Email Etiquette and Eliminating Reply-all

While it is easy to get frustrated with the person who hits reply-all on an email just to say “thank you” or some other inane comment that should have been sent solely to the writer of the first email, the individual at fault in this situation is the person who sent the original message.

When sending an email to a group of people it is important to ask yourself, “is there any good reason for everyone on this email list to see who else this email is going to.”

Typically, the answer is no.

When writing an email to a group or a list of people, put the list of email addresses in the BCC field so that the reply-all option is eliminated.

That’s it. Be proactive to avoid email embarrassment.

Connecting a Chromebook to the Internet

Chromebooks are dandy devices but they work most effectively if you have Wi-Fi. However, the reality is that not all classrooms in all schools have total Wi-Fi coverage.

If you want to connect a Chromebook to the Internet and you do not have Wi-Fi coverage you can still “hardwire” the Chromebook into your school network. 

To connect your Chromebook to your school network, unplug the network cable (the network cable is the one that looks like a heavy duty phone cord) from the back of your desktop computer. 

You then plug the network cable into a “dongle” that plugs into a USB plug in your Chromebook.

If you are lucky, you can get a “network to USB” dongle from the tech department of your school. 

The “network cable to USB connecter” can also easily be obtained from a store like Best Buy or London Drugs. They are not expensive – no more than $10 or $15. 

That’s it. Your Chromebook is now connected to the school network. 

Google Classroom; Link to an Existing Assignment

Some of my colleagues have asked how they can make it so that a particular assignment they have posted on their Google Classroom Stream can become a “recurring” task.

For example, you do not want to have to create a new assignment each week telling students to write in their journals. However, students often need reminders to get them started on their assignments.

Rather than re-creating an assignment, you can link to an existing assignment. Have a look at Alice Keeler’s blog post on how to complete this process.

Google Classroom: Link to an Assignment

Adam Bellow on Doing More With Less

The fact of the matter is, technology has an ever increasing role in the education system. So I found Adam Bellow’s blog post on Edutopia to be quite an interesting read. 

The highlights from the blog post for me were: 

Make sure tech training is available on a continuous basis. That is part of the impetus behind me starting this blog – I wanted to have a place where I could share tech tips and tricks with colleagues. 

But going beyond the blog, schools need to foster an environment where learning and questioning are welcomed. 

Another takeaway from Adam Bellow’s blog post – computer labs are relics from the past. They are a waste of space and they send the wrong message to staff and students. 

Rather than having a computer lab, develop your school’s mobile capacity. Build carts of computers – computers on wheels – COWS. Or have sets of mobile devices (iPads, Chromebooks, Android tablets or what have you) available to be used by staff and students in classrooms. Devices that can and will be used in a variety of settings. 

And everybody’s favourite – how are we going to pay for all these tech “toys”. The fact is, there are many affordable resources for staff and students. Chromebooks are a very affordable option to get devices into the hands of people quite quickly. 

Then there are other more creative and “out of the box” options like Raspberry Pi computers. I recently bought a Pi-topCEED for $99 – a little tiny computer built into a 14″ HD screen. 

Since then I have purchased another Raspberry Pi kit that I will be building into a the cutest little desktop computer. For less than $100. 

The Raspberry Pi concept has the added benefit where students do not only bring their own device, they can actually build their own device!! That is empowering for learners!

And finally, Adam Bellow says something I have been repeating since forever; USE Twitter to learn about free resources and to develop your personal learning network. 

I encourage you to read the rest of Bellow’s blog post on Eduopia. And follow Eduopia on Twitter!!

*I have written this blog post on my iPhone so I will check the formatting later when I get a larger screen in my hands. 

Alice Keeler on Fixing Google Docs you Copy and Paste

Now that I have made the switch to using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for most of my teacher-stuff and lesson plans, I no longer struggle with the “all the beautiful formatting I did in the Word doc got messed up!”

That’s because when I want to write something or create an assignment, now I start out using Google Docs rather than Word or Pages. Formatting issues resolved.

However, during my transition time from using other writing programs like Word or Pages, I do remember facing those issues.

Alice Keeler, my thought-leader in all things Google has written a blog post on “how to fix tables” that you have copied and paste into a Google Doc.

Google Docs: Fixing Tables You Copied and Pasted

Flat – The Easiest Way to Write Music Scores Online

For the music teachers in the room, here is a little news from Flat – a Google Apps for Education Partner – who have created “the easiest way to write music scores online“.

Next week [June 25th to 29th 2016]  our team will be at the ISTE 2016 and for this occasion we are proud to announce a major upgrade of our Google Classroom integration: all the assignments created on Flat will be in your Google Classroom account.

First of all, we simplified the classroom creation on Flat using Google Classroom, you can now get started in 3 clicks from the list of your scores, just select your Google Classroom course: