Another Reason for Twitter

Jennifer Carey:

Some great thoughts from my good friend Daniel Schneider!

Originally posted on Mathy McMatherson:

Hey everyone,

I’m getting worse at keeping my blog updated… I’ve been wanting to add something to this for a while because I haven’t liked that the first post people see when they come here starts with ‘Shameless Promotion!’. That’s just tacky.

So – in an effort to move that from the top of my front page, I want to write about Twitter. In particular, I want to write about one person on twitter: Alexis Huicochea. This person is 90% of the reason I still use twitter today.

Alexis isn’t a teacher or educator. She’s not someone that I follow for professional development – that’s the other 10% of why I use twitter. I’ve never met her in person, nor have we ever had a conversation on twitter. Alexis works for the local newspaper in my city – she writes primarily about local education. I like reading her articles because they…

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Common Core Lessons & Material for English & Humanities

V. Donaghue, “September—Back to Work, Back to School, Back to Books” [1940]. WPA Poster Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

V. Donaghue, “September—Back to Work, Back to School, Back to Books” [1940]. WPA Poster Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

Edistement!, a division of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has released a series of Common Core Lesson plans for the 2014 school year.

The resources are organized into categories of Literature & Language Arts, History & Social Studies, and STEM/Humanities. They are common core aligned and include objectives and activities.

These are great resources for educators going back to school! You can check out the catalogue here.

Posted in Common Core, Education, Educational Resources, History, Lesson Plan, Professional Development, Public Education, Teachers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Tips to get Organized with Google Calendars

This is reblogged from my post on Edudemic.

One of my favorite Google Apps resources is Google Calendar. If your school has enrolled inGoogle Apps for Education, it is part of the GAFE suite of tools. With a Google Calendar, you can more effectively organize and plan your class. Here are five quick tips to help you create an enhanced classroom Calendar to make your school year run smoothly.

Embed Calendar on Google Sites

Consider embedding your Google Calendar directly into your website as an an easy way to publish homework, communicate deadlines, and keep students and parents up to date about your class. If you use Google Sites for your class home page, then you can easily embed a calendar by going to Insert → Calendar. However, even without a Google Site, you can use an embed code to post it. By clicking on “Calendar Details” (visible when you click the down arrow next to your calendar), you can scroll down, copy the “embed code,” and then paste it directly onto your website. Google Calendar will even let you personalize your calendar by customizing the color and shape.

google calendar

Have Students Subscribe to the Calendar

Instead of having students visit the calendar regularly, have them subscribe to it. A subscription will connect them directly to your calendar. This way, they will have the most recent and up to date information. They can even sync that calendar to their computer, tablet, or smartphone so that they have the information at their fingertips. There are two ways to subscribe to a Google Calendar. First, when viewing the calendar itself, students can click on the “+Calendar” icon at the bottom right. They will then be redirected to their own Google Calendar and prompted to add it to their own.

google calendar

However, if the student prefers to use another Calendar Reader (such as iCal or Outlook), then you can share with them the Calendar address by going to “Calendar Details” and then scrolling down to “Calendar Address.” Students can then import the Calendar to their viewer of choice.

Add Attachments to Events

google calendarIf you like to use Google Calendar for assignments, then know that you can also attach documents – creating a great workflow solution for your students. This is a feature that requires you to enable “Labs” in Google Calendar. Labs are features that have not yet been broadly rolled out and are still in beta. It is important to know that sometimes Labs features are buggy. If you experience problems, simply disable Labs. To enable the “Event Attachments” Lab click on the the gear in the top right corner, then select Labs; scroll down and enable “Event Attachments.” Now when you create a new event you will have the option “add attachment” available. When your students view the calendar details to see their assignment, they can also access the content that you post.

google calendar

Schedule a Video Call

If you are scheduling an appointment with someone who also has a Google Account, then you can automatically set up a video call! By creating an event and inviting a guest, they will have the option to join your video call by clicking on the icon within the appointment. This is far easier and faster than setting up a Google Hangout or Skype Call.

Set up Appointment Slots

Google Calendar allows you to set up appointment slots without sharing your whole calendar with students. This is a great way to organize student or parent conferences without a signup sheet or emailing back and forth. Note that you can only use this feature with a Google Apps for Education(GAFE) or Business account; it will not work on a personal account.

When you open your calendar, switch to Week or Day view. Click on your Calendar anywhere and select “Appointment Slops” from the pop up bubble. From the drop down menu select the Calendar you want to use. I recommend using your professional calendar so that you don’t schedule a conflicting event. Remember, sharing appointment slots will not reveal your whole Calendar, only the time slots available for appointments. Give your Appointment Slots a name, such as “Ms. Carey’s Office Hours,” and set the times for your appointments. When you have finished, copy the appointment page URL and click save. When you share the URL with your students they will be able to schedule appointments with you. If you would like a step-by-step tutorial, check out this great video by Google Gooru

Google Calendar is a highly versatile tool within the Google suite of apps. With these tips you can streamline and organize your class and professional time, keep students on track, and navigate your schedule easily.

To learn more about using Google Calendars and other Google tools in the classroom, EdTechTeacher will be hosting a FREE, LIVE Back-to-School with Google webinar on September 18th at 8:0pm EST. Registration is open.

Posted in Education, Educational Resources, Educational Technology, Google, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Free Classroom Polling service via Web or App with Poll Everywhere

One of my favorite polling services, Poll Everywhere, has just issued a series of updates including iOS and Android Apps, integration with Flickr, and a new, faster system for registering students.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 9.58.32 AM

Poll Everywhere offers free and paid services for quizzing and polling students. If you need ideas, check out their repository of user submitted ideas and examples.

Posted in Education, Educational Resources, Educational Technology, Lesson Plan, Professional Development, Teachers, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Track & Rate Skills Directly in Google Drive

One of my favorite tools for providing feedback in Google Drive is Kaizena, which allows you to leave voice comments on documents. Today Kaizena launches an enhanced feature: tags. Tags allow you to track and rate skills, saving your comments for future use. Not only does this provide effective feedback for students and a means to track skill development, it’s a real time saver for grading papers.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 8.23.53 AM

Here is a summary of what these new features in Kaizena can do:

  1. Track and rate skills - tags can be rubric criteria, common core standards, your local state, region, or country’s standards, learning objectives or outcomes…anything.
    1. The first time you type in a tag, we save it for future re-use.
    2. Every tag gets a rating. You can change the tag’s rating levels to match, say, your rubric levels.
    3. After you’ve tagged a highlight, add a voice comment, type a text comment, or add a resource. Or any combination.
  2. Save feedback for future use
    1. Remember that voice comment you just made? Save it to the tag, and every time you use that tag in the future, it will reappear. You can even save multiple voice comments or a combination of voice comments, text comments and resources to a tag (psst: tags get really powerful in combination with resources).
  3. Skill summary
    1. If you made five “transition” tags with different ratings, then “transition” would appear in the summary as an average of those ratings. This is like a rubric summary, but smarter: students can click on each tag in the summary and see the evidence for the score they received.

Voice comments saved educators time while enabling better student outcomes, and tags continue this legacy:

Better student outcomes

  • Knowledge of strengths and weaknesses is a prerequisite for improvement
  • Transparency: showing the evidence behind a rubric score builds trust between educators and students

Save time

  • Re-use your feedback
  • Get rubric criteria out of your head as you read
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Review: Google Slides for iPad is Now Available

Jennifer Carey:

So glad to hear this has finally been released!

Originally posted on Jonathan Wylie: Instructional Technology Consultant:

Today Google finally delivered on their promise to release an iOS version of Google Slides. It is free, available in the App Store right now, and joins Docs, Sheets and Drive as part of Google’s productivity apps for the iPad and iPhone. Is it any good? Here are some initial thoughts I had after trying it out this afternoon.

Google Slides for iPad

It is great to have the ability to create and edit Google Presentations on the iPad, but you probably won’t rush to uninstall Keynote, PowerPoint or even Haiki Deck just yet. Why? Well, although you do have some basic formatting and editing features built-in, Slides still lacks some basics that you might expect to find in an interactive iPad presentation app.

For instance, you only get one theme to choose from when you create a new Presentation. That theme is not even a theme really because it is…

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4 Ways to Enhance Your Class with Google Hangouts

This is reblogged from my post on Edudemic. It is part of my Google Apps for Education series which includes “10 Things Every Teacher Should be able to do on Google Docs,” “5 Time Saving Ways Teachers can use Google Forms,” & “5 Unusual Ways to use Google Presentations.”

If you are familiar with Google Tools, then you have probably heard of Google Hangouts or even used them yourself. Hangouts is Google’s video conferencing tool, and it’s an incredibly powerful way to engage with others. In addition to standard conference calls, Google Hangouts provide a broadcasting option called Hangouts on Air. This allows you to conduct your Hangout LIVE and record it to post on YouTube. You can participate in a Google Hangout from a web browser on your computer or use one of the free mobile apps for your Apple or Android device. It is important to note, however, that participating in a GHO does require that you enable Google+ (Google’s Social Media Service) and that you be at least 13 years old. However, people of any age may view a GHO broadcast “On Air” or posted to a YouTube channel.

