• New assessment types and interface coming to Schoology soon!

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 9/18/2017

    That's right, Schoology is adding new assessment types!  There are over 15 new or improved assessment types that teachers will be able to use starting the week of September 23rd.    Here is a video from schoology to intro the new assessment types and the new interface!


    See Schoology’s New Assessments and Enhanced Questions from Schoology on Vimeo.

    That's right, this is a completely refreshed interface for creating an assessement and adding questions.  Don't worry, the old one isn't going away in the near future... (I would suspect it will go away next summer...)  I've put together some more detailed videos showing off the new interface and then some videos showing some of the specific new assessment types.  Click on the top left of the video below for a list of more video!  I will add videos to this playlist as I come across them.  We will, of course, have some training opportunities after we get our hands on these new assesments after the 23rd.



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  • New updates coming (or here now) to Schoology!

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 8/23/2017 11:00:00 AM

    Welcome back everyone!  It's been a busy summer, and there are some great Schoology updates to talk about.  Schoology has finally updated the Google app, or more accurately, added an additional Google app.  This app makes the process of using a google doc/slide/sheet as an asignment easy and extremely powerful.  Teachers can simply add a google doc as an assignment and Schoology will automatically send a copy of the google doc to all the students and set all the correct permissions.  Students will have an easy way to submit the document once it is done.  To see this at work and to learn a little about the 15 new assessment types coming to Schoology at the end of September, check out this schoology video!


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  • Make any pdf a fillable form!

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 1/26/2017

    Many companies and organization put all their forms and applications online so they can save time and money (and trips to the post office).  However, most of these forms are just flat pdf's of their paper forms, with no ability to fill out those forms online.  The only way to work with this forms is to print them out, fill the form out by hand, then put it in the mail or, if you have access to a scanner, scan the document in and email it.   DocHub, with an assist from Google Drive will solve that issue.  DocHub (free for most features with an ability to pay for some additional features) takes those "flat" pdf document and allows you to fill out any pdf form.  You can even add a signature!  Check out the below video for some more info on this great product...


    You can access DocHub right from the Chrome Web Store.

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  • Get your tech gear Family Safe for the Holidays.

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 12/20/2016

    As the holidays quickly approach, it is a good time to catch up on some of the latest ways to create a safe environment for children to use internet-aware products.


    The Xbox one is the latest greatest game system from Microsoft.  It is based on Windows 10, so a lot of the great features for Family Safety also applies to the Xbox.  Here is a great article with some tips on getting the Xbox ready for family usage....  Parents Guide to Setting up the Xbox One

    Apple has really built out their Family Settings and parent controls.  You can lock an iPhone or iPad to only allow apps to be purchased with parent approval and can even disable messaging and the Safari web browser.  It can be a little complicated to set up parent/child accounts properly, so check out this great article from the folks at iMore... Parental Controls: The Ultimate Guide

    Windows 10 has a pretty extensive Child safety section and does control other non-pc devices like Windows Phone and the Xbox One.  Parents can limit access to the Internet, allow applications at only specific times, and get a report of your childs activity on the computer every week.  For a step by step guide, check out gottabemobile's recent article...  Parental Controls in Windows 10

    Google also has parental controls in google chrome, ChromeOS (Chromebooks) and android.  Though not as extensive as IOS or Windows, they still do a pretty good job of limiting a child's access to apps or specific websites.  Some of these settings are the same settings we use to limit videos in Youtube or limit the types of websites students can access.  Google's own Safety Center is a good starting point to learn the in's and out's of setting up a Google product for a child.

