Thursday, May 28, 2015

Google Classroom Updates

Are you using Google Classroom and recently noticed changes?  

For example, Classroom now supports
  • Co-teaching by allowing multiple teachers to join a class
  • Draft grades which means that teachers can save grades for an assignment and then return the graded assignments to students later.
  • Draft assignments and posts meaning that you can save your thoughts and edit and post your assigment or posts at a later time.
  • Email notifications to teachers and students for private comments made in classroom. 
Changes when using mobile devices (iPad, smartphone)
  • Assignment creation on a mobile device (iPad, smartphone)
  • Review assignments and provide grades on your mobile device.
If you would like to keep track of updates made to Google Classroom, bookmark the What's New in Google Classroom web page at

  • Friday, May 8, 2015

    Chrome Tip: Using Profiles to Access Multiple Google Accounts

    Have you tried to use more than one Google account (e.g., work and personal) in Chrome and had strange things happen?  Maybe your bookmark bar does not show the web pages you have saved or you have to login repeatedly?

    There is a solution to this problem and it is called Google Chrome Profiles.  I have been profiles for the past year, and have found them to be a must-have on every computer I use.   It allows me to keep my work and home account separate.  

    Setting up Profiles in Chrome

    1. When logged into Chrome, you will see your username or email address in the top right of your chrome screen.  If no name is listed, click on the three line icon (in the image below it is above the word 'bookmarks') and
      select Settings > People > Add Person

    1. A Google Sign-in screen will appear (as below).  Click on Switch person.

    1. If you have used Chrome profiles before, your other profiles will appear as below.
    2. If you have not used Chrome profiles already, click on Add person.

    Using your Chrome Profiles
    You will need to login to your new profile and you will have two separate Google Chrome sessions in separate windows.  

    To change a name or photo on your profile, click on the icon associated with the profile in the sign in screen (see green circle below).

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015

    Data Visualization - Teachers As Scholars Program

    Yesterday, I attended the first of two sessions in the Teachers As Scholars program entitled Data Visualization.  The course is being taught by Hanspeter Pfister, a Harvard Computer Science professor.  The topic was very interesting and I thought I would share the five important principles to creating effective graphs (visulaizations) which we learned in class. 

    1. Graphical Integrity.  
      Don't distort your data!  Start your bar charts and line graphs at zero and if you do not, make sure you add a disclaimer.  Make sure that your pie chart percentages add up to 100%.
    2. Keep it Simple.
      If it doesn't convey data, remove it.  This might include color, lines, shadows or more.
    3. Use the right chart for your information type.
                 Comparison -- bar charts
                 Trends -- line charts
                 Correlation -- scatter plot
                 Distribution -- histogram
                 Proportions -- pie chart
    4. Use color strategically.
      10% of the male population is color blind and have difficulty distinguishing between red and green.  Take this into consideration when you are creating a graph.  Consider using color as follows:
      If you are ranking items in a category:
                Luminance -- the light to dark of a color
                Saturation -- how far away from gray
                Hue -- Color (e.g., red, green, blue)
      Check out a tool of color scales to help select colors for graphs.
    5. Tell a story with your data.
      This helps your audience to gain insight from the data.  For more information on this, check out How to Tell a Story With Your Data by Jim Strikeleather in the Harvard Business Review.