Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Set and Track Goals in Google Calendar

The Google Calendar app on your iPhone or Android phone had a great new feature added to it this week. Google Calendar now helps you set and track goals. Now when you tap the "add item" icon in Google Calendar you will see an option to set a goal. When you select "goal" you will be asked a few questions about when and how often you want to work toward your goal. After answering those questions Google Calendar will identify and set times in your calendar to work on those goals.

Goals in Google Calendar will be rescheduled if you schedule another event in direct conflict with your goal. For example, if you schedule a parent-teacher conference at the same time as your exercise goal, the exercise goal will be overridden in your calendar for that day. You can also defer your goals in your Google Calendar. Defer too often and Google Calendar will reschedule your goals for a better time.

Applications for Education
Setting Goals in Google Calendar could be a good way for students to set aside time for themselves for things like "reading for 30 minutes a day" or "reviewing SAT vocabulary words."

Teachers seeking to restore a little work/ life balance may find the Goals feature of Google Calendar to be a good way to remind themselves to take time to exercise, read for pleasure, or play with the dog.

People looking to find time to write a blog could find Goals in Google Calendar to be a good way to set aside time for writing.

Goals in Google Calendar will be rolling out over the next few days. Make sure you update the app to see the new Goals option. 

How to Add Accessibility Options to Google Chrome

I was setting up a new Chromebook today with a brand new Google Account. One of the things that I did on that Chromebook was enable some accessibility options (more on Chromebook accessibility in a future post). The Chrome web browser supports a handful of accessibility options.

To enable accessibility options in the Chrome web browser visit the Chrome Web Store list of accessibility extensions. While signed into your Google Account select "Add to Chrome" listed next to any of the extensions.

In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of how to enable accessibility options in the Chrome web browser.

Join me at the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp to learn more about using Chrome, Chromebooks, and Google Apps in your classroom.

How to Change Your Google Profile Image & Why You Should

When your school issues you a new Google Apps for Education account your profile picture will just be a simple letter icon featuring your first initial. Many people leave it that way only because they don't know how easy it is to change it. In the video below I demonstrate how to change your Google profile image.

Applications for Education
Changing your Google Apps profile image can help with name recognition so that parents begin to put a face with a name as soon as they start receiving emails from you. They won't have to wait until the first parent-teacher conference or open house night to make the association between your face and name.

If you have more than one teacher in your district with the same name or similar name (at one point there were three Mr. Burns and a Mr. Byrne in my district) students seeing an email with your profile picture can visually confirm that they are emailing the correct person.

Learn lots of tips like this one and get in-depth Google Apps training in my online course Getting Going With GAFE

A Short Overview of Workflow in Google Classroom

This week I wrapped up a series of workshops that I facilitated for a local school district that is transitioning to Google Apps for Education. To synthesize how everything in Google Apps for Education, particularly Google Classroom, can work together I created a short workflow list. The Google Classroom workflow list has three sections covering the workflows for homework/ long-term assignments, polls and quizzes, and posting announcements. Grab the Google Docs version of this workflow and you can print it has a handy reference guide.

Workflow for homework/ long-term assignments:
1. Create your assignment descriptor/ template in Google Docs or Slides.

2. Post assignment in Google Classroom.

3. Check “done/ not done” status of assignments in your Classroom stream.

4. Review completed assignments. Add comments to students’ work in Google Docs or Slides (if that is how they completed assignment).

5. If you’re using the Google Classroom gradebook, enter grades.

Workflow for polls/ quizzes:
1. To create a poll that will not be graded, select “create question” then write your question. You can create short answer or multiple choice questions.

1. To create a quiz that will be graded, first create your quiz in Google Forms. Directions for creating quizzes in Google Forms are available in this video playlist

2. Post your Google Form as an announcement in Google Classroom.

3. To grade the responses to your quiz, use the Flubaroo Add-on for Google Sheets. Directions in this video

Workflow for distributing announcements/ assignment reminders:
1. Post announcement/ assignment in Google Classroom for students to see. Students who have the Google Classroom mobile app installed will receive a push notification (provided they have notifications enabled).

2. To share the announcement/ assignment reminder with parents you will need to email or text message them directly. To send email reminders in bulk use the “Add reminders” Add-on for Google Sheets
Directions available here

Try Remind to send text message reminders
Remind tutorials

Topics like this one and many others are covered in-depth during the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp and in my online course Getting Going With GAFE.

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