Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Google introduces Google Trips mobile apps

Google Trips mobile apps introduced

Would you like to have a personal travel agent?  Now you can with Google Trips mobile apps!

Google unveiled today its trip planning apps to help users while on vacation to create itineraries, find categories of information, including day plans, reservations, things to do, food & drink, and more.  And best yet, the entire app can be made available offline by simply downloading your trip.

Using Google Trips in Education

Imagine having your students plan an entire trip to a given location using the Google Trips app.  The students can use their knowledge of a particular landmark to visit key locations.  If you teach World Languages, your students can visit cities and show their understanding of the culture as well. 

Take a look at the announcement from Google on their blog and try out the app today.  As of now, the app is turned off for GAFE domains, but can be turned on by admin.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Quizzes in Google Forms

How to create a self graded quiz in Forms

Today, I tried the new feature in forms to create a self grading quiz.  Finally, my first quiz of the school year.  I knew how to create the quiz but had not experimented much with the release of scores to the users.  

So, it didn't go quite as planned.  I told my students that their scores were in their school email so they excitedly went to their mail and...NOTHING.  No email.  Zip. Zilch.  Nada.  Arrgh.

I forgot that our students' gmail accounts are locked down so that they cannot receive email from outside the domain.   I do not have access to our admin console, so I have to wait for our admin to whitelist the email address and allow the students to get their scores.  In the meantime, I will continue to double up and use Flubaroo and ask my students which one they like better for presentation of their answers and scores.  

If you 're interested in the directions on how to set up a quiz in forms, here they are: 


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Teachers on Twitter - hashtags to follow

Teachers on Twitter - hashtags to follow

Before this past spring, I was not a fan of twitter.   I guess I'm getting old.  I did not like the format.  It was too random and busy for me.  However, after attending a google summit in May and I participated in posting a few tweets during the day, I was hooked!

What's so good about twitter?
For many teachers, we often hang out in our classroom most of the day in order to "get work done."  Unfortunately, that leaves us very isolated.  An isolated teacher does not have as much opportunity to share with others and continue to grow our teaching methods. That's where twitter comes in to the picture.  Teachers can connect with educators and professionals from across the globe easily and quickly by either searching for people they have met at conferences, went to school with or have met otherwise.  But the real magic comes in when you follow hashtags for popular conversation topics and also participate in "twitter chats" with professionals from across the globe.  

Popular hashtags for teachers
For those not familiar, posts can be labeled with a hashtag (#) to categorize the topic of the post. When you open twitter, click on the search option and enter the hashtag of choice and you will see a list of posts that people have tagged with that hashtag even if it is someone that you do not follow on twitter.  This is where you can easily virtually connect with new people of common interests.  You can correspond and choose to follow those with similar interests or in areas that you would like to learn more about.  Most subject areas have a "chat" hashtag to follow such as "scichat."  In order to "alert" others about a post that you have made on a particular topic, include the hashtag in your post.  This will also connect you with new people for those following the hashtag.  

Ex.  What a great article that I found today about virtual reality in the science classroom. #scichat

Below is a list of some of the more popular hashtags to follow for teachers:

  • #edchat
  • #pbl or #pblchat (problem based learning)
  • #scichat
  • #edtech
  • #ipadchat
  • #ntchat (new teacher)
  • #flipclass
  • #BYOD
  • #k12
  • #EdApps (education apps)
  • #elemchat
  • #middleschool
  • #highschool
Topic area hashtags:
  • #engchat
  • #litchat
  • #arted
  • #musedchat
  • #math
  • #mathchat
  • #science
  • #scichat
  • #sschat
  • #histedchat
  • #historyteaching

Twitter chats - virtual chats via twitter hashtags
Some of the popular hashtags have a meetup time that they use in order to discuss topics of the week.  There are many that even post questions and times to address each question of interest for the weekly chat. Twitter chats have been very enlightening for me as an educator connecting me with people that have very different ideas than those I work with daily.  One popular twitter chat that participate in is #satchat that has various hosts weekly.  

Where to find more hashtags to follow or Twitter chats
Simple enter a search into Google for twitter hastags to follow for education.  You'll be amazed at all of the hashtags out there.  There are also websites that host lists of hastags for education and even a calendar of Twitter chats to follow.

What might be scary about Twitter for Teachers
You will be putting yourself out there publicly which some teachers are not comfortable with.  However, teachers can create a separate profile for school if you do not want to mix school and personal accounts.  This will also help you to keep a professional following on your educator twitter account.  

Go ahead and give twitter a try. You do not have to post anything initially but you can simply "lurk" instead.  Choose wisely what to post and if you keep it separate from a personal account it will be easy. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Using Google Forms as a beginning of the year tool

Using Google Forms as a Beginning of the Year Tool

It seems as though every year teachers struggle to learn tidbits about their new students such as how they like to learn, what study skills they need help with, and more.  

How often have you collected this information only to realize later that you cannot really make much sense of it all?  

Try using Google Forms to collect your student information instead and sort the information with Sheets.  

Using Forms can help you with the following:

  • The simple pie charts give you a quick snapshot of student answers.  
  • Collect user names automatically
  • Sheets allows you to sort the data based of various parameters or create filters to only see that data you're interested in at the time  For example: 
    • Sort by students that prefer auditory learning, visual learners, etc. 
    • Sort based on topics students struggle with
    • Sort based on test taking or study strengths for group work
How to sort in Sheets

  • Each column and row can be formatted to your liking, just as in docs.  You can also rearrange the data or SORT it based on various factors.  Don’t worry that the data will become jumbled, sheets is smart and will keep your data in line so it doesn’t get scrambled.  
  • To SORT a column of data


Sheets can filter the data so you only see the data that is important to you or so it can highlight the important data. For example, if you want to filter the data so that you only see the students who answered “small intestine” for question #2 then you could create a filter just for that.

  • In the menu, choose DATA >Filter.  You’ll notice the columns get highlighted and have an arrow next to it.