Teacher Dashboard Update

At the end of the month, Teacher Dashboard will transition to a new and improved version of itself. You can switch to the new version now, or wait until the change is automatic.

Here are the most important changes to keep in mind. 

  1. Update your bookmarks. You will log into Teacher Dashboard at a new URL
  2. You can now rename your classes so they are easier to identify.
  3. You can group your students and students can belong to multiple groups. This group structure can mirror groups within classes in Schoology.
  4. You can now share multiple documents at one time using Smart Copy, which is now called Smart Share. This button is also found along the left side of the screen rather than at the top left corner.
  5. You can now share documents with multiple classes or groups at one time.
  6. Teacher Dashboard will now generate a random string when resetting passwords. If you do not want to assign a random string of characters as a password, you can still type your own. Please remember not to reset passwords unless the student is requesting this in person, and always check the “reset password on login” box to help us maintain a secure environment.

I’ve created a video highlighting some of the new features. b  (GHS and GMS faculty groups) rather than here since so many student user names and full names are visible in the video.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Teacher Dashboard and Google Passwords

Earlier this month I blogged about passwords, the importance of having strong ones and keeping them safe. It is important for students to learn to manage passwords. The first step is learning to remember passwords.

School is a place to learn with a safety net, and right now we have a safety net that is pretty easy to use. Any teacher can access Teacher Dashboard and reset a student password. The question now becomes how often we want to do this. It is up to you, the classroom teacher, to decide how often you do this for students. If you don’t ever expect them to develop a skill and provide opportunities and incentives, do they learn?

This is a tutorial to help teachers reset passwords for students who forget their Google password.

 

Teacher Dashboard: Smart Copy

One of the best parts about Teacher Dashboard is its Smart Copy feature.

Hapara Teacher Dashboard – Smart Copy Wizard from Hapara Team on Vimeo.

In case you didn’t know, Teacher Dashboard is available for all teachers, grades 3-12, for managing Google Apps with your students. Support for Docs, Spreadsheets, Sites, and more. And at GHS, support for Student Blogs.

Let us know if we can help you get started!

Teacher Dashboard Workflow

It has been about two months since we started using Hapara’s Teacher Dashboard with our Google Apps for Education. So far, we love it. Everyone has good things to say about this tool that helps our teachers and students keep everything organized and visible.

Two of the teachers who have been the heaviest users of the tool are Mrs. Abbott and Mrs. Ray. Both of them are Language Arts teachers who, in the past, have carried reams of paper back and forth between school and home. They have had to decipher interesting handwriting, straighten out crumpled papers, and struggle to give timely feedback to students. Since our introduction of Google Apps for Education about a year and a half ago, these two teachers have moved towards a paperless environment. Still, managing the endless lists of shared documents in Google Drive was not easy. Now it is much easier and much more effective.

I have learned from both, and today I sat down with Mrs. Ray to develop a workflow to make giving her students support and feedback easier. I thought other teachers might find it useful.

 

Teacher Dashboard Writing Assignment Workflow

  1. Create a document with instructions and a rubric. First, write the instructions as you would when you create a handout for students.

  2. At the end of the instructions, insert a page break and create your rubric. Be specific. Rubrics, in my opinion, give better guidance than the best set of written directions for almost any assignment.

  3. Use the Smart Copy function in Teacher Dashboard to automatically add a copy of the instructions and rubric in each student’s folder.

  4. Students write their paper “sandwiched” between the instructions and the rubric. Every time the student accesses the document, the instructions and the rubric are right there, helping students stay on track with the assignment.

  5. To grade the paper, the teacher scrolls to the bottom of the paper after reading the assignment and highlights the appropriate rating in the rubric.

 

This workflow addresses issues that teachers face when students work on projects over several weeks or months.

First is the most obvious problem. Giving students pieces of paper they need to keep for a long time is always a dicey proposition. Even the most organized students can have a binder mishap and their papers scatter all over the parking lot. Having the handouts incorporated in the assignment document, in digital format, is the best way to hang on to them.

Since the Smart Copy document is automatically shared with the teacher, the teacher can use the Comments function to provide guidance and support before the assignment is due. I recommend having set dates when the teacher will be looking at the works-in-progress (homework grade?) to give students an opportunity to get feedback prior to the final due date. Some students might need more support than others, and this is a seamless way of giving them feedback without calling attention to them. Only the teacher and the student will know there were comments made on any particular document.

I hope this helps teachers thinking of getting started with Google Docs and Teacher Dashboard. We still have a couple of after-school sessions on the schedule to look at these tools in depth, and I’m always available to work one-on-one with teachers who can’t stay after school.

 

I’m INSANE…

By the way….I’m INSANE about the teacher dashboard.  The amount of info it gives you is incredible.  I don’t have to worry about logging in to a million different accounts when there is a question.  It’s so convenient.

Sometimes we find a good tool. Sometimes we find an insane tool. I’m very happy we have Hapara’s Teacher Dashboard, and if we judge by the above quote, so is Mrs. Abbott.

We have been using Google Docs for about four years now, but there has always been a high entry point for this tool. Teachers must feel comfortable organizing files in folders and tracking who is sharing what where. With Teacher Dashboard, all that becomes so easy you can get started in just a few minutes.

Head over to John Hendron’s blog and watch the video. Let me know if you would like my help. I know you are going to like this.