What Teachers Need to Learn from Gamers

by Randy Fairfield, AppsEvents Presenter

A few years ago I was teaching a course and noticed a curious trend towards the end of the school year: There seemed to be a direct correlation between students wearing Minecraft t-shirts and failing my class. It was uncanny. Now I wasn’t really sure what Minecraft was at that point in time, but I wondered if there might be a way for me to harness the energy these students were expending on the game and somehow get them to use it on my class instead. So I bought a copy of the game and put in a good fifty or so hours of time over the summer. In all honesty, I found the game to be fairly enjoyable; In fact, my wife had to get on my case a few times!

I somehow talked my principal into letting me experiment with Minecraft Edu—which ended up largely being a failed endeavor due to the lack of support from the IT department—but I’m not sure that was really the answer. The more I thought about it, the “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach didn’t really sit well with me. Nevertheless, I still wanted to find ways to get kids more plugged into my class and less plugged into their video game consoles.

The truth is, I have more than a little experience to draw from to relate to my students. Indeed, about 90% of my misspent youth was playing the good old Nintendo Entertainment System. While my days of hardcore gaming are now largely behind me, I feel no shame in admitting to winning a few Pacific Northwest Tecmo Super Bowl Championships over the past few years.

A few weeks ago, I had a fantastic conversation with Peter Grostic, Director of Professional Learning for CBD Consulting, and we discussed gamification in the classroom; that is, the process of taking the design elements of game play and applying them in another context. Feel free to listen if you’re interested!

During our conversation, we talked about some things I’ve learned from incorporating elements of gamification into my own classroom. By better understanding what motivates gamers, we as educators can do a lot to keep our students more engaged with our classes.

Editor's Note: This article first appeared at www.misteredtech.com. Republished with permission from the author. 
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How to Annotate PDF Files in Google Drive

In this AppsEvents Tips & Tricks episode, Sethi shares a Drive add-on that makes it super easy to annotate any PDF file.

If you are looking for a convenient way to add highlights and/or add handwritten notes to an ebook or a student work, watch the entire video.

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Digital Tools in the Maths Classroom

“Opening up maths to be problem-solving lends it to digital tools. So, there began
my use of digital tools in my Maths Classroom.”

As a Google Certified Trainer, I get to visit schools and work with teachers to integrate G Suite for Education, Google’s set of collaborative cloud-based tools. I got into this line of work thanks to a Gmail account I set up in 2011 to get lesson feedback from my classes via a Google Form. These were my maths classes, having taught the subject from 2004 to 2017. My use of digital tools in maths came from wanting to move from the practice to the application more efficiently.

Understanding axes, as an example, is a fundamental but once mastered I certainly resented time lost as students had to draw them when we would investigate linear and quadratic equations. Digital tools allowed me to explore “what if…” and “how could we…” questions with my classes, building understanding as well as fluency.

Ultimately though, maths is a language of the universe and a written discipline isn’t it? My own opinion on this was turned in 2014 while attending an AppsEvents summit in Prague. After my own sessions, I attended a session by John McGowan, who was sharing his use of g(Math), an add-on for some Google tools that allowed you to more easily write maths into documents. His use of g(Math) was pretty embedded… as he was the guy that created it!

It wasn’t long before John and his innovative edTech joined the ranks of Texthelp, in order to lead the maths efforts of the company alongside its literacy and fluency tools. John’s 16 years of experience as a maths teacher would prove very handy indeed, as g(Math) began to evolve and flourish into EquatIO (which now has close to 2 million users around the world!).

The key to the development of this tool wasn’t just John’s technical insight and determination, but also the approach he took to instruction. Opening up maths to be problem-solving lends it to digital tools, and so, there began my own use of digital tools in the maths classroom.

Now, I am privileged to be able to share how G Suite can be used in your classroom, especially effective when you add in Texthelp’s set of accessibility tools which include Equatio for writing, speaking, drawing and predicting mathematics, its mathspace platform for developing investigations, assessment, and problem-solving, as well as Read&Write to provide accessibility to maths content and to subjects across the curriculum.

In this series of four short videos, I showcase some simple ways teachers can use Equatio (free for teachers) to add mathematics to their documents, slides, and forms. Then, we explore how digital tools can provide better accessibility for diverse learners to be more engaged with the subject and move the onus away from teachers to provide specific, accessible content. We explore Google Classroom, the mission control for teachers using G Suite and how you can integrate mathspace and other tools. 

Finally, discover how flipped learning, by pre-loading instruction, enables learners to come ready to apply themselves in your lessons. Through Google Classroom, YouTube and accessibility tools like Read&Write, your maths curriculum can become more differentiated, accessible and provide the chance for learners to get to that penny dropping moment by giving them ownership of their learning.
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The Insiders Guide to Gmail Inboxes

By Allison Mollica, AppsEvents USA Director

As a seasoned Google Certified Trainer I have seen thousands of GMail Inboxes with 1K+ unread messages and clearly no organized approach to managing email. Over the years, I have applied some successful strategies to managing my GMail inbox to achieve what is often referred to as 'inbox zero.' The best place to begin is by selecting the right inbox. I use a different inbox type for my teacher/business account than my personal GMail account and in this post I will outline both, why and how I leverage these tools.

Priority Inbox for Work / School Email

In 2010, Google introduced 'priority inbox' and this was a life saver for me in making sure I was ultra responsive to student, parent and client requests. Rather than having all emails coming in (by default) in chronological order of 'unread' messages, priority inboxs has three sections on the inbox home page:
  • Important & Unread
  • Starred
  • Everything Else
The important emails (ones coming directly to me from a specific person (not promos or list servs), arrive at the top of the page and everthing else (promos, list servs, etc) go to the bottom. Basically if it doesn't need my immediate attention, it's pushed and grouped at the bottom of the page.

Making Priority Inbox Work

Each time I visit my email I address the top of the page, the important and unread and act upon as many as I can. Once I read them, they will be moved to the collection of email at the bottom of the page.

At the end of the day or at a time when I am performing email clean up, I make the goal to have nothing on the page but 'starred.' My important and unread is empty and at the bottom of the page is 'everything else.' I go through and do a final act upon those emails by ether 'starring' them which placed them in the middle section of the inbox as 'starred' meaning they need to be acted upon but not right now. The other option is to create a TASK with a due date from the email and then archive it. With the Artificial Intelligence feature 'Nudge' built in I worry less about archiving emails because GMail will bring emails BACK to my inbox a few days later asking if I still need to do something with it.

Priority Inbox (circa 2010)

Enable Priority Inbox

By selecting Priority Inbox your email will be 'instantly' reorganized. You'll probably be shocked at some 'unread' messages you completely missed by not having it enabled. To enable it, just hover over the word 'Inbox' in the top left of your inbox and select Priority from the drop down list.

Inbox Tabs (Categories) for Personal GMail

In 2012 Google introduced a 'Tabbed (category) Inbox' which creates separate tabs as categories in your GMail inbox separating email by the following:

  • Primary - messages from people you know
  • Social - notifications from Google Plus, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn etc
  • Promotion - Offers, promotions, etc.
  • Updates - Bills, payments, orders, package tracking
  • Forums - List serves and conversation groups

Why Tabs for Personal GMail

Most people register for social media, household accounts, shopping, mailing through their personal GMail account so the amount of email can be substantial between all of the activity one person is involved with online. The categories are perfect keeping your important 'conversations' on the primary tab and grouping social media in one tab (which I mostly just select all and delete periodically), and easily see through color coded notifications if an 'update' comes in while working through your primary messages.

Meet Gmail's Tabbed (Category) Inbox (circa 2012)

Enable Tabbed Inbox (now referred to as 'Default)

To enable tabs for the first time, go to the gear and select 'Configure Inbox.' Initially, select all the categories to see how your messages get bundled. You can go back later and remove categories you don't want.

You can also 'train' both priority and tabbed inbox. If GMail marks a message important you don't think is important, just remove the 'importance market' and future emails matching that will not be flagged important. If using categories, drag emails to the category you would prefer they were in and GMail will ask if you would like to re-categorize all future messages that match.

Benefits of Inbox Management

One of the number one benefits of selecting and managing the right inbox is that you'll be more productive and organized which will contribute to your peace of mind but also help you with your relationships with others. When emails are not acknowledged or ignored it can have a negative impact on your future exchanges or create negative feelings between parties. No one likes to be ignored or deemed unimportant so once you get control of your inbox remember to reply to emails in a timely manner, even if it is only to 'acknowledge' receipts. A simple, 'thanks, I'll get back to you' can make all the difference.
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Offline Access: An In depth Overview | Tips and Tricks Episode 11

Welcome to another episode of AppsEvents Tips and Tricks in partnership with Acer. In this video, Sethi demonstrates how to enable offline access to any Drive file on your laptop, Chromebook, or Acer Chrome Tab 10!

We are accepting suggestions for future videos. Please leave a comment below.

If you found this video useful, please share it on your favorite social media.

If you're looking for G Suite (formerly Google Apps) training, AppsEvents has got you covered. Check out some of our upcoming summit or certification bootcamp near you at https://www.appsevents.com/.
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From being a PE Teacher to speaking and running events across the world with Adam Llevo

On this week's episode of ‘The Events Podcast’, Dan spoke with Adam Levo from mradampe.com. Adam has presented to a lot of our Google training!

It was a really interesting chat and relevant both to teachers and employees looking to start speaking at conferences and running their own events.

Adam started as PE Teacher in the UK before heading off for some world travels and working in International Schools in Shanghai and Saudi Arabia.

Adam’s main advice for teachers and others looking to speak at conferences is to build a solid online presence and start sharing content, specifically posting all your presentations on Twitter and on your blog. Also, all his blog posts have a ‘call to action’ where he looks to get an email address, for example by giving away an eBook or some content.

Also we discussed about not being greedy up front :) Adam picked the conferences he wanted to visit as an attendee anyway, then asked to speak. Only later did he ask for expenses or a fee, sometimes on his second or third visit to the conference. I can’t emphasise this enough for new speakers…. ‘Don’t ask for money until you really deserve it!’ Also at the event help out with everything! The organizer will love you and be MUCH more likely to work with you in the future.


More info about Adam is below and if you’re a school looking to turbo charge the use of technology in your PE department he’d love to her from you.

About Adam Llevo

Adam is a physical educator originally from England, but has taught in the UK, China and Saudi Arabia across all age groups. He has presented at a number of conferences around the world sharing his love of physical education and meaningful technology to educators from all subjects.

When Adam is not teaching he enjoys collaborating on projects with practitioners from across the globe and sharing his knowledge, via his blog or social media. Adam is a Google Certified Educator, Google Innovator, Google Trainer and Apple Teacher. He has a passion to use his knowledge to make life easier, by working smarter, not harder.

Checkout his blog: mradampe.com or his new Google Innovation project chargedupeducation.com

Connect with Adam online!

CV: https://goo.gl/NbdRfQ
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/mradampe/
Linkedin Recommendations: https://goo.gl/3qiS3E
Twitter Profile: https://twitter.com/MrAdamPE
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mradampe/
Instagram Feed: https://www.instagram.com/mradampe/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AdamLlevoPE
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