CUE 2011 Submissions

Last week I submitted eight sessions just before the deadline for the CUE 2011 conference. Here are the topics, which each link to a bookmark in the Google Doc I used to compose the submissions. Not all of the minutia of each submission is in this doc, but the meaningful content (titles, short descriptions, and abstracts) is all there (in the order I submitted them):

Specialized Google Research Tools That Are Powerful, Easy, and Free

Using Google Docs to Support Your PLC

Effective Professional Development (for Educational Technology)

Social, Global, and Green: Education in A Changing World

Formulas for Forms: Easy and Powerful Functions in Google Spreadsheets

Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) for Professional Learning Communities PLCs

Google Certified Teachers Share: What’s new from Google for Educators?

Knowledge is Freedom: CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA Explained Succinctly

Let me know what you think – and if you have any questions or feedback. I suppose these examples might be useful for others making conference submissions (in the future)… depending on how many are accepted. And, if nothing else, I can say that all of these workshops (most of which I’ve been delivering lately anyway) are all available if any of you would like to bring them to your colleagues. ;)

And see you in Palm Springs in March…

Specialized and Little Known Google Search Tools

Almost three months ago I wrote this article for the OnCUE Journal. Now that it’s arrived in mailboxes, I want to share it here as well. I consider the tools covered here to be a set of “killer research tools” – and I hope the article might be helpful to you, your colleagues, and your students. And, of course, if you have any additional comments or suggestions, please share below.

Naturally (given the topic), it’s already a bit dated. But, some of what was lost when Google introduced instant search is already back (Wonder Wheel for instance), and the overview of the specialized search tools is still relevant. :)

Download the (low resolution) PDF:
Specialized and Little Known Google Search Tools

Read the text (with headings added for the web):

Google has recently changed their search user experience to highlight and make more accessible some of their specialized (and little known) tools. Several of these can be useful to educators and their students.

Once a search is entered into Google, a new left-hand column appears alongside the usual results. The top part of this column makes specialized search tools such as Images, Videos, Books, and Maps accessible with only one click. There’s no need to go to a separate website and retype your search in order to search for specialized media, or to search Books instead of the Internet.

The lower part of the left-hand column also includes additional options. For instance, instead of viewing results from “any time” you can now click on “latest” to see up-to-the-second results from news sources, the blogosphere, and other social media, such as Twitter. New results will scroll by live as they happen. Similarily, instead of viewing “all results” you can view “social” results to see items that others in your social circle have found useful. (Others in your social circle might include your contacts in Gmail or people you follow in Google Reader, for instance.)

Wonder Wheel

Some of the most impressive new ways to visualize search data are alternatives to “standard view.” By selecting “Wonder wheel” you’ll now see a visual representation of searches related to what you entered—organized as a mind map. This can be helpful for students (or educators) trying to narrow down their search—or visualize the sort of information they are exploring. For example, a search for “information literacy” reveals a web of related searches including “media literacy.” Clicking on media literacy in turn reveals a new web, including a node for “media literacy lessons,” which might be use- ful for you and your students.


Another alternative way of visualizing search results is the “Timeline,” which produces a visual timeline of search results that is clickable, allowing users to zoom in on specific time periods. A search for “information literacy” reveals a cluster of results between the 1980s and the present, with a peak a few years ago. One might be curious though, about the smaller peak in the 1780s. Click- ing on the peak reveals a quote from president Jefferson: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspa- pers without government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter.”

Note: In order to see all of the options available for your search, you may need to click on the “More” link below “Everything” in the left-hand column, or the “More Search Tools” link in the lower half of the column.

Specialized Search

Though the ease of accessing these new options is impressive, it is sometimes still worth a trip to more specialized Google search tools in order to provide a more comprehensive search experience for students. If a typical research project requires students to cite a number of books, periodicals, and websites, the following tools might be useful: Google Books, Google Scholar, Google News, Google Blogsearch, and Google Alerts.

