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CTL is Coming to You: Summer Trade Show Line Up

CTL is Coming to You: Summer Trade Show Line Up

Laura Helms

Laura Helms

Content Manager at CTL
Laura Helms holds a BA in Applied Linguistics and has been working in content and social media management for 4+ years. Native to the Pacific Northwest when she isn't in front of a computer screen you can find her teaching yoga or creating large scale mosaic murals.
Laura Helms

Learn about CTL’s Latest Ed-Tech Offerings at a Trade Show Near you!

CTL is dedicated to maintaining face to face relationships with our customers whenever possible. Hearing your stories and feedback with Chromebook technology in your classroom is what keeps us dedicated to always improving. This summer come see us at a trade show or educational conference near you. We’ll always have the latest CTL models and even sneak peeks at upcoming devices that are perfect for your Ed-Tech and business solutions.

June 7thSCS Instructional IT Conference – Memphis, TN

Shelby County Schools Instructional Technology Summer Conference, is attended by 500+ participants, ranging from principals and other key decision making members of their instructional learning teams along with six surrounding districts. CTL will be there showing off the latest in Chromebook technology like touchscreen convertible Chromebooks, the new J5X & NL61TX with Extra Rugged X-Panel, Google for Education, and Ed-Tech Software offerings.

June 14th – InnEdCo – Keystone, Co

This statewide conference takes place in Keystone, CO each year with the mission to help teachers integrate technological tools into all content areas. This four-day, hands-on, conference will help teachers learn how to implement new technology into their classroom to aid in curriculum and engagement. With 100+ different workshops, keynote speakers, and roundtable discussions with over 150 presenters and co-presenters who are primarily classroom teachers. Come see us at InnEdCo!

June 20th – NCESD Google Summit by DigitalBug – Wenatchee, WA

In the Wenatchee, WA area and curious about how to begin or better use Google products in your classroom? This Google for Education focused summit offers a day of learning and sharing tips and tricks on how to implement Google for Education and G Suite apps into the classroom. Come learn from a variety of certified and skilled presenters and discuss how to get the most from Google’s free products at NCESD’s DigitalBug Google Summit.  

June 25th-26th – SETDA’s Emerging Technologies Leadership Forum – San Antonio, TX

Join us for a weekend intensive in San Antonio, TX to engage in meaningful dialogue about topics of importance in digital learning across the nation. CTL will be showcasing our great selection of Chromebooks for education. SETDA members from state departments of education will also be there highlighting their major state initiatives and priorities.

June 28th-July 1 – ISTE 2017 – San Antonio, TX

ISTE is the place to be for educators and technology leaders. This weekend long conference highlights some of the most innovative leaders in technology and education. This year the Keynote speakers are Jad Abumrad, host and creator of NPR’s “Radiolab”, Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, and more. This event has an annual draw over 18,000 attendees and industry representatives, including teachers, technology coordinators, administrators, library media specialist, teacher educators, and policymakers. ISTE Conference & Expo is recognized globally as the most comprehensive educational technology conference in the world.

Aug 9th – Digital Edge ESD112 Summit – Vancouver, WA

The Digital Edge ESD112 Summit takes place each year in Educational Service District 112 in Vancouver, WA. This summit focuses on Google Apps for education. From Chromebook deployment to G-Suite apps, educational partners, including CTL, share the latest in Ed-Tech.

Increasing Student Engagement and Improving Assessment with G Suite

Increasing Student Engagement and Improving Assessment with G Suite

Dani Kennis

Dani Kennis

Dani is a high school Special Education Social Studies teacher and Technology Coach in the New York suburbs. She is also a Level 2 Google Certified Trainer and co-founder of The Education Calendar, a crowdsourced map and calendar of education events worldwide. Her blended classroom incorporates the use of G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education) as well as other Web 2.0 tools in order to prepare her students to be successful 21st century learners in a global community. She blogs about her work and teaching at DaniKennis.com and would love to connect on Twitter (@kennisdani).
Dani Kennis

Join CTL and Dani Kennis for a free webinar on how to get started with G Suite for student engagement and improved assessment on Wednesday February 22, at 9am PST.

