Friday, May 27, 2016

Ed Tech Newsletter 5/27/2016 : Digital Tools for Quizzes and Feedback, Google Classroom, Tips to Prepare for Summer!

Digital Tools for Quizzes and Feedback

The need for feedback on student understanding of instruction has always been an essential part of what improves educational practice. We are in an interesting era in that new and varied free tools are arriving that allow for a wide variety of ease to gathering this information. I found a great article that links to 35 different digital tools that can help with this process. As with anything that I send out, please feel free to reach out if I can help in any way with the implementation of any of these resources.

60 Smarter Ways to Use Google Classroom

I mention Google Classroom quite often. If you don't currently manage student content delivery through your website or Moodle, this a a free and ease to use tool. The attached article has some great ideas for using Google Classroom to make your life easier and to maximize your time. I try to share content that I find that is good for not only new users but more experienced staff. If you are already using Google Classroom, please share your experiences with other staff members. Especially if you have unique ideas that are not listed here.

Prepare Classroom Equipment for the Summer

As we are winding down the school year, I am sure many of you are starting to plan to organize your classroom for summer. Technology benefits the most from putting various cables and accessories away in a careful and organized fashion. Many students are able to help with this process and like the leadership role so consider using them as a resource to help with some of these:

Helpful Tips to Consider:

1) Roll up cables that dangle off the sides of tables or on the floor:

 In many cases these tables are moved around the room or into hallways as a part of the cleanup process. By rolling up the cables, you can help save any unnecessary wear and tear on the cables while keeping them from getting tangled. This saves a huge amount of time in August when it is time to set everything up again.

2) Put loose equipment away in cabinets and drawers:

Remotes, pens from smartboards, mice, and smaller equipment such as document cameras and keyboards often benefit from being put away in cabinets or drawers. It keeps the equipment from being lost but also prevents dust build up during the summer classroom cleaning.

3) Back up your files:

Google Drive has free unlimited storage. If you don't regularly back up your files, to Google Drive, you want to start. You can access the files from any computer when you log into your Google Account. While we do have district servers, the space is limited and you can't access those files from home.

To back up to drive:

1) Click on the navigation tool and choose drive:

2) Choose "new"

3) Choose "file upload" for a single file or "folder upload" for a whole folder.

Note: Uploading a folder can take some time depending on the amount of content. I highly recommend starting that early in the day when you can walk away and do something else.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ed Tech Newsletter 5/20/2016 : Google Slides Q and A, Embed Charts from Sheets in Slides and Docs for easy editing, Rigor and Relevance Framework

Embed Charts into Slides and Docs

Eric Curts always shares useful tips. This week, he posted an article revolving around how to add a chart to Google Slides or Google Docs that can be easily modified. This is very useful if you are creating something for your students with information that needs to be changed regularly.

Google Slides Q and A

Google rolled out a free update to Google Slides. It's called Q and A. This is really nice if you want student feedback during a presentation. 

To activate it:
1) Click the arrow to the right of present to enter "presenter view"

2) You will see the audience tools section. Click "start new" to allow the audience to submit questions or comments.

3) Students will go to the website URL displayed at the top of the presentation.

4) As questions or comments are submitted, you can see them in the pop up window.

5) The article below addresses this further, along with the new laser pointer option. Please let me know if you need help trying any of this.

Rigor and Relevance Framework to Effectively Integrate Google Apps

At PD Day, we held a session on the SAMR Model. These frameworks to guide thinking with integrating technology are helpful because they can often guide a lesson idea towards the upper levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. It also sets up a process for gradually building to that so students are ready for it. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ed Tech Newsletter: Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Google Classroom Schedule Assignments Update, Flipboard and 10 Terrific Tools for Teachers

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

I am noticing more hits on these newsletters each week. Thank you for taking the time to check these out. These newsletters are put together for the purpose of sharing free and easy to implement tools that will help facilitate your instructional goals. Please feel free to reach out if I can help you with any of these. Your efforts to take advantage of new tools to educate our students are appreciated. I hope you had a wonderful teacher appreciation week!

Great news ! Google Classroom Schedule Assignments and More

Many of you are already using Google's free Classroom tool to organize and distribute lesson content to your students. It's also a great way to create interactive assignments and quizzes through Docs and Forms. Over the past week, Google has rolled out a new scheduling feature. Assignments, quizzes, and classroom announcements can be created behind the scenes and be set to "go live" with students when you decide. You can also use it to create assignment drafts behind the scenes. This is much needed functionality and adds convenience. 

This fall will lead to some very specific features towards communicating with parents and guardians. Google continues to improve their free tools based on teacher feedback. Do not hesitate to send them a wish list a features through the feedback tool. You are the target audience so you can help drive the direction of Google Classroom.

Flipboard and 10 Terrific Tools for Teachers

If you haven't used Flipboard, it's a wonderful tool. It organizes news on the web into organized categories that are updated daily. There are many categories dedicated to education that can be personalized to your specific interests. 

One of the articles that caught my eye this week was by Eric Curts. I have mentioned him before and am a big fan of his website. This week, he wrote an article sharing 10 Terrific Chrome Extensions and Google Drive Add Ons that make a teacher's job easier. Many of them are new and are well worth checking out. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ed Tech Newsletter May 2, 2016: CaptureCast: Screencasting on Chromebooks, Twitter in Education Article, Second Grade Projects

CaptureCast: Screencasting on Chromebooks

Screencasting is a great opportunity to create content for student learning. It's also a terrific way for students to use a classroom device to explain their learning. This is often associated with iPads apps such as Explain Everything or the PC/Mac tool Screencast-o-matic. Chromebooks can also benefit by adding the extension CaptureCast. The article below describes how to use it. If you need any help, please reach out.

Twitter in Education

Eric Curts shared an interesting article on Twitter in Education this week that I thought was of benefit. 

Even if you don't want to post on Twitter yourself, it is easy to create an account and just search for people and hashtags of interest.

If you aren't familiar with hashtags, when people post conversations involving a linked topic, the put a hashtag in the post so that people can search for the hashtag and get access to only those posts.

EX: Check out our take on a Summer Reading Initiative at

Because the #read4fun is in that post, it will pop up in the list whenever you search for #read4fun in the search bar of Twitter. 

I am also including a list if education hashtags to help you make the most of finding and connecting with the right educators and content that will be potential resources for your needs. 

Second Grade Projects

The second grade team was kind enough to invite me to check out their projects. These multimedia presentations involved a combination of posters, written reports, and visual presentations on classroom devices. Students were given the parameters of what was expected and allows to use tools such as Google Slides, Google Docs, Educreations and more to meet the technology portion of their standards. The parent turnout was amazing. The teachers and students really put together something enjoyable. 

If you are using technology tools in your classroom and would like me to see them or if you need help implementing them, please let me know.