Friday, April 29, 2016

Google Level 1 and 2 Skills Checklists

Interested in Google Certification?  

I found a wonderful resource that has a comprehensive checklist of skills for both the Level 1 and Level 2 Google Educator exams.  I would love to say that I created the checklists, but I did not.  However, they are great and I regularly follow Eric Curts' blog for inspiration.  I also don't believe in recreating the wheel. 

So, for those of you that have embarked on the journey towards obtaining your certifications, please feel free to go to the website and use the following checklists:

Google educator Level 1 Skills Checklist
Google educator Level 2 Skills Checklist

Google Level 1 Certified Educator
For those who are interested in learning the basics of the Google apps for education (GAFE), such as Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Sites.  It also helps to give you ideas on how to use  the tools together to increase student collaboration and engagement, as well as ease your overall workflow.

Google Level 2 Certified Educator
For the advanced user of Google Apps for Education who wants to learn advanced skills for integration and use the tools to transform the way you teach and how your students demonstrate their knowledge.   

Google Training Site
Google has an entire site filled with tutorials and scenarios to teach you about each of the GAFE and implementation in your classroom.  The site even tracks your progress for you so that you don't forget where you left off.  When you're ready, order your exam and get ready for an 3 hour long skills based test to prove your proficiency.  When you pass the exam, you can proudly display your badge. 

If you want to follow along on Eric Curt's blog, feel free to click over to his site to see his tutorial about the certification exams and his skills checklists. 

For our school district, we have several TTT's available to assist you with you google skills, even if you're not interested in obtaining certification. As always, your building technology leaders can assist you along the way. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Using videos for content with EdPuzzle

I found a great video online for my students but I want to keep them engaged while watching it.  What can I do?

I've heard this question from various teachers and it's one that has multiple answers.  EdPuzzle is a wonderful app and website that allows you to use a video found online and make it more interactive for your students. You can even upload your own videos.  

The app enables self-paced learning with interactive lessons by adding your voice and questions along with the video.  Not only can you add your own audio introduction, but you can also add questions at specific points in the video, along with trimming the video to the length you desire.  

Ed Puzzle adds an additional layer of accountability which allows the teacher to know if their students are watching the videos, how many times and see the answers they give.  

This certainly can be done using a google form, but Ed Puzzle makes it easier to have the questions basically become part of the video.  In addition, you can use videos from sites other than just YouTube, unlike inserting only a YouTube video in Forms.

Watch a quick preview below to see if it's something you're interested in.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pixar in a box for teaching real world applications of math and introduce coding skills

We've all heard the question from our students:
"Why do we need to learn this?"

Pixar and Khan academy have teamed up to present an entire set of modules entitled "Pixar in a Box."  The goal of the lessons are to allow the user to see how math can be used for creative purposes at Pixar for their animation technology.  Hopefully, along the way, students will be inspired and see math in their everyday lives and see a purpose for what they are learning in school.  Some of the modules even introduce a bit of coding to teach students how to build the characters.

Here's a short video clip introducing Pixar in a Box:

The modules start with a basic level for lesson one that elementary students can even tackle.  The level two lessons progress into more depth and typically range from middle to high school level content.  Here's a snapshot of the topics and grade ranges: 

I truly believe that the Pixar in a Box modules would help a teacher to introduce a math topic that all kids would be interested and excited about.  If you try it out in your class I would love to hear some feedback.

Online student created textbooks

How many of your students can say that they helped in the creation of a "published" piece of work?

Many of us are not totally happy with the textbook we use for our content in our classroom.  Many of are students are not happy with the textbooks either.  Is there a solution to this age old dilemma?  Absolutely.  Create your own.  Better yet, leverage the students to create a textbook that is meaningful to them.  With the power of the Internet, there is a world of information available to our students with the click of a few buttons.  If we can teach them how to curate that information into a meaningful manner, we have not only helped them with our class, but have also taught them a life skill.  

Google apps for education allows students to easily create their own web pages, which can have multiple authors.  Technically, all of your classes can collaborate on the same website, and possibly even collaborate with students from other schools.  Using a website format, students can not only add text and images, but they can add videos and animations that help the content come to life.  They can even record their own student created content which makes it even more meaningful.  More importantly, you can allow the students' creativity to take over and explore additional topics within the content area that you do not have time to cover in class and add it to the site. 

If you're interested in learning more about student created digital textbooks, read about Garth Holman's journey to help his students create an ever evolving online "textbook" for his history class.  

Ditch that textbook's story about Garth Holman's student created digital textbook

View their online textbook 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Google play to get podcasts tomorrow!

Google Play Music is getting podcasts starting tomorrow, April 18th.  Some people, including myself, can already see podcasts in their accounts today.  Google doesn't usually announce its releases ahead of time, but this one was leaked by NPR a bit too early by notifying their followers of the news.  Check out the info here from Google:

You can subscribe to your favorite podcasts or even create your own.  Google has made it easy to create and publish your own podcasts.  

With the addition of podcasts, Google is now a huge competitor with Apple's iTunes and iTunes U.  

Check out the additions of podcasts apps in my Google Play Music this morning:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Goals in Google Calendar

So, I know this isn't totally work related, but there's a great new feature that can help you to better manage your busy schedule.  It is called "Goals" and is a new part of Google calendar app on iphones and androids.  Using Goals, a user can add a goal and Google Calendar will help the user find the time and stick to the goals.  

To help you set up your Goals, Calendar will ask you a few questions and then help you find open time on your calendar to schedule it.  If you have a conflict come up with your Goal, it will automatically reschedule.  You can also defer a goal at any time. Goals are meant to learn how to help you keep your goals.  The more you use it - edit your goals, complete your goals, etc. Calendar will help find better times to schedule your goals in the future. 

Here's a quick animation from Google's announcement yesterday:

Head over to the Google update blog to learn more or simply open your calendar app and start setting your goals today!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Polling feature now available on Google Classroom!

Oh my goodness!  Google Classroom now has a student polling feature embedded within the "Question" feature.  You have several options for this feature when you choose to add a Question to your stream.  The question can be a multiple choice question or short answer.  You can also allow students to view each others responses or even edit their response. 

Some ideas for the polling feature:  quick exit ticket, feedback on a unit, guiding question for an intro to a lesson, feedback on whether or not students are on target for a project, and more.  

Below is a screenshot for the entry window for a question:

On the teacher side of the question, you can view a quick chart of the student responses similar to what you see in Forms.  It gives you a quick snapshot without having to create a form and posting the link in classroom. 

If you want to read more about this new feature that was released today here's a link to the Google for Education Blog

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

EMA Math equation editor extension for chrome

Here’s another tool for you to use while logged into Google Chrome:

This equation editor was recently stumbled across by my husband and it seems pretty nice.  It is an extension for google chrome that allows you to more easily enter math equations into your documents without having to learn code.  Try it out and see if it streamlines your workflow. 

Please make sure you have logged into chrome (if you’re on a desktop machine and not a chromebook) and click the link below to get to the chrome store.  Click the blue button to install the extension in chrome.  When you want to use it, click on the icon in your menu bar of chrome.  If you try it out, let me know how you like it and if it’s worthwhile.

Chrome Store Link - EMA Math Equation Editor Extension