Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Google Docs Collaboration

Getting Started with Google Docs

          Trying a collaborative assignment is a fun way to introduce Google Docs to your students.  Here's how:
  • Go to Google Drive through your internet browser (I prefer Chrome) and click on "create" a new "document."
  • At the top, click on "untitled document" and give it a name.
  • Type in any directions, questions, etc. that you want the document to contain.
  • Click on the blue "share" button in the top, right-hand corner.  You will be given the screen below.

  •  From this screen you can copy the "link to share" and give your students that link through My Big Campus or email it to them.  You can also invite individual students by typing their email address in the "invite people" box at the bottom.  
  • Before you click "done," be sure to click the blue "change" link beside the people you are sharing with.  For students to be able to type in the document, the setting must be changed from "can view" to "can edit."  Then click "done."

Things we learned in Mr. Hurm's room:  
  • Don't use a URL shortener to give kids the link to the document.  When they click on the shortened URL, they will be blocked.
  • If you want the names to show up while kids are working on the document (which is the cool part), then after they click on the URL and the document opens in Safari, have them hit the home button, open the Google Drive App, click on "Recent," and open the document there.  For some reason, that activates the name pop-ups.
  • If you want to do this with small groups, have one of the group members create the document, share it with the other members (and YOU), and go from there.  That will save you some time at the beginning.  
If you want some help, let me know.  I can help you get it started or even come in and do the assignment with you.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Things You May or May Not Know...

I have had several "aha" moments with teachers this week when they caught me in the hall to ask a quick question or when I shared what another teacher was doing.  Here are some of them...

1.  When you access My Big Campus with your iPad, you need to turn the device sideways to be able to see all of your menu choices.

2.  All of the things you created in MBC last year (bundles, schoolwork, docs, etc.) are in "drive" instead of "my stuff."  When you open Drive, you will have to open the individual folders to find your files.  YES, you can create your own folders as well.  Check out this video for more details:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l87Ca1va44

3.  Teacher's who don't want their test questions online in My Big Campus will sometimes create the quiz with only the question number in the question box.  They then type in A, B, C, D for each of the multiple choice answers, and then select the right answer.  When kids are ready to take the quiz, they look at a paper copy of the test, enter their answers online, then submit.

4.  Some teachers are putting a weekly assignment list on the homepage of their groups in My Big Campus.  An easy way to do that is to open your group, click on pages, and then add a new page.  You can then title the page with the dates for that week and type (or copy and paste) that week's assignments in the word processing box.  Below the box it will let you select "make this page the homepage."  The next week you can add another page, make it the homepage, and the page for the week before will still be listed under "pages" for those kids who were absent.

5.  Don't forget that the MBC library has many resources and bundles for you to use.  Find a bundle you like?  Branch it and make it yours!  Then you can add/delete materials to fit your classroom needs.

If you have any questions about any of these ideas or others, please let me know!