One of my favorite aspects of conducting training sessions is that I typically learn so much for the participants in my sessions. On a recent training trip I learned from a participant about an extension in Chrome titled Event Merge for Google Calendar. This extension is designed for users that either manage, or have access to, several different calendars within their organization. The extension merges duplicates events into one event with the color of each respective calendar represented on the event. This is excellent for educators because often times there is the rabbit hole of Google Calendars that exist and can become hard to manage. Try it out and cut down on the clutter that accumulates in your calendar.
The new Google Sites was much anticipated and has provided a much needed face lift to the previously outdated product. While there are still limitations and some functions that have not quite made the transfer, once I was able to fully immersed myself in the new Sites I found myself embracing the new functionalities. With that in mind, I made a short demo to go over some of the basic functionalities of the recent upgrade. I would love to hear your feedback if you have had experience and/or successes with the new Sites.
There are no shortage of add-ons when it comes to various applications in Google Drive, but there are several add-ons that are my standard “go-tos” for getting work done. I wanted to share 3 of those applications that tend to reoccur as I lead and attend training sessions on a regular basis.
In my opinion, this is the granddaddy of them all. This is the one add-on that I by far use the most. It proves useful for me because it allows me to generate reports via a mail merge that is pulled from a spreadsheet. This can be used in any situation in which you wish to generate an automated report based on a response sheet. For me the most powerful use of this add-on is through the use of integration with our discipline referral system. It allows me to receive automatic referral reports on the fly and allows my teachers to easily fill out an outline form without the hassle of having to keep up with paper referrals or carbon copies. This add-on is also great for generating canned responses or automated replies to any designed email address.
I discovered Choice Eliminator last year but did not immediately find an application for it as an administrator. It wasn’t until this past year that I was saddled with the task of having to create a system for scheduling our parent teacher conferences that I found it’s great use. This add-on is great if you are making any time of appointment and will eliminate time slots from the choice menu as they are selected. This add-on is available in Forms and works with sheets to complete this task. A great companion add-on is the RowCall add-on in Sheets. This add-on is a great companion because it helps you separate out responses onto their own sheet based on the response, e.i. teacher’s name so that they could go to a tab with only their appointment slots. One word of advice I would offer though is to NOT use this with a large group. It is best if you keep it to a smaller group and runs more efficiently.
One of the more recent add-ons that I have discovered is Attendance Sorter. This add-on allows you to keep a running log for attendance that uses conditional formatting to help display attendance in a Sheet. I have found that an useful application of this add-on is keeping track of professional development attendance. Once all names of possible attendees is loaded into a sheet, actual attendance could be done during the PD session by having participants sign-in with a Form and the attendance sorter does the rest. This could also be used for any type of volunteer or other meetings that might be held.
This year we have taken a new approach to the way that we incorporate technology into our classroom instruction. Our school has utilized programs such as Reflex Math, Lexia, and Raz-Kids; this year we have added a couple more programs to that growing list. While we have always had quite a list of computer programs to help with math and literacy but never a designated time for all students to use these programs. This year we have added time to everyday for students to use these programs under their teachers direction. With 30 minutes everyday devoted to digital learning students now work on assignments given by their classroom teacher in order to front load them or reinforce the lessons that are being taught that day.
This provides a lot of advantages to our classroom teachers and students. The content can now be differentiated based on the students needs and changes the way the way teachers spend their classroom time.