Thursday, March 28, 2013

GAFE Resources

With Google Apps for Education (GAFE) becoming the district standard for all employees (and students in the 2013-14 school year) I have decided to put together some additional resources for your reference.  Here are just a few of the sites I've researched that highlight great uses of GAFE with co-workers and students and to help introduce and integrate technology in your classroom.

This page contains links to sources outside the Derry School District.  The IT Dept is not responsible for any content housed/published on those sites.

Various Webinars on GAFE via GAFE Team
32 Ways to Use Google Apps in the Classroom via GAFE Team
Comment-only access in Google documents via Blogspot

Google Apps for Digital Storytelling Projects via YouTube
GAFE Lesson Plan Examples via GAFE Team
Google Lesson Plan Search via GAFE Team

Tips for introducing online collaboration to students via Ed.Tech
Google Drive and Docs for Teachers via Free Technology for Teachers
Integrating Google Tools 4 Teachers via 4Teachers

Educator’s Guide to Google Calendar via EduBlogs
Google Calendar for Lesson Planning via Blogspot
The Classroom Newspaper Google Docs Style via The ThinkingStick

GAFE Sydney Summit - tons of links and resources!
Google Crib Sheets (how to's)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Transfer ownership of a Google Calendar

It was asked at the Tech Leaders meeting last night if it was possible to transfer a shared calendar (building events and so on) from one staff member to another - should that staff member leave the district.

According to the Google Support Site, you sure can!

To transfer an individual calendar between two Google Calendar products, simply share the calendar with the new owner. Be sure to select "Make changes and manage sharing" in the permission level drop-down to effectively transfer ownership of the calendar. 
While it's not possible to merge two Google Calendar products at this time, you can use this tip to transfer your calendars to your preferred Google Calendar and discontinue use of your other Google Calendar.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oh where oh where can that google doc be?!

As more and more Google documents are shared among users and groups across the district, questions have arisen regarding the location of shared documents.

So, in response, a couple clarifications about the "receiving" side of sharing:

- If a document is shared with a person directly by providing their individual email address in the document’s Share Settings, the shared document will be added to that person's Google Drive "Shared with Me" list.

- If a document is shared with a group by providing a group email address in the document’s Share Settings, the shared document will be added to each group members' Google Drive "All items" list, but only after the group member has opened the document from the link provided in the "I've shared an item with you." email notification.

And if you have not visited Google's own "How to Share" Google Drive Help page, I encourage you to do so as it provides a very good overview for learning how to share.

Creative Commons - Images / Sound

According to Wikipedia:
Creative Commons has been described as being at the forefront of the copyleft movement, which seeks to support the building of a richer public domain by providing an alternative to the automatic "all rights reserved" copyright, dubbed "some rights reserved." ... Creative Commons has provided "institutional, practical and legal support for individuals and groups wishing to experiment and communicate with culture more freely."
In a nutshell,  when someone gives you "creative common" rights to an image or audio file, you can use it on your websites, presentations or what have you without worry of copyright violations.  You can visit the Creative Commons website to learn more.


The Creative Commons website does a fine job explaining what each license means.  Please follow the link here: About The Licenses.

Creative Commons Image Sites

Creative Commons Search - find the image you need with the proper rights in place.
Open Clip Art - great CC clipart.

Creative Commons Audio Sites

Open Music Search by Google

Feel free to comment below with websites you use for Creative Commons classroom audio / images. 

Google Drive - Coming to Students this Fall

We are now six months into our Google Apps for Ed move.  Your building Tech Leaders have already given six amazing workshops on just about everything you need to know to use Google Apps / Drive effectively in the classroom.  A huge thank you to the Tech Leaders for all the hard work in putting these sessions together for your professional development.

As mentioned at the start of the school, students will be coming onto Google Apps for Ed in September, 2013.  They will have email accounts and full access to their own school Drive accounts.

