Friday, March 6, 2015

Explore Greenland, Iceland, and Other Cold Climates in Google Maps

Sailing in a fjord in Iceland last May.
I've always loved maps and field trips. But there limitations to what a map can tell you about a place. And there are certainly limitations to where we can take our students on field trips. Google Maps Street View imagery allows students to virtually explore far-off places in a way that flat paper maps cannot. Some of the latest Street View imagery added to Google Maps can virtually take us to Greenland. The imagery takes us through fjords and the ruins of ancient Viking settlements on the island of Greenland.

Head south and east from Greenland and Google's Street View imagery can take you on a tour of cool places in Iceland.

Head very far south of Greenland and Iceland and you can explore parts of Antarctica in Google Maps Street View.

Google Docs for iPad Gets Another Update

If you update your iPad today, you will notice that Google Docs for iPad has been updated again. The updated version of Google Docs for iPad enables you to make copies of your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on your iPad. This update is another small step toward making the Google Docs iPad app as useful as the Google Docs in the web browser.

Some other behind the scenes updates to the performance of the app were added this week too. Those updates don't change how the app works. You can read about those on the Google Apps update blog.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How to Search for Publicly Shared Google Documents

A few weeks ago I wrote a short blog post about searching for publicly shared Google Documents, Slides, and Spreadsheets. Since then I've had a few people ask for a video about the process. So this evening I put together a short demonstration of the process. The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Searching by file type and searching by domains is a great way for students to refine their Google searches. Searching for and within a DOC, a PPT, or XLS file can lead students to resources that they might not otherwise have seen. Along the same lines, searching for publicly shared Google Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets can take students to valuable content that they might not otherwise find in a standard Google search.

Join Me for An Afternoon of Free Webinars About Google Apps

On March 31st Simple K12 is hosting an afternoon of free webinars about Google tools for teachers. The webinars will start at 1pm Eastern Time and run until 5pm Eastern Time.

I will be conducting two webinars that afternoon. In my webinars I'll share some of my favorite Google Search strategies, ideas for teaching search strategies, and using Google Forms and Spreadsheets to streamline workflow. I will be presenting at 2pm and 3pm. Click here to register for this free PD opportunity.

These free webinars are designed for folks who are new to using Google tools.  Teachers who would like to pick up some tips for teaching others how to take advantage of the great things that Google has to offer will also enjoy the content of these webinars. Click here to register.

FAQs About Simple K12 Webinars:
1.) Is this free?
a. Yes!

2.) Can I have the recordings after?
a. We will make the recordings available for 2 weeks following the event.

3.) How do I access the recordings? Do I need a SimpleK12 membership?
a. No, SimpleK12 will share the links with Richard Byrne / and all of the registrants following the event so you can view for 2 weeks following the event. But be sure to register so you will be notified.

4.) Why would you do this when people are in class?
a. Historically, this is one of our most highly attended days and times. We will make recordings available for those who are unable to attend.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time presenting these webinars. 

Great Tools for Informal Assessment

This afternoon at the NCTIES 2015 conference I gave a short, interactive presentation on tools and strategies for conducting informal assessments in your classroom. Included in the presentation were demonstrations of Plickers, Kahoot, and SeeSaw. I also shared the idea of taking advantage of recording options on cell phones to have students record short video and audio messages about their understanding of a concept. The slides from that presentation are embedded below.

Disclosure: SeeSaw is currently running an advertising campaign on