Tag Archives: Google Sites

My slides from “Redefining Collaboration with Google Apps” at #NYNJGS13

Today, I’m presenting at Google Apps in Education NY/NJ Summit. This is my first Google Apps Summit, and I’m excited to be a part of it. I’m a big fan of Lisa Thumann (@lthumann), and she worked hard to put together this event.

My session is Redefining Collaboration with Google Apps from 10am-11:00am in Room 318. Here’s the description for my session on the summit’s website:

Presented by: Karen Blumberg, Technology Integrator, The School at Columbia University This session is geared towards: Techie, Teacher, Admin Level of Session: Basics

Google Apps for Education provides tools that enable a community of teachers and students to collaborate differently. With shared Calendar, Presentations, Documents, Sites (and with the advantage of Google Drive), a school’s population can communicate paperlessly, plan dynamically, and work productively and efficiently.

We’ll discuss a few examples of how Google Apps enhances our 21st Century classrooms:

Teachers at The School at Columbia University share meeting notes in a single Google Doc that is added to at every gathering.
6th grade scientists curate their personal Google Site to keep track of notes, lab work, data, and assessments.
7th grade historians locate articles and add them to a class page using the “announcements template” on a class “Current Events” Google Site.
8th grade English students share multiple drafts of their creative writing in a Google Doc that they share with their teacher.

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Creating a 7th Grade Current Events GoogleSite in Social Studies with @CatherinGeorges

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Catherine Georges (@CatherinGeorges) is the 7th grade Social Studies teacher at The School at Columbia University. I have really enjoy collaborating with her over the years. Recently, she and I looked at a variety of digital spaces to host a Current Events Site for her students to curate weekly articles for their classmates. Initially, I was looking forward to using Posterous but upon closer examination of their Terms of Service, I learned that users have to be over 13 years of age. This doesn’t work for our 7th graders. We considered Blogger next, but it is not currently in the Google Apps for Ed marketplace yet. I also considered Edublogs and other sites before Catherine and I just agreed to set up a GoogleSite: https://sites.google.com/a/theschool.columbia.edu/7th-current-events-2012-13/home

Each learning group (7A, 7B, and 7C) has a page with the Announcements template, and Catherine created a calendar which lists three children per learning group per week who are responsible for adding an article to their class page. Students need to include the following when posting a Local, National, or International story:

1. Link to the article

2. Summary of the article (3-5 sentences)

3. Supporting image (with citation)

4. Google Map (using a Google Gadget)

5. One good leading question for classmates to answer in the Comments section below each post

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6th graders added Art posts to their digital portfolio created with Google Sites

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Yesterday, I was in Yoshiko Maruiwa‘s art classes to help 6th graders add three posts to their personal digital portfolio (created in Google Sites). Yoshiko takes photos of all their finished work and creates albums on The Gallery. (The Gallery is our internal photo server powered by Drupal.) Kids include an image of their work along with an artist statement that explains their process, idea, challenges, successes, curricular connections, and anything else they want to include to curate their work. For today’s class, the students made a post for their Art Self Portrait, Art Tessellation, and Art Circle Design.

To organize all the posts from their 6th grade year, kids created an Announcements page named 2011-2012. As each post is written, it snaps into place in the sidebar index and is arranged alphabetically. Hence, I have them title their posts starting with the subject. I like this better than creating a new page/section for each subject. This way there are less clicks to get to examples of their work, and there is no danger of having pages without any projects on them.

During the course of our discussion, we talked about:

  1. Their invisible audience – while access to the kids’ digital portfolios is limited to users on our school’s GoogleApps domain, everyone in the community has an account. At any moment, their work could be viewed by students, teachers, administrators, parents, and anyone with access to a username/password. This should influence what they write (informative without being super personal) and how they write (grammatically correct).
  2. Appropriate commenting – write a comment that is specific and/or can initiate a discussion. Something like, “I liked your use of color” or “I see you painted a guitar. Do you play any other instruments?”
  3. Inserting an image by linking to the URL of the image online rather than taking a screen snapshot or dragging a copy of the image to the desktop. By using the URL, students can simply point to something else online. The alternative is to copy/take/steal a version of it which is tantamount to theft (depending on how the work is licensed).

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