Friday, February 22, 2013 and, collabroation for the creative people is back! It has been revised and additional features have been added.

What is it? It's a collaborative whiteboard space that seamlessly integrates with Google. And, the final product can be shared. It contains the design features of a Google Drawing or Powerpoint since you can edit backgrounds, group objects, bring objects forward and backward, and lock objects.

What's so cool about it? The whiteboard space can be exported as an image file when all is said and done. It allows you to embed your Google Docs into the whiteboard space with a handy Google button. It also gives extreme creative-minded individuals an outlet to collaborate on.

What's it comparable to? is a very similar tool. Both happen to be in beta modes as well. Both are infographic tools. offers a few more creative options, but gives more starter templates (known as Vhemes). If you are an avid Google user, links directly to your Google files. And, while allows users to export their canvas, is only available online.

Check out this Smore page for more information on the power of as well as some great examples.

If you want your students to be able to build their own infographics and to organize and present information effectively, both of these tools will work great!

YouTube EDU is worth the time

YouTube EDU and YouTube Teachers have both been around for a while, however, I have only recently started to use them after changes were made in YouTube/Google +.

YouTube EDU categorizes videos based on the educational topics. For instance, there is an engineering category, a university category, and so forth. You can also find the channels for many of the major universities.

YouTube Teachers is a channel that is part of YouTube EDU. It is specifically designed for teachers and for sharing of lesson videos.

YouTube for Schools is what allows schools to develop their own channels (playlists) that are part of YouTube EDU. It is enabled at the domain level and allows teachers and students to search a more filtered version of YouTube.

All three of these varieties of YouTube are great for education and are great learning tools! As schools adopt versions of the "Flipped Classroom" approach, YouTube's education section will become even more valuable.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 new form of Education

Last week, I stumbled upon Though I am an Edmodo and Moodle fan, offers something that either of them don't: lessons with objectives, and immediate evaluations of lessons.

In, teachers can:

  • create classes
  • build tutorials
  • assign grades
  • follow tutorials
  • take professional development
  • follow educators 
  • and more

What I like best about it is the handy tutorial-creating feature. It forces teachers to cite their sources, but gives them the ability to insert video, documents, and other media needed in teaching a concept. And, the teacher is required to choose objectives that the tutorial matches. Teachers can reference text books, authors, page numbers, and more. They can add a quiz for students to take after completing the tutorial. allows educators and students to run flipped classrooms successfully. In fact, you can even become "flipped certified" through

If you haven't checked it out, you're missing out! 

Doctopus 101

Doctopus: Making sharing documents easier

Do you want a clear way to organize student Google documents and a way to easily share and create documents for students? Try Doctopus, one of Google’s many Apps Scripts.

How does it work?

  • Simply create a template that you would like shared with your students.
  • Then, make a corresponding spreadsheet so you can see all of your students’ documents in one place.
  • Lastly, install and run the Doctopus script.
  • That’s it!


  • Make a template in Google Drive (this is the file that will be replicated and shared amongst your students and/or groups). If you want a different template for each group, you can make more than one template.

    • Save the file in a folder titled “Doctopus.”
  • Then, create a spreadsheet with the following columns (you may also copy and paste your roster into the spreadsheet, but verify it at least has these columns):
    • Student name
    • Student email address (this is necessary for sharing purposes)
    • Group (this is important if you want to share documents by groups so that students can only edit/view the document assigned to their group)
    • Folder (**This is optional and is used only if you have created folders within your Google Drive for your students and/or their groups. If this feature is used, Doctopus will auto-create the files and place them in the folders listed here)

  • Next, install the Doctopus Script:
    • Go to Tools-->Script Gallery

  • In the search box, type in Doctopus (if you don’t see it already)

  • When you see it, click on “Install”
  • After it installs, a new screen will pop-up asking if you want to authorize it. Say “OK.” Then, “close” the window.

  • Now, you should see a Doctopus tab in your spreadsheet.

  • Now, you can launch/run Doctopus:
    • Click on the Doctopus tab across the top and Select Launch installation

  • This will bring you to step 1: sharing basics. Select how you want to share it (individually, project groups, etc.)

