Tuesday, December 6

Social Media Assessment Rubrics

From the Big Deal Media Newsletter, here are a few sample rubrics for those of you that are including social media activities in your curriculum.   The newsletters are free, I encourage you to signup - they are a great resource!

The University of Wisconsin-Stout (Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University) has organized a collection of free rubrics for assessing social media projects. The Wiki Rubric’s criteria are useful for assessing individual and group wiki contributions. Users of the Blog Rubric can assess individual blog entries, as well as comments on peers’ blogs. And the Twitter Rubric will help teachers assess student learning during social networking instructional assignments.

Friday, December 2

Don't Ever Be Late Again

A Reminder from Google Calendar

Event notifications (alerts and/or email) can easily be established in Google Calendar to remind you of events that you need to attend or events that are happening around the school that may impact your schedule. The following video outlines the steps that you can take to help you keep track of the events posted in your calendars. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like assistance setting up your notifications.

Thursday, December 1

Twitter #12daystwitter Challenge for Educators

For those of you already using Twitter and for those of you that are curious to see what it’s all about, I encourage you to join the Twitter #12daystwitter challenge for educators. This is a great opportunity to grow your Personal Learning Network (PLN) - to learn from and collaborate with like-minded educators.

The challenge starts today. How many educators from @ds_schools will join the #12daystwitter challenge?

My (Twitter) PLN provides me with endless ideas and resources for my curriculum and my teaching.
If you’d like any help getting started, please let me know. Happy Tweeting, @LoriAlighieri

Wednesday, November 23

Video-based Questions (VBQ’s)

In light of our upcoming PD day on assessment, I thought that this would be an appropriate time to share the article, These Google Forms Turn Video From Passive to Active Learning, recently published on eSchool News. The author of the article, Kelly Grotrian, discusses her use of video-based questions (VBQ’s) for assessment purposes. Inspired from the standard document-based question activity, or DBQ, she describes VBQ’s as a series of videos with critical thinking and higher-level questions. The novelty of this idea, according to Grotrian, is that students are in control of their learning.

Grotrian uses Google Forms to share the VBQ’s with her students and to gather their responses to the questions. She also has students creating their own VBQ’s as an extension of their learning experience.

If anyone is interested in pursuing this type of assessment activity and would like my assistance, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 16

Exploring Issues From Multiple Perspectives

When researching a problem/event that involves another country, teachers and students can make use of advanced Google searches to obtain information that has been published by a particular country by including “country codes” as part of the search criteria . Searches can be further refined to look for resources published by universities. To initiate this type of search,the addition of “ac” indicates an institution of higher education, much like “.edu” does for American universities.

The eSchool News article, The advanced Google searches every student should know, uses the Iranian Hostage Crisis as an example. Also known as the Conquest of the American Spy Den (in Iran), the advanced Google searches could look like this:

  • site:ir Iranian hostage crisis
  • site:ac.ir Iranian hostage crisis
  • site:ac.ir Conquest of the American Spy Den

There is a world of information available to us (and to our students) on the Internet. Knowing how to make meaningful searches can help us gain insight and perspective on international events and issues. Give it a try; it’s a big world out there!

Monday, October 3

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

Friday, April 8

Smore: Spread the Word

If you’re looking for an easy, creative and fun way for your students to present their research, you may want to consider having them create a webpage/flyer using Smore. According to the Smore website, “Smore makes it easy to design beautiful and effective online flyers and newsletters.”

I tried this product out with my students and I was very pleased with the results. My students remained very engaged while using Smore to present their research. One of my students had this to say, “It's a great website to use- lots of options, easy to figure out and the final product is very aesthetically pleasing!”

Below are the instructions that I gave to my students for their assignment (created using Smore) and a few samples of their work:   
The following are a few additional examples of flyers that were created using Smore:
For instructions on how to create a Smore webpage/flyer,

Smore can also be used for classroom newsletters, book reports, advertising fundraisers and other school events. How will you use Smore in your classroom?

Monday, April 4

Starring Google Star

Did you know that tagging a Google Doc (or folder) with a star can help you find your often-used documents very quickly? If you’re interested in saving time (and reducing frustration), please view the following video:

Monday, March 28

Google templates: Another reason to love Google!

Did you know that Google offers numerous, ready-to-use templates that you can use in Google Docs at docs.google.com, Google Sheets at sheets.google.com, Google Slides at slides.google.com and, Google Forms ready-to-use templates at forms.google.com?

Wednesday, March 9

Are You Drowning in Email?

Do you ever get that dreaded feeling that you're drowning in email? I don't proclaim to be the most organized when it comes to my (Gmail) email but I do have a few tips that I'd like to pass along to help you become more efficient when it comes to managing your email. Today's tip will show you how to "set your settings" so that your inbox email will be separated by your unread and read email.  Additional tips on email organization will be coming soon!

Monday, February 22

Google Forms: Google's Little Treasure

Google Forms is one of Google's little treasures. For educators, it can be used for quick assessments, class surveys, parent surveys, sign up for school events; the list is endless. I've put together a series of (short) videos that outline the steps to follow to create your Google Forms.

Part 1 of this series outlines the basic steps to get you started.

Additional Google Forms Series of YouTube videos are available below:

Google Forms Part1: Getting Started (same as above)

Google Forms Part 2: Question Types

Google Forms Part 3: The Color Palette

Google Forms Part 4: Settings, Sharing and More

Google Forms Part 5: Response Summary

Google Forms Part 6: Responses in Google Sheets

Saturday, January 30

Take a Break From the Traditional Research Assignment

As educators, we strive to deliver our instruction in various modalities in an effort to reach all of our learners. With so many tools available to create digital media, it can get a bit overwhelming to decide which ones to use for your class. I've found that creating videos is now easier than ever with tools such as PowToons. If you're working in a "GAFE (Google Apps For Education)" school, uploading your videos and creating playlists is a snap.

Another tool that I like to use for my visual learners is Piktochart. An infographic is an easy way to get your message across to all of your students in a very creative fashion.

I also like to give my students the option to create digital / visual media as often as possible. It's more interesting and engaging for them and for me as well.

Infographics Using Piktochart:Emily created this infographic to present her research on the use of social media across generations. Dayle created this infographic to present her findings on positive social media usage. Both students were completely engaged in their projects and it really shows!

Videos Using PowToons and YouTube:
Olivia created this video (using PowToons) to deliver her research on the evolution of social media.

And finally, Roni created this video (also using PowToons) on the topic of digital footprints.

In all of these cases, my students could have written a traditional research paper but I'm glad that they didn't and they are too!