REGISTER HERE: http://ctl.li/G-Suite-Assessment

By Dani Kennis (danikennis.com or @kennisdani on Twitter)

Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, is quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” When considering change as it affects education, today’s digital age means that we get to try many new and exciting tools in our classrooms. However, not all stakeholders in education are ready to jump in head first and readily embrace change. This blog post will serve as a slow dip in the shallow end of the Ed Tech pool and will introduce you to some of the ways educators can incorporate Google tools into their teaching repertoire to enhance engagement and assessment in the classroom. It is my hope that this blog post can be a jumping off point for a conversation, or even the implementation of new strategies and lessons in your classroom.

G Suite offers teachers many options for connecting, motivating, engaging, and assessing students. ‘What is G Suite?,’ you ask? It is Google’s free collection of cloud based technology apps, such as Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Draw, Google Forms, and Google Classroom. Allowing students to utilize these tools as an integral part of their learning experience enables rich and memorable learning opportunities that focus on important future ready skills such as creating, collaboration, and critical thinking. Below are five ways you can utilize G Suite tools to engage students and improve assessment in your classroom.

  • Flipped Instruction: In this model of teaching, the role of student and teacher are reversed. The ‘old school’ classroom model of lecture/note taking becomes work that is done at home so that class time can be used for questions, deeper learning, or group projects. While there are many different models of flipped instruction, I choose to pre-record videos (10 minutes or less in length) which serve as the direct instruction portion of a lesson. Then, the video is uploaded to my YouTube channel and students go home to watch and take notes. Independently, students fill out guided notes at home while following along with the lecture video. The final step is for students to complete a Google Form with questions on it, which is how I hold them accountable for doing the work. The next day in school, I review the answers on the Form to assess understanding and based on that information, we start by reviewing what students saw and heard in the video. Usually, this takes place in the form of a Post It where I have students write two things they learned and one question they still have on the material. Before digging deeper or doing a project, it is important to make sure to clarify misconceptions or misunderstandings that students may have. Eventually, when you’ve flipped a handful of lessons and students have gotten used to the new model, it becomes a seamless process whereby class time can more readily be used for various projects or other collaborative learning opportunities that foster deeper understanding and student driven learning.
  • Google Calendar: Many of my students struggle with organization and executive functioning. When I asked my freshmen how they keep track of assignments they reported that they ‘just remember’ or store it ‘in my head.’ They do not yet grasp the importance of using an agenda, calendar, or alternative tool to keep track of long and short term assignments or due dates. This is why I take time at the very beginning of the year to introduce Google Calendar and suggest that students download the app onto their phones, along with downloading Google Drive and Google Classroom. I explicitly teach my students how to enter assignments, due dates, reminders, and how to access all of the information independently and at home. I show them how to use Tasks and To Do lists, as well as discuss the importance of keeping track of both school and non-school related tasks, such as jobs, practices, or meetings. Focusing on these skills and teaching students to implement these tools early on in a student’s educational career stresses the importance of responsibility and organization, making them better and more effective students later on.
  • Google Forms: Another beginning of the year procedure I stand by is having students complete an interest and learning inventory questionnaire. I used to have this survey on paper but I found it took too long to collect and sort through the stack. Now, I use a survey I created on Google Forms and post it on Classroom for students to access. The purpose of this is twofold; it provides me with a lot of valuable information and data and also reinforces the many key, rudimentary skills that my students will need to be successful in our class – Taking their assigned Chromebook from the cart, logging in, accessing Google Classroom, typing, and putting their Chromebooks away in an orderly and timely fashion.
  • Google Draw: The information I collect from the above mentioned survey provides me with insight into students’ strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. I take the time at the beginning of the year to discuss learning styles with my students because I want them to understand that not everybody learns in the same way. We talk about the differences between being visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners and talk about how many people are a combination of many of those styles. For students who learn best by doing and creating, Google Draw is an invaluable tool. While I always provide written notes for my students, I will often assign them projects in which they have to interpret and prove that they understand the information. Many of them choose to do this using Google Draw either to create an illustrated summary of information or to create a graphic organizer. There are so many options for different projects students can do with Google Draw and, best of all, it’s simple to learn and easy to use for students.
  • Group Essays: While essay writing isn’t typically a skill that students look forward to, allowing them to collaborate and assigning specific roles makes the process much less daunting and more manageable for students. Using Google Docs, I have students work in groups to complete the different parts of an essay so that they are able to specifically hone in on certain skills and components of essay writing. I will assign one person to write an introduction, another to a body paragraph, another to a conclusion, and another to editing and proofreading. This also helps them to understand how much effort, time, and thought needs to go into writing an effective and strong essay.

