New! from Google
Google announced a new set of shortcuts that you may find useful. Now to open up a new doc, sheet, or slide, simply type new.doc or new.sheets, etc. into the omnibox (address bar).
This should prove to be a time saver and is easy to remember!
Check It! Finally a spelling/grammar checker in Google Docs, courtesy of Texthelp and Read&Write for Google Chrome! We are fortunate to have R & W pushed out to the entire district, so everyone can benefit from this new feature. Kasey Bell, over at Shake Up Learning has a nice post about this. Remember, if you need to boost your skills in Read & Write, or just want to explore their offerings, they have a great training resource here.
While I was meandering about on Texthelp's YouTube channel, I noticed something else that was new to me- DataDesk. This enables the teacher to lock in features on a student's R&W toolbar for a period of time. It is hooked into Google Classroom. Now, I don't think this tool has widespread use- but for example, if I have a student who is easily distracted and I want him to work on highlighting and defining all the vocab words in a passage, I could shut off all the other features and just leave the highlighting tools on. Check out the video below and see if this tool is useful for you.
Math Type for Google Docs
I know that some of you have been waiting for this one to come along for awhile. MathType is now up and running in Google Docs as an add-on. Note- it is currently free, but they are giving you a heads up that it will require a license in the future. So, if LaTex or Equatio aren't making you happy, now you can try MathType. There is also built-in support for chemical equations.
Now for "Secrets" from Matt Miller
I try to keep up with Matt Miller's blog, his podcasts, his tweets, since he is in the classroom and has great practical ideas. This week's blog post has 10 "secrets" "Find the tips, tricks and features of your favorite G Suite tools that you didn’t know existed!" Take a quick trip over to Ditch That Textbook and check out Matt's ideas. There were a couple I didn't know.
Stop Motion Movie Making
To Test or To Teach/Learn
I was reading through some recent work on Modern Learner and I have to say- the title:
"The Testing Emperor Finally Has No Clothes" hooked me. Bruce Dixon has pulled together a very thoughtful article around the "tyranny of testing". Although I don't often agree with Alfie Kohn, thinking that he likes to stir the waters and stand back and watch, this quote, "90 percent of the variations in test scores among schools or states have nothing to do with the quality of instruction." really struck close to home. Just go read the article.
Then come back... and read about how they are changing education in Singapore. This is the title of that article: Children in Singapore will no longer be ranked by exam results. Here's why A quote: "“Learning is not a competition,” states Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Education Minister. The Ministry of Education (MOE) is planning a series of changes aimed at discouraging comparisons between student performance and encourage individuals to concentrate on their own learning development."
If you still feel like reading, try this one from the Irish Times: Classroom of 2030: A flashforward to learning techniques. Education to not only use technology as tools but also to inculcate computational thinking.
The world is changing rapidly. Our education system is not. These kids are our future.
Are we gonna just test 'em or learn with them?
Global Maker Day
Today is #Global Maker Day and students around the world shared what they are making and tried new challenges. Check out the landing pagehere, to get an idea of the structure of the day and then check out the video of the live stream. You can just click around the time line to view various classes, speakers in action. Thislink to the buncee slide show with the schedule can you a better idea of what to look for on the video timeline. Twitter was abuzz with great ideas from classrooms around the world. #GlobalMakerDay .
Dyslexia Awareness Month
It seems that even our governor, here in Massachusetts, has added something to celebrate Dyslexia Awareness month. Governor Baker signed a proposal on Friday, which would require the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with guidelines for screening of students with at least one indicator for dyslexia or another neurological learning disability. You can read more about it here.
CTD Quick Takes
I got an email from CTD, Center on Technology and Disability, featuring something new to me, Quick Takes. I love this idea. This series of Quick Takes is all about EF- Executive Functioning. There are 2 short videos to give an overview and some nice ideas for apps and then a few links to longer articles to begin to dive deeper into the topic. Check out the videos they shared below, but don't skip heading over the their website to learn more. They have a phenomenal library with thousands of articles, videos, webinars, all searchable by keywords.
Leveled Readers- What's the Best Way?
