Tech Tip Tuesday: Back Up Your Files to Google Drive

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As you finish the school year, it’s always a good job to back up your files and take them with you for the summer. If you haven’t been using Google Drive as often as you’d like, using it to back up the files on your computer makes a lot of sense. With this, you can backup all the files on your computer, directly to Google Drive, and have access to these files from anywhere… at any time. Here is how to do this:

The first key is to make sure you are using Google Chrome when uploading your files. Chrome gives you the opportunity to upload entire folders from your hard drive. Other web browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer) may not give you this option.

Next, go to Drive.Google.com or use the Google Drive app from your web browser (not the Google Drive app on your Mac! I will mention this at the end).

Once you’re on Google Drive double check your settings: Click the “settings”/ “gear” icon in your drive located on the right-hand side. Click that –> then click “settings” –> then check the second option called CONVERT and see if it is checked off. By checking this option off, it will take any files you upload and convert them to Google type files (for example: Word will become a Google Doc, Excel will become a Google Sheet, etc. I prefer to have this checked! Next click “done”.

Now, to begin uploading files to your Google Drive click “NEW” –> “File / folder upload”    –> select the file from your hard drive –> then click “UPLOAD”. Google will begin syncing and uploading your files to your Google Drive. Do this as much as you need.

*Pro Tip: Create a Google Drive folder first, then go into the folder you created and THEN upload your files. This way your files will be uploaded directly to this folder and keep your Drive organized.

** The reason I mentioned NOT to use the Google Drive app on your Mac is that this is strictly a sync app. By doing this, it will “drop” files into your Google Drive while keeping the files on your Mac as well as possibly download duplicate copies. This could max your hard drive out.

 

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Backing Up Your Schoology Resources

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We are in the stretch run toward to the end of the year. Now is as good as a time as any to begin organizing your materials and saving them for next year. So what if there was an easy way to do this is Schoology? Have you checked out Schoology’s “Resources” tab?

The Schoology Resources is where you can save all of your stuff to your personal filing cabinet to be reused next year. You have a few options with this. You can save individual assignments, save entire folders of content (great for entire units), and/or save your entire class!

Here is how to do this:

To save your course to your personal resources: Select the course you want to back up –> click “options” –> then “save course to resources”. In the box that follows, leave the collection as “home” and folder as “no folder”. This will then save your ENTIRE course and ALL of the assignments/materials within to your personal resources folder. Depending on the size of your course and number of files within, this may take a few minutes. Wait it out. To see your course and all of its content once backed up go to the “Resources” tab at the top –> select “Personal” –> and you should see the course folder on the right.

To save an individual folder or assignment to your personal resources: Select the course that you want to back up an individual folder of contents or individual assignment/material from. Select the “gear” icon to the right of the folder/assignment –> then “save to resources”. In the box that follows, leave the collection as “home” and folder as “no folder”. This will then save your folder with all of the contents within OR the individual assignment/material to your personal resources folder. To see your folder or the individual assignment go to the “Resources” tab at the top –> select “Personal” –> and you should see the course folder on the right.

To retrieve your course/folder/assignment next year: Select the “Resources” tab at the top –> then select “Personal”. Once you find your course/folder/assignment in the list to the right, select the “gear” icon to the right of it –> then select “add to course” –> then choose the course you want to add it to. This will copy and add this folder/assignment to your new course next year. What is great is that all of the contents within/settings etc will be moved as well. So if you had an entire unit worth of work in your resources folder in a particular order, it will copy it directly over. The only thing that is not saved to your resources or brought back to the new course is any student work/submissions.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Coggle.it

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Coggle.it is a great online “brainstorming” or “bubble” tool that makes for a great way for students to generate ideas and share complex information.  Coggle.it lets users create “bubble” that are posted to a board with text, images, or links.  Further, with Coggle, users can connect these “thoughts” to others to make connections. Simply go to Coggle.it, select sign up here, then use the Google single sign-in to register.

Taking a page out of Google’s platform, some other great features include being able to collaborate live on a document, leave comments, managing the public or private share settings, and being able to present the information in a fullscreen mode OR download and print it. I also like that your participants do not need a login to join the room. Finally, I like that Coggle.it simply saves your information as you go!

