Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Google Slides updates

Changing......As always, Google is continuing to improve their products.  That is one of the things I really love about the Google Apps suite.  They are looking for ways to make their tools more user-friendly all the time.

Google Slides, which is their version of presentations, is adding more features all the time.  Some of the most recent changes are being able to more easily see the name of the person who is editing a slide, being able to add content to a custom theme by just right-clicking and saying "Add to Theme", and being able to reuse custom themes by clicking "from another presentation" on the themes pop up window.  For details on how to use these new features, check out the Google Blog article, "Real time text cursors and other enhancements in Slides".

Another newer feature is how you access your various Google Tools from the home page.  When you log into Google, you now get the Google search bar, your frequently used web sites AND access to your various tools all on the same page.  I find this very convenient.

One feature I would like them to add is that I can customize order of the tools.  I would like to be able to either select the tools that appear at the top OR have the ones I use the most automatically appear there based on my usage statistics.  For any Google product, you can submit suggestions through their Feedback link.  This is located by going to the gear button in any tool. It is either directly listed on the gear options OR you click on Help and then you see the link on the next popup window.  You type in what your suggestion is and then you are able to send them a screenshot showing them exactly what you mean.  This is so easy!  I just submitted my feedback, so we will see if they can engineer that feature.

Be on the lookout for more changes in the Google products.  Just as I enjoy seeing the seasons change, it is fun to see the Google products change and improve.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Connected Educator Month

October 2013 is deemed as Connected Educator Month.  Over the past several years, I have built my personal learning network using Diigo for bookmarking, Twitter for quick reads, Blogger to build this blog, and LinkedIn to connect with other professionals.  It is through a combination of all of these that I am able to keep up on the latest trends in education.

As in most districts, ours is struggling with tight budgets.  Gone are the days when we are able to attend conferences.  I still need to learn about new technologies and how to best use them to impact student learning.

I am always interested in ways to more efficiently share information that I find.  Once example is this blog post about how to connect your Diigo account with your Twitter account and your Blogger account.  This allows you to easily share finds which you post on Diigo.  You can also send it out in a Tweet or post your description to your blog.  I plan on giving these a try .

How do you use personal learning networks to share with others?

For ideas on getting started with personal learning networks, check out the Connected Educator Month .

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How Much is Technology Woven Into the Fabric of Learning in Your Classroom?

The Technology Integration Matrix, produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, is a great tool for schools to use to see how deeply technology is woven into the fabric of learning in their school.  The matrix shows how teachers can use technology to improve student learning.  What I really like about the matrix is the range of use across the levels of technology integration.  Regardless of a teacher's knowledge or comfort level with technology, there are ideas for technology use at all the stages.  The earliest stage is Entry, followed by Adoption, Adaptation, Infusion and Transformation.  The other axis of the matrix is related to the characteristics of the learning environment. These learning attributes include Active, Collaborative, Constructive, Authentic, and Goal Directed.  If you click on the arrow on the name of the stage or learning attribute, it brings up a new webpage with more information.  Near the bottom of each new page, are videos that show that level and attribute in action!  As a teacher, this is extremely helpful for me to see a lesson at that level and attribute in action.  Give it a try!  I am sure you will find new ideas for technology use in your classroom.