11/8 Techie Thursday!

Hi, Blog Followers! I've been binging on podcasts lately as I look for ways to improve my coaching skills and learn about other ways that folks are using technology in education. It was hard to limit it to four recommendations for this week! There are lots of awesome ones out there. I also took some time this week to create a HOWs/GPs self assessment on Synergy that everyone at the MS and HS can use RIGHT NOW on Synergy to do a check in with their students. I hope that you find it helpful!
Now, onto the TechieThursday. Click on the image below to access all of the links on the slide. If you have a tool you would love me to research for different options, just drop me a line. And, if you'd like to get together to learn about any of these things, plan a lesson together integrating more technology, get some guidance with setting up your GP/HOW check in on Synergy, or get non-evaluative feedback just set up an appointment with me on my website at http://appointment.simmonsclassroom.…

Habits of Work & Guiding Principles Self Assessment on Synergy

As part of this week's Techie Thursday post, I mentioned that I created a "Habits of Work & Guiding Principles Self Assessment". I used a school wide rubric from the high school to create a four question self assessment that will automatically grade the students on each of the HOWs/GPs and then enter it into your grade book. I would recommend using it as a formative assignment with your students and then entering your own grades in as a summative. It's a great way to get your kids used to taking assessments on Synergy AND, since it goes right into your grade book, it's also a good way to keep your grade book active and inform your parents/guardians how their student is doing.

This is what the questions look like for teachers:

And then this is what the question actually looks like for a student:

Let me know how it works out for you!

Techie Thursday for October 11, 2018

Needless to say, last week's techie Thursday note was delayed a few days. But I have a good reason! I was off at the annual ACTEM conference in Augusta where I presented four sessions covering topics like creating VR tours, my favorite AR/VR apps, automating your work to make life easier, and about 3D printing in grade K-12. I also got to see Joe Sanfelippo, who is a superintendent from Wisconsin, and the author of Hacking Leadership. I laughed. And, yes, I cried. He was a phenomenal speaker and definitely one of my all time favorites. I would highly recommend checking him out and also follow #GoCrickets on Twitter. He's down an amazing job in his school and it's easy to see why they have applicants from around the country for jobs at their school. If you have never been to ACTEM, it happens every October in Augusta. They'll be looking for presentation proposals this spring. If you'd like to collaborate on a session, let me know! I love co-presenting with folks an…

Professional Development Time Options

I wanted to send out a message to those folks who are looking to work on technology for your 20 hours of PD time. First off, I have modified my "available" hours on my appointment calendar so that you can now book me until 3:15 on (most) Mondays and Wednesdays.  I could even meet longer than that as long as you make arrangements with me in advance. I am happy to meet 1:1 or with groups of teachers to provide any support or training that you need.

Upcoming Changes to Gmail (Expected June 2018)

I wanted to take a moment to give everyone a heads up that some changes have been made to Gmail and the district is going to move everyone to the updated "look" by sometime in June. Although it will still have the same functionality, there are certainly some features that will be new to you.

First off, Google already has a ton of resources out there about it:

Stay composed: here’s a quick rundown of the new GmailLearn what's new in Gmail I'll cover some of the "biggies" here, but either of those posts from Google will give you a more in depth look at what all the nuances are.

Changes to the Google Drive App

I've been facing a deluge of emails and appointments about the Google Drive app, File Stream app, etc. lately. In an effort to help people faster than I can face to face, I sent out the following email to Staff Talk today. If you did not catch it there, I wanted to pass it along here as well.
The emails coming out about Google Drive Legacy, FileStream, etc. ONLY APPLY TO MACs. If you are using a Chromebook or another non-Mac device. You are ok. Just ignore the emails.Most of you should already have Backup and Sync from Google in your apps folder. The technicians thoughtfully put it onto your computer in the fall when it was released. The icon for it looks like this:
Once you open Backup and Sync from Google, it will have you log in to your school email account and then walk you through the set up process. Here are my recommendations for each of the screens that have options:
Step 2: My Macbook
I would recommend checking each item that has files that you can't live without. If in d…

Keeping in Touch with Parents

One of my latest emails resulted in a teacher asking about best methods to communicate with home and keep/get parents engaged.

Social media might seem like a great first step. But I've found that there simply aren't enough parents/students engaged in platforms like Twitter to make it a valuable time investment. Don't get me wrong. I love Twitter. But I love it for a way to connect with other tech minded teachers and coaches to keep up with the changing world of educational technology. It's how I build my personal learning network (PLN). But it wouldn't be my first step for communicating with the entire staff at a school nor would it be for connecting with my students or their parents.