Using Time to Save Time: How much is too much?

My name is Martha, and I am an on-again off-again follower of ed tech gurus through online forums and social media.

I wish I could tell you that once I find a forum I like, I follow it religiously, but that would be a bit of an exaggeration. You see, I know forums, blogs, and twitter feeds are good resources, but who has the time to stay up-to-date?  While the authors are writing all these great time saving tips, I am consuming time and being consumed by ideas as I try and stay current on my feeds.

So, I decided I had to let the thousands of unread tweets and posts that are filling my twitter feed and forum tab die an unread death.

I’m starting from a clean slate and moving forward…but with a slightly smaller scope.

Here are my 5 must follows:

The Gooru for all things Googly (This one I follow through email.)

MakeUseOf for a wide range of techie things (This one I follow through email and facebook.)

Cult of Mac for all things Apply (This one I follow on facebook.)

Wicked Decent Learning or @WickedDecent for some wicked cool ideas on teaching and learning (This one I follow on twitter.)

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher for a tech integration in education (This one I follow on twitter.)

Who are your must follows? Do you follow them through an email forum, tweet deck, facebook, or some other reader or social media? Leave your ideas and suggestions for PD through online sources.


Collaborating with Google Drive

Being a Google Apps for Education school gives us many opportunities for engaging our student with collaboration. Google Docs/Drive is a good place to start. Think of it as a large filing cabinet in which you store files of any type, documents, presentations, images, videos, etc. You can organize these files many different ways – that’s one of the beautiful thing about electronic files. One file may show up in several different folders, depending on the content.

Organize GDrive
Sharing Docs with students makes for fewer trips to the copier, and reduces the “I lost it” excuses. You can choose to share docs that students can’t edit, such as classroom expectations, or you can share templates that you want students to work on and hand back in to you. In this case the students would need to make a copy, usually renaming it to include their name, and work on the copy. Then they simply share the copy with you and you both have access to the student work. Another way to do this, is to have the students create the document (presentation, spreadsheet, drawing, etc.) and have them share it with you. Here’s a short video on sharing documents with students.

Commenting on student work can be done in several ways in Google drive. The comment button that shows up when you have been given permission to comment tucks the comments on the side of the page, in relation to where the cursor is in the document at the time you are commenting. For instance, if you want to give a student information about a particular sentence, you can highlight that sentence and then hit the comment button. That tells the student exactly where your comment belongs in the document. You can also comment directly in the paper, if you have been given editing privileges. This is usually best done in an alternative color for visibility.
Google Forms gives you the ability to ask different types of questions and collect responses. You can find the Google Help menu for forms here. Click here to download a text tutorial with screenshots. Here is a video tutorial on using forms in Google drive:

For the more advanced users of forms that want to create self grading forms check out this video. Enjoy using Forms – so many uses so little time!!