Pretty simple! Some of our ESL teachers are displaying their homework calendars in multiple languages now.
Here is a tech tip I just sent out to my staff:
I wanted to share a neat feature that Gmail Labs offers us for communicating with our students, parents, and community. You have the ability to turn on "Message Translation" which will use Google Translate to convert a message from another language to English (or to another language of your choice). Here are the simple steps to turn this on in Gmail (link).
Of course, it isn't as good as having a live native speaker translate for you, but it will allow you to receive messages in 58 different languages (and growing) and it translated. I showed this to a group of parents last night and they were empowered with the idea that they could reach out, in a language where they are comfortable writing, to someone at school. Even understanding that it might not be perfect, but getting a general idea across was possible, brought tears to one mother's eyes.
Please take a moment to set it up and ask a student or co-worker to help you try it out.
Teacher in the audience: “How does your team manage time, how do you communicate with other members of the team, and how do you document that you are actually getting work done when you are given time to collaborate as a team?” Panelist: “That is easy. We just have a member of the team take notes on Google Docs and the whole team can see the notes. People who are on another team that need the information can see the information too. At the same time our department chair can see the work we are getting done”
What is striking about today is that it was different because it wasn’t about stuff and nobody talked directly about technology. What happened this morning was remarkable. We had several speakers and the morning culminated with a panel of teachers discussing the work they have done as a PLC. Throughout these discussions there were all kinds of indications to the advances in technology in our district. Statements like: “check our blog for information on this topic” (from the Union President), and “everything you need is available form the website” (from the Educational Foundation), and “we are making great progress in staff development through our many programs, like the Google Apps for Teacher's workshops this summer” (from the Superintendent). No talk of tools, just talk of how our organization works, all things that would have never been mentioned as boring or basic in past years.
I was sitting in the front row thinking “WOW, this is an interesting change”, when we moved into the panel discussion with our teachers. They were incredible in describing their dedication to the craft and to their students. As they talked they dropped in snippets that mentioned how being able to collaborate on Google Docs, or using Google Forms to gather data, or using data analysis software to understand student progress, or how sharing lessons via Google Sites has made what they do possible. Here is an example of an actual exchange:
Here was a key exchange about how the team gets work done, with a process that totally relies on technology, yet nobody talked about how to use the tool, or why, or where to get instructions. They talked about it just like talking about writing on a chalkboard or on a piece of paper. Everyone in the room, the entire district staff, just absorbed and understood that this was how this team gets business done.
All morning there was talk of technology, but it was integrated into the discussion. Technology never stood alone, it was a key component of accomplishing what was do around here. My hope as we go into the school year is that what I saw this morning continues into each of our classrooms. That we don’t work to integrate technology, it just becomes part of the way that we get work (learning) done.
Teacher in the audience: “How does your team manage time, how do you communicate with other members of the team, and how do you document that you are actually getting work done when you are given time to collaborate as a team?”
Panelist: “That is easy. We just have a member of the team take notes on Google Docs and the whole team can see the notes. People who are on another team that need the information can see the information too. At the same time our department chair can see the work we are getting done”
I am presenting tomorrow at TechForum Chicago on Social Media and Student Devices: Developing Guidelines
This is a question that comes up quite often when looking at Google Apps for Education:
How do I block students from adding gadgets in Sites in Google Apps?
The FAQ and Google Code Resources that answer this question makes it seem pretty simple, and it is, once you know the step by step instructions.
First of all there are 2 main options of blocking gadgets in sites or on iGoogle pages: