Thursday, April 30, 2015

EdPuzzle: Website overview

Yesterday I came across a site called EdPuzzle.  A friend of mine, (the man, the myth, the legend) Jon Corripo suggested I try it.  It is a great way to have students interact with videos they watch. Instead of having the whole class watch a video on the projector screen, assign a Chromebook to a student.  Email your students the class code.  Once they're in, you assign them a video to watch. With a Chromebook, they can watch the video at their own pace.

Here is the cool part.  You can embed a quiz into the video.  The video will stop at specific points in the video where you want to check for understanding.  You can enable a setting so students cannot move forward in the video until they've answered the question.  On your teacher dashboard, you can monitor, in real time, their progress.  When they're finished, you  can score their answers and give feedback to each individual student from the dashboard.  From there, you can export a report to a spreadsheet with all student scores.  This report can be imported to a gradebook.

The purpose of this site is to make videos more interactive and to hold students accountable for paying attention.  It also makes grading a bit easier and faster.

Click the link below and give it a shot.  Like most technology, the best way to learn is to play around with it and experiment.

When you go to the site, start as a Teacher and login using Google

This is what the teacher dashboard looks like.  In the My Classes tab, you can see student progress.  When they are done, you click grade to score their answers and you can give them feedback which will show up on their end as well.  Clicking Export will send a report to an Excel Spreadsheet with student results.  These results can be imported into a gradebook.

This is what it looks like to score questions.  The check mark means correct.  If you click the "X", it is incorrect.  If you click the chat bubble, you can leave a comment for the student.

View the video below to see a sample.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How To Share Doc in Google Drive and Upload/Convert Documents

Sharing a document with a colleague and or student with Google Drive is very simple.  As we move towards using Google full time, many of us must upload and convert Word documents that are saved on our computers.  Please follow the steps below to upload, convert and share

  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Click New 
  3. Select File Upload
  4. A window will popup where you can select files stored on your computer 
  5. Select the file and click open.
  6. The file will now be in your Drive
  7. Right click on the file, click Share, type in the email address of the person you'd like to share with, select the permissions and click Done. 
  8. You are able to convert Word to Google Docs and Google Docs to Word.
  9. Double click the Word document you'd like to convert to Google Docs. 
  10. Click Open With and select Google Docs.
  11. The file will open in another tab as a Google Docs format.
  12. To covert from Google Docs to Word, open a Google Doc file.
  13. Click File
  14. Move cursor over Download as.
  15. Select Microsoft Word and the file will download to your computer's Downloads folder as a Microsoft Word format

Monday, April 13, 2015

Trim the Fat using Google Docs

There are infinite ways to use Google Docs.  Here is an interesting way to use Google Docs' sharing function.

The title, Trim the Fat, suggests a Home Economics class,  but don't be fooled.  We don't offer Home Economics at El Monte anymore (sorry Karole).  Two skills we would like students to have are the ability to pick out the most important, relevant information and to be concise.  A good way to practice these two skills is to take a topic from your content and type a Google Doc that has too much information.  Challenge the students to "trim the fat" by eliminating the superfluous details and producing a final product that concisely summarizes the topic.

To save time, you don't have to manually type the entire Google Doc.  You can simply copy and paste from an outside source.  You probably wouldn't want this Doc to be more than one page in length.  Challenge students to trim it to one or two paragraphs.

Be sure to Share the Doc with your students.  I recommend putting students in groups of 3 or 4 and sharing it with one of them.  Each group should be assigned to a Chromebook.

This is just an idea I came up with and I hope someone finds it useful.

QR Codes: What are they and how to use them to engage students

QR codes are similar to bar codes.  QR stands for quick response.  You have probably seen them in stores, the mall and many public spaces.  QR codes use your phone or tablet's camera, in conjunction with a QR code scanner app, to take you to a website, specific app or a number of functions.  For example, walking through the grocery store, you may see a QR code on a Pepsi display.  If you scan the code with your phone, you will be taken to a promotional website created by Pepsi.  Another example can be found on Taco Bell drink cups and receipts.  Scanning the codes there can take you to surveys or other promotions.

Sample: Scan this code which will link you to the CASSP website.

Free apps:

How does this apply to classroom?  On the surface, this may appear useless in a classroom, but it can be a very engaging activity for students.  QR codes can be used to lead students on a digital scavenger hunt.  You can generate QR codes for websites you would like students to explore, analyze and or take notes from.  The codes can link them to articles, images, videos, etc.  You can paste the codes around your classroom or even the school.  Students will be engaged by the fact they have to get out of their seat and use technology.

This can be a great opportunity to practice structuring group roles.  If you put students in teams of three, you can have one who scans, one who records and one who investigates the link.  These roles could rotate at each station.  QR codes can also be used as a gallery walk.  Instead of posting single images around your classroom, post QR codes linked to individual images or even whole galleries of images for students to analyze.

I know some of you are wondering about logistics.  What if students don't have phones?  What if they don't know anything about QR Codes?  At our school, we have an iPad lab.  We can easily install a free QR Code scanner app on the iPads.  If students don't know anything about QR Codes, demonstrate it first.

The suggestions and ideas I have discussed are all things I have done in the past.  They are easier said than done, but with sufficient planning, collaboration (contact me for ideas and help) and practice, QR Codes can be a very valuable tool for student engagement.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tip of the Day: Sharing a Document via Google Drive

Tip of the Day

Sharing a document with students or colleagues via Google Drive is very easy.  As simple as it is, it is one of the most important functions of you Google Apps for Education (GAFE) account.  Here is how to do it in a few simple steps.

  1. Open the document you would like to share
  2. In the top right corner, click the blue SHARE button.
  3. Type in the email address of the person with whom you'd like to share the document. (This is easier if you already have them saved as a contact)
  4. Click send.
Click this link to watch a video tutorial on how to share a document via Google Drive.