Auto Import Grades from From to Google Classroom Gradebook


In this video, Allison shares a new update in Google Classroom that allows you to import Grades from auto-graded quizzes (Google Form) directly into Classroom.

By enabling the feature, Classroom automatically limits each form to 1 response per user, collects email addresses, and restricts reponses to users in your domain.


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AppsEvents and Acer Global Partnership


During 2017/2018 Google Summit and Bootcamp attendees will have had the opportunity to check out the latest Chromebooks from Acer at events in UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Beginning August 2017, AppsEvents is delighted to announce that we have extended the Acer partnership to include all our Global events.

Through the AppsEvents team experience, both as educators and trainers working with schools, we know that the education market is a very unique environment. Schools need access to the most affordable capable devices that are fast and powerful enough to run all applications that students will need in the classroom.

From reading ebooks, to annotating class tests, setting up a testing environment, recording data and images on field trips to typing up student reports, the latest in Acer convertible Chromebooks is an all-round device we are completely confident in recommending.

The AppsEvents team was lucky enough to meet with Acer in Taiwan head office and had a day of one-on-one meetings with the product and design teams, and participate in the design process discussion. It was a powerful learning experience to see what goes into designing a Chromebook.

We at AppsEvents are delighted that Acer has the education market first in mind when developing its Chromebooks. From the classic Acer c740 C771 to the compact convertible R 11 to the newly released Spin 11 with stylus, Acer has a device for every school and every student.
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November 2017 G Suite Updates


Google has released a couple of important updates for G Suite this month. Here is our digest of some key updates particularly useful for educators, education support staff, and school leadership.

Increased editor limit

Did you know that you can now have 100 people editing in a Google Doc/Sheet/Slide at once? That's double than what it used to be! Story here.

Pick how you're going to get your image one step sooner!


When you select Insert > Image in Google Docs, Slides, or Drawings on the web, you’ll find five different options that makes it easier to upload an image from computer, Drive, Photo, by URL, or via web search.


You'll now have the option to keep comments and suggestions when copying Docs, Sheets and Slides

To do so, simply select Make a copy from the File menu and check the box for Copy comments and suggestions or Copy comments.


More font options and new languages supported in Google Docs and Slides

Google expanded the font catalogue in Docs and Slides to support 62 languages, including non-Latin scripts like Cyrillic and Devanagari with more coming soon.

To find these new fonts and others, simply click More fonts at the bottom of the Fonts menu. You will also find font suggestions based on your document’s language.




AppsEvents is a Google For Education Professional Development Partner which works with a global group of passionate educators to organise worldwide summits and bootcamps featuring Google for Education.

By delivering these high energy events, where G Suite and Chromebook experts run multiple sessions across one or two days, AppsEvents provides outstanding professional development for cloud focussed educators.

Join a #GooglePD near you! Visit appsevents.com today.
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#DitchThatFear : An Essay on Change and Innovation


By Joe Marquez

As an educator I believe that every lesson should come alive and connect with students on a personal level. I also believe that all teachers should have a drive in connecting with their students. It is up to teachers to ignite a spark that is going to catch fire with their audience. Just like a fire needs fuel, oxygen, and heat to create a spark, a teacher needs to test out different combinations of ingredients to catch the interest of their students. For me, technology has been the spark to ignite learning and innovation in my classroom and on my campus. With the inclusions of technology in our everyday lessons, we are being given amazing opportunities to reach the “unreachable” - to reach those students who have not yet discovered the joy of learning. Our goal is to create a spark and have it spread across not only our campus, but our district, state, and country as well.

As educators we need to be leaders and innovators both in and out of the classroom. Change doesn't come from institutions. Change comes from individuals who buck the system and don’t accept the status quo. When individual teachers take risks, others take notice and a movement begins. Yet change can bring about fear of unknown challenges ahead. When we ditch that fear, anything is possible. We search for and create lessons that allow us to discover the best ways to engage our students, while building upon our high goals and standards year after year. We strive to create student-centered lessons, and where appropriate, integrate technology into the classroom to help limit distractions, as well as motivate and engage our students to learn and create. As an educational technology innovator, I strive to encourage my colleagues to integrate more ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) standards into their direct instruction, which incorporates not only common core standards but also integrates tools, strategies, and ideas to draw students into learning, collaborating, and creating. The implementation of technology is a critical need in the 21st-century classroom, increasing student learning during instruction in the midst of our fast-paced digital world.

In our ever-changing digital society, the modern classroom has become a breeding ground of distractions or boredom for thrill-seeking youngsters. Many classrooms have become a place where students fiend for their digital media fix, only to be told to put their devices away. How can we for a moment believe that because a bell rings our students digital life comes to a pause? These distractions can also arise from the improper implementation of technology by educators, stemming from a lack in professional development practice, and in turn resulting in loss of interest from the students, who then resort to using their own technology during class in improper ways.To limit distractions in our classroom environment, we must present information in ways that will truly engage our students. It’s not about changing the ways we teach our students, it's about changing the ways we REACH our students. Utilizing the tools our students use for communication outside the classroom inside the classroom provides a great opportunity to reach them. This task can prove to be beneficial when realizing each student learns at a different pace and in different ways. We wish to create a non-static environment, rich with ever-changing student options, incorporation of differentiation, and one that encourages a project-based learning/collaborating mindset which our students need. The goal is to have our students become the creators of content, not just educational consumers. Students need to become so engaged that they can’t help but to pay attention in class. In this “living classroom” setting, information is constantly being supplied to, or discovered by, students through many different mediums, all the while allowing the lesson to be malleable from hour to hour, period to period, and day to day. These living classrooms create an environment where students do not have the time to become distracted or board. It is up to us as teachers to create an educational space where our students can’t help but become collaborative communicators emboldened by the opportunity to become creative citizens full of curiosity.

In our ever-changing world, it is becoming more and more evident that no student should be utilizing more technology outside the classroom than they are inside of it. We should not be overlooking the strengths that our students have been cultivating since birth. Technology is a known commodity to our digital natives, and to tell them they are not allowed to use it is analogous to tying their hands behind their back. The use of technology in our classrooms can empower teachers to engage and motivate students using the most advanced and appropriate technology the world has to offer, using the tools our students have grown up using. Through the integration of technology we can become a new and different kind of teacher- one who takes problems head-on with a fresh set of eyes, who does not back down from a challenge because they deem the situation to be too hard. We have become educators privileged with an opportunity to share with many of our students the joy of learning for the first time.

By all means, I am not saying technology is the savior of education. I am also not saying that a completely digital classroom is the answer. What I am saying is that a blended learning classroom is what we should all strive for. I understand the studies that state handwritten notes are shown to provide more memory retention than typed notes, and I agree with the studies. However, I do not believe these studies are completely applicable to all the uses of technology available in classrooms today. We are not talking about a student in solitude typing away as a teacher lectures. We are talking about students collaborating, sharing, communicating, and creating within our classroom walls and beyond. I am saying we should encourage our students to complete a sketchnote by hand, but then UPLOAD those notes to a blog or resource where ALL students can see, learn, and utilize them. I am saying we need to let our students read and highlight an article, but then have them share their thoughts in a digital backchannel, collaboratively create a presentation, then screencast their findings to the class and to the world. By including technology in the way our students learn, we are building a community, opening communication, displaying citizenship and encouraging meaningful social interaction through digital media, exactly the same way our students LIVE their everyday lives. Students now control their own learning. As educators we need to cultivate student differences and allow them to thrive the best way they know how. Technology has changed the world in which our students live, so why can’t it change the classrooms in which they learn?

As educators we need to remember that using multimedia and technology is a great addition to traditional methods, but all technology should be looked at through the goals and achievements you have in mind for your students. Going digital does not mean going 100% paperless. Going digital means to begin to leverage the digital techniques our digital natives are already using outside the classroom walls. As stated before, studies may show writing notes to be more effective than typing notes, but that is not what we are doing here. In fact, the integration of integrated/manipulatable/hands-on technology use is still in its infancy and studies are just beginning (such as the study HERE). Data is hard to gather based on the many variables at play with technology use, such as the tools being used, who is teaching/implementing the technology in the classroom, and the activity being studied. Blended learning is the best model to look at when implementing technology into the classroom. Correct use of technology in the classroom allows for the instructor to make the learning more meaningful by allowing their students to interact with the lesson, not just consume it. It allows the students to become creators of content, not just members of a passive audience. When used correctly, technology can become a powerful tool to enhance and empower student growth. Anything new can cause pause in our educational community, but remember - no one ever created change by following the status quo. We need to be leaders in change, but you can’t be a leader if there is no one following you.

Through learning to implement new technologies in the classroom, we can consistently uphold our mission as educators: to be lifelong learners and to prepare our students for tomorrow, not just for today. I consistently try to honor our mission by creating meaningful multimedia videos through apps like EdPuzzle, creating engaging assessments using Kahoot and Quizizz, creating interactive digital labs and presentations allowing collaboration through Formative and Nearpod, enhancing student voice through screencasts or Flipgrid, and Interactive Digital Readers (IDR)/ Interactive Digital Notebooks (IDN) using the power of Google’s GSuite tools, following AVID and ISTE standards. You can even smash them together to create the ultimate APPsmahing lesson, an amalgamation of awesomeness! If you are reading this and are saying to yourself “This seems like a lot of work”, then yes, you are correct. No one ever said making a difference would be easy. Anything worth the time is also worth putting in the effort. Once you start seeing the power of incorporating technology through blended learning lessons, you will never see technology as one more thing to add to your plate. You will begin to see that technology IS the plate! You will no longer see technology as another brick in your lesson, but rather, it becomes the mortar holding the lesson together. I know change is hard, but as educators we have pledged to be lifelong learners. We have pledged to be the best educator we can be, not for awards or accolades, but for the advancement of our students. John Dewey said it best over 100 years ago, “If we continue to teach our students today the same way we did yesterday, we are robbing them of tomorrow.” Change does not mean we are doing anything wrong, it only means we have a chance to do more for our kids. By producing meaningful and engaging experiences for our classes, and through the use of our online collaborative environments, we can continue to provide positive experiences, increasing engagement, motivation, creativity, community and a continued joy of learning in this 21st century.

