ICE is coming! Yeah – you’re probably thinking, “Well, duh, I’ve been outside . . . I know.” No… ICE as in the Illinois Computing Educators. The annual ICE conference will be held in February in lovely St. Charles, Illinois (so it doesn’t involve a whole lot of travel, and no overnight stay). The ICE workshops take place just before the general conference and provide in-depth training in a variety of techie topics. ICE workshops are also a great way to use your professional development dollars. Check out the workshops here.
Kahoot.it is another one of those online multiple choice quiz sites where you can put questions in and your students play entering the game pin that you specify, and answering questions. I think it’s very engaging – you can type in Hebrew, there’s fun music, and it ranks players as you play the game. You can also put photos in to increase engagement, and a video option is in beta right now (that’s cool – play a video and stop in pre-determined locations to ask questions).
Where do good ideas come from? That’s a fascinating question, and one I think about often. Here’s an interesting video on the subject:
Google tip of the week: are you going batty with folders in your Google Drive? Here’s a neat tip that can help. Change the color of your folders by clicking on a folder and right-clicking on it (to right-click with a one-button mouse, hold down the control key and click). Lookie there – you can give a folder a star (which puts it in Starred in your drive), and/or you can change the folder’s color! Makes it easier to locate. Sadly, folder colors don’t show up (yet) on mobile devices.
I think I’ve written about Chirbit before, but it may be worth another visit. Chirbit is a nifty little website for working with audio. You can record or upload a message and then make it available to others (who can then comment on your Chirbit) via weblink or QR code. It will also “speak” text that you type into the website. What I found most useful, though, is that Chirbit will extract the audio from a YouTube video. Any Chirbit can be downloaded as an .mp3 file.
iPad app tip: Let’s say you’re doing an activity with your class and you want to get instant feedback to assess for understanding. Or maybe you’re doing a poll or survey. Let’s say you also don’t have iPads or laptops for your students, but you still want to have a feedback mechanism that assures privacy (no student wants to be the one to raise his or her hand and say “I don’t understand”) and gives you student-by-student results. What can you do? One option is to download the free Plickers app to your phone or iPad. Then print out the plickers cards for your students (get it? Paper + clickers = plickers). Create your assessment (it’s a lot like using Socrative or Nearpod), hand out the cards and scan with the app. It’s very cool, extremely low tech, and we got rave reviews from the fifth graders with whom we tested it last week. Visit Plickers for more info.
Love New York? Love Jewish books? This map is awesome. It’s the Jewish Book Council’s literary map of New York City and it marks the landmarks, descriptions, and allusions found in the works of some of our heritage’s greatest writers. Fun!
Google Tip: OMG! This is terrific. Did you ever think it would be useful if you could create an email contact group on the fly while sending an email? C’mon . . . you know you want to do this! Here’s how:
Create the email, placing the recipients in the “To” section
Once all your recipients are listed, click on the word “To.” Click right on that puppy
This should bring up a dialogue box where you could include other recipients. If you look at the bottom of that box, though, you’ll see the magic box that says “Save as group . . .”
That will save your group to your contacts for future use. It may take a few minutes for it to appear – but this is a handy tip!
Check it out – 15 strategies for teaching vocabulary. There are some great ideas here!
I’m fascinated by introducing alternate reality and gamification into the classroom – here’s a really interesting article about a teacher who did just that.
Chrome tip: check out this article for a list of great extensions to download and install to make Chrome even better.
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!
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.
Need to record a brief audio clip? Want your students to? Visit ClypIt, record your clip and get a link to share.
If you need some GIFs to explain mathematical concepts (and WHO doesn’t need those?) check out this website.
http://www.wordle.net is one of our favorite word cloud generators, but sometimes it gets cranky and stops working. This article has 9 more word cloud websites.
“Make it big, do it right, give it class…” Science teacher Steve Spangler’s science videos aim to do just that. Watch his videos here.
GAFE tip of the week: searching for a particular email message has gotten easier now that we’re using GAFE! Check out this article for tips on using Google search terms in Google Mail.
Need a place on the web to quickly post graphics or information? Check out Tackk.
Should schools still be teaching cursive handwriting? This New York Times article explores the issue. Read more here.
GoSoapBox is another student response website (like Socrative or Nearpod). You create an “event,” and your students join using a computer or mobile device. You can embed quizzes, polls or discussions. There’s also a cool “confusion barometer” so you students can let you know if they’re stuck (could we have one of those in life, please?). Teachers can download graded spreadsheets or activity reports.