Summit Highlight: AppsEvents Albany Georgia Summit Featuring Google for Education

The first AppsEvents Summit held for 2018 was in January in Albany, GA. It was two days full of inspiration for me as a presenter. I always love visiting a school or district that is beginning their journey with G Suite for Education. Especially, when participants are as friendly and eager to learn as the educators from Dougherty County Schools.

I was inspired by their level of engagement and participation. Many attendees started connecting ways they could implement G Suite tools in their classrooms the following week. I absolutely love to see the wheels turning and light bulbs ignite. These are the teachers that will become the “change agents” in their school.

“The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.”
– Marva Collins

After presenting sessions on a couple of the basics like getting started with Google Classroom and how to get organized with Google Keep, I shared how to use Google Sites for student e-portfolios and building your teacher website. Listening to a few of the teachers express their interest with continuing to build their website in order to improve communication with students and parents was encouraging.  
The two-part HyperDocs session was full of educators learning how to fuse pedagogy and technology into an engaging lesson for students. Educators discussed their plans to transform a current lesson into a HyperDoc and try new tech tools with their students.

As the Summit wrapped up, I presented one last session titled Following the Google Bricked Road: Your Path to Google Certifications. I feel compelled to share this topic because following my path to certification is the reason I fell in love with G Suite for Education, and why my passion for empowering other educators is like a burning flame. I introduced participants to the Google EduTraining Center where they can begin their own self-paced journey to earning their Google Certified Educator Level 1 & 2 certifications. I explain the process and the resources available in order to be successful, as I retell my personal experience throughout.

In our school system, we only had one Instructional Technology Coach for the entire district. I felt the need as the Media Specialist on our campus to serve as the “point person” for our faculty as they were starting to implement G Suite in their classrooms. Along the way, I became intrinsically motivated and realized how powerful these tools could change the culture in our classrooms. I began sharing not only with my staff, but other media specialists in the county, and then with colleagues from surrounding districts. 

As I exhibited the courage to take the exams, which by the way, I am not a test-taker; I discovered I actually did have a brain AND a heart for Google. (Please excuse my Wizard of Oz references, as they relate to my certification presentation.) Now, I wanted to share it with the world which led to my desire to earn my Google for Education Certified Trainer certification. Over the past year, I have served many schools, spoke at several conferences, created online courses and administered them. I am always thrilled when I have the opportunity to share, but the Albany Summit was especially uplifting. 

Those that attended my certification session stopped by on their way to the closing session expressing how I actually inspired them to take the next steps. Many of them had already attended the AppsEvents Level 1 Bootcamp prior to the Summit, but now they had this spark that seemed to radiate as they were leaving. This is why I absolutely love what I do! Their drive and excitement are encouraging because I know this will only transcend into the classroom. The real winners through all of this are the students.

Of course, not only were the attendees inspiring and showed tremendous hospitality but the AppsEvents team I had the honor to present with, continue to teach me new things and help me grow as a trainer. Even though we may only physically see each other a couple times a year at various summits, they are like family. They are my professional learning network family. 

Every time I have the chance to present, I always promote finding your “tribe” on social media, like Twitter. I learn so much more from these valuable educators on a daily basis, more so than sitting in a traditional professional development. I know the AppsEvents team are individuals I can count on to help me solve problems, answer questions, or offer feedback.

“It’s not where you go… it’s who you meet along the way.”
-Wizard of Oz

I look forward to more opportunities to present with AppsEvents in the future. As a presenter, my hope is that attendees return to their classrooms empowered, but when I leave feeling inspired I am encouraged to continue as a lifelong learner.

About the Author : Hollie G Sisk

Hollie is a Google for Education Certified Trainer and enjoys sharing her passion and mission with others. After fifteen years of serving as a classroom teacher and Media Specialist across the state of Georgia, she is an advocate for student engagement.

Hollie’s mission is to educate and encourage users of information and technology with the latest digital resources, like G Suite for Education, to maximize creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills through thoughtful pedagogy and infusing technology.

Hollie believes professional development empowers educators to transform learning, ignite change, and break down the walls of their classrooms while providing authentic learning experiences and highlighting student success.

Connect with Hollie:, @hgsisk
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Google for Education Summit hosted at Lebanon Middle School In partnership with AppsEvents & Local Sponsors

Google for Education Summit hosted at Lebanon Middle SchoolIn partnership with AppsEvents & Local Sponsors

LEBANON, NH -- An educational summit featuring Google for Education will be hosted in the Upper Valley for educators in area schools on May 5, 2017 with a series of workshops throughout the day led by highly acclaimed Google Certified Trainers and Educators.

For educators wanting to earn a certification, a Google Educator Level 1 Certification Bootcamp will be offered on Friday, May 4th. This workshop agenda includes a series of engaging ‘classroom’ and ‘productivity’ activities utilizing Google tools as well as guided access to the Google Exam Center, a complimentary exam voucher, & guaranteed ‘retake’ access.

May 4, 2018 Bootcamp | Lebanon School District SAU88

May 5, 2018 Summit | Lebanon Middle School

The goal is to help administrators, educators, specialists and assistants/paraprofessionals learn how to use the tools for productivity and/or in innovative ways to engage learners to be successful in achieving competency in all areas of the curriculum.

Everyone is invited to attend and registration can be found at the event website EARLY BIRD registration pricing until April 9. Questions about registration and event details can be emailed directly to

About AppsEvents

As an official Google for Education PD Partner, AppsEvents Summits and Bootcamps featuring Google for Education provide high quality professional development for educators worldwide. You'll leave with ideas for your classroom that you can implement tomorrow!
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The first Chromebook Tab 10 is a winner

Back in January 2018, Dan Taylor and James Sayer from AppsEvents were invited to Acer headquarters to preview the new Acer Chromebook Tab 10, a tablet with Chrome OS just like the Chromebooks that are hugely popular in schools. We were not able to discuss anything before the launch but are delighted that it has been released now so we can share our thoughts.

The Tab 10 is similar in size to an iPad, with all the standard features we expect:
  • front/rear cameras
  • nine hours battery
  • 2048 x 1536 display
  • USB-C
  • 4 GB RAM and 32GB storage
  • Built in Wacom stylus
The Tab 10 has a slot for the stylus to slide into, making this tablet and stylus easy to carry around. The stylus doesn’t need charging and no battery needed. These two features will make it easier for schools to start using tablet drawing and writing functions in class.
The game changer is Chrome OS. Now rather than being restricted with mobile Google apps when working on a tablet, students and teachers now have a fully working Chrome OS to mirror functionality of using Google on their PCs and a tablet!

Of course Google Play is available out of the box, every mobile app users need is therefore just a touch away.

Google’s AR kit is due for launch anytime now and the Tablet 10 has the hardware for this to run. Dropping 3D objects in the middle of a class now - think volcanoes on the student desk, or a tornado spinning on the floor! Learners will be able to see these and much more with Expeditions AR.

It is no secret that Acer are confronting Apple head on with the launch of the Tab 10, Dan and James were super impressed with the flexibility and the power of the stylus/Chrome OS combo and the lack of lag on the screen. You can check it out and try it ‘hands on’ at an AppsEvents Google Summit near you soon!
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The most powerful GSuite App you are not using!

By +James Sayer

As a Math teacher and working with learning technologies I am a total data geek and always looking for ways to harness the data we collect in schools. Having previously worked with Fusion Tables - an analysis app able to pull data in and geotag it and produce complex heatmaps very easily - I was excited to get going with Data Studio.

Charts in Sheets have been super powered by the Explore AI to extend their functionality. But what if we could pull in data from multiple sources and compare and analyse it side by side? Thats where Data Studio comes in. Launched in 2017, Data Studio has been designed with the internet marketer in mind (it has multiple connections to website data). However, with the Google Sheets connection, anything schools record in forms or sheets can now be pulled into Data Studio. But what exactly is Data Studio?

