How to create and collaborate (yes, really) online with Microsoft Excel

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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Until recently, in the world of online collaboration, Microsoft has been decidedly lacking. However, they have made impressive strides in online and cloud computing tools over the past year. For example, you can now easily create, edit, and collaborate on Excel spreadsheets and workbooks.

This can be accomplished using the new Office Online orOffice 365. It’s important to note that while Office Online is free, Office 365 is a paid resource ($99/year home and $69/year personal annual subscription; K-12 institutions have their own pricing tiers) and will give you greater access to resources, including free full-use of Mobile and Computer apps.

Microsoft recently extended its educational Microsoft Office license to include its online 365 service for free to schools. This means that if your school has a Microsoft license, you already have access to this tool. Just check with your IT administrative team to learn how to log on and access it.

Office365-Excel-1, EdTechTeacher

Navigating Office Online is a little different than the local tools on your computer. However, they are quick to figure out. To log in, go toOffice.com (if you have a free Microsoft account or Office 365 account) or go to login.live.com to create an account. Today, we’re going to explore Excel, so click on the Excel icon to get started.

EXCEL: MORE THAN A BASIC SPREADSHEET

A new window will open and, just like the desktop version, you will be given the option to access your recent workbooks or to create a new one using one of Excel’s workbook or spreadsheet templates. If you select a workbook that you have recently been working on, then you will need to click on Edit workbook → Edit in Excel Online (for collaborative features) or Edit in Excel (to open on your desktop for more advanced functionality).

Once you do this, you will have access to many of Excel’s robust tools. You can can format spreadsheets and columns, include complex functions, create charts and graphs, and more! With a school or paid-for subscription to Office 365, you even have unlimited storage for working with Excel online.

OOffice365-Excel-1, EdTechTeacherne of the best features of Office Online and Office 365, however, is something that you won’t find on the traditional Microsoft desktop tools (at least not yet): the ability to collaborate in real time with others! No more emailing a file back and forth, you can simply click the “share” icon and either share via email address with view or edit privileges or share with a link (again view or edit privileges).

If you share via a link with editing privileges, the other user does not even need an Office Online or Office 365 account! This is a great way to collaborate with others who don’t have access to Microsoft products.

All of your changes are saved automatically in the cloud, so it’s perfect for a Mobile environment where you’re always on the go. The workbook will be stored in yourOneDrive, so you can access it anywhere (online, app on your tablet or smartphone, or any computer)! The new Office Online tools extend Microsoft’s robust document editing tool to the web and is accessible from any device

COME COLLABORATE THIS SUMMER!

  • Workshop for That, EdTechTeacher Summer WorkshopsGoogle & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • The iPad Classroom
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View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

Featured image by Apollo Zeus via Flickr cc

ISTE 2015 – Day 1

So after flight delays, I finally touched down in Philadelphia for the 2015 annual ISTE Conference. However, I did make it in time to enjoy the networking dinner with my colleagues and peers for the Independent School Educator’s Network. It was good to see old friends, meet new people, and to connect some faces to Twitter handles.

This week, I’m especially excited to see what is on the exhibitor’s floor, explore new concepts for digital citizenship, digital portfolios, and more innovative ideas to take back to my school. I’m excited for the next four days!

Heading to ISTE 2015!

First of all, I apologize for my prolonged absence. I have had a number of projects that I’ve been juggling in the background; one of which included the acquisition of a new home. Therefore, my time has been filled with trips to Home Depot, finishing out the school year, and packing up boxes. I’ve also been working on some exciting projects with EdTechTeacher, Miami Device, and of course my home institution, Ransom Everglades. I cannot wait to share these with you.

On Sunday, I head out to Philadelphia to attend the 2015 ISTE conference. ISTE, while overwhelming, is an amazing place to network with like minded educators, administrators, and educational professionals. This year, I am honored to taking on a new role with the Independent School Educator’s Network, serving as Chair-Elect for 2015-2016. This community has been such an asset to me for my professional growth.