What this Means in the Classroom

With the students coming to Drive - you can go paperless with homework!  Students will be able to share their assignments to your drive.  No need to worry about incompatible electronic versions you can't open.  No need to worry about lost assignments.  Documents, PDFs, slideshows, spreadsheets - virtually anything can be done online with this.

Not sure how a student can check in an assignment for you to grade?  Make sure you don't miss any of the after school workshops your Tech Leaders are putting together!

You can even have students collaborate on projects with Drive!  They can work in real time from their homes on whatever device they choose:  PC, Mac, iPad, Android device and so on.  Google Drive doesn't care - it's all done in the cloud.

Take Charge of your Classroom 

You already have access to all the power above, and hopefully you have been taking advantage of the training and using Drive.  Come this fall, the power will multiply as students come on board.

And Drive isn't the only thing they'll have access to.  Google Calendar will be a powerful way to share your classroom / building schedules with your students.  Keep them in the loop - with no excuses - with deadlines, tests, quizzes and homework assignments.  Use Gmail to send them reminders - or changes to assignments.

The Tech Team / Tech Assistants have been working hard for the last 6 months to make this transition seamless. So now is the time to start thinking about how students on Google Apps for Ed will enhance your classroom!

Did you miss any after school workshops?  There are many how-to videos available from Google to get you pointed in the right direction. (Note, videos hosted on YouTube are not yet accessible within the district).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Substitute Addendum to AUP


The district administration will now allow substitute teachers to access technology in the classroom in a limited capacity.  The verbiage is:

Short-term substitute teachers should only use district technologies as indicated in the classroom teacher’s lesson plans. Under no circumstances should a substitute teacher use the school computer/network for email or other personal use. The district does not provide email accounts for short-term substitute teachers.

Your front office will have the sub sign a modified AUP when they come into the building, giving them this access, should you grant it in your classroom.

What this means for you:

  • You may now include the use of technology for your substitute teachers in your sub-plans.  Be very specific in what they are allowed to do (for example, show a Keynote on XYZ to class…).
  • Substitues may now help students use technology in the classroom (computer lab, carts, iPads, etc).
  • For computer testing (NWEA, etc.) - there must still be a classroom teacher present.
  • The sub may not use computers for any personal use.  No exceptions.

I hope this makes things a little easier for you all!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Java vs PowerTeacher Pt 2

We have seen several tech requests come in today related to GradeBook not launching.  It looks like Apple and Oracle have once again released updates to Java due to vulnerabilities (see article here).

Wayland has tested that using software update to get the latest version of Java clears this issue.  So, if you run into this issue, please feel free to run the software update to clear this issue.

If you would rather have a tech come update this for you, please put in a request.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Learning Management Systems

From Wikipedia, the purpose of a Learning Management System (LMS) is:
LMS is the framework that handles all aspects of the learning process. An LMS is the infrastructure that delivers and manages instructional content, identifies and assesses individual and organizational learning or training goals, tracks the progress towards meeting those goals, and collects and presents data for supervising the learning process of organization as a whole.  An LMS delivers content but also handles registering for courses, course administration, skills gap analysis, tracking, and reporting. 
The Derry School District has evaluated and supports the following LMS for use by staff in the district:

At this time, Sakai is the only system that is paid for by the district.  Edmodo and Schoology are currently free - but we have no control if they decide to charge in the future; similar to what Glogster ( did 2 years ago.  So my word of advice, make sure you can duplicate your efforts if needed.  

According to the LMS Survey we conducted in January, only 24% of staff use an LMS in their classrooms, 60% using Sakai and 40% using Edmodo.  If there is enough interest, we can have a Tech Leader Workshop this spring on how to use these LMS software applications most effectively in your classrooms.

Also, the new AUP will be addressing the use of LMS in the classroom with more clarity in regards to "the babysitting" of these sites.  In a nutshell, no, they do not need to be babysat by the teacher using them - just monitored in the same way you monitor the activity in the classroom during the school day.