GarageBand iOS Quick Start Guide

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How to Goobric – Attach a rubric to individual Doctopus Docs

So, you’ve created 20, 30, 40 individual copies of a template using Doctopus (see previous post) and you are wondering at the magnificence of Andrew Stillman’s automation tool that has distributed documents to all your students.

But, now the students have all completed the assignments, and you have to grade/ assess them…

You may choose to add narrative comments to their writingScreen Shot 2014-07-08 at 8.14.25 PM (whether in the form of comments or the new “suggestions” edits recently added to Docs).

You may also want to attach a rubric to the student’s assignment to provide standards/ skills-based feedback.  You could email a rubric to each student, or even copy and paste a rubric into each of the Docs.

However, Mr. Stillman and team have provided an extension that can attach individual rubrics to the individual Docs.  This extension has another ‘playful’ name: “Goobric.”

What is more, not only does Goobric attach rubrics to the Docs, but it also relays the scores and comments recorded in the rubric back to your Doctopus spreadsheet!

Follow the Presentation below for “How to Goobric”

Tour Art Galleries and Ancient Monuments with Google Cultural Institute

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 7.51.32 AMGoogle’s new “Cultural Institute” allows you to take virtual tours of art galleries, view curated collections of art, explore historic moments, and visit wonders of the world.

The site is highly interactive, and is a great resource for student-centered activities across the curriculum.  The collections have been curated by well-known museums, galleries, and national institutions, and the interface and user experience is very slick.

The site also allows you to create your own curated galleries of art works, historic documents and images, and interactive presentations.  It provides a terrific opportunity also for evidence-based learning through access to thousands of historic primary documents.

Some of my favorites in a brief tour of the site included:


Doctopus: Automatically Create and Share Individualized Copies of a Google Doc or Template

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.31.15 PMOften, I want to provide my students with a template to guide them through an assignment.  Of course, I can share a document which they can then cut and paste into a new Doc and then share this new Doc with me.  Unfortunately, that means not only a cluttered and disorganized Google Drive and email inbox, but also many headaches when students forget to share the Doc properly.

Fortunately, there is a relatively simple app that allows you to create and share individualized copies of a Doc which each student can edit and then simply close out: you are already the owner so there is no need to mess with share settings.  What is more, each student’s individual Doc is collected in a spreadsheet for easy reference.

I have used the app, oddly named “Doctopus” to distribute quizzes, writing prompts, tests, and even waivers needed signing.  My students love it as the Doc appears both in their inbox and their Google Drive folders: they only need open it, edit it, and close it out – no sharing, no submitting, no emailing.  Doctopus was created by Digital Instructor Andrew Stillman in 2012.

The presentation below will walk you through the ten steps; this seems like a lot, but in fact, it only takes about 3-4 minutes and is very straightforward once you have done it a couple of times:

Is Apple’s Golden Era Over?

The news for Apple hasn't been great of late: accusations of off-shore tax dodging, the stock price tumbling, and continued concerns about working conditions (and SNL comedy sketches) at Foxconn. More worryingly, Apple's annual developer's conference (WWDC) is only three weeks away, and the rumor mill is not what it has been over the last couple of years. What is there to get excited about? The iWatch seems like it is not close to launching, and maybe the iPad mini is going retina, but that's just it playing catch up with the full sized iPad. Has Steve Job's legacy finally run out; has the extent of his influence over Apple finally ended?

Yahoo Weather App

Against this backdrop, Google and, surprisingly, even Yahoo, are the companies that are generating excitement in the tech world. Google Glass continues to instill the most excitement/ mockery – both of which raise the profile of this wearable technology. But setting aside the geek factor of Glass, Google's updated Hangouts is not only beautiful, but is a factor in making Google+ relevant and perhaps even useable. The updates to photo editing in Google+ is also attractive, and combined with Picasa and the 25 gigs of storage make it worth considering. There's also Google Apps for Education which many are heralding (perhaps prematurely) as the end of iPads in schools.

And then there is Yahoo, a company many people thought was irrelevant and on its last legs. However, under the leadership of former Googler Marissa Mayer, Yahoo is producing some great mobile apps (Yahoo Weather), has revamped the once glorious photo site Flickr with a cool new UI and 1TB of free storage (wow!), and has now has acquired the cool and unique blogging service Tumblr.