I used Coggle.it to create a map of the 4 C’s and the various edtech tools that are out there and where they fall in these 4 categories.  So what if …

  • Students made text-text, text-world, text-self connections during reading?
  • Students researched their lineage to create a family tree?
  • Teachers collaborated on a Coggle.it as part of evidence during a PLC?
  • Teachers documented evidence/examples as part of an ongoing SGO?
  • Students selected a topic of study to analyze during a reading and mapped the progression throughout the text?
  • Students created a mindmap as part of a social media campaign along with infographics, etc?
  • Students created a sociogram- a graphic organizer that maps relationships between people and can connections – both obvious and subtle? Perfect for a History or English class.

Hope this helps!

 

Tech Tip Tuesday- No Photoshop? No Problem- Try Sumopaint or Pixlr

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As we begin to shift to life without Adobe, I figured now is as good as ever to share two apps/programs that I think will help replace the loss of Photoshop, should you need that sort of editing program.

SumoPaint looks and feels almost exactly like Photoshop and requires no sign-up. This is a browser-based app that simply runs off flash in your web browser. Simply go to sumopaint.com. I have tested it myself (for what it’s worth) and found that it is stable and loads fairly well. There are obviously features found in PhotoShop that you won’t find here, but this is probably the closest to being a direct PhotoShop clone that I have found. Image layering effects are also there. I was able to crop myself out of a photo and drop me on a beach in Bora Bora…

The second tool is called Pixlr. Pixlr is an online photo editor that is another PhotoShop alternative. As with Sumopaint, Pixlr works in your browser. Just go to https://pixlr.com OR use the Google Chrome App found here. What’s nice is this program also offers some advanced image editing and effect tools and works decently well on your phone/tablet!

Combine the two and I think this will help ease the loss of PhotoShop.

Hope that helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Create Copies of Google Docs With a Simple Add-on

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One of the things to remember, when sharing Google Docs with others (especially students) is to only share documents as “view only”. This will save your document from being edited or deleted by the other user.

However- what if you teach multiple sections of the same class over the course of the day? Instead of making multiple copies of one document to send out to each of these classes, what if you could make a duplicate of any Google doc, sheet, slide, or drawing, for each of these classes?

There is an add-on by Alice Keeler called Copydocs that will do just that! Simply follow the link above to get this add-on and for directions on how to use it! Each class is named in the document title to help manage the correct documents for the correct class.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Wizer.me for Digital Worksheets

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Wizer.me is a free website where you can create digital “worksheets” built to engage and track student progress. This site makes great use of SAMR levels 1 and 2 (Substitution and Augmentation). As a teacher, you can embed a number of key features in your digital worksheet such as:

  • Video clips/ Youtube
  • Audio
  • Images
  • a variety of question types such as multiple choice, open-ended, fill in the blank, matching, sorting, etc.

Another added feature is that you can embed various other tools within Wizer.me such as Quizlet, Thinglink, Google Maps/Slides/Docs/Sheets, and a plethora of others just by using the embed code as you would with Schoology.

Interested in Wizer.me? Just head over to www.wizer.me  and select signup. Then use the Google Single Sign-in.  Once in, you can begin creating your “worksheet” from a variety of templates and themes/colors. Click to insert question types or tasks (found at the bottom). Once you are finished you can use the 1-click feature to share your assignment with students or post to Schoology (or embed within a material). You can even have Wizer.me auto-grade for you or you can check the responses individually.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Schoology Enhancements on the Horizon

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Schoology has recently announced two BIG updates that they plan to roll out at the beginning of the next school year. The first is an enhanced Google Drive integration feature that will offer many useful features within Schoology. Teachers will have the ability to “make a copy” of various Google Docs for each student in their class (similar to what Google Classroom already offers) with one click so that students do NOT have to make a copy of your document on their end. There will also be an “auto-submit” button for a cleaner and easier way for students to submit Google Doc assignments to their teachers. Check out the video below for the update:

This is a welcome feature as there is less reason for students to leave Schoology and more opportunity for the teacher to manage the classroom. With better Google Drive integration, teachers can easily embed and attach Google Docs/files to their assignments, as well as a better comment/edit system. Teachers will now be able to edit and comment on student work as they would in a Google Doc. Any notes made in Schoology will also show up on the Google end! Even rubrics will now be available right from within the Google Doc assignment for easy grading! Teachers will also be able to monitor student writing and activity in real-time from within Schoology.

