Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday Tech Tip: Using Schoology with GoogleDrive

With the Chromebook roll-out and the wider availability of classroom technology, it's a good time to remind our teachers that GoogleDrive is integrated into COLE 3.0/Schoology (our learning management system).

If you are logged into COLE 3.0/Schoology, you will notice something called "Apps" under the "Resources" pull-down menu.  When you select "Apps," you'll see GoogleDrive already added for you.  (While other apps are available for install, this is the only one we've added for all users.)

The first time you click on Google Drive, you will need to "Approve" access so that Schoology can pull up the list of documents in GoogleDrive.  Once you "approve," you won't have to do that step again.

After app approval, clicking on GoogleDrive will bring up a list of the documents and folders you have in GoogleDrive.  From here, you can also create or edit documents, spreadsheets, drawings, and presentations.  This could be useful in the classroom if you didn't want students to leave Schoology to work on a document or presentation.

To add a Google file, click on the "Add Resources" pull-down.  This will bring up a window that asks you to name the file first, and then it stores it into your Drive for you.  To find it, refresh your browser.  Schoology doesn't yet allow for search inside of Drive, but it organizes files by recently opened or edited.

Speaking of editing, if you want to edit an existing file in GoogleDrive, you have two options: you can either click on the name of a file in Drive and it will open it in a new tab or window for you, or you can use the settings wheel to the right of your doc list.  From here, you can choose to edit the file or you can delete it.  This simply brings you to GoogleDrive, where you can also share the file or publish it for the web.

If you want to add a read-only version to your course (kind of like a PDF), you can also check the box in front of a Google file and it will convert it into a docx version that students can view (or download) or that you can move into your personal resources area.  If you would like to add the Google file in its current GoogleDocs version (with updates and editing options), you can add a link to the file in Schoology instead of converting it to a read-only file.

If students will be submitting a GoogleDoc as an assignment (and you'd like it to be a finished version without later edits), they can also convert the Google file and save it into their Personal Resources area.  Once there, students can choose that version to turn in as finished work for any assignment given in COLE 3..0/Schoology.

Having these two services integrated should help teachers and students streamline their work when using both COLE 3.0/Schoology.  If you have more questions about using GoogleDrive with Schoology, contact your school's technology coordinator or your district Technology & Learning Coaches.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Tech Tip: Extensions in Chrome

Jon recently blogged about web apps in Chrome (and using the Chrome Web store), but we also wanted to mention using extensions in Chrome.  Like web apps, you can find extensions in the Chrome Web Store (under the Extensions category).

While most web apps are links to web applications that run solely in a browser, extensions are things that add functionality to the browser itself. Many web apps can be run in browsers other than Chrome (like Google Docs, for example), but Chrome extensions only run in the Chrome browser.  Like bookmarks and apps, your extensions follow you -- and even install themselves -- wherever you log into the Chrome browser (signing into the browser is needed, though, to see any installed extensions).

What are some examples of extensions that might be helpful as a teacher?

  • Clean.r is an extension that eliminates all of the clutter when showing YouTube videos so that only the video is visible (removes recommended videos, comments, and other items on the page).
  • Readability is like Clean.r, except designed for text and articles.  If you visit a web page with  pop-up adds or other distracting elements, you can use the Readability extension to pull out only the article (text and images).  If you have a Kindle and create a Readability account, you can also send articles to your device in Kindle-ready format.
  • Realtime Board is an extension (log in required, but GoogleApps accounts can be used) which creates a collaborative whiteboard inside your browser.  Realtime Board offers free pro accounts to teachers & students (must submit application).
  • Presentation Remote lets you use a smartphone (app installation required on your mobile device) to control presentations in Prezi, Google Presentations, PowerPoint, Slideshare & Dropbox.   
  • Save to GoogleDrive is an extension that is already installed for our users, but it lets you save web pages, images, videos, or other content directly to GoogleDrive.  Right-clicking on an image or video in a web page will bring up the "Save to Google Drive" option.  Or, you can click on the extension icon in your browser (to the right of the URL bar) and it will save the entire page to Google Drive.
  • Chrome Speak will read text out loud (select text with your cursor and right-click to have it read aloud).  The computer voice isn't totally natural, but it's getting better.  (There are quite a few apps & extensions that provide this functionality).
  • Google Dictionary is what is sounds like.  Double-click on any word and the definition will appear (along with an audio pronunciation of the word).  Several languages are available in addition to English.
If you notice that your browser seems slow or is acting up, you can always disable extensions in Chome by typing chrome://extensions/ into the address bar.  This will bring up all installed extensions.  Remove or disable them here.

Happy browsing!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday Tech Tip: How to Install Google Drive on a Dell Laptop

Installing Drive on your desktop allows you to save/upload files (.doc, .pdf, .ppt, .xcl, .jpg, .mp3, etc.) directly into your Google Drive just like you would with your H://username drive on the district server. The great thing about Google Drive is that you can access files anywhere, anytime, from any device, that you can collaborate on, share, create, edit, and more!

To install Google Drive on your Dell laptop:

1. Start by logging in to my.cherrycreekschools.org using your Active Directory information in your Google Chrome Broswer. (See right)

2. Once your Google Drive opens, look at the bottom of the left column for the option to "Connect Drive to your desktop. (See below) Select "Download Drive for PC." Then, choose the Google Drive icon from the icons presented. (If you don't see this icon, you can search for it by clicking on the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen and typing "Drive".)

3. Now, the bar at the bottom of your screen should have a download called "googledrivesync.exe" Click on the download file to start the installation process.  (If you do not see the download file, you can always see recent downloads by hitting Ctrl+j and selecting it from the list of downloads that opens in a new browser tab.)

4. Enter your Cherry Creek email address and Active Directory password in the Sign In window that opens. This will be the account associated with Google Drive for your Dell computer. 

5. Complete the installation package instructions as they show up by clicking next as it appears in the window. 

6. Launch Google Drive for your PC from the Start menu. (See left) You can now drag files and folders from your H://drive, flash drive, desktop, or external hard drive into your Google Drive folder to begin syncing items to My Drive (part of Google Drive on the web). Remember, you can always access your Google Drive account by logging into my.cherrycreekschools.org.