Monday, 23 March 2015

Advanced Google Docs Layout - Creating a Resume/CV

Have you ever needed a resume or Cv?

Maybe you feel it's time to introduce your students to this topic or your just looking for a different creative activity?

Well, using GAFE it is possible to create some visually stunning, yet professional looking Resumes. Have you students create their own, or maybe they can write a fictitious one as a reply to an online job advert.

You will have them engaged and whilst working practicing all the basic and some advanced features of Google Docs.

Here are some examples of Resumes created using nothing but GAFE!


 

If you want to find out how to create colourful and professional Cv's like these simple watch the video below. As always if you feel it might be of benefit to your students or if you would like to use it in class. Go ahead and do so!



All you need is your Google account, and a healthy doses of creativity.

Have fun and Be creative!






Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Create a Simple Quiz/Questionnaire using Google Forms

Google Form has been getting better every month and with the addition of themes, it became a tool I really enjoy using in class.

However one aspect of Google Forms we tend to overlook is the power it gives our students to conduct their own research or make a quiz just for fun.

After seeing some of our students trying to create a quiz on Edmodo using standard text, asking their peers to 'reply' their answers, I knew we could do better!

They already had the tools they needed available, we just had not yet discussed the use of them in class.

So back to my trusty ScreenCast Software and time to record a tutorial on 'How to create a quiz using Google Forms'.
After all it's all about our students, and not just what we want to teach them!

Enjoy!



Monday, 9 March 2015

The Road to becoming Google Certified part 2

Ok, we are now three exams further and I think it's time for an update.
So far I've managed to pass all three exams and it has been a very interesting experience. It has been an exhilarating ride so far and I must admit that I have learned some things I didn't even knew existed. 

The first Exam I took was Gmail; and if you are still thinking of going in with little or no preparation, think again. Man I was shocked at how fast my time went past. I didn't even get to answer my last four questions. Good thing the others were answered correctly or I would have had to retake the GMail exam. Never mind I passed and learned a valuable lesson, Do not work too slow! haha

The next exam went a lot better. Google Drive; This time round I had a good 45 minutes left and I must say the questions were really good and useful ones. Not just questions for the sake of asking them, but definitely things you should know about if you are thinking of using drive.
Now I did have a lot of experience using Google drive, but if you don't, Start using it now. Before even considering taking the Exam. Trust me, it will help you a lot!

The third exam was today; Google Calendar. One of the exams I am/was a bit worried about. See, I do use the calendar but... in class? Nope, not really. The exam went great and I was left with 35 min to carefully review all my answers.

So what is my feeling about this course, what can I tell you, the person who might be considering taking this course?

One thing - Do it!

Even when you use Google Apps for Education on a daily basis, there are always new things to learn. I have thoroughly enjoyed these first three tests and am now anxiously awaiting the next one which will be the 'Big Bad' Google Sites.

I have even put the next two exams onto my 'Google Calendar', if that isn't called progress!



Thursday, 5 March 2015

Google Docs - The Basics

Here's a video I shared with one of my classes on Google Docs. Essentially going over some of the basic editing option of a Google Doc.

Most children are already comfortable with Microsoft Word, but It was clearly a good idea to spend a full lesson going over the basics. The slightly different look can confuse some of your students and before introducing the 'Share' and 'Collaborate' functions, we should make sure all pupils understand about 'styling and editing'.

Some of the topics discussed in this video are:
  • Font Styles
  • Editing and updating Font Styles
  • Font (Font face, Colour, Highlight, Size)
  • Insert Image
  • Image Search (Define Colour of searched image)
  • Text/Image Alignment
Another important function of GAFE worth mentioning to your students is the continuous auto save, as at the end of the lesson a handful of my students were looking for the 'save as' button. Another reason why Google is such a wonderful tool!


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Automatic Currency Conversion in Google Sheets



This will be my fifth tutorial on the use of Google Sheets.

This time we look at something I've had to use a couple of times, especially living in a country not my own.

Often you need to convert currencies, for instance to keep track of income or expenses, and it’s always a nuisance to update the latest exchange rates to keep your calculations up-to-date. With Google Drive, you no longer need to change all your formulas.

In any cell of your Google Docs spreadsheet you can use the =GoogleFinance("") function to pull in an exchange rate from real time data, so calculations are always up to date without having to look up the exchange rate.

If you want to know exactly how it's done have a look at the following Tutorial video.



The formulas used in the video are:
Euro to US dollar: =GoogleFinance("CURRENCY:EURUSD")
Euro to Thai Baht: =GoogleFinance("CURRENCY:EURTHB")
Other: =GoogleFinance("CURRENCY:<from currency symbol><to currency symbol>")

Find all the Currency Codes here: https://developers.google.com/adsense/management/appendix/currencies

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Road to becoming Google Certified part 1

I love Google! That's no secret. 