Google Books

Google Books allows students to search the contents of the world’s libraries (rather than the contents of the Internet). Through ground-breaking deals with world libraries, universities, and publishers, Google has made millions of volumes searchable online—and many of them viewable online in either snippet, preview, or full-text versions. Students can search for a term, discover books containing that term, and then click on a book to be taken directly to the most relevant location in the book—where the search term will be highlighted for them. This tool can be used to supplement the school’s library (with access available from anywhere) and to save students time by allowing them to quickly and easily home in on (and evaluate) relevant information. Google Books also allows users to save books to “My Library” for easy access (or sharing) later. This can be an ideal way for teachers or librarians to share books with students.

Google Scholar

Similarly, instead of searching the entire Internet, Google Scholar searches only scholarly sources (mostly peer-reviewed journals, trade journals, and university publications). Many of the sources are also available in a full-text version. The killer feature, though, is the “Cited By” link provided for each resource. Once you find a relevant resource, you’re no longer limited to using the works cited to find other relevant sources (looking backward in time)—you can now click on “Cited By” to see who has cited an article since it was published! While this tool might not be appropriate for younger students, many high school students (or teachers in graduate pro- grams) might find this useful.

Google News

Google News, of course, searches only news sources. Automated algorithms produce the top news from various sources on a wide variety of topics. Simply visiting the Google News homepage can be a great place to start any discussion of current events at any grade level—particularly when you can discuss the agenda or bias of various headlines and articles from a variety of news sources around the world. Entering a search at Google News can also help you find more up-to-date information than you might at Google Books or Google Scholar.

Google Blogsearch

Continuing along the spectrum from the most authorita- tive to the most timely, students might also explore Google Blogsearch for even more up- to-date sources—and a wider variety of opinions—from a number of blogs and other social media. Again, top stories are presented on the home page, and a search result can be entered to reveal sources that might have remained buried deep in the usual Google results.

Google Alerts

Finally, Google Alerts can be used to have Google research for you 24/7. Enter a search term, what sort of media you’d like searched, how many results you’d like, and how often you’d like them… and then enjoy the benefits of your own virtual research staff emailing you new and relevant links as often as you like.

With these research tools on hand, any student or educator will be better prepared to conduct research, more efficient at locating and evaluating resources, and better able to discover the things they want to learn.

Again, I hope you find this helpful. Please share it with your colleagues and students. And if you additional comments or suggestions, please share below. I love learning from the comments as much as I love sharing (and learning) when writing an article.

Effective Professional Development (Video)

Last month I spoke at the Google Apps EDU Certified Trainer Summit, and the video of my 15 minute session (well, 17 minutes… sorry, all) is now available. You can view the video below or on YouTube, and you can access the slides, notes, and resources from the session in a previous post.

Naturally, I’d love to hear your comments below.

Note: The first half of the talk is background on CUE, The Google Teacher Academy, and CUE’s Google Workshops for Educators. The “effective PD” content starts just after the 9:45 mark if you want to jump ahead. :)

iPad and Google Workshops in Orange County

Registration for the following workshops is now available without conference registration! CUE is producing three workshops at the upcoming AECT Conference on October 26-30, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Anaheim, California.

01-R4: Google Workshop: Search, Learn, and Share!
Tuesday 10/26/10 –  9:00 AM – 4:00 PM in the TBA-4 Room
Presented by: Lainie Rowell, Computer Using Educators
Fee for convention registrants: $250.00

01-R7: Using the iPad Wifi for Learning (includes 16G iPad Wi-Fi version)
Tuesday 10/26/10 –  9:00 AM – 12:00 PM in the TBA-3 Room
Presented by: Ted Lai, Computer Using Educators
Fee for convention registrants: $650.00
05-R2: Using the iPad 3G for Learning (includes Wi-Fi + 3G iPad)
Tuesday 10/26/10 –  1:00 PM – 4:00 PM in the TBA-3 Room
Presented by: Ted Lai, Computer Using Educators
Fee for convention registrants: $790.00 (Note: 3G data plan sold separately)

Read the workshop descriptions and register online at the AECT website. We hope to see you there!

