So What if I’m an Anonymous Chameleon

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I know my kids get a kick out of seeing what Anonymous Animal icons pop up when I share a Google Doc that multiple people are working on.  We’ve all seen it, but when we moved to one-to-one Chromebooks and everyone has a Google account now, boring initials replaced the random animals – so sad.

But why are those icons there anyway?  There are two excellent reasons for them.  First and most obvious, you can see who and how many people are viewing/editing a given document.  This can help you to see if everyone has at least pulled up the document and joined the collaboration.  However, the other reason is perhaps the best reason for these icons.

If you click on one of them, it will jump you to the spot in the document where that person is currently.  This makes it tremendously easy to check to if that Chatty Cathy in the back of the room is actually contributing or just going through the motions in the group.

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So even though we don’t get to see what animal creation will pop up next, we can still use the functionality to monitor and manage our students without having to view their screen.  Which in a sense literally gives you eyes in the back of your head!!

My Goals for This Endeavor

Years ago I kept a personal blog. I kept it active, updated, and tried to make it interesting for a full year. I would have kept up with it but we moved, I took a job, and well – time to work on the blog got less and less till I just quit trying.  At one point i had several hundred views per day, and ranked fairly high on a Google search (yeah, little pat on my own back there).  This however will be a more focused blog, and hopefully it will be useful not only to my immediate coworkers but also to teachers nation and world wide.

My school went 1-to-1 with Chromebooks this year and I am loving it.  So much so that I get questions multiple times a day from multiple teachers as to how to use this or that aspect of some online tool, from Google Apps, to Twitter, to MS Outlook/Office, and so on.  So I will blog about stuff I find, try, and use in my classroom.  I’ll share what failed and why just as I will post about what worked and why it worked.  I hope to post at least twice a week about something, and this may get more defined as this adventure evolves.

Stick around and comment so I can make this into the teacher tool I hope it will be.

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