Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Shift+ Z Doesn't work for me.

When I moved to the New Google Drive, storing files in multiple folders kept stumping me. I read about Shift+Z, but then it didn't seem to work until I realised.....

So here's a video so you can see the process in action.

I used Screencastify to create this on my Acer C720 Chromebook.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Engage them or they will engage themselves

What do we expect students to do with their device when they enter our classrooms? In a 1:1 environment, if this is not something every teacher can answer, then devices will be a distraction not a learning enhancement. When students are left to their own devices (literally), you have more chance they will be engaged in something other than the objectives of your lesson. 

How have you redesigned your classroom so that students are using their devices on your terms?....

Used with permission (Aleesha's Google+ page.)

Old Paradigm
  1. I tell them them to "put that away, or close the lid"
  2. We block YouTube in the school.
  3. They can't use their cameras or microphones to record lessons. It is against our 'Acceptable Use' guidelines.
New Paradigm
  1. I give them large chunks of text or get them to record me for 10 minute blocks. Then in teams of three, they create mind maps, and shared notes to construct meaning from the information.
  2. They maintain their own blogs. They record the learning intentions at the start of every lesson then reflect on what they have learned. They find links to more information or add links to peer blogs. It's like their own diary.
  3. ...etc
Share your practice on this editable Google Doc or leave a response below. 

"When students are left to their own devices (literally), you have more chance they will be engaged in something other than the objectives of your lesson." 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Chromebooks... But they are useless offline... Aren't they?

No way... Quick summary...

Was on a flight from Sydney to Townsville and decided to see what a Chromebook can and can't do offline. I have used a free Chrome extension (on my Acer C720) called Chromecastify to capture this video whilst on the plane. Who says a Chromebook is useless offline?

Chromecastify is my benchmark for selecting a Chromebook. If it can't run Chromecastify, its not a decent Chromebook.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Few Things I noticed in the new Google Drive

Opening PDFs in drive viewer

It's actually there...Double click on the PDF. Then Choose "Pop Out".

No option to convert or not convert files uploaded to drive
I know +Chris Betcher (does the "+" work in Blogger?) was quite annoyed about losing the choice.... But here is an alternative way to look at  it. In the old drive, it was critical to have the choice... Is it critical anymore? I don't think it is. Office files uploaded to drive default to being office files. Since they open natively in the browser and allows you to edit, the need to convert is no longer that important. Then if you want to collaborate with someone else, as soon as you press share, it converts it. Or if you want to convert, it's there under file.

I quite like the new drive....

Friday, 18 July 2014

Copy Your Outlook Distribution Group to Gmail Contacts

OK... You can google this and there are great instructions for using the Export/Improt functions. But here is a really simple way to transfer groups 1 at a time.

1. Open Outlook and get the group you want in the 'To:' as below.

2. Click the "+" so all the group members appear.
3. Drag your mouse over the email addresses that appear in the "To:" and copy these.
4. Open Gmail, and toggle to Contacts
5. Create a new Contact Group and name it accordingly.

6. Click on "My Contacts" to find your new (but empty) group and double click to open the group.
7. Find the "Add users" icon, then paste all the email addresses from step 3 into the window that appears.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Gone Google... Want to make Gmail open when I click a link instead of Outlook

Make Gmail open (rather than Outlook) when I click on a mail link on the web
Problem: When I am on a Website and click on an email link, it opens Outlook. How do I make Gmail the default mail client?

Answer: When you are in Gmail, you get prompted as in the images below.

You may also want to make Chrome your default browser. Google this to find out how.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Managing multiple accounts

Our Student Support Services team just went Google on Friday. They were previously on Exchange/Outlook. One of the pain points was dealing with multiple accounts. Many have Google accounts in their school domains and one in

Here are three ways to manage multiple accounts.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Creating tables with merged cells in Google Docs

I need to merge cells in a Google Doc table.....

A neat workaround if you want to add editable tables in Google docs containing merged cells.
  • Make the table in Word or Excel, Sheets or Presentations. Do your merging. Then copy the table. In Google docs, go to Insert, Drawing. (I bet you wondered why Google had this feature that forces you to create a drawing on the fly... Here is why.) When you paste your table into the Drawing window, then click "Save and Close", the merged table is embedded in your Google Doc as though it was created within the doc. But what is really neat is that anyone with edit rights on the doc can double click and edit the contents of the table.

Accidental deletions when composing Gmail

How many times have I done this.... I am in the middle of composing an email in Gmail and I accidentally delete a whole section of my message.... Gmail does not have an undo button.... So I grit my teeth and retype. But you can undo in Gmail.
Ctrl+Z will undo in Gmail.

Actually, it will undo in most things. I get so used to using the features in modern applications that I forget the old keyboard shortcuts.

Ctrl+K Add a hyperlink
Ctrl+B Bold the selected text bold
Ctrl+I Italicize the selected text italic
Ctrl+U Underline the selected text
Ctrl+Backspace Delete the previous word
Ctrl+Del Delete the next word
Ctrl+F Find some text in the current document
Ctrl+Z Undo your last action

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Learning Intentions vs Prediction? Are they mutually exclusive?

I was inspired today by a session on student engagement delivered by +Mike Reading . Here is one takeaway from the experience and one question it raised for me.

My take away 
Try and capture the essence of what you are about to teach using a few clues.... a picture, a phrase, a quote, a diagram, music... Get students engaging in the act of predicting... 

“What is this lesson going to be all about?” 

Perhaps get students to commit their predictions to a shared Google Doc.
Once they have made a prediction the brain will give its whole attention to finding out whether it was correct or not.” (Mike Reading)
One question
Does this contradict the notion of stating the learning intentions up front? If you don't know about Learning Intentions, this may help..