Data Studio is a set of advanced numerical and visualisation tools to help comprehend large complex data sets….yikes!

Data Studio creates easy to read reports and charts from a number of different data sources. Here is a sample Data Studio dashboard summarising #GooglePD tweets in the last 30 days:

Click to view live chart

We can see here a clean, simple overview of tweets that dynamically updates based upon current activity and shows the latest tweet!

For my school I have created dashboards comparing technology adoptions, behaviour patterns and learning indicators. Unlocking this data for other teachers to view, act and collaborate on. Of course a number of SIS allow this analysis, but GSuite and Data Studio are more powerful in that you can customise the indicators you are collecting and compare across any you choose.

Ok, lets get started!

Head over to for the Data Studio homepage, and the first thing you should do is check out the ‘Getting Started’ tutorial on the homepage. This will walk you through the basic steps of creating a visualization. Secondly check out these video tutorials.

Ok now you are ready to get started with your own dashboard.

Scenario: Build a simple Student data dashboard combining multiple data sources (GPA, absences, tardiness)

For demonstration purposes, the data is contained within three tabs of a Spreadsheet, however Data Studio can access multiple data sources from multiple Sheets files.

1. Go ahead and make a copy of this sample data sheet

2. Go to and click ‘Start a New Report’

3. We now need to tell Data Studio where to look for data. Click the ‘Create New Data Source’ blue button.

4. ‘Connect’ the Google Sheet by choosing Google Sheets from the list of Connectors on the left side and choose the ‘Sample Student Data’ Spreadsheet, and then the GPA workbook. Click ‘CONNECT’’, and then ‘Add to Report’ 

5. Next we are going to add the remaining data to the report, click on the menu bar ‘Resource’ >> ‘Manage added data sources’ 

6. Then click on ‘ADD A DATA SOURCE’ and go ahead and add from the same Spreadsheet the Early/Late and Absences tabs (you will need to do this a total of two times) 

7. Ok phew! We have our data in the report...time for a caffeine break! 

8. Now we have our multiple data sources, we can present them and analyse them in multiple, flexible ways! 

9. Firstly lets create a simple scorecard showing the student data. Locate the Scorecard button (box with 21 inside, on the toolbar), click it and then click anywhere on the report. This scorecard is going to show GPA. On the right hand side options, you must choose the correct data source (GPA sheet) and then change the Metric to GPA. Repeat this for Scorecards for days early, days late and absences. Total 4 scorecards. Be careful to select the correct data source for each one in the options menu on the right hand side. 

10. If you have followed these steps carefully, you should have something that looks like:

11. But wait, this is showing the sum of each across all students! Not what we need….so we need to include a filter in order that we can select one student at a time. 
12. On the toolbar, choose the Filter Control (), change the ‘Dimension’ of this control to ‘Student’. 

13. Finished! Click on the View button in the upper right corner of your screen and you will have something similar to my report below (although I played around with the colors and style).

Click to view live chart

In closing, Data Studio can produce some really great visuals which can help educators unlock insights into the data we are collecting. There are many great SIS out there collecting data, but with the powerful customisation of Forms and Sheets, Data Studio gives educators the tools to begin analysing their own data in truly complex ways. This sample dashboard didn’t use any great visuals, but there are many charts that can display summary data and combined data sources.

If you begin doing something cool with Data Studio please do comment below! Here are some more ideas:
  • Technology status dashboard
  • Summary discipline (or positive behaviours) report
  • Parent attitudes to learning in school
  • Grade reports

For those curious to learn more and want in-person training on what else you can do in Data Studio, come join us at our Qatar Summit happening this April where James will do a session. Note that we offer 10% discount for schools booking 5 or more attendees for the summit. So make sure to share the good news and then register as a group!
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The Chrome Gnomes

Just what is a gnome? According to Webster’s Dictionary, a gnome is


  1. A legendary dwarfish creature supposed to guard the earth's treasures underground.
  2. A small ugly person.
  3. A person regarded as having secret or sinister influence, especially in financial matters.

So what is a Chrome Gnome? 

