Category: Instructional Technology

These posts will center around instructional technology other than Cybergate. This may include ways to more effectively use the technology we have in place as well as think about new technologies to foster student learning.

Teachers Guide to Using Google Forms

The article below comes from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.  They do an great job on providing information to educators about technology that will enhance the classroom experience, as well as ideas about how to use technology more effectively for teaching.

This particular article deals with Google forms.  You may remember this being touched on in one of our webinars: Google Docs in the Classroom.   Google forms is a powerful application for conducting polls, gathering information, etc.  I think if you take the time to read through this guide a lot of ideas about how you can use it will come to mind.

If you have any questions or would like some personal instruction on using google forms, or just want to brainstorm on a teaching idea, don’t hesitate to contact me:

Teachers Guide to Using Google Forms

Google Forms is a powerful tool with huge educational potential for teachers and educators. Besides being free and easy to use, Forms works across different devices and is seamlessly integrated with other Drive services such as Docs and Spreadsheets. As a teacher, you can use Forms for a variety of purposes including: planning an event, making surveys and polls, creating quizzes, collecting feedback and other information from students and many more.  READ MORE

Although this is a separate article from Educational Technology, it bears on the above in that it shows you how to set up forms so that you can be notified when students submit responses to the form(s) you have created.

Read about this here

Project Teams – Using Canvas to Improve Outcomes

There are already some great posts on this blog about Team Projects and I encourage you to read through them by clicking on the category: Team Projects.  What I want to do in this post is to summarize some of the key points made in the webinar: Using Canvas to Facilitate Team Projects which can be found under Faculty Resources.

Canvas has a rich environment for project teams, which they label “groups.”  Becanvas1fore getting started, however, I highly recommend going to your personal settings within Canvas and take care of two tasks:  First, make sure you have uploaded a picture and bio.  Students should expect their canvas2Instructors to have completed this task and they can read through this information, enhancing your credibility.  Second, go to settings and “Register” your Google Drive (gmail) account.  This does not give Canvas access to your Google Drive documents, but it does facilitate your ability to set up collaborations with your students.  Students should also be encouraged to register their Google Drive so that they can access the collaboration features available in Canvas.

Now that you have taken care of these housekeeping items.  Here is a general checklist which will get you started in using Canvas to facilitate team projects. Let me strongly suggest you also watch the webinar as well for greater details.

  1. Under the People navigation link, click on +Group Set and give it a name.  Group Sets are basically types of groups, e.g. Project Teams.  Think about the options listed there before you click on save. There are good reasons to choose one option or another and the video will help with that.  If you don’t start the groups, then they will not be available to students.  YOU ARE KEY TO MAKING THIS WORK.
  2. If you chose to set up the groups manually, give each group its own namecanvas3.  You can set up as many groups as you like.  Once the group is set up you can manually drag members into the groups or use the + by their name to select the group where you would like them.  Setting up a group leader is as easy as clicking on the gear icon by a name and selecting “set as group leader.”  This is usually a good idea as it gives the group better autonomy to move around within the site.
  3. Once the groups are set up you can access the group’s page by clicking on the gear icon by the group name and selecting View Group Home Page.  From here group members can post announcements, start discussions, store files, start collaborations, and conferences
  4. Conferences can be created and left open ended, but remember to click on Start so the groups have access.  This allows them to set up regular meeting times which you can join to see how they are progressing.  Please consult the webinar video for more details.
  5. Collaborations make use of Google docs, which is why you need to register your Google Drive.  The Instructor should start one shared document within each group.  This allows you, as owner of the document, to be able to easily see who is contributing and how the group is using this resource.

There is a lot more I could say, but if you watch the webinar you will get the hang of it pretty quickly.  Experiment, practice, encourage your students to participate.  I think you will find this breathing some new energy into the team projects.

Using Google Docs/Sheets/Presentations/Forms in the Classroom

The webinar: Using Google Docs in the Classroom was led today by Julien Marion.  As with the last webinar, Julien did an outstanding job in sharing the tools freely available from Google and how they can be used in the classroom.  His enthusiastic style and obvious passion for helping students came through strongly.  Marion’s presentation style is engaging and approachable.  He is obviously thoroughly familiar with the various Google products and gave examples of how he uses those products in the classes he teaches. I know those participating enjoyed the collaboration opportunities as there were many comments of of “cool.”  Which, I suppose dates us a little.

I encourage you to watch the recording as well as the previous recording, located under Faculty Resources on the Faculty Blog.  I’m confident you will learn something that you will be able to use in the classroom or for your personal life.

Using Google Docs to Facilitate Team Projects

MJulien Marienr. Julien Marion presented a webinar on Using Google Docs to Facilitate Team Projects on Tuesday, March 31.  Mr. Marion, in addition to serving as the Assistant Director of Admission at Houston and Owner of Move and Dance Fitness Center, is an Adjunct Instructor for Belhaven.