    Finally, a couple of products to add to your network.  Circle is small cube you add to your existing network that allows you to control access to apps and websites.  You can grant specific access to each member of your house and limit access on specific devices.  It is supported by Disney and even includes some access to videos, etc from Disney properties.    The product is around $100 and includes no subscription fee.  However, they do offer an additional service that extends the limits set by the Circle device to IOS (iPhone, iPad, etc) devices even when they are not in your house!  There is a monthly fee, but may be worth the cost to limit phone access when your child is at school.  For more info, check out meetcircle.com  

    OpenDNS is a great free product from Cisco that allows you to configure your router to filter websites and block adult content.  There is a pre-configured setting and also the ability to customize some options.  You can also setup the system to automatically go to websites when words are typed into your webbrowser.  For example, you can configure your browser to open ESPN anytime the work "Sports" is typed into search.  This is not as easy as Circle, but they do a great job of walking you through the setup process step-by-step and even include pictures for the most common routers.  For more information, check out OpenDNS's Home Internet Security page.

    Happy Holidays!

    -Joe C.

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  • Google apps add "Assign to" action items in Docs, Sheets and Slides

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 10/26/2016 9:20:00 AM

    This is a great new feature from Google.  When students are working on group projects, how cool would it be to be able to divide out the tasks and have actual documentation to back up what each student is supposed to be contributing to the project.  Well, Google has solved that issue.  This post from Bettercloud.com examines the process of assigning action items.  This would also be great in staff meetings!

    The power of collaboration is amazing. But sometimes, when you’re working with other people on projects, ownership can get muddled. It’s hard to know who’s responsible for what task.

    Google recently introduced action items to G Suite, which really streamlines the process of assigning tasks within your team. Now, assigning tasks is easier than ever before.

    You can assign action items in two ways:

    Use natural language processing (Docs only)

    As you’re typing in Google Docs, if you type an action item like “Todo: Taylor to finish presentation” or “AI: Scott to schedule follow up meeting,” Docs will detect it and suggest an action item.

    You can then choose to assign the suggested action item or dismiss it.

    For action items to be suggested, the text must:

    • Mention someone’s name or email.
    • Mention someone with access to the file.

    For more details, click here.

    Manually assign action items (Sheets, Docs, Slides)

    In Sheets, Docs, or Slides, you can manually assign an action item through a comment. Just insert a comment and mention your teammate’s email account.


    You’ll have the option to create an action item and assign it to them, which will send them a notification that there is a specific task that needs taking care of.

    What happens when action items are assigned to someone?

    This is what things look like from the other end:


    Now you can see a badge, which lets you know that there is an action item assigned to your account that needs your attention. This is how you will know when action items have been assigned to you, and that your supervisors or team members are relying on you to take care of a certain task.

    Click here to watch this video on YouTube.


    Please check out the article here... Now You Can Assign Action Items in Google Docs, Sheets, & Slides

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  • Use your mouse as a Laser pointer in Google Slides!

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 9/19/2016 12:00:00 PM

    If you’ve ever given a presentation in Google Slides and wished you had a laser pointer to highlight key points, you’re in luck: You can use your mouse as one. Here’s how to do it, along with two more useful tips that’ll make Slides even better and easier to use.

    Use your mouse as a laser pointer

    • In Google Slides, click on the present-google-slides-button button in the top right corner and launch your presentation.
    • Click on the laser pointer icon at the bottom of your screen.


    • You’ll see immediately that your mouse’s cursor is transformed into a laser pointer!





    This is really helpful if you have a cordless mouse, since you then use your "laser pointer" from anywhere in your classroom!

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  • What's changing this year with Schoology

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 7/28/2016

    Every year Schoology hosts a conference (this year in Miami) to show off all the new features coming during the school year.  Some of the big changes coming are some new test/quiz types.   Among the 15 new questions types are Labeled pictures and shared passages.  Labeled picture question types are questions that ask the student to label a picture.  Think of the possibilities!  In Social Studies, the classic label all the country in Europe question or in Science, have a picture of a disected frog and have the students label all the body parts!  Shared passages are one of the most requested test/quiz type.  The question type allows the teacher to have one passage and then have the students answer several questions based off of that one passage.    For more info, watch the attached video of the Keynote presentation at Schoology Next.


