We had four sessions to fill our day. My first session was dedicated to using Google Calendar. If you haven't figured it out by now, my school uses Google apps for just about everything. We've been using Google Calendar ever since I started working there, but I never totally understood how it worked. I was always worried that if I added my own appointments on the calendar it would appear for the whole school to see, or that if I made a change it would mess things up for the whole school. I learned to make new calendars for my own purposes. I made a calendar for all of my appointments, etc. to help me keep track of what I've done for my evaluation. I made calendars for all of my classes. I shared these calendars with my co-teacher so we can stay on the same page of what is being taught and when. I have a Google Site for my Regents Geometry class, and I figured out how to embed the calendar for that class into my website. I plan on keeping track of lessons, homework, and tests on the calendar. It will be helpful to both students and parents. We also learned how to create appointment slots so others can sign up for time on your calendar. I cannot see actually using this strategy just yet though. The Google Calendar session was my favorite by far.
My second session was on how to "Save Time with Google Extensions". I've known about extensions from a conference I previously attended, but was hoping to learn about some new ones. (FYI: Google Extensions are add-ons for your Google Chrome browser.)
The five main suggested extensions are:
- Google Dictionary,
- Google Docs Quick Create,
- Share to Google Classroom,
- Ad Block Plus, and
- Google Calendar Chrome Extension
- Nimbus Screenshot and Screencast,
- goo.gl URL Shortner,
- Google Translate, and
- Honey (an online shopping app)
My third session was "Supporting Community with Google". I was really excited for this session, but was disappointed by the fact that my school does not have 2 of the 4 methods enabled.
The four ways to use Google to reach out to communities are through:
- Google+ Communities (It's the Google version of a social network)
- Google Groups (Communicate with groups that you arrange)
- Google Sites (I already have this set up, and I love using it. I just wish my students would use it as often)
- Google Spaces (I don't know much about this because we weren't able to access it during the session)
My fourth session was dedicated to using Google Search. We learned all kinds of shortcuts to find what we are really looking for when we search. It was very informative, but really did not need a full hour dedicated to the topic.
My only gripe is that I feel I missed so much by not being able to attend every session. I'm hoping my school is able to host again in the future so I can learn more. I didn't get to attend any of the Google Classroom sessions, and I really want to learn about using Google Classroom.
The day ended with a Demo Slam. Each presenter had a 3 minute time limit to show how to use an app or an extension. I loved the demo slam. In less than 15 minutes we learned about creating an animation with Google Photos, how to use Google Keep, how to eliminate choices in Google Forms (after it has been selected a certain number of times), and more.
Overall it was an awesome way to spend a day, and a great start to a productive summer.