Choose Your Own Adventure
With the new Black Mirror: Bandersnatch getting rave reviews, (So I hear: no TV reception where I live & no broadband to stream anything) I thought that it sounded an awful lot like "Choose Your Own Adventure". Since many of your younger students have probably never made their own choose your own adventure story, it seemed a good time to review what is out there to do this.
Sylvia Duckworth has an excellent presentation on using Google Slides to create your story. You can access her work here. Sylvia has built a wonderful set of resources; check out her web site for more. Alice Keeler has directions for this as well. If you're looking for a Dragon Quest, try following Eric Curts' directions here.
Another option is to use a Google Story Speaker add-on. This is fun, gives you a template to start with. The caveat- you need to have a Google Home device.
Google Forms is a great option to try. Justin Birckbichler shared a template to do this with his class. You should check out his blog post for the whole story. Sylvia also has agoogle doc with step by step directions for this type of story.
Wes Fryer worked with teachers on this at a VT workshop. You can get the templates and a lot more information on his blog post.
Steve Wick sent out a 12 Days of Techmas to occupy all of your spare time over the holidays. If you didn't get a chance to check it out: Here's the link
I finally watched all the new Ditch Summit videos. I liked most of them, but I learned the most from Tony Vincent's presentation. If you missed it- maybe Matt will put it up again next year, but thepdf with his links is still online. He has lots of great, really practical ideas you can use. My favorite links: Draw your own Illustrations, and somewhat a complementary resource to the Noun Project was the link he shared- Visuals for Foreign Language.
Jen Giffen produced a series of sketchnotes to go along with the Ditch Summit. You can see themhere. Full resolution available here. But here's the one from Tony's presentation, since it was my fav. Thanks for sharing your work Jen @VirtualGiff!
New Resources Available
Not really random... this was shared with me recently by a friend as we talked about immigration. I found it really interesting, maybe you will too.
Inclusion Benefits All
This short film has gotten rave reviews around the world. The film sets out to show that children with disabilities can and should be included. Check the write up on Respectability.org
Here's the blurb from YouTube: " A short film that appeals to emotions. A crush on the heart so that we all participate in the construction of a more inclusive world. Ian was born with cerebral palsy. Like everyone else, he wants to have friends. Like no one, he needs to work hard to get it. Discrimination, bullying and indifference keep him away from his beloved playground. But Ian won’t give up easily and will achieve something amazing. Ian is not alone. In Argentina there are five million people with disability. In the world, more than a billion. Inclusion is vital for our society, it makes us richer, more diverse and more just."
Less than 10 minutes... take the time.
12 Days of Techmas
Nadine Gilkison has shared a great slidedeck filled with wonderful ideas. She has given me permission to share the first slide (above) and to link it to her work. Check out her video below which explains a bit more about her motivation, the big picture. I first became aware of Nadine's work via Twitter and then was amazed all the wonderful hyperdocs that she shared. Lots of great ideas in the slide deck and don't forget to follow her work online for more.
A Holiday Gift from Lisa Highfill and HyperDocs
Lisa and her co-authors, Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis, as well as all the teachers who freely share their work on the Hyperdocs.co site, or on the FB group deserve a standing ovation from all who benefit from their work. I was in the first cohort to take the Hyperdocs course, back when the book first came out and have to say that the ideas shared then combined with all the new hyperdocs shared online, are amazing tools which can really help you connect with and make a difference for your students. Click here or on the image below to see all the goodies Lisa shared today.
Ditch Summit 2018 & Access to all 35 Videos!
I know I already posted about this free online PD, but I didn't know that Matt Miller was going to open up all 35 videos in the series! These are only available through Dec 31st- so watch as many as you can before they disappear again. Today is Day 5 and I am already behind... but plan to catch up.
Don't Forget- Free Master FlipGrid course is live!
The debate around screen time is heating up once again. I have my own personal take on this, being one of the only tech folks in the universe who does not own a cell phone. But, aside from all the personal engagement/social issues that we can all acknowledge as adults- what is this doing to our kids' brains?
60 Minutes did a whole show on this recently and it was written up in the NY Times. This is an excerpt from the NY Times article: " As part of an exposé on screen time, “60 Minutes” reported that heavy screen use was associated with lower scores on some aptitude tests, and to accelerated “cortical thinning" — a natural process — in some children. But the data is preliminary, and it’s unclear whether the effects are lasting or even meaningful."
So NIH is doing a big longitudinal study to help clear this up. This is all well and good, but it also means that there is no quick and easy answer. I get a bit frustrated when I hear complaints about screen time in school. Our goal is to use this as an additional tool, to create, to learn. When the complaints come from folks who hand off a phone to a toddler in the car, it bugs me. Is this generational? Perhaps. When I see a group of students on a really cool field trip looking at natural wonders through a lens, instead of being present, in the moment, I think they are missing out. I see tech as a cool tool, but it should enhance, not limit, our world.
The various press releases around this study are already pointing fingers... more than 2 hours of screen time negatively affects the brain; brains of 9 and 10 year olds who use screens more than 7 hours a day show "thinning cortex", and on and on. It is a really interesting study, but it is far too early to say what these initial findings really mean. However, it is not too early to remind ourselves, parents and children to be aware of screen time and to balance our activities.
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 Collaboration Week
It's here! All week! Online! Free!
Look at the flyer below and check out all the ways you can participate!
New From Google Teacher Tribe
Kasey and Matt are back with more great tips. Listen to the podcast, download it to your device and listen on the way to school. One tip that I really like is the new sidebar on Google with Save to Google Keep. Try it! Check out the show notes here for clickable links.
Googley STEAM Resources
Deb Norton presented a great selection of some of the lesser known Google tools. Some of these experiments I had seen before, but some were new to me. One app that I didn't realize the potential of is the Google Arts and Culture app. Using the app, you can access Google street view and virtually tour some of the greatest museums on Earth. I can see our HES students loving Meme Buddy and Mystery Animal and all of the wonderful AI experiments.
Please click on the image to see her slidedeck. Thanks Deb!
Great Green Screen Resources
Several teachers have asked about using GreenScreen videos in the classroom. Tricia Fuglestad has pulled it all together! Check out her great ideas below. We have a green screen in the STEAM lab, which is pretty portable, as well as a small box for stop motion animation. We also have the DoInk Green Screen app on the ipads in the STEAM lab. One other resource is Camtasia Studio software, which is installed on the PC in the STEAM lab.
Science Resources for ALL
I attended an excellent webinar presented by Tia Cooper recently. She showed so many amazing science resources- for all ages. I asked her if I could share them on the blog with everyone, and she very graciously said yes. Connect Create and Collaborate - a 30 minute webinar with more than 30 resources shared! Click on the image to check it out.
Coming soon for Read & Write for Chrome...
We are so fortunate to have a district subscription to Read and Write for Google chrome. It is a phenomenal tool for all, not just for students who struggle with reading/writing. If you haven't looked at it lately- check it out! The updates below will be rolling out over the next several weeks- so keep an eye out.
I have only read about these upcoming changes, but would love to see a new spelling and grammar checker and the Data Desk for Google Classroom certainly has me curious.
Upcoming Free PD
This week brings some great free resources your way with a webinar from CAST on UDL:
UDL Stories from the Field http://castprofessionallearning.org/free-udl-webinars/ Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26 from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. EST.
EdTechTeam is sponsoring a live webinar on Tuesday May 6, featuring the new Google Earth
LIVE Webinar LINK
Google Earth News
Many of you have probably heard/read about the great new changes in Google Earth. It is now accessible online- like on chromebooks. I have not tried this at school with a class of students and have no notion of how the bandwidth holds up. But it is good news. You can get the gist from EdTechTeam's blog post here. I wanted to share a couple of the blog posts and videos that have been posted about this change and that you may find helpful.
First- Richard Byrne's video overview
One thing that Richard notes is that it is hard to create tours in the new online version- but he followed that up today with a blog post about GE Teach Tour "a free tool that you and your students can use to create tours to play in the new web version of Google Earth." See his full informative post here.
Google Lit Trips on Chrome: Another interesting post about using the new Google Earth came from Eric Curts. Eric will explain in detail in the video below and in a great step by step tutorial on his site- how you can now use Google Lit Trips on chromebooks. Check it out below and be sure to vist Control, Alt, Achieve to get the full picture.
You have to try Voyager!
This is the coolest thing I have seen in awhile. Remember way back when you could find your house on Google Earth? You thought that was cool, right? Bet you spent a lot of time just spinning the globe around, checking things out. Voyager is way cooler. They have created these fantastic lessons- cooler than lit trips (sorry). Before you click on the links- know that you will be sucked in, so get your "work" done first. But, as you immerse yourself in Voyager, imagine what you can do with this tool with students, what they can do... It is really fantastic. Check them out here. Here is the NY Times article about it.
Solar Eclipse Resources
I attended an excellent webinar from WGBH Education on the upcoming solar eclipse. This will not be an total eclipse for us, and it will be just before school starts up again. So, if you are interested, you will need to plan ahead. PBS Learning Media has you covered with a solar eclipse toolkit
You can get more information here.
Welcome back after such a beautiful week of spring-like weather for our winter break here in Massachusetts!
This will be a compilation of things that I thought were cool/useful/interesting over the last couple of weeks.
Some Shortcuts I Learned
I spent a day down at Lunenburg HS this past week at MassCue's GooglePalooza. One cool thing about this sort of conference is that, much like an edcamp, resources are usually shared online. So head over to this link, check out the 4 sessions and all of the resources that were shared. I really enjoy learning from a couple of these presenters and would highly recommend that you attend anything that Jenn Judkins or Jennifer Lowton are doing. Both are incredibly knowledgeable, funny and I always, always learn something new from them. Jenn Judkins is my go-to resource for Google Forms, and Sheets. She makes up great workflows to save everyone time (and a few trees). Jennifer Lowton is a great resource for both Google Admin type questions, as well as Special Education and tech questions.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Chromebooks
Steve Wicks has published a new Chrome resource website. Just about anything you care to know... you can find here at Chromebook 101.
Add Videos from Google Drive to Slides
Shawn Beard, as well as many others, posted about the new ability to add videos from your Google Drive to Google Slides. This is very handy, in case YouTube is blocked and it also enables you to have student videos which can created and uploaded right to Drive and shared on Google Slides.
More Math Resources
I attended a webinar featuring a man named Steve Sherman recently. I had never heard of him, but he was talking about global education and math. Well, I wish I had included him in the last post about math! To give you an idea: here's his intro blurb:
Steve is the Chief Imagination Officer of an Educational NGO in Capetown, South Africa called Living Maths. It is a mathematics, problem-solving and science enrichment program. He teaches approximately 4500 students weekly in schools around Cape Town and now recently, the world. He is passionate about sharing knowledge and empowering young people. He is also a multi-award purchasing educator and was voted most adorable educational innovator by his unbiased mother. He feels that it is his destiny to spread the joy of problem-solving and creative thinking to anyone who is willing to listen and even to those who are not. He knows Karate, Ju-jitsu and 2 other Japanese words. Steve is an Olympic medallist for the short jump and an accomplished Yo-yo winder.
Check out his website: Livingmaths.com. He does cool stuff with math; he connects kids around the world; and he's funny.
Tuesday Tips from #GoogleEdu
This was a new one for me, hat tip to Kasey Bell of Shake-up Learning, but #GoogleEdu has a series of Tuesday Tips now. These are for Forms, Classroom and Google Expeditions at the moment, and come as a slide deck- see links below. I couldn't find any other source for these tips, so follow #GoogleEdu on Twitter to stay informed.
MAP Test Correlation Tool
I wrote a while back about the MAP test correlation tool being used by KIPP schools on the west coast, referencing this site and spreadsheets. This worked, but was pretty clunky and labor intensive to set up. Each student had a color coded sheet, which related to their scores on the MAP test, and they also had their own copy of a color coded Kahn Academy list of skills to practice and check off. A lot of flipping back and forth. Lo and behold the NWEA folks have come out with a new tool - a prototype- to do the same thing. This is the tool. It is easy to use; I tried it today with 3rd graders. Here's the instruction page for teachers. Students in grade 3, 5 and 6 are all set up with their most recent MAP scores. There is also a new icon on the hes.symbaloo page which matches the little icon on the top left of this paragraph. Don't ditch the other spreadsheets since this is a prototype and may disappear.
The other cool thing about MAP tests, and I don't say positive things about tests lightly, is the new next gen student profile section with breakouts for instructional ideas. I went to a webinar last week on it and was honestly impressed with the ways to use the data. A bit time-labor intensive, but when you have time- check out the next-gen student profile section. This is a link to the recorded version of “Student Profile Report – Instructional Module.” Below is an example of these reports. You can go through the step by step and see some short videos here.
Most of us have had that magical moment in the classroom when the YouTube video we plan to show now has nasty ads, or obscene comments- which weren't there when we previewed it.
There are lots of ways to get around that sinking feeling, but they do take a bit of planning.
Here's a symbaloo with some ideas for you. I will also pop this onto the HES Teachers symbaloo for those of you who use that as a start page.
So, what are these? The top row- are all places that you can paste the YouTube url and get a clean version to show your class. The row on the right- all ways that you can download the video and put it on your drive. You need to be aware that the TOS for YouTube asks that you do not download and view. The way YouTube makes money is through ads and clicks- not from folks downloading.
The row on the bottom is kind of a mish mash. You can chop out pieces of videos to show. Perhaps you only want the middle 3 minutes of a 20 minutes video... adjust it. I also added a couple of chrome extensions that you can use to hide comments or ads.
One very easy workaround is to insert the YouTube video you want to show into a Google Slide. No ads, no comments- just the video, unless you click thru to the YouTube site.
