Posted in Alice Keeler, Kyle Pace, Patrick Dempsey

Google Educator Presentation

This Friday I get the joy of presenting to various teachers within our Conference.  My presentation will be focused on the Google Educator Certification Process and everything needed to do well on the exam.  I have included the Presentation on this Blog, so give me any other suggestions you have concerning the exam and it’s process!

Thanks to various individuals who helped me along the way: 
+Patrick Dempsey 
+Alice Keeler 
+Jay Atwood 
+Kyle Pace 

Posted in GAFE

Google My Maps – Student Created Maps


As a high school social studies teacher, I constantly use different types of maps for all of my classes.  More times than not, these are maps created by other individuals with various amounts of information that may/or may not be pertinent to my classroom.  

After attending the GAFE (Google Apps For Education) KC Summit this summer, the idea of map creation (as opposed to map consumption) became a real reality.  The presentation was done by Stafford Marquardt (Product Manager for Google My Maps) on how to use to create interactive maps.  Simply put, this presentation rocked my world in all the right ways!
Title the Map

So how does it work?

Outline an area
First go to and start creating maps!  One of the cool features of My Maps is that the file is automatically saved in your Drive so that you can access it like your other Google Docs.  Which means you can also share them just like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.  I realize that right now I need to provide more details on what to do, but really just messing with My Maps will amaze you. 


Title the shape
Create various different “layers” in order to keep it nice, neat and organized.  If you want students to work on the same project, then have a different layer for each student.  

Use the drawing mechanism to outline states, cities, etc. and then apply a color over the top.  Once the color is applied, you can change the transparency to the desired level.

Provide a color to the shape

When you use the “marker” option, you can include pictures, videos, descriptions of that marker or location.

Insert a marker with various Details
If you do not want to create maps, or have students create maps, Google has provided some pre-built maps.  These maps can be found at both of the following:

MyMaps Gallery

Google Maps Gallery

I have created a short Youtube video (60 seconds) that demonstrates how to download one of the template maps as a KMZ file and then import it into My Maps:
Also provided is the Presentation done by Marquardt that explains and provides examples of other ideas using My Maps:

MyMaps Presentation

Classroom Example:  

Have students draw the path of Lewis and Clark from St. Louis to the Pacific and back.  Break up the students with the job of a specific city on the route to another city (St. Louis to Omaha).  Then have students trace the path, provide images of those location (Past and Present), and include words/images from the Lewis and Clark Journal (Link to Journal) to the spot where it was likely written.


I want to end with the following statement I have used constantly in the last two months. Start by messing with it and do not be afraid to break it.  It normally is easy to fix and you will be shocked how capable you are at creating cool/interactive things!
Posted in GAFE

1st Day Activity

Welcome Back!

Every new year brings with it a lot of new and exciting opportunities for our students.  In the fall of 2015, one of those opportunities for our school included the influx of chromebooks in a few classrooms.  I was blessed with these new devices after working with iPads for the last 4 years.

Thought-Provoking Idea


New Ideas

As I began to prepare for this first day, I was challenged by a tweet from +Alice Keeler.  Her tweet challenged the following idea: ‘Who says we need to go over the syllabus the way we have for the last 50 years?  Who says that we need to “talk” over everything the first day?’

With this thought provoking idea, I developed a new idea.  Why not have students create something that was shared out to the world that describes the syllabus, the class, and them personally?  After talking to my principal, +Chris Thompson, and a fellow teacher (My wife), +Amanda Houp, I created an assignment on Google Drawing for the first day.  (Copy of assignment Link)

My Example


As students came into my class, I had them grab a chromebook and log into their School Issued Google Apps Account.  Of course a few students had forgotten their passwords, but with me being the Google Apps Administrator it was easy to change their passwords.  Then I directed the students to the Google Classroom site in order to enroll in my “class” (  To do this, I displayed the enrollment code on the TV.  Some students logged on, others struggled.  To help alleviate this and get students on the same page, I had the logged in students (experts) help those struggling.  This helped everyone get on the same page much sooner.  Also, I created a basic example that I would turn in if I were a student which gave visual learners an idea of how to approach the assignment.  (Copy of Example)

Google Drawing Template (Copy)


Details of Assignment

Google+: Student Work Shared

At this point in the class period, students began to work on the Google Drawing by “making a copy.”  I would use this time period to periodically teach students different tips/tricks with the Chromebook/Google Apps Account.  Overall, students gained the following skills:  Location of my website (full of resources); Use Google Apps/Drive/Drawing; Find Images/Text; definition between public domain; A few details of my class syllabus; Class Direction/Content; etc.


Here are a few of the shortcuts I learned and passed on to my students:

Ctrl + L-C-V
Created using Google Drawing

Ctrl+L= Highlight URL

Ctrl+C= Copy

Ctrl+V= Paste

On a chromebook, use three fingers on the trackpad to switch quickly between various open tabs within Chrome.

Final Reflection

Are there other ways to do this?  Absolutely!  But overall I was very happy with the amount of preliminary skills students developed.  If you have other ideas or tips, please share for others to learn!

Google Classroom Assignment


My website for all my classes:  Coach Houp’s Website
Alice Keeler’s Website:  Teacher Tech

Posted in Uncategorized

Using Google Sheets to Create Google Apps Accounts!


Last year I took on the task of creating user accounts for the High School and Junior High students/staff.  My goal was to help our upper levels use them and for it to go smoothly.  Goal Achieved.  Sadly, I did it in a very inefficient manner last year.  I had the secretaries email me the student information from SIS (Student Information Services) with their appropriate grade level.  Then I typed every person’s name (first and last in separate cells), username with domain and then applied the same password to the accounts (The only thing I did efficiently).  While it was successful at creating the accounts, it took “For.. EV… ER!!!”

Format Received
from Secretaries

This year after attending a google sheets presentation done by +Jay Atwood, I decided there had to be a more efficient way to approach it.  Thus the purpose of this post today is to help you do it more efficiently (Though I know there are still more simple ways to do it, so do not be afraid to comment with your own solutions).

Step 1

As I did last year, I got the student information from the secretaries (this time the Upper Elementary since the majority of the high school and junior high students remained, minus the seniors).  They sent it in the same format of one cell containing the last name, first name.  I then looked for a formula to split names between first and last name into separate cells.  That Formula is =SPLIT(A2:A,”,”) with “A” being the cell in which the names are located. The second part of the formula “,” tells the formula to split the words at the comma.

Split Formula for the Names

Tip:  I tried to use the =Arrayformula to carry down the split to the rest of the data but was unsuccessful.  Ultimately I just triple tapped the small blue box which sent the formula down the sheet.

  Step 2

Formula for the Trim
of the First name with space

Now with the names split, I ran into a minor problem with the first name.  The formula split the names but left the space before the first name (because it was located after the split).  When trying to combine the names (will talk about that here in a second) it left a space, which caused problems.  The next formula I had to use then was to get rid of that space.  The formula for that is =trim(D2:D) which took away the space, leaving the first name the way I needed it.

Tip:  I tried to use the =Arrayformula to carry down the split to the rest of the data but was unsuccessful.  Ultimately I just triple tapped the small blue box which sent the formula down the sheet.

Step 3

With the first name and last name in the format I desired, I began the process of creating the username.  Our district decided to make the username as followed: First initial of the First Name combined with the full Last name.  Here is the formula to do that, =CONCATENATE(LEFT(E2,1),(C2)).  Of course the Columns reference where I have the specific data so you will need to change it to match your specific spreadsheet.

Step 4

Now I created a column with the domain of our school just so I could finish the username with the goal of creating the accounts for the school’s Google Apps Domain.  The final column I created was the fully combined username for the Google Apps Domain.  I wanted to combine the first initial+last name with the appropriate domain.  The formula for that was =CONCATENATE(F2,G2) , with F and G being the location of the data

Formula for the CSV file sheet

Step 5

Then I created the sheet that would ultimately turn into the CSV used for the Google Apps Domain (based upon the example provided by Google).  Here is how the sheet should be setup: Column A = Email Address; Column B = First Name; Column C = Last Name; Column D = Password.

Formula for the Password
for the CSV File Sheet

Now the first sheet had all the information I needed so there was no need to retype it all.  The basic formula I used was =ARRAYFORMULA(‘Formulas To Auto-Create Usernames’!H2:H).  From what I understand, the arrayformula portion of the formula pushes the formula down the rest of the rows. Then the last part of the formula (in this case H2:H) shows where to pull the data.

For the Password, which I made standard for different organizations in the domain, I used another formula =arrayformula(IF(REGEXMATCH(A2:A,”@”), “Example24&”, ” “)). Basically this formula pushes down each row (arrayformula), then finds the “@” (used for the username), then puts in the designed password. If there is no “@” then it puts in a blank space.

How to download the
CSV file

Step 6

The final step was to download the sheet as CSV file (Comma-separated values) on the current sheet.  Then go to the admin page and create “multiple users.”  Next upload the CSV file, which will finalize the creation.  It will send you an email when all the users have been properly created, and let you know if there were any errors.

Admin Page for User Upload


In the end, this Google Sheet I created (with the assistance of +Jay Atwood‘s presentation) helped me to create vast amounts of user accounts in a far shorter amount of time.  Obviously I do not understand all the formulas or how they work or ways I could do even better.  Hopefully this will ultimately help you reduce your work in some form or fashion.  Feel free to add any comments on how this process could be made even easier!  

Here is a link of a copy you can make of my sheet I created:  Example Google Sheet

Posted in Uncategorized

Google Educator Certification

Google Educator Certification

Starting around the end of June, Google reorganized their “Google Educator Certification” Program.  Prior to the change, individuals who sought to be “Certified” had to take various tests within a certain amount of time (beginning to end) and it cost around $99.  With the growing demand for teachers to be proficient in using the Google Apps for Education in their classroom, Google simplified the “certification” program for teachers.

Current Design:

The new training/certification program is broken up into various different levels based upon the purpose of the certification.  They are as follows:
Google Educator Level 1 Certification: Proficient
Google Educator Level 2 Certification: Advanced
Google for Education Certified Trainer: Previously known as “Google Educator Certification”
Google for Education Certified Innovator: Brand New

(I’m not sure that you must pass Level 1 Prior to passing Level 2)

Google Educator Level 1 Certification Process

After attending the Google Summit in Kansas City, I developed the urge to become “Google Educator Level 1” certified.  I was surprised at what well designed program Google had developed in order to help individuals become certified.

Level 1 Training Module

Step 1:  Begin taking the Level 1 training module

Option to move from each subunit

After you sign-in on the training module page, you can begin to work through the various different units that Google (with the help of Google Certified Trainers and Innovators) designed to help you better use Google Apps in your classroom.  While it is setup in the traditional unit format (Ex. Unit 1, Unit 2, etc.), you are able to jump around from different units.  Within each unit, there are 3-5 subunits full of tutorial videos, links, articles, etc.  Along the side are links that let you know which subunit you are in, as well as the other options within the Unit of study.


At the end of each subunit in the training module, Google provides a “Lesson Check” that includes topics discussed throughout the subunit content.  This lesson check includes multiple choice, matching, checkbox, etc. with the option to “Check Answer.”  Their goal obviously is to help you learn the answer (as these are not scored) not just prove that you do not know the answer.  Then at the end of each unit is a “Unit Review” with various types of questions.  Most of the questions are based upon “Real-Life” Applications, such as: “Teacher A wants to do a interactive lesson on Lewis & Clark’s Expedition.  What are a couple tools Teacher A could use to help students better identify the route taken and the problems they faced?”

Lesson Check

Tip:  I would skip all the videos and go straight to the “Lesson Check” and “Unit Review” in order to figure out the topic and lesson of the Unit.  Then I would check my answers.  If I got them wrong, I would go back in the subunit in order to better learn that portion.  If I couldn’t find the answer clearly, then I would Google specific tool and what I needed it to do.  Many times it took far less time to do the Lessons than Google estimated it would take.

Then you would check the answers that you felt best applied to the situation.  On the “Lesson Check,” it would inform you of when you got it wrong and provide you the correct answer.  

