Monday, December 15, 2014

Collaborating with Google Docs

One of the best reasons to use Google Docs is the ease with which you and your students can share and collaborate.  Here are some tips you can use for collaborating with Google Docs.

Share, don't email
Get out of the habit of emailing documents back and forth with students and other teachers.  Instead, share the document with them by clicking on the share button and then adding their email address. (A bonus is if they are on or, simply type in their name and Google Docs will find their email address.)  The shared copy will be an editable, web copy of the the document.

Shared Folders
Create a shared folder with other teachers or your class.  When you add files to that folder, you are given the option to set the same sharing settings for the file as are the settings for the folder.  You do not have to change the settings for each file individually.

Make changes at the same time
Many people can edit the same document at the same time.  This is probably the best thing about using a Google Doc!

Remove Collaborators

If you decide you no longer want to share a Google Doc with someone, you can remove that person from the sharing list and they will no longer have access to your shared document.

Track Edits and Changes
As each person edits the document, their edits and changes are assigned a color so that you can easily see who is editing what within the document.

Revision History
Every edit and change that is made to your document can be recovered by looking at the Revision History.
(File ->See Revision History)

Friday, December 5, 2014

5 tips for Gmail

Here are 5 tips for customizing Gmail.

  1. Snippets
      When viewing your inbox, you can choose between viewing the emails subject line or seeing the first line of your message.  The first line of your message is called a Snippet.  To switch between  of your email message or snippet, go to Settings and under the General tab, scroll down to the Snippets setting.

  2. Unread Message Icon
      If you would like to quickly see how many unread messages are in your inbox on your Gmail tab in your browser, then the Unread Message Icon is just what you need.  Turn it on by selecting the Labs tab in Settings (Settings -> Labs).

  3. Undo Send  Another very cool option in Labs.  By turning on Undo Send, you can give yourself up to 30 seconds to decide if you want to stop an email after you clicked Send.  Enable Undo Send by clicking on the gear icon on the top right of your screen. Click on settings, and then click on Labs. Scroll down until you see 'undo sent' and click "enable."

  4. Unbundle Conversations
      Gmail sorts emails into conversations, called message threading. This allows you to see all the replies to an email along with the original message. Some people love this, but others hate it.  If you are not a fan of Gmail conversations you can turn it off quickly and easily.  Go to the Gear, select Settings and then the General tab.  Select Conversation view and turn the option off.

  5. Copy and paste images directly into your email messages  Did you know that there is more than one way to insert an image into your email?  You can click on the image icon at the bottom of the message (see image below) OR you can simply Cut and Paste the image from the internet directly into your email.  Quick.  Easy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

5 Google Doc Tips for the Classroom

Google Docs is the Google Apps for Education word processor.  It can do nearly everything Microsoft Word (or any other word processing program) can do, PLUS it allows you to share our documents with other teachers, students, or anyone.

By using Docs, group teaching and close communication with students becomes easier, as does collaboration among students.

  • Tip #1 – Takes notes at your next department and share them with the other members of your department.
  • Tip #2 – Develop and share collaborative lesson plans with other teachers. When any of the teachers sharing the Doc makes a change, it will be available to the rest of the group.
  • Tip #3 - Keep track of which student made which edits using the See Revision History command in Docs (File ->See Revision History).  Every edit that is made by a student is saved and can be later retrieved.  This can help you to determine who did what or if everyone did equal work.  It can also be used to find lost content that may have been accidentally deleted.
  • Tip #4 – Encourage students to work on group projects using Google Docs, so that each student can independently provide their contribution and instantly integrate it into the whole.
  • Tip #5 - Use shared Docs for student writing assignments to provide quick feedback to help guide them during the process.

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to get notified of events on your Google Calendar

Did you know that you can get text message notifications of events on your Google calendar?
Setup is quick and easy.  

Register your phone

First, you need to register your mobile phone with Google Calendar.  This is a one-time setup.  Google Calendar will send you a verification code on your phone.  
  1. Open Google Calendar.
  2. Click the settings gear in the top right .
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Open the Mobile Setup tab at the top.
  5. Add your country and phone number.
  6. Click the Send Verification Code button.
  7. Once you get the text message, enter the code you received in the Verification code field and click the Finish setup button.
  8. Click Save.

