Wednesday, September 28

Homeward Bound with Google Classroom

I came across the Teachingforward website recently (thank you Twitter) and found it to be another go-to resource for Google Classroom (GC) information. The author, Jenn Judkins, offers her readers useful tips on how to effectively setup and manage GC. Her Google Classroom Cheat Sheet is a must-save!

For those of you that may be interested in keeping parents/guardians "in the loop", GC now has a feature available to automatically email parents/guardians summaries about upcoming assignments as well as current activity and missing work. 

Happy Google-ing and please let me know if you'd like any assistance with Google Classroom. 

Monday, September 26

Quick Screenprints using QuickShare

The recently released Chrome extension, QuickShare, facilitates taking screenshots and sharing them with your students. With QuickShare, you can easily take a screenshot of the full screen or partial screen. The resulting image (of the screen) is instantly saved into your Google Drive (in a folder called QuickShare Screenshot). 

In addition, the image link is copied to your clipboard as soon as you screenshot the screen. For Google Classroom users, this allows you to quickly copy and paste the link into a Google Classroom assignment for students to access immediately.  The images can also be inserted into Google Docs, Forms and Spreadsheets.

To download and use this app:
  1. Download QuickShare from the Chrome Store.
  2. The QuickShare icon will now be displayed on your Chrome Extension toolbar.

  3. Take your first "full screen" screenshot.
  4. This step will only have to done once: Go to Google Drive and locate the QuickShare folder that was created after you took your first screenshot. Right click on the folder and choose “Share.” Change the sharing permissions from private to “Anyone with the link can view.” Now, all screenshots that you take with QuickShare will automatically be set as, “Anyone with the link can view.” 

This Chrome extension had been made available (for free) by Google Apps Guru, Alice Keeler.

Friday, September 9

Out With the Old, In With the New

Good news, Google recently upgraded Google Sites (they've cleverly named it, New Google Sites). I've been playing around with it and it is much easier to use than the original version.
From a visual perspective, it has a more "modern look" and it automatically adapts to tablet and smartphone screen sizes. On the negative side, some of the customization that was possible in the original version, is not available in the new version. As far as I know, the original version is not going away so don't feel as though you will have to convert over to the new version.

I've created my "new site" so that we could have a comparison of the two versions. Unfortunately, there is not an option available to easily convert from old to new so I had to basically "copy and paste" my content over. I have a really small site (3 pages) so it was not a difficult process for me to undertake. 

Here are the links to my sites for comparison purposes:

     New Version         Original (old) Version

The following Teacher's Tech video is the one that I viewed prior to building my new site - it's very straightforward and easy to follow. 

Please let me know if you'd like any assistance in developing a "new Google Site" for yourself and/or your students. 

Thursday, May 26

Lights Out on Google Classroom

Google Classroom
In one of my previous posts, Hey You, No Peeking At My Google Files I mentioned that during routine maintenance of the iPads (those located in the high school iPad cart), I noticed that many of these devices were left signed on to student Google Drive accounts. I was able to easily switch between the numerous student accounts that had been left signed on; I had complete access to all of their files. Everyone else using those devices would have had access as well. Now with the Google Classroom app available on these shared devices please keep in mind that students (and teachers) when done using a school iPad should sign out of Google Classroom as well. 

Teachers, please remind your students  that they need to sign out of all Google Apps before returning the iPads to the cart. 

The following video outlines the steps involved in signing out of the Google Classroom App on an iPad. 

Wednesday, May 18

Using the SAMR Model for Student Success

The push to integrate technology into curriculum has been a goal in our district for many years and educators have been creatively integrating the use of iPads, social media apps, laptops, Apple TVs, Clickers as well as numerous other devices and tools as they guide students through a variety of lessons using some sort of new technology. Even the "much-feared smartphones" are working their way into our lesson plans! Google Drive and Google Classroom are rapidly gaining popularity with educators and students alike. The growing acceptance of the use of social media in education provides even more opportunity for students to use technology to engage in real-world, authentic learning. This is all great news! In an effort to continue to make strides with technology integration, our district's latest technology plan (for 2016 - 2021, still in draft status) emphasizes that in order to maximize student success, technology integration should not be about the technology, but rather, how that technology is used.  This is precisely where the SAMR Model fits in. 

SAMR modelThe popular SAMR Model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura in 2012, was designed as a guide to enable teachers to design and implement learning activities that incorporate technology in such a way that it transforms our students' learning experiences to higher levels of  engagement and success. 

The 4 Levels of the SAMR Model:

The first two levels, Substitution and Augmentation, simply enhance a task (possibly making it more efficient) but most likely do not have a significant impact on student engagement and success. 

Levels 3 and 4, Modification and Redefinition, can transform a task, maximize student engagement and have a significant impact on student success.   Typically these tasks are seen in student-centered learning environments that foster critical thinking, complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication.

  1. Substitution: At this level, technology acts as a direct substitute to the traditional task with no functional change in learning or teaching. For example, using a word processor instead of pen and paper to write an essay.
  2. Augmentation: At this level, technology acts as a direct substitute to the traditional task, but there is some functional change in learning or teaching. For example, using Google Docs (adding comments, sharing documents, using add-ons) instead of pen and paper to write an essay.
  3. Modification: At this level, technology allows for some significant redesign of the task. The outcome is the same, but has somehow been enhanced. For example, students can publish their essays on blogs and may include videos (from sources such as YouTube) and links to supplement their writing. They are writing for a global audience and may interact (via comments) with that audience.
  4. Redefinition: At this level, technology makes new tasks possible that were previously inconceivable without the use of the technology. The technology is a means to support learning of 21st century skills while addressing content objectives. For example, students can publish their essay on a blog and include videos and other digital media (that they have created themselves) as a means to supplement their writing. They are writing for a global audience and may interact (via comments) with that audience. 

The following video, created by students, provides an overview of the SAMR model. This is a great example of a learning activity that supports the acquisition of 21st century skills!


Do you have examples of lessons where you have integrated technology? Where do these lessons fall within the SAMR Model?

I referenced the following resources in preparation for writing this blog post. I highly recommend that you take a look at a few of them if you'd like additional information on the SAMR model.

Levels of Implementation: SAMR 
Example of SAMR Model Applied to Curation

Example of SAMR Model Applied to Online discussion
Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything
Special Education iPad Guide
A Guide to Bringing the SAMR Model to iPads (using coffee no less!)
Using SAMR to Teach Above the Line