Saturday, July 13, 2013

Google Apps for Education California Summit - Day 1

The Google Apps for Ed Summit is at Sequoia High School this year.  I signed up for and attended the Pre Conference Workshop on Google Scripts with Jay Atwood yesterday. It was AMAZING!  Jay had us start a website to organize all of the information from the class.  I am going to use that as a resource for me to be able to remember how to use all the scripts.  I also want it to be a guide for others who want to learn more about the different scripts and have a step by step tutorial to guide them.  It is a work in progress - I still want to add a bunch of steps and screencasts.  I just need to find the time.  But I should have it done before the school year begins.  :)

Today I attended a bunch of workshops and will share some of the key ideas and tips/tools I learned about.  I will also share a little bit about how I might use these tools in my classes.

Dan Russell Keynote:  Mindtools:  What does it mean to be literate now?
  • Google Image Search
    • go to and drag an image into the search bar. Related images will appear.  I tried this at home and didn't get the perfect results that were shown in the keynote, but it was a cool tool.  (I had a picture of a chipmunk from the Sierras, and it showed pictures of spiders, lizards, and fabric.)


  • Command F (or Control F)
    • This is a tool that I have used many times to find things in documents, websites, etc.  
    • I did not realize that 90.5% of US Internet users and 51.1% of teachers do not know how to do this.  (Dan Russell)
    • I need to be sure to teach this to my students.
  • Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
    • This is a hoax website, but would be a great tool to teach students how to analyze websites and media when looking for sources for projects and research.

  • Moonshot Thinking Video by Google
    • show at beginning of school year to students
    • this video goes over important themes of perseverance  risk taking, and persistence
  • Celebrate creativity:  applause after students share thoughts, projects, etc.
  • How to ask questions:  Ask open ended questions so there is no one wrong answer.
  • Assignments Matter:
    • - instructions on how to download creative commons w/ citation info in file name.
    • when assigning students a project (ex:  video project), show them examples and have them analyze them.  This will help them know how to create a good project.
      • what are strengths of videos?
      • what are weakness of videos?
      • how would you approach that video differently?
      • how would we validate the information presented?
    • audience - not just teacher.  Students think about who is going to see it.  They will make something good for their peers, but good enough for their teacher.
    • Implementation:
      • script - shows real learning is going on
      • audience
      • posters - for students who don't want to make a video, (or parent complains they don't have tech at home) make a poster to present to the class.  (No one chooses poster)
      • partners
      • time limits (video can be no longer than…)
      • If a student comes to you and said their technology failed and I can't turn in, say "oh, that's too bad… where's your poster?  where's your script?".  
    • Questions that Matter:
      • Students don't always have an adult that they can ask important questions to.  Give them the forum to do so.
      • Once a semester, pass out index cards for a Q&A.  
      • Tell students to write any question you want about anything…school, college, career, politics, life etc.  
      • Tell them "I can't promise a good answer, but I'll try."  
      • Don't put names on cards.
      • tinyurl./questionsthatmatter

Mark Wagner:  Google Search for Educators:  Books, Scholar, News, Blogsearch, Alerts & More
  • Google's Mission:   Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.  
  • Search Tips: 
    • site or domain - ex:  search a certain blog for your topic, search district website
      • "21st Century Skills"
      • when searching for atomic bomb hiroshima - you get a websites with mostly a western perspective, so search for websites in Japan
        • "atomic bomb hiroshima"
        • ac = academic - all other countries don't use .edu, they use .ac
        • internet country codes - do a search
    • search for a type of document
      • causes "American Civil War" filtetype:ppt 
      • some teachers are hesitant about showing students other presentations - they may just steal another students work.  So show them how to cite sources, creative commons, and how to give a good presentation.
    • search for usage rights - filter by license  - in advanced search
    • define:word
    • reading level - in advanced search
      • you can differentiate readings that you give to students.
  • Google Books
    • you can search google books.  There are huge number of books available for you to look and search through.  If you are logged in to your google account, you can keep all of your books that you are using for research on your shelves.  Create a shelf for your project.  You can share shelves too.  
    • search each book with and use preview to see where search term appears.  You can come back to this over and over again.
      • type in your search:  Bald Eagle
      • hover over to the right of more, and "search tools" will show up.  Click on that, and then preview available.  These are the books that you can search and see the entire contents when you do the search.
      • Search the preview: Nestlings and you will now see all instances with that term in the Bald Eagle book.

  • Google Scholar
    • allows you to search scholarly papers.
    • Once you find a paper you like, you can go back in time to find related articles by looking at the paper's references.  
    • Can go forward in time too!  You can find more recent papers based on the original work.  (See new articles/documents that have been written since then).
    • You can cite the source as well.  Click on Cite under the source and it will give you the citations in MLA, APA, Chicago.
    • You can limit your searches to what people are writing in blogs.
    • type in search term, results types you are looking for, how often you want alerts, and you will get any new updates in your email inbox.
  • Search by voice using chrome browser

Holly Clark:  Collaboration 3.0 20 Innovative Ways to Globalize Your Classroom

In this workshop different ideas about how to collaborate with other classrooms across the world were discussed.  All of the examples were elementary examples, but I got a few ideas on how I could modify this for my high school students.

First, we discussed that group work is NOT collaboration.  

Four Characteristics of Collaboration
  • shared knowledge among teachers and students
  • shared authority among teachers and students
  • teachers as coaches
  • heterogeneous groups of students
The first ideas that I think I could make work in my high school class is Mystery Skype/Hangouts.  Elementary students play a 20 question type of game to find out where the other class is located.  I think that this would be fun to do with my AVID students, but with a career speaker.  Students would ask questions to try to find out what career they have.  After they figure that out, they could have a discussion about the job, the education requirements, etc.  

I started having my students blog this past year as part of their final project.  I want to expand it to the whole year.  Blogs allow collaboration when students can comment on each other's posts.  But the key is to write a captivating title so others want to read the blog.  Holly stressed that students need to create good titles so people around the world who find it will want to read it.  I really believe that when students have a big audience (not just the teacher) they do better work.  My students loved seeing others around the world read their blog.  

Demo Slam

A lot of great tools where shared.  I have used some of the tools already.  Many of the vendors shared their projects.  But here are some of my favorites that were new to me.
  • Rushton Hurley:   Chrome extension -  YouTube Options - it takes away all the distractions, like comments, other videos, etc.  This would be great for students or when showing videos to the whole class.
  • Lisa Nowakowski:  Chrome Extention - Webpage Screenshot - it takes screenshots (of the entire webpage) and allows you to edit text on websites.  It would be fun to have students summarize writing in articles they find on the web or write things using the vocabulary terms we are learning in class.
  • Kevin Brookhauser: -  I learned about this a few days ago at CUE Rockstar, but I love this.  I can't wait to share it with the English teachers at my school.  This website has a bunch of instructional grammar videos.  The videos are interactive and quiz students to see if they really understand the grammar concept.
Other Info I Learned 
  • teachparentstech is a cool website where you can send emails with video tutorials on a wide variety of technology tools.  It is really creative.  Check it out.

It was a long day but I am excited to learn more tomorrow!


  1. You are amazing for posting such awesome notes as these after such a long conference day!

    1. Thanks Jen. I'm not writing one tonight. It'll come soon. I hope you had a good time at the conference and learned a lot. We should do another district brewcue again. :)