Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Weekly Google Classroom Tips


Google for Education recently tweeted a link to a slideshow of weekly tips for using Google Classroom.

Now, this isn’t just a list of suggestions, they are based on what actually is happening in classrooms! This is something that you will come back to week after week!

Google Classroom Teacher tips

See the slideshow here: http://bit.ly/2nBuY6D

You can access the slideshow by clicking here

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Auto sort results of a Google Form so newest responses are on top!


If you use Google forms to collect data of a long period of time you may want the newest results to post to the top of the spreadsheet. For example, I use a form as a way to track books that kids borrow, I’d rather have the newest book to be borrowed appear at the top of the list.


Here is one way you can do this.

  1. On the bottom left of the sheet click the + to create another sheet
  2. In cell A1 paste the following formula:
    1. =sort('Form Responses 1'!A:H, 1, False)
  3. You may want to double click the title of the new sheet (Which will be “Copy of Form Responses 1” and change it to something more descriptive “Sorted” is what I chose.

 

Remember, this new sheet, “Sorted,” is mirroring the “Form Responses” sheet, so any changes you make to the content will show up on the “Sorted” sheet.

Google Classroom – Edit PDF feature has downside!


open-in

CLICK THIS ICON!!

The new option of editing PDF’s in Google Classroom is sweet – the math teachers in my building are excited! However. . .

On the iPad, when students click on any resource (even if it is a google document/slideshow) it opens in PDF editing with a “pencil” icon and an “open in” icon (see below) they need to click that “open in” icon in order for it to open in Google docs. I’ve been running into the issue where students are editing a PDF copy of the document instead of the shared google doc, which means I can’t collaborate at all and they can’t collaborate with each other.

It is just a matter of training the students to click that icon!

 

Staying Organized using Google Apps for Ed. in the classroom


(Scroll to the bottom to skip to the video)

I was recently asked (twice in the same week) to share how I organize student work shared with me via Google Apps for Education. At nErDcamp Northern New England I attended a session on using Google Apps to give feedback to students (See the session notes here) and shared how I organize all the documents that students share with me.

-A side note: As an 8th grade teacher in Maine, each of my students has a MacBook Air to use. We are also a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) District which has allowed me to be a mostly paperless classroom.

When I began using GAFE in the classroom the document list was much easier to navigate, but when the format changed I knew that I had to as well.

I always have students make two folders – an “LA” folder and a “LA Pass in” folder, they share the “LA pass in” folder with me and put it in folder inside the LA folder. This serves a couple of purposes: 1. It provides students with some structure for their own files (I actually lead them through this process for each of their classes). 2. It provides an easy way to share and see what is shared with me – after the folder is shared with me, EVERYTHING they put in there becomes shared with me.

–Another side note: I have strict naming protocols, EVERY DOCUMENT (and folder) must follow this format: [Last name, First initial NAME OF ASSIGNMENT]. I don’t look at anything named “untitled document”.

When an assignment is ready to be passed in they fill out a form I create using GAFE. It asks for their Name (a separate question for last and first), class section, and a link to their shared document. Now, I often will include other items – a question that forces them to go through a formatting checklist, a reminder to put the assignment into their “LA Pass in” folder. I have recently began including a grid question that recreates the rubric so they can self evaluate on the assignment and I also include questions that make them reflect on the process of the assignment.

The student accounts (and so the account I use to interact with them) are managed and I am unable to share the exact forms I use with students but here is a link to a PDF of the form students used to submit the final draft of their poetry essay.

The brilliance of using a form to collect student work like this is that I then end up with a spreadsheet with a link to the assignment that I can sort by last name, class section, or by how they scored themselves.

Watch the video below to see the form, the spreadsheet it creates, and how I use it.

Managing Student Work in Google Docs


It is no secret that I’m a big fan of Google Docs. Managing student work can be a nightmare though. Collections help but you still end up with multiple open tabs (or windows if that’s your style). The Free Technology for Teachers Blog (written by a Maine educator and something you really need to check out) had a post that provided a link to yet another blog that gives some step by step directions on how collect assignments via gdocs and click through them all in the same window. I’ve set up the form on my site here. I’m going to try it out just for Lord of the Flies assignments as a test run. 

The post can be found here and it includes a link to make a copy of the form (you don’t even have to create it, just add the list of your assignments (or you could have the student fill that out and remove that piece of work. 

What is the “backchannel”?


The term “backchannel” refers to what teachers would call the side-conversations that happen during class. Now we know that not all of these conversations are off topic, sometimes students are getting clarification of directions, brainstorming, getting feedback, or engaging with the topic/material in some other way. Tapping into this backchannel brings all that to the attention of the group. It brings questions and answers, feedback, and other chatter that has the potential of creating a whole new level of engagement to your class. You don’t have to acknowledge everything that is posted and obviously some direction and modeling and practice using it will have to happen. You can archive these conversations and make them available for students to access later.

Todaysmeet is a free resource that allows you to create rooms that expire. (A different room for each unit? class block?) There is no signing up for you or students to use this site. Students enter a name to use and start typing. The downside is that students could put whatever name they want and you would have a hard time monitoring who is saying what (if you wanted to do that), easily dealt with by having clear expectations. The benefit of this site is that only people who have the link can join the room.

Twitter is also geared perfectly for this. The use of hashtags (#) keeps everyone together and allows for a more complicated organization to happen (if desired). This does need a (free) account for all who want to participate. The downside is the need of an account (it is free and easy to set up), and that it is public to anyone (they would have to be following a user or search for the hashtag which would limit the number of outside audience members). The benefit of this is that you could track who is saying what easier, it would be easy to access later, the conversation could continue after class ends.

G+, Facebook, and Twitter – In one place


This find just changed the G+ game. . .

I came across a Google Chrome extension that does exactly what I’ve been looking for. It allows you to post from G+ (which is open to all to join now) and have it post on Twitter and on Facebook. Voila! It also pulls feeds from both of those services into your G+ stream. So in your new stream you will have Facebook, Twitter, and G+ posts – that you can interact with!

This page gives you a very simple graphic, and links to the extension and T and FB, showing how to install this.

When you first install the extension It puts a FB and Twitter icon up in the google bar (you know where it says; G+, Gmail, Calendar etc. See the screen shot below)  and you click them to sign into that service. I had to click each icon and sign in 4-5 times before it actually signed in.

Then when you are ready to post, you can choose to only post to G+, or only to G+ and Twitter, or only to G+ and Facebook. Bear in mind that when it posts to twitter it only takes the first 140 characters. When you are posting it does give you a character count so you can put the important stuff first or truncate it to fit.

Now when you click on  you will see your G+ friends, Facebook friends, and Twitter friends musings all in one place! AND you can post comments on the posts you see. I can comment on a FB post, or reply to a Tweet – right from G+.

When I first opened my G+ stream I was a little overwhelmed – that was a lot to sift through. Then I realized that Facebook and Twitter icons appeared in the list on the left under my “sparks”. But how to see just my G+ stream? Easy, I created a new circle called “G+” (you could call it “everyone” or whatever you want) and put everyone in it, then I can click on my new circle and see just G+ posts.

Or Clicking on the icon opens a menu: So you don’t have to have everything in your G+ stream if you don’t want.

So jump onto your Chrome browser (get it here), head over to https://plus.google.com/ sign up, check it out, add me: gplus.to/ChrisPirkl to G+, get the extension, sign into your other social media and enjoy!

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