Welcome to the Apps User Group website.  Our purpose is to connect and assist schools in the use of Google Apps for Education.  The site contains resources for implementing and using Google Apps, news from the Google blogs, links to schools that use Google Apps, a discussion forum, and more.  All uses are encouraged to share resources, ideas, questions, and comments.



Below are the latest news posts for the site.  If you have news to share, please submit your article using this form.

My Sessions for OETC 2015

posted Feb 7, 2015, 9:20 AM by Eric Curts   [ updated Feb 7, 2015, 9:25 AM ]

I am excited and honored to once again present at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC 2015) in Columbus this February 10th through 12th. I always look forward to this opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at OETC 2015, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

My Sessions:
  • Online Assessments Toolkit
    Tue, Feb 10 - 2pm to 5pm - Room E160
    Session resources: nextgen.apps.sparcc.org 
    Description: Online assessments are more important to schools than ever with the rise of high stakes, next generation assessments and the need for more evaluation data from students. This workshop will dive into the benefits and challenges of online assessments, technology skills students need, resources schools can use to assist students, and tools teachers can use to create their own online assessments. Specific topics will include: technology skills students need for online assessments, free online resources to help prepare students for next generation tests, an overview of tools teachers can use to create, deliver, and evaluate online assessments including Google Forms, Socrative, Quizlet, and Kahoot, and in-depth training on using Google Forms for the entire online assessment process.
  • FREd Talks
    Wed, Feb 11 - Noon to 1:00 pm - Lobby of the E-Pod
    Description: 5-minute talks by a variety of educators. I will be sharing "The Big Blank Wall"
  • Google User Group Meet-up
    Wed, Feb 11 - 1:00 to 2:00 pm - Room E172
    Stop in to meet other Google-using educators!
  • Improving Writing with Google Docs
    Wed, Feb 11 - 3:45 to 4:30 pm - Room C110-111
    Session resources: tiny.cc/curts13
    Description: Google Docs is much more than just an online word processor. It is a tool for improving student writing. Learn about peer editing, tracking revisions, having students' writing read aloud to them, giving feedback through text and voice comments, the integrated research tools and citation tools, publishing student work, and more. With the power of Google Docs, you can help your students become better writers! 
  • Desktop Distance Learning with Google Hangouts
    Thu, Feb 12 - 11:00 to 11:45 am - Room C220-222
    Session resources: tiny.cc/curts35
    Description: To do distance learning in the past meant expensive special equipment, software, and connections. Now with Google Hangouts you can connect to anyone across the hall or around the world right from your computer for free. Learn all about using Hangouts including connecting with up to 15 people, screen sharing, chatting, and more. Also see how to find distance learning opportunities including Google's Connected Classroom, the EduHangouts site, Mystery Location Call schools, and more. 

Evaluation Form:

Thank you for attending my professional development training session. Please take a moment to fill out the evaluation form linked below. Your feedback is very valuable to help me improve the training sessions. This is an anonymous survey.


My Other Resources:


Connect with Me:

I would love to stay connected with you after the conference. Please feel free to connect with me in any of the ways listed below:


Google User Group Meeting - Jan 2015

posted Feb 6, 2015, 2:23 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated Feb 6, 2015, 2:24 PM ]

Below is the recorded video from our January 2015 Google User Group Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with links to all the resources and updates covered.

Each month we hold a meeting of our Google User Group. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators in the area
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within the districts
  • Ask questions and get answers
For those who cannot attend in person, the meetings are broadcast live using a Google Hangout. Users can join the Google Hangout remotely to participate in the meeting, or can simply watch the live stream. The video from the meetings is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live.


Meeting agenda - Google Document link

To see the schedule for upcoming Google User Group meetings visit: http://google.apps.sparcc.org/usergroup




Training Video: Collaborating and Sharing with Google Drive

posted Feb 5, 2015, 5:27 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated Feb 5, 2015, 5:27 PM ]

Below is the recorded video from one of my recent EdTech webinars "Collaborating and Sharing with Google Drive".

Session Description: One of the most powerful features of Google Apps is the ability for multiple people to work together on documents, including staff, students, and others. However, sharing documents can be a management challenge if you are not sure of your options. Learn the best practices for sharing docs, the correct sharing permissions for different tasks, proper use of folders, using comments and suggested edits, using the revision history, and more.





