Google Apps Templates Now Available in GAFE

Gafetemplatesdocssmall

The new Google Apps Templates are great. They showed up in our Google Apps for Education account a few days ago. Explore in Spreadsheets did as well. As the Google Apps services get better and better, there are fewer reasons to stick with the non-cloud based tools.

From Google:

Your best work, your best you 
Creating presentations, crafting newsletters and managing your team’s budget is hard enough without having to worry about making everything look good. With the new collection of templates in DocsSheets and Slides, you can focus on your content while we make sure it gets the expert polish it deserves. Choose from a wide variety of reports, portfolios, resumes and other pre-made templates
 designed to make your work that much better, and your life that much easier.


Learn more at the Google Docs Blog.

Feeling Failure

Fail

We read a lot about the need to fail as a way to learn more. As part of my authorized Google Education Trainer program, I must pass 5 exams each year in order to remain a part of the program. With the snow day yesterday, I used it to take 3 of the exams. I passed the first one on Google Sites with a 91% and felt pretty good. I knew from the last time I took the exams that I am weakest with Google Calendar as I do not use it at school and only a little in my personal account. For this reason, I studied pretty hard for the exam. The exam is 60 questions with 90 minutes to complete the exam. It is an open web exam. I thought about doing other exams that I had to take and leave calendar for the last knowing I would struggle with it. I changed my mind and decided to go for it as I knew I would feel great if I had it over and done with. I took all 90 minutes as the questions were hard. I felt good when I pressed the end test button. Within 15 seconds I had my score and the message of failure. I was upset as I thought I had done better. I do not know which questions I missed but do know I can take it again in 7 days. I kept trying to remember the questions to figure out which ones I may have missed. I do not like failing and not knowing where I went wrong. I took a break and thought of ways I can study differently or more in order to prepare for the retest I will take in 7 days. Later in the day, I took the Chrome exam which I felt good about as I use it all of the time and had studied. I scored a 95%. 

What does all of this mean? Failure is different when it is yours. My wife said to me “ I have not known you to fail at something”. I think this is often true due to my preparation (over) and how I approach learning. I have to admit I also experienced my share of exam anxiety as I approached the exam on calendars. I think that anxiety may have played a part in how confident I was in selecting my answers. The good thing is that I get a second chance although I did have to ask for an extension as I am not able to make the deadline due to this failure.

My New Years Learning Resolutions

Now is the time to take stock of what I have learned about myself in 2014 and make adjustments in 2015 to become the best Digital Karl I can be. This year has been a wonderful year professionally as I became an authorized Google Education Trainer and an Apple Foundations Trainer this year. I love learning and challenging myself and these two programs required intense effort. I thought about starting my own consulting business to help schools and non-profits with the use and deployment of Google Apps for Education or Business. I have had moderate success in this area as I have worked with a couple schools and one non-profit. Not bad for the first year with no real promotion other then my network and blog. I did recently get listed in the Official Google Education Directory which will help with exposure. I am continually challenged in my day job with helping guide the digital learning of my students and colleagues as well as being a voice for change in how we “do” school. I had the opportunity to work with a collection of educators from local and global schools trying to design a school from scratch as part of a strategic planning initiative. That group was a high altitude and attitude group from which I am still soaring from having attended. I am grateful to all of you who helped me reach my goals for the year!

My resolutions for 2015:

  • I will spend less time trying to convince people it is not about the device, but rather the learning
  • I will stop sharing my ideas and instead put my head down and just do my job
  • I will not talk with anyone who may disagree with my opinions
  • I will not try anything new unless I am an expert at it as I do not want to look dumb
  • I will not follow anyone on Twitter or Google+ that challenges my thinking and beliefs
  • I will encourage less use of a digital learning device and more use of analog device(s)
  • I will not help students find out how to learn but rather isolate them in a learning world where I provide the information
  • I will continue to accept that institutions like schools can not change
  • I will still not use Facebook

As we all know, resolutions are hard to keep, but I know I can do it this year as I have a mindset that will allow me to succeed. If I fail at a few no big deal, as in the end I bet anyone $1,000.000.00 I can do at least one on the list. Do you know which one?

NCAIS Educators Conference Presentations

Image: http://www.ncais.org/

I leave tomorrow morning for Concord, NC as I will be facilitating a session on Leaving Textbooks Behind at the NCAIS Pre-Conference Academic Fest. I am excited to lead this session as it will help me deepen my understanding on how to help Durham Academy address this growing topic. I am also doing a Rapid Reach 15 minute presentation on the topic of Digital Portfolios with Google Sites. It is the same presentation as last week just done at 5X speed.

I am going to embed my presentations below (and also on my other site) so that anyone can access what I am presenting. I hope to see you there.

NC GAfE Summit 2014

I am excited to be presenting at this years summit. At last years summit, I got serious about learning how I could help my school and other schools leverage these powerful tools by becoming an authorized Google Education Trainer. I will be presenting again on using Google Sites for student portfolios and introducing a new session called Google Apps and iOS are Jet Fuel for Learning where I will show how to harness the power of Google Apps to extend a 1:1 iPad program. After two years helping my school with our iPad program, I can attest to how these two corporate solutions are not oil and water, but rather jet fuel. There is still time to come and take part in the summit so register today at http://nc.gafesummit.com/.