 

Dani is a high school Special Education Social Studies teacher and Technology Coach in the New York suburbs. She is also a Level 2 Google Certified Trainer and co-founder of The Education Calendar, a crowdsourced map and calendar of education events worldwide. Her blended classroom incorporates the use of G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education) as well as other Web 2.0 tools in order to prepare her students to be successful 21st century learners in a global community. She blogs about her work and teaching at DaniKennis.com and would love to connect on Twitter (@kennisdani).

CTL Offers Free Monthly Webinars to Educators on Topics Relevant to K-12 Ed Tech

CTL Offers Free Monthly Webinars to Educators on Topics Relevant to K-12 Ed Tech

Stephanie Shea

Stephanie Shea

Marketing Manager at CTL
Stephanie Shea holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Georgia and has almost 20 years of writing experience ranging from newspaper reporting to PR, blogging, website copy, product descriptions, social media and advertising. When she’s not at CTL, Stephanie can be found playing the tenor sax, practicing astrology or hitting the running trails in Forest Park.
Stephanie Shea

Educators: You’re Invited to CTL Professional Development Webinars

CTL is proud to present our monthly professional development webinar series for educators. Each month, we host webinars on a wide range of topics relevant to K-12 Ed Tech including the latest in educational apps, 1:1 implementation, Chromebooks, G Suite for Education (formerly Google Apps for Education) and much more. Our presenters are experienced educators holding certifications such as Google Certified Educator, Google Certified Administrator and Google Certified Trainer.

All webinars will be recorded for those who are unable to attend the live event. We will post the recordings as well as list upcoming webinars at ctl.info/webinars. Mark your calendars for the following webinars in the coming months:

Introduction to Netop Vision Classroom Management Software
Wednesday, February 15, 2017  1:00 – 1:45pm PST
Guest Presenter: Pam Judge of Netop

REGISTER: http://ctl.li/Netop-Vision-Classroom-Management-Webinar

Netop Vision for Chromebooks helps to manage the digital classroom – providing visibility into all student activities, right from the teacher’s desktop. Learn why Netop Vision is the worldwide leader in classroom management software – connecting more than six million teachers and students in 105 countries.

 

Effective Assessment with Google Apps
Wednesday, February 22, 2017  9:00 – 10:00 am PST
Guest Presenter: Dani Kennis, Teacher and Technology Coach

REGISTER: http://ctl.li/Assessment-with-Google-Apps-Webinar

How can Google Apps be used to assess learning? In this one-hour webinar, educators will learn how to use Google Sites, Google Forms, and Google Docs/Presentations for diagnostic assessment (before learning), formative assessment (during learning), and summative assessment (after learning).

YouTube Authoring Tips and Tricks
Thursday, March 16, 2017 9:00 – 10:00am, PDT
Guest Presenter: Katherine Livick of ESD 112

REGISTER: http://ctl.li/YouTube-Authoring-Webinar

In this webinar, Katherine Livick of ESD 12 will demonstrate how to use YouTube’s Creator Studio, effects you can apply to your videos, captioning, and more!

 

Google Admin Best Practices and Insights
Wednesday, March 29, 2017  11am – 12:00pm PDT
Guest Presenter: Peter Henrie of Amplified IT

REGISTER: http://ctl.li/Google-Admin-Best-Practices-Webinar

Have you configured your G Suite Admin Console with educational best practices in mind? Guest presenter Peter Henrie, authorized Google Education Trainer and co-founder of Amplified IT, an education-focused Google for Education Consultancy, will cover key best practice settings and approaches to G Suite Domain management

The NEW Google Sites: Pros and Pitfalls

The NEW Google Sites: Pros and Pitfalls

Katherine Livick

Katherine Livick

Professional Development Manager for Digital Learning at ESD 112 at ESD 112
Katherine is the Professional Development Manager for Digital Learning at ESD 112. She is a Google Certified Administrator and manages ESD 112’s GAFE training domain. She’s also a Google Education Trainer who trains district personnel on best practices for managing and using Google apps in an educational setting, as well as providing general tech integration training.
Katherine Livick

Latest posts by Katherine Livick (see all)

Join CTL for a Free Webinar
on the New Google Sites for Educators
Wednesday, January 18 at 9:00am PST.