After having worked with Google products for a number of years and using them in my class I finally decided to get Certified.


Now becoming a 'Google Educator' is actually not as difficult as you might think. The process is pretty straightforward and the tests are all done online.


Before jumping into this you do want to explore the official Google Educator website as it contains all the information you need to embark on this journey.


Find the website here: https://www.google.com/edu/training/get-certified


One of the most important skills you will need is the skill of 'searching for and finding the answers to questions'. We require this from our students on a daily basis, so you can look at it as a test to see if you are practicing your very own teaching.


The Certification consist out of four required exams and one elective.

The required tests are: 'GMail', 'Calendar', 'Sites' and 'Docs/Drive'.
The electives are: 'Chrome Browser', 'Chromebooks', 'Google Play for education' and 'Android Tablets for education'.

I decided to go for Chrome Browser as an elective as Chrome is the most frequently used browser in our school. 


Once you start preparing for the exams spend some time on the website mentioned above. Google has excellent training videos available and a glossary with all the information you might need.


Here are some more useful links:

Coursework and Exam Links
Google in Edu Training Site http://www.google.com/edu/training/tools/

Advanced Training Lessons (For Exam)


As I embark on this journey I will keep you posted and I will share my progress throughout these various exams. My aim is to complete 2 exams a week, hopefully completing the full course by the end of this month. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Learn Python with CodeCombat

After hearing about CodeCombat on a weekly get together named 'Thirsty Thursdays' on Hangouts I was interested, better yet, more than interested!

Time to explore...

With a healthy dose of skepticism and critique ready to be shared I signed up, and that's where I saw the first useful feature, a spark of the brilliance to come; You can use Google+ To sign up! No extra passwords or logins to remember, WhooHoo!




Great! All my students have a Google account, so that makes my job easier. Guess the critique goes out the window.

Next, I chose to learn Python, as this is a language highly requested by my 'Game' loving pupils. (Battlefield uses Python for all it's addons and Minecraft:Pi Edition was fully coded in Python) and what happened next was history. 

The Geek(read:Nerd) inside of me came out, the gamer was alive again and I literally rushed through the levels of Code Combat. 

The interface of the game looks inviting and has a real MMORPG feel to it. Below you can see a screenshot of the level selection screen.



Even the character selection screen has that same RPG feel to it with equipment either bought or earned.


Now, I can hear you think, how does this teach coding, it's just a game. But nothing is what it seems... Rather than pressing a button your character follows the code you program.

Below you see a screenshot of the actual game-play in which I have to code the steps of my 'hero'.



In other words, if you believe in the merits of 'Gamification' of education (which you should) try CodeCombat! You will love it, but not as much as your students will. They will embrace it and learn how to code using gaming concept they already know. 

Find CodeCombat here: https://codecombat.com

Find out more about Thirsty Thursdays on Google+ Here:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111478728720313703818

Or watch some of the previous episodes here:  
Episode 01: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6oIg_-R3yg
Episode 02: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htjp7F2s5dM
Episode 03: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNdwoKK7vss
Episode 04: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWeuCZUSyRA

If you want more information about CodeCombat and answers to the FAQ of teachers visit their teachers page here: https://codecombat.com/teachers

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Using Google Keep to take notes

I've been using Google Keep since day 1 and it has changed the way I record notes and/or keep lists.

Before I used to constantly misplace my handwritten lists or post-it and I have tried several note keeping apps and programs to 'stick' Post-its onto my desktop.

This is however not cloud based, so only useful when working at home.

I also tried Evernote (Great app and program to use if you are planning on writing long, extensive notes with links, images and media) but Evernote was yet another sign in and password to remember, and in terms of simplicity not what I was looking for.

What I wanted was a simple note keeping app that syncs to the cloud, to all my devices AND is accessible through a web browser. ENTER: Google Keep.

Not only everything I was looking for but more: Sharing notes and collaborating on notes is now possible and multiple students can share ideas and brainstorm in the cloud.

This app is so user friendly that I recommend all my students to use it. It is linked to their GMail account and once signed in the note automatically sync to the cloud. It can make simple lists and for those visual learners, you can colour code all your notes. I love it, the students Love it, now it's your turn to LOVE it! Go and check it out at http://keep.google.com

Here's a video I shared with my class, flipping their learning, so they could come to the lesson ready with questions.




Now a lot of you are probably wondering, how does Google Keep look on the various devices? Well, first of all it uses the new Google Material Design. So full of colour and nice little animations. Below are some pictures for you to see just how useful this app can be.

On android:

I use the Widget for Android all the time (picture on the right). It makes recording an audio note or typing down a list as easy as clicking a single button.

The web interface (browser):


Neat and structured, definitely my personal favourite.