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Norski Ninja: Week 9!

We’re in the home stretch of our Norski Ninja series. And today we’ll begin thinking about the ways we love GoogleApps as next week’s tip will be just that–sharing the good parts of this change. Here are this week’s Ninja skills:

  • Calendar: Sharing your calendar with others takes a few steps and we covered that in Week Three. Now you can take it a step further by creating additional calendars to share. How about a classroom activities calendar? How about a volunteer calendar? A project calendar? You may not want classroom, sports, club, or other activities merged with your calendar, so just create another one. Share it. Embed it on your web page.
  • Mail: February can be pretty busy and your Gmail box might be filling up now, so use filters to automatically categorize, label, color-code, and organize your messages.  Say you’d like all of the messages from your principal to be labeled “Important”–a filter can do that. (This feature is similar to Rules in Groupwise.) Here’s how filters work in Gmail.
  • Docs: Although it’s improving all the time (Tables! Presentations! Page Numbers!), I’ll admit that Docs does not do everything that Word does. Sometimes you might need a more elaborate layout than Docs can offer. In that case, try downloading your GoogleDoc in another format for revision or sharing. Go to File >> Download As. You’ll have a choice of formats:
    • Word: Use this one if you’re going to do a big layout, need more clipart or need to use the excellent SmartArt in Office.
    • PDF: Use this one if you’re not going to make changes to the document, but you want to “freeze” it for posting to the web, sharing with others, or as an alternative to printing.
    • RTF: This format is pretty universal. Almost any word processor will open it up. It won’t be fancy, but it will be shareable and editable by lots of tools, including the very confusing Microsoft Works.
  • Here’s more information on downloading, including Drawings, Presentations, and more!
  • You can download and upload files to GoogleDocs much like you would use a flash drive. You don’t have to convert them to upload and you may still share with others. When you’re using Docs, Mail, and Calendar to cut down on the paper in your life, you are definitely approaching black belt status.

Remember to comment on this post to be entered into our weekly Google drawing. Give it a try! Tell us how you’ve used any of these tools or any Google tools.


Norski Ninja: Week 7!

This week’s edition of the Norski Ninja is all about returns . . . return receipts, returning emails, and survey returns. Read on for ways to increase your Ninja skills or look back on our previous tips or there’s always our Go Google! page where we are storing all sorts of Google assistance for you.

  • Gmail Return Receipts: One of the first things we missed about Groupwise was the return receipt.  Open a new message and take a look under the “To” line. You should see Add Cc, Add Bcc, and Request Return Receipt. Click on that last link and check the box that will appear. It looks like this. (This feature is not available for our personal Gmail accounts.)
  • Recurring Calendar Events: If you have events that occur at regular intervals, you can schedule them pretty easily in Google Calendar.  When you click the Create button on your calendar, a new screen will open that lets you enter all the details for your event. Underneath the title, you’ll see a checkbox for Repeat . . . once you check that, you’ll see all sorts of choices for your recurring event: weekly, daily, monthly, etc.  Want to see the pictures? Take a look at this page for all of the calendar basics. Setting up a recurring meeting is a little more than halfway down the page.
  • GoogleDocs and Forms:Forms are one of my favorite parts of GoogleDocs and the (relatively) new semester might be a great time for a form/survey. Create a form to find out more about your students. Create a form to see which families can help out on your next field trip. Create a form to organize the next staff potluck or select a meeting time. Use a form to create a formative assessment. The possibilities are endless. The nice part about a form is that you don’t need to share any part of the document or the results. You can send people the web address for your survey without sharing the results.

We’d love to hear from you . . . how are you using any part of Google to do interesting things. Add a comment to this post and you could win the prize of your choice. I have to say that bug light is pretty neat.

GoogleApps Ninja: Week 2

Week 2 of your Ninja Quest includes tips for Gmail, Google Calendar,
Google Docs, and a chance to win a prize!

Gmail:  Add a signature to your outgoing emails.  Click the gear icon to get to mail settings >> General >> scroll down and find ‘Signature.’  Type what you’d like and click “Save changes”  (see a few non-tips below)

Calendar:  Viewing others’ calendars:  Under “Other Calendars” try typing my name or your principal’s name in the box.  You’ll be able to see whether they are free or busy—handy for scheduling meetings!  Now, think of your calendar as an overhead projector and each shared calendar is an individual transparency.  By clicking on the name of the calendar on the left, you can add or remove that calendar from view.

