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PD has ended for the 20016-17 academic year but summer training sessions are now being booked now. Check out some of these offerings!

Tuesday, July 11
Beginning Google Classroom

Wednesday, July 12
Google Classroom Part 2

Tuesday, August 8
Beginning Google Classroom

Wednesday, August 9
Google Classroom Part 2

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Looking around the elementary school libraries this past spring, you would have seen students being encouraged to explore and create at some newly created STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) stations. Some of the most notable of these STEAM activities included creating origami figures, designing poetry word walls (as seen in the photo below using a computer along side traditional sticky notes), computer coding exploration, Lego creation challenges, and more. In addition to these fun, hands-on activities, students were also being asked to study the natural world more closely using technology such watching animals in their habitats using the San Diego Zoo live cams, or even in person with Bradley Elementary’s own live aquarium. Students are responding positively to this new approach of hands-on creating and learning, a trend which paved the way for the addition of dedicated “makerspaces” to our libraries next year. In order to fully prepare for this new addition, the librarians have rolled out the activities as they have been developing their own knowledge about makerspaces and the “maker” movement that has gained nationwide popularity. They are doing so through site visits as well as independent and group study. For example, the librarians recently completed a book study of Worlds of Making, and are now reading Invent to Learn to garner new ideas for the next academic year. They have visited the Fayetteville Free Library, which functions as a community makerspace as well as a school-generated makerspace in Queensbury Central School District in early May. The ultimate goal of these makerspaces is to provide opportunities for students to direct their own learning based on inquiry while creating and exploring various STEAM-related topics. “Through our initial exploration of makerspaces, we found that our librarians are already incorporating opportunities in their libraries that allow students to participate in creative, inquiry-based projects, “ said Tina Klar, Instructional Support Specialist when asked about the progress made this year. “As we increase our understanding of makerspaces, our librarians will expand what they have already started, making our libraries even more engaging and inviting than they already are.” “We hope to add onto our stations and are excited to grant this opportunity to all of our students,” said Jennifer King, school librarian at Hughes Elementary School. “We strive to make our libraries a place where students can explore their passions and, in addition, create actual products from their learning. We look forward to learning more about makerspaces and incorporating new and fresh ideas in the upcoming year.” stated King. If you would like to see what is planned with the makerspaces at any of the elementary schools, teachers snd students alike are encouraged to speak with your local elementary school librarian. Likewise, you can also reach out to the Tech Department to inquire what ways technology might play an increased role in supporting these new modern approaches to teaching and learning next school year and beyond.

 

While Google Drive works well for sharing quickly and easily files among individuals, some situations within an organization require a different solution which is better for all. Recently, Google added such feature to G Suite called Team Drives which allow for better file sharing within organizations that work in a very consistent and reliable manner.

You may be wondering why a feature like a Team Drive might be advantaegous versus traditional Google Drive sharing techinques that you or your students are likely very accustomed to. There are two reasons. The first is file ownership. When someone leaves an organization, such as a student graduating or a colleague retiring, their files become “lost," meaning they are hosted on their own account and can be accessed by that users. This is especially if the files needed and used by other users. In these cases, either the user or a G Suite administrator would need to transfer ownership of Google Drive files from the person leaving to a new owner. These files woulld then end up in a folder stored on the Google Drive of the new owner until the time if and when the process would have to happen again.

The second is file arrangement. If you share files among several people in drive, people might rearrange files, such as moving files from one folder to another or even to the Trash. This rearranging of files is a nice feature for invididuals to organize files as they wish. Unfortunately, it also rearranges the files for everyone they are shared with which can be confusing and inconsistent from one user to the next.

Team Drives solve both of these problems for organizations that use G Suite. A Team Drive provides a place to put files owned by the team as a whole, so that when a person leaves, any files they've placed on a Team Drive remain. A Team Drive also allows an administrator to control who may move files, so files can remain in expected locations.

To access or create a Team Drive, open Google Drive and then look in the sidebar on the left fo the new Team Drives listing which appears under My Drive listing. Any Team Drives you have been added to will appear there (such as the example called Spring STEAM2017 seen in the screenshot below.) Likewise, selecting the Team Drives listing and clicking the New button along the top which will create a new Team Drive, (see screenshot below.)


After you create a Team Drive, you can add files and folders to it, organize those files, and of course add members to a Team Drive to meet your specific needs. Team Drives would work well for group projects such as an ongoing curriculum revision process, committee work, project development by student group, and more. If you are familar with Google Drive, using Team Drives will be a very natural extenstion of your skills and knowledge in managing files with Google Drive and for specifics on working in Team Drives, you can also see the G Suite Leaning Center for more detailed instructions.

Team Drives is a worthy and potential very useful addition to the great file storage and sharing features that G Suite already offers. Now that you know about it, hopefully you will be able to put Team Drives to good use in the future in your classroom and with colleagues!

 
   
Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
 
iTunes Content for Your Classroom

Are you looking for a better way to view and edit your PDF files than what your simple desktop viewing tool can provide? If so, PDFescape might be the perfect web tool you are looking for.
 
PDFescape is a free online tool that makes working with PDF files much more flexible and powerful by freeing you from the typical software requirements for using the de facto document file format. Done completely online after creating a free account, PDFescape requires no more than a modern internet browser and an active internet connection to function and includes major features including the ability to read and edit PDFs, create and fill in PDF forms, as well as annotate PDFs. If you are looking for a rich, easy to use tool for working with PDFs, PDFescape is worth a closer look!
Visit PDFescape
   
 
Sustainable Teaching
Tom Mullaney

This weekly half-hour audio program is hosted by Mr. Tom Mullaney, an educator who has worked with students in grades 4 through 12 in urban, suburban, and rural schools during his more than thirteen years in education. On Sustainable Teaching, the host talks with fellow educators about making the profession sustainable and the school day exciting for students. Tune in weekly for some fresh ideas on how to bring your classroom to life with best practices and interesting ideas worth exploring.
Visit on iTunes
The New Hartford Tech Spotlight is a monthly informational e-mail newsletter published for all faculty and staff of the New Hartford Central School District by Mike Amante & James Davis. If you wish to contribute to or inquire about the newsletter, please visit here.
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