Find links to my presentations as well as other presenters at http://nc.gafesummit.com/2014/program/sessions or at my other site http://www.digitalkarl.com/

Image is property of EdTechTeam

Both a GET and an AFT with NDAs

GoogleEducationTrainer badge RGB       AAcertficate200 

 

My summer is off to a great start already. Over the last 7 months I worked at becoming a Google Education Trainer and last week I attended Apple Academy in Cupertino, CA. I met some great people at the Academy and learned a lot about providing professional development with colleagues instead of at colleagues. While at the Apple Academy, I learned I had been accepted into the Google Education Trainer program. As I was only blocks away from Apple HQ, and using Apple equipment, I did not mention it to anyone by Pete who I instantly connected with when I got to the hotel. I had to tell someone and besides my wife, I figured he as a safe bet.

I signed the NDA (Non-Discloure Agreement) with Google on Thursday and another one with Apple on Friday to make the week a real twofer. I am so excited to be recognized by both of these leading companies who are using the wealth of resources to move education forward. I look forward to helping Durham Academy do even more with Apple’s products as I am limited to using the wealth of curriculum they provided with just my school. I plan to start an Apple Vanguard Group at school. I also know we can harness the tools and resources Google offers for Durham Academy and I am willing to work with other schools to help them as well. This is expected of me as an authorized Google Education Trainer. I have already worked with a few other schools and non-profits through my new consulting business Digital Karl and look forward to more learning opportunities. 

Hanging Out in Chinese Class

GoogleHangoutChinesesm

We are getting out early today due to the coming ice and snow storm. Because we are leaving at 12:00 our days schedule was very different then planned. Ms. Shang teaches two Middle School Chinese classes as well as two Upper School Chinese classes. Due to the adjusted schedule she could not make it from the Upper School to the Middle School in time for class. She emailed to see if using Google Hangouts would be an option since she had rehearsed it with her students last night. Google Hangouts are not part of our Google Apps for Education so they used their personal Google accounts. I did some testing and found I had a laptop that we could use so the students had class with Ms. Shang while she was also teaching her Upper School students. I have written how Ms. Shang teaches beyond borders.

同學們,
My Upper School class is not over yet, therefore I’ll be with you via Hangouts.
Mr. Schaefer has graciously agreed to help me with the Hangouts set up.
He might ask one of you to log into your gmail account.
Please be respectful and follow his instructions.

Once you arrive at the lab, please quickly log into Moodle, set up the headset, wake up VoiceTread.
And complete your speaking test on VT, which should only take 2-3 minutes.
I was hoping that we would have enough time for the Bonus section, but now I am not sure.
So after you finish the VT, please discuss as a group when you would like to finish the rest of the test.

Here are the options:
1. Pick a time this afternoon, we can carry on the way that we rehearsed last night.
2. Postpone it to Hangouts for tomorrow during class time,
3. Wait till we return to campus. But we go on with the new unit until then.

Please Email me your decision before the end of class.

謝謝大家!

老師

They decided to use Hangouts tomorrow to have class even though we are predicted to be in the middle of an ice and snow storm.

What I Learned at GAFE about Portfolios

Learn

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59217476@N00/7211160284

I learned a lot at the Google Apps for Education Summit at Ravenscroft. Of particular interest was the discussions I had with teachers at Ravenscroft and others related to using Google Sites for student portfolios. We have done portfolios for two years now at the Middle School. I worked pretty hard to develop a template and roll it out with teachers and students. While we have begun the process, I felt we also  needed to iterate how we were creating them and utilizing them as part of our learning culture. With my new found knowledge, I have revamped the portfolio template to be more efficient and student driven. My hope is that this will allow it to become more a part of instead of separate from the learning process as a whole.

Because our Google Apps for Education are private, I created a new template that you can use to get started.

This link will take you to the template: 

I included a Google Presentation Tutorial as well focused on how to create the site on an iPad. You can adjust to the device you are using.  

For those of you who came to my presentation on building portfolios, this represents my new thinking while the presentation is very similar to what you saw before.

Ready, Set, Portfolio!

portfolios

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59217476@N00/6050805936

 

I am getting ready to work with classes to create and add artifacts to Google Site Portfolios. I thought this year I would make a sliderocket and embed it in the template so the students would have a tutorial after we worked together. I love how I can create presentations either in Google Drive or in sliderocket and then add my voice. I find doing tutorials this way better and easier then trying to do screen recordings especailly with the hoops you have to go through to record the iPad effectively. I always have to do multiple retakes as well since I mess up recording or the bells ring and I have to start over.  Since we use Google Apps for Education our sliderocket is free. I hope the new owners Clearslide continue with providing schools free accounts. Of course, if they stop, we will move on like I do each year.

This page will have a tutorial that we used to create the portfolio. It will help you in case you forget how to do something as you go through the Middle School. Since it is both a link and embedded, and changes that take place will be automatically updated to the tutorial.

 
Google Site Portfolios using Google Search App – A sliderocket