Editor's Note : This article first appeared at sonsoftechnology.blogspot.com and republished with permission from the author.


About the author : Joe Marquez


Joe Marquez is a passionate educator who loves nothing more than to discover new ways to motivate and engage his 8th grade science students. His focus is not on ways educators teach their kids, but rather on new ways they can better reach their kids.

Technology has been the spark which has ignited his exploration into next generation educational technology and pushed him into becoming a leader and technology coach for the Clovis Unified School District.

His innovating spirit, outgoing attitude and outrageous personality has earned him the coveted titles of Certified Google Innovator, Certified Google Trainer, Prezi Educational Society member, PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, Nearpod PioNEAR and Trainer, Remind Connected Educator and Advisory Board Member, Quiver Ambassador, Microsoft Innovative Educator, Common Sense Certified Educator and Ambassador, and CUE Rockstar Teacher Faculty.

Recently Joe was the recipient of the CVCUE Educator of the Year Award, the prestigious Clovis Unified Crystal Award and keynote speaker at the California Teachers Summit in 2015 and 2106.

Joe is also an adjunct Professor for the Fresno Pacific University Educational Technology Master's Program and guest instructor for the Fresno State Teacher Track Academy.

View his blog at www.SonsOfTechnology.com
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AppsEvents Suite Tips Episode 1 : Sketching in Slides

In the first Suite Tips video Dean showcases the exciting new Slides feature to insert notes from Google Keep. Taking advantage of the stylus with the new Acer Spin 11, Dean is able to sketch on the touchscreen and with some Google magic import that directly into Slides. Plus check out the awesome resource that is the Google Cultural Institute.

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Personalised Learning: Tailoring Lessons for Every Learning Style


By Martin McKay, CTO, Texthelp

Personalised Learning has been a much discussed topic in education for the last few years. The term is everywhere. And it’s very persuasive. It hopes to address learner variability and to make education more accessible for different learners. But, there’s nothing new about personalised learning, either as an aspiration or a practice. It’s an approach that’s as old as the hills.

Over the last couple of years, it has become well recognised by educators in the US that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is the perfect pedagogical approach that truly supports the idea of Personalised Learning.

“Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimise teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.” (www.cast.org)

You can determine each learner’s needs by using the principles of UDL to understand their strengths, challenges, aptitudes, interests, talents and aspirations. UDL has often been connected to special educational needs, but it is a framework that applies to ALL learners who have variability in their learning. UDL helps teachers understand all the learners in their classroom. Every student brings something different, and has different strengths.

As UDL tells us, when we’re designing for student variability it is important to provide them with a few ways to demonstrate their knowledge, and keep the lesson or content interesting for everyone. New technologies have revolutionised how students learn and allow for that multiple means of expression. Portable, personal laptops like Chromebooks or Surface Pros with stylus & touch interfaces, great computing power, and cloud connectivity make it possible to tailor learning to personal interests and needs, even allowing for 1:1 initiatives where each student has their own device to support their learning.

In the past few years students can now turn in homeworks that include photos, video, audio, animations, interactive graphics, smart maps and presentations.

Having and using technology in teaching and learning isn’t enough though. Making the most of technology requires a methodical and principled approach, one that turns the aspirations of personalised learning into an effective practice of personalised learning. Universal Design for Learning makes that practice possible.

Providing the tools, diverse activities and scaffolded content to meet each learner’s unique needs can feel daunting. It’s important to start small with one new practice or strategy and then build on that.

There are a number of tools that teachers can explore that can help to address learner variability, here are just a couple of examples:
  • Collaborate - some days we work better together. Get students to work together on Google Slides or Microsoft Powerpoint. Maybe one on content, and one on design if that is where their strengths lie.
  • Sketchnoting - where students can adopt visual note taking to support information recall and build understanding. The new stylus and touch devices are great for this. 
  • Some students are shy - use the comments stream inside Google Docs or Word to converse with the student privately.
  • Audio recording - Kids can practice and demonstrate oral reading fluency by attaching an audio recording to a turned in homework. . 
  • Text-to-Speech - where students may feel more comfortable hearing passages of text read aloud
Personalising instruction and the use of technology in the classroom doesn’t mean there is less of a place for teacher-led instruction. It also doesn’t mean that teachers need to spend endless time after school each day creating an individualised lesson for each and every student in the class. It’s all about meeting students in the spaces where they are and helping them grow by providing diverse ways for them to engage in learning, process content, and show their understanding.

