Your new best friend

As we begin to infiltrate chromebooks into our freshmen curriculum, utilize google classroom and other google tools, there are some things that will make your life easier.  When sharing a google doc or a form link with students or staff, google does not make a very pleasant url to write on a white board. One tool to come to the rescue  is a URL shortener.

What is that you ask?

It takes a long web address like:

https://docs.google.com/a/molineschools.org/forms/d/1qkUzTFJ1sz83JhLTXiP0YuyCYgkqJk0f9IKGU115WRw/viewform

and turns it into a nice short web address that students (and teachers) can type in their address browser bar. For example:

goo.gl (which is a free google extension that you can install on your chrome browser) changes the url to a more manageable –  https://goo.gl/yxtmZP

bit.lyhttp://bit.ly/1GRPKw1

tinyurl.com – http://tinyurl.com/qzr4tpd

They all make the url (or web address) much easier to write on the board or even post in google classroom or some other site. They also allow you to create custom urls so you could personalize the end part (after the /) and if you create an account, show you some basic stats like how many clicks your url got on a certain date.

Bitly. The power of the link.

Google Classroom

bohnsack_google_classroom

I have recently been using the newly announced Google Classroom for my Computer Programming 1 and Digital Media.  If you are looking for an easy way to manage students sharing Google Documents with you, then this is the way to go!

It is still in it’s infancy and is not a full fledged CMS (Content Management System) like Moodle, it is a handy way to give students assignments and distribute Google docs and e-mails with little or no effort. For me, the main advantage is the way that it neatly creates student files and classroom and assignment folders. It also gives you permissions to edit and more importantly comment on your students assignments. In the past, I have always had a student that would share a Google Document with me and not give the correct permissions (ie. View only).

The main problem I have discovered with this new tool is in editing a previous assignment. When you create a new a new assignment and want to distribute a Google doc to your students, you have three options: Allow editing, Allow viewing or Give each student a copy. Give each student a copy, shares a copy with each student and includes their name on the title of the assignment. This way it is easy to distinguish each students work. The problem with this is, if you don’t give this permission initially to the assignment and go back and edit it later, you no longer have this option. The only work around that I have found is to delete the assignment and go back and add it again.