The Google Calendar is an excellent addition to the Google family, and the more I use it, the more impressed I become. Especially now, when I have to organize meeting times for all parent meetings. Once I figured out how it works, it didn't take much effort before the job practically did itself, and I could spend my time preparing for the meetings instead.
Meeting appointments in Google is a service that allows you to add open appointments and set how long each appointment should last. Everyone who gets the link to the booking page can choose a time. Once the appointment is selected, it automatically shows up in the calendars of everybody who will attend the meeting. Your calendar, your colleague's calendar (if you will host it together) and the student's calendar. Easy as pie!
When I became a computer technician in 1997 everybody was talking about different certificates. The two major ones were MCP and MCSE that was provided by Microsoft. They served as a warranty that you knew your stuff in a specific area, and they can be compared with authorizations that are common in the car industry. It is now possible to become a certified teacher at Microsoft and Google, and I recently received my Google certificate.
Google Certified Educator
The first time I heard about Microsofts Certificate for educators, I honestly thought it mostly sounded somewhat cute, but not much more than that. I thought about the extensive training that is often combined with Microsoft's certifications. I thought (stupidly enough) that this was some cute mini-variation they had created mostly for advertisement. When I started looking at the education (I wanted the cute batch!) I began to realize that this wasn't some light version after all, this was for real.
Since my municipality uses Google Education Suite instead of Microsoft Teams, I checked if Google had a certificate and they did (of course). I started to work my way through the different modules, and even though there was a lot of advertising (that can not be denied!), it was also a lot of sensible and well-thought-out content. The material covered everything from net bullying to self-correcting forms along with different recommendations for security levels. It felt good that the whole education was in Swedish because even though I can communicate in every-day in English, technical expressions can be complicated in your second language. To my great joy (actually!) the certification test was not so easy at all, but I passed it! I felt like it will mean more to me when it didn't come so easy, so I'm glad about that!
Get to know others who are working on their Google certificate - no matter where in the world they are.
During my studies, I found a private group on Facebook, where everyone studied for the certification exams at different levels, and the atmosphere in the group was really lovely. You'll find the group here:
Google and Microsoft have certificates at several different levels. There are also "badges" and certifications you may be awarded in your profession, and these are awards for greatness rather than traditional certificates. Just get started, and in no tie at all, you may have the entire wall behind your desk covered with lots of neat certificates.
The study guide for Google Certified Educators can be found here:
The study guide for Microsoft Certified Educator can be found here:
Today, many of us have started using, or have been told to start using, Google Drive. I get many questions about this, and I thought I'd write a brief and simple blog post to explain what Google Drive is all about.
Isn't "drive" a verb?!
Let's start with the word "Drive". You're first thought might be that "drive" is a verb, but among nerds, it has been used as a noun for many years. It all started a long time ago when computers' screens were still black and just had a small flashing line (a prompt) where you had to type commands to get the computer to do what you wanted. The person who administered the computer needed to know quite a few different commands to make anything happened inside the computer. One of these commands was just "drive" used as a verb. This command woke up different attached devices so that the computer could display their content. The devices could be a hard drive, a specific part of the hard drive or a diskette you had brought from home.
Pretty soon this word "drive" started to be used as a noun, and the units themselves began to be called "drives" among technicians. You could hear questions like "which drive is the file on?". All those letters you see on the computer like C:, D: etc. are different "drives". Therefore, a drive can be several various things, but they have in common that they can store data, just like a warehouse or a barn.
What about the cloud-thing?
These days, the drives are no longer limited to stay on the computers, instead, they have flown up to become clouds. There are several advantages since you can always reach your cloud from different devices like your phone or tablet. Another "pro" is that the cloud providers are excellent at backing up everything and your data is safe as a bird in its nest.
What about Google? Google is one of many cloud providers that you can use for free or use the expanded payment service. Microsoft has a cloud as well (of course) they call OneDrive. You can also find clouds from smaller companies and which one you prefer is a matter of taste. You can think of all these different clouds as real clouds in the sky that float by — the Google-cloud with all its various colours and the Microsoft-cloud in blue shades.
Google Drive is your warehouse!
A common mistake is to think that Google Drive is primarily a place where you share documents and where others can see your files. This is wrong! Google Drive is primarily your warehouse, and this is very important. You decide how folders and files should be organized and what settings you want for notifications and the like. I sometimes get the question from colleagues if I can not stop sending an email every time I share a document with them, but of course, I can not. Everyone who uses Google Drive can decide if they want notifications when they receive a file or not.
The three main parts of Google Drive are “My device”, “Shared devices” and “Shared with me”, but it is only in the folder “shared devices” that the environment is shared by everyone. In this part of your Google Drive, folders are shared, and everything you do in this section will affect how others see it. If you move a folder, it will be moved for everyone when they visit this device (this barn!). This does not apply in the “shared with me” section where individual files are located. In this part, you may have the files organized one way while your colleague prefers another. You may have a folder called “from Jenny”, and the college has one called “from Maria”. You can definitely move the files from “Shared with me” to “My Device” to have everything in one place. But now I’m getting into the usage of Google Drive, and I’ll write more about that in a future post.
I hope you feel that you’ve got a better idea of what Google Drive is all about and that you might even think it seems pretty fun!
When I look at teacher-things on Pinterest, sometimes different templates show up that different teachers have made. They are often stylish and practical, but unfortunately, they are never free. Since I don't usually pay personally for materials that I give to my students, I use Pinterest for "window-shopping" and inspiration.
Now I have created three different templates that I use in language classes and I would like to share them. I made them in Google Docs and you can easily copy them to your own Google Drive and use them as you like. The first template is for practising irregular verbs. Just change the words that are already filled in so that the student can practice the words that you chose. The second template is a word gap and it works well in any subject where you want the student to practice words and concepts. The third template is to practice to write a letter to a friend in any language.
All templates can be filled in directly on screen so they can easily be e-mailed to students or shared in the Google Classroom. The students can practice and you correct them together in the classroom. If you think the header and footer are a little too childish, just click them and press "delete" and you will get templates that are a little more adult!
To get the templates you just click the button below to access my Google Drive folder. You can select the documents and chose "copy" to have copies of your own.
I often get asked why all documents and Powerpoints look so ugly when you upload them to Google Drive. Sometimes I even meet people who do not want to use the Google environment because "everything looks so strange". Luckily, there is a simple check box that makes everything look as nice as it did in Word!
This is the thing with Google Drive!
One may ask why this feature is not turned on automatically, but it is really not that strange when you think about it. Google Drive is a warehouse to store your files. This means that Google's main rule is to protect all your files as good as it possibly can and make sure that not a single zero is bent on their heads.
I am the technician who became a librarian, but who got tired of the quiet and peaceful life at the library and started working as a teacher. I brought with me everything I knew about databases, information retrieval and networks and soon I was an ICT-educator. Today, I work as a teacher at Komvux in Norrköping.
I have always had a nerdy great interest in technology. I can find interest in everything from robots to model railroads or the steel industry of the industrial revolution. Technology should take us forward and prevent us from everything boring. You need to dare to be somewhat lazy and ask yourself if there is no easier way to get something done. The human desire to get away is what has driven the technical development and find time for other things. Like model railroads, for instance!
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