Every child’s different, with their own star qualities, strengths, challenges and learning styles. Their needs are vast, and there are a multitude of ways teachers can meet those needs effectively in class as well as for independent study and learning at home.

Want to learn more? Then access a recent webinar featuring Martin McKay CTO and founder of Texthelp along with special guest Kathleen McClaskey, founder of Make Learning Personal; co-founder of Personalize Learning, LLC; co-author of Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning for an hour long session on How to Personalize Learning and Maximize Achievement for All Students.



About Martin McKay

Martin founded Texthelp in 1996 to help people with communication difficulties. What started as a company focused on people with profound Speech and Dexterity Disabilities has become a world leading Education Technology company providing easy to use, and useful software tools that help everyone read, write and communicate with clarity in education, at work and in life.

Over that time he has built, led and directed a team of engineers to deliver technology that is used by millions of people every day around the world. He regards himself as incredibly fortunate to work in a sector that has such a positive impact on society using technologies that are so fun and compelling with work with.

Most importantly of all, Martin and Texthelp believe that everyone’s entitled to the best possible learning and language support on their own personal journey – from literacy to life.

Martin is currently serving in an advisory capacity on the Universal Design for Learning council in the US.

Vector Designed by Freepik with modification
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Amalgamation of APPsmashing Awesomeness

By Joe Marquez

The One-Pager
Amalgamation of APPsmashing Awesomeness

One of my favorite extracurricular activities is finding ways to APPsmash multiple GSuite Tools to produce a collaborative, creative, student centered lesson. APPsmashing is a way to bring in multiple tools, such as Google Docs, Google Slides, and other Google friendly apps and meld them together to create an amalgamation of awesomeness.

One such lesson that I love to implement multiple times a year is my “One Pager” activity. In this activity I assign 3 to 4 current/relevant articles to my students from sites such as NewsELA, and ask students to independently annotate the articles to dig deep into the meaning of the text. 

This annotation can be done through pencil and paper, or entirely in a Google Doc using add-ons such as “Web-Paint” or “Highlight Tools”. 

Once the annotation process is complete the students move on to the “One-Pager” Google Doc to collect their thoughts and summations of the article. As the students complete this “One-Pager” they gather into groups of 3 with other students who also read the same article. 

In a group setting, the students then discuss their findings, difference, and similarities in what the article was trying to convey. During this discussion students realize that even though they were reading the same text, many of their takeaways from the article could be completely different.


Once the articles are discussed, the group then creates a Google Slide presentation/lesson on their findings. By allowing the students to share this document and work collaboratively, each student's point of view will be heard and the lesson will be created in a student's authentic voice. 

Once the collaboration process is complete the students need to practice their presentation, but how can this be done effectively so they can critique themselves on their delivery? 

Screencasting, as I have discovered, is the best way to go. By getting the Google Chrome extension “Screencastify” students can record their screen and voice, then watch their presentation to make adjustments to slides, timing of delivery, and the addition of more visual resources. 

Once the students are happy with their presentation, we add another layer of awesomeness by turning the Google Slide into an interactive lesson via Nearpod. 

By using the Google Chrome extension “Nearpodize” we can, in one click, transform our static lesson into an interactive presentation. Through Nearpod we can add questions, videos, drawing activities and more with the simple click of a button. 

Now the students are not just listening to a presentation, they are becoming part of the lesson. Through this “One-Pager” activity we are actively cultivating the idea that students can become the creators of content, all the while participating in a fun, collaborative, creative process.



In preparing for this lesson we have to remember, as educators using multimedia and technology is a great addition to traditional methods, but all technology should be looked at through the goals and achievements you have in mind for your students. 

Going digital does not mean to go 100% paperless, it only means to begin to leverage the digital techniques our digital natives are already using outside the classroom walls. Many educators will continue to point out studies that show pencil and paper allow for more measurable growth. 

These studies may show writing notes to be more effective than typing notes, but that is not what we are doing here. In fact the integration of integrated/manipulatable/hands on technology use is still in its infancy and studies are just beginning. 

Data is hard to gather based on the many variables at play with technology use such as the tools being used, who is teaching/implementing the technology in the classroom, and the activity being studied. Blended learning is the best model to look at when implementing technology into the classroom. 

Correct use of technology in the classroom allows for the instructor to make the learning more meaningful by allowing their students to interact with the lesson, not just consume it. It allows the students to become creators of content, not just a passive audience. 

