Category Archives: Educational Resources

Ideas for using Peardeck & Google Drive in Your Classroom

This is reblogged from my post on FreeTech4Teachers

As more schools go 1:1, teachers often feel challenged to make their traditional lessons and activities more interactive. One of my favorite tools is Pear Deck because it allows a teacher to take a PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF and incorporate various student activities to check for understanding and engagement. Pear Deck is free for students and teachers (with a higher end, paid premium model) and it fully integrates with Google Apps for Education.

When you sign in to your Pear Deck account, create a new interactive lesson by selecting “New Deck.” You can then create a slideshow from scratch or import a PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF…

You can the complete article here.

New Google Classroom update: Little things that make it a big deal

Jennifer Carey:

This is a great summary of the new features in Google Classroom!

Originally posted on History Tech:

The Google folks have been busy – and it seems as if they’ve been listening to teachers. Today, a few handy updates to Google Classroom were announced. If you’re not using Classroom, you really need to take a few minutes, perhaps, to come to your senses. It is a handy time saver and teaching tool that’s free, accessible anywhere, easy to use, and did you know it’s free? The biggest update is the ability to now

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How to enhance your lessons with Google Art Project

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.

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Google Art Project is one of my favorite tools available online. It is a repository of high resolution images and 3D “museum view” virtual art gallery tours. Since its inception in 2011, Google Art Project has grown from its initial collaboration of 17 international museums to more than 151 and is now available in 18 languages.

This is a great tool for introducing students to Art from around the world. Here are a few ideas for lesson plans that you can use in conjunction with Google Art Project.

CREATE & CURATE A GALLERY

Google Art Project will allow you to create and curate your own gallery. You can have students build a project thematically (styles, emotional experiences, etc), chronologically, culturally, and more. Students select the pieces that they want to add to their gallery, move them around (just as a museum curators places art pieces in an exhibit), and then share them privately or publicly. This could be a great way for a student to showcase their understanding of a particular artist or style as a project for an Art History, History, Social Studies, or Humanities course.

COMPARE WORKS OF ART SIDE BY SIDE

Using the “Compare” model, you can put two works of art side by side and perform an in depth analysis of the works. Here is one of my favorite exercises:

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You will see that I have selected A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Seurat (Chicago Institute of Art) andBreakfast by Signac (Kröller-Müller Museum); both of these artists were masters of pointillism. I have students examine the pieces in high definition, side-by-side, and explore the different techniques between these two artists.

Students write up their comparative analysis in their Art History notebook and present on the stylistic differences in class. This can also help students understand how styles and techniques evolve over time (Seurat and Signac developed pointillism out of the styles of impressionism). You can assign specific works of art to students (like I do above) or you can have students choose and compare pieces on their own.

This is a great way to teach students to engage the content in depth and perform comparative analysis.

STUDENTS STUDY & “FORGE” THE MASTERS

A common practice in Art courses is to study the work of master artists by reproducing their work. A fun way to do this is to ask students to “create a forgery.”

Students could select an artist and study their life, style, work, and technique; the high definition, zoomable figures on Google Art Project allows them to study numerous works of art that are held in collections around the world. After they have done this, ask them to create a fake!

They can host a gallery opening where visitors compare their reproduction to the original works of the artist.

PARTICIPATE IN AN ART TALK

Google hosts regular Hangouts on Air with prominent curators. They announce the schedule on theirGoogle+ page and post the recordings on theirYouTube page. Students can prepare for the announced topic and submit questions to professionals. It’s a great way to engage students with modern Art curation.

Google has also posted some different lesson ideashere. With more and more expansions to the Google Art Project (the most recent being its Street Art Collection), there will be more opportunities for students to explore the world of Art.

This resource continues to grow and provides students with the ability to explore art in new and interesting ways, outside of a textbook, or more in-depth than they could at a museum.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BRINGING GOOGLE INTO YOUR CLASSROOM!

google art project

  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • Google & Chromebooks
  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

Exploring Digital Citizenship with Google

One of my goals next year is to improve upon and expand our existing Digital Citizenship model. So I’m excited to attend Exploring Digital Citizenship with Google with Craig Leach. Any school that incorporates technology needs to include meaningful, digital citizenship. In conjunction with Common Sense Media, he has been developing a Digital Citizenship Course.

He starts by telling us to explore Digital Citizenship in our backyard. It’s never hard to find stories about digital presence resulting in negative consequences. He provided us with 5 local stories that we explored, ranging from cyberbullying to student arrests. We engage in group discussions about the themes behind these topics. One element that I noticed is that schools are so focused on being reactive to these events instead of preventative. Dealing with incidents of cyberbullying or bad behavior online necessitates a broader educational program, including teachers, students, and parents (who are often left out). It needs to be consistent and pervasive education; if you are focusing on Facebook behavior, then you’re not preparing for the next tool. These incidences and events expand outside of the Classroom.

