Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Google Classroom - How the Turn-in feature affects the workflow of providing feedback

In this video I look at the advantages and disadvantages of using the Turn-in feature in Google Classroom. Depending on your style and method of providing feedback to students you may or may not want to have students use the Turn-in feature. 

The second video is not mine but does a nice job of demonstrating how sharing permissions change on a document when using Google Classroom.

Have you experienced success or challenges using Turn-in? Feel free to reply below.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The new Google Docs Add-ons featuring the Text Help Study Skills Highlighting Tool

Last week Google Docs and Spreadsheets received an update called Add-ons. This new Add-ons tab connects documents with third party tools that add new features or functionality to the document. The Add-ons Store looks and feels very similar to the Chrome Web Store.

One of the new Add-ons that I feel could have great benefit in the classroom is the Text Help Study Skills highlighter. This is a premium feature in the Text Help Read and Write for Google extension so the fact that it is being released for free in the Add-ons store is notable. 

The new Add-ons tab is easy to use. You'll find it located on the Google Docs or Spreadsheet toolbar. Click on Get Add-ons to browse the Add-ons store. 

The Study Skills highlighter could be very helpful for teachers who like to mark-up student work by denoting specified colors for certain errors. The Study Skills highlighter makes this much more convenient than in the past using the built-in highlighting. The clear highlights option makes removing these mark-ups much simpler as well.

But one of the more exciting features of the Study Skills highlighter is the ability to extract highlights into a new document. This feature could be used to structure close and critical reading activities where students identify vocabulary, main ideas, and supporting evidence from a text, and then using the extract highlights tool as notes and/or as a form of assessment. I demonstrate this scenario in the video below.

In the video I also feature the http://newsela.com (a website for leveled expository text and news) and the Clearly extension.

I'm looking forward to exploring the potential of the new Add-ons for Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Have you found a good Add-on? Please consider sharing by replying in the comments section.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Newsela - A differentiated News and Reading resource for schools

Newsela looks like an interesting new resource for teaching current events and reading strategies that dynamically adjusts reading levels for differentiated instruction. The site integrates with Google Accounts for easy sign-up and sign-in and allows you to create class groups for assigning and monitoring students. In addition, some of the articles include reading comprehension quizzes.

Learn more here 

Monday, March 3, 2014

The "One Click" QR Code

The “One Click”QR Code

  1. Open Google Chrome Browser
  2. Click Ctrl-shift-B to make sure the “bookmarks bar” is visible at all times
  3. Go to this QR Code Bookmarklet site
  4. Click on the red bookmarklet icon and drag it to the bookmarks bar and let go
  5. Go to the website or video you want to use
  6. Click on the QR coder button on the browser bookmark bar
  7. Right click and select print or ctrl-P to print

If you need to resize the QR code before printing

  1. Right click on the QR code
  2. Copy the QR code image
  3. Open Google Docs or Microsoft Word
  4. Paste the QR code image
  5. Click on the QR code to use the resize tools
  6. Drag the corners to resize the image
  7. Name and save your document
  8. Print your document

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Edmodo Q&A - Should I delete or archive last semester's class?

At the end of a semester, you may be wondering what to do with your Edmodo classes (groups). While the best choice always depends on several factors. The following guide may help you in deciding the best course of action. 

If you have a year-long course and expect minimal movement of students enrolling, dropping or moving between groups then the best course of action may be to manually move students,unenroll dropped students, and have new students add to the group using the group enrollment key.

However, if there will be significant movement of students or if your course is semester-long then archiving the current group and creating a new group for the second semester may be a better solution. 

As a general rule I rarely recommend deleting a group entirely since deleting the group will completely remove all record of activity including submitted work, quiz scores, etc. Archiving a group hides the group from your active list of groups and sets the group to read only for students. According the Edmodo help document,

Once a Group is archived, students will not be able to reply or post anything to the Group. Students in an archived Group will still be able to direct message you, but the Group activity is inactive.  All Posts and data from the group will be saved, and you can view the Posts and retrieve any previously created quizzes or assignments from your archived Groups.  You can also restore an archived group at any time, making it active again.

Here are a few screen shots demonstrating the steps for archiving a group.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Google Image search tool for quickly locating images licensed for reuse

Being a good netizen means giving credit to resources we find and use on the web. Sometimes this can be a tricky and time consuming process. Fortunately, Google Images has recently updated the search tools feature to make finding Creative Commons licensed photos more friendly.

To get started, begin a Google Image search and locate the Search Tools selector.

Next, click on the Usage Rights selector.

Choose the reuse license that best fits your needs. In most cases this will be "labeled for reuse" unless you plan to modify the image or use the image in a business setting. 

The Usage Rights selector filters the images so that you are only browsing images that you have permission to reuse with the expectation that you will properly cite the image wherever it is used.Here's an example.

Mars Exploration Rover by NASA is licensed under public domain
I'll be honest. Proper citation takes more time than just copy and paste, but it is a skill that we need to model as teachers and teach
to our students. And at least it is getting easier to find these images in the first place.

Finally, there are some tools available to help automate the citation process if you use the Chrome Browser and are searching for Creative Commons images on Flickr. It may also be helpful to know that the Research Tool in Google Drive has a similar filtering option for finding Creative Commons licensed images.