Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Setting Up Tech for the New School Year

This past week was spent getting things ready for another year in the classroom.  My co-teacher and I met to lesson plan (thank you Google Docs!) and also went into our classroom to get things organized and decorated.

It used to be that I would spend the majority of August in my classroom decorating and organizing, but things have changed over the past 20 years.  Today I spend most of my time at home on the computer getting things ready for our 1:1 laptop environment.

Let me share with you some of the ways I have been getting ready.

#1 - CSV file - I create a Google Spreadsheet with student names, email, a common password and usernames.  I can then download this Google spreadsheet as a CSV (comma separated values) file.  This saves me so much time in setting up accounts for my students.  I type everything in once and then can use this information to set up most of the accounts for my students.

Here is a peek at the spreadsheet.  I won't show any student information because it contains private data.

#2 - email -
To start the year, I create groups in my email.  One is a parent group and the other is a student group.  To create a group I simply go to Contacts and then click on More Labels.  I then scroll all the way down and click on New Group.

To add my students emails in the group I simply copy and paste the email column from my Google Spreadsheet.  This way I can add all of my students into the group at once.  Yeah!

Another great benefit is that I can share this Google Spreadsheet with my co-teacher and then she can also quickly create her student email group.  Double Yeah!

#3 - Set up accounts - We use quite a few sites that require student accounts and log ins.  Some of the sites are Spelling City, Kidblog, and Glogster.  Each of these sites allows me to upload a CSV file to quickly import student information to set up the accounts.

Spelling City

#4 - Schoology - I take the time to create each of my students' accounts (there is not option for a CSV upload).  I also have to log onto each students' email account and verify their emails for Schoology.  And I also connect each of the student Schoology accounts to their Google account.  This is a lot of work, but it is worth the time to have everything ready to go for the school year.

#5 - Classroom Wiki - Each year I create a new wiki for our classroom.  We use the wiki for bell work to start our day.  Wikispaces has had some updates and I'm really liking the changes.
There are now options to have your wiki look like a website or an option for a classroom layout.  Check out our wiki by clicking here.

Of course there are a few other preparations to do, but these are the big ones.  I hope your transition back into the classroom goes well.  Have a great school year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of creating a contact group with all of the parents' email addresses. What an easy way to stay in contact and boost parental communication!