Apple used to capture our imaginations with game-changing gadgets and beautiful user experiences. If you had told me one year ago that the New York Times would be describing Apple's woes while promoting exciting news about Yahoo, I would not have believed you. But it's Google and Yahoo who are making the headlines and creating giddy Twitter traffic. I hope that WWDC will prove me wrong, but the future for Apple does not look good when even a fanboy like myself has begun window shopping Chromebooks and Samsung tablets.


Lesson planning using Google Calendar

Google Calendar can be a useful tool in preparing lesson plans, particularly if you like to limit the number of places that you keep your information: by using Calendar to plan lessons, the details of your lessons are housed in the same place as all your other events.  Moreover, individual lesson plans or your whole “Lesson Plan” calendar can be shared with others (this can be useful for sharing a lesson plan with a substitute teacher.)Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 9.10.52 PM

To create a “Lesson Plan” calendar, use the drop down menu in My Calendars in the left bar.  Then for your lesson, you can either create one event and in Edit event> Description, describe the activities for the whole class.  However, you can create a clearer lesson plan by creating events for each discreet activity and describing the details of the activities in the ‘Description’ section.

To view your lesson plans, first choose to view only the lesson plan events by clicking  on the drop down menu on the calendar’s name in the left bar, and selecting “Display only this calendar.”

Then, use the agenda view to see the lesson plan.  This view shows the activities for the lesson in a list (see screenshot above).  To access the agenda view, see the button to the right of the Day, Week, Month buttons.  The detailed description of the activities can be found by clicking on “Edit event.”

10 Hidden Features of Google Calendars for Teachers

Google Calendars in the Google Apps for Educators suite is pretty easy to use, but under the hood, there are many ‘hidden’ features that can be very useful for teachers with our hectic schedules!  Here are ten power uses for educators:

  1. Color code not only your different calendars, but also events within these calendars. Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 3.42.10 PM(e.g., if you want to highlight which class meetings are associated with homework assignments):  Go to the event details/ edit event, and look down to event color.  This option is also available directly in the event pop up in Calendar view.
  2. Receive reminders of events by text message, email, or a pop up in your web browser: Go to edit event, and scroll down to reminders> add reminder. You will need to set up your SMS text notifications in Settings> Mobile Set Up.
  3. Set up appointment slots on your calendar that students or parents can sign up for (e.g., for parent/teacher Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 3.30.04 PMconferences or office hours): click on the calendar to create an event, and you will see an “Appointment Slots” option.  Once you have set up the event, you will be given a URL to send to appointees for them to claim time slots.  Note, this feature is only available in Google Apps for Education and not through your personal Gmail calendar.
  4. Edit events in different calendars (e.g., if you have calendars for different classes): In edit event, go to Calendars and choose from the drop down menu.
  5. Change the default ‘meeting’ length to a time closer to the length of your class period (e.g., if you class period is 30 minutes or 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes): Go to settings, then scroll down to “default meeting length” and choose from the drop down menu.  Unfortunately, this function currently only works in units of 15 minutes.
  6. Create a repeating event (such a a regularly scheduled class): go to edit event, click on the Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 3.17.59 PMrepeat box just below the date and time, and choose from the options.  You can repeat by day, week, or even by particular days.  Unfortunately, this feature does not accommodate rotating/ modular schedules!
  7. Set up multiple day events (such as “Model UN trip to NY): Make an all day calendar event by clicking in the area above the list of times or by “create event,” then edit the days the event covers.)
  8. When viewing your calendar, click Q to “Quick Add” an entry.  Type, for example, “MeetScreen Shot 2013-04-02 at 3.03.20 PM with Mr. Smith at 1pm on Friday in my classroom” and the event will appear in your calendar.  Google Calendar will recognize the information in your text and apply the event to your calendar.  If you don’t assign the event a day, it will assign the event to today, or tomorrow if the event time has already passed.
  9. Change the time zone of events (e.g., if you Skype with Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 3.34.24 PMa class in a different time zone): go to edit event, then click on the Time Zone button to the right of date and time.  The event will appear on your calendar at the correct time for your time zone.  If you create the event in one time zone, and then travel to another, the event will again appear in the correct time for that time zone.
  10.  Copy events from other people’s calendars on to your own (e.g., an all-school calendar Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 3.49.11 PMevent): click on the event, and you will see a “Copy to my calendar” option.