The second Schoology update and enhancement will be on the quiz/test end, with more interactive question types. Teachers will now have the opportunity to create even more questions such as Label Image, Highlight Image and Hotspot, Highlight Text, Charting, Math Short Answer, Number Line, Math Formula, Math Variable, Opinion Scale Likert, and more. These new question types should help students better prepare for online assessments and the future of test-taking online.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Draftback

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There is a pretty cool Google Chrome extension called Draftback.  One you install it, it will automatically attach itself to your Google Docs in the top right corner of the window. When you open it on a Google Doc that has been typed in or shared with you, it will document the number of revisions that have taken place on that document.

But here is where it gets fancy- When you click on the Draftback button in the Google Docs window, it will begin auto rendering every revision that has taken place on that Google Doc. Once it is finished, click on the view button. Draftback will begin replaying every keystroke that has been typed in the document. This makes for a really great tool to help gauge student authenticity when writing and submitting work, as well as getting a glimpse into HOW the students compose their written assignments.

However, I could see this being used in other ways as well. So what if…

  • You and your student watch the revisions as they occur and note the errors as they are happening in real-time, on a collaborative document together.
  • You could show and explain to parents exactly HOW their child is doing with writing or exactly HOW many revisions they have made (if any).
  • You show your own writing to the class and discuss the corrections and edits you have made while writing and WHY.
  • You had your students conduct a Draftback on their own written work and document/track the revisions/errors/confusions.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Print Friendly

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If you’re like me, there always comes a time when you want to print something from the web and the version you print, just isn’t what you expected. You get more pages than you expected. The layout is off. You printed an image of a youtube video along with the comments. Luckily, there is an easy fix.

There is a Google Chrome extension called Print Friendly and PDF. All you have to do is add the Chrome extension to your browser, by going to the link above. Next, after finding the website or article from the web that you would like to print, simply click on the extension (green printer icon). The program will load the web page/article that you were on in a more “printer friendly” version. From here you can remove ads, remove navigation, and anything else that is unwanted just by clicking on the things in the document viewer. You could also remove entire paragraphs. This is perfect for those long articles that students may not need to read in their entirety. Another bonus? You can increase font size, convert the web page/ article to PDF, and or share it out via email.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Videonot.es

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Videonot.es is a great tool that will help you AND your students when using video instruction inside and outside of the classroom. Simply, Videonot.es affords students the opportunity to watch a video in one-half of the screen and take notes in a simple text box in the other half of the screen. What is really cool about this program is that as students take notes while the video is playing, Videonot.es synchronizes their notes with the video, timestamping each individual note with a link. For example…

If student A is watching a Youtube video about The Valley of Ashes (from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby) and notes something important at 1:40 of the video- Videonot.es will “timestamp” the note they are creating with the time of the video. If they click on the note they created, it will play that section of the video and highlight their note. Even cooler- Videonot.es syncs with Google Drive. Students can simply go to Videonot.es (that’s the URL) and select “connect to Google Drive”, and it will create a Videonot.es folder in their Drive. They paste the video into the URL search bar at the top and Videonot.es will find the video and load it up. Then they get to work. Once finished, students can save the notes they took (it automatically saves to their drive folder) and then share it out as well (Videonot.es follows the same sharing procedures as Google ).

There is also a Videonot.es app found here. Install this, and you and your students will be able to create/use Videonot.es from directly in their Google Drive. From Drive click “new’ –> “more” –> then find Videonot.es in the list.

This tool is another great way to track student work on flipped videos/lessons. And, as much as I like it for students, it’s useful from the teacher side when previewing a video you plan to show to the students and take your own notes.