Friday, November 4, 2011

100 Take-Aways From the Midwest Google Summit

We all hope to leave a conference with a few things to tuck into our repertoire. I usually hope for at least one but hardly expect more than a few. And so, when I compiled my notes form the Midwest Google Summit, I was more than a bit astounded to realize I had exactly 100 Take-Aways. Not a bad way to spend two days. And so, in an effort to spread the wealth, here they are:  
  1. Use the edtech philosophy of "Teach, Not Ban" when an Internet or Tech problem arises at school
  2. Try "Blaborize" to make pictures "talk"
  3. is a crazy cool website: Ramsey Musallam, AP Chem teacher, is a visionary - embeds Google Docs with video clips for flip teaching. Then, has application activities in class and a quiz the next day to complete the cycle - all tied to the standards
  4. Use Incognito function in Google Apps to login to multiple Google Apps accounts simultaneously
  5. Google Chromebooks: crazy, messiah-like testimonials from tech coordinators on these devices: one person, one hour set up for an entire lab, no work orders, teachers LOVING them
  6. Google Docs (Chad Kafka)
  7. "If I could marry a browser, I'd mary Chrome" - Chad Kafka
  8. Offline Google Docs is here (good news, chromebookers)
  9. Under Tool icon, can choose "comfortable, cozy, or compact" to list your google docs close together or far apart (also choice in gmail)
  10. Great Google Doc conceptual video: Google Docs in Plain English
  11. Great Google Wow video: "the most awesome 450 Page presentation ever"
  12. You can have a Google Doc in many different collections (folders) at once; they're really just tags
  13. "All Items" in Google Docs is really to search the entire archive - it can get HUGE, but just let it be (difficult and complicated to delete from "All Items" - they're working on it)
  14. Instead, focus on "Home" as your place to be organized and show only what you need
  15. To streamline collection of student work, instead of having a student share every document, have him/her create a collection and share it with you
  16. To streamline collection of student work, be sure to establish a "naming procedure" with your students for files and stick to it - an organizational must, allowing accurate and timely archiving and searching
  17. Make a document a "template" and put a link to it for students - use it as a shared starting point / a worksheet - then they save it as another name when completed
  18. In Google Docs, comments stay with a document; chat disappears; important distinction
  19. Great video on Google Sharing: hilarious
  20. Don't forget to utilize Document Properties: when students are collaborating, have them look up histories and restore to previous versions when mistakes are made
  21. "Make a copy" function can be helpful for students to save "their" version at a particular moment
  22. Use Snagit, Jing, Sniptool – to get screenshots
  23. Can now just drag pics off the desktop in Google Presentations
  24. With Google URL Shortener, it gives you a short URL and automatically generates a QR for you
  25. Use QR's on the smart board, sending students/audience to a site
  26. Using comment function in Google Docs, students can hit "resolve" when they've fixed a problem: it's still searchable as a comment (comment history)
  27. In Google Docs, you can have 50 students collaborating simultaneously
  28. In Google Presentations and Drawings, you can have 10 students collaborating simultaneously
  29. In Google Docs, you can open any document and have a conversation while editing
  30. Freaking Out with Google Forms (Chad Kafka) 
  31. How to Zoom in on Mac when presenting: hold Control key and use two fingers to swipe up: zoom out by swiping two fingers down
  32. Can use Google Form to gather info online from people without having to do all the work (goes into a Spreadsheet, real time)
  33. In Google Forms, when using a multiple choice question, you can send students to a certain page based on answer (icon at bottom of page: continue to next page, send to another page, etc)
  34. Google Spreadsheets: to delete data, don't highlight cells and delete: better to delete rows 
  35. Can use Flubaroo to auto grade MC questions on Google Forms - Instructions: video
  36. In Google Apps districts, you can have students sign in when completing forms with their user name, can email their Flubaroo grades to them automatically.
  37. Idea: use Digital Pass (google form - shows up on spreadsheet): to have students 'sign in' where they're going for homeroom/resource/help.
