Monday, March 30, 2015

Common Sense Media’s Digital Passport

Digital Citizenship is important to teach at all grade levels. With the abundance of apps, web sites, and other communication tools that all students are exposed to on a daily basis, educators need to prepare students to make safe online decisions. The best way is to have students learn how and why it is important to be safe online, and receive these lessons over and over again. The issue is finding a way that holds students' attention and presents the message to them in a way that they can retain it. There are many web sites and tools to help teach students about online safety, but in my opinion none are as easy as Common Sense Media’s Digital Passport. This is a great program for 3rd-5th graders to learn the basics of online safety. Here are steps to get started!

Create Your Digital Passport Teacher Account:
  1. Go to in your browser.
  2. Click on “Register”.
  3. Fill in the required information to create your account.

Create Groups (Classes) in Your Teacher Account:
  1. Go to in your browser.
  2. Click on “Educator Login” and sign in with your account email and password.

  1. Click the “+” tab to create a new class.

  1. Type in the group name and select the grade level, then click “Create Group”.

Add Students to Your Classes:
  1. Go to in your browser.
  2. Click on the class tab that you created.
  3. Click on “Manage Group”.
  4. If you are entering 1 student at a time, click on “Add New Student”. If you are uploading your entire class, click on “Import Names From A File”. I created a CSV file that can be downloaded and edited by clicking here.

  1. After editing the CSV file and saving it, click “Choose File” and then “OK” to upload your CSV.

  1. You will see all your students listed on the screen. Click on “Print Student Login Tickets” to give students their login information.

  1. From the view reports tab you can view reports and student progress, as well as print certificates.

Preview Activities and Have Students Begin Activities:
  1. Click on “Overview”.
  2. Click on “Preview Games”.

  1. This is a list of all the activities the students will do when they log in. I only let them do what we have talked about in class (they can’t progress ahead), but that is up to you.

  1. You could do these lessons many ways, but here are my suggestions:

Easy: Let the students progress at their own pace knowing that they have to complete all activities on their own.

Medium: Do one activity each session where the students do the activity at their own pace. Early finishers can replay any completed activity, but not go ahead.

Best: Discuss the concept with the whole class. Introduce the game and have the students do the activity at their own pace. Early finishers can replay any completed activity, but not go ahead. Review what was learned after everyone has finished.

  1. Students need to login on the “Student Login” tab with the accounts you created.

If you want these directions in a document, click here!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

TwistedWave: Record, Edit, and Upload Audio to Google Drive

Many of us have searched to find a way to record audio quickly and easily. There are many sites/apps for this task, but sharing the recording with others is sometimes an issue. We want to be able to share with only a few steps and little hassle (oh, and at no cost). Maybe it is just a suggestion for a student about a project, some detailed plans for a sub to explain how something is done, or just a note for yourself for later. Usually it involves opening an app, recording the message, converting this audio to a mp3 or similar format, only then struggling trying to get it into your Google Drive to share with others. After what seems like a million steps you are ready to go. If only it could be easier. It is...with TwistedWave Online! You can store up to 1 hour of free audio (more available with premium features), and it is easy to do. Check it out!

  1. First, you will need to create an account and link it to your Google Account. Just go to TwistedWave Online and click on "Register".

  1. Next, click “New Document”.

  1. A pop up will appear. Approve access to your microphone and the editing window will load.

  1. Just like many audio programs, click the record button and you are off.

  1. Once you have your recording you have some basic editing options.

  1. The free version allows for mono editing. Pop-ups will appear for paid options, but all the basics are free.
  2. When you are done, just click “File” and “Send to Google Drive”.

  1. Choose your settings then click “Send to Google Drive”.

  1. Now it is now in your Drive! Share the link (URL or QR Code) and you are all set. Easy as that!

This is an easy and free tool for teachers and students to do quick and simple audio recordings that will be stored in Google Drive and easy to share.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Transfer (Convert) Files into Google Drive

Google Drive has become my “go-to” tool for more than just document creation. I also use it to store files such as audio, video, PDF, and images. Over the past 3 years I have gone completely “Google” and I really no longer use MS Office. This type of change-over can be tough, especially if one lived in MS Office before. The first question asked is, “Do I have to recreate all those files from Office?” The answer…”No!” You can upload any file into Drive for storage, but you can also have all those MS Office files converted to Google Documents in the same step! Below are the steps to follow to do both!

Transfer (Convert) Files into Google Drive

Upload Files to Drive (See last step to also convert).
  1. Log into your Google Drive.
  1. Open the folder that you want the uploaded files to be stored.
  2. Open up your location of the files that you want to upload.
  3. Drag the file/folder you want to upload to the center of the screen. As you drag the file over, the center will turn blue like below.

  1. Drop the file/folder into the center of the blue circle and the upload process will begin.
  2. You will see the progress on the bottom right as files are uploaded.

  1. You can do this with individual files or whole folders (with many folders and files within them). A bonus with this process is that all file organization will be retained. Folders in folders will keep the same system. However you have your files organized, this set up will transfer over.

If you are transferring files over to use as Google Document files, there is one step you must do before uploading. (1 time only)
  1. Click on the Gear icon.
  2. Click “Settings”.

  1. Make sure the box next to “Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format” is checked. This will convert these files to the Google format.

Things to consider:
  • Google Docs does not support columns.
  • Google Docs does not support Text Boxes.
  • Some formatting (borders, fonts, spacing) may change.
  • Google Slides might not support all PowerPoint animations/actions.

If you want these directions in a document, Click Here!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

View and Edit Office Files in Chrome

Microsoft Office continues to be the go-to document creator. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files are the norm in many businesses, especially those that have not embraced the collaborative aspect of Google Drive. The problem comes when an Office file is shared with a Google Drive user who may not have Office installed on their device. That is easily fixed with this Google Chrome Extension. By adding Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides to Google Chrome, users can do all they want with these Office files. Install the extension with these simple steps!

View and Edit Office Files in Chrome

  1. Open Chrome. I suggest you log into Chrome to allow syncing (directions here).
  2. Click the “Apps” button on the far left side of your browser.

  1. Click on “Web Store”.

  1. Search for the “Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides” Extension (or click here).

  1. Click “Free” to install.

  1. Click “Add to Chrome” to give Chrome the permission to connect to your browser.

  1. A screen will appear asking for permission. Click “Add” and give all permissions asked (this is allowing the Google Extension permission to access your Drive.

  1. Allow any other permissions needed and get started! Here is a video that might help explain what all you can now do:

With this extension installed, you will be able to:
  • Click on an Office file in an email and it will open in Drive to view.
  • Drag an Office file into from your computer to your Chrome browser and edit.
  • Open an Office file from Drive and edit.

Just a note: Unlike true Google files, collaboration is not the same. You can share an Office file, but real time collaboration will not work. If collaboration is wanted you will need to convert this file to the Google format.

Link to Chrome Store Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides Extension: Click Here!

If you want these directions in a document click here.