Friday, August 29, 2014

Creating a Safe and Secure Password

Lock by Bal Soora
Over the past few weeks I have worked with lots of teachers and one of the things that frustrates them the most is having to remember lots of different passwords. Until about a year ago I had three or four different passwords that I used for everything. That all changed when I read an article that had tips for creating safe, secure, and unique passwords for every site that I access on the web. That is A LOT of passwords to remember!

Fear no more. I'm going to share some tips to help you configure a different password while preserving your sanity. No need to ever write down a password ever again!

First you need to think of some information that is relevant to you. Here are some fictitious examples:

  • Childrens names: Sheldon, Penny, Leonard
  • Birth year: 1975  Year Married: 1998
  • Birth location: San Antonio, Texas
  • First phone number: 629-6264
  • Ideal vacation destination: Italy (It)
Begin by selecting some pieces of this information to create the base for your password. Here are some ideas: 
  • shpele6264! - Used first 2 letters of each name with digits from phone number
  • 1975tex! - Birth year combined with birth state
  • 6264SAT!- Part of phone number combined with airport code for San Antonio
You get the idea. It doesn't matter what you select as long as it is relevant to YOU! Avoid stringing together letters that make up words that are longer than three letters. Some services will not allow you to use passwords that contain words that are 4 letters or longer. You can always substitute characters for letters and numbers. For example: loves would be !ove$. Play it safe and include a special character. Some services require it while others do not. It is easier to use it even if it is not needed then to try to recall multiple passwords. 

Whatever combination you choose will be used with each password you create. To customize it for each different account simply combine it with the first three letters of the service. To make it even safer and compliant with the password requirements make sure at least one letter is capitalized. 

Here is what this could look like for several services using shpele6264 as the base: 
  • Facebook: Facshpele6264! 
  • Twitter: Twishpele6264!
  • Diigo: Diishpele6264!
If you use this method it is absolutely imperative that you do not ever share your password with anyone or leave it written down on a scrap of paper in your desk. If someone figures has your password to one site then they will be able to get into any of your accounts. The reason you create one that is relevant to you is so you do not have to write it down ever again! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why Have a Classroom Site

The first couple of years that I used computers with my students it was a mess. Sharing resources and collecting digital assignments was painful to say the least. I didn't realize how much of a train wreck it was until I learned there were different tools out there they would help me get organized. Wikis and learning how to create hyperlinks transformed how I managed my classroom and organized my workflow.
Wikis are just a basic websites that many (or as few as one) people can edit. (Although only one person can edit any given page at once.)  There are different brands of wikis, but in our district we will be using Google Sites. We are going with Sites because we are a Google Apps for Education district. Everything that is created using the suite of Google Apps is easily uploaded into Sites. Eventually Gering students will be using Sites to create their digital ePortfolio so it is incredibly important that all teachers are well-versed in how to edit them.
The look and feel of each teacher site in Gering will be similar as long as the templates for the elementary and the junior high and high school are used. The consistent colors and layout will not only help us as we begin to establish our brand, it will help students as they navigate between their different classes. As you begin to work on your site you will realize that some of the pages will remain static. Pages like your contact page, schedule, and syllabus might only need to be updates once during the year. Other pages such as the links, resources and projects might need daily attention. I have some tips to share for how to do this in a matter of seconds so please schedule some time with me in the coming weeks.
By creating hyperlinks to digital resources and incorporating Google Docs in the mix you will be able to manage information in ways that you might never have imagined possible. It will take some time to learn the ins and outs of how to use Sites, but it will not take long to realize how incredibly important it is to maintain one for your class. Let me help you set this up soon so you aren’t stuck later on. Think of your Site as the communication hub for your classroom. Nearly everything you need to share with students and their parents can be shared on your classroom Site.
Use the Site to:
  • share your class calendar
  • maintain a running list of basic lesson plans
  • house video tutorials
  • form to collect information from parents who want to help with class activities/parties
  • post the class supply list
  • link to your syllabus, school handbook, other important documents,
  • provide a list of acceptable uses of time once students are finished with their work
  • share apps that students (and parents) can download that are related to your subject
  • feature a “student of the week”
  • share pictures or videos of students working on projects in your class (parents love this!)
  • list of websites that students can go to for extra help
  • share a list of student blogs or portfolios
These are just a few ways to use a classroom webpage. What are some other ways?

Here is a tutorial that will walk you through how to set up a Site using a template from the Gering Schools template gallery.

Let's Chat

With new devices in the classroom come new possibilities, but sometimes it is difficult to figure out where to begin. One of the easiest ways to integrate technology into a classroom is to have to students use it to make sure their voice is heard. One of the ways we can accomplish this is by setting up a backchannel in our classroom. While this might sound terrifying and something that the NSA might be concerned about, a backchannel is actually quite simple. In fact, backchannels have been around forever. Remember when we were in school and we passed notes back and forth during class? Or when you are in a staff meeting and you quietly exchange remarks in hushed tones? That is a backchannel. Basically, it is a form of communication that is taking place behind the scenes while something else is happening. While these behind the scenes discussions are sometimes off topic, many times they are centered around the subject at hand.

Imagine you have a classroom of 30 sophomores and you are going to show a short video that pertains to a topic or concept that you are teaching. In a traditional setting you have a couple of options. You could show a few minutes of the video then stop to discuss it then start, stop, and discuss until the end of it. You could show the entire video then ask your students to write a reflection. In the first scenario where you discuss the video while you are watching it there are sure to be students who are left out of the discussion while others might dominate it. In a class of 30 there might only be 10 or so that really get to fully participate. If you had all students write an independent reflection they will all have the chance to participate, but they will miss out on the value of participating in a discussion with their peers.

Setting up a backchannel will solve BOTH of these problems. In a backchannel you would act as the moderator of a chat that involves all of  your students. In my class I would show a video and I would ask questions throughout the video in the chat. These were not simply knowledge level questions, but ones that required my students to really think about their answer. (I would pause the video when necessary.) All of my students had the chance to fully participate. They were encouraged to ask questions and include their remarks in the chat. After students became comfortable working in the backchannel they would answer the questions their peers posted. Yes, there were times my students included some minor inappropriate comments, but they would have done that even without the chat. The benefits were huge and it was one of the things my students liked doing the most. You can use a backchannel anytime you want to have a class discussion or when you want to break the class into groups and give them different topics to discuss. There are lots of creative ways to use backchannels.

There are any number of ways to set up a backchannel. My favorite service to use is called Chatzy. I like this one because you can direct students to pick a different color for their name which makes it easy to see who is participating and who is not. Chatzy also allows you to archive the chat and send it to yourself so you can review it later. The only drawback is that Chatzy costs $24 a year or $3.00 per month if you need space for over 10 users. It is well worth it to give it a try and see how you like it in comparison to other services.

Other services: 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Best of the Web - August 26, 2014

This week has been crazy! Our amazing Language Arts teachers have been busy getting students logged into Chromebooks. They have also been testing out Google Classroom which has been a hit so far! Even with all of the insanity I have kept my eye out for some great resources to share with you.

  • My great friend Richard Byrne is the author of FreeTech4Teachers. This week there was a guest post written by Beth Holland about how to use Newsela with Google Docs to provide differentiated and collaborative reading experience. Beth walks you through the entire process which works for elementary, middle, and high school students.
  • I came across a post on the Twitterverse called Why We Need to Teach Kids to Code. The author argues that coding is a basic literacy issue and that all students must learn how to code.
  • There are already a handful of teachers using Google Classroom at Gering High School. We are learning as we go! For people who are more comfortable starting out with some ideas in there hands I wanted to share these tips for getting started with Classroom.
  • Skype has been around for a long time and educators around the world have used it to make their classrooms more exciting and relevant.  As I was browsing the Twitter stream a few days ago a post that had lots of ideas about how to use Skype in the classroom caught my attention. This post has so many wonderful ideas for how to use Skype with students of all ages. If you are looking for a unique and fun way to incorporate technology into your classroom I highly recommend figuring out a way to use Skype.
  • More and more of our students are using Google Drive. This post covers nine things that all students should be able to do on Drive. This means teachers should probably know how to do these things, too! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Editing a Google Site

It's almost impossible to teach in 2014 without having some sort of digital space to supplement your classroom. Having a place on the web where we can store and share digital resources is so incredibly valuable. So much class time can be saved when students don't have to spend it searching for items that you can easily share in a Google Site. A Site is Google's version of a wiki

Keep in mind that this is a very generic template. Feel free to delete pages that you don't need, change the names of pages, and add additional pages. This is your site so please change it so that it works for you! All we ask is that you don't change the theme so that all classroom sites across the district maintain a consistent color scheme which will help us develop our brand. 

Ideas for how to use a Google Site: 
  • Add a classroom or school calendar to help students (and yourself!) keep on track. Parents appreciate seeing school activities in a calendar. 
  • Share pictures or videos of your students as they work on activities. Think of this as a sort of digital newsletter. (Parents like to see what is happening in class!) 
  • Share your lesson plans. Create them on a doc or presentation and upload them to a page on the Site. 
  • Know in advance that you will be gone? Create a screencast that allows you to virtually teach your class. Upload it to YouTube and embed it on the Site. Google helps you be in two places at once! 
  • Have students create a Google Site and link them back to your classroom Site you can easily access them. You could do this for student blogs as well. 
  • Have a list of acceptable activities that students can complete when they finish their assignments. 
  • Showing a video in class? Embed the video in a Google Form where you also include questions. Embed the Form in your Site so students who are absent have easy access to it. 
The only limit to what you can do with a Site is your own imagination. Here are TONS of ideas for how to use Sites (wikis) in your classroom. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Making a Template Using Google Docs

You will probably invest quite a bit of time creating documents that you will might need to use on a number of different occasions. For example, you might have a seating chart or lesson plan guide that you need to use several times. The easiest way to do this is to create the document in Drive. You could keep this document for your own use or you could share it with other teachers. Ideally, when you create a template that you believe others in the district might find useful you share it in our Google+ community.

The following tutorial will take you through the process of setting up a document, how to share it, and a suggestion for how to save it in Drive.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Best of the Web - August 18, 2014

I've been monitoring the Twitterverse and I have come across some really great things that I think you will find useful.

  • Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. She shares fantastic resources that focus on Google Apps. If you only follow a few people on Twitter please make sure she is one of them. Here is a post she wrote about Converting a PowerPoint attachment to Google Slides.
  • @edudemic shared Jennifer Carey's (@TeacherJenCarey) post on Five Unusual Ways to Use Google Presentation. I like this list because it is ideas for ways students can use Google Docs beyond simply using it as a presentation tool.
  • Holly Clark (@hollyclarkedu) shared this presentation called 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web. This is a little geeky, but if you need to brush up on the technical things of how things on the web work then this will be very interesting to you. It is written in language that non-techies will appreciate and understand.
  • Heather Callihan (@hcallihan) is a technology integration specialist in central Nebraska. She has created some great Chromebook resources. If you are interested in learning more about Chromebook you will want to check out her stuff!
  • Jay Dostal (@jaydostal) Shared Molly Schroeder's post with tips that will help anyone who is using Chromebooks. Back to School with Chromebooks is packed with reminders and a refresher on vocabulary related to Chromebooks. She also included a nice list of tools that are used for finding content,  collaborating, and creating.  


Gering Staff:
I have decided to include a link to my work calendar on here so that you can see when I'm available to work with you. You do not need to wait until I'm scheduled to be at your school to request assistance. I am available each day to help you with anything and everything related to technology integration.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Elementary Math Apps

Recently a colleague asked me to help her find some math apps. I was able to put together this list of apps that are for a variety of devices. I hope you find it useful as well!

Force Chrome Update

The other day I went to add a screencasting app and I received a message that I did not have a version of Chrome that was compatible. Even though Chrome is constantly updating if you don't close your browser for a long time you might have to manually trigger an update. Hat tip to Zak Griffith for showing me how to do this.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Meet Nick Provenzano

Nick Provenzano is @thenerdyteacher on Twitter

Where are you from and what do you do?
High School English teacher at Grosse Pointe South HS in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI

How are you connected to Beth?
I met Beth 5 years ago at ISTE in Denver after connecting on Twitter.

How did you get involved in educational technology?
I’ve always looked for different ways to integrate tech into the classroom. It started with the TV, then a mounted projector with a document camera, IWB, and now tablets for my students. I’m an early adopter and I love to see what will and will not work in the classroom.

How has being a networked educator impacted your life?
Being a CE has allowed me access to some of the smartest people I know and some of the best friends I have ever had. I never feel like I will not be able to find the answer to a question I might have. I’m surrounded by excellent educators who are doing amazing things. They model excellence every day.

What is some advice you can give to teachers about how to start finding resources and building their own PLN.
Start small and let your PLN grow organically. Don’t rush to follow hundreds of people. Just follow those you find interesting and let it develop naturally from there. Building a PLN is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, but it pays off in the end.

What is a tool that has captured your attention at the moment? What do you like about this tool?
Remind has been big for me because it allows me to communicate to students and parents quickly and easily without the need for their personal information. It has been very helpful this year and I look forward to using the new feature that allows me to attach documents.

What is one piece of advice that you can give to educators who are just getting started with integrating technology into their classrooms?
Take it one tool at a time. Choose one tool and explore it on your own before you try to bring it to the classroom. Become a pro at the tool and then decide if it is worth keeping or do you need something else. Your collection of tech tools will grow with each year with this approach.

What are some things you hope to accomplish professionally in the next year or two?

I need to finish my book on Cloud Computing this year and I hope to connect with even more awesome people through social media.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Let's Go for a Drive

I worked with a few teachers yesterday and I mentioned the new Google Drive. They wanted to know more about it so I created this short overview of the new Drive. I hope this helps you find your way around. Sometimes when something works well I get aggravated when big changes are made. The old Drive worked just fine, but the new Drive is AWESOME! If you weren't terribly familiar with the old Drive then the new changes aren't going to mean much. However, if you are an experience user then you are certainly going to appreciate the new and improved features.

Best from the Web - Week of August 11, 2014

I have found some excellent resources this week! I think you will find them useful as well.
  • Karen McMillen (@mcteach) shared Excellent Gmail Tips for Teachers. This is a must read (and maybe print and keep near your computer!) for anyone who has ever lost an email. What many people don't realize is that there are specific ways that you should search. This post covers those ways.
  • Karen also shared Classroom Posters and Resources for Teaching Students Digital Citizenship. (Karen is a rockstar!) This is a great read for all teachers because we are all responsible for teaching digital citizenship.
  • Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1) created and shared a New Teacher page on his blog. If you have never visited Jerry's site you are missing out on some fantastic resources! There is a page for EVERYTHING related to education.
  • Sean Junkins (@sjunkins) shared 38 Ideas to use Google Drive in Class. This is a fantastic list of how to incorporate docs, slides, sheets, and forms into your routine. Don't feel like you have to do everything on this list. Pick a few things and run with it! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Creating a New Calendar and Embedding it in a Google Site

You can create different calendars using your Gmail account. If you are an elementary teacher I recommend creating a class calendar that you can share on your classroom website. If you are a secondary teachers then I recommend creating one for each prep so that students only see events for their class.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Google Chrome Basics

Google Chrome is an AWESOME browser. I love it because I am able to customize it by adding bookmarks, apps, and extensions. The best thing about Chrome is that my settings follow me from computer to computer. I can log on to the web from any computer in the world and when I open Chrome it will look exactly like it does on the computer I use everyday. I put together a very basic slideshow that will introduce you to some of what I believe are some of Chrome's best features.

This is by no means all Chrome can do. For a more detailed look at Chrome's features take a look at these tutorials from the Google for Education Learning Center.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Google Classroom

Stacy Behmer and Chad Kafka are both Google Certified Teachers and I was lucky enough to see both of them present at the Great Plains Google Summit back in July. They both believe it is better to share knowledge than hoard it so Stacy was more than happy to give me permission to share their presentation on Google Classroom.

One of the most daunting challenges to going paperless is figuring out how to get organized. If you don't have a solid system for creating, collecting, grading/commenting, and returning digital documents to your students then you are going to get overwhelmed very quickly. Until recently many teachers used scripts and add-ons to manage this, but it seemed like a lot of work to get started. Back in the spring Google announced a new product called Classroom which promised to make managing documents easier. Rumor has it that Classroom will be available to all teachers on Monday provided their district has it turned on.

From what I have been able to see so far I think that it looks like it is pretty easy to use. I like how it automatically puts assignments into folders then shows who has turned in assignments and who hasn't. You can open the docs and leave comments and you can comment when you return the assignment as well as leave comments that students will see when they open your class. You can post announcements, discussion prompts, news articles, or anything else you want to share.

One suggestion that Stacy made was that elementary teachers might want to set up one class that has all students then have each student set up as their own class to make it easier to assign different assignments to different students.

I will keep tinkering with it so I can help you out if you decide to use it. While there are other services such as Hapara (which is an AMAZING service!) that organize more apps than Google Classroom, this is a good alternative.

If you have suggestions on how you intend to use Classroom or if there are things you have figured out while you have been playing around with it please share them!

Keep in mind that Classroom is brand new! There will probably be lots of changes in it in the coming months and it might not always work as you expect. Be patient as Google works out the kinks.

Lisa Hadenfeldt's Reflection on the Great Plains Google Summit

A team of 8 of us from Gering Public Schools made the trek to Lincoln to attend the Great Plains Google Summit. Lisa took me up on my offer to share her reflection about her experience. 

As part of the Language Arts department who plans to integrate technology this year with Chromebooks, I took the journey to Lincoln this summer to attend the Great Plains Google Summit. One of the first things I learned was how little I knew. My first session had me asking such advanced questions as “How do I scroll down?” and “How do I right click?” Chromebooks are not difficult, just new to me.

The Summit provided me with great ideas on how to let the students direct the learning with technology when I ask for projects at the end of units. If I can have enough knowledge to give them the ideas, they can run with it. I’m pretty sure that they know more than I do at this point. We can learn from each other. I was immersed in techspeak so I feel more confident now in my terminology, and I may be able to teach and/or understand the language of technology better when bringing up new ideas.

Google Chrome seems like an amazing platform for learning. One last thing that I came away with is this. There is always more to learn. I will not panic but will take baby steps in this very cool opportunity to integrate technology. Beth Still, Kelly Tofflemire, and Zak Griffith will be great mentors in this journey. I’m glad I got to know them better!

Great Posts from Around the Web - August 6, 2014

Here are some great posts I have come across this week as I have been surfing the web. I think you will enjoy them as well. Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Meet Paula Naugle

@plnaugle on Twitter

PLN - Not Just My Initials

Ms. Naugle’s Classroom Blog

Where are you from and what do you do?
I teach fourth graders at a public school in the suburbs of New Orleans. and have done so for 30+ years. Last year I taught math, science, and social studies. This year I will probably be teaching an ELA block, a math block, and one social studies class. I am one of the moderators for #4thchat, #DENchat,  and #LAedchat, a DEN STAR and a member of the DEN Leadership Council for Louisiana. I am a Microsoft Innovative Educator, a PBWorks certified trainer, a Simple K12 Ambassador and presenter, and serve on the teacher advisory boards for Classroom 2.0 Live and TeachersFirst. In 2011 I earned my Masters in Educational Technology Leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University. My passions are social media,  technology integration, travel, and reading. Chocolate is my favorite food group.

How are you connected to Beth?
When I first joined Twitter back in February of 2009, Beth became my Twitter mentor. She saw me struggling to find the relevance of this social media tool, reached out, and offered to mentor me so I could get the most out of Twitter. I first got to meet Beth in Washington, D.C. at the NECC conference (National Educational Computing Conference now known as ISTE - International Society for Technology in Education) that summer. We have been meeting up and rooming together for every ISTE conference since then. Read about one of our adventures here.

How did you get involved in educational technology?
In 2004 I was given a model technology classroom which included one of the first interactive whiteboards (IWB) in my district and attended NECC in New Orleans. When I left that conference I knew I had much to learn about educational technology, but made it my goal to learn all that I could. I became a teacher trainer in my school to help others learn how to use their Promethean boards and other web based tools. I read many edtech leaders’ blogs and attended many webinars. Building a personal learning network became a goal of mine and I did so through Nings, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and other social media sites. Integrating technology into my daily lessons became my norm.  In 2009, I received $15,000 of technology hardware from my district and became part of the Model Technology Classroom Cohort in my district. From there I started presenting at technology conferences at the state, national, and international level both in person and virtually.

How has being a networked educator impacted your life?
Truly I was ready to retire back in 2009, but my PLN and technology integration reignited
my career. Each day I learn new things from my PLN and I love sharing with them. Being connected has enabled me to learn from educators all over the globe 24/7. If I have a question about a tool or need a suggestion for a project, I can send a tweet and I will receive an answer within a few minutes. Opportunities have come my way which I know would not have happened if I weren’t a connected educator. I have educational companies seeking my advice and input, I’ve been asked to write guest blog posts, I’ve been invited to present at conferences, I’ve been interviewed for podcasts and articles, and I was invited to represent Twitter-using educators at the Bammy Awards.

What is some advice you can give to teachers about how to start finding resources and building their own PLN.
Start building a PLN if you haven’t already. The best place, I believe, to do that is on Twitter. Learn how to follow a hashtag for your grade level, subject area, or your state edchat. Just “lurk” by following the stream of tweets and see what “gems” you can collect for a couple of weeks. Follow the list Beth Still has suggested for you and add others from the hashtags you follow who add to your knowledge base. Slowly start branching out to other social media sites such as Edmodo communities, Pinterest, Diigo, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ communities, etc.

