Sunday, September 30, 2018

What's New in Google - September 2018

Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from September 2018, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our September 2018 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda and all the awesome resources and G Suite updates from the last month. This includes 18 new Google updates and 23 Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the September 2018 meeting:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Create Your Own Story Cubes with Google Drawings

Story cubes have long been a popular item to give inspiration for writing. Typically they are regular cubes with a different picture or word on each face. Students can pick a few cubes and then roll them to randomly get elements for a story.

Although you can certainly buy these cubes, you can also make you own. Better yet, students can each make several story cubes and then you will have dozens and dozens to use from your class.

One easy way to make your own story cubes is to use Google Drawings with pictures, emojis, or text. See below to get copies of my Google Drawings Story Cube templates, along with detailed directions on how you and your students can make these.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Full Bleed - Finding Balance Between Technology, Work, and Life

Note: This is another cross-post from my other blog - "Eric the Rad" - where I share some thoughts on life from a nerd's point of view. This one deals with finding balance between technology, work, and life. As educators this is a critical issue for so many of us, so I felt it would be valuable to share here as well.

Back when I was in high school I was the editor for our school yearbook. I learned loads of publishing skills including developing photos in a dark room (with actual chemicals, as this was way before anything digital), writing corny captions, and designing creative layouts.

As part of making layouts, I learned the term "full bleed". This is when you take a photo, or some text, or any design element and run it right up to, or even over, the edge of the page. Normally you would have a margin around each page, but with full bleed you have a picture that breaks out of the traditional constraints and extends off the edge.

For high school yearbooks, full bleed is a good thing. For your life, it is not...

Monday, September 17, 2018

Collabordependent Writing with Google Slides

Technology can have it's pain points. Take peer feedback for example.
  • We want students to be able to write, express themselves, create, etc.
  • Then we want them to be able to share what they made with their peers.
  • Then we want their peers to be able to provide constructive feedback.
Normally we use Google Docs for a task like this. For the most part, that is an excellent option, but there can be some challenges.
  • If all 25 students in a class do their writing in their own Google Docs, then we need to find an easy way to share 25 different Docs, and we need to open 25 different Docs to see everyone's work.
  • Or if all 25 students write in the same Google Doc, then it can take some work to keep each student's writing separate, and to easily navigate from one student to the next.
What we need is an easy way for students to work independently when writing, but collaboratively when giving feedback. We need a tool that lets them work "collabordependently" (I assert this is a real word despite the red squiggly lines I get when I type it.)

Certainly this can work in Google Docs, but sometimes it may be worth considering a different tool for peer feedback. That tool is … Google Slides. See below for how Google Slides can break out of being just a presentation tool and can become a versatile tool for collabordependence!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Passwords and Positive Self-talk

Note: This is a cross-post from my other blog - "Eric the Rad" - where I share some thoughts on life from a nerd's point of view. This one deals with the importance of a strong password, so I feel it will have value for all us tech users, but also addresses the need for positive self-talk, which has value for all of us as humans.


I have never been really good at positive self-talk. And there I go again. That is a great example of how I am not very good at it.

However, I do believe in the power of self-talk, both positive and negative, to have a great impact on our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Psychology tells us that what we say aloud to ourselves really makes a difference. Negative statements can bring us down, while positive, encouraging words can build us up. It may be just bit by bit, but every bit makes an impact over time.

Historically I just have not been very successful at taking advantage of this. If anything, my self-talk is often negative, pointing out where I fell short, or forgot to do something, or let someone down, or don’t feel well, or am tired. Hearing these words from my own mouth day after day after day becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So I have been working on how to improve this...

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Protect Your Google Account with 2-Step Verification

If you are anything like me, you use your Google account for everything. All of my files are in Drive, my emails are in Gmail, my pictures are in Photos, and my events are in Calendar.

As convenient and useful as this is, having all of your data in one place should also encourage us to stop and think about security. How secure is your account? If someone were to access your account, what would they have access to?

Now hopefully you don't have your password written on a post-it note stuck to your monitor (please say you don't), but if you are like most people, you probably are not doing anything extra to protect your account.

In this post we will take a look at this super simple, yet powerful, tool to help protect your Google account and everything you have saved in it. If you are a Google user, it is time to step up your account security with 2-Step Verification!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

7 Back to School Updates for Google's Applied Digital Skills Curriculum

Several months ago I shared a post on Google Applied Digital Skills curriculum. For those not familiar, it is a totally free, online curriculum, with engaging videos and practical projects that teach technology, life, and job skills to students (middle and high school) as well as adult learners.

Since that time Google has continued to expand and improve the program with lots of new content and features for the new school year. In this blog post we will take a look at the new curriculum units they have rolled out, as well as the new options and improvements to the system, including Google Classroom integration and more.

If you have not taken advantage of this awesome free curriculum for your students, there is no better time than now. Regardless of what subject you teach, there are ready-to-go lessons you can incorporate in your class this year.