Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Introduction to the NEW Template Gallery in Google Docs, Spreadsheets & Slides

Finally!  We have access to the new template gallery in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

From any Google account you are able to access it - but it may not be as intuitive to get to as the "old" template gallery was.  You need to go to the landing page for that TYPE of document, which I find many people still don't know about.  So, go to:
  • docs.google.com for your Documents
  • sheets.google.com for your Sheets
  • slides.google.com for your Slides
  • forms.google.com for your Forms
The first time you go to these, you will get a message about the Template Gallery:

After that, you will both see a top bar with existing templates AND a link in the upper right that says Template Gallery.

Now if you belong to a Google Apps for Education organization, and templates are enabled, you have a couple additional options not available with a general Google account.

1. You will have a choice of General templates or your organization's templates

2. You will also see a choice of Submit Template to submit one to the gallery

If you want to submit a template, you will get this screen:

1. Go to select the item you wish to add to the template gallery - this will change to the item name after you select it.  

2. Choose if you want your original item to be in the gallery (it will change as you change it - so run the risk of sharing information that you do not want there!), or to submit a copy of the file (you would need to update it separately from your personal document).

3. Choose the category that best fits the item

4. Submit

Once you have submitted your template (and it has been approved if your organization requires approval), you will notice your submitted templates have 3 dots in the lower right corner of them - 
These give you the "More options" menu -

1. If you made a copy of your item, clicking Edit here will edit the file that is in the template gallery (and not in your Drive space)
2. Currently Update info consists of changing the Category the item is tied to

3. Removes the item from the gallery

That's your introductory overview!  I'm looking forward to discussing within our organization how we can utilize templates to both standardize documents and save time.

Monday, December 5, 2016

2017 #MACUL Conference - the Conference Mobile App is Here!

The #macul17 MOBILE APP is now available!  

(Or you can also visit the app store of choosing and search for MACUL 2017.)

Session information has already been loaded into the app - get a sneak peak at the great session line up for the upcoming conference within the app!  

Some additional conference news - 

Volunteers Needed

Take your conference attendance to a new level - volunteer! Get a t-shirt and help make the conference the best ever - sign-up now.

Keynote Speakers  
If you haven't heard yet, our keynote speakers are: Sir Ken Robinson, Jane McGonigal, & Jennie Magiera - a stellar group focused on learning.  Featured Speakers this year include: Barbara Chamberlin, Hall Davidson, Steve Dembo, Leslie Fisher, Matt Miller and Kyle Pace.  If you don't recognize these names, Google them - they are all people worth knowing and following!  

Pre-conference sessions sponsored by the SIGs are now also available for sign up when registering.  Registration can be done at the conference registration site.  If you have already registered and need to add a pre-conference session or attendance at an annual meeting, here is a previous blog post detailing how
Group registration discounts are available starting at 10+ attendees.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Getting File Uploads in Your Google Form

You may have noticed a new option available in the question options list when creating a Google Form - it is the ability to have participants submit files!

If you haven't seen it (or want a rundown of how it works) - keep reading...it's a pretty cool feature!

First- you will find it as a question type listed between "dropdown" and "linear scale"-
 It creates a question that looks like this:

There are several options you have for the setup.  First - the maximum number of files that can be uploaded:

Second - the size of the files:

Third - the different types of files allowed:
 If you click on this option, you can uncheck the "Allow all files" to select only the file types you want:
 You just have to select at minimum 1 type, then hit Apply:

This is what the end user sees when filling out the form:
Once they click Add File and select the file(s) to add, it will list them for review (and removal if necessary with the "x" to the right):

For the form creator, it will list the files uploaded in the response summary (or with the individual submissions).  You can not only see what they uploaded, it also adds a link to a folder in your Google Drive where all the submissions may be found:

Note that this new folder is at the TOP level of your "My Drive" - so if you are like me and try to minimize the number of top level folders, you will want to move it :-)

It also makes you the owner of the submission (it has copied it for the person submitting - they still have their "original."),  and it is not shared:

A down side to some of you looking forward to using this - it only works within your domain.  So you cannot use this with parents or others outside your organization:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The MARS Challenge: Design a School on Mars From Scratch

One of the few blogs I read with regularity is A.J. Juliani's Blog - it's one of only a couple I get delivered to my inbox!

