Google Spreadsheet Tips – Part I

If you are new to using Google Spreadsheets, one of the first things you may notice while working in a document is, “Hey, Where is the save button?!”  Have no fear, your work is saved.  One of the features of using Google Apps is your work is periodically saved so there is no need to click the “save” button to save the changes in your work.  Cool!

If you are looking to print a spreadsheet that is larger than a typical letter sized sheet of paper, there is a way to do this. While inside of your document, click File and then Print.  Using the “Layout” option, choose the options for “Fit to Width”   and “Landscape”.  You will then see the print preview and be able to print the spreadsheet.

Lastly, and this tip applies to all Google document types, you will notice within your Google Drive, the URL address bar near the top of your screen has a lock at the far left.  If you click on the lock, and drag it to your desktop, it will automatically create a desktop shortcut for that application.

Hope everyone has a great holiday season!
The Tech Integrator

Google Play for Education

Here is an excellent article written by Alison Anderson (@tedrosececi) from the “Getting Smart” blog on the roll out of Google Play for Education:

and a detailed document on the Tablet program from Google:


Interesting reading.  On the surface, it appears the management of the Google Play apps on these tablets is much easier than the Ipad configuration and management of devices.  This is something I am looking to explore further, with the Nexus 7 tablet.  Do not currently have any of these devices at my school, but would like to research these more to see the benefit for student learning at the elementary level.

My question coming out of reading these articles is…what would be the major difference between using a Chromebook and a Nexus 7 tablet with a keyboard attachment?


The Tech Integrator

Padlet for Student Collaboration

An awesome teacher that I work with shared this great tool with me today…it is called Padlet (formerly Wallwisher).

This tool allows a teacher to create a wall that students can post onto.  Each teacher can create a free account, but students would only need the link to the wall to be able to post on it.  This would be a great tool to use for students brainstorming a concept or for a “Wonder Wall” or question board for students to ask questions they are wondering about the topic they are to begin studying.   I think it would be good to include at the end of an introductory activity students have completed and they would navigate to the Padlet wall to post their thoughts or questions.

One thing I really like about this tool better than some others like it I have used previously is the ability for the teacher to moderate and approve student comments before they are posted on the wall.

Happy collaborating!


The Tech Integrator

Digital Audio as a Teaching Tool

In my previous days as a classroom teacher, I was always looking for new ways to help my students become more independent in their learning.  In addition, I wanted to be able to extend learning and provide appropriate support and scaffolding for all learners.  One excellent way that today’s technology allows us to do this is through the use of audio.

Teaching with audio can take different forms in the classroom:

  • Listening center in which students can read a book while listening to an audio tape or CD
  • Animated stories with the text read aloud
  • Students reading an article, blog or website where they can listen to the text being read aloud
  • Students work independently on an activity in which they can listen to their teacher providing directions and/or scaffolding in his/her own voice
  • The audio can be in the form of the student’s voice as he or she demonstrates their understanding of a topic.
  • Student created podcasts, providing opportunities for peer-peer learning
  • Students can listen to their own reading, which provides an excellent opportunity for self-reflection

Teachers created audio recordings also provide benefits for students in addition to those mentioned above: (Preston, 2009)

  • Students can listen to a study guide in podcast form to review content later
  • Assessment questions or directions read aloud can be replayed as many times as a student needs (without the teacher having to repeat themselves)
  • Students listening to content prior to a lesson can allow for more discussion and practice time during class.

An excellent (and FREE) audio recording software program is Audacity.  This software allows you to record and edit audio sounds, and also export them to different formats such as mp3 format.  There are also audio recording features within software programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Pixie, and SMART Notebook.

Next posting I will discuss a few specific examples of use of audio use with students.  Try integrating with Audio, it is a great tool to have in the teacher toolbox!


The Tech Integrator