Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Did You Know? Google Account Chooser

Did you know that you can choose to add or remove accounts to your primary Google account? Most people know how to ADD accounts, but some aren't sure how to REMOVE accounts after they have been added.  This happened to one of my teachers today, so I thought I would share this solution for others.

What happened was, a student's Google account was accidentally ADDED to a teacher's Google account. This probably happened because the student logged into her Google account on the teacher's computer for some reason or another.  Therefore, every time the teacher went to login to her Google Account, her student's account was also an option.  The teacher wanted the student's account REMOVED from her Google account, but she wasn't sure how to do this.  

How it works

When a user logs into his or her Google Account, the user has the option to "Add account" or to "Sign out" of his or her current account.  All you have to do is click on your Profile Icon at the top right corner of your Google Account to access your Google Account Chooser.

Here's an example

Let's say that I wanted to REMOVE a Google account that is already associated with my primary Google Account.  The first thing that I would do is click on my Profile Icon and select "Sign Out". 

Then, after I had successfully logged out of my primary account, I would click on the "Sign In" button at the top right.  This would allow me to "Choose an account" that is associated with my primary account.  If I wanted to REMOVE an account from my primary account, I would simply click the "Remove" button, which will allow me to remove any or all of my accounts. 

Now, let's say that I want to REMOVE my school account.  All I would have to do is click on the "X" icon to remove it from my account.  And then select "Done".  I would repeat this process for every account that I want to remove.  

Now that you know
  1. The next time you see an account that is accidentally added to your primary account, you know how to remove it.
  2. You can help other students and teachers who might have encountered this same problem. 
  3. You can actively choose to add or remove accounts from your primary account to make accessing your accounts more efficient. 

For more information and support on Google Account Chooser, visit:

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Did You Know? ClassDojo Messaging

Did you know that a new feature within ClassDojo’s existing platform launches today, enabling teachers and parents to easily and meaningfully communicate about student progress?  It's called ClassDojo Messaging and it has the potential to be a very effective communication feature of this powerful learning tool.

I was actually contacted by Manoj Lamba from ClassDojo to help promote this great new feature. After witnessing first-hand how powerful this learning tool can be for students and teachers, I was privileged and honored to help spread the word!

How it works
  • Teachers will be able to send parents private, “Direct Messages” to update them about their child’s progress as well as “Broadcast” message an entire group of parents with ease about class events.


  • ClassDojo believes that this new feature is a major step forward for teachers, many of whom currently converse with parents using non-­ideal tools such as formal emails, impersonal text messages, or handwritten notes ­ all of which require more effort, are overwhelming, do not engage parents in a meaningful conversation, and ultimately result in less real communication about students and their progress.

  • The feature launches initially on iOS and Android devices, and has been tested by scores of teachers over the past month with overwhelmingly positive reactions! Teachers appreciate the thoughtfully­-designed, teacher­-focused features, such as the privacy of not sharing personal contact details, the two types of messaging (Broadcast and Direct Messages), and also “read receipts” showing acknowledgements when parents have seen messages. Most importantly, teachers are now finding it easier to engage in higher quality conversations with parents about students’ progress and development.

Now that you know

  1. Consider signing up for a free ClassDojo account to help with student learning and behavior management.
  2. If you already have a ClassDojo account, consider checking out the new Messaging feature of ClassDojo to increase communication with parents.
For more information about this new feature, visit

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TEDEd Project: A Lesson Worth Sharing

After creating my own TEDEd project with my students, I thought that this might be a lesson worth sharing!

In the Fall of 2013, I teamed up with a teacher in my school to create a TEDTalks Project for our students. Since the project was such a huge success, I decided to create a similar project with a different teacher.  This project was our TEDEd Project where students would create video animations to explain their lessons, just like the real TEDEd videos.

For this project, students have the autonomy to choose a lesson that they find meaningful and valuable to share with the world.  Lessons can range from science experiments, to challenging questions, to personal experiences.  The only thing that matters is that the lessons must be important to the students.

If you've watched enough TEDTalks, or TEDEd videos, you probably know that most of the presentations are about the presenter's experience.  The presenter usually has some experience or idea that is worth spreading, or has created something that is worth sharing.  Therefore, I chose to create an example TEDEd Project for my students about a personal lesson that I thought was worth sharing.