If you would like a quick tutorial for how to use GHO, check out this great video from Google Gooru

Google Hangouts can be a great tool for teachers to enhance their classes. Here are four ways that teachers can use Google Hangouts to improve their teaching practices.

google hangouts

Virtual Office Hours

Students and teachers are busier than ever. With after school sports and activities, meeting a student “after school” is becoming less of a feasible option. One way to work around these restrictions is to use Google Hangouts to host virtual office hours. While I would never recommend making yourself available at all times to your students, you can establish set office hours or appointment times for them to engage in virtual discussions about their grades, a project they are working on, or extra help on an assignment. As Google Hangouts will allow you to access Google Drive you can use it as a medium to effectively discuss school work.

Review Sessions

Gearing up for midterms or finals, state tests, SATs, and APs, students are tested more than ever. Rather than trying to find some space on campus to engage in a bigger review session, hold one virtually with a Google Hangout. Google Hangouts limits participants to a maximum of 10. If you would like to host more students, then use a Hangout On Air. Students can still submit questions via the text box and you can host several classes simultaneously. Even better, as the session is recorded and posted on YouTube, they can return to it as they revise independently. It’s important to keep in mind that if you are using a Hangout on Air then there is a 30-120 second delay. You may want to have a few topics/concepts primed while you wait for students to submit questions.

Record Instructions For Later Playback

By recording a Google Hangout, you can provide your students with instructions that they can later playback. Record yourself giving a lecture, working out a problem, or physically demonstrating a concept and then post it to your class YouTube channel or embed it on your website or blog. By using GHO as a screencasting tool, you can easily flip your lessons or simply provide more instruction and support. If you are planning to be away, you can use this to prepare your instructions or lessons in advance for students to watch while you are away.

Bring in a Guest Speaker

Guest speakers can be challenging and expensive to organize. However, you can easily bring the world to your students by hosting a guest speaker with Google Hangouts. In fact, many prominent individuals host regular Hangouts on Air that you can join. President Obama has famously engaged in virtual road trips and Fireside chats via Google Hangout sessions. I may never be able to get the President to visit my classroom, but with GHO I can allow my students to engage with the President virtually.

You can browse scheduled Hangouts for topics that would enhance your class, as several organizations, such as National Geographic, host regular On Air broadcasts.

Google Hangouts is an incredibly valuable tool that can further enhance your students’ experiences within the classroom and outside of it. Google Hangouts is both a free and device agnostic tool that is adaptable your needs. Explore and share your classroom with other schools and educators.

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Have Students Make & Analyze Treaties via the National Archives

Docs Teach from the National Archives has a lot of great activities that incorporate primary sources and use great digital tools. A newly published activity helps students to analyze treaties through Treaty Making.

Students will read and analyze the text of six early treaties between the U.S. government and Great Britain, Russia, and several Native American tribes, and answer a few essential questions. Through close examination of the documents, students will expand their understanding of the original sovereign and separate nature of American Indian tribes, their legal status as independent governments, and the purposes of treaty-making between governments in general.

Students use the Mapping History tool to link primary sources spacialy on a map and incorporate existing treaties for analysis and discussion. Students then participate in a hands on activity that requires them to create a treaty of their own. The lesson plan is fully mapped out with Common Core alignment. Check out this great lesson here. You can explore additional lessons on Docs Teach website.

Kurz and Allison, Spanish-American Treaty of Peace, Paris 1898 Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Kurz and Allison, Spanish-American Treaty of Peace, Paris 1898
Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Posted in Common Core, Education, Educational Resources, Educational Technology, History, Lesson Plan, Pedagogy, Professional Development, Teachers, Technology, United States History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why We Went Google Apps – SAIS 2014 Conference

9735396535_4a6084139d_zThis October I have the privilege of presenting at the SAIS 2014 Annual Conference. I will be speaking about my school’s journey implementing Google Apps for Education. I will be highlighting my article “Why We Went Google Apps” in Education Week.

You can read about my presentation here. If you will be at SAIS this year, please let me know so that we can say hello!

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National Archives Making Thousands of Images Available via Wikimedia Commons

Adams_Boulder_Dam_1942The National Archives has uploaded thousands of images to Wikimedia Commons, making them available free of charge to the general public. 

“By uploading digital content there, we make it readily available for Wikipedia editors to embed in Wikipedia articles, making them far more visible than they are in our own catalog,” said Dominic McDevitt-Parks, digital content specialist and Wikipedian in Residence at NARA.

They intend to make thousands of more images available in the near future. You can read more about their collaboration here

Posted in Art History, Conservation, Digital Citizenship, Education, Educational Resources, Educational Technology, History, Museums | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment