When you upload a file like Word or PowerPoint to Google Docs to share, there are some settings that you should be aware of that will let you convert that document to a Google Doc so that you can collaborate with others. This video walks through those settings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-7XVIepRy0
As an English teacher, I always knew that if I wanted my students to become better writers, not only did I have to give them lots of opportunities to write, but I also had to help them analyze their writing and offer praise, critiques and encouragement. I had to give them feedback. I guess I was in middle school when I first understood what feedback actually was. At that point, I didn’t really know how to spell “a lot”; I always tried to make it one word, “alot”. Every paper I got back had the misspelling circled in red, yet, I continued to spell it “alot”. I knew something was wrong with it so one day, consciously, I split the word into two in one instance and left it together at another point. This time both words were circled with the word “Vague” scrawled beside “a lot”. Completely confused, I went through the rest of the year with the words “alot” and “a lot” being circled in every single paper. At some point it became comical and even a game for me to see what would be circled. There was never a conversation and no feedback other than the red circle. Should I have asked about it. Of course I should have. But I was 12 and a little intimidated by my teacher who seemed to think I should be able to decipher the red circle on my paper and know what it means.
Fast forward lots of years to spring semester of 2013. I am now taking graduate classes again and am taking an independent study class for instructional technology. My project, to use MIT’s App Inventor program to create an app for an Android phone or tablet. After spending 4 months learning, designing, and creating my app, I wrote up 23 page reflection, created a walk through video and emailed it away. After a week of not hearing anything, I logged into the student portal and sure enough, my grade had posted. I got an A. Yeah me. However, an A is not feedback, at least not meaningful feedback. What was good about it? What should be improved? Did my instructor even look at it? How disheartening that, after 4 months, my only feedback is one single letter.
I count myself lucky that I didn’t create this app for my instructor and I didn’t do it specifically for the credit, but I still feel like I put forth this effort and have yet to hear anything. As I think about the graduate classes that I teach, I can definitely say that there have been times where I didn’t want to go through every single project to give those students feedback. It’s easy to say, “here’s your grade, good job.” But what learning comes from that? I know that my learning was in the process and that I learned an amazing amount of stuff in that process, but as I sit here now, I could still use some feedback. I don’t think that’s “alot” to ask.
This app was created using MIT’s App Inventor program to help students keep track of their reading. It is currently in version 1.0 and is not available on the Google Play Store yet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BiwEWyBrBc
YouTube opens the door for educators to bring a variety of content into their classrooms but it can also serve as a platform for creating and telling stories. In this session we will explore some of the often overlooked tools that can turn students and teachers into storytellers, not just video consumers.
See more #eduonair presentations at https://sites.google.com/site/eduonair/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY4m2GFEJlA
Are you a Google Calendar user? If not, I encourage you to think about trying it out. The ability to share, publish and contribute to a variety of calendars is pretty powerful both personally and professionally.
One of the features of Google Calendar is the ability to add what they refer to as “Interesting Calendars”. These interesting calendars include holiday’s from countries from all over the world (could be interesting to begin a conversation in a foreign language classroom), sports schedules from professional and amateur teams, and a category entitled “More” that includes birthdays, the Hebrew calendar, phases of the moon and more. When you add these calendars to your Google calendar, the events of that calendar will be added as a separate calendar and the events will show up in your calendar view.
To add these calendars, follow these steps:
- Log into Google Calendar
- Click on the settings icon in the upper right corner of the screen (looks like a gear) and select “Settings” from the dropdown list.
- Click on the “Calendars” tab link at the top of that page and scroll down to the bottom looking for the “Browse interesting calendars” link.
- On the screen that comes up, you see three different options that will let you add these calendars. Select the category and find the calendar that you want to add. When you click “Subscribe”, that calendar will become a part of your calendars.
Here are a few calendars that I’ve subscribed to:
If you’re interested in getting started with Google Calendar or need help adding these calendars, let me know.
From Scott Sibberson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlCZRcUF8JQ
Most cameras and phones take pictures that are way to big to be used on a website. This video describes how to resize an image using Office 2010 on Windows XP. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e2G57g-PoU
My first experience using a clicker system was about 7 years ago when I was given a demo unit to try out in my classroom. I knew of the system and how it worked but as I set it up I found it clunky and frustrating at best. The software simply wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do but, as with all things technology, the first version of a product is often a proof of concept and simply a way to get feedback. As I look at systems like the SMART Response (formerly Senteo), there has been great growth from my first experience and it’s clear that we’ve moved far beyond that initial proof of concept.
In my work, one of the features that is often requested from the SMART Response system is the ability to create matching questions. While it’s not one of the question types, it can be done. Here’s how:
- Create the items that you want to be matched. In the example that I’m going to use throughout this post, I have created a simple quiz where students will identify the continents. To do this, I grabbed a world map from the SMART Notebook Gallery and placed numbers on each of the continents.