I used PowToon to create this animation, but there are lots of different technology tools that can be used to create animations for this TEDEd Project.  Some of these tools include:

After working on this project, I was also able to develop an effective workflow for students to use when creating their own TEDEd projects.  The goal is for students to create an animated video that is no longer than 5 minutes.  This is a sample workflow process that I used with my students:

  1. Choose a meaningful lesson
  2. Create an outline
  3. Write a script
  4. Create a storyboard   
  5. Create the animation
  6. Record a VoiceOver of the script
  7. Adjust the animation to match the VoiceOver
  8. Publish and share the project

The great thing about this project is that students get to practice so many different workplace readiness skills. They get to practice skills such as creativity, design, digital literacy, persuasive writing, public speaking, and project management.  In addition, students also get a chance to "teach" their lesson, which will help to reinforce the knowledge that they have learned about their particular topic.

My lesson worth sharing is this: "Don't let a test score define you!" Everyone is smart in their own way. And everyone can improve their abilities in life with practice, education, hard work and a "growth mindset".

So, I encourage you to take a creative risk and try this project with your students. Who knows ... your students just might have a lesson worth sharing!

For more information on TEDEd, visit

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Monday, March 24, 2014

5 Easy Steps to Remove Accounts from the Google Drive App

Ever since the new update came out on iPad for the Google Drive App, it has been difficult for students and teachers to figure out how to effectively logout of the Google Drive App.  This has particularly become an issue for schools who currently are not operating on a 1:1 Program.  Since students in these schools must consistently share devices such as laptops and iPads, they need to frequently sign in and sign out of their accounts, every time they use a device.

In order to overcome this problem, I have created a couple of resources to help support students and teachers when trying to logout of the Google Drive App on iPad.  Below is a Google Slideshow of screenshots to demonstrate the steps that are needed to successfully logout or "Remove" accounts from the Google Drive App.

In addition, I have also created a short video tutorial to serve as a screencast demonstration on how to successfully remove student accounts from the Google Drive App on iPad.

Note:  This process is only needed on iPads that are operating on the latest version of Google Drive.  If the Google Drive icon has a "white" background, then it should be the latest version.  If the Google Drive icon has a "black" background, then these directions probably do not apply to you yet. 

In order to update to the latest version of the Google Drive app, visit the App Store on your iPad. 

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Did You Know? Set YouTube Defaults for Future Uploads

Did you know that you can set defaults for future uploads in YouTube? This can help to ensure that you have your preferred settings for Privacy, Categories, Comments and more for each upload.

How it works

There are actually two ways to adjust your default settings in YouTube.  The first way is to sign into your YouTube account and you should see a blue banner across the top of your page that displays the message, "Did you know you can set defaults for future uploads?".  If you see this banner, simply click on the button at the right that reads, "Configure defaults" (see image below). You can also change your privacy settings for each individual upload before you select your files to upload by simply clicking on the Privacy Setting button under the "Select files to upload" message.

The second way to adjust your default settings is to click on the gear icon next to the upload button at the top right corner of your YouTube account.  This is where you will select YouTube settings.  Next, you will be directed to the Overview page.  At the bottom left, under Additional features, select the View additional features button (see image below). 

Now, on the left sidebar under Channel Settings, select the Defaults tab.  When you select Defaults, you will be able to change your Upload Defaults settings.

Here's an example

Some settings that you might want to change are PrivacyCategory, and Comments and responses.

As a teacher, I would encourage students to change their Privacy default upload settings to either Unlisted, or Private.  This will keep their videos hidden until they are ready to change them to be Public.  For example, some students might want to edit their videos before they choose to publish them on the web.  Or, some students might not feel comfortable sharing their videos publicly, which is perfectly fine. Students can still choose to share their videos with their classmates and teachers inside of their Google Apps for Education (GAFE) account even if they have their Privacy settings set to either Unlisted, or Private.

I would also recommend changing the default Category to Education.  Most videos that students create in their GAFE YouTube accounts are more than likely for educational purposes. Therefore, this default setting naturally makes sense.  However, a student can still choose to change the Category for any video after it has been created or uploaded in his or her YouTube account.

The last recommendation I would make is to UNCHECK the box that reads, "Allow comments" under the Comments and responses category. Unfortunately, some students (and even some adults) can be cruel on YouTube by leaving inappropriate comments on YouTube videos.  If this box is unchecked, then (by default) others will not be able to make comments on videos.  On the other hand, I do recommend keeping the second box checked so that Users can view ratings for this video and other videos.  This allows users to be able to rate videos, which is a lot safer than allowing open-ended comments.

Now that you know

  1. Instead of changing your settings for EVERY video that you or your students upload to YouTube, consider changing your default upload settings to save time and energy. 
  2. What might you change in your default upload settings in your GAFE YouTube Account?  
  3. What might you encourage your students to change in their default upload settings in their GAFE YouTube Account?
  4. What other YouTube settings recommendations would you give to other educators and students?

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