Thursday, December 10

Slides Carnival - Adding Creativity to Your Google Slides Presentation

While there are numerous presentation tools that offer developers more options for creativity and style than Google Slides (Haiku Deck and Keynote, to name a few), Google Slides is easy to use and of course, its most impressive feature is the ability to collaborate with others on the same presentation. That being said, Google Slides offers little to those wanting to express a bit of creativity. There are a few sites available that offer templates to use along with Google Slides to do just that. The site which impresses me the most, Slides Carnival, was introduced to me by a few of my students (I always learn so much from them!).

Below are two examples of presentations developed with Google Slides. One was developed using just the templates that come with Google Slides and and the other was developed using a template from  Slides Carnival.

The following is a Google Presentation was developed using a template from Slides Carnival. I encourage you to give Slides Carnival a try - your audience will thank you for it!

The following is a sample of a Google Presentation was developed using a standard Google Slides template.

Saturday, November 7

Storify - Curating Stories from Social Media

My first attempt at creating a "story" using Storify proved to be a lot of fun. Storify provides an easy way to obtain resources on a topic, to bundle them in an organized fashion, to add your point of view, and to share them via a social media platform. In my Storify about the winter of 2015, my "resources / material" came from Twitter, YouTube, and Gif (which is for images - some animated). (There are additional options for resources but they are blocked at this school.) 

My students rose to the task (once again) and used this tool to research and report on several stories that were recently trending in the news/social media. Take a look, I'm sure that you'll be as impressed as I am. 

Storify is fairly easy to use and is an interesting way for students to investigate a trending news event. A "story" can be embedded into a blog post or linked to. What do you think? How could you use Storify with your students?

Monday, October 19

Hey You, No Peeking At My Google Files

As I was proceeding along on a routine check of the high school's iPads today, I was alarmed to see that many of them were left signed on to student Google Drive accounts. On several of these devices 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. Anyone using those devices would have access as well. Going forward, please remind your students using the school's iPads that they need to sign out of all Google Apps before returning them to the cart. This is only a concern for those that are using shared devices.

If you would like me to meet with your students to go over this with them please let me know. For steps on how to properly sign out of all Google Apps (on the iPad) please refer to the following resources.
  • The following video outlines the steps involved in signing out of Google Apps on an iPad. 

Thursday, September 10

The DS Twittersphere

I’m thrilled to see that DS is starting to embrace Twitter as a networking tool for connecting and communicating with our students and community. Twitter is the place to be if you'd like to read about exciting events going on in the district @DS_Schools and on the athletic fields @DSRaidersSports. Follow @DS_FineArts and you’ll be well informed about the news & events happening in the K-12 Fine & Performing Arts Department  The tweets sent out by John Smith @DSHeadmaster and Annie Dever-Keegan @deverkeegan provide us with links to articles on valuable topics in education as well as keeping us informed about exciting DSHS happenings. Listed below are a few of the Twitter accounts (that I know about) that can connect you to our school and district. If you, your club or department has a Twitter presence and would like to be added to the list, please let me know.

Twitter can be used in the classroom to tweet out reminders to students and to keep parents informed on classroom news and events. What I like best about Twitter is the ability to make global connections with other educators. These educators share their resources, ideas, and opinions on most any educational topic imaginable. Twitter is, without a doubt, the most valuable component of my Personal Learning Network (PLN).

Please let me know if you’d like to learn more about Twitter. I can help you set up an account and organize your Twitter feed (using lists). Once you've had the opportunity to connect with educators in the community and from around the globe, you too will have a PLN to brag about.

Additional Reading:
Lori's Diigo Public Library  (once in Diigo, select the Twitter tag for additional articles about Twitter)

Wednesday, September 2

YouTube Slideshows

With our district's Google Apps for Education license, it's easy to create a photo slideshow in YouTube. Students and teachers can simply log in to their school Google account and create a slideshow with music and annotations. Unlike Animoto which has a 30 second time limit (for the free version), the YouTube limitation is 15 minutes (which is usually too long to hold anyone's attention!).

The steps are pretty basic:

  1. Save images in your Google Drive or on your computer (hard drive or network).
  2. Log into your YouTube account:

The following instructional video outlines the steps needed to create a YouTube slideshow.

Wednesday, March 11

Curt Schilling: Still Pitch Perfect

Having grown up in Connecticut, I can say from experience that it’s a “divided” state. I’m not talking about politics or religion, but rather, sports. You see, depending on which side of the imaginary line that you lived on, your family was either a Red Sox fan or a Yankee fan. I lived very near that imaginary line. While certainly not as profound as the division of the North and South during the Civil War, this sports rivalry was also known to pit brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. I was fortunate in that my immediate family members were (and still are) die-hard Sox fans (sorry, but it’s difficult to hide my bias). Fast forward and it’s not a surprise that I chose to attend college in the Boston area and eventually, to make it my home.

Certainly every Red Sox fan over the age of 15 remembers the 2004 World Series where their victory over St. Louis erased the “Curse of the Bambino.” Memories of Curt Schilling's pitching finesse as well as his infamous “bloody sock” will forever remain in our hearts as we reminisce about that magical season.  
Fast forward again; this time to March 2015. Curt Schilling is back in the headlines and is once again, “my hero.” This time, Mr. Schilling finds himself protecting his daughter against a few "men" that were saying extremely inappropriate things about her on social media. Mr. Schilling, not one to sidestep a challenge or controversy, made it his mission to expose these “men” for their misguided actions. As a result, several of these “men” were fired from their jobs  and another found that his college acceptance offer had been rescinded.  (See Mr. Schilling's blog for additional details.) I’m sorry that the Schilling family (especially his daughter) were the victims of cyberbullying. If it is of any comfort to them, I hope they know that their experience is being used as a “teachable moment” by  many parents and educators as well. I incorporated this story in my social media class where my students reflect on the importance of building a positive digital footprint and developing a “personal brand” that truly represents who they are and one that they can proudly share on social media.

Thursday, February 12

Using Google Forms for Student Self-assessment

I read about a great idea on Twitter last night that had to do with creating a survey (using Google Forms) for students to use as a self-assessment tool. I couldn't contain my excitement so I went ahead and created one for my Social Media students to use. I made a copy of the survey that you can access here. The “survey” results are all captured on a spreadsheet. Complete this survey yourself (and look at the results) and see if this is something that you might be able to use in your classroom. If you’d like additional assistance or ideas on how to use this, let me know.