Google Drive

How did I make it through Coetail and not know some of these features of Google Drive? Imbedding a Doc right into a blog post so everyone can see?  Who knew?  Not me.  I tried imbedding  course outline on a page on this blog, and while a tad on the ugly side (could be the theme’s fault – couldn’t be mine, of course!) it’s there!

I am only using Google Drive with my physics class (as opposed to all of my classes) and the students are all brand new to using Google beyond searching and email, which I am sure most users are familiar with. So far, I’m the owner of all the documents we have been using as the class learns to collaborate and add to the docs.

This week, the students are required to hand in a lab report by creating and sharing a doc with me for commenting only. Its a start, but I am hopeful that the students will eventually create and share thier own docs with each other. Each time I do part of a unit, I plan on teaching the students another feature to gradually scaffold them into independent use of Google Drive.

Baby steps – for both me and the students!


Searching for Something

I thought I knew how to search Google for something. Meaning searching and locating information.  Meaning finding meaningful information.  Meaning doing it efficiently.  Meaning searching effectively.

After reading Jeff Utecht’s article “Why K-12 schools are failing by not teaching SEARCH“, and watching several of the videos from Google’s “Power Searching“, I started asking questions.  Am I a good searcher?  Do I ask good questions?  How do I go about researching information?  If I am not searching efficiently or effectively, how are my students searching?  Am I failing my students by not teaching them search?  How do my students go about searching?

I can be doing better.  I managed to get through the Coetail program without really thinking about how I search.  How was that possible?  Perhaps I am so used to doing things in one way and  got really good at doing it that way.  But to learn and grow, we need to add new information and ways of doing to the old information and ways of doing.

One of my goals for my Physics class is to do a research project.  I now know I should spend time with them learning how to search effectively and efficiently to scaffold them in beginning their project.

What now?  Learn to search more effectively and efficiently and share those skills with my students.  Share tips and tricks and knowledge so we can all find what we are looking for.

GAFE Class, Day 2

In the past hour, I have learned more about Google Chrome than I have in the past… well, forever.  Thanks to one simple, little 12 minute video.

So far, the GAFE class has opened my mind to a new way to manage my online browsing and use of apps, and it’s only been two days.  Where the Coetail program left off, the GAFE class is taking over.  I can’t wait for my week of professional development next week to “play” with all these new (to me) ideas.

I am excited to learn and share, to hopefully help my students broaden their learning to the online, global world.

Now if only the Olympics weren’t on, I could maybe get some work done! (Go Team Canada!)


I’m super excited to start another university course, especially one that has to do with integrating technology in the classroom.  Ever since learning about the GAFE class (that’s Google Apps For Educators) I’ve wanted to take it.  Well, the time for me to do it has arrived.  Yikes!  What have I done?!

Yikes in a good way though! It just means a lot of work in addition to the mountains I already have.  Next week, I have five days to complete professional development and guess what I will be doing?  Google-ing my butt off!  Learning how to use these amazing apps to help not only me, but my students develop their knowledge and skills.  Nothing better than a challenge to inspire growth.

I’m excited as this semester offers some challenges for my grade 12 Physics students.  A week of PD for teachers, Arctic Winter Games for some of my students in Alaska, two weeks of spring break, and I’m willing to bet, an Arctic snowstorm or two,  this semester is full of interruptions.  I’m hoping Google Apps can help offset all the time off we have this semester.  With a massively challenging Provincial Diploma exam looming in the distance, we can use all the help we can get.

Using Google has helped me communicate to my students my expectations, communicate assignments and due dates, collaborate with the entire class, and provide video examples of physics when I don’t have the resources to provide them with a lab, and to search for supporting information.  I can’t wait to see how the course can help me streamline this process.

Let the Google-ing begin!

Digital Footprint: How aware are your students?

Yesterday I participated in watching the first round of videos and presentations for the projects of the fifth (and final!) Coetail (Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy) course. Several of the participants in the American Embassy School Cohort worked on a massive Digital Citizenship project in the Middle School.

The school Curriculum Coordinator, Stacy Stevens, included a presentation on this project from her perspective.  She interviewed several Middle and High School students at AES asking the question “What is a Digital Footprint?”.  The Middle School has spent countless hours educating their students about how to manage digital citizenship and footprints. I was shocked that almost NONE of the students interviewed knew what a digital footprint was!

OllieBray CC-BY-NC-SA

OllieBray CC-BY-NC-SA

Were the lessons effective?  Do the students truly understand what a digital footprint is? Did we do our jobs of educating our students to help protect them and prepare them for an online life? What could have been done differently?

I suppose this is why so many of my cohorts worked on a Digital Citizenship project.  With students being so connected to the digital world, it is important they have control and understanding of their footprint, understand how to manage it and make wise decisions.

If this progressive, digitally savvy school’s students are having difficulty with their digital footprint, how are students at other schools handling and managing?  What is our role as newly graduated Coetailers (after tomorrow!) in helping to educate students about Digital Citizenship? If we end up in a school that isn’t as progressive and active at educating it’s students about their footprint, what responsibility do we have in developing digital education of the administration, faculty and students?

I am hoping that in whatever role I end up in, I can help lead schools develop digitally literate, aware, critical, and proficient students and staff.

Action Research: Video Analysis in High School

This past year has seen a lot of work done by me and my partners, Luke LaBaw and Bebe Ullrich, two amazing PE teachers at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India.

We began wondering how effective video analysis would be on skill improvement.  Over several months, we designed and planned our research.  This past January, we implemented the design on six high school badminton classes.  We then analyzed the results.

We were astounded at how well video analysis worked at helping students learn and improve badminton skills.

Have a read of our research paper.

Bebe Ullrich helping a student use video analysis.  Photo by Liz Halina CC-BY-ND-NC

Bebe Ullrich helping a student use video analysis. Photo by Liz Halina CC-BY-ND-NC


Please contact me if you are interested in repeating the experiment or using video analysis in your classroom.

New Coetail Blog Post

The end has come for the five Coetail courses I took at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India.  A huge thanks goes to Bebe Ullrich and Luke LaBaw for sharing this journey of growth with me for our final project, which also served as our Master’s research project.  Another huge thank you goes to Dana Watts and Gary Coyle, the instructors for the Coetail program at AES.

Enjoy the final post for this two year journey!