REGISTER HERE: http://bit.ly/2j2lACu

If you’ve used Google Sites in the past, you probably know that it’s a convenient way to create a website and integrate items from your Google Drive without having to worry about hosting or paying for external services. You’ve probably also noticed that it was well past time for an overhaul of its complicated interface and not-exactly-modern design options. Google noticed too, and they’ve created a seriously updated Sites tool to phase in over the next year or so–but is it worth switching now?

Where is this new tool?

First of all, your Google administrator has to enable the new Sites tool. They’ve probably done this already, but if you don’t see the new Sites tool in either of the places I describe here, you might want to ask them about it. The new Sites is integrated into Drive, so you don’t have to go to a separate page to start it up. From your Drive, click the New button and hover over “More”. You should see some additional Google apps in that section, including Google Sites. Click on it it and it will create a new site for you right away. The site will be stored in your Drive, just like your other Google Apps files. You can also type in (and bookmark) the new Sites homepage, which you can find at sites.google.com/new. That link will take you to a page listing all sites you’ve created in the new sites tool. The interface for that page looks a lot like the Docs or Slides homepages you may be familiar with, and you’ll be able to create a brand new site by clicking the plus sign in the bottom right corner. Alternatively, if you’re already looking at the old Sites tool (sites.google.com), look for the “New Google Sites” link beneath “Browse Sites” in the left sidebar.

New Interface, New Features

You’ll notice immediately that the Sites creation tool is much different from your old Sites. The interface is clean, simple, and allows some drag and drop functions. On the right side of the screen, there’s a sidebar that allows you to insert content and placeholders, add and re-organize pages, and apply new themes to your site. You can click on any text you see (like the placeholder for “Your page title” in the header) and edit it directly. Want more text? Just click the “text box” tool from the Insert menu in the right sidebar and it will appear on your page. Add images, links, or Google files from the right sidebar to populate your page. Once you have a few elements on your page, you can drag them around to re-order them. Google will keep things neat and tidy for you. If you want to change the look of your text, click on it and a pop-up menu will allow you to adjust alignment and give you a few options for size. The paint palette at the left will allow you to select from a limited number of styles, including choosing a photo to place behind your text (Google will adjust the contrast for readability automatically), and the trash icon will delete the text box.  Add pages and adjust the theme or design of your site with the other options in the right sidebar.

When you’re ready to share your site, click the PUBLISH button at top right. Depending upon your domain’s settings, you’ll have the option to publish your site to the world, or just to your district. Your site will be created with “responsive design”, which means it should change to accommodate any screen it’s viewed on – mobile or desktop. You can preview how your site will look by clicking the eye icon at the top of the page.

What’s missing

The new Sites tool is still in its “early release” phase, and while some functions are much more advanced than the old tool, there are still a few missing features. Themes, fonts, layout, and colors are not yet fully customizable. Many scripting, API and site-level features that were available in the old tool are still missing from the new version. Gadgets, sidebars, and iFrame embedding are missing too. Steegle.com has created a side-by-side comparison table of the features of both tools that is very handy. Many early users have noted these missing features and reported them to Google, so it’s likely that many of them will be added back – a few have already been changed since the first release of the tool, so stay tuned for further updates.

Making The Choice
If you’ve already got heavily used, functional sites made with the old tool, you may find that the missing features are a deal-breaker for switching to the new sites at this time. Google has stated that the old Sites will be around for a while, until at least 2018, and that migration options to move classic Sites to the new Sites will be released this year. This gives you a lot of time to play with the new Sites tool and familiarize yourself with the options. Go create a site, and don’t forget to have fun!

