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Google Calendar: How to use a Google Group with GCal to set up birthday announcements

How would you like to post a Happy Birthday wish for people in your school or group on their birthday and allow everyone else to add to those wishes?

I have been doing this for a great group of educators (Google Certified Teachers) over the last year and a friend, Mark Allen, has inspired me to post about how to make it happen. He has also given me the great idea to automate it for use in schools.  Wouldn’t it be great to wish every student a Happy Birthday?

We will look at both methods, one more personal and no automation and the other with automation but with better consistency.

What you will need:

  1. Google Calendar
  2. Google Group
  3. Gmail
  4. Everyone’s birth date

The personal birthday connection.

  1. Have a Google Group set up (this can be an exsisting group) with everyone.  In Google Apps you could use a Google Apps Administrator Group or a Google Apps User-managed Group (A group that a user sets up if User-Managed Groups has been turned on by an Admin) .  If you are not using Google Apps you can use a Google Group.
  2. Create a new Calendar and Share it with the Group so the members can add their birthdays to the calendar.
  3. As a member’s birthday comes close. Post a message to the group to wish that person a Happy Birthday and to encourage others to do the same. (To make things easy on yourself, add a default email reminder to the birthday calendar two to three days in advance.  Then you will receive an email so you will not forget to post to the group.)

The automated birthday connection.

  1. See #1 above (This could be a group that will only allow announcements or it could be interactive)
  2. Create a new Calendar.  You can still have members add their birthdays to the calendar by sharing it, but since you will be automating the process it might be cleaner to use a CSV file to import all the birthdays into the Calendar. (Suggestion: make the “appointment” subject something like “Happy Birthday John Smith”
  3. Be sure to add a default email reminder to the birthday calendar. Because this will be automated you will need to decide if you want to send the birthday announcement on that day or two to three days in advance.
  4. To make this fully automated you will need to create a filter in Gmail to forward the Happy Birthday reminder to the Group email from #1.  You will need to use the advanced filters to make sure only the Happy Birthday messages get forwarded to the group.
  5. If you want to really publicize the birthdays you could use Google Calendar to Twitter to Tweet the birthday news to all of your followers.

Now get out there and wish everyone a Happy Birthday!!!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 8, 2011 in Google Calendar, How To, Tech Tid Bit

 

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How to become a Google Apps EDU Certified Trainer

I have noticed a pattern over the last few weeks of people asking, how do you become a Google Trainer and what does that mean.

The process to become a Google Apps EDU Trainer is fairly straight forward.  I think of there being three stages to this process: Using the Training Center, becoming a Qualified Individual, and finally becoming aCertified Trainer.  The Training Center is always available and it’s your choice if you want to go through all the stages.

The Training Center

The Training Center is available to “teach yourself to become an Apps expert in the classroom.” The great part about the Training Center is that it is broken up into six training modules: Google Apps Education Edition, Apps Mail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, and Other Tools.  What does this mean for you?  It means that if you are in the Training Center to find out more about Calendar, my favorite, you can.  Just go straight to the Calendar Module and become a Calendar expert or look for that one piece of information that you needed.  Don’t forget to use the “Search this site” button in the top right hand corner if you are looking for something specific.  As a teacher you could use the the training center to become more proficient in the use of Google Apps for your classroom.  So if you just want the information, it’s all there waiting for you in the Training Center.

Individual Qualification

If you are interested in testing your new knowledge acquired in the Training Center you can take all six exams.  Passing all six exams will give you the honor of being “Google Apps Education Qualified” and earn you a certificate. Google Apps Certificate The exams are $15 dollars each and you will need to pass each exam with a score of 80% or higher.  You could give your students the chance to become qualified.  I know there are Computer Application courses in high schools that allow students at the end of the course to take tests for certifications for various manufactures of software.  Why not let the student take the tests and at $15 dollars per test, it is very reasonable compared to other exams.

Certified Trainer

You’ve passed all six exams and have decided to go for the gusto and become a Certified Trainer.  Now what?  According to Google, Certified Trainers have extensive experience in teacher training and Apps deployment.  So, if this fits who you are and what you do, go for it.  Here are the requirements from Google’s Program Details web page.

“Certified Trainer” individual applicants must:

  • Have previously achieved ‘Qualified Individual’ status.
  • Demonstrate work history and experience in technology instruction and/or professional development. Strong references from school or business clients are required.
  • Create sample learning materials and provide a short video which demonstrates your ability to create and present instructional material.
  • View the complete application here.

The application is not too difficult, but where most people get hung up is the short video.  If you have given tutorials before in person then you are not that far away from creating a video.  One of the video hang ups is what do I put in the video?  My advice: pick a topic from the training center that you like, something you know how to do, that was new to you, or something that you know colleagues have had problems or questions about in the past.  This will make the video have a personal connection.  Use the Training Center to help you with your script.  The other hang up on the video is how do I create it?  There are numerous versions of screen recording software out there on the web for sale.  There are also a few websites that will let you do the same thing.  I would recommend  Camtasia. It has lots of great tools to cleanup and put the professional touches on your video. Best part is that TechSmith gives you a 30 day trial with no limits.  Here is the video from my application:

And what will you get out of this Certification:

What’s in it for you? As a Google Apps Certified Trainer, you will receive:

  • Early access to technical training and support materials.
  • A Google ‘badge’ for your online marketing, and other marketing collateral.
  • Additional visibility in the Apps Marketplace as a Solutions Provider.
  • Shared training resources from the community of fellow Certified Trainers.

I hope this helps to answer the question.  How do you become a Google Trainer?  Please feel free to ask more questions in the comments.  Now get out there and do some training.

 
22 Comments

Posted by on December 18, 2010 in How To, Teaching

 

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