Well, to me, Chrome Gnomes are those small, seemingly insignificant (“secret”) treasures in the Chrome web browser that are sure to make your life so much easier! It’s a click here, a click there, or extensions added to increase the productivity of the web browser experience.

There are many other neat tips and tricks when using the Chrome web browser, but for now, I will highlight information about tab management and a few of my favorite chrome extensions. One important fact: No matter what device you may be using, sign in to chrome and your installed extensions and saved bookmarks will be there! Just be sure to “link your data” when/if you are prompted when you use a different device.

Installing the Chrome app on your iOS device will also help you transition your searching and accessibility to things you have saved in Chrome!

One of the sessions I presented at the Valdosta City Schools Google Summit last summer was about the Chrome Gnomes. It was amazing to watch a room full of educators get so excited over “the little things”.

There were quite a few of those “AH-HA” moments and you could literally see the amazement on their faces and the low rumbles of joy as they expressed their excitement and awe to their neighbor sitting beside them in the session.

As a presenter, there’s nothing that pumps you up more than seeing the light bulbs light up from your session participants. It’s an awesome feeling! I love “sharing the love” of the Chrome Gnomes!!!

I want to take a moment to share some of my favorite Chrome Gnomes. Sit back, and get ready to be amazed!

Tab Management

Right-Click on any tab you have open to see options for managing your tabs.
  • Reload/Refresh - update current information on the open tab.
  • Duplicate – this allows you to duplicate the current tab/website so that you can navigate to a different page within the same website. How many times have you opened a new tab, typed in the website address again, and THEN navigate to the page you need? Well, duplicating an existing tab saves you at least 3 clicks as well as needless re-typing!
  • Pin Tab – Do you keep the same tabs open most all day? By pinning a tab, it reduces the size of the tab so that only an icon of the website appears and it automatically moves that tab to the far left side. This is also a great way to keep from closing a tab accidentally. To Unpin the tab, simply right-click on that tab, and choose “unpin tab”. It then reverts back to the original size. The advantage to pinning your tabs (your most used ones, anyway), is to increase the “real estate” across your screen so that you can open more tabs as needed.
  • Mute – Muting a tab silences the audio on that website but still allows you to keep the tab open and not have to fiddle with your volume settings (or having to mute your volume in your tool tray).
  • Close Tab/ Close Other Tabs/ Close Tabs to the right – Well, this is pretty self-explanatory, but the advantage is reducing the number of clicks in order to close out multiple tabs at once.
  • Reopen Closed Tab – THIS IS MY FAVORITE!!!! How many times have you closed a tab by accident? What do you do? Re-type the address or do another Google search to try to find the website again. Well guess what?? Not any more!!! Simply right-click on any tab, then choose “reopen closed tab”, and WA-LAH…. Your closed tab reopens like Chrome Gnome Magic! You can repeat this process multiple times until it opens the tab you are looking for! How cool is THAT?
  • Bookmark all tabs – Another one of my faves! Open all tabs you need, then choose the “bookmark all tabs” option, and it will put all of the tabs into a folder (that you can name) and you can have it added to your Bookmarks Bar. I like to use this when I’m researching a topic and I can put all of the tabs (websites) into one folder for easy access.

Chrome Extensions

I will share with you some of my absolute favorite Chrome Extensions. You can install these by going to the Chrome Web Store and installing them to chrome. The neat thing about chrome extensions is that even if you are on another computer and you are signed in to Chrome, then your extensions appear on that computer too (be sure to “link your data” when the pop-up window appears). Your installed extensions will appear on the right side of the address bar (aka Omnibox).
  • Tab Scissors – this divides your tabs so that they are side by side and you can work on both windows at once.
  • Tab Glue – this “glues” the tabs back together to their original position
  • – this is a quick way to shorten a long URL. It works like a charm!
  • Craftytext – this is a quick way to enlarge text at the click of a button (like a short URL, or if you have to spell a word for your students). 
  • Mercury Reader – this extension removes all the “junk” (ads, ticker tapes, videos, etc.) from the border of websites (like News websites), and leaves only the text. This is a great extension to use with students who have ADHD or reading disabilities.
  • Screencastify – Another FAVE! This is an awesome tool to use when you need to record your cursor movements on your computer to complete a task (tutorial) or do a voiceover when you need to talk through your Powerpoint! It automatically saves your video into Google Drive, and from there you can share it as needed. Pure awesomeness!
  • OneTab – Condenses all of your open tabs into one tab and it supplies a QR code and/or URL for the one tab where all of the tabs are condensed to. This is a great way to guide your students into which websites you would like them to use for a particular project. You can send them the link via Google Classroom and when they open it, all of the individual sites will already be listed and they won’t have to search for them or spend countless minutes typing in the website addresses.
  • Checkmark – Use this extension when providing feedback to students in Google Docs. You can use it as a teacher, or you can have your students use it as a means of peer to peer feedback. It displays a comment “keyboard” window. Highlight the word of phrase that needs editing, then choose the shortcut from the comment keyboard and it inserts the comment for you without you having to type it! 
  • Kami – Turn any PDF into a document used for annotation. You can highlight on it, insert text boxes for taking notes, draw on it, etc. Then you can save it to your Google Drive or download it onto your computer.
There are SOOOO MANY other great extensions I would love to share, but I think you would rather have my working document! So…. Click on this link to access my Chrome Gnomes document and create your own copy:

Have fun playing with these little treasures! Explore the Chrome Web Store when you have time and find even more!!!!

About the Author

Dr. Laverne Hill is an educator from Valdosta, GA, with 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and a media specialist. She loves all things Google! Having classroom experience in addition to being a media specialist, she knows the importance of communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Being a Google for Education Trainer gives her the privilege of doing all three! She’s got the best of both worlds: teaching students and teaching educators!

Watching teachers and students integrate digital tools (especially those great G Suite for Education tools) into the classroom that engages students and creates an active learning experience is very rewarding! She loves what she does and she loves "sharing the love"!

Need some technology professional learning in your school or district? Need some support as a media specialist? Need a co-teacher to help your teachers implement technology tools? Visit her website for more information at .
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School 2.0

By +Ben Rouse

The internet looks nothing like it did when it started, but schools have taken a slower approach to change!

No one involved in the early construction of a network of networks saw what we have now coming. Therefore how can we know what comes next, but indulge me in an attempt at envisaging the potential impact of modern internet capabilities on the institutions of learning? Might the ever evolving internet have the potential to finally nudge education to innovate and evolve?

“From the moment you wake up, the web is trying to anticipate your intentions. Since your routines are noted, the web is attempting to get ahead of your actions, to deliver an answer almost before you ask a question.” - 
Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

The extract from my most recent Kindle acquisition prompted me to apply this idea to my passion, education. Machine learning uses data to predict what you will want to eat, consume, purchase and more. So what will this look like for learning? Google Drive already makes a stab at which documents you want to access when you open it. Google Sheets are starting to predict the formula you want to use, and it will only get better at it. Get your hands on the new Jamboard app which turns your sketch of common items into a neat icon. How? Using all the drawings people have added to quickdraw. If the data is there, a machine can learn from it. Learning is a very complex system but our use of data to measure learning is extremely simplistic.

Learning machines

If you live in Scotland as a 14 year old, this information alone gives a reasonable indication of what you are studying. Furthermore, your documents and data will too. Is it not inevitable that you will receive study materials, curriculum updates, pop quizzes and feedback based on this basic information? Having studied Pythagoras three weeks previous you can be provided with review materials, your notes and suitable problems to solve at the optimal time to review it and ensure it begins to embed in your long-term memory. This is available information ‘the internet’ can use to support your studies with timely content. This is not Sci-Fi, this is functionality many of us experience through our devices because we have traded access to our data for the tools to make our lives a bit easier or more productive. If this kind of automation and feedback were available to students, the kind of efficiency I certainly didn’t achieve (ask my students!), why would they need their teachers? A question you only ask if you are not able to change your view of what a teacher is or could be.