Another Calendar tip:  By default, your calendar will send you email reminders 10 minutes before each event.  You can modify this by going to Calendar Settings >> Calendars >> Notifications.

Docs:  When you create a document, it’s unnamed.  Make sure to name it by clicking on “Untitled Document” in the upper left corner.

Another Docs tip:  When someone shares a document with you, it appears on your home screen.  Want to hide it?  Check the box next to those documents and click “actions” or “more” at the top and select “Remove from Home”  Your doc is still there, just packed away out of sight.  Need to find it?  Use keywords in the search bar at the top.

Etiquette Alert!

General:  You can create a contact group which works for email, calendar invitations, and sharing docs.  Here’s how.

Gmail:  Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at how not to create a professional email signature.

Calendar:  Remember that when sharing or inviting an entire group (such as a school, YESstaff, DAHSstaff, etc.) that your invitation includes everyone who works in the building, including support staff, custodial staff, etc.  While it’s easy to type one large group, take a moment to consider whether you there is a subgroup you can hone in on.

Docs:  Sharing a Doc vs. sending a doc as an attachment… Consider whether the doc is something you want your collaborators to have in their Docs Home page.  If yes, share away!  If not, consider sending it as an attachment.  Same goes for sharing docs with an all-school list.

Prizes!  To be entered in our drawing next week, add a comment below about what you love about GoogleApps so far…

This week’s winner is Elisa Welch, who shared how collaborating on a document keeps you on the “same page” and saves time!

Tuesday Tech Tip: Google Images & Videos

Good afternoon,

Some of you may have noticed a new look to GoogleDocsHere is a guided tour of the new look and one very promising new feature–Images and Videos!

I also want to give kudos to these folks who have been integrating technology into their work lately:

  • Greg Gorres, Michelle Kruse, and Jen McGorray are using Animoto.
  • Dave Bailey and JenMcGorray created a Facebook Fan Page for New Reflections and are using copyright-friendly images for student projects.
  • Laurie Keys is using Google Earth and Skype (to Hong Kong!)
  • Natalie Slaby skypes regularly with her brother’s classroom in Minnesota.
  • Darlene Barth is experimenting with blogging and using Google Calendar for daily assignments.
  • Dave Sisler, Rachel Bohlman, and Lisa Marek are using Gaggle for students to communicate via email with community members.
  • Cindy Rosch is video-taping new teachers in their natural habitats.
  • Stephanie Unertl is using Google Presentations and copyright-friendly images with 4th graders to collaborate on a story for publishing.
  • Lisa Sebranek, Barb Bauer, Kris Onsager, and Dave Sisler are using GoogleDocs for student story writing and publishing.
  • Maria Marquis and the music teachers are using a Google Form for parent volunteers to sign up for Solo & Ensemble.
  • Sue Wilson and Julie McCarville are using Google Forms for Viterbo courses and Moodle for inservice sign-up.
  • Principals are using Google Calendar.
  • DAMS Career Day speakers will be sharing their AV needs via a Google Form.
  • All agendas and notes go out via GoogleDocs for LIT.

All of these people have automatically been entered into this week’s drawing.  If you’d also like to be included, just send me an email with how you have or plan to integrate technology into some aspect of your work during January or February!

Year-end Food for Thought

This will be the last Tool & Tip of 2010, and I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on the past and look to the future.  I have two sources of inspiration for you.

One is a video… Brave New World Wide Web.  It compares 20th century learning with 21st century learning.  It was originally posted in 2008, but is still relevant today.  I hope it gets you thinking about one small change you can make to bring yourself forward.  I can help and support you in that process.


The second is a blog post from December of 2009, but it’s still fitting and good food for thought…

21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020.

Some of these things are radical shifts in how schools operate today.  What would be on your list?

This week’s drawing will be for a 1:1 session to learn something new in GoogleApps–this can be “just getting started” or an advanced feature, depending on where you’re at.  We’ll schedule a time at your convenience.

To enter, send me an email with one of two things:

  • One small change to bring yourself forward tech-wise.  (Inspired from the video)
  • One (or two) things you think will become obsolete in education by 2020.

What’s Your Searching Score?

Try out this short quiz (15 questions) to measure your Google search skills.

For DASD staff members: If you’re feeling brave, add a comment to this blog post with your score. I’ll draw for a flash drive on Friday, April 16.


Anne Tredinnick is the winner of this week’s flash drive drawing. Anne answered correctly that CIPA stands for the Children’s Internet Protection Act. If you’d like to know more, visit DPI for more details.