Session Resources:
Help guide - "The Paperless Classroom with Google Docs" - Google Document Link
Slideshow - "Sharing and Collaborating wit Google Drive" - Google Slides Link

Session Evaluation: Please provide your feedback on this session.
Evaluation - Google Form link

Get Certificate: Earn a certificate of attendance for one (1) contact hour by watching the training video and passing this quiz
Session Quiz - Google Form link

To see a list of upcoming webinars visit: http://ti.apps.sparcc.org/pd
To see a list of past recorded webinars visit: http://ti.apps.sparcc.org/videopd



Training Video: Supercharge Google Docs with Add-ons

posted Feb 5, 2015, 3:51 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated Feb 5, 2015, 3:51 PM ]

Below is the recorded video from one of my recent EdTech webinars "Supercharge Google Docs with Add-ons".

Session Description: Google Docs is already pretty awesome, but with free Add-Ons you can make it even awesome-er! Learn how to find, install, use, and manage Add-Ons for Docs including a tools for bibliographies, clipart, translation, voice comments, and more.







Session Resources:
Help guide - "Add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets" - Google Document Link
Sample Google Document for Add-ons - Google Document Link
Demo address file for Add-ons - Google Sheets link
Additional resources for Google Documents - Website Link

Session Evaluation: Please provide your feedback on this session.
Evaluation - Google Form link

Get Certificate: Earn a certificate of attendance for one (1) contact hour by watching the training video and passing this quiz
Session Quiz - Google Form link

To see a list of upcoming webinars visit: http://ti.apps.sparcc.org/pd
To see a list of past recorded webinars visit: http://ti.apps.sparcc.org/videopd



Google User Group Meeting - Dec 2014

posted Feb 5, 2015, 3:37 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated Feb 5, 2015, 3:38 PM ]

Below is the recorded video from our December 2014 Google User Group Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with links to all the resources and updates covered.

Each month we hold a meeting of our Google User Group. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators in the area
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within the districts
  • Ask questions and get answers
For those who cannot attend in person, the meetings are broadcast live using a Google Hangout. Users can join the Google Hangout remotely to participate in the meeting, or can simply watch the live stream. The video from the meetings is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live.


Meeting agenda - Google Document link

To see the schedule for upcoming Google User Group meetings visit: http://google.apps.sparcc.org/usergroup




Training Video: Google Drawings for Graphic Organizers

posted Feb 5, 2015, 3:24 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated Feb 5, 2015, 3:25 PM ]

Below is the recorded video from one of my recent EdTech webinars "Google Drawings for Graphic Organizers".

Session Description: Graphic organizers are a powerful learning tool for students. With mind maps, concept webs, Venn diagrams, and more, students can express their knowledge, plan their projects, and explore their content. There are many tools available to create graphic organizers and Google Drawings is a great free option. Learn how students can use Google Drawings to create graphic organizers, use existing templates, collaborate with others, and share the final product.


Session Resources:
Help Guide - "Google Drawings for Graphic Organizers" - Google Docs Link
Slideshow - "Google Drawings for Graphic Organizers" - Google Slides Link
Graphic Organizers - Collection of fill-in templates and pre-made activities - Google Drive Link

Session Evaluation: Please provide your feedback on this session.
Evaluation - Google Form link

Get Certificate: Earn a certificate of attendance for one (1) contact hour by watching the training video and passing this quiz
Session Quiz - Google Form link

To see a list of upcoming webinars visit: http://ti.apps.sparcc.org/pd
To see a list of past recorded webinars visit: http://ti.apps.sparcc.org/videopd


Google User Group Meeting - Nov 2014

posted Feb 4, 2015, 5:48 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated Feb 5, 2015, 3:40 PM ]

Below is the recorded video from our November 2014 Google User Group Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with links to all the resources and updates covered.

Each month we hold a meeting of our Google User Group. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators in the area
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within the districts
  • Ask questions and get answers
For those who cannot attend in person, the meetings are broadcast live using a Google Hangout. Users can join the Google Hangout remotely to participate in the meeting, or can simply watch the live stream. The video from the meetings is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live.


Meeting agenda - Google Document link

To see the schedule for upcoming Google User Group meetings visit: http://google.apps.sparcc.org/usergroup




Chromebook Institute Great Lakes

posted Aug 25, 2014, 12:57 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated Aug 25, 2014, 12:58 PM ]

Looking to dive deeper into Google Apps?

The Chromebook Institute will take place on October 25-26, 2014 hosted by North Canton City Schools at Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio. This two day immersive conference experience focuses on learning and implementing Chromebooks, Google Apps for Education, Google Play for Edu tablets, and the entire Google ecosystem into your school environment. With many educators and school districts on this very journey, this professional learning event intends to serve as a catalyst for making that journey deeper, more effective, and sustainable. 

The Chromebook Institute provides an opportunity for educators to learn about:
  • The power of Chromebooks and Google Play for Edu tablets for learning and teaching
  • How to infuse Google devices into the learning environment
  • How to create an environment for differentiated, anytime / anywhere learning
  • Growing with all aspects of the Google ecosystem
  • Best practices for implementing technology from the curriculum and technology perspectives
  • Google Apps for Education tools for learning and engagement
  • and much more…
The program features both exposure sessions and hands-on workshops by practitioners, for practitioners that yields 97% attendee satisfaction!  Sessions are built around these central Google ecosystem themes:
  • Google Devices/Hardware (Chromebooks, Tablets, Chromecasts, Glass, etc)
  • Google Apps for Education
  • Google Enhancements (Scripts, Add-on, Apps, Third Party Tools, Partners, and Extensions)
  • Googley Stuff (learning spaces, design thinking, 10x Ideas, 20%, etc)
  • Chrome Management, Google Play for Edu, and IT Components
Join us for the Chromebook Institute Great Lakes on October 25-26, 2014 at Hoover High School in Canton, Ohio. Your expedition into the Google Ecosystem awaits! 

You can learn more about the event including the opening keynote, 10x Thinking in Education Talk Keynotes, Spotlights and breakout presentations at this location.  Please consider registering you or your group today!  

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact cbiteam@chromebookinstitute.com.




Dragon Quest! A Google Slides Interactive Story

posted May 6, 2014, 5:19 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated May 17, 2014, 9:29 AM ]

Growing up in the 80’s meant reading loads of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. They were fun, and a little scary, and you died pretty much every time, but they got lots of kids into books. Recently I decided to bring this idea off the page and into the 21st century by using Google Slides to create an online, interactive story.

Often we think of Google Slides in terms of linear presentations, with one slide after another in order. However, Google Slides allows you to add hyperlinks to your presentation which can link to other slides within the presentation when clicked. This allows you to create a nonlinear slideshow, where the user can branch off to multiple different slides from any one slide.

Linking to other slides can be used to create quizzes where each answer choice leads to a different slide to let you know if you got the correct answer. It can also be used to build an interactive “Choose Your Own Adventure” story where each slide offers choices that lead to different parts of the story.

And so was born “Dragon Quest”!

Well to be fair, the story was actually written many years ago by my students. Back when I was a middle school teacher one of our projects was to have students work in teams to create their own “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. The students wrote all the text and drew all the pictures. “Dragon Quest” was one of those stories, which I have transformed into an interactive Google Slides presentation.

This can be a great project for your students. Google Slides makes it easy for them to add text, insert images, link the “pages” together, and share their story online for everyone to access.

For helpful directions on how to make an interactive slideshow, you may use my help guide “Creating Interactive Google Presentations” and see other related resources here on the Apps User Group site at: http://www.appsusergroup.org/presentations/interactive-pres

If you are brave though, and ready to face the dragon, it’s time for your adventure to begin. To access “Dragon Quest” click the link below:
Good luck! You’re going to need it.



Improving Student Writing with Google Docs

posted Apr 28, 2014, 7:08 AM by Eric Curts   [ updated May 17, 2014, 9:38 AM ]

Google Docs is much more than just an online word processor. It is a tool for improving student writing.

Google Docs has many built-in features, as well as third party tools to help students with their writing. These include peer review, tracking revisions, having students' writing read aloud to them, giving feedback through text and voice comments, the integrated research tools and citation tools, bibliography add-on, publishing student work, and more. 

For full details see the new help guide and slideshow linked below:
Please response in the comment box below to share your own tips for using Google Docs to help students become better writers.


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