News corporations could not envisage the internet delivering news because their schema did not allow it. They were not able to foresee or imagine all their passive readers and viewers becoming the creators of content, whether that be videos, blogs, social media posts or reviews on Amazon. They assumed the content on the internet would have to be created by them, but that would not be economically viable. Remember, we are abysmal at predicting the future, yet here I am trying!?

What is school?

If a student is receiving feedback on their work quickly and efficiently without having to enter school building then what is the school for? A social place to share your learning, remain mentally sound by providing interaction with other children and experts? Will your schedule be dynamic and each day adjust to your needs? Let’s not forget we like structure… Could a machine learn the structures we work best in?

As a teacher would I have your essay appear in the morning and a meeting scheduled for the afternoon. The marking of your essay against a rubric will already be done the moment you ‘submit’ and I see it too. The thousands of teacher marked essays and millions more marked by machines means the assessment is now better conducted by machine than by a human. Our scheduled meeting is to review and discuss the next steps. Other students may join our tutorial by video link, they are visiting an educational site elsewhere but would benefit from the tutorial so they are added to the meeting if convenient, another institution may have a more convenient essay review of course.

All the while their online professional portfolio is being created and made available to employers and recruiters who might benefit from their skills. Employer data on the attributes of their most productive teams use this to match a students potential profile. This is similar to current sporting recruitment where young athletes with a lung capacity above the mean average might be pushed towards rowing or cycling. As long as every student can participate and have their information accessible in this way social mobility can be accelerated as the screening of portfolios is automated, bypassing our bias for names and backgrounds that we know or are similar to our own.

Don’t be put off by student data being accessed. This can easily sit within data protection laws if the service we want is for students to get prompt and useful feedback, then the data processor is within their rights to use the data they need to provide the service. The data controller, would that be the institution… Or could it be the student’s family? Whether you have “Alexa”, “Siri”, “Cortana” or just “Hey Google..” ringing around your house, you will be familiar with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. My phone gives me driving times to different destinations on different days, based on my previous journeys. So let’s take this scenario to learning. Based on your habits and working patterns might we have these types of prompts from our devices?

“It looks like you are studying, how long would you like notifications turned off” 

“This is usually your most productive study time, shall I open your current assignments?” 

“Looks like you have finished your essay, would you like to get feedback on it now, if so a lecturer is available in two hours to review the feedback, shall I schedule a tutorial? 7 other students on your course will be present.” 

“You are not studying effectively, take a break I will check if your friends are free” 

“Ready for a pop quiz on the civil war?”

These interactions could be the way we manage our studies, automated and based on our data. Machines using our responses to improve predictions and support.

Learning Institutions

Where might learning happen and what of the experts, coaches or teachers supporting that process? It would appear unlikely we would do away with physical space dedicated to learning. Our access to online learning is now vast, with reputable institutions offering courses online. However, the completion rates are very poor and these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) may not be the future of learning.

The screen in the Principal’s office provides an interactive infographic of feedback metrics on student participation and progress in courses, student ratings for tutorials and dynamic course numbers. Permanent staff include trained councillors, learning facilitators but the teaching staff are fluid depending on need from week to week. Through their profile, many join via video link to support a burst of course interest or required expertise. Others are longer term on site having had superb feedback and progress metrics. They have built strong relationships and reputations for your institution and also contribute content to the courses. Their involvement with other institutions benefits the cross-pollination of innovations in learning. Why not have Elon Musk as your visiting transportation lecturer?
What are your qualifications?

There are signals of the waning value of traditional academic achievements. Will the transition between learning and work blur? How restricted are we in our exam systems? I am going to go and read more on assessment, the skills needed in a changing world and train some teachers on using G Suite for learning.

Writing this post is foolish as I am planting an artefact online that will surely be embarrassingly inaccurate. However, I will continue to consider what learning may look like as the world changes. I am confident change will come, but in education, I cannot predict whether it will be a systematic evolution or a learner revolution.

Thanks for reading.
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