I’m also excited to attend various sessions on Professional Development, Digital Portfolios, Flipped Learning, and more. I always come back from ISTE feeling energized and excited about the future of technology in our schools.

If you are interested in attending ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia, then be sure to sign up for a late registration here. If you don’t have the money or the time to attend physically, they offer a virtual ticket as well. You can register for ISTE Live. If you are at this years conference, be sure to say hello! I will try to blog my reflections on the conference here; but I often get lost in events and social activities. I will also be tweeting @TeacherJenCarey.

Reflections on: Trying to Teach a Common Core Curriculum

Jennifer Carey:

My good friend and former colleague Dan is one of the best math teachers I have ever known. As an Independent School teacher, I do not implement standardized curriculum; never the Common Core. His reflections here are thoughtful, albeit open ended. I hope you will join the conversation if this is something that sparks your interest.

Originally posted on Mathy McMatherson:

I’ve spent this year trying to teach a genuine Common Core Algebra I curriculum to high school freshman (my first time doing either of those) and I keep trying to find a way to write about with my experiences, but it’s hard not to get lost in all of the moving pieces that’ve happened this year. As the year winds downs (edit: did wind down. This post has been in the ‘draft’ pile for a few months and its already summer), I guess the biggest thing I feel is: the Common Core shift is real and I feel it and I have to rethink a lot of how I used to think about curriculum. This post is about me wrestling with what it means to try and genuinely implement a Common Core curriculum and trying to know where the wiggle room is.

In an effort to be proactive and give guidance to…

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How to bring visual learning into the classroom using infographics

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

Infographics are a powerful way to synthesize data and information, making it easy to conceptualize a message with a glance. For this reason, they are becoming a popular medium in marketing and presentations because they are visually engaging and simultaneously informative.

INFOGRAPHICS AS ASSESSMENT

VenngageThis year for the first time, I asked my students to create an Infographic as their culminating project for our study of the Civil Rights movement. I wanted them to give a presentation, but also wanted to move away from the traditional PowerPoints or poster sessions that they have done in the past. I liked the idea of them learning to present content effectively in a creative medium, and infographics are perfect for that. For this, I elected to use my favorite tool for creating professional looking infographics, Venngage.

Venngage offers many powerful and free resources that students can use to build professional looking infographics, and I really like how the tools are simple to use. I was even more excited when I learned that they recently introduced a great resource for teachers – Venngage Education – which allows you to create class accounts where students can use the Premium Features to create infographics and share them privately or with the class. The cost is much lower than their premium subscription, and if you have a short project, you can sign up for the free, 2 week trial, which gives you 35 student/teacher accounts.

VISUALS IN ACTION: HOW IT WORKED

In order for my students to build their Civil Rights infographics, I divided them into small groups and then gave each group a topic to cover: Civil Rights Groups, the fight for Hispanic Civil Rights, the March on Washington, School Integration, and Racial Clashes & Violence. I intentionally left the topics broad so that students could explore and develop the projects based on their research. Students delved into key figures, dates, statistics and data, and more. As this was their first-go round, I was excited with the results. Students were allowed to be creative while engaging in research and developing a visual presentation for a broader audience as shown by some of these great examples: Civil Rights Groups, Racial Clashes & Violence, and March on Washington.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENTS THIS SUMMER!

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  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • Teaching History with Technology
  • Differentiating with Technology
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

7 Tips For Integrating Lessons With Social Media

This is a guest post from Amy Williams. Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

What items come to mind when you think about classroom supplies? Do you envision notebooks and number two pencils? Your list probably included staples like erasers, crayons, and glue sticks, but did you consider how social media can be a powerful learning tool in the classroom?

Social media has the power to take what students enjoy and extend lessons that offer students real world applications. Instilling a love of learning is no easy task, especially in a world that is constantly changing with fancier and brighter screens. Our students’ fascination with technology makes it important for educators to integrate lessons and increase classroom participation by embracing our children’s favorite means of expression: social media.