 

Katherine Livick is the Professional Development Manager for Digital Learning at ESD 112 in Vancouver, WA. She develops curriculum for teacher professional development around technology and acts as a technology coach and consultant, helping teachers to integrate technology in school districts around ESD 112’s region. She has quite a number of opinions about coffee, Star Trek and plants.

 

Introducing Google Cast for Educators

Introducing Google Cast for Educators

Katherine Livick

Katherine Livick

Professional Development Manager for Digital Learning at ESD 112 at ESD 112
Katherine is the Professional Development Manager for Digital Learning at ESD 112. She is a Google Certified Administrator and manages ESD 112’s GAFE training domain. She’s also a Google Education Trainer who trains district personnel on best practices for managing and using Google apps in an educational setting, as well as providing general tech integration training.
Katherine Livick

Latest posts by Katherine Livick (see all)

Google Cast: It’s Not All About You

By Katherine Livick, ESD 112

Don’t miss CTL’s professional development webinar on Google Cast for Education presented by Katherine Livick. Join us Thursday, December 8 from 9-10am, PST. REGISTER HERE: http://ctl.li/Cast-for-Ed-Webinar.

There’s a lot going on in your classroom. Most of it is great stuff and should be shared with the rest of the class…and you need to be free to move around the room to deal with the stuff that isn’t! Enter Cast for Education, a Google tool that’s built right into Chrome. Cast facilitates collaboration in your classroom using tools you’ve already got. You don’t need to be chained to your desktop computer to present to your class–and neither do your students!

What is Cast for Education?
Similar Google Cast for Education Menuto Chromecast, Cast for Education takes a Chrome tab (or your entire desktop) and displays it on another device’s screen. With Cast, students can request permission to share their screens to your device that is connected to a projector. Cast for Education works via Chrome, so any PC or Mac with Chrome installed (or any Chromebook) can get in on the fun. As the teacher, you can control who can request access to your display, and then approve or deny individual requests as they come in.

How do I (and my students) use Cast?
Setup is simple. The teacher needs to install and run the Chrome app Google Cast for Education, available from the Chrome Web Store. (If you can’t install Chrome Web Store apps yourself, ask your Google administrator to install it for you.) When the teacher is running the app, students have the ability to cast directly from Chrome using the three dots or three lines menu (where your settings are located). Students don’t need to install anything special in order to cast, but the teacher must be running the Cast for Education app in order for their display to
show up as a source.

Before students have the ability to cast to a teacher’s computer, the teacher must run the app and use the Settings button to “share” the ability to cast to it. This allows the teacher to specify who can cast to his or her display, and whether they need to ask permission first. Students must be logged in to the same Google Apps domain (district) as their teacher in order to cast. Teachers can choose to share Cast permission to an entire class in Google Classroom or to individual students or teachers in their domain.

What can I do with Cast in the classroom?Google Cast Menu
The possibilities for Cast in the classroom are limited only by your imagination. You can use a mobile device to teach from anywhere in the room, while still presenting information on a screen at the front. You can invite students to share research discoveries, processes and problem-solving, projects and assignments directly to the screen. While you could always show a Google document shared by a student on your own screen, using Cast for Education allows a more direct formative process for collaboration — a student who is stuck on a problem or needs writing feedback can show his or her work to the entire class at once. Students report that they find it “fun” to ask for help in this way. Teachers can work with individuals or small groups, while a student shares to a larger group using Cast. Cast allows student-driven collaboration to be shared with the whole class in an immediate, flexible way.

What’s next for Cast?
For now, Cast works on Macs, PCs, and Chrome devices (like Chromebooks or Chromeboxes). Currently, you can’t cast from iOS or Android devices, and there’s no official word from Google about it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that feature is available someday. If you use Cast in the classroom, share your adventures – post on Google + or Twitter and tag your posts #castforeducation so other teachers can discover this tool!

Google Chrome Time Saving Tips for Educators

Google Chrome Time Saving Tips for Educators

Dani Kennis

Dani Kennis

Dani is a high school Special Education Social Studies teacher and Technology Coach in the New York suburbs. She is also a Level 2 Google Certified Trainer and co-founder of The Education Calendar, a crowdsourced map and calendar of education events worldwide. Her blended classroom incorporates the use of G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education) as well as other Web 2.0 tools in order to prepare her students to be successful 21st century learners in a global community. She blogs about her work and teaching at DaniKennis.com and would love to connect on Twitter (@kennisdani).
Dani Kennis

Get More Done in Less Time with Google Chrome!