  38. Idea: Use Google Form for walkthroughs: info compiled on a spreadsheet; data emailed to teacher
  39. Using Picassa and Picnik for advanced photo projects: Molly Schroeder
  40. Picassa has two different components: photo managing software and editor: computer icon (software); cloud icon (web-based photos)
  41. You can easily post a Picassa album on your website: Google Plus works seamlessly with Picassa
  42. Be sure to make your pictures "public" before using them in Picassa slideshow your'e posting; Otherwise, they won't be viewable to others
  43. Cool!  You can go on a field trip, have students take photos (phones, iPads, etc) email them into the Picassa album. How? Under photo settings, click on Upload Photos By Email: enter a word; then there's a link to send it to the album.
  44. Seamless embeds of Picassa slideshow on Google Site (it's on the Insert menu)
  45. Picnik (online free photo editing superpower): you can edit, share, print pics online.
  46. Picnik ideas: make thank you cards, field trip photos labeled with things you've learned, photo book about school for incoming students, locker or desk tags, illustrated lesson plans, learning collages.
  47. Colourloves with Picnik for great color palettes, patterns and aesthetics for websites or projects.
  48. Picnik: Using solid colored geometric shapes behind text make them pop out in front of a picture.
  49. Picnik: the little space next to the color palette on text menu get you the color dropper (match colors)
  50. Picnik: stickers give you great options.
  51. Picnik: can share and save as jpeg.
  52. Picnik: have monthly freebies: seasonal. i.e: November add mustaches to everyone for prostate awareness.
  53. Colourlovers: choose palette and pattern/name it (recommend date)/ Command 4 - screen shot; then put it into picnic and upload the photo / look for screenshot to upload; now edit this image: stickers, geometric chapt as background for the text, etc/ Now you can put this anywhere!
  54. Big Huge Labs is a great site for cool photo projects
  55. Picnik and Picassa are now integrated. Pics uploaded to Picassa. The little picnic blue sky icon brings a picnic website up to you; when you save it; it will be saved in Picassa
  56. Can install a Picnic Chrome extension: On Flickr, find a good pic, then grab the extension allowing you to go to Picnik and edit that picture from Flickr immediately; then you can send it to Picnik using the chrome extension, drop what you want to edit in Picnik; click "apply"; then use effects, touch up, etc. 
  57. There's also a Picnik edior in Google Plus Photos: "The Creative Kit" On Halloween, Google plus and Picnik let you do "scary stuff" to your profile pic, etc. free
  58. Great Intro Activity for students: everyone takes one pictures, "Picnik" it, and compare
  59. You can also make collages, but most are on the Premium account: $25/year OR you could make a collage in Picassa and then edit in Picnik
  60. Remind 101: a 2.0 tool that allows a 1-way cell phone message from phone or computer
  61. Google Chrome offers an incredible start page: check it out and customize it
  62. "Google Ninjas" - program started by Jeff Utecht to challenge students to become Google Apps proficient and support others in learning Google Apps
  63. Cassio Green Slim projection unit doesn't use a bulb: LED: potential big $$ savings
  64. is a teacher site with great uses of Google Forms for surveys and exit/entrance tickets
  65. Picassa automatically saves a backup of a picture. When you edit and save it; Picassa saves your original in a subfolder (to access it, right click or Control click)
  66. In Picassa, a photo can be in multiple albums simultaneously (it's really just a tag)
  67. Experiment with the collage function in Picassa - loads of options
  68. You can use Moviemaker within Picassa (the download version)
  69. How to keep "real time" photo gallery in Picassa: In settings, create an email address: in the subject line, you must put the hashtag: midwest@google11, for example. The subject line must be identical. The collection will keep building real time (live slideshow, etc)
  70. Google Reader =  RRS = Real Simple Syndication
  71. You can create a "bundle": a list of RSS feeds. You can save it or email the bundle to share with students. 
  72. Note to self: Use "search" function more often: everywhere: in reader, forms, gmail - to learn
  73. Google Voice: multiple phone numbers can be forwarded to google voice. On your website, you could get a phone number for others to use, syncing to your regular phone number/phone