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The Benefits Of Social Media In The Classroom

Even though social media has gotten a bad rap in the news, it has the possibility to extend learning opportunities beyond the building’s walls. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are wonderful gadgets, but they can be a real distraction during instruction time. One way to avoid constant technology monitoring is to harness this love for social media and use it productively in the classroom.

Listed below are 6 benefits to using social media in education:

  • Lower-income students will have access to technology and chances to build these skills. Social media has the power to help overcome the digital divide when it comes to different economic groups.
  • It allows quiet or reserved students the opportunity to be heard.
  • It offers relevant ways to check for understanding.
  • Simultaneously fosters learning and technology skills.
  • Activities are shared with authentic audiences.
  • Content is meaningful to our younger generations of visual learners.

7 Tips For Integrating Lessons With Social Media

Integrating social media with our curriculums opens a world of possibilities for a teacher and the classroom. However, teaching with technology often poses it’s own set of problems from equipment failure, down networks, and dead batteries. Social media is no exception and often there will be a few kinks to work out before using it in a lesson.

Here are some suggestions to help bring social media into the classroom:

  • Keep your professional/classroom pages separate from your personal profile.
  • Know the school’s policy on social media and privacy.
  • Get a parent or guardian to sign a permission slip allowing you to post student work or images on class websites.
  • Make sure that students are well versed in social media etiquette.
  • Create classroom accounts for students to limit personal distractions during class.
  • Check the resources and beware of inappropriate pop-ups or advertising.
  • Be familiar with the platform and understand the privacy settings, potential problem areas, and ways to troubleshoot.

Ideas To Bring Social Media To Life

After managing to successfully introduce social media into lessons: the real fun can begin. Here is a compilation of ways teachers have upgraded lesson plans to include social media:

  • Courtesy of Pixabay http://pixabay.com/

    Courtesy of Pixabay http://pixabay.com/

    Create a group or page for each class on a social media outlet. You can post assignments to keep students and parents informed about approaching deadlines or projects.

  • Use Twitter to follow threads or current events by using hashtags to sort topics. Connect with experts, authors, classes around the world, and more by interacting with tweets.
  • Set up a blog to take journaling to a new level! Help students hone their writing skills to create and display their works for a bigger audience. Blogging has the potential for feedback from peers, professionals, and people other than a teacher.
  • Utilize sites like Class Dojo to keep parents informed on class behavior or for positive classroom management.
  • Create concept videos using Vine or YouTube. This can be a group or whole class project that allows students take the reigns while getting creative, having fun, displaying their best work, and gaining a deep understanding of the topic.
  • Use Pinterest boards to organize concept maps for any topic. This works great for biomes, animal classification, heritage studies, and more.
  • Use quiz sites like Kahoot or trivia games to make reviewing topics fun. Students use computers or Smartphones to answer quizzes on various subjects while you are able to measure comprehension.
  • Use Instagram or other photo services to host a scavenger hunt that requires students to post items that fit a certain theme. This can be adjusted to any grade level easily. For instance you can have them look for objects that start with a certain letter or post items that are related to a historical figure.

Educators are always on the lookout for new ways to use social media in the classroom. Do you have any tips for using social media with lessons?

Use Google Scholar to Support Student Research

This is reblogged from my post on FreeTech4Teachers

Use Google Scholar to Support Student Research.

Use Google Scholar to Support Student Research

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher– an advertiser on this site.If you have asked your students to engage in research, then undoubtedly they have returned with a fresh list of results from a Google search. It can be a challenge in this era of search engine algorithms to teach students to engage with more traditional research methods and tools. Google Scholar is a great way to introduce them to this work while simultaneously working in a mode that is more familiar to them.

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar is a Google search engine that allows you to look specifically for academic articles… freetech4teachers