    The Road Ahead: Ryan Hwang Highlights Future Schoology Updates at NEXT 2016 | Schoology

    Every year at our annual user conference they get an exclusive look at the future of our platform presented by our Co-founder and VP of Product Ryan Hwang. His presentation is a chance for us at Schoology to showcase a little bit of what we've been working on, the most prominent needs we've been hearing from the community, and how we plan to move forward over the short term and the long term.

    This year Ryan laid out our vision in four different categories—Evaluation and Grading, A Connected Ecosystem, Mobile Access, and Improved User Experience.

    * To be clear, these announcements are NOT yet live and will most certainly be adjusted over time. Think of this as a vision of what we will work towards.

    Here are the topics and announcements by time:

    Evaluation and Grading (0:40)

    • Enhanced Tests and Quizzes (2:18)
    • Student Peer Review (4:38)
    • Anonymous Grading (5:04)
    • Objective Coverage (5:31)

    Connecting the Ecosystem (6:27)

    • Leading in Interoperability Via Open Standards (6:58)
    • New Apps in Our App Center (8:35)
    • Improved Resource Search (10:20)
    • Improved SIS Apps (11:11)
    • Automated Exports of CSV Files (12:21)
    • Improved Integration with Existing Apps (13:14)

    Keeping You Connected (14:30)

    • Mobile Offline Access (15:05)
    • More Efficient and Feature Rich Mobile Experience (16:35)

    Improving the User Experience (17:52)

    • Updated Document Viewing and Annotation (18:46)
    • Tailored View of Home Page (19:27)
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  • Finally.... Sites gets a makeover!

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 6/27/2016

    Well, it's about time!  Google sites has been around for ever... and it hasn't changed or been updated for years.  Sites has been really complicated to teach and you certainly couldn't get up and running without a ton of trial and error.  Well, that's about to change.  The preview of the new Google Sites has been slowly leaked to select users.  It looks very similar to the new Google Forms and continues the same look and feel of many of the other Google sites.  Here is a short video showing some of the tools of the new Google Sites.  More to come once I can get my hands on it!


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  • Using Quizlet inside of Google Classrooms!

    Posted by Joseph Calamita on 4/7/2016 9:00:00 AM

    Two of my favorite tools, Quizlet and Google Classrooms, now work together!  Google has opened up Classrooms to third party developers, allowing integration with Classrooms.  Quizlet jumped at the opportunity!  For those not familiar with Quizlet, it started as a simple site to put together online flashcards for students.  This was great for vocab review, definitions, etc.  Quizlet has come far from those humble beginnings.  You can now build complete collections of materials, including flashcards, but now can include quizzes, games and competitions.  For $25 a year, teachers can also get advanced reporting on his/her classes' progress and record his/her voice over top of any activity.  The ability to integrate directly into Google Classrooms is a step in filling the assessment gap on Google Classrooms.  Here's how you do it...


    Share your Quizlet study sets on Google Classroom | Quizlet

    How it works

    Step 1: Go to any study set on Quizlet and click on “Share” in the upper right.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.40.07 AM.png

    Step 2: Click on “Share on Google Classroom”

    Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.28.46 AM.png

    Step 3: If you have not linked your account to Google, you will need to do so here.

    Step 4: Select the Google Classroom course you would like to share this study set with.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.28.56 AM.png

    Step 5: Choose the type of post - assignment or announcement.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.29.05 AM.png

    Step 6: Fill out any extra information you'd like to post.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.30.01 AM.png

    Step 7: See your post on Google Classroom (and your students will automatically be notified through Classroom).

    That's it.  Now the Quizlet activity can be graded!  Of course, you don't have to grade it, but this is a great way to build out study material right inside of Google Classrooms!
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  • Google Docs

    Posted by Daniel Wilchek on 1/4/2016

    Using Google Docs (15 minutes): https://drive.google.com/a/myexeter.org/file/d/0B_Grn2LDKm4JaTdpeDZBV3l0WUU/view

    Select the arrow in the upper right corner to view in full screen


    Here is an interesting article from the Google Education Blog


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