Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sharing with Google Drive

Thanks to Kyle Pace for the information found below.  His blog can be found at

One of the most common questions teachers have had lately is regarding the best way to have students share work with them and vice-versa via Google Drive. In my opinion this is the best feature of Google Apps for Education; the ease of sharing and collaborating with your fellow teachers and students.  It really simplifies your workflow and we aren’t confined to emailing attachments back and forth or accessing items via a network drive that’s only accessible at school.
When you’re wanting to use Google Docs/Drive with students, figuring out which workflow works best for you is one of the biggest challenges. How to access something I want students to turn in to me? How do I put a file out there for my students to have access to? I wanted to share a couple ways that teachers in my district have been doing that. I know they aren’t the only ways it can be done but teachers have had a lot of success with them.

“Out of the box” Sharing

Teacher creates the folder and manages the sharing – The sharing features that are already built in to Google Drive are very handy. I’ve had some teachers that have found it useful to create a folder and then share that entire folder with their students. This gives students access to the folder, they can then move it to their “My Drive” work space, and can then place any necessary documents in that folder that they need to have access to. If you’re going to go this route I would recommend creating a class folder and then creating a folder for each student inside of that.  This brings up an important digital citizenship conversation at this point that needs to happen. At this point your students will be able to access each others’ folders. If this were to become an issue you would need to go to the sharing settings for each individual folder and take each student off except for the student whose folder it is. Then your students will see the class folder, and inside that they will only see their folder. This option can take a while depending on how many students you have but it’s a one-time setup at the start of a school year or each semester.
Student creates the folder and shares with you – This is the option that I usually suggest for students in grades 3 through 12. I would have the student create a folder and they share the folder with you. I would strongly encourage to create a standard naming convention you’d like all your students to use when they create the folder (ex. Name followed by 2013-14, hour 2, American History etc.). The teacher could even take it a step further and ask students to create more folders inside that folder (ex. subject folders or a folder called ‘work to turn in”, etc.). This option puts the student as the owner of the folder and it can easily become a digital portfolio of their work for that school year.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

As I work to improve my blogging frequency and information shared, I want to start by thanking all who have attended and presented at the InterActiv Conference.  This event has been the cornerstone of the work we have done to help educators better use technology in the classroom. For those unfamiliar, visit for more information.

My focus this year is on staff development.  Providing more opportunities, information, and resources that can make a direct impact in the classroom. 

Here is a great site with tips and tricks to better use Google Drive.

Google is a great tool for both staff and students, but there is much more than meets the eye to these services.  Take some time to better utilize, organize, collaborate, and understand Google Drive.

iPad Toolkit for Students and Teachers.
For those educators who are using iPads in the classroom, the suggestions above will be nothing new. The hope is that other educators will not feel overwhelmed by the diagram and actually view a number of core apps as manageable for their own learning curve.

Stay tuned for more updates, tips and random thoughts as I work to provide more resources to educators.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Copy - the BEST Cloud Solution

I recently discovered a cloud storage solution called Copy.
Copy is unique because you start out with 15 gig of free storage, and then you can share a link with your friends. For each one that signs up, you receive another 5 gig of storage.  There appears to be no limit to the amount you can accumulate.
The storage is web based, app based for iOS and Android, and also app based for Mac and Windows.  It really works great, and the best part it is free.
Follow my link below to sign up for yourself.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One of the biggest questions I get when talking to teachers about iPads is about getting student created content off of the device.  We are not a 1to1 iPad district, in most schools. Kids share devices, and teachers want to use the iPads to create, not just practice.  I had made it my mission to find something that was easy to use, so students could move their creations off the device.  I found several things that worked, but nothing that I would call easy.  I have a 6 year old son, so I decided that he needed to be able to make this work, or it was not a viable option.
Well, one day I stumbled on something called OwnCloud.  
It is a free piece of software that can be loaded on a server that is running Mac OS, Linux or Windows.   There is a .99 client that gets loaded on the iPad/iPod/iPhone/Android.  There is also a free client that can be downloaded to your computer, and the service is also web based.
We quickly built an old Mac Mini into a test server, and loaded the software up.  We had this working in under an hour, and plan to build a bigger server for use district wide.  OwnCloud works exactly as advertised.  You create accounts, log in, and you can move things to the server.  I have created some shared classroom accounts for teachers, and they can have kids log in to the account and hand in their work. The service works better than Dropbox, and I own the server, which is important when dealing with students who do not have the ability to agree to the terms of service from online entities.  Because we own the server, we are able to provide this to our students without a problem.
Check out the OwnCloud web site here -

Monday, January 14, 2013

I have been looking at several of the iPad apps that turn the device into enhanced marker board.My current favorite is Doodle Buddy. It is a free app, and can be used at almost any grade level.  With over 44,000 colors to choose from, this app will never get boring.  The app also includes backgrounds, text and stamps to include with your work.  Doodle Buddy is great for creating artwork, practicing math problems, spelling words, and much more.
I have given some suggestions below, but this app really lends itself to fit in almost anywhere.

Practice spelling words, forming letters, writing sight words, and even sentences.
Do math problems - long division, multi-number multiplication, algebra and geometry.
Tell a picture story using backgrounds, stamps and drawings.
Draw a picture and write a complete sentence describing what is happening in the story.
Practice the parts of speech.
Play Pictionary with a friend or group.

Friday, January 4, 2013


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