Monday, February 29, 2016

Using Your Voice to Type in Google

About six months ago Google came out with a way to type using your voice inside Google Docs. Recently, they have come out with new command functions to make the experience better.

In order to set up voice typing, follow these simple steps when you are inside a Google Doc:

1. Go to Tools.

2. Select Voice Typing.

3. Click the microphone.

4. You will have to "Allow" the microphone on your device to be utilized.

4. Begin speaking when the mic turns red.

Click here to see the different commands that you can use during your doc writing dictation. Please note that this would be a great option to be used for assistive technology, ESL learners, and world language classroom activities.

Creating Online Formative and Summative Assessments

There are several online quiz makers for students from elementary to high school out there. Some that come to mind are: Google Forms, EDpuzzle, Zaption and of course Schoology if you are at the high school. In this blog post I will briefly describe how you can use these in your classrooms. If you would like to learn more about one of these programs, please contact me via email and we can get connected.

Google Forms
Google’s Forms application has been the go-to survey option for the last couple of years. Basically you create questions, send the students to the web address for your quiz, and the results automatically load in a Google spreadsheet.  Teachers are honing in on the data collection tool as a way to give tests and quizzes in the classroom more than ever. Now there are even add-ons within Google that will grade quizzes for you. Flubaroo can grade anything that is multiple choice, short answer, and true or false. The great thing about Google Forms is that we are a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school. The students at the middle school and high school can easily log in and perform formative, summative and common assessments online. Elementary students can as well, but the data will look different since our elementary students don’t have their Google accounts yet.

Google Forms underwent a makeover recently. It looks different than it used to. All of the features are still there, they are just in different places. Here is a video that showcases the changes:

EDpuzzle allows you to take great videos off of the internet, like YouTube, Edmodo, TEDTalks, etc. and customize them for your lessons. Instead of assigning students to watch a video, with little student engagement, EDpuzzle keeps students accountable to the video and its contents by adding questions and teacher voice. This makes EDpuzzle a great tool for flipped or blended learning. The web tool Play Postit, formerly called Educanon, does this also, but differently. PlayPostit is also a pay-to-use program if you want to unlock all of the features that they have available. Below is a short video on EDpuzzle to give you an idea of how it works:

Zaption’s motto is, “Don’t just watch. Learn.” This is another app very similar to EDpuzzle. To unlock all of the features, you will need to pay the fee required, but there are several free options to take advantage of. Below is a video describing the app:

Schoology (High School Only)
Since we have Schoology’s Enterprise available to us, we can make tests and quizzes for our common assessments. Below are three articles that dive deeper into the assessment making process. If you are interested in Student Mastery Reporting, let me know. The last link is an actual teacher’s blog who uses Schoology in his classroom.

  • Join Advanced Schoology--a course Kim Grissom set up with resources, sample tests, and video tutorials for getting more out of Schoology.  Go to Course, Join, and type in the code:  8B24F-KR3TB

Monday, February 15, 2016

Redefined Activity Options

As we continue on with our digital learning environment, while also thinking about the SAMR model for technology integration, there are several ways to connect your classroom to students and teachers outside the district. Below are two redefinition activities for you to consider for your classroom:

Mystery Skype is a great opportunity to connect with other classrooms in a fun and engaging way. According to ISTE, Mystery Skype is an educational game where students connect with another classroom and have to determine where each other's classrooms are located. They get to ask each other questions, collect clues, and communicate between classrooms. All of this is done using the Skype app or website.  Below is a video about Mystery Skype and some ideas for how to incorporate it into your classroom.

ePals is another great way to get connected with another classroom, whether you are looking for one close to home or one the other side of the world. Not only will ePals let you connect with a classroom outside your classroom walls, they even provide activities that you can do with the other class. There are lesson plans and procedures clearly written out for you to use. Below is a video that provides a great overview of what ePals has to offer.