Hands-on With the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 | Tips and Tricks Episode 9

This time, Dean gets hands-on with the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, checking out a number of different uses for the built-in stylus. Do you have some tips for using the stylus? Share them in the comments below!

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Why You Should be Running in Person events

By Dan Taylor

Back in 2010 I was trying to work out my next move. I was helping set up and support a couple of schools with Google Apps and trying to work out how I could expand this. I didn’t have an office then and was working remotely out of cafes and co-working spaces. I spotted a Facebook connection who had set up a meet up for similar remote workers in Prague, where I live, so I emailed him and asked if I could get involved in the event. In the end around 12 people joined us in a cafe in Dejvice, a leafy suburb of Prague, for an afternoon meet up, and a few designated people gave a quick talk about projects they were working on.

I gave a talk about the ‘Google in schools’ topic I was working on. After my session one of the attendees came across and we talked about our shared interest in all thing Google. He was a developer and that meeting led to us working together to develop a software product for schools called ‘CourseDirector’ which ended up being used by institutions worldwide including Rutgers University and Eton College.

Fast forward one year and I was now working full time with Google tools and keen to learn more. I discovered a Google for Education conference in Northern California and was about to register as an attendee when I thought “Why don’t I contact them and see if they need any help with the event”. My thoughts were that it would be a great way to meet the organizers and speakers, plus interact with more attendees. They replied and said “Fantastic you can help on the registration desk”. I accepted and had an amazing time.

I got back to Europe and learned there hadn’t yet been any such conference in the whole of Europe. I tracked down a contact at Google and proposed that I would organise one. They agreed and we held the first European ‘Google for Education Summit’ at the International School of Prague together with my friend John Mikton. We had 150 attendees turn up from across Europe and an amazing time. That event led to the start of AppsEvents and since that day in 2011 I have been continuously helping organize events of every type and size quite literally across the globe.

What being involved in the these events showed me is the huge power of ‘in person events’, and that even in this increasingly online world there is no replacement for face to face interaction. More than that though it showed me that by being the person running the event it multiplies the benefits you get from attending.

It doesn’t matter if it’s meetups, training sessions or conferences. Here’s why I think YOU should be involved in running events:

It’s the best way to meet new people

When you go to a conference you talk to a lot of people and sometimes it’s easy to lose track of everyone you meet. The beauty of being the person talking from the stage, or the person they interact with at registration is that people will generally remember you. If you put yourself in the attendees shoes they only know you as the event organizer, so they associate you with the topic of your event.

I believe running live events is the number one way to build your network....and not just build your network but ‘turbo-charge’ it. As the event organizer people will be talking to you all the time, and especially for people who are a bit introverted it's an ideal way to help you get out of your comfort zone.

The friendships that can come through this cannot be underestimated. I have good friends in places I never would have expected such as Taiwan, Thailand and the Middle East amongst others that started directly from me running events that they attended.

You learn much more about the topic when you run an event relating to it

I’m a strong believer that the best way to learn more about a topic is to teach it, and this applies to events in that by running an event you will learn from other presenters and expand your knowledge.

The reality is that by running an event not only do people perceive you as a subject matter expert in your field, but that you genuinely become more of an expert in the field by running the event!

If your an entrepreneurial type then events can lead to you selling your product or service, although there is a big ‘BUT’. What I mean by this is that you can use your event to build relationships with people who COULD become customers in the future. What you should never do it use your events as a ‘pitch-fest’…. Your event should be 100% focused on maximum knowledge transfer to the attendees.

Just to say in closing that ‘running events’ does not have to mean you are the one to dream up the concept and plan the event alone. You can get involved with a team for an existing event, and you would be amazed just how keen event organizers are to get volunteers on to their team. Just try it!

I hope this article inspires some readers to go our and run some events. Please let me know your experiences in the comments below. One final tip to leave you with….I mentioned it above but I want to come back to it:

Helping run the registration desk is the best way to get started with events. 

Firstly the main organizer will be super grateful to have someone do this (It’s an important job and they want someone keen, detail focussed and high energy on it) and secondly you get to meet every attendee! You’ll speak with attendees both during the registration process and later when they come back to ask questions.
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Meet the New Google Classroom

We previously shared about three AI powered features coming to G Suite. This week, Google delighted us again with exciting new updates, this time, for Google Classroom!

Organize Assignments and Discussions in Classwork

There used to be only a single Stream for students and teachers to share content and ideas. With the refreshed Classroom, Google introduces a new page which separates student discussions from the actual class discussion and resources (documents, quizzes, assignments, etc.)

With the addition of Classwork, teachers can create Topics to organize assignments and discussions per class into modules or units.

The Stream page now serves as an online classroom community that helps students develop their communication skills.

Old Single Stream View:

Classwork view:

Teachers can also rearrange Topics in Classwork as well as copy or reuse previous classes from one class to another. All documents will be copied as drafts allowing instructors to make modifications before posting.

Speed up feedback with built-in Comment Bank

Giving actionable feedback is essential in the learning process. However, it can be very time consuming to give personalized feedback to every student. In the updated Google Classroom, teachers now have a comments bank for commonly used feedback.

These two new features are Classroom’s biggest redesign yet and the team will be releasing even more changes soon such as the ability to create quizzes in “locked mode” where students get a distraction-free experience when taking exams using Forms on managed Chromebooks.

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More AI Powered Updates Coming to G Suite

We did a couple of features on the various ways Google has integrated machine learning in G Suite such as nudging emails, designing beautiful presentations with minimal effort and making sense of data in Sheets through the Explore function.

Google announced a few more exciting AI powered changes coming to G Suite over the next few months. Here’s a rundown of what’s to come...

Grammar suggestions in Docs

Google is introducing grammar suggestions in Google Docs to help you write clearly and effectively. This native tool helps recognize spelling or grammatical errors and suggests quick recommendations on how to correct them.

Grammar suggestions are available through the Early Adopter Program.

Smart Compose in Gmail

If you’ve opted in for the new G Mail, you may have enjoyed using Smart Replies—response suggestions based on the email you received. Now Google is taking it to the next level with Smart Compose.

Announced last May during Google I/O, Smart Compose will display inline word suggestions based on what it thinks you are typing or more likely to say next.

Smart Compose is already available for Gmail users by enabling the “Experimental Access” in the new Gmail settings.

Smart Reply in Hangouts Chat

To help users respond to messages quickly, Smart Reply is also coming to Hangouts. Similar to Gmail Smart Reply, this functionality will also suggest three possible responses so you can free up time to focus on creative work.

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AppsEvents Achieves the Professional Development Partner Specialization in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization Program

Google Cloud Recognizes AppsEvents’ Technical Proficiency and Proven Success In Professional Development 

New Hampshire, July 23, 2018 — AppsEvents today announced that it has achieved the Professional Development Partner Specialization in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization Program. By earning the Partner Specialization, AppsEvents has proven their expertise and success in building customer solutions in the Professional Development field using Google Cloud Platform technology.

The Google Cloud Partner Specialization Program is designed to provide Google Cloud customers with qualified partners that have demonstrated technical proficiency and proven success in specialized solution and service areas.

Partners who have achieved the specialization in the Education Professional Development category train educators on the use of Google technology in the classroom and prepare them to become Google Certified Educators, Trainers and Innovators.

“We incorporate the best practice we see in leading education systems across the world to our work with schools,” said AppsEvents CEO, Dan Taylor

AppsEvents works with schools in several ways. Through ‘Google Summits’, high energy two day ‘conference style’ events, G Suite and Chromebook experts run multiple sessions across one or two days. Delegates select topics and levels that are ‘just right’ for their professional learning objectives.

AppsEvents ‘Google Certification Boot Camps’ are one and two day events where teachers get certified as Level 1 and 2 Educators and Certified Trainers . AppsEvents also runs specialized bootcamps for specific job roles such as school leadership, IT staff and support staff. Later this year, AppsEvents will be launching an AppsEvents G Suite Proficiency Certification training to meet the needs of those new to G Suite or working in education ‘non-teaching’ positions.
Finally, AppsEvents runs transformational PD sessions for schools and districts across the US to develop deep use of Google tools in the classroom, often over multiple semesters. These sessions focus on a holistic approach including Chromebooks, G Suite and Expeditions, and are customized for every engagement to meet the specific goals of the school.

Photo during the internal Google Educator Bootcamp hosted by the Trumann School District as part of their new school year focus. You can learn more about it here.

About AppsEvents

AppsEvents is a global team of educators that share a commitment to a vision of cloud computing and Google technologies in particular. We aim to help schools run more efficiently, assist individual educators better perform their work, and most importantly help prepare students for today's changing tech landscape.

AppsEvents is a global organization with offices in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

You can see all our public events at www.appsevents.com or please contact our USA Director Allison Mollica on allison@appsevents.com
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Google Forms for Reading and Writing

By Stephanie Karabaic

Today’s classrooms are filled with learners with varying levels of skills. Some classrooms sizes are larger than we would like, and this can complicate meeting the needs of all learners.

How can a teacher in a typical classroom determine what students already know, what they have learned after initial instruction, and where to move in the instructional path? Google Forms can be a teacher’s best friend!

Here are some of the examples from my classroom…

1. Book Club ‘Check-In’

Google Forms can be used as a ‘check in’ for readings students are doing in groups or individually. This activity helps in shifting the responsibility of learning to the students to help them realize they play an integral part of their own learning.

Example : https://goo.gl/forms/JDZLcJpEvbcWUX8i2

2. Formative Assessment

Google Forms can be used for online quizzes. In my reading class, I use Forms to assess students’ understanding and give them real time feedback by allowing them to see the answers they got correct and the ones they missed immediately after a quiz.

Forms also enables teachers to differentiate testing without the students knowing there are different leveled tests.

Example: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Quiz https://goo.gl/forms/8ZygTvStwrEl1ryr1

After reading and completing many group activities relating to the short story, I created this quiz for students to demonstrate their learning of literal story elements. I gave a great deal of support and differentiation throughout instruction and all students received the same quiz.

3. Classroom Survey

I also use Google Forms as a way to have students select books to create unique interest-based book clubs. I prefer to group students based on interest rather than lexiles, as the lexile ranges are already accounted for when I list the book options.

4. Prior Knowledge Activity

Additionally, I employ Google Forms as my entrance and exit tickets to assess where students are in the moment of learning, so I can adapt instruction to meet the needs of all learners.

Here is an example of a Prior Knowledge activity before a group of students study about Tsunamis.

Assessing ‘prior thinking’ about a story’s main topic could be the base on which students would discover irony, character development, themes, conflicts, traditions, and how free thinking is essential in life. It also allows teachers to craft instruction to individuals, large groups or even small groups.

5. Extending Learning

Teachers can engage students in fun activities proving their level of understanding of a topic, as they transfer the concept to the world outside of the classroom. Using a Google Form to extend the topic taught through a multimedia movie representation clip, students can demonstrate mastery and transfer of skills. By using Google Forms and YouTube, teachers can have students demonstrate concept learning in new and different ways, and enjoy the process!

Example: https://goo.gl/forms/HbxaVQ0rAdZK17op1

Using Google Forms to assess students’ knowledge in real time is such a valuable tool. Once a teacher creates a Form, it’s there to use whenever they want it, or they can revise it whenever they choose.

As a homework check-in, Forms can be used to quickly know who did and did not complete an assignment. Google Forms fills so many wants and needs in the classroom that teachers. Information on quizzes is given in graphs, in a spreadsheet, and can be viewed by class, or individual student responses.

Explore Google Forms and you will embrace the many applications this tool provides.

About the Author

Stephanie Karabaic is a Reading and Writing Specialist teacher in Lebanon Middle School in Lebanon, NH. She is a veteran teacher who has embraced technology and Google specifically, to meet the needs of her students. She is also a NH certified: K-8, Special Educator and Educational Technology Integrator and NJ certified Teacher of English K-12.
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