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TeachNet Grant: 2010 Winner
Get Organized with Google Applications
Anne Kornfeld
lambrocha@gmail.com

Newcomers HS
28-01 41 Avenue
Long Island City  State: NY  Zip: 11101

Grades 11-12 Business/Technology/College Prep


About the Grant:

Students will gain an understanding of the power of the Google Applications as organizational tools to better facilitate time management and student achievement while utilizing state of the art Web 2.0 tools. By using Google Applications, students will learn to set up Google/G-mail accounts, personalize their homepage (iGoogle) and toolbar, and use applications to fulfill assignments, collaborate with others in online editing, and keep online calendar(s). Students will manage their Google accounts; create an original iGoogle start-up page, customize tool bar and have at least 2 co-edited documents, and  filled out multiple calendars for at least 2 months.

Given the ability to access Google's web-based tools and services assists students with productivity in that their work which can be accessed by any computer; bridging classroom walls. These applications are available on mobile devices and offer the possibility for collaboration while allowing for integration with other programs such as Microsoft Excel or Open Office. As students utilize their custom made homepage, they will be able to save time  searching for frequented sites and information at their fingertips. Furthermore, Google can be accessed on or off-line in the event that Internet connectivity is not available.

Tips for the Teacher:
Google Applications are offered free to institutions, which have domain names ending in edu.

This unit will cover using G-mail.  One need not use G-mail to have a Google Account. If you already have a G-mail account, you will automatically have a Google account, but not vice-versa.

When setting up Google accounts, upon signing up, a box can be checked to "enable web history".  Once someone is signed into their Google account, the history of their searches are stored and can be accessed by any computer. You may explain to students that by allowing web-history to be activated, one may keep track of their own searches for further use. On the other hand, this means that Google is tracking where one goes on the web and could possibly be used for marketing ads (etc.) Remind students that since this is a free service,  there are pesky ads about the site.

Students can be made aware that, on their own computer or networked account, they may customize the Google toolbar to their liking; i.e. add buttons, bookmarks, etc.

If you are the administrator of the Google accounts, you may use the school district calendar to be shared  with all users as one of the several calendar functions available

How This Grant was Adapted:

By utilizing a web-based application, students will not have to deal with compatibility issues when doing work on multiple computers such as home computer to classroom or classroom to classroom. Instead of floppy disks or flash-drives, student work is easily accessible and formatting/program conflicts will be avoided. Moreover, Google Applications offers powerful tools beyond mere word processing that can help your students keep logs of homework assignments, make peer-editing and collaborative writing online possible and, in general, assist students in organizing their work in a professional manner.

When one signs up for a Google account, there are many applications offered, though you may chose to only work with one or as many as possible. The following applications will be discussed here:

G-mail accounts: e-mail with labeling capacity; ability to keep mail organized with search and filter capacities.

iGoogle-a personalized start up page. This can be created by you as the administrator to include class announcements, or can be created individually by students.

Google Calendar: offers multiple calendar overlays, ability to invite others to events and share calendars with others

Google Docs: shares and edits documents online/off-line Offers spread-sheets, slideshows, etc. (like a free Microsoft Office suit

Additional useful applications:

Picasa: creates digital photo archive, slideshows
Customized toolbar: saves time from browsing for repeatedly used sites
Page Creator: designs web pages and online posting
Google Chat: Instant messaging (IM) service
Google Reader: keeps subscriptions to favorite blogs in RSS feeds
Google Groups: creates online discussion groups
Google Maps
Google Earth: maps all corners of the earth-offers overlays to create specific mapped areas: Google Ocean, Google Mars

There are many more services such as blogging, (Blogger) mapping and social networking tools available and applications are constantly being upgraded and expanded. Check with Google for these changes and added functions. (http://google.com/intl/en/options/ )

Student Work Photos and Documents pertaining to your project - You will have the opportunity to attach images and documents with login information that you will be provided with.

 

Objectives

Objective 1: Management of a Google account and G-mail for professional/academic purposes.
Objective 2: Creation of an individual homepage using iGoogle.
Objective 3: Creation of interactive, on-line calendars.
Objective 4: Participate in collaborative, on-line writing.

