Posts for Tag: google

Google PD

Drove to the city of Georgetown today. This was my view along the way, somewhere near Coloma. 

Did a PD session for the elementary school that is slowly moving to Google Suite. I had a really nice intro lesson planned for the 90 minute session, but I decided to scrap most of it. 

Even though the school has just begun rolling out Google Suite, many of the staff have been tinkering with Google Apps on their own time. Love that! 

So I stopped about 10 minutes into my presentation and asked, “how many of you would rather spend this time asking me questions?” Almost all agreed, except for that one teacher...there’s always one. 

But, the others were excited to explore the things that mattered to them. There so many questions about nuts & bolts: 

  • How do we create a shared calendar? 
  • How can I use the quiz feature in Forms? 
  • How can I turn off email notifications for Classroom? 
  • How do the permission settings for file sharing work? 
It was a good, productive day. And, I can’t wait to go back. 

Google fun facts

Saw this on lifehacker today. Thanks, Andy Orin! 

Did you know that three dogs survived the Titanic? I just learned that from googling “dog fun facts,” as Google is now delivering fun animal and plant trivia in search results. That and more in today’s news.

  • Perhaps it’s not the most important feature update but animal and plant facts now appear at the top of your search results whenever you search for something like “hippo fun facts” or “flower facts.” (By the way, did you know that broccoli is actually a flower? Romantic.) It’s just a fun feature that you can use to entertain kids or yourself. I spend most of my day researching cool dog facts so this news is important to me. [Google]


This definition sounds frightening. Thankfully, there is another definition for autoCrat. 

Flexible, easy to use document merge tool that creates PDF or shared Documents from spreadsheet data.

Automate the creation and sharing of personalized documents with autoCrat.

AutoCrat is a multi-purpose document merge tool that allows you to take data from a spreadsheet and merge it into a document via a template.  Tell autoCrat which fields to merge via <<merge tags>> and then let autoCrat mass-generate personalized documents. Optionally send the documents as email attachments.  Optionally tell autoCrat to run when new forms are submitted to created truly automated processes.


And the Google Sheets add-on is much more friendly. I saw a tweet by Mari Venturino describing how she uses autoCrat in the classroom for Claim Evidence Resoning, and was inspired to learn more. Thank you, Mari! This was the game-changer my teachers and students needed.


A typeface five years in the making, Google Noto spans more than 100 writing systems, 800 languages, and hundreds of thousands of characters. A collaborative effort between Google and Monotype, the Noto typeface is a truly universal method of communication for billions of people around the world accessing digital content.   

As a typography geek, and an EdTech TOSA, this makes me incredibly happy. Monotype is legend. But, a partnership with Google Fonts on this project to end TOFU will yield beautiful UX/UI. 

If you doubt this, I would encourage you to watch the video below. I mean...we no longer live in the age of the Gutenberg press

Conference season

The first trimester is drawing to a close. That means parent conferences are just around the corner. Soon, you'll be preparing files of student work and assessments, and you'll be scheduling appointments. 

Then, you may start to anticipate what questions the parents may ask about their student. You compile all the information needed to ensure that the conference is a success. You have numerous examples of student work, print-outs of online scores, and all the data necessary to support your observations. 

You're excited to share this information with parents, because you know that it will help their child succeed. But, then the questions start to form in your head: 

  • What does the parent think about their child's learning? 
  • What does the student think about his or her learning? 
  • Does these examples of student work and assessments truly reflect this child's abilities?
  • Does this child have a growth mindset, and how I do foster that in him/her?

There's a lot going on in that 20-30 minute time slot. Why not leverage technology to make the most of it? 

Google Forms can simplify these conversations, and give you the opportunity to really speak to the student's strengths as well as areas for improvement. Think of using Google Forms this way: you can quickly collect information from parents, and the student, prior to the conference. As a bonus, students get a voice in their learning and growth. 

Student Self-Reflection example 

Parent Pre-Conference example