Unit Review

On the “Unit Review” however, it only informs you of the number correct.  Therefore you have to work harder to know which questions you got wrong and why you got them wrong.  Sadly, the one problem I faced on the Unit Review was the Fill-In-The-Blank style question.  It would count it wrong even if you forgot something as simple as an “s” and because it won’t tell you which ones are wrong/right (in terms of question) then you can be left frustrated.

Tip:  On the “Select all that apply” or the equivalent, select them all and it will let you know which ones are incorrect.  Also work one question at a time in order to better determine any wrong questions.

Taking the Exam

To take the exam, you will need to register via the following link: Register for Exam

The Level 1 Certification test costs $10 and will be emailed to you within 24 hours of you registering for the test.  The test itself must be taken within 7 days of receiving the email.  Once you receive the exam via email, you will log in with the username and password that they provide.  It will then inform you that you need to have a camera on your computer in order to demonstrate that you are indeed the individual taking the exam from beginning to end (they mention that they take pictures periodically to verify that you are the same person throughout).  You are given a 3 hour window to finish the exam once started.

Tip:  When taking the picture at the beginning of the test, wear a presentable shirt in case they apply it to your certification.

The test itself is split into two Stages.  

Stage 1 is made up of multiple choice, matching type, fill in the blank, etc. (Think traditional test).  In this section of the test, you are allowed to flag each question in order to go back and double check your answer later on if desired.  

This is the badge for passing the exam.  It will be sent
via email after passing the exam.

Stage 2 is a practical uses test.  Basically they create a fake school domain (filled with fake users) with 11 scenarios.  Each scenario has anywhere from 2-7 objectives that must be completed.  These objectives can be anything from creating a document, to sharing it, creating a youtube playlist, etc.

Tip:  Use a 2nd computer to help you work through any of the problems on your certification exam.  Google does not care if you have all the processes memorized.  They just want you to be able to come up with solutions (including using Google Search).

Tip #2:  On the Calendar portion of the test, you are able to see other individuals who have taken the exam prior.  Their events will be displayed (as they are on the same domain obviously).  So if you are not sure if you have done it right, double check with their calendar event.

After finishing the 2 Stages (within the total 3 hour limit), you will receive your pass/fail decision within minutes.  

Level 2 Certification

This is the badge for passing the exam.  It will be sent 
via email after passing the exam.

When/If you decide to do the level 2 certification, you will find that the process is virtually the same as Level 1.  The only difference is that the content of using Google Apps is slightly more difficult (Ex. Using Add-ons, adjusting Youtube videos, etc.).  The only other difference is the format of the test.  It is still a 2 Stage Test, but the number of questions/scenarios is slightly higher:  Stage 1 – 25 Multiple Choice/Matching; Stage 2 – 12 Scenarios with 1-5 objectives per scenario.


Hopefully this information is helpful at how the process works!

Posted in GAFE, Patrick Dempsey

Google Apps Principal Resources

“Beginning of the Year”

We are one week away from our “Beginning of the Year” meetings and professional development.  As we prepare for this new year, our first as a Google Apps For Education (GAFE) school, I looked back to what I have learned over the last month or so.  I attended the Google Apps Summit in Kansas City and was inspired by +Melinda Miller‘s presentation on tools for Administrators.  So I scheduled a meeting with the four Principal’s in our school district (HS/JH, Athletic Director, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary) to demonstrate some of the possibilities of Google Apps.  In preparation for this meeting, I enlisted the help of +Patrick Dempsey (Google Apps Certified and has his Masters in Administration).

“Gobs of Possibilities”

As I looked over all of +Melinda Miller+Patrick Dempsey, and various other resources suggestions, I was amazed at all the free possibilities with Google Apps for Principals (Or teachers for the matter).  I found myself struggling to truly demonstrate all the possibilities and ultimately decided to keep the suggestions brief.  At our school (probably similar to many of yours) our Principals carry many hats/jobs/responsibilities.  While I know they would love to do all these (and more), their available time to work on them is minimal.
Here is the slide I will present to the principals:


Realize that I am simply a teacher and I have never been an administrator.  If you have any other suggestions to provide to the principals at our school district, please feel free to pass those suggestions on to me!