When used correctly, technology can become a powerful tool to enhance and empower student growth. Anything new will cause pause in our community, but remember no one ever became a leader by following the status quo, and you can’t be a leader if there is no one following you. 

Through implementing technology in the classroom we can consistently uphold our mission as educators: To be lifelong learners and to prepare our students for tomorrow, not just today.



Copy of One-Pager Document

Example Lesson Plan #1

Example Lesson Plan #2



About the author : Joe Marquez


Joe Marquez is a passionate educator who loves nothing more than to discover new ways to motivate and engage his 8th grade science students. His focus is not on ways educators teach their kids, but rather on new ways they can better reach their kids.

Technology has been the spark which has ignited his exploration into next generation educational technology and pushed him into becoming a leader and technology coach for the Clovis Unified School District.

His innovating spirit, outgoing attitude and outrageous personality has earned him the coveted titles of Certified Google Innovator, Certified Google Trainer, Prezi Educational Society member, PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, Nearpod PioNEAR and Trainer, Remind Connected Educator and Advisory Board Member, Quiver Ambassador, Microsoft Innovative Educator, Common Sense Certified Educator and Ambassador, and CUE Rockstar Teacher Faculty.

Recently Joe was the recipient of the CVCUE Educator of the Year Award, the prestigious Clovis Unified Crystal Award and keynote speaker at the California Teachers Summit in 2015 and 2106.

Joe is also an adjunct Professor for the Fresno Pacific University Educational Technology Master's Program and guest instructor for the Fresno State Teacher Track Academy.

View his blog at www.SonsOfTechnology.com
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Design Thinking in Schools | Part Five - Testing

By +Ben Rouse

Ever made a paper aeroplane? Did you spend days perfecting each fold before launching it? If you did… credit where credit is due, if not, like me you probably made loads and threw them one after the other to see what works.


If you have understood the real problem with an empathetic gathering of data that is user-centric you should have been able to define a meaty problem worth solving. The ideas will have flowed and as a group you identified the ideas worth taking forward. The prototypes are ready and now comes the moment to put your idea and prototype in the hands of the user! The website that is actually slides linked together, the app which is a series of sketches placed behind a phone stencil or the storyboard of the teacher professional development process.

It is not as scary as standing next to your volcano at the science fair, because as the design thinking culture develops in your school, this process becomes normal. When a prototype lands on the staffroom table, in the classroom or is made available for users to play with you know honest feedback is valued and expected. You haven’t put excessive time and money into it’s development so there is time to change, adapt or even start over. It is time to find out what works. Imagine that culture filtering down to students who see you feeding back on their document in Google Classroom,

In the final part of this design thinking in schools blog series we are looking at testing the ideas that come from this empathy based, user-centred design approach. If you would like to look back through the previous parts of the blog series to find out how we got here the links are below:

Part One: Empathy
Part Two: Ideation
Part Three: G Suite
Part Four: Prototyping


Divergent and convergent thinking combine in design thinking. 

A superb example of this process appeared on British TV in an incredible programme called “The Big Life Fix” broadcast on BBC Two with a special edition going out focussed on solutions for children on Wednesday 8 November 2017. Worth a watch and bring the tissues as the team brings memories back to a girl who suffered brain damage in a car crash. They also develop a tool to aid her memory in the classroom. In the testing you can see the designer craving insights as their product shows its flaws. Refined then developed and tested again it provides a life altering solution to a girl desperate to remember and learn in school. Most significantly, the solutions created for these children provide a solution suitable for thousands if not millions of children around the world. There is a lesson in designing for the extremes and therefore testing your prototypes with the range of users.


How might we design for the extremes in order to make all learning accessible?

The teachers, learners, carers or community can now poke, pull apart and critique your ideas. When you begin a design thinking process, have the test in mind from the start. Once it is clear who your ideas are aimed at, recruit some of them to be ready to test your designs. Consider how you will observe the test, in some cases the design team being in the room can alter the results. A Google Hangout can provide a great way to watch from afar as the users interact with your prototype.

Statistically the sample size for these tests are questionable but you are not writing an academic paper, you are looking to get invaluable insights and feedback to how your product, lesson, idea or process works with the people it is intended for. Once the test is complete the real work starts, planning, designing, creating and delivering the real thing based on the key insights you gained in the test.

In a recent summit we offered up a session for attendees to sit and try out some of the tools they saw in the hands-on sessions. Two teachers collaborated on a Google Site to create information about the trip they are taking to The Hague. Others sat in pairs, where one created a Google Classroom and the other was invited as a student. Having learnt about the tools in a session led by an experienced trainer they had developed an understanding of what the tools can do and followed the context provided by the trainer. Now they were testing it in their own context. The pair using Classroom were able to test the assignment and submission process and identify little aspects that might have disrupted their first classroom use of the tool, but thanks to their test these problems were avoided.