We next explored the definition of Digital Citizenship. Common Sense Media defines Digital Citizenship is “The ability to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world.” An approach to digital citizenship needs to include balance: powers and perils. So you should talk about ready access to media, but also address copyright infringement.

Craig tells us that the topics that he likes to tackle inlcude:

  • digital life
  • internet safety
  • privacy, Identity & Digital Footprints
  • Cyberbullying, Communication, & Relationships
  • Searching, Evaluating and Citing
  • Reaching the Community

I like that it doesn’t wholly focus on “Stranger Danger.”

When Craig got a classroom set of iPads, he created some digital expectations and classroom guidelines for technology use. His acceptable use policy included protecting the devices as well as appropriate behavior inside and outside of the classroom. He recommends having students build their own policy in their own words.

We talked a little about Google Searching; show them how to find effective sources and assess it. He recommends that you explore google search tools and advanced search features. Navigating and negotiating online tools is important.

By using Google Research tools, especially features like “search by license,” you can engage students in conversations about licensing, copyright, and plagiarism. One of the great things about Google Tools is that they allow you to to instigate a number of empowering conversations about online engagement.

Design Playground with Google Drawing

The next session I’m attending is Design Playground with Google Drawing, by Ken Shelton (the keynote speaker). While I’m familiar with Google Drawing, I have never seen it meaningfully applied, so I’m excited to learn something new.

Ken begins his workshop by telling us how Google Draw can be used for within a rich pedagogy. The first thing he points out is that there is a lot of cross over from other Google Tools (Docs, Sheets, etc) as you can share, comment, and a few other things. We start by inserting our first shape, a rectangle! It’s easy, just click, drag, and draw. I manipulate the image by changing the color of the image and the line; you can even play with the weight of the line. We drew another rectangle, but this time we held down the shift key. This time, it aligned the shape and drew a perfect square. He shows us a few different shortcut tricks that you can find here.

400px-TopologicSpatialRelarions2After we have mastered shapes, we next get to play with spatial relationships! How do shapes work together? What’s the differences between cross and intersect? Touches and connects? Overlap and Overlay? So now we get to play again by scaling our shapes up or down and then creating different spatial relationships. I create a square and then insert a circle and then an equilateral triangle.

By using the guidelines that appear, you can perfectly align these shapes; you’re trusting not your eyes, but the program! By using the Arrange –> Order feature you can select which shape overlaps Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.08.27 PMthe other one. By playing with the alignment, order settings, and color and line settings, I can create an ice-cream cone with a cherry on top! Even though this drawing was simple, I had to play with size ratio, resizing, and manipulate color. Next, by selecting Arrange–> group, all of these shapes are now one! I can resize and align as a single design.

The possibilities of layering provide a a world of opportunities – students can create graphics and other designs (like infographic tools). I have to admit that this is far more flexible than I thought. I can certainly think of some ways to apply this.

One exercise example he gave us was to use the shapes to visually represent concepts, like: resistance, overwhelm, stress, and rhythm. You can even share drawings with those outside of the Google Domain by sharing as a PDF, Scalable Vector Graphics, PNG, and JPEG. You can even import it into

There really are some cool tools, and it’s not just the red-headed step child of Google Apps.

Use Zaption to Enhance Video Content

This is reblogged from my post on FreeTech4Teachers.

Video has become a more ubiquitous element in education today: YouTubeVideos, Kahn Academy, Flipped Content, iTunes U, and more. However, most teachers don’t want their students passively absorbing content. Rather, they want to make sure that students are engaged with the material. A great tool for incorporating more responsive features in your lessons is Zaption, which you can use to create interactive videos via a web browser or their free iOS App.

Take the Zaption Tour to see what’s possible.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.55.49 PMWhile Zaption does offer a robust, subscription model, the free tool will allow teachers to do a lot with both existing videos as well as those they create. After you sign up for an account, select “New Tour” on the top left of your screen. This will open the editing screen. The great thing about Zaption is that everything is drag and drop. So if you’re a bit lost, just try clicking and dragging something! If you want to add video, you can search for content online (YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, Nat Geo, etc), the Zaption library, or upload your own videos…

Read the rest of the article here: Use Zaption to Enhance Video Content.

Primary Source Materials for Your iPad

Primary sources are vital resources for educators. iTunes has collected various primary sources, including: historic film, documents, and oral histories. Many of their posted resources are free! Check it out here.

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