His newest blog post poses a challenge - one that is open to ANY teacher!  I encourage you to check it out and think about stepping up to the challenge with a group of your students.  I've included some highlights below - if you would like full details, check out the original blog post here: Creating a School (on Mars) from Scratch.

The hashtag #MARSchallenge with be used to share out what students are designing, making, and building this month.  If nothing else - follow along to see what others are creating!

Mars Challenge
Image from A.J. Juliani Blog - used with permission.

From A.J. Juliani's blog:

This challenge is open to any teacher and group of students in a K-12 education setting. We provide lesson plans, student notebooks, power point presentation for each lesson, and a framework (the LAUNCH Cycle) for your students to tackle this enormous challenge of starting a school on Mars.
Here are the details:
December 1st: MARS Challenge starts (sign up your team/class/school below)
December 12th: Panel of Judges released
December 22nd: Challenge ends, all videos must be sent in for judging
January 2nd: Winners announced in four categories (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12)
The big questions are:
1. Should a school even be on Mars?
2. If there was some type of education system on Mars, what would help further the mission of sustainability and prepare students for a future on Mars and beyond?
3. How can we learn from our years of education here on Earth to make school on Mars an even more valuable and fruitful place of learning?

The Design Challenge Overview

You’re going to make something amazing and you’re going to start on it today. It’s going to be something that has never existed before in the history of humanity.
You know how you typically turn in an assignment to your teacher and then you get it back and, well, that’s pretty much it. This is different. Working with your design team, you’re going to create something people will actually see!
The Launch Process
Look all around you. Seriously. Glance around your classroom. You are surrounded by things that people created. Not only did they create these things but they also designed them. The fancy term for this is design thinking. It’s the term professionals use. You’re going to use the LAUNCH Process. It’s a modified version of the design thinking cycle that artists and engineers use in the real world. Here’s how it works:
Look, Listen, and Learn
Ask a Ton of Questions
Understand the Problem or Process
Navigate the Ideas
Create a Prototype
Highlight What’s Working and Fix What’s Failing
Ready to Launch!

Your Challenge: Build a Model School for People Who Colonize Mars

How Can I Join?!?

Sign up using the form here (at the bottom of the post). You’ll receive an email with the following items (all FREE):
  • Lesson Plans for the MARS Challenge (including connection to the standards and step-by-step instruction for teachers)
  • LAUNCH Student Notebook – Students have a notebook handout to fill in, sketch in, and follow throughout the entire challenge
  • PowerPoint introducing the Mars Challenge and for every lesson during the Challenge
  • Resource list for research on MARS, space travel, school design and much more!
You’ll also be asked to fill in information on your school and classroom to be a part of the official MARS Challenge that will be judged. If you don’t want to participate in the final project judging, no worries, have fun doing it with your class!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Google Forms Just Got Smarter

I can't think of the number of times in the past I would get frustrated by the default multiple choice question type for Google Forms.  A little thing, but those few seconds to change it (I use lots of text answers) add up over time.

Well, recently Google Forms just got smarter!

Now, when you type a question if you use some key phrasing it changes the question type to match what you are asking for.

Examples -
Here is the default first question:

In the past when you typed, it stayed a multiple choice question:
Now, it recognizes when you want something different - and changes the question type.  Here adding an "s" to day (so it indicates the ability to select multiple), it changes the question type to a Checkbox:

Using the word "rate" changes it to a linear scale:

Asking a standard question (like for a name) will change it to a short answer:

Starting with a word like "describe" will change it to a paragraph text option:

 Asking about a date will change it to a date:

Back at the first example, you may have noticed another neat feature - when you ask something so common as "what day," it makes suggestion:

You can add the suggestions quickly by clicking "ADD ALL" or by clicking on the specific ones you want to add:

Very neat adds - that can add up to a lot of saved effort over time!