Set a reminder

Second, add the reminder to the event in your calendar.  This is done by selecting the calendar event and clicking the Edit event link (see right).

At the bottom of the event screen, you will see the Reminders settings.  Once your mobile phone is activated on your account, you will have the option to add SMS (Short Message Service) reminders.  These SMS messages are the messages that are sent to your mobile phone.

** Please keep in mind that your mobile service provider's standard rate for receiving text messages may apply. If you have any questions about the rate, please contact your service provider for more information.
You can find more help at Google SMS Nofitications Help.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Be Careful When Downloading

Please be careful when downloading any software from the internet.  

  • Watch for “freebies”  that are sometimes included as you download and install.  
  • Uncheck any boxes if you are unsure.  

Being aware of what you are clicking on reduces possible malware and viruses.

Watch Out!.jpg

While not all “freebies” are malware, in this case the extra software is a second anti-virus program which you don’t need.  Kaspersky takes care of viruses on your computer and installing a second anti-virus program will not help.  

Below is a link about the possible problems with running multiple anti-virus programs:
Why Using Multiple Antivirus Programs is a Bad Idea

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Removing the Navbar from your Blogger Blog

By default, Blogger puts a "Navbar" at the top of your blog. This is great if you want to find other blogs. There is even a "Next blog" link, which will take you to a random blog. Wait a minute! You may not want your students or their families to click on this link and be unpleasantly surprised. Here is how to remove the Navbar from your blog.

1. Go the layout settings of your blog

2. Click "Edit" on the Navbar box

3. Scroll down and select "Off"

If you forget how to get to your blog settings, just go to while you're signed in.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Docs Tip: Restart Numbering in Google Docs

Often when using numbered bullets in Google Docs, I find it necessary to split up my bullets.  This may be because I am adding content to different cells in a table, adding images, or simply adding text content used to clarify a statement. 
When this happens, Google Docs numbering defaults back to 1.  

It is possible in Docs to restart your numbering at the number that you choose.
Simply choose 

Format -> Lists -> List options -> Restart Numbering.  

Then choose the number that for which you would like to restart.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Google Drive Shortcuts

Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts that might help make your use of Google Drive more productive.
Google Drive

  • Ctrl+Home: Go to the top of the document
  • Ctrl+B: Bold
  • Ctrl+C: Copy
  • Ctrl+E: Center alignment
  • Ctrl+Shift+F: Full screen
  • Ctrl+L: Back to left
  • Ctrl+Shift+L: Bulleted list
  • Ctrl+J: Full justify
  • Ctrl+K: Inset link
  • Ctrl+M: Insert comment
  • Ctrl+H: Replace
  • Ctrl+V: Paste
  • Ctrl+Z: Undo
  • Ctrl+Y: Redo
  • Ctrl+Shift+Space: Insert non-breaking space
  • Page Down: Move down one screen
  • Ctrl+Shift+F: Full screen
  • Page Up: Move up one screen
  • Ctrl+Space: Remove formatting
  • Ctrl+: Heading style 1.
    Change the "1" to any number 1-6 and get the corresponding header
  • Spreadsheet specific
    • Ctrl+End: Go to the last cell in data region
    • Ctrl+Home: Go to the first cell in data region
    • Shift+spacebar: Select entire row
    • Ctrl+spacebar: Select entire column

To view all keyboard shortcuts: 
  • On Windows, press Ctrl + / 
  • On Mac, press ⌘ + /

The above information was borrowed from

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WGBH/NSTA Stem Teacher Video Challenge

Are you interested in creating a video for the WGBH STEM Teacher Video Challenge?

By taking the challenge, you have a chance of winning an iPad or document camera.  The winner will be announced at the 2015 NSTA National Conference.  

To take the challenge, simply create your own STEM video and submit it before February 1, 2015.  Information about the challenge can be found at the end of this video produced by WGBH.

