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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Running Android Apps on Your Chromebook

Chromebooks and the Chrome OS are constantly improving and offering more features to more students and teachers. An example of this is found when you consider that earlier this summer Google started supporting the use of some Android apps on some Chromebooks. Initially, the list of supported Chromebooks was small. That list has steadily grown over the last few weeks. You can see the list on the Chromium Projects website. Likewise, the list of Android apps that can be used on a Chromebook as steadily expanded. That list can be seen on this Chrome Web Store page (note, the page only displays the apps if you are viewing it on a Chromebook).

Jim Mendenhall has created a great webpage for comparing the features of various Chromebooks to help you find the best one for you and your students. Jim also recently published a video about how to use Android apps on Chromebooks. That video is embedded below.

Google Apps Terminology - A Short Explanation of Common Terms

Earlier this week I received an email from someone who was looking for clarification on the differences between Google Apps for Education, Google Drive, and Google Docs. That request for clarification isn't uncommon. Here's how I typically try to explain the differences between Google Apps for Education, Google Drive,  and Google Docs.

Google Apps for Education:
Google Apps for Education (commonly referred to as GAFE) is a free service that Google provides to schools. Within Google Apps for Education students, teachers, administrators, and support staff can use Google Classroom, Google Drive, Google Sites, Google Calendar, Gmail, and many other Google products. Google Classroom is only available to GAFE users. It provides a mechanism for teachers to distribute to and collect assignments from students. GAFE operates through a school/ school district's registered domain which means that user account names are typically structured as "username@yourawesomeschool.org" instead of "username@gmail.com." A domain administrator can set permissions on each account within a GAFE domain.

Google Drive:
Google Drive is a cloud storage solution offered by Google. It is available to anyone who has a Google Account of any type. Within Google Drive you can store any kind of file. Through Google Drive you have access to Google Documents, Google Slides, Google Sheets, Google Drawings, and Google Forms. Think of Google Drive as a garage in which you can store things and in that garage you also have tools (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, Drawings) for creating new things.

Google Documents:
Google Documents is a free tool for creating and editing documents. It is designed to be an alternative to Word and other word processing programs. Google Docs can be used online or offline (provided that you use the Chrome web browser). You can share and collaborate on the creation and editing of documents with other Google Documents users.

Check out my playlist of tutorials on Google Apps, Google Drive, Google Documents, and other Google services.

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where I'm enjoying some coffee on my deck to start the day. This week I hosted the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp in Portland, Maine. 35 of use had a nice couple of days of learning from each other. Some people attended for the second and third time. I'm already starting to think about how to make next year's Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps better. Hopefully, you can join us next year.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Custom Word Clouds
2. ABCD Wordie Analyzes Text and Creates Vocabulary Lists
3. Word Tamer Helps Students Write Stories
4. A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs
5. A Compare & Contrast Essay Map for Young Students
6. A Tour of the Geology of U.S. National Parks
7. How to Track Changes to Google Sites

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
FrontRow offers adaptive online ELA and Math practice activities.  
Teach n Go is a comprehensive platform for teaching online courses.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
Buncee offers a great tool for creating visual stories.

Friday, July 22, 2016

A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs

OpenEd is a service that offers a huge catalog of standards-aligned lesson plans and other resources for teachers. Today, I received an email from OpenEd informing me of their new Google Docs Add-on called Lesson Plan Tool for Docs.

With Lesson Plan Tool for Docs enabled you can search for standards-aligned lesson plan resources within your Google Documents. To perform a search simply open the add-on then select a standard from the drop-down menu that appears on the right-hand side of your document. You can preview any of the resources that appear in the search by simply clicking on them and opening them in a new tab. When you find a resource that you like, you can click again to add it into your document.

Applications for Education
Lesson Plan Tool for Docs could be a handy Add-on to use when you're developing units of study for your classroom. You could share the document onto which you're adding resources so that your colleagues can help you create a unit of study.

Why the Metric System Matters - And How It Confounds Americans

Why the Metric System Matters is the title of the latest TED-Ed lesson. The lesson explains how measurement systems evolved through history including the historical event that hastened the adoption of the metric system throughout most of the world. The lesson also explains why the United States doesn't use the metric system.


As is noted in the video above, many Americans are not comfortable with the metric system despite the fact that it's the universal standard in mathematics and science. The Buzzfeed video embedded below captures the trouble that Americans have with the metric system.