Google Workshop for Administrators in Silicon Valley

CUE runs a series of Google Workshops for Educators based on the Google Teacher Academy, and there has been considerable interest in a workshop focused specifically on school administrators. We are happy to announce that the second Google Workshop for Administrators is now open for registration, this time in Silicon Valley on October 2nd and 3rd. This event is produced in partnership with Google and with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Friday’s program includes a tour of the Googleplex in Mountain View and Saturday’s program is hosted at the ACSA offices in Burlingame. More…

Google Workshop for Educators at The Dalles, OR

There are still seats in this Google Workshop for Educators in The Dalles, Oregon. The workshop is sponsored by Google, so registration is free with CUE membership (which runs $40 for an annual membership if you’re not already a member – making this regularly $250 workshop only $40). Naturally, CUE and Google are hoping for a packed house. Here are the details and a link to the registration site:

Google Workshop for Educators at The Dalles, OR

August 24, 2009
8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (w/90 Minutes for Lunch*)
North Wasco Professional/Technical Training Center
3601 W. 10th Street
The Dalles, Oregon 97058
Cost: FREE with CUE Membership (CUE Membership costs $40 per year)
* NOTE: Lunch will tentatively be hosted at the Google data center in The Dalles.

Search, learn, share! Brought to you by the producers of the Google Teacher Academy, the Google Workshop for Educators (GWE) introduces participants to innovative ways Google tools can be used in education. A full day of fast-paced presentations and hands-on activities includes experience with advanced search techniques, collaborative web-based applications, and inspirational instructional strategies. Google Certified Teachers share ways they’ve implemented tools such as Google Search, Google Docs, Google Maps, and… even more. Participants who complete the event are given access to the Google Workshop for Educators Network, an online community focused on supporting educators as they learn more about the power of Google to drive student learning.

Cost: FREE with CUE Membership (CUE Membership costs $40 per year)

Note: The usual price of $250 (or $210 for CUE members) has been reduced through a subsidy provided by Google for the residents of The Dalles, OR and surrounding areas.

Lead Learner(s): Jim Sill, Google Certified Teacher

Register Now

I hope some of you in the area might be able to make it. Let me know in the comments (or via email) if you have any questions about the event.

Social, Global, & Green: The CLMS/CLHS & CUE Technology Conference in San Diego, Dec 4-6

The California League of Middle Schools (and High Schools) and CUE traditionally produce a joint technology conference in December each year. For the last several years this has been in Monterey, CA. This year, it will take place in San Diego on December 4th through 6th.

This year’s working theme is “Social, Global, and Green” (a focus I’m very excited about) and we hope to get educational technology submissions in each of these categories… so if you’re in the area (or willing to travel), please submit your projects that use social media and/or focus on social change. I know readers of this blog are doing many inspiring things with their students that fit this description and I hope that many of you will complete the call for presenters so you’ll have a chance to share with the teachers in attendance. Here’s a link to the form, which is now live:

I hope to see many of you at the event. :)

Lead Learning 2009: Colleague Referral Discount

I just posted this over at and I want to share it here too – for my colleagues around the nation and the world. I hope some of you will be able to join us… and bring along others (both edtech folks and non-edtech professional developers) that you know will benefit from our time together in Ojai. Here’s the deal:

The Colleague Referral Discount provides anyone registered for the Lead Learning 2009 Summer Institute for Professional Developers with a $50 refund on their registration for each colleague of of theirs that registers as well – with no limit on the number of colleagues that can be referred. This is a great way to make the institute even more affordable in this challenging economic climate. This is also a way to share this experience with other professional developers who will benefit from the program. We know the intensive experience will be even more powerful when shared with team members or peers.

Please fill out the Colleague Referral Discount Form once for each colleague that you refer to the institute.

To register for the event visit the CUEtoYOU Professional Development Webstore.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or other feedback about this program – or the event itself. I hope I’ll see some of you there. :)

Edubloggercon West at CUE & An Edublogger Meetup at CLMS

Every year at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC), a group of educational bloggers (or edubloggers) gathers for a full day edubloggercon, an “unconference” where the sessions and topics are decided by the participants. It’s an exciting and high-energy social learning experience.

A west coast version of the edubloggercon takes place each year at the CUE conference in Palm Springs. Steve Hargadon, Jen Wagner, and I have begun talking about planning the event. Please add your name to the “I’m Attending” page if you’ll be at CUE (or in the area), and please join us in planning the event.

Edubloggercon – WEST

  • Palm Springs, Ca
  • March 4, 2009

Smaller more informal edublogger meetups take place at many other smaller (or non ed tech) conferences throughout the year. An edublogger meetup has just been added for the California League of Middle Schools (CLMS) conference in San Diego this March. This event is a great opportunity to get “outside the echo chamber” of ed tech. We hope that any of you who will be in attendance (or in the area) will join us for fun and inspiring conversation about technology, learning, and life.

Edublogger Meetup – CLMS 2009

  • San Diego, Ca
  • March 13, 2009

NOTE: It’s not too late to register for the CLMS conference and receive the early-bird discount. Also, in light of state budget challenges, CLMS is offering special discount rates. Get the special two-day pass for $165 and come to the edublogger meetup on Friday night! See the CLMS website for details:

I hope to see you at one of these events soon – or at the edubloggercon in Washington, DC in June. :)

Lead Learning 2009: A Summer Institute For Professional Developers

This event has been a long time in the making… and there are many more details to come, but registration is now open and I wanted to share it here first. It will be going out via the usual channels at CUE and elsewhere in the new year, but you saw it here first. ;)

Lead Learning 2009: A Summer Institute For Professional Developers

Check-In begins at 2 PM on Sunday July 19, 2009.
Celebration and Reflection Lunch ends at 2 PM on Wednesday July 22, 2009.

The Thacher School
5025 Thacher Road
Ojai, California 93023

Are you an educator responsible for others’ professional development? If so…

It’s Your Turn to Learn!

Lead Learning 2009 is an intensive three-day summer institute designed to help professional developers learn innovative ways technology can enhance their work. This program is ideal for BTSA coordinators, ELD coordinators, Educational Technology coordinators, Professional Development coordinators, and any administrator or teacher leader responsible for training other educators.

The Lead Learning Institute is hosted in a unique instructional environment at Thacher School in Ojai, California. The Institute Faculty uses intense immersion methodology to create a transformative hands-on learning experience for each participant. Room and board is included so all participants live, eat, and even relax on the picturesque campus. A low student to faculty ratio, small working groups, and unlimited access to wireless Internet (and other school resources) makes the institute a powerful 24/7 learning experience.

Participants will learn to use ubiquitous and free technology to gather data, to facilitate better face-to-face instruction, to enable asynchronous collaboration between meetings, and to share the results of their work with stakeholders – or the world. Workshops will explore the role of face-to-face professional development in the age of streaming video and podcasts. Techniques for keeping training relevant and for tapping into participants’ passions will be shared.

The institute will also focus on the importance of professional developers cultivating their own Personal Learning Network (PLN) online. Participants will “learn to network” so they can then “network to learn” when they return to work in the coming year.

Build a foundation for your own professional development by joining us for this memorable event on the beautiful Central California Coast. It’s your turn to learn!

Tuition: $850, Including Room and Board (Accommodations for three nights, arriving Sunday July 19th and departing Wednesday July 22nd; nine meals, beginning with dinner on Sunday and ending with Lunch on Wednesday.)

Lead Learner(s):
This event will be lead by Dr. Mark Wagner, CUE’s Professional Development Coordinator, and a cadre of experienced CUE Lead Learners, including Google Certified Teachers, Apple Distinguished Educators, and special guest speakers.

Register Today:

I’d love to hear any feedback or reactions to this program description in the comments. And as I mentioned, more information will be coming soon on a separate website dedicated to the event. :)