  • Select the “whole class” and “group” permissions.

  • Then, decide if you want to add any teachers or others to the permissions.

  • Verify that the spreadsheet selected contains the student information.

  • If you have made individual folders for your students, click on the portion that says “my students have individual folders.:
  • Then, click “Save Settings”

  • You are now in Step 2: Choose with documents to copy and to distribute.
  • Select the folder where your template is stored (remember to have select the “doctopus” folder that you created earlier.

  • Then, choose which template you’ll assign to each group (if you chose the project groups sharing option).

  • Click “Save Settings.”
  • You are now in Step 3: Choose a destination folder...
  • If you did not select “make files in already created folders” in step 1, you will need to select which folder to create the documents in OR you can create a folder from this menu. Be sure to click on the “Create folder named” button if you choose to create a folder at this time.

  • Now, ,you can choose how you want your documents named and if you want people to be notified with the documents are created and shared with them. Notice the tags in this menu as well. You’ll need them later.

  • If you select the “notify document EDITORS” option, you will be able to customize the email message that is sent to them. You can choose the recipients (it will default to the right one), the email subject, and the body of the message. For any of the options, you can use the blue variables or any plain text.

  • Click “Save Settings.”
  • You are now in your final Step 4: Run and Share documents
  • Review your information. Then, click on the “run copy and share” button.

  • If you go into your Google Drive, you should see the newly created documents. If you chose to email recipients, they will be receiving an email now as well.
  • You will receive a note if it is successful:

  • Now, if you choose to use a different template, you can go back to your Doctopus tab in this spreadsheet and choose a different template. No need to recreate the spreadsheet again. Check out some of the other options available from the Doctopus tab:

  • Looking at your spreadsheet, you will notice the new items Doctopus added to your spreadsheet. DO NOT DELETE THESE OR TAMPER WITH THESE. These new columns include:

  • If you notice the Grade and Written Feedback columns--you can type in that information here. Using the Doctopus menu, you can select for that information to be sent back to the students when you are done. It means you do not need to send out a ton of emails anymore!

Ready to start?!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The best of Google

Recently, I attended the TCEA Conference and Convention. At the conference, I had the pleasure of listening to Amy Mayer of friEdTechnology. And, along the way, I picked up a few new Google Apps and extensions that are must haves!

Check them out!

Fun video on Chrome: Chromercise

Apps (Search for these in the Chrome Web Store):

  • Read & Write--good app for allow kids to listen to text
  • Chromespeak--will read text on Websites for you--
  • Webpage screenshot--can edit Webpages
  • TabScissors--combines all Chrome windows into one
  • TabGlue
  • AdBlock: blocks all ads on Websites
  • Save to Google Drive
  • Window Resizer
  • Evernote Web Clipper
  • Clear History
  • ScreenLeap
  • Big G Black Bar Sorter
  • Follow J.R--
  • Quixey
  • PicMonkey--Really cool avatar! (can open up in Google Drive)
  • MarkUp--can mark up a webpage and publish that mark up
  • Sound gecko--will record a webpage and send it as a mp3 file
  • incredible startpage--share at next Tech Thursdays
  • Fun tip: in Google Docs, go: up, ,up, down, down, left arrow, right, left, right, b, a, enter...this will reverse the screen
  • dotepub...good for  viewing on idevices
  • pulls up anything about a person when you email them
  • boomerang...use to resend emails if don't receive: --add-on for gmail so you can control when you send or receive emails

Extensions (Search for these in the Chrome Web Store):

  • Last Pass--saves all pws
  • Buffer App: creates a Tweet from whatever page you’re one-will send out when necessary
  • Amazon Wishlist
  • Awesome Screenshot
  • Delicious Bookmarks
  • AdBlock
  • IE Tab

Drive Apps (Search for these in the Chrome Web Store):

  • Aviary?--currently not working
  • PowToon
  • LucidChart
  • picMonkey

And, some other great links to Google:

Also, you can check out my TCEA presentation that showcases some of the extra Google wonders.

Happy Google-ing!