Category Archives: Google

Google Teacher Insight

Many Shawnee teachers are using Google Products:

Forms response chart. Question title: Which of the following do you use?  Check all that apply.. Number of responses: 130 responses.

Many want training on Classroom:

Forms response chart. Question title: Which of the following would you use if you had the opportunity to learn more about it? Please check all that apply.. Number of responses: 112 responses.

Comments and suggestions summary:

  • Teachers would like more opportunities for guided training time and certification.  If you would like to set up a personal training session, please email me.  Other ideas might be a common planning session, a department meeting session, or an inservice session request.
  • Perhaps opening up Google+ as a PLN (Personal Learning Network) might be beneficial for sharing ideas more publicly.  We would have to ask to turn it on at admin level. Or perhaps a searchable and threaded message board would be best.  I think a public collaboration space, similar to our Facebook group, but geared toward common planning and curricular advancement would be beneficial.
  • A few requested for a more visible technology assistance page which is now a link to “Teacher Resources” on the main webpage top left column, under site shortcuts.


  • A few requested for opening up more Google suite tools- Gmail, Sketchup, Google+.  It is a conversation that continues with administration, and changes are being carefully considered with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order effects in mind.

Overall, this was the highest participation and fastest submission to a Shawnee form request I’ve seen; I think due to how important it is in our day to day operations.  Please leave a comment or send me an email if you’d like to discuss.


Google Inservice Follow Up

Here are the notes from each section (you might have to log into Google with your LR account to view):

1. Google Drive Apps

2. Google Drive and Google Classroom

Part 1
Part 2

3. Google Drive, Google Classroom and Automation

I am available for Google assistance! Come to A111 any period and we can work together to design lessons.

Teacher Websites in the LRHSD.

We have many options to organize curriculum and course material for our students.  Teachers present material, ask students to perform a task, then collect the product and anything else observable and give feedback. We collaborate with students throughout the process of creating.


Verbally, on a whiteboard, or on lined paper in handwriting are the fundamentals. We can introduce technology to help organize and clarify the fundamentals: print formatted documents, use photocopiers, and then integrate some form of a submission, collection, folder and filing system.

I can help as the Computer Instructional Specialist with word document software and can help with the printer hardware.  Filing is up to you and the cabinet.

We’re lucky to have so many technology options and support in 2015 (standing on the shoulders of giants, technology has come a long way), most teachers have some form of a website to assist in the process of learning.

On the most advanced side, I love collaborating with teachers who have online classrooms, we can inspire our colleagues with lesson ideas and push the boundaries of online learning and bring your own device.  I can provide advice and support if you want the easiest system for online learning, or some blend of whatever works for you.

For beginners, my best advice is to identify all the frequently asked questions you receive as a teacher, then develop a resource page that helps answer those questions.  I found that videos or specific directions in the style of a wiki help with this.  Check out my CIS resource page.  I send links to the answers via email when it’s a frequently asked question.

It’s been 10 years since Google Docs started the process of live editing word documents on the web according to wikipedia.  I’ve been using it in class officially for 9 of the 10 years.  Many of us are familiar with Google Drive’s basic features and it’s ability to replace the Microsoft Office software suite.  Most of us are using it’s sharing and commenting features, which make it very powerful for collaboration and feedback.

For the past 4 years LRHSD has been officially connected to Google Apps for Education; LR teachers and students log in with LR email address and current password, then off we go!

Disclaimer: Google is one of the largest companies on Earth and many schools and universities are using the service.  We have no guarantee that the service will last forever.  We also have to have a plan for students and any data that will be in their portfolio for college and career.  Once students graduate from LRHSD their user accounts are deleted.  That being said, in my opinion, it’s still my choice and the very best option for teachers and students.

Currently, and most notably, Google Classroom (launched last year) integrates with Google Drive and creates a simple “stream” to send and collect assignments, questions and announcements.  Students get alerts in their student email when teachers post in Classroom and they see what has been posted sequentially in the stream when they log in.  Creating “template” assignments, sending copies to students, collecting them and giving feedback (even graded point values) to the students in the class is a breeze.  It’s all archived in the Drive in folders giving you the ability to simply sort and reuse all your work.

Just this week Google released integration with Google Calendar, making the system complete in my opinion.  Students can log in, go to their Calendar and see a complete list of all assignments and due dates to all their classes that use Classroom.

In my opinion it makes sense for anyone comfortable with trying new technology to give Classroom a try.  To see a list of current LRHSD users for inspiration and support, click here.  I can see a future with all teachers gravitating to Google Classroom.  It would make it easy for a student to log in and see all their classes, assignments, and announcements in one place.

My setup is as follows (…this year! It changes every year!):

Major Daily Use:

    • Google Classroom as the starting point for every activator, summarizer, and lesson (Bring your own device should work well, do you guys have any feedback on this?). Connects with Google Drive and alerts via LRHSD email. Check out this review for the basic functions. I think it’s the bees knees.
    • Google Sites (wiki template) for all instructional support. I post all my “frequently asked question” answers here. Most times it’s a video detailing a multi-step process or solution.
    • Youtube for all instruction video uploads.  Interested in making tutorials?  I can help you.
    • Google Calendar for lesson planning, scheduling and sharing with students. Classroom is integrated with Calendar, automatically posting assignments in a sortable, color coded by class, calendar view; it speeds up the process!

Minor Daily Use/Periodic Updates:

    • Schoolwires for public information, linking to my Google Classroom, Embedding my Google Calendars, Linking to Google Sites Wiki, and; also contact information and PR.
    • Social networks for PR and communication with the community.

Used to use:

    • Eboard for grandfathered support and training. EBoards are no longer given to new teachers.
    • Quia for quizzes and tests. LRHSD pays for the service. Keeps all your questions for future use and updates. No longer use due to performance exams and portfolio products being a better assessment in my classes.
    • Schoolwires for classroom management, has apps similar to Google Classroom (assignment app creates assignments, links to Schoolwires calendar, no submission options, no feedback options, no grading options), but much less user friendly and less ability to collaborate and give feedback with students.
    • iOS apps for specific tasks, we ran an iPad pilot program for 2 years and concluded that website based integration was easier than app based integration.  In my opinion, “bring your own device” and connect to any teacher website (because it is more universal) is the way to go.

I will post updates to this list of core websites supported by LRHSD, especially if comments below are discussing other options that we are using.  Please start the discussion here, or even better, join my Showcase Google Classroom-
Shawnee HS PD.

If you would like to join the Showcase Classroom and follow along please:

  1. Go to
  2. Sign in using your LR Email address( and password
  3. Join as a teacher
  4. Go to “+” button top right and click “join class”.
  5. enter the class code: 1teiuxa

LRHSD Google Calendar Tutorial

If you go to the Youtube video directly you can click in the description to jump to these points:

0-1:30 Overview of importing LRHSD schedule and bell schedules
1:31 Overview of Google Classroom integration with Google Calendar
2:35 Adding LRHSD Day Schedule (iCal, copy URL, add URL)
3:16 Exporting a Calendar
4:02 Import the bell schedule (settings, import calendar, choose file, ClassScheduleTemplate.ics, select calendar, import)
4:57 Planning with the calendar events

Here is the Bell Schedule Template that can be imported to your Google Calendar: Click here to download.

A new way to think of searching…

Check out this Google tool:

It’s interesting when searching is put into terms of “What are people looking for?” (Google Trends) or “What are people saying around the web?” (What do you love?-this was my favorite!).

This is a nice looking interface with questions to help guide using all the Google real time search products that you may not be using.  Try some!

Case Study: Google Calendar

In the spirit of learning from experience, lets look into classrooms for officially tested tried and true technology.  Mike Casey sets up effective (and easy to use) Google Calendars (with cell phone and other mobile device access and reminders!) for individual studies teachers, sports teams, clubs and other planning requirements.  He put together an awesome presentation on his website:

If you have been using technology that helps in the classroom, please share your story.

Be a Zen Searchmaster or Build a Network of Intelligent Friends…

I enjoy answering questions.  Not knowing the answer to a question is even more fun.  The novelty brings about new learning.  I enjoy the challenge.

I frequently use Google (surprise!) to answer most questions, most times using simple key words or phrases.  More difficult questions sometimes require having to narrow the search with quotations around phrases for exact results or using “+” or “-” then the word that must be included or excluded in the search.  That usually does the trick, but in extreme cases we can further refine the search or use other search engines, and I also enjoy user moderated message boards for specific topics.

For difficult questions unanswered by quick searching I ask direct questions to colleagues or my professional network of intelligent friends.  Most recently Google+ has added to the ease of asking direct questions to a large group of smart people.  I have “circles” for LRHSD, Shawnee Teachers, ed tech leaders, photographers, videographers, editors, graphic designers, students, clubs, ect…

If you are on Google+ please add me.

Setting up networks on Google Reader, +, Twitter, and Facebook have simplified answering questions.  Now you just have to ask the right questions.

Which networks are working for you?