By Dani Kennis (danikennis.com or @kennisdani on Twitter)

In today’s fast-paced society, we strive to complete tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. For many educators, Google Chrome and G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education) helps us get more done in less time. To ‘level up’ your knowledge of Google Chrome, continue reading for tips and tricks for working faster and smarter while using your favorite web browser. For the full rundown of tips and tricks, tune into CTL’s Webinar series on Tuesday, November 29 from 4-5pm EST (1-2pm PST). Click here to register.

  1. Always be sure to sign into Google Chrome. Whether you are at school, home, or on the go, logging into the Google Chrome browser enhances the user experience. Automatically, users are logged into apps such as Gmail and other Google services, as well as YouTube. All browsing data, history, bookmarks, passwords and other user settings are automatically saved and synced to user’s Google accounts. This is one of the very first skills I teach my students at the beginning of the year as we dive into the 1:1 experience.
  2. While we’re talking organization, Google Keep is an invaluable tool for the Chrome user. It is a note taking and organization platform that is connected to the Google ecosystem. Think of it as a virtual combination of Post-ItsⓇ and “to-do” lists. The colorful yet minimalist look of Keep makes it easy to organize and share text, images, voice notes, and reminders on the go. Users can even set alert times for reminders. If you are looking for a similar app with additional functionality, Evernote is a great alternative to Google Keep.
  3. Extensions, extensions, extensions! Google Chrome Extensions offer users enhanced functionality at no cost. Who doesn’t love efficiency for free? Two of my favorite extensions are Google Mail Checker and OneTab. Mail Checker allows users to be signed into multiple Gmail accounts at the same time and provides alerts when a new email comes into a user’s inbox without the user having to open up Gmail – Definitely a huge time saver for those of us with multiple personal accounts or work e-mail addresses. By clicking the extension icon, you can preview or read emails right from the Extensions bar rather than going directly into Gmail. OneTab is my all time favorite app for those of us that constantly have more tabs open in our browser than we know what to do with. OneTab compiles all open tabs into a list of links in just one tab, helping users to save battery power and keep all tabs in one tidy place. To download these apps and more visit the Google Chrome Web Store,
  4. Keyboard shortcuts. Saving time by reducing keystrokes is my personal favorite way to increase efficiency. There are an endless amount of keyboard shortcuts and they vary depending on advice. Below are a few of my most frequently used and favorited keyboard shortcuts that simplify my Chrome experience.  
  • Ctrl + C = Copy
  • Ctrl + V = Paste
  • Ctrl + A = Select all text
  • Ctrl + K = Insert link
  • Ctrl + T = Open new tab
  • Ctrl + click = Opens a link in a new tab
  • Ctrl + = Zoom in
  • Ctrl – = Zoom out
  • Ctrl + shift + M = Log in with a new user or an incognito tab.

Depending on the G Suite app you are using, there are many other shortcuts available to users. When I am kicking off the school year with an intro to 1:1 etiquette, I provide my students with a checklist of skills, including keyboard shortcuts, they should know to make their lives that much easier.

  1. The power of the Omnibox. The Omnibox is the bar located at the very top of a website that contains the web address – but it is so much more than just a URL home. It can be used as a search engine without having to type in Google.com, or users can right click and visit the ‘Edit search engines’ option to search websites like YouTube, Wikipedia, CNN, or almost any website with a variety of search options. The Omnibox can also be used to search Gmail inboxes by typing ‘search Gmail:” to locate a specific email. For a complete list of Omnibar options, this website is a great resource for the superuser and for those really looking to ‘power up,’ this site explains how Extensions can be used to further enhance the Omnibox capability and functionality.

Time is a scarce commodity that we value and cherish, especially as teachers with only a few precious minutes in between periods, during prep time, or after school. Knowing how to utilize our favorite and most used tools, such as Google Chrome, can enable us to work smarter, not harder. For even more tips and tricks of saving time and being an efficient Google Chrome user, tune into my webinar on Tuesday, November 29th.