Thursday, February 7, 2013

To Geography and Beyond with Google Earth and Google Maps

Yesterday, I announced a new webinar series designed to help teachers learn how to use Google Drive in their classrooms. Today, I am announcing that I'm expanding my webinar offerings to include Google Earth and Google Maps.

To Geography and Beyond with Google Earth and Google Maps is a three week course is designed to teach teachers how to use Google Earth and Google Maps in their classrooms. The obvious uses of these tools are in geography lessons. In this course we’ll start with social studies and move into uses of Google Earth and Google Maps in language arts, science, and mathematics (elementary level) lessons. I'll be co-teaching this course with my good friend and long-time colleague Jim Wells. Jim and I taught social studies together for many years before he started working full-time for MLTI as a technology integration mentor. Jim has more than 20 years experience in the fields of GIS, digital mapping, and instruction.

You can register for the course here and learn more on my new site The course begins on March 11 at 7pm Eastern. The cost is $87 per student and includes access to recordings of all of the webinars as well as a Q&A forum between class meetings.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How Did You Do That So Quickly?

Image credit: Future Shape
A couple of weeks ago my friend Ken Shelton gave me a call and we ended up having one of those long conversations that ranged all over the place for an hour. Part of our conversation drifted to the importance of continuously trying new things. A question that I'm often asked and one that anyone who does tech PD often hears is, " how did you do that so quickly." A similar question is, "how do you figure this out so quickly?" The answer to both questions has the same root. I spend a lot of time trying new apps and websites. The more apps and resources that I try the more similarities I find between them which in turn allows me to figure out how they work relatively quickly.

I'm not telling you to go out and spend hours trying new apps every day. But make it a habit to try one or two new apps or websites every week. The benefit of doing this is that slowly but surely you will find it takes less time to figure out new apps and websites. You'll also be building a play book of resources that you can draw from when you're planning your lessons. As Ken said to me, "how do coaches figure out which plays go into their play books? They try lots of things in practice and use the ones that work best in each situation."

Would You Like Some Google Takeout?

One of the common concerns or question that I hear from educators (usually school administrators) about using Google services revolves around the question of "can I get my information out of Google?" The answer is yes. At the Google Takeout site you can create an offline archive of your data. To do so just visit Google Takeout and select the service(s) you want to archive.

The History of Timezones - A TED-Ed Lesson

Today, I am traveling to Phoenix, Arizona to work with some teachers there tomorrow and on Friday. The more I travel and the more I work with people outside of my home area the more I find myself asking, "what time is it there?" My friend Angela often asks me the same thing when we plan conference calls. Where did timezones come from? What is "standard time?" The answers to those questions and more can be found in the short TED-Ed lesson How Did Trains Standardize Timezones in the United States? Watch the video below.

Applications for Education
To extend the lesson take a look at some of these resources about daylight saving time and ask your students if they think that daylight saving time is still important today.

New Webinar Series - How To Use Google Drive in School

Back in December and January I offered a webinar series about using Google Drive in school. The webinars sold out quickly and not everyone who wanted to get into one was able to. Therefore, I'm offering it again in March.  How to Use Google Drive in School will meet on three Tuesday evenings in March.

Course Highlights 
*Creating and sharing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.
*Using Google Documents and Presentations for collaborative writing and reading exercises.
*Using Google Forms and Spreadsheets for collecting and analyzing data.
*Using Google Documents as a publishing platform.
*Managing the flow of files in your Google Drive.
Registration is limited to 25 students per course.

This course is designed for educators who: 
*Are new to using Google Drive/ Documents.
*Have previously used Google Drive/ Documents but would like a refresher course.
*Would like to learn how Google Drive/ Documents can be used to help their students meet ELA Common Core Standards.

Click here to register today!
Click here to learn more about the course on my new site