- On the next slide, create a multiple choice question that has the names of each item (continent) to be identified and matched on the map.
- Copy all of the choices from that multiple choice question and paste them back on that first page where the items to be identified are labeled (in my case it’s the map). Depending on the graphic or layout of that first page, you may have to resize your matching options so that they don’t take up the entire page.
- Go back to the question that you made (probably the second slide) and clone this page (ctrl-D). After the first time you clone it, you will be asked if you want to create a title page. For a matching assessment like this, you do. Type in the title of the assessment and a new page will be created and put at the beginning of your slides.
- Go back to the question page and clone it again for as many matching options as you have. In my case I will have seven slides all with the same question. One thing to remember, using the regular SMART Response clickers, you are limited to only 10 choices before having to start over again. In other words, there are 10 buttons (A-J). Once you reach 10, you will need to create a new set of questions.
- Once you have created the right number of questions, you will need to set the correct answers by clicking on the “Response” dropdown menu and selecting “Set all answers”. Select the correct answers for each question and click done.
- Now it’s time to start your quiz. Have your students log on and sign in (if you’ve already set up your classes) and go to your second slide. What’s nice about this technique is that your entire assessment can be given from slide number 2 and students will do their matching from the SMART Response handsets.
- When all students are finished, end the assessment and you have just completed using the SMART Response system to do a matching assessment with your students.
If you’d like to see it in action, you can download the example SMART Notebook file from the link below and you can watch the following video as it will walk you through the steps involved.
Download the Continent Matching example SMART Notebook File
After being hired for my first teaching position, I remember visiting my classroom the summer before that first group of students were to enter Room 7 on the ground floor of Winfield Jr. High. I walked into the building musty with the absence of kids and teachers and made my way to the office to meet the principal who would show me around again and orient me to the building and anyone who happened to be there. Like all first year teachers, I was nervous about what my future would hold. All went well that day and I met my mentor teacher who was there organizing her materials for the upcoming school year. I don’t remember her name but I do remember that during the 30 minutes that I sat with her that day, she gave me more information and materials than I even knew what to do with. At that point, everything was paper and copies of copies of copies that had probably been handed down to her by someone else. As I sorted through the stacks of papers and books, I remember thinking about how thankful I was to have these materials. Sure I was overwhelmed, but I now had stuff to teach with. I had direction. More than anything, I had a friend. Fast forward almost 20 years and that feeling of apprehension still sticks with me. That was a tough year of learning, but it’s also one that set the stage for me for the rest of my teaching career. During that year my colleagues were there to support, push and share with me all the wisdom and experience that they had to offer.
The world of education has changed a great deal since my first steps into room 7, but one thing that I still hold on to is that culture of sharing that was evident during that first year. In today’s world sharing is even more prevalent than it was then. Technology and the internet make sharing ideas, new learning and resources easier than it ever has been.With the click of a button, a file can be sent via email, shared on Google Docs or posted online. Not only does this make it easier to share, but it makes it easier to continue that sharing. When you forward an email, retweet a Twitter message or even “like” something on Facebook, that extends the reach of that initial idea exponentially because then, in turn, someone else may forward, tweet, or “like” it.
So, what does this mean? A few things, first of all, as educators, we share. We share ideas and resources with students, parents and colleagues and must continue to do so. Second, we must ask ourselves what we need to think about when it comes to student’s sharing their own ideas/content/pictures, etc. I think we’re all familiar with the fact that sometimes kids (or adults for that matter) overshare. What conversations and modeling need to occur in order to make sure they’re safe? Can we ignore it? I think not. Should we pretend it doesn’t happen? Please don’t. Sharing is an important part of our culture. Students will share and now that it’s easy, let’s help them know what to share and when to share it. Let’s teach them about digital footprints and the permanency of the internet. Most importantly, let’s not stifle their want to share.
Finally, let’s look at the ways we share and the models that we create for students. Do we share our thoughts behind a password protected area? Yes, sometimes. Do we share in public? I hope so. If you have a resource or an idea that others can benefit from, why not share it publicly? Put it online and post it for other teachers to use and share with their own colleagues and in their own circles. We learn by sharing our stories and our ideas.
Can this whole thing be overwhelming? Sure, but that’s why it’s important for us to keep sharing. We can act as a filter to find the good stuff for others to help streamline the whole process. That’s why we share, we created or found something good and want others to know about it. The culture of sharing is as strong as it was 20 years ago when I was figuring out how to work with the kids who were going to come and expect me to teach. Keep sharing. Openly and courageously. And let’s teach our students to do the same.
Cross posted to Northeast Middle School Friday Flyer