Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Google Drive Update: Merge Cells in a Google Document

If you are new to Google Drive, this may not seem like a big deal, but if you are a longtime user of Google Docs this feature has probably been on your wish list: merge cells in a Google Document (something you could previously only do in Google Sheets).

Why would you want to use a table in a document? Tables can enhance the quality of a document by presenting complex information in an easy to view and understand format. Here's an example of a simply formatted table with merged cells:

Example of a table with merged cells

Easy to do: Insert a table in your Google Doc, Highlight the cells in your table that you want to merge and look on the menu for Table > Merge cells

merge cells ina  Google Doc

Want to hear about new features when they are rolled out? Follow Google Drive on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+GoogleDrive/posts

Friday, December 12, 2014

Funding for E-rate increased by $1.5 Billion

Federal Communications Commission Votes to Increase Funding for E-rate by $1.5 Billion to Expand High-Speed Internet Access in Nation’s Schools and Libraries

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to increase funding for the federal E-rate program by $1.5 billion annually in order to help U.S. schools and libraries improve internet access. The decision will allow the United States to expand high-speed Wi-Fi access to 43.5 million additional students, over 101,000 additional schools, and nearly 16,000 additional libraries.

“The FCC’s decision is the best holiday gift possible for the nation’s students and teachers,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “With increased funding for high-speed internet connections, U.S. teachers and students will spend more classroom time teaching and learning rather than waiting for webpages and videos to load.”

E-rate has been a tremendous asset to the nation’s education system. When E-rate was first enacted in 1996, only 14 percent of the nation’s schools were connected to the internet. Today, nearly all schools and libraries are connected. Despite that success, E-rate struggled to meet the demand and many schools and libraries still do not have access to high-speed broadband.

To pay for the increase in funding, the FCC expects that a consumer or business will see their telephone bills increase by about 16 cents a month or $1.90 a year.

“Access to the internet is as important to learning today as traditional textbooks were fifty years ago,” said Wise. “For less than the cost of a holiday greeting card, the FCC’s decision will bring the American education system out of the internet dark ages of slow or non-existent internet connections and into a twenty-first-century learning environment of rich, rigorous, and engaging content that can be personalized for every student.”

To help school districts make this transition, the Alliance for Excellent Education and the U.S. Department of Education launched the Future Ready Schools Initiative—an unprecedented coordination of public, nonprofit, and private resources to ensure that every student has access to the best learning opportunities through effective technology and quality teaching.

“The Future Ready Schools Initiative comes at a critical time as school districts embrace college and career readiness as the goal for all students and recognize the potential of digital tools to help teachers personalize learning for each student,” Wise said. “It will help districts avoid pitfalls that are sometimes associated with technology purchases and planning while ensuring that school leaders, teachers, and students receive the support and tools they need to implement technology effectively.”

To learn more about the Future Ready Schools Initiative and access the free resources available to support school districts, visit www.futurereadyschools.org.

For state-by-state information on how many students, schools, and libraries will benefit in each state from today’s FCC vote, visit http://99in5.org/resources-news/equity/.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Hour of Code is here!

Anybody can learn! 
Join millions of teachers and students around the world for an Hour of Code during Computer Education Week on December 8 - 12. Activities are available for ages 4 to 104! Check out the resources below and give your students the gift of discovering computer programming!

Susan Wojcicki

Marissa Mayer

Try a little or try a lot! Find fun one hour activities or a full course! Simple activities for kindergarten, too! Visit hourofcode.com from code.org. No computers? No problem - offline activities to support computational thinking are available. 

Khan Academy   Try an hour with Khan Academy - draw, create a web page, or explore javascript.

Made with Code  Girls from across the country are invited to light a tree in the nation's capital. Check outMade with Code!

Google Code-In
The Google Code-in is a contest to introduce students ages 13-17 to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible. The contest runs from December 1, 2014 to January 19, 2015.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Today's T&L News: Beginning of the end for iPads?

Looks like it’s time to update the coolest classroom device tally! The techno blogs are abuzz today with news from IDC analysts that In Q3 2014, Google shipped 715,500 Chromebooks to U.S. schools while Apple shipped 702,000 iPads. Looks like LA Unified will push the Google lead even further with the plan to offer 27 schools the option to purchase Chromebooks instead of tablets. Anthony Wing Kosner goes deeper into the significance at forbes.com: “The lack of an integrated keyboard in the iPad makes it less and less useful as children get older and need to be able to type for longer periods of time.” Watching my own three-student focus group at home confirms this analysis. —Kevin Hogan, Content Director

No classroom required?

Everything changes - no more so than in the world of technology. As tablets and mobile devices outsell laptops and desktops the opportunities for education abound. Students and teachers have access to a bewildering array of devices and software applications are rapidly moving from a device based model to cloud based models. James Penny, solutions director at European Electronique, shares his insight into how cloud computing can have a positive impact on education.  Read More.