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Showing posts from April, 2014

Free Typing App in Mac Store

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I remember back in the day that playing Mavis Beacon was the way you learned how to type. We'd gather in a computer lab and try to race around the keyboard and finish the lesson as quickly as we possibly could. It wasn't awesome, but we needed to learn how to type and it was the standard method. Now that teachers have so much other tasks to do, typing skills have been pushed further and further down the list. Have you seen how some of our students type?!? I'll admit that I don't touch type. I typed transcripts at the ripe old age of 12 and I learned to type as fast as I could in order to get the job done and be able to stop listening to my boss' voice on the tapes over and over again. But I know that understanding how to type well and accurately is simply not a skill the majority of our students have.

Adding a Photo Gallery to Google Sites

I've worked with a teacher at the middle school who wanted an easy way to add a photo gallery to her website, which is hosted on Google Sites. Fortunately, with the combination of Google Sites and Drive, it's very easy to create and update galleries on your site. I do want to emphasize that you need to have permission to post for every kid in every image that you upload. Please take the time to verify that. If you don't know the kids (and therefore can't verify permission to post) then think about if what you are sharing online adds value to your site before doing so. That being said, you can use the same idea to host images of students projects so that you can make a virtual gallery of exemplars for what your students should be working towards.

April 28th to May 2nd Weekly Agenda

Nothing like heading to vacation with a clean slate in front of me! Here is my agenda for the week we get back to school. It's almost MAY!

Webinar: Video in the Classroom

Not wanting to head into vacation with recording my webinar from the week looming over my head, here is my video from this week! I did it in only one take, much like I recommending during the workshop, and I know I flubbed some of it. But I'm human!

Webinar: Moving Beyond Presentations with Nearpod

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Looking back to last week's topic of the week on moving beyond presentations with Nearpod, I finally put together my webinar on the topic. The basic idea behind Nearpod is that you can take an existing presentation, in PDF format, and then add interactivity to it to increase engagement.

Keynote Interactivity (and my 200th post)

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When I talked with teachers about Nearpod last week, there was a teacher at the highschool who really wants to keep his animations within Keynote while having the interactivity like Nearpod. I told him that I'd look into it to see what was possible.

Short story: I'm not having any luck at all.

Inkle Writer Reminds Me of Choose Your Own Adventure Stories

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Do you have a student(s) who would benefit from a more creative outlet for writing? Well, if you a familiar with choose your own adventure books, you might want to check out Inkle Writer. The idea is pretty simple: write a book with links in it to take the reader to different portions of the book depending on what they click on. It gives the writer their book to share with others right within their browser window and the page gets longer as they click on the different pieces. If you want to check it out for yourself, click here for an example.

Yay, Ms. Tauroney!

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I'm going to embarrass a teacher at the middle school, but she deserves it! A couple weeks ago, I introduced the staff to Kahoot!to increase student engagement through creating a game. Given how engaged the staff was during the workshops, I knew that students would love it. And they have! But Ms. Tauroney, an art teacher at the middle school, has actually been recognized for her latest Kahoot! and it is now one of their featured sessions. YAY! Good job, Ms. Tauroney!

Workshop Webinar on Google Connected Classrooms

I am finally working on getting caught up on record the screencasts for my workshops from the past few weeks. Between the technology professional development day and then moving my office at the middle school, it has certainly not made it on to my to do list until now.

Here is my webinar on Google Connected Classrooms. If you are interested in getting your classroom set up or if you have a particular subject matter in mind, feel free to let me know and I will do whatever I can to make it happen.

April 14-18th Agenda

Hard to believe that we're about to hit the last week of school before April vacation! This year has been flying by for me and I hope it stays that way.

Here is my agenda for the week. I've also included it with the calendar invites that I just sent out to teachers for the week. I added a new component this week and am trying to find Google Connected Classroom opportunities of interest to give you guys a heads up for what is coming up on the calendar. There are a couple coming up next week, so be sure to check them out!


IC Minimum Grade Requirement for Online Assessments

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I have had a couple teachers ask me about setting a minimum required grade for online assessments in Infinite Campus based on what they have experienced with other online assessment tools, like at SMCC. Unfortunately, I finally figured out through the IC Community Forums that it isn't possible. One suggestion was to manually add another copy of the assignment into your gradebook and then exclude the first one if they didn't score what they needed to. But that creates way more work for you in terms of managing the online assessments. You could also manually set up a category with just the one assessment that you have a minimum score for. Then you could have two copies of the assessment in that folder and then have it drop the lowest score. That would give them two opportunities to do the assessment and meet the score that you want them to get. If it would take them more than two opportunities to get the required score than one would argue that the student doesn't understan…

Google Drive Basics How To Document

For those of you who know me well, you may know that my sister is also a teacher working in a small school in northern New Hampshire teaching grades 1 & 2. Today she is presenting Google Drive to a group of teachers who are just beginning their conversion to Google Apps for Education (GAFE). The presentation itself was a collaborative project that we did together. To support the teachers after the fact, I created a Google Document to go over the basics with a focus on sharing. I also included links to the support documents from Google itself to go over the individual document types and sharing settings since those change so often.

If you are interested in checking it out, you can find it on my "Guides & Tutorials" website by clicking here.

Publishing Google Presentations on Websites

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A couple issues with Google Slides (or Presentations) on websites this week led me to look more into it. It is very deceptive because it will look like it works just fine for you, but then the viewers of your site see nothing but an empty box. There are two ways to ensure you don't have problems with it.

How to Set Up a Google Form as a Drop Box

After last week's post on how to set up a drop box on Google Drive, I had several teachers who wanted to see it happen through a screencast to make it easier for them to do. With that in mind, here is a screencast that will walk you through how a teacher at the high school might set up a Google Form to use as a dropbox for students to pass in assignments.

How to Easily Add Artifacts to iObservation Action Steps

I've been working with several teachers with iObservations this year to make sure their artifacts are uploading properly and are able to be seen. However, I had a teacher come to me today who, despite having uploaded her videos, was not able to play them some time after they had been uploaded. It is hard to tell where the catch was, but my hunch is that iObservations is not a fan of large attachments. So, the workaround is to include a link in the action step comments that will take the viewer to a folder on your Google Drive. Here is a screencast to walk you through the simple process.

Creating an Inbox for Student Assignments on Google Drive

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I had a teacher come to me this morning who is really tired of the plethora of emails that she gets from students sharing their assignments with her. There are many solutions to it, but I thought that this might be the easiest way. The basic premise is that you are going to create a Google Form for your students to fill out that contains a link to their assignment that they are "passing" in. If you set up your form to record their user name, then all you really need is the link, but you can also include a drop down menu of what the assignment is.

Workshop Webinar: Google Scripts for Advanced Users

A couple weeks ago I covered Google Scripts in the classroom as my topic of the week. I also did a workshop on it last Friday during the high school's professional development day. Recording the webinar of it finally reached the top of my lengthy to do list, so here it is. Because I used Screencast-o-matic to record it and couldn't see the time I had taken, it stopped recording right at the very end due to the 15 minute maximum. But I think it gives you a good idea as to what is possible with Google Scripts and Add-ons. Please come and visit me if you'd like to get started so that I can help you accomplish what you want to do.

Technology with Common Core Standards

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Standards. It's the latest buzz word and activity of the year, right? And I know that moving to standards is especially overwhelming with the implementation of 1:1 this year at the high school. My previous post about saving time? Especially useful with how you all feel this year. But why don't we combine the two into one thing? Let's look at using technology to SUPPORT those common core standards. Fortunately, Graphite has done the work for us. They just released the Common Core Explorer that will help guide you to tools that support the math and language art standards (science coming soon).

8 Ways to Save Time

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I know that no one seems to have enough time to do everything these days. I hear that from teachers all the time. So it was perfect timing today when I saw that TeachThought posted an article with 8 ways to save time in the classroom. I used many of these concepts in my own classroom and they really saved my sanity (like going paperless). Go check out the article by clicking on their site logo below and let me know what you think!

Science Games for the Classroom

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I just came across this super fun amusement park themed science game through Google+. It's called Nanospace from Molecularium and the premise is simple. Learn and demonstrate your knowledge of science through games. Educator resources for Molecularium can be found on this page. I played one of the games in the waterpark and it demonstrated how the atoms move around in water at different temperatures. Even though it wasn't hard for me to figure out, it was very engaging and I wanted to keep playing. If you are a science teacher, I would definitely check it out. If kids latch on to it, you can use it as a reward if they do their work. If you do use it, let me know what they think!


Are you Kahooting?

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I am so excited about the feedback that the high school teachers are giving me from using Kahoot!in their classrooms! My webinar on it is forthcoming, but it is so easy to use that you should just check it out. The idea is that you do a non-formative assessment via an interactive quiz. You show the questions on the projected screen and then they have to select the right answer on their own device (laptop, mobile phone, iPad, etc.). The faster they answer with the correct answer, the more points they get. So it turns the quiz into a game, which, as studies have shown, will boost engagement. The high school teachers have been RAVING about how awesome it has gone in their classroom and their kids just cannot get enough of it. One class has been asking every day if they are doing another Kahoot! Talk about engagement and interest!

Are you using Kahoot! in your classroom? If so, how is it going for you? Any tips for other teachers?

9 Simple Steps to Create a Good Presentation Using Google Drive

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I wanted to take a moment to make sure everyone checked out the "9 Simple Steps to Create a Good Presentation Using Google Drive" that was posted by Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. I saw it posted on Google+ and it has really good pointers. I would recommend bookmarking the article and using it in your classes whenever your students are making presentation documents. All of the pointers are also put together at the end into a Google Presentation, which makes sharing it in your classes super simple.

Free Lessons on Google Components, Social Media, etc.

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While browsing around for something fun to teach for next week's sessions, I came across my bookmark for GCF Learn Free. I originally bookmarked it last fall because they offer free tutorials on how to use a long list of tools from Gmail to Google Drive to Google Chrome to Blogging and more. And it is completely free. The lessons are very easy to follow and contain quizzes to test your understanding.