Effective Ways for Educators to Use Twitter

I am a big fan of using Twitter to share, collaborate, and learn. This infographic highlights many ways that educators can use Twitter in their practice.

infographic26 Effective Ways to use Twitter for Teachers and Educators Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Find Anything in you Google Drive

If you are anything like me, your Google Drive is a bit of a mess. No matter how much I try to keep it organized, documents and files find their way outside of my carefully crafted and structured filing system. This isn’t just an issue for my Google Drive account. I have this problem in general.

search-windowWell, the benefit of using Google Drive for your file storage is that you get to use Google’s Search features within you Drive. If you type a key term (like the document title) in the Google Drive Search Bar, it will pull up all files with that title and it will also search within the document for key terms. If you would like to narrow your search further, you can edit features such as: owner (to find that file shared with you by someone else), shared with (to find that document you’re collaborating on), file-type, dated modified, and more.

So, even if you’re terrible at organization (like I am), you can always find the file that you’re looking for!

KidzType: Free & Fun Online Typing Tutorial

This post is sponsored by KidzType

Even as technology has become ubiquitous in schools, keyboarding classes are quickly disappearing. As a result, parents, students, and teachers are often looking for resources to help students learn touch typing. KidzType is a free online resource to help kids learn how to type using different types of activities and games.

Typing Lessons

Students are presented a variety of typing lessons to help familiarize them with the fundamentals of keyboarding. These are organized into groups that gradually increase in complexity. For example, the first series of lessons focus on learning the home-row of keys. Students then move on to upper and lower rows. Students gradually work through each of the groups of lessons as they master the entire keyboard. During the lesson, students are shown a series of keystrokes on a screen and are prompted to enter the directed keys without looking down at the keyboard. While they do this, the program measures accuracy and speed.

Typing Practice

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-2-36-49-pmStudents can practice current and past lessons using a series of typing practices. Similar to the typing lessons, students are prompted to enter a series of keystrokes that are displayed on the screen. The program then records their speed and error rates. Practices are more complex than lessons; they combine previous exercises and become more complicated. Higher level practice exercises include typing paragraphs and incorporating various key rows, numbers, and special characters.

Typing Games

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-2-44-22-pmKidzType isn’t a standard typing tutor; it uses a variety of Typing Games to keep students engaged with the material. For example, the Typeroids Home Mission is an alien shooting game. By typing the designated letters or words, students shoot the alien invaders to ward off the invasion. There are several other games that students can play to help them hone and build their typing skills.

Whatever your student’s skill level or aspirations, KidzType is great way for them to become skilled, touch typists.

Teaching the Presidential Debates


Carter-Ford debate via Wikimedia Commons

This is the first election cycle where my students are voluntarily and eagerly tuning in for the Presidential Debates. This offers many of us a unique opportunity to further educate them about Presidential Politics.

This week’s Backstory podcast explores the history and impact of Presidential Debates in American History. You can access it here: Fighting Words – A History of Debate in America. Not only is this a wonderful educational podcast, but it’s interesting and engaging.

Using Social Media in Natural Disaster

I just finished preparing my home (as best as I can) for Hurricane Matthew. Now, I hunker down, watch, and hope that it gives us a wide pass. Social Media now plays an important role in our lifestyles and that includes emergencies. Here are a few ways to employ it:

Keep People Updated

Hurricane_Frances_2004.jpgUse Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn) to share status and safety with friends and family. Many of us have a lot of friends and families all over the country (or world). It can be a challenge to field messages from them when preparing for, during, or cleaning up after an emergency. A Facebook post (or using Facebook’s Safety Check) can let everyone know that you are okay, any change of location if you evacuated or had to seek alternative housing, and requests for help.

Stay Updated

Federal, State, and Local Governments, as well as Emergency Agencies, will update their Social Media accounts regularly. Be sure to follow (or at least check) the Twitter accounts of your local Government, your City’s Emergency Management, Government Officials, School Districts, and more. A few National Organizations you may want to watch specifically: FEMA, the Red Cross, and NOAA.


Landlines are still your first line of defense in an emergency (cell towers will come down first and landlines aren’t reliant on power). However, even with a landline you may get busy circuits. If you have a cell signal or can find an internet connection, Social Media communicators are your friend! Using tools like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, or other Direct Message tools can help you to keep in touch.

I hope that you find these tools useful for your next emergency! Stay safe out there!

How to Create a Self-Graded Quiz in Google Forms

The new Google Forms allows you to create self-grading quizzes right within the form (no need for an add-on!). This is a great way to create bell-ringers, exit tickets, or quick assessments. Creating a self-graded form is easy! screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-1-37-25-pm

First, create a new Google Form and give it a title. Next enter your questions (for auto-grading, they will need to be in the form of multiple-choice, check boxes, or drop-down. Once you have created your quiz, click on the settings button (the gear shaped icon in the top right). Select the “Quizzes” tab and toggle on “Make this a Quiz.”

Next you can select when students will see their scores and if they can answers they left blank.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-1-37-38-pmNext, you will need to set your answer key. At the bottom of questions you have already created or new ones that you create, there will be a blue “Answer Key.” Click on this button. You will then select the right answer(s) that will be used as the key. You can also set the number of points each question is worth.

Once you have set all of your answers and point values, the quiz is ready to go! You can share with students via email, link, or even QR code!

Interactive Presidential Debate Resource

Our amazing librarian informed me of  a great tool launched by PBS and Microsoft watchingthedebates.org. It allows you to “watch and interact with every debate since 1960.” This is a great resource to help students (and adults) learn how Presidential debates are structured and impact the electorate during an election year.

You can filter debates based on theme, year, or other interests. You can watch the videos sand give feedback! This is a fantastic tool for analyzing political discourse.