Julien has used Google Docs to make the Team Projects a more positive experience for his students and shared in this webinar some of the exciting possibilities available.  He used a highly participative model of presenting and actually invited several of the attendees to join him in editing a document and a presentation (similar to Power Point) live during the webinar.  Comments in the chat area were Wow! and Cool!  Julien did a great job answering questions and showing several tips and tricks which he has picked up along the way.  The evaluations from the end of the webinar all agreed that they took away value worth the time in participating and almost all rated the experience as Exceptional or Superior.  The only complaint was that the session wasn’t long enough, leading to the real possibility of a follow-up webinar on this topic in the future.

There is a link to the webinar under “Faculty Resources” within this Blog (see top of page).  I’m confident you will find this is an hour well spent.

BU Webinar: Using Google Docs to Facilitate Team Projects

Belhaven University Adult Studies will present a Webinar on Using Google Docs to Facilitate Team Projects on March 31 at 11:30 CST (12:30 EST)

Learning outcomes, Participants will:

  • Have a better understanding of how Google Docs work for personal and professional use.
  • Be able to create a Google Doc/Sheet/Presentation and “share” it with others for shared editing or comments.
  • Be able to implement Google Docs to facilitate Team Projects


Julien MarienMr. Julien Marion, Assistant Director of Admission, and an   Adjunct Business Professor at Belhaven University Houston

Julien Marion earned both his bachelor and his Master degree with Belhaven University. He obtained a BA in International Studies and Master of Business Administration.

Julien has been happily married to Mallorie Lewis for 6 years and they have 3 beautiful kids under the age of 5; Liam, Adrianna and Oliver.

Julien and Mallorie are also the founders and owners of Move Dance and Fitness Center, a Christian Dance and Fitness Center in the Katy/Richmond area, where they get people moving by teaching dance, fitness, and leadership through Christian principles.


Space is limited to the first 50 to register.  Participants will need an active internet connection and speakers to participate.  Those interested can register at this link:


Instructional Deck

I am planning of developing an Instructional “Deck” of Pages which can be used as a resource for teaching.  I’m planning using the format below for the Deck and will be adding a variety of subjects such as:

Brain Mapping, Mobile Exercises, Best Practices in PPT Design, Google Sites, Role Play, Game Based Learning, Plaigarism Detection, Blended Learning, Blogging, ZIGZAG Exercise, Case Study Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Brainstorming, Killer Presentation Tips, Blooms Taxonomy, Creating Quick Tutorials.  If you can think of other topics, please email me at  If you would like to build one or more of these pages, let me know and I’ll get you the template (from Google Draw).

Infographics as Team Projects?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am seeing more and more use of infographics in the education arena.  They actually remind me of poster presentations I’ve seen at various conferences.  What I like about them is the way they pull information together and organize it for clarity.  At this link (The Best Simple Tools to Create Infographics for Your Class)  you can find an article about several programs which can be used to create an infographic.  I’ve included a sample infographic below which I found at Google Images.  The point of this, I think, is that it would be a creative project for a Project Team assignment with some interesting discussion being generated in data collection, design, and presentation as well as the classroom presentation/explanation/defense.

Using Google Docs for Team Project Collaboration

Most of us have at least heard about Google Docs but may have been too busy to explore this application or consider what it might offer to us or our students.  A colleague, Julien Marion, and I discussed this last week while we were having lunch.  I had used Google Docs only in a superficial way up to this point, but after our discussion I began to explore this application more fully.  I discovered an amazing tool which not only allows real-time collaboration on papers and spreadsheets, but also tracks revisions so that Instructors can see who has made contributions.  I’ve included a short video below which I found on YouTube.  There are hundreds more on the same topic (i.e. “Using Google Docs for Collaboration”).  I really encourage you to watch this short video and perhaps even show it in your class and encourage your project teams to give it a try.   You could even reserve the computer lab and set up a real-time experiment with your class. If you decide to give this a try, I would be interested to hear how your experiment turned out, as well as how to make using Google Docs even more effective.  There are likely many more ways you can think of to use this application; again, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas, email me at:

Using Evernote in the Classroom

I just read the article posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education with the title: Using Evernote in the Classroom.  For those of you who may not know, Evernote is a computer program WITH mobile applications for Android and Apple whose primary function is to store information in a way that easy to retrieve.  It syncs information across all devices so that what you save to Evernote from your computer is also available on your mobile device or the other way around.  It has a free version which I have yet to exhaust and a premium (paid) version with even more functions.

The article describes ways to use Evernote to support your teaching and would make a great repository for your class notes and materials.  the information can be tagged for even easier recall and shared.  There is also a link to an Evernote Notebook which is full of ideas on how to effectively use this program.  In that notebook there are a variety of other articles such as:  “5 Tips to Use Evernote for Academic Achievement,” “7 Smart Ways to Use Evernote for Research,” “How academics use Evernote to make life easier.”

This program has been around for quite a while and only gets better with more functions.  One of the functions I especially like is the “webclipper” which provides an icon at the top of my browser so that if I find an article I like, I can click on that icon and it “clips” a copy and stores it in my Evernote notebook.

Read through the article and the links and give it a try.  Its free and I have found it a great tool.