Friday, September 30, 2016

What is Google Drive?

Many of us have heard the term, "Google Drive," but many of us don't know what it actually means.  Often I've said to someone, "You know, if you upload your files to your Google Drive, they will be backed up and accessible from anywhere."  This is often followed by a blank stare from the person I'm speaking to.

Put simply, Google Drive is a file storage area located in on a server "in the cloud."  Don't let the term "the cloud," scare you.  You've been using "the cloud" forever.  Don't believe me?  Where do you keep the majority of your money?  Is it under your mattress?  Of course not.  It's probably in a bank, or in my case, a couple of universities have been kind enough to keep all of my money in exchange for degrees for my daughters.  So you keep your money in the bank, right?  Is it stacked neatly in the vault on the bank branch nearest to you?  Of course not.  That's why you can go to any of your bank's branches or ATMs and get cash.  Your money is in the cloud my friend.  And if you'll trust your money in the cloud, you can trust your files to be there too.

Like your money, if your files are stored in the cloud, they are accessible anywhere you have an Internet connection, and when using Google Education apps, you can access them on any device.

This video will help explain what Google Drive is.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Exporting & Importing Contacts

Most of us in Darke County are migrating from First Class (DarkeNet) to Google.  This leaves many wondering, how can I move my contacts from First Class to Google?  This is done via export and import of your contacts.  The following video will walk you through the steps.  If you're using another email client, such as Outlook, the export process may be slightly different, but the file format and import function are the same.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Contacts - Overview

Google does an excellent job of remembering those you have emailed and those who have emailed you.  Sometimes; however, you want more information than just an email.  Using Google Contacts, you can store all manner of information for your contacts and create Google contact groups.  Keep in mind that a contact group is different than a Google Group.  How?  Well, let's save that for the video on Google Groups.  To keep from confusing things, just remember that when you create a group within your contacts, it's just for email purposes.  You can watch the video below to learn more.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Adding Resources to Your Calendar

Most of us have experienced the "double-booked" conference room issue before.  That is, you plan to use the conference room and invite others to join you, only to find out that someone else booked it.  Maybe you tried to reserve a cart of Chromebooks for your classroom, only to find out the day of your lesson that someone else already booked it.  This happens because it's difficult to keep track of some resources over a large geographic area -- like a school building.  Google resource calendars can help with that.  Resource calendars are built especially for this purpose.  Your Google administrator can create a resource calendar (or many) and make it available for others.  Calendars can be set up so others can only view them, or they can be set up so others can edit them.  It's a great way to keep organized, but chances are, your tech coordinator doesn't know all of the calendars staff members might need, so be sure to tell him/her if you need a calendar created.  Additionally, how will you find the various resource calendars available for you?  Watch this video and you'll see!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mobile Scheduling | Calendar | The Apps Show

Ready for a professionally produced video?  This one, produced by the Google for Work group discusses just what the title suggests -- using your Google Calendar on your mobile device.  It discusses some features that you may find interesting, but may not have a great deal of application in a school setting.  It's worth watching though.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Exporting Contacts

If you have a bunch of contacts saved in First Class, you will likely want to export them out of First Class and import them into Google.  This is a fairly easy process, and this video will walk you through the steps.

Forwarding Emails to Google

If you are like most humans, you're probably not thrilled with change.  Moving from First Class to Google certainly represents change, but it doesn't have to be a laborious process.  The best way to get started is to, well, get started.  By forwarding your emails from First Class to Google, you can start using Google and getting used to it.  This video will show you how to create an email rule that will automatically forward all of your emails from First Class to Google.  There are two things to keep in mind; however.  First, only emails are forwarded.  Items submitted to conference folders are not automatically forwarded.  Secondly, when you receive an email in your Google inbox that has been forwarded from your First Class email account, your are actually receiving a message from yourself.  Your First Class account is forwarding a message to your Google account.  Thus, if you click to "reply," you'll actually be replying to yourself.  This means when you want to reply to someone, you have to actually enter their email address in the "To" area.

I recommend that you start letting people know what your Google address is now.  This way, they will be in the habit of emailing you at your Google account, which will make the transition much easier.