I was listening to a podcast about the best ways to use leveled texts and had hoped to pop the podcast right into this post, but it seems to be flash based and gets stripped right out. Jennifer Gonzales - from the Cult of Pedagogy Blog did an excellent interview with literacy consultant and author Jennifer Serravallo recently. Check out the podcast as well as the write up here.
Speaking of reading... one of my favorite reading resources is ReadWorks. Whether you are looking for reading passages, paired text or the wonderful "Article a Day" series, chances are you can find it on ReadWorks. Need stories read in a human voice? Need stories to appeal to your ELL students? Need to enhance your social studies or science curriculum? Check out ReadWorks for great content and built in supports for your readers.
Best Webinar on Fake News Evah!
I attend a lot of webinars. Over the last several years, we have all heard way more than we ever wanted to about "Fake News". I have attended many webinars talking about this and exploring ways to help our students determine the credibiilty of what they read/see. I know I just posted about this a couple weeks back, but... Tiffany Whitehead did a phenomenal job the other day and gave tons and tons of resources. I first met Tiffany at an ISTE librarian breakfast, maybe 2011 or 2012. She was an up and coming young librarian then, and wow- now she has really become one of the goddesses of the library world. What you should really do, head over to Edweb.net and watch the webinar. It's about an hour long. You can get MA pdps for these if you take the CE quiz at the end. So- here's the link and you can just head on over and watch it. I have a one tab page of links that I opened as we went along- so if you just want links... here you go. Don't miss the great infographics and lesson plans over at the Newseum. Tiffany has an excellent blog post with some great videos to share with your students. Great way to get these conversations going.
One resource that I am adding to HES/HA is the Brittanica School Insight chrome extension. This will help students bring fact-checked material to the top of their search. Read more about it here. I'm not doing a "force-install", simply adding it to the white list. To install, either click the big green button on that last link, or go here. I shared the video years ago, in a different venue, but if you are not familiar with the term "filter bubble", check out the TED talk below. Think confirmation bias... before you even get to look at a range of results. If you are logged into your Google account and use Google search- you are in the filter bubble. I know that many can not use an incognito tab at school, but try it at home and then look around to see what other search engines like Duck Duck Go come up with. It may surprise you. Here's Eli Pariser's talk on filter bubbles from 2011 ( yeah- that long ago- and we still have filter bubbles).
While I am still on my research kick, citations. These used to be the bane of many a student's existence. Now, we have tools that make it ever so easy. One of the HES teachers contacted me a few weeks back because the Easy Bib online site had way too many ads, some not entirely appropriate for 5th and 6th graders- to say the least- "distracting". However, there is an Easy Bib add-on, right in Google Docs. Easy to use- no ads.
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month
H/T to all my AT friends who are posting great articles and links to help us learn more about dyslexia. Learning Ally has a great program called 1 in 5. Check it out here, and watch the video below. They also have great basic information as well as infographics you can download, print and share. Thanks to Leslie DiChiara for posting the link to Edutopia's article as well as many others. Check out this month's blogposts. You can find excellent resources to learn more about dyslexia at Understood.org. This is a whole page of links. Reading about how dyslexia impacts Henry's life in so many ways was really eye-opening for me as I read A Day in the Life of a Teen with Dyslexia. If you want to get a broad understanding of the many facets of dyslexia, check out the link here.
Hopefully the video below will show back up... YouTube seems to be having issues
Explode the Controller?
I met John Lynch at the Scratch Conference in Cambridge this summer. We were both in a hands on workshop, using micro controllers, arduino, etc... to make stuff. I was fortunate enough to get to work with John on our little project. I had seen his work earlier, but didn't know it was his when we were all checking it out. Now, after seeing his work all around the web, on makey-makey and so much more, I want to build some of these. So...HES teachers- this is a challenge for me, for you, for some of our students- let's make some of these Explode the Controller games!
Everyone Can Create
Apple released this relatively new curriculum back in March, but just this month announced that these teaching guides/ideas are now available in iBooks. Yes, they are free.
