Friday, August 15, 2014

Setting Up an Automatic Signature in Gmail

I hope everyone had an excellent start of the year!​ At this hectic time, I thought you might be able to use a little tech tip that will save you a few seconds every time you type an email. You have all probably received emails that include, at the end, a person’s name, site, job title, phone number, etc. Have you ever wondered how to set it up so that all of your emails include this information without having to type it every time you send an email? This can be done by changing a setting in Gmail. Click the gear icon on your Gmail screen and select Settings. 

Scroll down until you see Signature. Select the signature box and type in any information you want included in all of your emails. 

You can customize your fonts ​and​ add a picture​, quote​ or link to end every email​. If you would like your name to appear before the original email in a reply, check the box ​below your signature. You are done. Now, every time you hit the compose button, your name and any additional information you chose to include will appear automatically.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just Twitter! The Smart Kids Are Doing It

If you are reading this that you aren't on twitter because you think it's for trash, or gossip, or just plain useless, please take a second to read the infographic below that the article that in links out to.  But you   Twitter enables you to have a circle of teachers to call upon and to offer your great ideas far beyond what you could possibly have at your school site alone.

But that's just the start of know what, don't my word for it...Twitter for Teachers is a web page put together by The USC Rossier School of Education.  If you don't want to take my word for it, check them out.

Twitter for Teachers Infographic

Google Apps Want To Go Home

Over the summer Google made some changes to how the file type icon (the colorful rectangle we see in me up or left corner of Google Docs) behaves in Google Docs, Google sheets, and Google slides. These changes make the desktop version of these applications behave more like the mobile apps that they are related to. The screencast below explores the changes made to these icons and the changes and functionality in the Google drive productivity Apps. I think this will make switching between the mobile version and the desktop version of Google Drive and the Google Apps for Education much easier in the long run.

Correcting & Commenting on Student Work Just Got Easier in Google Docs

One of the issues for teacher with electronic writing from students is that we are not used to grading and giving feedback digitally.  This should surprise no one.  Exceedingly few of us that are currently classroom teachers have any models for electronic feedback on writing.  I take classes at the local community college for fun and enrichment and I have a few models, but they are based on specialised products.

With Google Docs, as awesome as the collaboration tools have been, grading, especially the more technical parts of writing (grammar, syntax, usage, punctuation, etc.) have been a  little cumbersome.  Mainly what you have is the commenting system, which can get unwieldy for secondary teachers with over 150 essays to grade at a time.  I have seen some teachers use the highlighting tool and then color code errors and that's an inventive solution, but Google has added a feature to Docs, that is going to make all of our grading-lives easier.  It also has potential to make student more accountable for peer editing responsibilities.

This features is called suggestions and it is perfect for showing student the correction they need to make to the more technical side of their writing.  And one of my favorite things about this feature, you can use it whether you have editing rights or comment-only rights.

Check out the screencast below.