Calendar Comes to Google Classroom

Shortly after Google Classroom debuted, one of the components that teachers asked to be integrated into the app was Google Calendar. As the 2015-16 school year got underway, Classroom was still devoid of a calendar option. All appeared to be lost. But in reality, Google was on the case and in late September Google Calendar came to Classroom.

Calendar_Classroom

There are two ways for students and teachers to access their Classroom’s Calendar:

  1. From the ‘sandwich’ menu in the top-left corner of Classroom
  2. From the ‘About’ tab

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.21.56 PMA third option is to access the Classroom’s Calendar directly from the Calendar app (there is also a shortcut to this option under the ‘About’ tab). Any assignment that is posted in Classroom that has a due date will appear in that Classroom’s calendar. And, just as in the Calendar App, teachers and students can filter assignments by specific classes or see all of the assignments from all of their classes on one screen. If teachers do not see their Classroom’s calendar in the Calendar App, then Google suggests that they may need to “Add a post to the class stream to create the calendar.”

Finally, now that a Classroom’s calendar can be accessed in the Calendar App there are more options at the teacher’s disposal to easily share this information with parents. Teachers can open up the sharing permissions on the Classroom calendar, then embed it on their teacher website. Parents who have Google accounts themselves will have the additional option to add their child’s Classroom calendar to their own Calendar App.

If a video would help explain these exciting new developments, then I would recommend checking out these two by Jenn Scheffer:


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Google/Apple Dashboards

With more and more of the work we do migrating to cloud-based services, it can sometimes be difficult to troubleshoot when those services start misbehaving. For example, last week Apple users experienced issues accessing iCloud, App Store, and iTunes Store services (click here to read more). Whatever it is, when technology fails it triggers a flood of questions as we try to work the problem:

  • Is it my device?
  • Is it my Internet connection?
  • Is it the app?
  • Is it the service?
  • Is it the Internet itself?
  • Who is the techno-gremlin causing my issue?

In a world where knowledge is power both Google and Apple have created a resource that allows users to check the status of their cloud-based services. While these ‘dashboards’ do not provide solutions when problems arise, they at least provide some comfort with the knowledge that you are not alone on the island of failed technologies.

Google Apps Status Dashboard

Google’s dashboard lists the status of 20 different apps, including whether each app is experiencing ‘No Issues,’ a ‘Service disruption,’ or a ‘Service outage.’

Google Apps Dashboard screenshot


Apple Services Dashboard

Apple Services, Stores, and iCloud dashboard lists the status of 45 different apps, from iTunes Store to Siri to iOS Device Activation. Scroll down to bottom of the page to view a detailed timeline of any outages, as well as a link to contact Apple Support if your issue isn’t being reported.

Apple Dashboard screenshot

Website of the Week: Clouds Over Cuba (Gr. 6-12)

Clouds Over Cuba – A documentary of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Produced by the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum, this interactive site chronicles the events leading up to and following the Cuban Missile Crisis that took place in the early 1960’s. The site tells the story via a 25-minute documentary video, divided into seven chapters. Of particular note is chapter six ‘What If?’ where they look at an alternate future when we were unable to avoid a nuclear conflict. Where the site really shows its strength is in the supplemental material provided which includes documents, photos, audio clips, and film footage of people, places, and events. As you progress through the documentary, the site will add these items to your dossier for reference later. In addition, the site has a mobile component so that, with a special pin number from the site, you can access the film and items in your dossier from your mobile phone.

INTEGRATE

  • This is an amazing primary reference resource for students researching topics from this era. The potential for numerous class discussions surrounding the decisions made, the people involved, and the consequences are almost boundless.
  • The chapter about an alternative ending to this conflict is very powerful and emotional at times. As always, it is recommended that teachers preview the content and use their own judgement in how to use this and if any preparation should be done prior to student access.

Chapter 1, Act 3, changes in Cuba

Website of the Week: Population Pyramids (Gr. 5-12)

Population Pyramids – Data on the world from 1950 to 2100

Population Pyramids provides a simple interactive graph of population demographics based on world statistics. Use the alphabetical timeline to narrow the data range to specific regions, continents, or countries. Use the annual drop-down menu or click on the timeline graph to adjust the graphic on the left to a specific year, from 1950 up to present day and predicted results to the year 2100. Hover your cursor over the demographics chart to see the percentages based on age range and gender.

INTEGRATE

  • One of the great features of the site is that it provides a link at the bottom of the page to the specific chart that has currently been selected. This can then be copied to a webpage, presentation, or worksheet for easy access by students.
  • Ask students to make their own predictions about the population demographics by age, gender, or both before revealing the site results.

http://populationpyramid.net/China+Hong+Kong+SAR/2005/

Population Pyramid for China in 2005

Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.

Website of the Week: From Cave Paintings to the Internet (Gr. 6-12)

From Cave Paintings to the Internet – The history in information and media

This site has organized great events and advancements in information, media, and communication into one place that can be searched and viewed in a variety of ways. Events have been cataloged going back as far as 2,500,000 BC and as recent as the year 2013. View the vast collection of information in a timeline view, by theme, or by using a Google Maps interface. Each entry comes with a detailed description of the event, the players involved, and links to additional resource materials.

INTEGRATE

  • This is a great tool for students to have in their research toolbox. When studying or researching a topic, students could use this site to gain insight into the communication and social developments that were going on in the world at the time.
  • The site currently has 3,820 entries and is being updated on a regular basis.

Screenshot of map interface

For more information, please visit Richard Byrne over at FreeTechnology4Teachers.com

Website of the Week: U.S. Electoral Compass (Gr. 6-12)

U.S. Electoral Compass – How do political priorities change from state to state?

Hosted by the The Guardian News and designed by the social media monitoring experts Brandwatch, this interactive ‘compass’ displays the percentages with which Twitter and online news sites were talking about certain issues in the weeks and months leading up to the 2012 Presidential election in the United States. To activate the compass, choose a state from the list on the left-hand side of the page, then select a date between July 2nd and November 12th from the timeline along the bottom. This will then activate the electoral compass and display data on 30 different policy topics and issues. Change the compass results by selecting another date on the timeline and/or by choosing a different state.

The compass separates the results by political party; results in red represent conversations that included candidate Mitt Romney, results in blue represent those that mentioned Barack Obama. Along the right-hand side of the compass you will find the list of policy topics ranked by importance in that state, as well as some basic biographical information on that state.

INTEGRATE

  • This site has a lot of potential for several compare-&-contrast activities over time and by state.
  • Start a discussion with students about the role of social media in our electoral process and where they and/or their parents went to consume information about the election.
  • Since the site doesn’t tell us from which news organizations they pulled their data from, ask students to evaluate the credibility of these results.

Thanks goes to FreeTech4Teachers.com for sharing this find.

Website of the Week: The Battle of Gettysburg (Gr. 6-12)

The Battle of Gettysburg – U.S. Army

From www.army.mil, this site provides a brief overview of the Civil War battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The site uses photographs, audio narration, sound effects, and an animated map depicting troop movements to tell the story. Included in the narration are brief biographies of both military leaders as well as the experiences of common folk during the battle. Use the links at the bottom of the interface to access additional information on weaponry, battle statistics, and an epilogue to these events.

INTEGRATE:

  • Use this site to introduce this event in the Civil War timeline, asking students to pick out people and events to conduct further studies of in the future.
  • While this is only a brief overview of the battle, this site could be a helpful tool for students who are absent from class and need to keep up as the unit progresses.

Screenshot of the site interface window