This is the original post, from back in March, which gives you the basic info and links to download each book on iTunes. So what is covered: " Everyone Can Create project guides introduce the language, fundamental skills and techniques of video, photography, music, and drawing." "The Everyone Can Create collection is designed to allow teachers to easily incorporate creativity into their existing lesson plans in any subject, including language arts, math, science, history, social studies and coding. " "A new teacher guide helps bring these projects to life in the classroom with 300 lesson ideas across media, projects and subjects"
Quotes from : Apple Newsroom Update 10.1.18
Real Time Captions in Google Slides!
As part of Accessibility Awareness Month, Google is adding a new captioning feature to its Google Slides. This could be a real game changer for many of our students, as well as a huge boon to educators and their virtual audiences. This news just came out today. You can read the article here. I have not tested it out yet, but the word on social media is that is has great potential. It is currently only in US English, but the plan is to add other languages. It will be rolling out over the next few weeks. To activate it, using the Chrome browser, simply click the CC icon at the bottom of the slides and click Present. It will be interesting to see if this lives up to its potential.
I don't know how everyone stays organized and remembers all the myriad details of their day to day work. I know that I have tried so many ways to do this- Google Keep, Livescribe Pens, Alexa, and more. I saw this article the other day and I think I may well try it. I still use post-it notes- both physical and virtual. Have you tried printing on Post-Its? We Are Teachers has a nice tutorial to follow and free templates.
FlipGrid Mix Tapes
I love FlipGrid. It is an easy tool for both educators and students and has an amazing community of educators who share tips and ideas to use in the classroom. In addition to #GridPals (Think penpals, only digital) and the "Disco" library ( as of today over 4662 topics are listed in the library!) a new feature is Mix Tapes. Flipgrid can actually be a great way to build a portfolio. Now teachers can go through all the various grids and pull an individual student's work out and compile it all into a new "mix tape". Check out the video below. If you are new to FlipGrid or if you want to catch up with all the new changes- Karly and Sean have once again compiled a new Teacher Guide- check out the link, make your own copy.
Chrome Extensions: Productivity
This week I whitelisted a few more chrome extensions for our students. As most are aware, having too many extensions up and running can really suck the life out of performance, so it is best to use something like Extensity to manage them.
The extensions I added are Save to Google Keep, Internet Abridged and Reader View.
Google Keep is becoming more and more robust, a great place to take quick notes, an easy way to collate ideas and save to Drive; it has the ability to OCR text in images, etc... I have been using it more and more of late and like to be able to right click on a web page and Save to Keep. I can add labels as I go.
I was trying out new summarizers. When looking for resources, I tend to skim through articles to weed out the fluff before settling in to actually read something closely. Summarizers can be tricky, as I am never sure of the algorithm used and so many times, they simply don't work. This one, Internet Abridged, seems to work and the summaries actually makes sense to me vs. some I have tried which seem to simply leave out 50% of the words.
Another extension added this week is Reader View. For many who regularly use iPads you are used to seeing those little lines that indicate a web page can be viewed in Reader View- cleaned up, minus all the distractions. Now, you and your students can do the same thing in Google Chrome. Try it!
Some of the other extensions I recommend include: OneTab, SpeedDial2, and Mercury Reader, along with AdBlock and TextHelp's Read and Write for Google Chrome. . Honestly, I do have at least 150 extensions, but I regularly use a very small percentage and leave the rest off until I need them.
Science Games That Give You Superpowers
H/T to Fred Delventhal for sharing Larry Ferlazzo's post on this science games site. It does appear that Legends of Learning is really free.
"Over 1000 curriculum aligned science games for elementary and middle school students within the Legends of Learning adventure. Legends of Learning is always free for teachers and students in school." Here's a review of the site.
Fake News- again...
Here's another resource, new to me, Mind over Media, from the Media Education Lab. I first met Renee Hobbs years ago at Educon in Philly. She is an internationally-recognized authority on digital and media literacy education. Ten years ago we all thought that the CRAP test would be all the students needed to help them verify web sources. Needless to say, times have changed as evidenced by Alec Couros' recent article for EdCanNetwork: How do we teach students to identify fake news? In a world where it is increasingly dangerous to simply trust what we read and see...