Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Google Calendar for Work and Home

I used to be addicted to my Outlook calendar.  I color coded everything!  Work events, kids, holidays, birthdays, to do list...EVERYTHING!  The one problem with my Outlook calendar was I couldn't take it with me.  Think 2009.  I did not have a Blackberry or an iPhone.  I did not have money for a phone plan anyway.  So, for Christmas I asked for a PDA.  It needed something that would work with my already established Outlook calendar, and had WiFi access, you know for when I went to Panera Bread or McDonalds. It could NOT rely on a phone plan to work.  So I got a cute little Pocket PC and took it everywhere.  It worked great, and my love affair with Microsoft continued. My husband at the time was using Google calendar already.  His band dates were on Google calendar, his work appointments, and I refused to convert.  "Email me if I need to know what's on your calendar," I would say.

Then it happened.  I got a MacBook.  I went back to school to teach and thought, I need a new computer, so many schools use Macs, I don't have a Mac, I don't know how to use a Mac...I better get in the loop.  Of course the Mac needs the Microsoft Office Suite too.  And it was so.  Problem...alert! Alert!  My Mac that communicated with my PC and shared my Outlook calendar would not communicate with the Pocket PC.  My organizational world was OVER.  I needed a new plan.  That is when I learned to embrace Google Calendar.  

I have 2 Google accounts. One for home, one for work.  I have 5 Google calendars, and share 2 additional calendars, and have access to view 3 other calendars.  It's not as complicated as it sounds because they are all color coded.

One of the best things about Google calendar is my school uses Google calendar as the district calendar so I can quickly save an activity on the district calendar to my own calendar, but only the activities that pertain to me and my building if I want.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sharing Files With Colleagues

I have found to never underestimate the power of sharing.  If you followed my previous tip you are taking a lot of pictures.  Maybe you would like to share them???  Sharing goes beyond pictures.

As a teacher there are a lot of resources that need to be shared and they may not be resources available in the student database.  For example, I'm in the Ohio Resident Educator Program and need to share documents with my mentor.  By using a Dropbox folder I can work on Word Documents downloaded from ODE and save them to a folder local to my computer.  Then I have access to them virtually anywhere and can share the folder with my mentor.  Dropbox is similar to Google Drive installed on your computer but does not try to convert your files to the Google format.  Check out Dropbox

View this video of how it works: Using Dropbox

Another method for sharing is the Google Drive.  Files in the Google Drive can be shared with others to view only or view and edit. I share files with my mentor using Google Drive yet share forms and documents with students and coworkers using Google Drive, especially those documents created in Google Drive.  It doesn't seem necessary for every teacher to collect and update the same data so I collect student favorites in a form and shared it with colleagues so they were in the loop too.

Learn more about collaborating with Google Drive below.

The key to either system is to make sure when the files are shared to edit that you have an understanding that it can be changed or even removed from the folder by the people sharing it.  If you want the files to be viewed and not edited make sure you choose that option. If you want the originals intact but want to allow others to edit a file make sure you make a copy first and share the copy.

And for this Tuesday...happy sharing!