Calendar Settings

All Google apps come with default settings, but Calendars are probably the one you will want to adjust settings on more than any other.  Within the calendar settings area, you will be able to make you calendar/s work the way you want them to.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Google Calendar Overview

New to Google Calendars?  As with any calendar system, you can manage your time by creating specific calendar events, but Google Calendars is so much more than that.  You can share your calendar with others, create multiple calendars for a variety of needs, share your calendar with others, and much more.  Want to create a public calendar for parents?  No problem.  Want to create a private calendar for just your third-grade team?  No problem.  What to create a calendar for each of your class periods?  No problem.  There are any number of ways you can use Google Calendars.  This video is an introduction to Google Calendars.  Follow my blog to see more training videos on Google Calendars over the next several days.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Using the Power of Google Searches Within Gmail

Let's face it, Google's roots are as a search engine.  That same searching power can be used within your own Gmail inbox.  Learn how to use all of the search features to find exactly what you're looking for.  No more scouring through thousands of emails to find  the ones you're looking for. Let Google's search feature do the work for you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Working With Filters in Gmail

Filters are a great way of making your life much easier!  Using filters in Gmail to manage and automate what happens to your emails is a great way to stay organized, effectively communicate with others, and establish parameters around specific email functions.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Gmail Settings

Google uses several default settings to establish how you will experience Gmail; however, there are a number of options you have that you can set within Gmail settings.  This video will cover those setting options and provide you with some specific setting that will work especial well for those in an education environment.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Phone Apps vs. Google Apps

I often have people approach me with their cell phones expressing a sense of frustration over their calendars, emails, and contacts.  They'll say, "I added someone in my contacts, but when I log into Google, I don't see the contacts there."  What gives?

Let's start by talking about cell phones.  The Android operating system is a Google-owned product, so any time you can use a Google apps to accomplish tasks, it's recommended.  iPhones run iOS operating systems, but Google is so ubiquitous, most Google apps are available for iPhones too.  So why am I telling you this?  Because the confusion comes from understanding what email, contact, and/or calendar app you're actually using.  When you purchase a phone, the phone manufacturer has a default email, contact and calendaring system built in.  Often it will work with your Google apps, but you're not using the actual Google app, and this can create problems.  For example, I have 800+ contacts in my Google account.  Unfortunately, when I added contacts in my phone, I was using the default contact app, which was the manufacturer's app.  Thus, I was adding contacts to my HTC contact app, not to Google.  The HTC app showed my contacts from Google also, but guess what happen when my phone died and I had to get another one?  All of my Google contacts came back because they are stored in the cloud on my Google account, but he contacts I'd been adding using the HTC app did not because they were being stored on the phone itself.  The same thing happens with calendaring and emails.  If you're using the phone's native (manufacturer's) apps, they will show what's stored on your phone and in Google, but the information is not actually being synchronized.

Is your head spinning from the tech talk yet?  The solution to this is to download the actual Google apps.  That is, download and use the Gmail app, and the Google Calendar app rather than using your phone's built-in email and calendaring app.  Google doesn't have a contact app, so you will want to add contacts in your "Contacts" area within your online Google account.  This is also a nice way of making sure you won't lose your contacts should you buy a new phone, move providers, etc.

So, if you have an Android phone, go to your Google Play Store to download the Gmail and Google Calendar apps.  If you have an iPhone, go to the Apple Store to do the same.

Working With Labels in Gmail

Labels area great way of managing your inbox.  This instructional video explains what labels are, how they can be used, and how to create labels.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Working with Gmail

In the previous video, I provided an overview of the Gmail application.  In this video, we'll look at how to actually work with emails.  For those of us who use email on a daily basis, this may seem fairly basic, but you may find a trick or two you didn't know about if you watch this video.

Introduction to Gmail

If you are new to Google Apps for Education (GAFE), then you will want to start by learning how to use Gmail.  Gmail is the Google email system; hence, "G-mail," and will likely be your primary primary source for communication.  Even if you're already using Gmail, be sure to check out some of my other training videos on Gmail because they provide some in-depth ways of using Gmail as well as some specific ways to use them in an education environment.  This video is the first in the series and serves as an overview of the Gmail application.

Google Video Training Series

If your district is moving or has moved to Google Apps for Education (GAFE), then congratulations because GAFE can fundamentally change how you operate and/or teach.  It's also a fantastic platform for integrating technology into the curriculum.  As enthusiastic as I am about it, I also realize that there is a reality to GAFE.  Namely, you must be trained how to use GAFE or you will end up very frustrated.  For this reason, I'm making a series of training videos that I hope will serve as a fairly complete guide to the GAFE suite of products.

These videos are created on a very low budget, and by "low," I mean no budget.  It's just me in my office recording with an inexpensive microphone.  This means that, while informative, you may also hear the occasional noise in the background, phone ringing, knock on the door, etc.  Likewise, I don't edit out my own silly remarks or comments.  In fact, I try to be as informal as possible, which I hope makes the videos a bit more informative.

So, be sure to follow my blog and check out the videos as I post them.  You can also visit my web page to see the complete list of videos I've created thus far.  If you have a request for a particular video, please don't hesitate to ask.  Just email me with what you're looking for, and I'll see what I can do.