Watch as NOVA's Anna Rothschild, producer and host of "Gross Science," offers practical tips for composing a beautifully edited educational video. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Google Apps for Education Upgrade

The following was posted by 

Drive for Education will be available to all Google Apps for Education customers at no charge and will include:
  • Unlimited storage: No more worrying about how much space you have left or about which user needs more gigabytes. Drive for Education supports individual files up to 5TB in size and will be available in coming weeks. 
  • VaultGoogle Apps Vault, our solution for search and discovery for compliance needs, will be coming free to all Apps for Education users by the end of the year. 
  • Enhanced Auditing: Reporting and auditing tools and an Audit API easily let you see the activity of a file, are also on the way. 
All of this comes with the same world-class security that protects all Drive users. Every file uploaded to Google Drive is encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers. As always, the data that schools and students put into our systems is theirsClassroom, which recently launched to Google Apps for Education users, makes using Drive in school even better by automatically organizing all Classroom assignments into Drive folders. And Google Apps for Education remains free to nonprofit educational institutions with no ads or ads-related scanning.

We want educators and students who use Google Apps for Education to be able to focus on the learning experience—not the technology that supports it. With Drive for Education, users can put an end to worries about storage limits and more easily maintain a safe, effective and compliant learning environment.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Gmail Shortcuts

Here are to some time saving shortcuts you can use in Gmail:

Firstly, to turn keyboard shortcuts on, go to Mail Settings by clicking on the Gear and choosing Settings, then in the General tab find Keyboard Shortcuts and select Keyboard shortcuts on. 

cCompose new message
/Start a new search (cursor jumps to search box)
With an email selected (by tick box) or open:
lOpen Label menu
vOpen Move To menu
!Report as Spam
#Move to Bin
+ or -Mark as important / not important
Shift-rMark as read
Shift-uMark as unread
From an open email:
zUndo last action
Shortcuts for the new Gmail compose (automatically enabled)
Shift + EscapeFocus main window
Escape;Focus latest chat or compose window
Ctrl + .Go to next chat or compose window
Ctrl + ,Go to previous chat or compose window
Ctrl + EnterSend your message
Ctrl + Shift + cAdd cc recipient
Ctrl + Shift + bAdd bcc recipient
Ctrl + Shift + fAccess custom from
Ctrl + kInsert link
down arrowMove down to previous message
up arrowMove up to next message
nIn a conversation, move down to the next message
pIn a conversation, move up to the previous message
EnterOpen currently focused message
Ctrl + bBold
Ctrl + iItalics
Ctrl + uUnderline
Ctrl + Shift + 7Bulleted list
Ctrl + Shift + 8Numbered list
Ctrl + Shift + 9Quoted text
Ctrl + Shift + lAlign left
Ctrl + Shift + eAlign center
Ctrl + Shift + rAlign right
Ctrl + [Indent less
Ctrl + ]Indent more

Here is the original link

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Archived Emails? Now what?

Have your emails accidentally been archived?  Can you no longer find those emails? No problem.

Check out Gmail help on archived emails to find out 

  • how they get archived, 
  • how to find archived emails, and 
  • how to move them back to your inbox.

Archived Emails Help

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Deleting Email Contacts from Gmail

If you were using our new Google Apps for Education Gmail account last spring, you may now find old FirstClass email addresses appearing when you try to email co-workers.  

Not to worry.  Phil Bellenoit (Elementary ITS) shared this great Tech TidBit.  Folow the instructions below or watch this video.

In Gmail, switch from the Mail view to the Contacts view.  See image on right.

In the Search bar at the top of the page, search for "".  

Then click on the search icon.

When your search results appear, you may select individual contacts by clicking the box next to the person's name OR you may select the entire list by clicking the box in the button at the top of the page next to the Add to Contacts Button.

After you have selected all the contacts that you want to delete, click "More" and then select "Delete Contact" from the list.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gmail: Creating Meaningful Subject Lines

Because Gmail threads emails into a single conversation, it is important to ensure that your subject lines are meaningful.  Writing meaningful subject lines are important for you, your recipients who receive many emails each day, and when you write messages on distribution lists.

Creating meaningful subject lines makes searching for emails in Gmail much easier.   Oftentimes, you receive many email messages from the same person and meaningful subject lines allow you to easily determine which email you want because the subject line describes the content.