Websites Used

Link 1: http://zenhabits.net/2009/05/how-to-make-gmail-your-ultimate-productivity-center/
Description: Overview of time saving information management tips, which include Google Applications.
             
Link 2: http://googletools.barrow.wikispaces.net/
Description: A wiki dedicated to explaining Google Applications.
             
Link 3: http://googletools.barrow.wikispaces.net/Google+Docs
Description: Wiki section that explains Google Docs.
             
Link 4: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/07/todays-day-signups-open-for-free-google.html
Description: Google secure e-mail service for schools.
             
Link 5: http://edu.googleapps.com/?utm_campaign=en&utm_source=educators_newsletter&utm_medium=email
Description: Google applications educators' community.
             
Link 6: http://google.com/educators/p_websearch.html#utm_campaign=en&utm_source=educators_newsletter&utm_medium=ema
Description: Understanding web searching.
             
Link 7: http://micropersuasion.com/2007/02/transform_gmail.html (See also http://steverubel.com )
Description: Extending the use of G-mail into a business center.
             
Link 8:  http://livinginternet.com/i/ia_nq.htm
Description: Understanding Internet Etiquette, "Netiquette" for on-line work purposes.

Link 9:   http://edu.googleapps.com/tutorials-and-tips 
Tutorials and Tips- View videos and tutorials on how you can use Google Apps at your school and in the classroom.

Standards Addressed:

Standard 1: NETS
Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:             
a.  apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b.  create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
c.   use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
d.   identify trends and forecast possibilities.
Grade: High School  Subject: Technology
 
Standard 2: Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:              
a.    interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
b.    communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
c.    develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
d.    contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
Grade: High School  Subject: Technology
 
Standard 3: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
a.  identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
b.  plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
c.  collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
d.   use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.
Subject: Technology  Grade: High School

Lesson 1:

Lesson 1:Getting started with Google
Project Objectives -
Objective 1:  To acquaint Students with Google Applications.
Objective 2:  Creation of Google Accounts.
Objective 3:  Use of G-mail to create and send a letter

Materials for all lessons- Computers with Internet access

Procedures -
Procedure 1: Teacher directs Students to an overview of Google Applications via the following wiki: http://googletools.barrow.wikispaces.net/
In class discussion- solicit from students the advantages of using the applications that Google has to offer.
Procedure 2: Student accounts get set up. Explain to students that they may have multiple accounts for their personal email usage, but that this Google account will be used for class purposes. Teacher may want to administer and keep a list of working passwords. Passwords must be at least 8 characters long.  A standard system user names may be created, i.e. last name, first initial and a number to help avoid spammers. Remember that account names are case sensitive, so upper/lower case letter usage are important.
Procedure 3: Accounts can be created at: http://ww.google.com  (see "Create one now"). Students should follow prompts. Students will be asked to provide an alternative e-mail account where a letter will be sent from Google for verification to avoid spammers. Students will have to check this other e-mail account for this purpose. (Check spam folder in e-mail to see if verification may have gone there, and take off spam-guard for Google.)
Procedure 4: After the account is set up, direct students to account settings where they can see possibilities for changing their accounts as inevitably in the future, most users do. Students may edit their personal information, filter mail to be indicated as important, and add applications.
 
Homework: Read the article on Netiquette: http://livinginternet.com/i/ia_nq.htm
 
Assessment - Student sends a letter of introduction as e-mail from new Google account, which demonstrates understanding of Netiquette guidelines.

Lesson 2:

Lesson 2: Let's Get Personal: iGoogle
 
Project Objectives -
Objective 1: To create personalized homepages where necessary information can be called up in an instant.
Objective 2: To subscribe to an RSS feed.

Procedures -
Procedure 1: View the "iGoogle Product tour below" to see the possibilities for setting up iGoogle—one's personalized start up page. Students can add content to subscribe to various calendars, RSS feeds and widgets as needed: http://googletools.barrow.wikispaces.net/iGoogle
Procedure 2: With the entire class, demonstrate an ideal of an iGoogle page by using sharing the various areas covered on the page. Point out the various functions present on the page such as on the left side there are Google links (web, images, maps, news, Gmail, etc.), the right side shows the name of  account being used, a link to the account, and sign out; under these tabs are those for "select theme" and "add stuff". These tabs will allow us to do the main work for this lesson by choosing theme and content.
Procedure 3: To create an iGoogle page you can do so after signing in to your Google account or going to: http://google.com.au/ig?hl=en
Here, students are able to chose a theme and select from categories  according to areas of interest. students can chose several items and see how they look by using the "See your page" button, and if they are not satisfied, are able to change the items at any time.
 
Start by choosing a theme for the page, or students can use "search for themes" to find a theme that they like. Some themes may even change slightly throughout the day to indicate sunrise, sunsets etc—in a word, themes are FUN! Don't forget to have zip codes entered in the prompt box so the sun and rise and set and the right time. After theme is chosen, chose "Add it Now" button and voila! However themes can be changed at any time in the future.
Procedure 4: Now add the content. There are over 20,000 iGoogle gadgets available, so it is highly recommended that you preview and chose those essential to your class' purpose. When click on  the "Add Stuff" button an array of offerings will appear with thumbnail icons of the website and a brief description of its contents. On the left hand of the page you can click a tab to see most users and the newest gadgets. For high school students I recommend the following  sites:
The New York Times, Calendar, Weather, Quote of the Day, etc.
This customization relies on the subject area that you are teaching, so chose as needed. As students chose their content, use the "Add it Now" button and the content will appear on their iGoogle homepage in the form of small modules (boxes)  with a few recent postings of the site. Scrolling through these boxes accesses older postings from a site.
Procedure 5: As certain gadgets are chosen, they may make accommodations for further customization such as weather, which can tell the conditions in more than one place. These changes can be done by using the "edit settings" button to expand options. Always hit "Save" after making changes. If you would like the entire class to know about a gadget, there is an arrow in the gadget's upper right hand corner and you can send an email to recommended users. A "Share this gadget" dialogue box will appear and you will be able to choose from all Gmail contacts to offer the gadget to, or additional e-mail addresses can be written at the bottom of the dialogue box. Then click the "Send Invites" button and people will be notified of the gadget and can chose if they would like it or not.
Procedure 6: To keep students abreast of new material to a website or the most current in news events on the gadget adding page, click the link on the lower left of the page:" Add feed or gadget", then copy and paste a URL inside to activate this feed.
Procedure 7: By now, there might be a lot  of information going on the page so it's time to step back, take a look and see if anything needs to be edited or moved. The module boxes can be moved by simply clicking the cursor on the top of the box and dragging it to a new location.
 
Assessment - Students will create their iGoogle page to include the following gadgets plus two others of their choosing:
The New York Times, Calendar, Weather, Quote of the Day  (Chose sites to fit your content area interest.)

Lesson 3:

Lesson 3: Keeping it all together with Google calendars.
 

Project Objectives
Objective 1: To create a Google calendar.
Objective 2:  Share and make public a calendar.
Objective 3:  Enter assignments, deadlines, and other important information on the calendar.
Objective 4: Create RSVP and event discussion from a calendar.
 
Procedures -
Procedure 1: Look at the overview and set-up of the Google calendar attributes. Solicit from students what they think is important to keep in a calendar and what the advantages of sharing a calendar can be.  Keep in mind that one's Google calendar can also be synchronized with proprietary software such as those that come with Blackberrys, Apple's iCal, Microsoft Outlook, etc.
http://googletools.barrow.wikispaces.net/Google+Calendar
Procedure 2: The Google calendar can be located at: http://calendar.google.com
Their sign into the account, or the calendar is easily available by clicking on the upper left side link in G-mail.
Procedure 3: To set up the calendar, add requested information to a dialogue box—what's especially important is the time zone.
Procedure 4: A default calendar will then appear and students can easily begin to place their class schedule in the allotted time indicated boxes by clicking on "Create Event" or "Quick Ad" links on the left side of the page.
Procedure 5: Explain that the calendar can be shown with different views so that they may want to do some long range planning-I suggest that they must always consider one month ahead-or they may just examine one day at a time.
Procedure 6: Now, let's work beyond the default calendar which, in this case, has been designated for student's programs (yes, remarkably, even mid-semester, somehow students forget which class they are going to).
Procedure 7: To create a new calendar, go to the left hand side of the page, click "Add" then "Create a new calendar". Give the new calendar a name, "deadlines".
Procedure 8: Write a description for the calendar, which, in this case will be for seniors who need to register for college admission tests and hand in college applications.
Procedure 9: Calendars can be made private or public. In this case, the students can be paired with another to share the "deadlines" information.
Procedure 10: Sharing is done by choosing the calendar that you would like to share and select the "share" button. Conversely, public calendars can be made private by using the share tab and clicking its drop-down menu, then turn off "make this calendar public" and click "Save."
Procedure 11: Share your calendar with another person (or group) by going to the "Share this calendar" link and the calendar's details will open in a dialogue box. Chose the specific person to share with by entering their e-mail and voila!
 
Homework - Event planning. Students will use their calendar to give details of an event like a school dance or athletic event. To do so, enter the event on the calendar and double click it and a dialogue bubble will appear. Add the details by following the prompts, then hit "Save". To invite others to the event, double-click on the event and a dialogue box will appear and a "Guests" box will be made available. Here, email addresses can be typed along with a message box.
Finally, after students have invited each other to an event, they should send an RSVP (the term may need some explaining) when they receive the e-mail by choosing an answer under "Will you attend?". There are "yes/no/maybe" tabs available and if yes is checked it will be indicated on the primary Google calendar that was created.
 
Assessment - Students will create at least two calendars, shared one calendar with another and sent an RSVP to an event.

Lesson 4

Lesson 4: Becoming Acquainted with Google Docs
 
 Project Objectives -
Objective 1: students will gain an overview of the uses for Google Docs.
Objective 2: students will create, save and share a document with a partner or small group using Google docs.
Objective 3: students will leave proofreading comments on a document.
 
 Procedures -
 Procedure 1: Go to http://googletools.barrow.wikispaces.net/Google+Docs and view the video: "Google Docs in Plain English 2:50". Class discussion on the advantages of using Google Docs and what they can offer to users. Explain that Google Docs can offer the same capabilities that Microsoft Office does, but allows for access from any computer and has the ability to allow collaboration on a document; up to 10 people can work on editing the same document at the same time and multiple users can be invited to edit (or view only) one's document on-line.
Procedure 2: Go to the Google Docs area by either clicking on the tab in G-mail or the sign-in page: www.docs.google.com and enter account name and password. This will bring you to the Google Docs homepage.
Procedure 3: Outline the features of the homepage, which looks rather similar to a Microsoft Word document.
Procedure 4: After clicking on the "New" tab, content can either be created here or copied and pasted from another document. In this case, students will use their college essay to receive feedback from one another.
Procedure 5: After saving their work to their Google Docs account, use the "Invite Collaborators" on the top right hand corner. Collaborators can either have the" view only" option or the ability to "edit". Chose edit.
Procedure 6: In pairs, students will proofread each other's essays. They can assist with grammar and give feedback by using the Insert>Comments tabs.
Procedure 7: Students should complete their interactive writing by giving their partner at least two positive comments and one comment with an area for improvement or a question if anything is unclear.
 
Homework - After students have given feedback to one another, they should share with you, add comments and then do a second draft on Google Docs. Repeat subsequent drafts via GoogleDocs as necessary.
 
 
Assessment - Students have given feedback to peers utilizing GoogleDocs. They will have at least 2 documents saved to their GoogleDocs homepage.
 

Anne Kornfeld is a media diva and wearer of many colored hats. She works with immigrant youth at Newcomers High School, where she has written and implemented numerous grants for teaching media arts. She also teaches the Web 2.0 class for Teachers Network.

 

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