They were able to test because this was how the session was advertised and explained. It is important to introduce the test in the right way. If the headteacher takes a class in the school for the test, delivers the new content then asks the children what they thought, you may get unreliable feedback.

It needs to be clear this process is unfinished:

“It would be useful for us to know what we have missed”

There needs to be a clear understanding that the final decision is not made (genuinely, rather than lip service). I have worked in a number of organisations where the general perception has been that decisions are not actually up for consultation and it is a done deal.

“We are considering this option and want to understand if it is suitable for you”

The test needs to consider how to suitably capture the feedback you need to develop your ideas successfully. If appropriate it is worth providing a comparison to another tool, product or process. If you are developing learning spaces, conduct a test in the usual learning spaces too. Where you are developing a personalised learning process consider accessing a trial of an existing tool to conduct a test on. If you Ideation produced more than one idea worth pursuing then you can prototype and test both. Then you should discover which is the most viable to take forward.

The test results should give you a clear way forward
  • Stop as the idea has no future, you needed to define the problem better. 
  • Go back to the ideas because the prototypes doesn't solve the problem. 
  • Develop one of the two ideas you prototyped as the test shows it works better 
  • The test feedback was good and the prototype can be developed but it uncovered other challenges. You now have a process to develop ideas! 
This is also going to uncover the tools you need people to be competent on. If the process leads you to use Google Classroom for staff training or forms for parental engagement you can focus professional development time on the skills that will matter. We get great feedback from events but after the enthusiasm of the new possibilities many teachers are halted by the reality of school when they return. If you know the problem you are solving, with buy in from the organisation then the tool specific training the staff need is easier to justify, more impactful and you will get better buy-in from staff.

I joined AppsEvents to apply this culture, philosophy and toolkit to support schools developing the use of G Suite for education. We have a track record of delivering quality content around the tools so I am excited to continue working with schools to find the challenges in their organisation which leads them to the collaborative tools naturally, and leaves them with a set of skills to address not just technology for learning challenges, but many others challenges that face schools across the world. We would be excited to hear from you if you are applying these principles in your school. We would be delighted to discuss how we might bring these tools and this culture to your organisation around a G Suite deployment.



About the author : Ben Rouse | AppsEvents, UK Director

After implementing G Suite at my secondary comprehensive school in UK I was accepted onto the Google Teacher Academy in London in 2013. Since then I have been involved in technology for learning training and implementations in schools in UK and Europe as a Google for Education Innovator and Trainer.

I taught Mathematics for 13 years and had middle and senior leadership roles in schools before becoming an educational technology integration specialist for a Mutli-Academy Trust in UK.

I now work with AppsEvents to help organisations implement G Suite and Technology for Learning effectively.
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#GSuiteHack : Google Photos Awesomeness


Google Photos is probably one of the most under appreciated feature in G Suite. It’s not just a place to store all your photos but is actually a very sophisticated tool utilizing Google’s machine learning technology.

Here are some fun and smart ways to use Google Photos:

Show an events highlight movie at the end of a class activity or school program

Photos lets you create movies with zero editing knowledge! Simply go to Assistant, select movies, and choose all the photos and clips you want to be included. It will automatically add audio and transition effects. How cool is that?

You can also make animated GIFs and collages.

Smart search

Say goodbye to endless scrolling. Just like Google’s search engine, you can use keywords to look for certain images from your collection. Go to photos.google.com right now and try searching for food. It will then pull up all the food pics you have in your collection.

Photos is able to recognize your photos without having to explicitly define or tag every single one of them. So the next time you need a certain image for your blog post or presentation, try checking your Photos first.

Group similar faces and label them

Need to find a good photo of your principal for a magazine feature or for a birthday card? Go to search and you will find thumbnails of faces below the search bar. Clicking any of the thumbnail will display all photos from your collection where that person is present! You can also label them so searching would be easier next time.
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Design Thinking in Schools | Part Four - Prototyping

“Good morning colleagues” says the headteacher on Monday morning of an unprecedented INSET week!

“This Friday I have booked out the local cafe and invited parents and students along. They will be there to give feedback on new draft personalised learning curriculum we are developing.”

“What curriculum is she talking about?” Whispers one teacher to another.

“This morning we start developing the curriculum!”

In part four of this series we look at how prototyping can be developed in schools to develop innovative teaching and learning practices, avoiding lengthy development time and investment on ideas that won't have impact. To find out what needs to happen before an effective prototyping session have a read of the previous posts in this series:

Part One: Empathy
Part Two: Ideation
Part Three: G Suite (the tools)

The empathy widened the understanding of the problems facing our use of technology, or the learning spaces we need or the barriers to developing teaching and learning. By understanding the problems we can define them better and start creating ideas, lots of ideas before refining it back to a few worth pursuing. Having those ideas and a sense of what is possible with the technology available in G Suite, this post explores how to get a testable version of your idea created quickly.



