MuseForJews

muse: n. a source of inspiration

Links You’ll Love

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.

November 21, 2014 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Mobile devices and apps | , , , | Leave a comment

Links you’ll love – 11-14-14

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!

November 14, 2014 Posted by | Links You'll Love | | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Most of us are old enough (cough, cough) to remember when there were no food allergies. When we could throw a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter into a bag so kids didn’t go hungry on field trips . . . Well, Stanford University is making some fascinating inroads into bringing those days back. Read more about Stanford’s medical trial in oral immunotherapy here.

The folks at TED-Ed have created a video and lesson for every element on the periodic table. You can view them by starting here. Not only are there videos, but there are also accompanying lesson plans with questions to deepen understanding, suggestions for further research, and, in some cases, guided discussion questions. This is obviously a great resource for teaching the periodic table, but also a good model for how to use video as a starting point for lessons.

I’m super excited about this article on digital learning. The author, Dr. Tim Clark, focuses on the various elements of a classroom (essential questions, assessment, classroom environment, etc.) and how technology can support them. I like this so much that I’m thinking about structuring a series of classes around this concept – let me know if you’d be interested.

Oh my! Wait’ll you see THIS! Here’s a beyond awesome Google tip: Did you notice that there’s a “Web clipboard” command under the Edit menu in many Google apps like Slides, Docs and Drawing? Do you have ANY idea what that means? Check it out: select the thing you want to copy to the web clipboard, and go to Edit > Web clipboard. Select “copy selection to web clipboard.” Unlike the invisible Mac clipboard that can only hold one item at a time, Google will save all the things you copy. Then you can paste whatever you’ve copied at a later date. But wait! There’s more. That elegant little web clipboard is available on any computer, any time you log in using your Google account. How sweet is that? I also tested this with Google Docs on the iPad . . . it worked as long as I used Chrome to edit the Google Doc (as opposed to using the Docs app). If you need a tutorial on this, here’s a good video:

November 7, 2014 Posted by | Google, Links | , | Leave a comment

Screen sharing options

So . . .  you’ve got great stuff on your iPad, and you want to project it to your SMART Board, but you don’t have *that* dongle . . . or

You want your students to take turns displaying what they’ve created, but you don’t have a projector . . . or

You have a projector, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having kids come up to front to connect then disconnect . . . or

You want to “drive” your students’ iPads and make sure that they’re looking at what you want them looking at . . .

Solutions?

Reflector: if the devices you want to mirror are iPhones or iPads, consider installing Reflector on your SMART Board or projector connected laptop. Reflector turns your laptop into a wireless receiver, and using Airplay, you can just choose it and mirror whatever is on your iPhone or iPad. What’s really nice is that the audio is mirrored as well, which was a real nuisance with using a dongle to connect the iPad to a SMART Board.

Not using iPhones or iPads? Consider using Mirroring360 by Splashtop. Mirroring360 does the same thing, only you’re not restricted to iOS devices.

These are slick, easy-to-use solutions that are not very expensive. It’s made a huge difference in my non Apple TV classrooms, and the students love it when they can share what they’ve created on their tablets with the rest of the class.

What about when you want to mirror from your device to the students’ devices? Here are some options:

Splashtop Classroom: This is a cloud-based product that requires you to pay an annual usage fee. The cool thing is that your users download a free app, you install the free Streamer software on your computer, and you can mirror what’s on your laptop to your students’ devices. You can also give control to a student and he or she can interact with whatever is on your computer, or he or she can share what’s on theirs. Very nice!

Nearpod: Nearpod is by no means just for mirroring, but it can certainly be used for that.

Handouts: Handouts, the app that lets you distribute a handout to your students and get them back, can also be used to distribute documents to a number of devices.

How do you share?

November 5, 2014 Posted by | Technology | , | 2 Comments

Links You’ll Love

How BIG is Google? Check out this great documentary:

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.

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Education, GAFE, Google, Links You'll Love | , , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

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.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

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:

  1. Upload your PDF file to your Google drive
  2. Click in the box to the left of the uploaded file to select
  3. Click on More (at the top of your screen) and choose “Open with”
  4. Choose Google Docs
  5. 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!

October 3, 2014 Posted by | Google, JEDcamp, Links You'll Love | , , , | Leave a comment

How to use Google Forms to create a merged product

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.

MissinghomeworkmergeI 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.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.14.35 PM

Now, take a look at the headers at the top of the response sheet:

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.17.23 PM

So now you want to add those column headers to the merge file in the appropriate places. The modified merge file looks like this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.24.22 PM

So now we’ve entered some data into the Google Sheet via the Google Form, and here’s what the Sheet looks like:

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.27.18 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.29.32 PM

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!

October 1, 2014 Posted by | GAFE | , , , | Leave a comment

EduCanon for Flipped Classes

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.

September 30, 2014 Posted by | Blended Learning | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

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!

September 24, 2014 Posted by | Chrome, JEDcamp, Links You'll Love | , , | Leave a comment

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