  • What is a tool that has captured your attention at the moment? What do you like about this tool? (This might be a brand new tool or something that is older that you have just discovered---or rediscovered!)

A new site I learned about at the end of school year was Educanon. I joined the free site and used it twice with my students before school ended. I have been exploring and  playing with it over the summer and plan on using it in the fall. Educanon allows you to create interactive videos with assessment built right into the video. You can use pre-existing videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or Teacher Tube, or create your own. Your students can rewind and rewatch parts of the video as needed, and all but the open-ended questions are graded automatically for you. You can use the data generated within the site to differentiate lessons for those still struggling with concepts while letting others move on to new topics.

What is one piece of advice that you can give to educators who are just getting started with integrating technology into their classrooms?
Take one of your favorite lessons and tweak it by adding one piece of technology integration to it. To introduce your lesson have your students add background knowledge to a Padlet wall or create a mindmap on If you would normally have your students create a report at the end of a unit of study, why not let them create a Prezi, a Haiku Deck, or an iMovie to show their learning. Remember you don’t have to be an expert with the tools, your students will figure them out and will be able to teach you and each other how to best use them.

What are some things you hope to accomplish professionally in the next year or two?
I want to complete my Google Educator certification and attend a Google Teacher Academy. I want to publish a book or two. Right now I am currently writing my first book with two members of my PLN about connecting our students to collaborate with the world.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Best of the Web - August

Here are some of the tweets I came across this week that I thought you might enjoy.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Gmail: Basics and Beyond

I will be working with new teachers next week to help them get started with Gmail. This slideshow has a few tips that you might find useful even if you are an experienced Gmail user. If you have useful tips or tricks please share them in the comment section of this post.

Google Apps for Education (GAFE)

This is an exciting time to be a teacher, especially when you are a teacher in a district that utilizes Google Apps for Education! There are so many apps that help us get organized, communicate, and collaborate. Lyn Hilt,  friend and fellow instructional coach from Pennsylvania, created and shared a document called Ideas for Using Google Apps recently. This documents has nearly 130 ideas for ways to use a variety of Google Apps.

I hope that as we begin this new school year you will find your own creative and unique ways to incorporate Google Apps into your repertoire. Here are some of my favorite uses for Google Apps.

Google Forms (Note that information collected in a form typically is collected in a sheet.)
  • Have students fill out a "Getting to Know You" form. This allows you to collect lots of information about your students so you can begin getting to know them. 
  • Use a form to collect links to digital content that students create such as their blogs or Sites. This is so much easier and efficient than having them email it! 
Google Sheets
  • Keep track of books and other materials that students borrow. 
  • Keep a log of correspondence that you have with parents. This is an efficient way to keep all of this sort of documentation in one place. 
Google Calendar
  • Add your lesson plans to a calendar and embed the calendar on a class website. This way students and parents can keep track of what is happening in class. 
  • Create a resource calendar to streamline the reservation process for equipment and room reservations. This makes reserving things such as laptop carts, tablets, and computer labs pretty simple. 
Google Sites and Blogger
  • Create a web presence for your class using either Google Sites or Blogger. Here at Gering we have decided to use Sites for the actual classroom website, but it would be fabulous if each teacher maintained a blog as well! Blogs are a great alternative to (or supplement) to newsletters. 
Google Chat and Hangout 
  • Google chat is available when you open your Gmail. It is located on the left side by default, but there is a lab you can enable that will move it to the right side of the screen. Chats are a fast way to communicate with people. I will always have my chat on in case you need to get in touch with me ASAP. Chat is also a great way to communicate with students because it allows them to ask for help privately. 
Google Voice
  • Google Voice allows you to sign up (for free!) for a phone number that you can direct toward any phone that you wish. For example, I have my Google Voice number ring on my cell phone, but I could also have it ring on my office phone as well. The great thing about Google Voice is that you can give your number to parents and students without them knowing your cell number. In fact, you don't even need to associate your Google Voice number with a phone. You can place and accept calls and texts from your computer. Voicemails and transcribed and are sent to your email. 
  • Google Voice is used by some language teachers as a form of assessment. They have their students call their number and leave a message where they answer a prompt. Since all of these messages can be accessed easily at this makes it very convenient to listen to them. 
These are just a few of the ways Google Apps can be used in the classroom. What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate GAFE?