How BIG is Google? Check out this
Shake Up Learning is a website that features tips and techniques for educational technology, including Google, mobile learning and social media.
Well, now, this is interesting…here’s a nicely crafted revision of the traditional rubric. Instead of working on all those columns and rows, why not try the single-point rubric? Very cool! Read more here (and I love the name of the website, too!).
Google tip: If you’ve been using Google Classroom, be sure to check out this blog post to get an idea of some of the new features that were introduced this week.
If you use Animoto, you’ll want to apply for a free Animoto Plus account. That allows you to choose from 57 styles to create 10-minute long videos. Plus accounts normally cost $5 per month but this is free for educators if you apply here.
Teaching with Google strategy: Here’s a useful strategy for using Google’s comments feature with students to help make their thinking visible. Nice!
Google tip: Need an online timer for a classroom activity? Just type timer into a Google search box. Simple and elegant. You can click on the brackets icon to have the timer go full screen, too!
If you want a quick collaborative space, check out Awwapp. It’s simple to create a whiteboard and invite by URL. You can post completed whiteboards or save them as .png images.
EduCanon is a website that enables you to take a video and assign questions for your students to answer at pre-determined spots. Check out my sample video here. This is great for flipped classes.
Still haven’t signed up for JEDcamp Midwest? What’s holding you back? Here are 10 reasons to sign up TODAY.
Google Tip #1: If you love Google forms (you know I do!), check out this blog post about recent improvements. For instance, you can now shuffle questions (which is great if you want to use a form for an assessment), and limit people to only submitting one response per form. You can also insert a video into a form, which lends itself to using Google Form as part of a flipped classroom experience. Finally, (I LOVE this), when you go to “Send form,” you can now specify a shortened URL, eliminating the need to paste the long URL into goo.gl. Yay!
Google Tip #2: Did you know that you could use Google to “read” PDF files and turn them into text documents? Here’s how:
- Upload your PDF file to your Google drive
- Click in the box to the left of the uploaded file to select
- Click on More (at the top of your screen) and choose “Open with”
- Choose Google Docs
- Google will proceed to open your document. The beginning with have the image, and the digitized text will appear at the end of the document.
Now, it may not be perfect, and you may have to tweak it a little, but it beats retyping!
Like lots of schools, we have a tracking sheet where we, well, track some kids in academic areas, like missing homework, test grades, etc. For some time we have used a PDF document that the teachers filled out electronically. With our move to GAFE. I wanted to create a Google Form that would then merge into a separate document for each child.
With autoCrat I’m able to do just that.
I started with creating what I wanted the finished product to look like. Alternatively, you can start with the form itself. Let’s say we’re tracking a student’s missing homework assignments. The finished document might look like this:
Once you know what you want to communicate, you can create the form requesting the information.
Now, take a look at the headers at the top of the response sheet:
So now you want to add those column headers to the merge file in the appropriate places. The modified merge file looks like this:
So now we’ve entered some data into the Google Sheet via the Google Form, and here’s what the Sheet looks like:
To create the merge, you need to use autoCrat. You can find it here. Once it’s installed, go to Add ons and Launch it.
Choosing a New Merge Job allows you to set parameters like the template to use, the naming convention, and output (PDF or Google Doc). You also need to make sure that the merge tags match your spreadsheet headers. Click on Run merge to create your files.
The only thing I don’t like is that it pulls the date including a timestamp even if I don’t want it, but I’ve remedied that by using timestamp and making sure to format it to date only. But other than that, it works great and now we have PDF files to send to the parents!
EduCanon is a website that enables you to take a video and assign questions for your students to answer at pre-determined spots. This is great for flipped classes. Here’s my sample video.
This is just hysterical. Check out Shimon Peres’ plans for what to do after retirement:
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I do want to remind everyone about Sefaria. Sefaria allows you to choose different texts – or portions thereof – and create a custom resource sheet. It’s still in development, so every text isn’t there, but it’s awesome nonetheless.
Shameless JEDcamp plug of the week. We are proud and excited that the second annual JEDcamp Midwest will be here on Sunday, October 19th from noon until 4:00 pm. There will be swag! There will be free lunch! There will be door prizes! There will be lots of great ideas to share! Need more incentive? Watch the terrific movie about last year’s JEDcamp:
Chrome tip #1: I’m a multi-tab user, which means I often have a dozen or so browser tabs open at one time. Some of them, like my mail and Schedulet, are tabs that I always, always use. I hate it when I accidentally close them by clicking on the little x. To remedy that, and to make the tabs take up less space, I “pin” them. To pin a tab, right-click (or hold down the control key and click) and choose Pin Tab. Like magic, the tab takes up, well, a pin-size amount of space and it can’t be closed accidentally. To unpin and remove a tab you’ll have to right-click again.
Chrome tip #2: If you love to use Chrome, check out these Chrome extensions that can make your user experience even better!
Some of us spent a little time this summer talking about digital portfolios and how to implement them in class. This article expands on that quite nicely.
Here is a nice little Google docs cheat sheet you can print out and hang in your classroom.
Thinking about upgrading your iDevice to iOS 8? Here’s a list of privacy settings you should change immediately.
GAFE tip of the week: When you’re composing an email in Google mail, you can make it take up the whole screen rather than just that little puny spot in the corner. Just click on the little down arrow and choose Default to full screen.
My colleagues have been playing with the Handouts app and they’re simply loving it. It isn’t exactly earth-shattering or paradigm-shifting, but it’s simple, to the point, and elegant. The process is easy: create a handout (either make a PDF or take a picture of something), import it into Handouts and send it to your students. Students use the now-familiar method of joining a class via code, receive the handout and fill it in and send it back. Students can “write” or type their response. Simple and elegant.
My teachers are most excited for this in terms of its potential for a digital portfolio. That and the whole paperless part. Very cool!
Email’s awesome, right? Well, not always. Check out CoolCatTeacher’s blog post with some great email etiquette tips.
Remind (which used to be Remind101) is the coolest thing ever! I’ve talked about this before: set up a class, ask parents and/or students to join online, and you can text (or email) everyone with one click of a mouse! It’s also the coolest because it was developed by my former student Brett Kopf. Remind has instituted some big changes this year – learn more here.
Newsela is a news site that’s designed to help build reading comprehension. Like so many sites, there is a free and not-so-free version. The free version, though, does provide multiple news articles every day at various reading levels.
If you’re planning to create a class webpage, here’s a great article that talks about what you should and should not be putting out there.
This is a great idea – here’s a website where you can share photos without jumping through a lot of hoops. Create an event, invite friends, and everybody can upload. Genius!
Food for thought…here’s an interesting article about why flunking is good.
GAFE tip of the week: if you’re doing a research paper in Google docs and want to locate and cite scholarly sources, go to Tools > Research and search for the source. Want to cite it? Click either Cite as Footnote or Insert.
GAFE tip of the week: This is not for the faint-of-heart, but those who are bold enough to hop over here to learn about how to use canned responses in their Google mail. Very cool!
One of my professional goals is to determine our course of action regarding a 1:1 initiative. We began this year with 3rd and 4th grades after a pilot of sorts last year with increased accessibility in 3rd grade. Each of the students in those grades has access this year to an iPad all day, regardless of class. The iPads stay in school.
This year we’re piloting using iPads in language arts in 5th grade. Week one brought the question of “where’s spellcheck in the Docs app?”
We’re also dealing with the issue of sharing iPads in 5th grade, since there are two carts for four sections. Students have to remember (and their teachers have to remember to tell them) to log out of the Docs app at the end of each session and to make sure they’re the one logged in at the beginning. It no doubt is cumbersome for the teachers, and I’m sure chaos will ensue at some point when that procedure isn’t followed.
So I started thinking about my own digital life.
I am not 1:1. I’m more like 3:1, with laptop, iPad and iPhone as my 3. I instinctively move from device to device, choosing the device based on the task I need to perform. If I need to do heavy word processing I reach for my laptop. If the laptop isn’t available (or, more likely, in the dining room and I don’t want to get up off the couch to retrieve it), the iPad is a suitable stand in, but only as a second choice. On the other hand, there are definitely things for which the iPad is better suited, like quick movie making. Apps like Show Me or Explain Everything are much more useful for video tutorials and much faster to use.
Is 1:1, defined as one specific device per child, realistic? Or does it make more sense to define 1:1 as the ratio of total devices available to the total student body as a 1:1 ratio, without assigning specific device to specific children?