notifications 
  • (They can't delete your class)

I think this is a wonderful addition for our teachers needing to work with others to fully support our inclusion students successfully in the classroom.

2. Assignments and announcements can now be saved as drafts

This means that we can now "pre-load" assignments or announcements and then easily assign on the date needed. Because we can now add other teachers, all teachers involved can collaboratively work on the draft of the assignment or announcement right there in the Google Classroom!

3. Grades are now automatically saved

Grade your student submissions as they are turned in, but wait to return the graded assignments all at the same time! No more waiting on those last minute students to get your grading done.

4. Notifications improved

Teachers and students will receive email notifications when private comments are posted on assignments.

Google is promising even more changes before the end of the school year, so, for anyone out there who hasn't yet opened their first Google Classroom., get in there and get on-board.
Google will keep growing and changing this great tool, so it will never get any easier.....just better!

For more specific details, visit Google for Education.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Day Google Classroom Went Down

On April 2, 2015, Google Classroom "went down".

Students were the first to notice of course, and, as teachers started trouble-shooting, the tension started to rise in the Middle School building. Soon, we realized we had a total catastrophe! Panic ensued. How would we access the shared resources and turn in student work? What is our back-up plan? As the tech integration person, I could hear the echo of this outage coming back to haunt me for years to come: "Remember the day that Google Classroom went down? That's why I don't use technology!"

Quickly I raced to open the link to check the Apps Status Dashboard......but there was nothing there. I called our tech support team....but they knew of no issues either. So, I screamed into social media, "Help! Google Classroom is down! Anyone else out there having issues?"

In the end, the glitch in Google Classroom was really just a "service disruption", but, ultimately, it proved to be a learning experience for everyone involved.

Teachers found that Google is extremely reliable. We were soon up and running within minutes....not hours, not days.

Students and teachers found that they could still work on their products and share information the "old-fashioned way" since Google Drive was just fine. Who would have thought that using Google Drive would be considered the "old way"? This is how far we have come and how quickly Google Classroom has been embraced by teachers as an effective conduit for learning.

We discovered which teachers were really integrating technology at the highest levels. After several years of talking about SAMR and speculating about "substitution"versus "modification" or "redefinition", the level of student engagement through technology became readily apparent within seconds after the disruption. After assessing our access to Drive and other web tools, teachers and students regrouped and moved on, but there was the sudden realization that not one teacher using Google Classroom had a plan that translated to paperwork. Our teaching and learning were technology dependent.

I found that connections in Google+ communities and Twitter are invaluable. While it took the Apps Status Dashboard a little while to show the disruption, social media was awash with an affirmation to the "crisis" within seconds of my posts. Sympathetic voices answered back, mirroring my own concerns. Yes, it was down for everyone. Not just us. And misery loves company!

The most valuable lesson for me, however, came from the paradigm shift that seemed almost palpable. When Classroom was smoothly working again, there were sighs of relief and whispers of "thank goodness" as teachers went back to their business and students back to their learning. Through the years, I had grown accustomed to technology naysayers quipping their "Why I Don't Use Technology" litany. This time, not one word! Technology integration had indeed arrived at Eustace Middle School !

Yes, I know there are still teachers lurking behind lecterns, preaching from Power Points, and commanding the copying of volumes of notes. There will always be those who will make an excuse not to try, not to learn, not to change, not to grow. Their voices and reasoning, however, are fading into the background. We are moving forward.

Yes, Google Classroom went "down" on April 2, 2015, but, in that moment, as brief as it may have been, I learned a great deal!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Technology: Gone to the Dogs

This is my "grand-dog", Jaxon. He is SO smart! Why, he can get right on that iPad and just go! He knows exactly what to do, and he's not even afraid of using it!

Sound somewhat familiar?
When are adults going to get over the thrill of seeing young children (dogs or frogs) pegging away on digital devices? Reacting to or even interacting with a device does not a genius make. I would actually equate a child's interaction with a device as being similar to babies playing with their own reflection in a mirror. It's new to them and it's adorable! But it certainly isn't atypical.

What makes technology unique is that there is the opportunity for a progression of mental processes as children develop. The challenges and apps should grow as the child grows. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many children and adults are only using technology at a level in which they are "reactive" in the most basic level---like a dog chasing a digital puppy across a glowing screen.

Up the ante! Choose to challenge. Challenge your children, your students, and yourself!
Use apps that cause you to think hard, work hard, solve problems, and create, create, create!
Grow dendrites!

I still believe that my grand-dog is smart, but not because he can play "Game for Dogs" on the iPad.
In fact his use of the iPad tells me less about him and more about the fact that Zagg make a totally awesome military grade screen protector!