Posts tagged ‘Google’

A Different Approach to Using OpenEd’s Google Add On

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. ” By Albert Einstein

OpenEd has recently released a new FREE Google Doc Add On called Lesson Plan Tool For Docs.  It is an add on tool built into Google documents that pops up on the right hand side (similar to how the research feature works on Google documents) that allows you to add resources to your lesson plans. You can search for K-12 resources from opened.com which makes it simple to integrate into your document. OpenED has videos, games, assessments and more all aligned to common core standards. 

You can find resources that are aligned to standards, two different ways. One way is by using the search box. Input a standard that you need resources for such as 5.NF.1 and the aligned resources will appear below. The second way is to select a standard drop down and navigate to the standard you are looking for. Teachers can obviously use this tool to build lesson plans, units of study or curriculum maps but I would use it differently!

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I would use this tool to build playlist or pathways for students by standard; very similar to how I have used Blendspace in the past. To create a Pathway (example below), where students have choice of what tasks they want to complete based on a particular standard; using the ‘Lesson Plan Add on Tool’ teachers can simply drag and drop resources to create some of the tasks for the pathways by standards. You can also use the assessments that are in OpenEd as checkpoints. This saves teachers time and allows them to stay within one platform (Google) plus it is easy to assign to Google Classroom as well.

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Below are some articles and more information on Lesson Plan Tools for Google Docs:

Lesson Plan Tool Docs by OpenEd

A New Lesson Plan Tool for Google Docs by Richard Byrne

OpenEd Facebook and Twitter pages

How to video on Adding on Lesson Plan Tools for Google Docs

New Google Tips and and Tricks I Love Using

“I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures…I divide the world into learners and nonlearners.” –Benjamin Barbez

One of the things I love most about Google is there are always improving and changing to make things better. Here are three of my favorite new tips and tricks:

  1. Classroom Extension: Save class time navigating to websites with the new Share to Classroom extension. “Push” a web link to your class and voila, the Chrome extension opens the page immediately on every student’s device.
  2. Voice Type: Google Docs gets an upgrade with voice typing, a new feature that lets you or your students dictate everything from a new assignment to the rough draft for their essay. I like using it to get all my ideas out faster then me typing- Maybe I should start doing my blog posts this way. 🙂
  3. New Templates: Google released new templates for docs, sheets, and slides. Click the ‘more’ button to see extra options, organized by type, such as school.

Tools for an Educators Toolkit

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” by Malcolm X

Below are some websites that you should add to your toolkit of resources for your classroom for both you and your students to utilize. I like them all but did add an asterisk next to my favorites. Some are new while others are oldie but goodies

Create Engaging Video Lessons: Metta, Zaption, Vialogues, Ted-Ed*, EdPuzzle* and Google Forms*

Virtual Field Trips: 3D Gallery, Google Cultural Institute, Google Lit Trips*, Google Trek*

Presentations: PowToon, Prezi, Haiku Deck, Emaze, Piktochart

Interactive Sites: Blendspace*, Thinglink* GooseChase* Canva

Assessments: Quizizz, Jeopardy labs, iClickerKahoot*, Plickers*, Google Forms*

Content: iTunes U, Open Ed, Newsela*, Crash Course* a You Tube Channel by John and Hank Green (Yes the author and his brother)

My Favorite Google Chrome Extensions

“I look at Google and think they have a strong academic culture. Elegant solutions to complex problems.” By Mark Zuckerberg

Google Chrome is my favorite free web browser developed by Google. One of the reasons I love Google Chrome is because of the Google Chrome Extensions which are “small software programs that can modify and enhance the functionality of the Chrome browser.*” In simpler terms, they make my life easier but too many extensions can also slow your Chrome browser down. Here are my favorite Google Chrome Extensions in no particular order:

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  • Save to Drive: Save web content or screen capture directly to your Google Drive!
  • Goo.gl: Allows you to shorten the current website URL (goo.gl/) and also make it into a QR code in seconds.
  • Pocket: The best way to save articles when I don’t have time to read them (Can save videos too)
  • SnagIt: Is a screen capturing and recording tool. My students use it a lot in the classroom to show what they know. (See previous post
  • Google Dictionary:  Once installed double-click on a word on a webpage, and the definition instantly pops-up.
  • Tab Scissors and Tab Glue: These are two separate extensions that I use together. Tab Scissors divides your window into two which is helpful when you are going back and forth between two or more tabs, now you don’t. Tab glue puts the window tabs back together when you are finished.