Meaningful subject lines can assist in receiving timely responses.  They assist a recipient in choosing the correct email.  

Meaningful subject lines can also help you to receive more timely responses.  This is because co-workers who receive many emails everyday can immediately determine the topic and importance of your email.

When sending emails, it is important not to reply to an email with an unrelated  topic or question.  A new topic should have a new subject line because it is a new conversation.

For more good advice, check out the web page: Top 10 strategies for writing effective emails.

Gmail Help on Understanding Gmail Conversations: 
Gmail groups all replies with their original message, creating a single conversation or thread. In other email systems, responses appear as separate messages in your inbox, forcing you to wade through all your mail to follow the conversation. In Gmail, replies to emails (and replies to those replies) are displayed in one place, in order, making it easier to understand the context of a message -- or to follow the conversation.
When you open one message in a conversation, all of your related messages will be stacked neatly on top of each other. We call this Conversation View. In Conversation View, each new message is stacked on top of the ones that arrived before it, so that the newest message is always the one you see first.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How to Book a School Resource (Laptop Cart or Computer Lab)

In a previous blog entry, we learned how to add a Resource Calendar to Google Calendar.  This blog entry will show you how to book the laptop cart or computer lab at your school by creating an event on your calendar.  

Booking a school resource is done by creating an event on your calendar and then adding the resource to your event.  Follow the steps below or watch this video.

  1. Create the event on your calendar.
    For example, a HS teacher may want to book the Integration Lab during C: Block on Tuesday.
    1. By adding the time at the beginning of your description, you can schedule the resource for the exact time that you will need the resource.
    2. Add the event to YOUR calendar.  Google Calendar will automatically also enter it to the resources calendar for you.
    3. Click on the Edit Event link to go to the next step.
  2. Add the Resource
    1. Notice the event name in the description box.  It does not include the time that you previously entered.
    2. The time appears in the To and From boxes (see 2 on image right).
    3. On the right side of the event details page, you will see 
      Add: Guests ! Rooms, etcClick on Rooms, etc. 
    4. Select the resource that you want to use.
      The teacher in our example would s
      elect WHS-A103-Lab 
    5. Click Save.
    6. Please note: If an existing resource is not listed then it has already been booked by another teacher.
Once you have completed these steps, you should see the event on your calendar.  
The event will automatically be generated in the Google Calendar for the Resource.  
Finally, anyone else who tries to book the resource during the same time period will not see the resource under the Rooms, etc. list.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Setting Gmail as your default email handler in Chrome

Have you clicked on an email link and not had email open?  

If your answer is yes, then you need to set your default email handler in Chrome.

Setting the default email handler in Chrome is easy and this video will show you how.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Adding a Computer Cart / Computer Lab Sign-Up Calendar to your Google Calendar

1.  Click the drop-down to the right of Other Calendars.

2. Choose Browse Interesting Calendars.

3. Select More.

4. Choose Resources for

5. Choose your school name.

6. On the far right click Subscribe next to the calendars that you wish.

7. Then it will show up on your Google Calendar under Other Calendars.

To book the computer cart or computer lab, check out the blog entry:
How to book a school resource (Laptop cart or Computer lab).

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to Receive Calendar Alerts on your Cell Phone

Google CalendarDid you know that you can set your calendar to send reminders to your cell phone?  

I find it essential in helping me remember appointments, meetings, and more.

In order to set up your phone alerts, you will need to add your phone number to your Google Calendar profile. 

To set up phone alerts, 

  1. Log into your Google Calendar.
  2. Select the gear on the right hand of the calendar page.
Log in to calendar and click on Calendar Settings
  1. Select Settings
  1. Select Mobile Setup from the Calendar Settings menu.
  1. Add your phone number and click Send Verification Code.

    This code will be sent to your mobile phone.
  2. Once you receive your verification code add it in the Verification field on the page and click Finish Setup.
  1. Select an event on your Calendar and click Edit Event.
  1. Your Reminders section of the Edit screen should now give you the option to add an SMS reminder (i.e., a text message message).

    You may have to click on Add a Reminder to add a second option.