Reflecting on Last Week’s Google Docs Lessons

Last  week I worked with several classes on introducing Google Docs. They seemed to enjoy the Love Letter video that I used to start my lesson (thank you Pamela Goldschmidt for sharing that with me). We have several teachers using Google Docs to digitally distribute a syllabus, pass out and collect assignments, and for peer editing. In addition,0ne of the counselors, Mr. Grauf, loaded a resume template for the senior to use for the college application process.

Logging in: The first obstacle we had to overcome was the login. Student accounts are set up with the same logins as their original Novell logins. This information is accessible in SISK12. The passwords are a long sting of letters in all caps. Hoping to simplify the process, I instructed students to use the link on the High School homepage so that students could enter just the beginning of their usernames (ie racmor11.13). Students can log in at Google.com, but this requires entering the full username (racmore11.13@media.willardr2.net.) No student was able to login with their first attempt. The screen reloaded with a captcha (slanty funky letters that must be entered correctly to prove you are a human and not a spam bot) and was no longer at the Willard login screen. Once I noticed this detail, I instructed students to close that window and again click the Google Apps link in the High School homepage. I pointed out the login box should be on the left side of the screen, if they were on the correct webpage. Upon the second attempt most students were able to login. For some students, correctly entering this login and getting the captcha correct were just too much. After 5 attempts I would reset their passwords to tigers, forcing a password change upon login. That seemed to work.

Sharing: It became apparent that the default visibility for newly created documents was set to accessible by all users in our domain, any teacher or student with a Willard Google Apps account. I have now changed that default setting to private. So from this point on, all documents will be  private by default, but can be shared with permission to view and/or edit.

Templates: Since Mr. Grauf had a large number of students he wanted to share his resume template with, and would not be sharing a lot of documents in Google Docs with this same students in the future, we decided a template was the most effective way to distribute his resume template to the seniors. This allowed the students to open the provided template and create their own resumes, without editing the master template. He first uploaded the resume template he had created using Word, to his Google Docs account. Then,to make the template available to the students:

1. Click the Create New button and choose From Template.

2. Click the Submit a Template Link in the top right corner and follow the directions.

3. Complete the provided fields.

4. Your template will now be available under the Willard R2 School Templates for all users in the District.

Not surprising, the students quickly found the stars to rate his template. ;>)

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