Let’s find out which ones wow colleagues, students and parents.

The headteacher who puts a quick turnaround on curriculum design might not be initially popular but you can be sure they will have built a culture of safety and support in their school. So let us imagine why on earth she might consider this an appropriate way to develop curriculum.

If you’re reading this in England then you would be aware that creating a curriculum quickly is part of the job these days. Design thinking for other industries is an approach they take to get early ideas to a problem tested by real users as soon as possible, so any lengthy development of a product or investment in marketing is lower risk, because they have early feedback. Therefore it gives the headteacher a chance to quickly develop a concept and put it to users, get feedback and allow the teachers to see what works and what doesn’t. Then over the course of the year as they put time and effort into the content they can call back on the experience and feedback they had in that first week.

You also give the parents and students an open dialogue and visibility of the passion the staff have for learning, and by presenting an honest draft their feedback will be seen as just that and not a criticism, though be prepared to discuss pedagogical theory, they may not know it. This may be something you develop in parallel, posters to display on the day around the community room that explain the key guiding principles of the curriculum.


A design thinking staple is the storyboard and sketching. So consider what a sketch of a curriculum or scheme of learning might look like. Can you sketch flipped learning? Can you build the learning space experience with Lego?

How might we communicate a learning journey to students and guardians in a way they can understand, support and become invested in?
Might it be a learner journey, through a lesson and a series of lessons. Prototyping ideas and going on the test them, which we will discuss in the final part of this blog series, reduces wasted time further along the process. In other cases it can make it clear you are on the wrong track and saves significant wasted time developing something that wouldn’t have had the impact.

Time in the teaching profession is a precious commodity. Every day teachers have to decide what to prioritise, what action will have the most impact and which deadlines are they going to have to miss. Big ideas get shelved every day by teachers who see a glimmer of an idea then confront one of the following barriers:

I could spend hours on this …
But It might not work
But It goes against a school policy
But I won't be allowed to do it
But I will have to write a detailed proposal (whole other design thinking discussion to have)
But I have so much marking to do
But I would like to see my family this weekend
But I don't have the time!

How might we cultivate the innovations that every teacher could develop?

Design thinking organisations have a culture of failing forward, ideas get ditched if they don't show promise. The way they do this is by having a prototyping culture so ideas are turned into physical artefacts quickly and cheaply to be scrutinised by users without huge investment of money and time. How might this translate into the classroom? The best examples can be found on the Teachers Guild site, developed by Ideo to cultivate teacher innovations. Through empathy, problems are defined for teachers to develop ideas around. Their website provides the tools for other teachers to respond, discuss and develop ideas. The ideas given most support rise to the top and these are the ones prototyped in classrooms and schools.

Here are some of their most recent “How might we statements”...

How might we re-design parent teacher conferences
How might we empower students to drive their learning and authentically demonstrate mastery

Here is how prototyping was used to envisage the future of Augmented reality. No tech involved…



Jake Knapp’s book “Sprint” takes the reader through a design sprint process developed while Jake was working for Google Ventures, supporting businesses grow ideas and products efficiently. During the five day design sprint the fourth day is given over to prototyping the one or two ideas that have been chosen in the sprint. In one day a website experience, chatbot interface, robot and many other technical challenges are prototyped ready for user testing on the fifth day.

So far I have focussed on teacher’s use of prototyping but it can also be a valuable tools for students. Many Technology and Design faculties may have given up reading this as they do this every day with their classes. Outside these disciplines there are still valuable applications of design thinking for students. Community projects, creating the year book, entrepreneurial development and building problem solving skills. The Stanford design school has a free design thinking guide you can pick up and deliver. They focus their design thinking approach around the gift giving experience and look at how it can be re-designed. You could take their resources and adapt around parent evenings, reward systems in your school, learning space design, exam preparation or assemblies and give the learners a chance to redesign and innovate parts of their learning experience through a design thinking approach.

This process is not appropriate for every aspect of school life. Don’t prototype your security measures for GDPR. Study the guidance, be meticulous and consider giving the job to an expert team. However, anything that needs user buy-in and support lends itself to being prototyped.

My own use of design thinking with AppsEvents is based on moving from tool based focus in training to making sure we have problems worth solving in each and every organisation we work with and support. If we can help you develop the right problem to solve and give you tools to create ideas and test them through the G suite tools then we feel there is a greater chance those tools will stick in your organisation and continue to be part of the way you innovate practice and learning each and everyday.



About the author : Ben Rouse | AppsEvents, UK Director

After implementing G Suite at my secondary comprehensive school in UK I was accepted onto the Google Teacher Academy in London in 2013. Since then I have been involved in technology for learning training and implementations in schools in UK and Europe as a Google for Education Innovator and Trainer.

