Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Adding multiple events to Google Calendar using a spreadsheet

Adding individual events to a Google Calendar can be annoying and time consuming. But there's a super easy way!

Using a simple spreadsheet in the form of a CSV file you can upload as many events at one time into any of the calendars that you manage. 

There is one big warning! Be careful when you set it up as there are only two ways to delete the events you put in, either delete the whole calendar or delete the events one at a time. In that regard I'd advise adding a new calendar to house all of your new events, or at least test the file in a temporary "Test Calendar".

Click here to download a copy of the CSV file

These are the basic instructions, there is also a step by step YouTube instruction video below.
  1. create a spreadsheet with the correct headers (as per example)
  2. export as a .csv file
  3. Go into calendar and click on the arrow next to My Calendars and click on Settings
  4. at the end of the list of your own calendars, click on 'Import Calendar'
  5. Choose the .csv file you created and choose the calendar it goes into and 'Import'

There is a second video at the bottom of this post that shows you how to set up the spreadsheet to accommodate multi day timetables (like a 6 day cycle) that don't stick to the days of the week. 

Hopefully this will save you quite a lot of time!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Awesome Fast Report Starter Spreadsheet!

It's that time of year again when teachers need to write reports. When I was in the classroom I always had trouble getting started, so I created the "Awesome Fast Report Starter Spreadsheet"

It uses just a few basic functions to compile together, the Vlookup function which searches for information in another table based on a value existing, Concatenate which joins text together, and Substitute which swaps out the wildcard ### for the student's name.

This is a great way to get started on your reports, and a practical way to use spreadsheets to get started with your reports. As a disclaimer putting in high, medium and low comments is not the end of my report writing. Once I have my spreadsheet start I then go and edit the prepared comment, adding personal examples, next steps, pronouns and other individual feedback.

If you find this useful I'd love to hear back from you either on this blog or via twitter where you can find me @shaunyk .

Friday, 6 December 2013

Streaming School Events - How Google Hangouts saved the day!

Today we had a great story telling performance at school, but it almost didn't happen because we couldn't have all of the classes attend. So by using some Google Magic, we set up a Google Hangout on Air. Hooray for a Google Win!

Google Hangouts on Air allow you to live stream a google hangout conversation or vision from your webcam, live to an audience that you send a simple youtube link to. And it's FREE!

You will need to have a Google + account set up to run a google Hangout, but that's it. When you're in your Google plus account, go to the hangouts section of the menu, and select, Start a Hangout On Air. A hangout will open and you press start broadcast. You can find detailed instructions on this link to Google Hangouts instructions.

Once the broadcast is finished it is saved in your YouTube videos for sharing out later which is a great advantage too.

Using Google Hangouts on Air was a great experience for us, and I hope that it works well at your school too. There are so many ways it could be used, enjoy and stay Googley!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Wordle on the iPad!

As a tech coach I have been asked many times if there's a Wordle iPad app. At the moment there is no official Wordle iPad app, but there are a few options out there, and one in particular that I have been using at school.

Cloudart - 99¢


Cloud Art is a great app to make Wordle like word clouds on your iPad. It is very simple to use, and allows you to copy and paste text from any other app, or grab text from a website. There are a number of formatting options including color schemes and font style.

It's prehaps not as customisable as some of the web based apps, but it does more than enough for the average student in class who wants to look at the emphasis placed on different words in a block of text, and similar activities.

If you've switched to iPads and miss being able to use wordle I would definitely recommend checking out Cloudart

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Helping Kids Get Started with Minecraft

School is back in full swing, and so are lots of Minecraft and Minecraft Edu servers. In my situation we are predominantly using Minecraft in after school activities, but looking at ways that we can integrate it into the curriculum.

If you are interested in doing more with Minecraft at your school I highly recommend joining the Minecraft in Education Google + community. Which you can access here. There are lot of inspired people doing great things and heaps of ideas and resources.

In the mean time I have created a simple guide sheet that I give out to kids new to Minecraft on the computer to help them navigate and use the crafting table. It's pretty simple, but a great way to get kids started. I have linked a PDF and a Word version in case you want to edit it and make it your own.

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Moving from Pilot to Air Traffic Controller - The future of teaching?

As part of my Google Teacher Academy, we got to thinking about what may be the role of the teacher in the coming years, how that might change, and what we would like to see. As I sat and thought about it these were the major themes that stood out for me.

Going from the Pilot to the Air Traffic Controller

If we were to think about our students as planes approaching an airport, we can see student aircraft:
  • approach your Grade Level Airport from different directions, at different speeds and altitudes.
  • They will leave your grade level airport again at different speeds, altitudes and directions.
Often in traditional classroom the teacher is basically the pilot of jet full of students. As the pilot we have a system where:

All students are going to the same place at the same time.
All students move on to the next destination at the same time.
Higher achieving students are often put into a holding pattern while the teacher helps the struggling students to achieve Grade level expectations.

Rather than being the Pilot and taking all the responsibility for all the learning, teachers should aim to be "Air Traffic Controllers". In this model teachers then begin to:
  • Help students to decide on their next destination based on their skills and strengths
  • Give them a destination, but allow them to get there by themselves. You can always support them from the tower, but not fly the plane for them.
  • For those students whose flights are delayed (behind in their academic skills) as the Air Traffic Controller, you can help those students to develop their skills, and perhaps give them some intermediate destinations to build their confidence and ability.
The move from ultimate decision maker, to advisor and project manager will help students become more autonomous and hopefully intrinsic learners.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Installing fonts in 60 Seconds

I had some teachers that I work with ask me about finding and installing fonts. I put together this short 60 second tutorial to explain the process and thought it might be useful to other people who may come across my blog.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

iPad models for the future - 1:1? BYOD? What's your position?

When it comes to 1:1 programs with iPads and other tablets there are a number of ways to go. The school can buy and manage them all, it can be school bought and parent managed, or entirely the responsibility of the parent.

In my current situation our school owns and manages our classroom iPads. It by no menas the ideal situation. Managing large numbers of iPads in regard to file management, syncing, app organization and purchasing in a school environment is a nightmare for the school. This is mainly because of the individual nature of the iPad, and in part because Apple really haven't worked out an elegant solution for managing iPads in large numbers.

In my ideal world, parents would purchase the iPad, the school would provide a list of apps that they would install and manage much the same as a common booklist. This would also allow the same iPad to move on with the child, carrying with it all of their work.

The iPad, and other tablets really create the opportunity are vastly changing the way that classrooms operate, and give students the opportunity to create and experience education in a whole new way. It will be interesting to see what the dominent 1:1 model becomes in the next few years.

60 seconds to save an hour

Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference. For me this is particularly so with keyboard shortcuts. They have become so much a part of my workflow that I often forget which menu the commands come from when I try to show someone with the mouse.

To help people get started with some of these little tips and tricks I have started to put together some 60 second videos explaining how these work.

Once you get underway with keyboard shortcuts there's no looking back, you really will save yourself many hours for the sake of letting your fingers control the action for a moment.

If there's an instructional video you'd find useful message me and see if I can put one together for you.