Twitter Teams: Share your account NOT your Password

TwitterTeams

Schools and organizations who want to have a presence on Twitter often struggle with keeping their feed populated with Tweets because it can be such a hassle to sign in and out of accounts, not to mention the huge security risk of sharing a password with multiple contributors.  Twitter has a little-known “Teams” feature that enables account owners to invite contributors without having to share a password.  Not only does this dramatically reduce the security risk associated with sharing passwords, but makes it simple for contributors to Tweet from an account other than their primary Twitter account.

Setting up a Twitter Team:

  1. Sign into the account you wish to share with TwitterTeamAddcollaborators via TweetDeck, a web-based Twitter dashboard (owned by Twitter) that allows you to toggle easily between accounts and create customized views of hashtags, timelines or mentions.  If you’ve never used TweetDeck before, you’re in for a treat!!
  2. Click the “Accounts” button from the left sidebar menu
  3. From the expanded “Accounts” menu, you will see “Team @(account)” as an option.  Click this to access the Twitter Teams menu
  4. Enter the Twitter handle of the team member you wish to add.  You can set the role of anyone to “Contributor” which means they can Tweet from the shared account, or “Admin” allowing them to also add more contributors to the account.
  5. Once you have added and authorized a new user, that person will receive an email notification.  They will need to login to their Twitter account via TweetDeck and will see a notification icon in the “Accounts” tab on the left sidebar menu.  Once they accept the invitation, they will see the shared account listed under their “Accounts” tab.

Tweeting from a Shared Account:

Once you have logged in via TweetDeck to your primary account, the shared account will also be available to you, so you can easily toggle between accounts.  If you Tweet from TweetDeck, you will be able to click to select which account(s) you want the Tweet to send from (see green check marks next to accounts in the image below).  As a result, you can send the same Tweet from multiple accounts at ONE time!  It’s a huge time-saver and makes it much easier to fill the Twitter feed of a shared account.

TweetShare

Search ‘Smarter’ NOT ‘Harder’ using Google’s Advanced Search

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Of course you know how to search, but if you aren’t using Google’s “Advanced Search” feature, you’re missing out on searching efficiently. With “Advanced Search” you can easily filter and narrow your search results, without needing to recall Boolean logic operators.  Adv_Search_2

Advanced Search allows you to filter a web search by:

  • Finding a specific word or phrase in sequence rather than anywhere on a page
  • Excluding words to further narrow search results
  • When a page was last updated (great for current events!)
  • Site or domain (e.g. search nasa.gov only)

In addition to searching for information, educators are often on the hunt for resources, whether it be worksheets, lesson plans, slide shows or school policies that can be used directly or modified to suit the needs of their particular school or classroom.  Advanced search will allow you to return only links to files of a certain type (PDF, DOC, PPT and more), not web pages that leave you searching for files.

Accessing & Using Advanced Search:

  1. Go to Google.com (or use the omnibox) to enter your search words.  Hit the search icon to execute the search.
  2. When your search results appear, you should see a gear icon in the top right corner of the page (see image below).  Click the gear & select “Advanced Search” to access the menu.
  3. Narrow and filter your search using any of the available fields in the Advanced Search menu to refine your results.

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Advanced Image Search

If you are conducting an image search (images.google.com) you can narrow your image results using Advanced Search.  As with the standard web search above, you first enter your search terms and will see the gear icon in the top right when you get your initial search results.  The Advanced Image Search menu is somewhat different, in that it allows users to filter by:Image_Search

  • Image size
  • Aspect ratio
  • Colors in image
  • Type of image (e.g. clip art, photo, animated)
  • File type (JPG, PNG, SVG, etc.)
  • Usage rights (e.g. return only images you are free to use/share or modify)

 

For more information about effective search strategies, including how to conduct an “Advanced Search”, check out the Google Search Tips tutorial video below:

Teachers Rejoice! NEW Google Sites is at Hand!

NEW Google SitesA NEW Google Sites!

Teachers rejoice! Google has heard your cries of frustration as you’ve tried to create slick looking class websites with their historically clunky and not terribly pretty Google Sites platform. The team at Google didn’t just “update” Sites.  They’ve been hard at work completely re-designing Google Sites from the ground up…and you will LOVE it!

You wish for a simple, drag and drop user interface that platforms such as Weebly offer, but with the awesome collaboration features that have made Google Apps the foundation of so many of our classrooms. You want responsive web designs that look professional on any platform and adapt to smart phones, tablets and computers with ease? Looking to embed content from Google Drive or other web pages without a degree in computer science and hours of time that you most certainly don’t have as an educator? The New Sites can do all of this an more and it’s only in the early stages of development, so stay tuned for even more features to come.

Getting Access to New Google Sites

It’s clear I’m more than a little excited about this, so how do teachers get access? Sites is available though an “Early Adopter” program which means your Google Apps for Education administrator needs to fill out a simple form to request early access HERE. I’ve received early access on multiple domains I manage and some requests took 24 hours while others took a couple of weeks. It may be helpful to understand the following:

  • The Early Adopter program is open Google Apps for Education domains as well as Google Apps for Business but not yet for personal Drive_Access_SitesGoogle accounts
  • Sites created in the “Classic” version will remain unchanged even if you gain access to New Sites via the Early Adopter Program
  • Users in domains that sign onto the Early Adopter program will have access to the Classic and New Google Sites so they can choose which they want to use
  • Sites created in the New Google Sites interface can be made public so it makes sense to sign up for the Early Adopter Program and have teachers create any class websites in the new platform this school year, rather than the Classic version which will be phased out over the next year (although Google says it will provide some means of moving content to the New Sites in the future)
  • Once your domain is approved for the Early Adopter Program, there is nothing your domain administrator needs to “turn on”. You will know the NEW Sites is enabled when you see Sites as an available option in Google Drive’s “NEW” menu…that’s right, you create New Sites right from Google Drive! Once your domain has been added to the Early Adopter Program everyone in the domain should have the ability to create using New Sites.

How do I get Started?

To help teachers get the lay of the land for the New Sites interface, I’ve created a New Sites Cheat Sheet. The best thing about New Sites is the intuitive interface that will make it simple for teachers and students alike to show their creative side making their own websites!

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There are some great video tutorials on YouTube showing the New Sites. I had the pleasure of doing a New Sites walk-through this past Sunday on the Tech Educator Podcast with Jeff Bradbury from Teachercast. I will embed that below for your reference.