  74. Could have students record and send to that phone number: fluency readings, etc. 
  75. Visual Tweets: great site for searchable, real time tracking of words & concepts on Twitter
  76. Visual Tweets can be used to post, real time, on a website, what people are tweeting (put in hashtag: example: #mwgs11, choose animation, then, a place to get the embed code; then go into google site and embed it
  77. Google gadget "iframe" lets you put a website within a website
  78. Note to self: explore Google gadgets and Google extensions
  79. Google Sites Stuff: (Molly Schroeder)
  80. Use File Cabinet pages to easily post and organize handouts in Google Sites
  81. iFrame Gadget in Google makes "website in website"
  82. Idea: "Gift" students their own domain name upon graduation
  83. In Google Sites: "Copy this site" - the only way to change Templates 
  84. In Google Sites: Themes are much easier to have students customize (than Templates).
  85. In Google Sites: Have students choose a theme in "site category" with your name and the year as labels/tags (will help search and archive later)
  86. Google Sites "Announcement" page: works a bit like a blog (but beware: identifies all students first and last name) who post
  87. Always remove border and title from objects and pics - cleaner look
  88. Use colourlovers  and picnik to create incredible color pallets and patterns for banners on site
  89. In Google Sites: You CAN change page order on vertical navigation bar (need to uncheck auto navigation to de-alphabetize) but now you'll have to link each page as its created (maybe do this at end?)
  90. Idea: present "Twizies" Best Tweet Awards
  91. You can use Chrome to sync work and home life bookmarks and extensions (Chad Kafka)
  92. In Youtube, you should have your own Channel with categorized playlists; you can embed your playlists on your google site, which can be subscribed to
  93. Use Youtube video editor to drag clips, titles, transitions, splicing, editing out, adding music
  94. Youtube: In advanced settings on a video, you can choose where to start your video (not nec. at beginning)
  95. "If you screencast, you should be you tubing" - Molly Schroeder
  96. To stop a vote in Google Forms, use the pull down in forms, stop vote or stop accepting forms
  97. Google Earth can be combined with Google Voice for historical, geographical, scientific explanations tied to location: students can phone in their explanations of something; take the embed code for the phone message; go to Google Earth spot (map); edit the placemarker; paste in the html code into that box; click okay (Ben Friezen)
  98. If this then that website: makes a "recipe" or a chain of commands happen. In conjunction with Google plus: example: IF you share in Google reader THEN it will tweet out automatically. IF I add to Google Calendar THEN a Tweet will announce an event. IF someone sends me a picture in Facebook THEN it's also sent to Picassa (if, then recipes) (Andy Krozier)
  99. Popular "recipes" for If this then that are listed here
  100. Try using Picassa plus Google Voice for live digital storytelling: live at a conference (done at this conference) enabling tweets to caption pictures in a real-time slide show on conference website - try for class website (Stacy Behmer)
Some final thoughts...
  • The Midwest Google Summit was perhaps the best conference I have attended in my 18 years of teaching. The presenters were at the top of their game and the top of their field; the sessions were practical and cutting edge - ALL of them (a privilege and a rarity).
  • My biggest dilemma: choice. Every time slot had 4 or 5 sessions I really wanted to attend. My first session of the conference, for example: I wanted to become a Chromebook Ninja, Search like a Superhero, Freak out over Google Forms, AND Use Sketch-Up to Extend Learning - problem being "OR" is the only available conjunction, so I had to choose....the 100 take-aways above were from the sessions I was lucky enough to attend, and by default I missed another 500 or so take aways...and so, I console myself with "there's always next year."
  • After attending the summit sessions and talking around, I left with the gut feeling that Google is in education for the long haul and for the right reasons. I can't help but believe they will continue to provide teachers and students ways to streamline functionality, increase collaboration, and expand learning in class and beyond the classroom in ways we're only beginning to understand. 
  • I'm determined to become a Google Certified Trainer. It's the future - something I want and need to be a part of, for my district, my students and for myself. 
      Profuse thanks to all involved in the first (fingers crossed: "annual") Midwest Google Summit.


  1. Thanks for summing the conference up! I too hope this is an annual event.