As I mentioned in the email last week- the Tech Tuesday blog is having "technical issues". I checked with Weebly support again today- and it has been escalated... but no solutions yet. The post links seem to work, but when I link to just the site- it is missing the archives, and is squished, etc...generally a mess. So- hopefully this page will be the temporary solution while they figure out what broke.
A couple of things that were in the post last week- but disappeared into cyberspace-
Google Drive changes
GOOGLE DRIVE CHANGES
Matt Miller wrote an excellent blog post with ideas for how you can use the new changes in classroom. Here's a quick video tutorial from that post.
Alice Keeler also has step by step written and screenshot instructions. If you have time, read her take on the use of this for differentiation- interesting.
Diigo is an online bookmarking service. This means that you can bookmark on one computer and see all of your bookmarks at home, or on another device. I've used this service since about 2008 and have over 11,000 bookmarks- all tagged and easy to find. The premium version will also allow you to save cached pages- so that when a site disappears, you can still access the cached version.
All students in grades 4-6 at HES have Diigo accounts. We have a teacher dashboard and can see all the sites the kids bookmark. This can be really helpful for collaborative projects. Diigo has outliners, annotation and has added a new screenshot annotation tool.
If you haven't looked at Diigo in a while- check it out. This page has lots of different tutorials- but does not have the latest features, unfortunately
I've been enjoying the opportunity to catch a few of the great presentations available- free- online from Matt Miller's Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit. 9 days with 9 great presentations. For nine days (Dec. 16-24), a new presentation will be available each day. It’s recorded video, and will be available til December 31st. They are available online, on demand- but when the summit is over, the videos will also go away. So don't miss out. They run about an hour each. These are real teachers, who are working in schools, much like yours-not just talking heads telling you how it "Should be". If you have a few hours over the next week or so- take some time to check them out.
One expression I've been hearing more and more about is "machine learning". What the heck does that mean? Is it AI (artificial intelligence)? Is it something new and different? We have seen some of this in the new "explore" button on Google Slides- using our content to make presentation design suggestions. So, is this big brother, peaking in at everything we do? Kinda, sorta... Google has some great experiments you can check out online and learn a little more about what is coming down the line. Here's the link. I liked the Quick Draw myself. Here's an article that you may find interesting as well from SAS... Machine Learning- what is it and why does it matter?
WhaT COULD BE MORE FUN THAN SNOWMEN?
As usual Eric Curts has some great ideas over on his site. The other day it was Build A Snowman- Google slides- with a template and used as a writing prompt.
Check it out here.
I always used to tell my students that they would probably forget 90% of what they were taught in school. I know, conservative estimate... but my point was/is that unless we all stop and think about what we are learning, how we can use it, or what it can teach us about how we think, how we learn... most of the "stuff", the facts students cram into their skulls- will simply fade away from disuse.
How often do we take the time to actually reflect on what we are learning, or on the lessons we teach ? I know that I always made a point of doing this after any projects. I used Padlet to put both my own reflection as a teacher and to solicit the reflections of my students. Simple questions: What went well? What would I do differently next time? What mistakes did I make? What did I learn? What are my next steps? Stop and make the time to answer/discuss these questions and offer students and teachers the time and space to think about the learning and put it into some context. Richard Byrne has a nice quick video to walk you through how to use Padlet. (Just a side note: we used this in grade 3, easy peasy.) If you're not ready for Student Portfolios, try Padlet or ReCap to gather some reflections.
An application that I am just starting to play around with is called ReCap. This is a "a simple and free video response and reflection app that lets teachers and parents see how students learn." This looks like a great way to provide quick and easy reflections, exit tickets or even a more thorough examination of how things are going in class. Students can use the iOS app or a chromebook or PC/Mac to make a quick video in response to a question/assignment. No scary blank paper/doc staring at the students who have trouble getting words down on paper. No raising your hand or shouting out an answer. All students can have their thoughts, questions about the work shared privately with the teacher. I think it has great possibilities in class as a reflection tool. Here's a couple quick videos- an intro from the company and one from Jeff Bradbury at TeacherCast.
Fun & Games with Google Tools
I'm not going to try to rewrite Eric Curts' posts here, but he does really cool things with Google Tools. Yes, kind of geeky- but the learning and planning that have to go into these is pretty amazing. I would never, ever have thought about using them to play games, but check it out...Battle Sheets! Chess & Checkers with Google Drawings! Emoji Writing Prompts! Choose Your Own Adventure Docs! Check them out.. use the templates or ask your student to give it a go.
Don't Forget- Free PD this WeekEnd
Education on Air
Join the folks from Google and thousands of educators this weekend for 2 days of free professional development- Google Education on Air. There are literally hundreds of sessions to attend- facilitated by educators- teachers who are in the classroom, not just talking heads. Lots to learn, build your PLN, interact with teachers across the world. Beats the heck out of shopping.