Dec 2, 2016

New Online Course - Getting Started with Google Classroom

Think that Google Classroom is just a place to post your Syllabus?  Think Again!

Are you interested in sharpening your skills with Google Classroom?  Just getting started and need some guidance?  

Enroll now in "Getting Started with Google Classroom"

This course will fill you in on all the tips needed to create a great course, as well as timely tips on how to go Paperless!

Nov 30, 2016

Early Look: Google Team Drives

Team Drives

Recently Google announced the Early Adoption Program for Google Team Drives.  This feature - available in Google Drive - allows teams to create and use a Team Drive, which is a collaborative space to create and share files.  

Who can use Team Drives?  

Once available, anyone in your domain - individuals and Google Groups included - can be added to a Team Drive.  Likewise, anyone in your domain can create a team drive.  


By creating a Team Drive, any files that are in the drive can be viewed or edited - depending on managed access - by anyone in the team.  If any member of the team leaves, no files are lost, as the files belong to the team - not an individual.


There are 4 tiers of access for members of a Team Drive:

  • Full Access - can manage members and Upload/Delete/Edit all Files
  • Edit Access - can edit all files and upload new files
  • Comment Access - can view and comment on all files
  • View Access - can view all files

This allows you to set users with different levels of access, to prevent accidental deletion of files, and to prevent users from uploading content without permission.

As a general rule it will be good to set at least 2-3 other users you trust to Full Access.  This will allow management of the Team Drive to continue if one person leaves the organization.


Currently, the only files you can create within a Team Drive are Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings.  

If a file is deleted, it will reside in the Team Trash for 30 days, upon which time it will be deleted forever.

Video Tutorial

Watch this video for more information and stay tuned for the release of this feature by watching the GSuite Update Blog.

Nov 22, 2016

Google Classroom: Creating A Question for Discussion

As I have been developing online PD courses for my district, I have been working toward updating my catalog of videos for Google Classroom.

In this video, I discuss the use of the Create Question option.  As far as classroom assignments go in an online environment, one thing that I had been waiting for was an effective method for conducting an online discussion forum or journal-type assignment in Google Classroom.  Prior to the addition of Create Question, I used to generate discussion assignments using a Google Sheet or Hyperdoc.  

To use the Create Question option in classroom, just click on the + sign and choose Create Question.  You have the option of choosing between Short Answer and Multiple Choice, which is what I use for Poll Questions, Bellringer Activities, and Exit Tickets.

Watch this video for more information.  Enjoy!

Digital Badges Part 2: Creating a Leaderboard

In the first part of this series, I explained how the use of digital badges in District Online Professional Development has taken off.  In this article, I explain how I set up our Badge Leader-board.

In our district, I have had a great response to professional development, and I wouldn't necessarily guess it is because of the badges themselves - although many people like to have that tangible (digital) item to show they have completed something.  No, I believe what has created such a surge in online PD is the leader-board!  Some people in general are naturally competitive - they see that others are involved, and they want to be at the same level - or greater - in terms of training and understanding.  As a result, I created our leader-board to show how many and what type of badges have been earned by each building/school site.  Each week, I send a reminder of which school is in the lead.

I created our leader-board using Google Sheets, and then posted (embedded) my Google Sheet on the Google Site we use for Professional Development.  This allows those who have completed /earned a badge to show off their name, and allows everyone to see who is in the lead.  

This video explains how I set up our Google Sheet/Leader-board.  Enjoy!

Nov 16, 2016

New Google Sites is Now Available to Regular GMail Users

If you are a regular Gmail user (not affiliated with GSuite for Education or Work), you now have access to the New Google Sites.  

The New Google Sites is available through Google Drive.  To use Google Sites:

  1. Just go to
  2. Click New > More > Google Sites

Resources and Links

If you need help getting started, there are several resources available:

Nov 8, 2016

New Google Sites - Open to Education Users November 9th!

Have you been anxiously waiting for the New Google Sites to come to your school? Well the wait is over.  Starting tomorrow, November 9th , the New Google Sites will be available to users on the Rapid Release track (Scheduled Release Track launches on Nov 21).  

For those who have been waiting for this release, here are a few tips regarding this release... Google Admin Users, scroll to the bottom of this article for important info.

Teacher Users

New Google Sites will be available through Google Drive.  Just go to and click  New > More > Google Sites to create your site.  

New Google Sites will also still be available at  You will have to click New Google Sites in the left margin.

If you want to learn more about this release and how the New Google Sites looks and feels, watch this tutorial video.

Adding Content

Its easy to add content to your New Site.  Just double click anywhere on your page, and a page editor wheel will appear allowing you to insert Images, Links, Text, Drive Files, or uploaded documents.

Google Apps Integration

You still have the ability to integrate and add content from a wide variety of Google Apps and Tools.  Add content such as:
  • Embed
    • YouTube
    • Google Calendar
    • Google Maps
  • Insert
    • Google Drive Folders
    • Google Docs
    • Google Slides
    • Google Sheets
    • Google Forms
    • Charts from Sheets

Responsive Design & Themes

Page and Subpage Navigation - Nest pages under each other for Subpage navigation - just drag and drop.

Easily add Theme Presets.  Just click the Themes menu and choose from 6 design themes.

Image Resizing - As you add images to your page, you can resize them.  Sites will automatically crop them for optimal viewing, but you can always uncrop as needed. 

Drag, Drop and Resize Content - All sections, images, and inserted items can easily be edited just by dragging and dropping, or using the resize tools.  
Watch for additional features to be released over the next year....


Google Admin Users

If you are the Google Admin for your district, and you wish for your users to have access to the New Google Sites, it is important that you do the following:
  • Classic Sites and Google Drive must be enabled for your organization. You can find instructions to turn it on here.
  • New Sites will follow Google Drive sharing settings in the Admin Console.  It will not follow the sharing settings for Classic Sites.  
    • To edit Sharing Settings for New Sites go to Apps > GSuite > Drive.  
    • To edit Sharing Settings for Classic Sites, go to Apps > GSuite > Sites