My favorite paid extension (has a 30 day free version) is Read&Write for Google™  This extension offers support for Google Docs/web to students with learning difficulties, dyslexia or ELL/ESL but I think it helps all students. It has multiple functions such as read aloud, picture dictionaries, highlighters etc. (CMS educators you have it for free click on the chrome web store and go to recommended for CMS users)

I would love to know your favorite Google Chrome Extension, please add them to the comments.

Site*: “What are extensions? – Google Chrome.” 2012. 3 May. 2015 <https://developer.chrome.com/extensions>

Creating Better Google Searchers

“If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.” By Jimmy Wales

Do you use Google? I know I use it almost everyday hence why I love Google’s Search Education (GSE). GSE is a place where teachers and students can learn about different ways to search. There are lesson plans and live trainings so you can also learn at your own pace based on your needs as a learner. Here is a quick video on the GSE:

Combine this new knowledge of how to search with Google a Day (see previous post) and watch your students become critical thinkers.

Google Keep: For Educators and Students

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” By A. A. Milne

If you know me you know I love to create to-do lists. The feeling of crossing something off makes me happy, and yes sometimes I put things on my list after I do them. 🙂

Jake Standish introduced me to Google Keep about a year ago and I was not a fan, it just didn’t have a lot of the features I wanted until now. Google Keep has been updated and I LOVE it. It is now part of my daily workflow and it allows me to have multiple to-do lists in one place. It is not just for educators workflow either, imagine Google Keep for students!

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If you are a Google Apps for Education-GAFE school/district this is a great web tool to share with your students. Here are the reasons why I love using Google Keep and why students will love it too:

1. Simple and FREE to use; no account needed to be created as you can just use your google account. Great for GAFE school/districts.

2. I have saved it to my toolbar so every day I have easy assess and can add notes from any device. You will never lose anything because it is stored online and every device you use has access to the notes/lists. (If using an iPhone like me, you need to use the chrome app on your phone as there is no IOS app). This is great for BYOT schools.

3. You can make notes/lists different colors plus you can search and archive to make organization easy! This is great for students too, they can add assignments for classes and use different colors to help differentiate. No more excuses for the lost agenda or assignment.

4. You can share your notes or to-do’s with others, just click on the share button. It will appear on their Google Keep and they will get an email. This means as an educator you can make an assignment and push it out to your students so they will see it on their Google Keep!

5. You can add reminders to notes/lists quickly. All you need to do is click on the icon (finger with a string around it) and add the time/date of when you needed to be reminded. No more missing deadlines, homework assignments or when tests are!

6.  You can add imagines and web links to notes/lists. This helps if you are a visual learner or just want to remember an idea with a picture and a quick note or a web link. Students can also have a note that has the links they use daily for easy access.

8. The app keeps working even when you’re offline!

*Google Keep also has voice transcript. Adding voice notes in Google Keep is as simple as tapping the microphone and speaking but this only works on Android devices from what I understand. 😦

 

Using Google’s Smarty Pins in the Classroom

“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”By  B.B. King

Smarty Pins is a Google Maps based geography and trivia game. It is very user-friendly like most Google products are. The purpose is to answer as many questions as you can before you run out of miles.  Miles are lost when you answer incorrectly based on how ‘far off’ your answer is. You can decide if you want random questions, or if you want a specific category and there are six categories to choose from such as arts and culture, science and geography and sports and games.

Once you start, your first question will appear on the left-hand side of the screen. To answer you have to drag the map pin to the correct location. (I have found the map will start near the area you need to go) You can zoom in and out as well based on the level of detail you want.

Once you find the correct location you drop the pin and the name of the location will appear, for example Charlotte, NC. You can then submit your answer or get a hint if you would like. The hint show up on the left hand side under the question. If you chose to use the hint, you do not get to earn bonus miles. Bonus miles are given for answering a question correctly within 15 seconds. There are funny captions after you answer each question no matter if you get it right or wrong. When you answer a certain number of questions correctly you earn awards: bronze, silver or gold.

Smarty Pins

How Could You Use This in the Classroom?

1. Each day as a class, (or one day a week) you can use Smarty Pins as a class team building activity (ex. during morning meeting). Together the class can see how many questions they get right before they run out of miles. Each day or week they could track their progress and then graph it for each month. This allows team building, critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving along with learning geography.

2.  Use Smarty Pins as a base for students genius hour or passion based learning ideas. As the students plays the game, they will learn facts and geography of places that they might find interesting and want to learn more about. For example when I played, I found myself interested in more about the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ as I had a question about the bell tower.

3. This game could be used for when a student finishes an activity early as a fun extension or during when you find you have a few minutes before a transition.

As always, I would love to hear how you would use it in the classroom! Please share in the comments section.

 

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