Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Team Drives – What’s That?


If you’ve been busy with the start of the school year, you may have missed Team Drives appearing in your Google Drive. Now, that things have settled down, it seems like a good time to stop and take a look at this new option in Google Drive.

First, what is a Team Drive?

Essentially, it’s a place to share and collaborate with a specific group.

Isn’t that Google Drive already?

Yes, but Team Drive has membership… and that has its privileges… or advantages!

When you create a Team Drive, you add members and give members specific permissions for everything that is put into that Team Drive. Everyone can have full access since there isn’t a single owner which, as some us have encountered, gets a bit sticky if someone leaves a job position and is the keeper of specific folders and Docs, etc.

That’s a pro.

However, a con is that you can’t share a public view only link to items within the Team Drive.

I found this great resource being compiled by Steve Wick (@WickedEdTech) and Melissa Wilson (@MrsWilsonNV) that breaks down Team Drive options.

Team Drive seems like a great collaborative space, but I think other elements are necessary for collaboration… such as a community feel and interface.

I have this idea of combining Google+, Google Classroom and Team Drive to round everything out… that’s coming up in my next post. Stay tuned.

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Keyboard Shortcuts on a Chromebook


There are many things that we automatically know how to do on a laptop or computer; however, when we are on Chromebooks things can feel a little different, and our “go to” keystrokes and methods don’t seem to work.

For example, I have people ask me a lot: How do I copy and paste on a Chromebook? How do I take a screenshot?

At this point, I switch between so many devices that I don’t have everything memorized. Therefore, a little Google search yielded some resources for all of us. Here is a link to some popular keyboard shortcuts for Chromebooks… and yes, screenshot key combinations are listed! Another resource I found is a little more comprehensive.

The coolest find: when you are on a Chromebook, press these 3 keys: Ctrl+Alt+/ .

An interactive onscreen keyboard will appear. Now, press on the Shift, Ctrl, Alt or Search keys (either separately or even various combinations on your physical keyboard), and the onscreen keyboard will display a menu of different tasks that can be performed when combing with other keys. I love that there is a built-in reference right on the Chromebooks! This is a must try!


Use the Google Classroom Reuse Post Feature to Share Assignments and Resources with Colleagues


Google Classroom’s reuse a post feature is very handy. With the start of the new school year, teachers have to make an important decision. Do they keep their last year’s Google Classrooms and remove former students? Or should they archive the old Classroom so it can be referenced and start a fresh one for new students?

Once I tell teachers how easy it is to reuse and modify an old post from an Archived Classroom, usually the decision is easy. After all, who wants to reinvent the wheel? Teachers spend a lot of time finding great resources, designing templates and crafting spot-on directions. These items can be tweaked and used in whole or part at another time with students… perhaps, during this new school year?

Likewise, that stellar assignment that you posted in your current Google Classroom(s) or archived one(s) can be shared with your colleagues as well.

Here’s how:

  1. Make a Google Classroom for your group.
  2. Invite colleagues to be co-teachers (About page).
  3. In the stream of that Classroom, click on the + and choose “Reuse post”.
  4. Select the Class where you made your great original post (announcement, assignment, etc.) for students.
  5. Click the Reuse button.
  6. Unless you want to add any other info, click Assign.

The post will appear in your group’s Google Classroom for all of your co-teacher’s to see. (Bonus! Since you are teachers with active emails, everyone will receive an alert that you added to the stream. This notification is perfect since most of us get so busy we forget to go check things out… without a nudge.)

And it gets even better… people can comment or ask questions below your post in the stream about what you’ve shared. You even could add additional information, such as tips about prep work, or maybe, other possible modification ideas that you may have.

Wait… it’s not over yet… because you posted it to this shared Google Classroom, now your colleagues can reuse your post in their own Google Classrooms!

Here’s how:

  1. Colleague (co-teacher) goes to his/her own Google Classroom(s).
  2. In the stream, clicks on the + and chooses “Reuse post”.
  3. Selects your shared Class for your group where you shared your great post (announcement, assignment, etc.) with colleagues.
  4. Clicks the Reuse button.
  5. Colleague modifies/adjusts/adapts the post for his/her students as necessary.
  6. Clicks Assign (if ready to give to students… or Draft or Schedule).

“Give a penny, take a penny” throughout the year: Sharing your posts to the shared Google Classroom and then reusing other colleague’s to your own.

This method seems like a great fit for Personal Learning Communities, grade level teams and departments. What do you think of this use of Google Classroom?

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Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework


I took some time today to review the Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework.

I know at this point in the year, many teachers have full plates wrapping up their school years. I get that you probably don’t have the time or energy (perhaps, if we’re really being honest here- even the desire!) to read a Framework. So here’s a very, quick run down…

This Framework created in June 2016 takes a critical leap from the past, recognizing that students most be both consumers (users) AND creators in our global community when it comes to technology. The four Strands are Computing and Society, Digital Tools and Collaboration, Computing Systems, and Computational Thinking. The Framework outlines a real balance with understanding the impact of technology and one’s responsibilities as a  digital citizen while still getting the nuts & bolts. A key emphasis also is on students being problem solvers.

How will this weave into the rest of our curriculum? That’s where some thoughtful investigation needs to take place. The progressive skills should not be out of context or add-ons.

I am looking forward to my work on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s DLCS Implementation Panel that begins tomorrow. I’m sure there will be plenty of good conversation there as well as with my district colleagues over the next year. Stay tuned.

Teacher Tuesdays Coming to the Apple Store


At the New England Apple Tech Update it was shared that Apple Stores would begin offering Teacher Tuesdays. What does that mean? Free Professional Development!

I contacted the Apple Store at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, New Hampshire for more details. I was told that beginning in June they will be hosting Teacher Tuesday workshops. Sessions will be every other Tuesday. The time was not disclosed, but right now, the topics are as follows:

  • June: Encouraging Creativity with GarageBand on the iPad
  • July: Collaborating with Keynote
  • August: Storytelling with iMovie

I am waiting to hear more. I am hopeful that this opportunity could turn into a valuable resource for teachers. Perhaps, even a study group that takes field trips to the Apple Store for the sessions?!

I will keep you posted.

In the mean time, here’s Apple Teacher, a self-paced professional development program that you may want to check out. It’s also free and has starter guides for Apple products.

Update: Here’s a link to the specific Teacher Tuesday sessions!

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