Thursday, May 5, 2016

Game Changer: Q&A In Google Slides

Get ready for a game changer! Google Slides now allows you to review and respond to audience questions as well as keeping track of those questions and allowing your audience to vote for the questions they want you to answer. This new feature will appear as an option when you enter presentation mode.

When you choose "Presenter View" you are able to use the new Q&A feature along with your speaker notes. You can choose to share questions as they come up, or wait until the end of your presentation. This is helpful to both you and your audience as you preserve the flow of your presentation, but they don't forget the questions they want to ask.
Your audience will see a link at the top of your presentation that will allow them to both post questions or vote on other audience member's questions. Questions may be asked anonymously or by using your Google sign-in info. The presenter can then choose whether or not to share these questions with the audience and how to respond.

For the time being, it seems that if you're in a school-domain using Google Apps for Education, only members of your domain can participate in the online question submission. But you can easily work around this by using a free Google account to create your slideshow.

You could use this to allow students to, anonymously or not, ask questions, or you can pose questions and allow them to post their responses. The audience "voting thumbs up or down" feature could likewise be used in a variety of ways.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Beautiful Multimedia Timelines (made easy)

Timelines can look professional and polished while reinforcing a number of research and digital citizenship skills. The amazing folks at the Knight Lab at Northwestern University have created a template that, with a little help, anyone from upper elementary students to high schoolers, and beyond can make amazing embedded timelines.

Students make a copy of the template in their Google Drives and then enter dates, headlines, links to audio, video, or images they've found online along with their citations. Then following a few step-by-step instructions, they are able to get either a link or embed code to share their timeline with anyone they wish, from their teacher and class to a worldwide audience! Think of all of the ways timelines can be used in your classroom!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Gale Databases and Google Drive

Great news for all Gale Database subscribers! (Which we have access to at SATEC thanks to the Vermont Online Library.)

The sign-in process is now a one-click connection to your Google Drive!

You can highlight important passages, create citations, and save articles for later review. They can be downloaded into your Google Drive and will go into their own folder. You can even collect all citations and download them as a single document.

Remember, in order to access any of the amazing Gale Databases, you'll need our school's log-in (ask your teacher). They can all be accessed from the Library's main page.

In addition to the simple sign-in and saving features, don't forget that these databases offer links to related articles and even the ability to have the text read-aloud while the words are highlighted.

Check out the Research In Context database for all of these topics and resources!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cardboard + Google = Virtual Reality Immersion

Imagine planning a field trip to Paris with your French class. You'd need passports, permission slips, plane tickets, chaperones and about a week's worth of time. Now, imagine you could walk down the ChampsÉlysées without leaving your classroom for less than $10.
This is the vision of Google Expeditions. At the moment, the official Expeditions program is in limited areas and consists of a guided exploration of a location through a class set of cardboard virtual reality headsets. However, even if you're not lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of this program, you can bring a similar experience to your students for a nominal cost.

Google Cardboard is a free app that runs on most smart phones and iPods running iOS 8.0 or later. There is a long list of compatible apps from race-car games to Google Street View and this is where the magic happens. In order to use the app, you'll need a viewer. These range from the simple, folded cardboard devices the program is named for, to higher-end, durable viewers made from molded plastic or metal. The idea is simple and emerged in the 1800's with the invention of the stereoscope.

I bought a simple cardboard model online and was using it within minutes of opening the package. It takes a minute to get used to virtual reality, it can make you a bit dizzy or nauseous and some may notice that it bothers their eyes after a few minutes, but the effect of standing in the middle of Venice, Rome, Paris, or even under the sea at the Great Barrier Reef is worth the odd sensations that come with VR.

The cardboard model I bought only cost $9.99 and does a perfectly acceptable job, but it is cardboard. By the time I'd passed it around the 8th grade French class, the edges were looking a little grubby, so I ended up duct-taping it to reinforce the joints and protect the surfaces. But, once you've bought the components (lenses, magnet, NFC tag) you could easily replicate the structure and reuse those parts to save money. Alternately, I'd suggest buying a few of the more durable (and disinfect-able) models and using it as a small-group station. Maybe buy a few and check them out from the school's library. The potential experience is worth the small investment and as time goes on, the apps available with certainly increase in number.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Even more ways to add games!

Check out this cool quiz-creation tool! Quizzizz works in a similar way to Kahoot with a couple of key differences. The student sees both the question and answer choices on their screen and you can set question time up to 5 minutes.

Both have an extensive bank of ready-made quizzes that you can use. Check out this quick walk-through to see if it could work in your classroom!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Gamify Your Class

Whether you want to quickly assess your students understanding after a discussion or would like to have students perform assessments of their peer's understanding of their presentation, Kahoot can add a fun, gameshow atmosphere to your class.  Use iPads, Chromebooks, Lab computers or the students' smartphones!

So often, students give presentations, receive their grade, and that's it. But wouldn't it be great to find out if their audience actually learned anything from all of their hard work? Wouldn't student audience members pay more attention if they knew they were going to be playing a game using the information their peers shared?

Kahoot does what all of those sets of "clickers" and fancy software packages promised, but without the hassle of additional devices and almost no learning curve!

Once you've gotten an account,  you log in and choose what type of questions you want to ask.

Then when you're ready, project your quiz screen and students will see something like this.

Students would just need to go to (on ANY device with internet access) and enter the game's pin number, enter a nickname (I'd suggest 1st name or Google username) and when you (or the gamemaster) starts the game, they'll see the 4 choices on their screen.

Please let me know if you'd like to start using this in your class, I'd be happy to co-plan a lesson with you!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Weekly Tech Tips

In Classroom, when students open an assignment, their document will open in a new tab, leaving the assignment's instructions hidden on their previous tab. Alice Keeler's come up with a brilliant solution for this in the Classroom Split Chrome Extension.
Give it a try!

Go to the Chrome Web Store and add the extension. 

Once you've added it, open an assignment in Classroom and click on the extension.

You will now see your screen split into two parts. One with the assignment's instructions and the other with the copied document.
Tech Tip of the week #2 is also from Alice Keeler! It is a quick settings change that will allow you to automatically convert any Word Docs that are shared with you into Google Docs.
Step 1: Open your Google Drive
Step 2: Click on the gear icon at the upper right
Step 3: Click Settings
Step 4: Check Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format