I taught Mathematics for 13 years and had middle and senior leadership roles in schools before becoming an educational technology integration specialist for a Mutli-Academy Trust in UK.

I now work with AppsEvents to help organisations implement G Suite and Technology for Learning effectively.
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Must Have Features for Student Chromebooks


Well-crafted and easy to use, Chromebooks tick all the right boxes for providing better teaching and learning experiences. With OS and apps automatically updated every six weeks, integrated security features, simplified management, and affordability, these devices offer schools a winning choice.

Which are the top 7 features to be in the best student’s Chromebook?

1. Convertible design

The 360° dual-torque hinge design ensures a wobble free touch experience and offers four usage modes, easing versatile usability during school lessons and activities. Use it as a notebook, or as a tablet. The good choice is convertible Acer Chromebook Spin 11.

  

2. World facing Camera

A rear camera located on the keyboard side of the Chromebook allows user to fold back the device into the tablet mode and use the screen to see what you’re recording on the 5MP auto focus webcam with 88∘ wide viewing angle.

3. Wacom Pen

The pen lets students sketch or jot down notes as naturally as with pen and paper. Pens are battery-free and resistant to accidental drops.
4. Reliability: Ruggedization, Spill resistance and Student Proof keyboard

The device should be specifically designed to endure the wear and tear of rough daily use. A Military Graded chassis and spill resistant keyboard could prevent any internal damage. An impact resistant body means that it can take the daily knocks of students as it accidentally falls off tables or stood upon, while recessed keys will prevent picky fingers digging up the keyboard

5. Google Play Store
Android Education apps are now available via Google Play Store on the selected Chromebooks, including Acer Chromebook Spin 11. It allows using a huge variety of education apps for every subject.

6. Long battery life
While choosing a Chromebook look for a long battery life, so you can finally leave the power adapter at home and have a powerful, versatile study device that keeps students working all day long. Acer Chromebook Spin 11 offers up to 10 hours of battery life – enough for the full school day.

7. Antimicrobial Corning® Gorilla® Glass


This type of glass exploits the antimicrobial properties of silver to prevent the growth of microorganisms on the surface and to keep the display smudge-free as a result. Guess what? – Also available on Acer Chromebook Spin 11.

Acer offers a device dedicated to Education which meets all of the above requirements. Acer Chromebook Spin 11 comes with a spill resistant, tamper-proof keyboard and meets rigorous U.S. Military Standards. It can be tossed around in a student’s backpack or in the classroom, day in day out without suffering any damage. In addition, this Chromebook offers four usage modes via the 360° dual-torque hinge and a world facing camera, while the Wacom technology pen provides unsurpassed usability with a fast, accurate control, assuring a natural writing experience.

Curious to know more about Chromebook Spin 11? Watch this unboxing video

For enquiries on Acer Chromebooks get in touch with acerforeducationemea@acer.com
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October 2017 G Suite Updates


Google has released a couple of important updates for G Suite this October. Here is our digest of some key updates particularly useful for educators, education support staff, and school leadership.

New user interface and better customization options for Calendar on the web

Google Calendar on the web has a new modern, responsive look with a host of new features that will surely help you better manage your time. Below are some of the highlights.
  • The new Calendar lets you hide weekends and declined events. You can also easily hide the left sidebar menu. Less clutter, more focus!
  • You can now see all the event details in one click without leaving your current Calendar view.
  • You can right-click an event to quickly join the meeting, delete it, or change the color.
  • Quickly create new events by simply clicking on an empty space on your calendar.
  • To see the whole year at a glance, choose Year view. Great for annual planning!
  • In Day view, you can view two or more calendars from different people at the same time side by side.
To learn more about the new Google Calendar, refer to this announcement or this Help center article.

Expanded page hierarchy in the new Google Sites

In the new Google Sites, it is now possible to nest up to five levels of pages. To nest a page within a page, simply drag and drop it into your desired location from the Pages menu on the right hand side of your screen. Visit this link to learn more about managing pages on Google Sites.

Gmail Add-ons now available


As with other core G Suite products, you can now extend the functionality of Gmail through add-ons! Most of the released add-ons are geared towards project management and business workflow, but feel free to explore the Marketplace to see if a particular application you currently use is supported or explore the options available and discover a new tool you’ll love. Learn more here.



AppsEvents is a Google For Education Professional Development Partner which works with a global group of passionate educators to organise worldwide summits and bootcamps featuring Google for Education.

By delivering these high energy events, where G Suite and Chromebook experts run multiple sessions across one or two days, AppsEvents provides outstanding professional development for cloud focussed educators.

Join a #GooglePD near you! Visit appsevents.comhttps://appsevents.com/ today.
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