Posted in G-Suite for Education, Mastering Your Google Drive, Quick Tech Tips

Quick Tech Tip – Create in Google Drive

Do you want to be the master of your Google Drive? Do you want to conquer it and make it your b…. uh, make it supremely organized and easy to use?

Well, if you do, STOP creating materials on the docs, slides, or forms outside of Drive and START creating them in Drive itself. As I have been working with different people, I have noticed that many of them click on the waffle and select Docs or Slides from the apps manager to create or access materials. This can create confusion because whatever you just created gets dumped in your Drive in an unspecified location. Also, when you use the waffle to go to docs.google.com or slides.google.com, the default setting is “Owned by anyone” which means that any item created by someone in the district with shared rights will show up there. Way too much stuff for the average user to have to wade through.

A better option would be to actually create right in Google Drive. An even better option would be to navigate to the folder you will eventually put the item in any way and create right there. Watch this short video to see how this is done:

Posted in Cool Tools, Creating Accessibility

Collaborative Gaming with Quizlet Live

For review opportunities or gathering formative assessment data on individual students, many teachers love Kahoot and Quizizz. And while these tools are awesome and can be played with the whole class, they are actually very solitary in nature. Each student is responsible for their own responses and an unengaged student can remain unengaged in a classroom of their peers. This is one of the reasons that I recommend you mix it up every once in awhile and use Quizlet Live. Quizlet Live takes the solitary experience of game play and requires all students to participate after they are placed together in randomly formed groups. No longer can a student sit back and let the game pass them by; it might just be their answer that leads their group to victory!

To play Quizlet Live, you must first create an account on Quizlet. Quizlet is a program that allows students and teachers to create study sets and then practice their sets through flashcards and mini-games. Quizlet Live lets the teacher take study sets and turn them into classroom games that require group participation. Look at all the awesome features and tools Quizlet provides for teachers and students!

Features

  • flashcard creator that allows teachers and students to create study sets
  • independent practice within Quizlet in a variety of ways including matching, spelling, and rapid fire recall
  • study sets can then be opened in game format by using Quizlet Live
  • collaborative /social learning within Quizlet Live
  • randomized team creation allowing for flexible grouping
  • use your own study sets or search for sets created by fellow users

Game Play

  • quiz style game can only be played in Quizlet Live
  • students must play in collaborative groups because correct answers are dispersed amongst all group members
  • game requires 12 unique terms
  • game requires a minimum of six students
  • students are randomized into teams
  • each student must have their own device: computer, laptop, tablet or phone
  • teams race to match all terms with definitions
  • incorrect answer resets the entire team score back to zero
  • first team to match all 12 (or more) terms, wins

Tools

  • classes can be linked to existing Google Classrooms
  • study sets can be shared directly to Google Classroom
  • classes can be created within Quizlet so that all student names are preloaded for easy group creation
  • Android and iOS apps are available if you want to make your gaming portable

If you are interested in getting started with Quizlet and like to explore on your own, check out their Getting Started page. If you would like a little coaching assistance and are a member of the Lebanon Schools staff, email me at zolnier.melanie@lebanonschools.org or fill out the Request for Integration Assistance Form.

Posted in G-Suite for Education, Quick Tech Tips

Quick Tech Tip -Gmail – Archive vs. Delete

Mountains of emails in my inbox give me heart palpitations. Like, for real. Opening my inbox and seeing email after email has me break out in a cold sweat. So, like any reasonable person, as soon as I read something, I want it gone. Gone I tell you! The trash/delete button and I became close and fast friends. Of course, things that I thought were important would get delicately placed in a folder because I was most definitely going to go back later and read them again. Most definitely. Everything else? Trash city, baby.

But, like any poorly thought out plan, this eventually backfired on me. Gmail automatically deletes any items placed in the trash after 30 days. That means anything that I realized that I really needed (registration details to a conference, parent contact information, emails extrapolating how awesome I am) were no longer accessible to me after the 30 day period had lapsed. If only I had ARCHIVED my emails instead of deleting them.

Archiving your emails is as simple as deleting them. It takes that email out of your inbox, removes it from your sight line, but keeps it safely stored away so that if you ever need it again, you can easily access it. How do you access it you ask? Simply use the search feature in your gmail.

Watch this short video to see how this works:

There is also a setting where you can include a “Send and Archive” button to your email. You can use this feature when you are replying to an email and know that you are done with the conversation:

Posted in G-Suite for Education, Mastering Your Google Drive

Use the Google Team Drive Feature for maximum teacher collaboration

For years, teachers working within the G Suite for Education environment have been able to collaborate and share resources with one another by using the share features embedded in Google Drive.  This system works really well until somebody changes grade levels, leaves the district or a new team member comes aboard.

This is why I am so in love with the new “Team Drive” feature that was released last spring. Google’s Team Drive creates a shared work space where team members have access to shared files and folders. Members of the team drive can create right within the drive or they can copy or move materials from their personal drives into the team drive. Materials that are created or placed in the team drive become property of the drive rather than the individual, so there is never the worry that you will lose access to a document if a member of your team leaves. Even better is that when you gain a new team member, you can easily add them to the drive and give them immediate and full access to shared materials.

Team Drive is an excellent place for teachers to collaborate and create materials. A master document or assignment can be created in the team drive, but then each teacher can make a copy of it and move that copy into their own drive in order to personalize it for their students. The original remains untouched for future use, and teachers always know where to go to find a clean copy.

Here are some additional suggestions for items that should live in a team drive:

  • curriculum guides
  • curriculum materials
  • benchmarking materials
  • common assessments
  • meeting agendas and minutes
  • team goals
  • student goals
  • student data
  • field trip forms
  • parent contact forms
  • special event planning

Create a Team Drive

  1. Open Drive
  2. On the left, find and click the link for Team Drives
  3. At top, click New
  4. Name your team drive

create-a-team-drive-e1503329868235.pngAdd Members and Set Permissions

When you add a new member to your team drive, that person is automatically given full permissions to be able to upload, edit and delete files as well as add other members. You can tailor permissions for each member as you add them or even after they have been added.

  1. Click on the Add Members link
  2. Type in the name of the person you wish to add – you may only add members that are already part of your G-Suite domain. Unfortunately, you cannot create Team Drives with educators from other districts
  3. Set your desired level of permission by clicking on the arrow below their name
  4. Write a quick message to let them know you are adding them to the group or just click Send to get the ball rolling.

adding-members-to-team-drives.pngCreate or Add Materials to the Team Drive

Screenshot 2017-08-21 at 12.22.26 PMNow that you have created the Team Drive, it will function in relatively the same manner as your personal drive. You, or any member of the team, can create folders or any other item from G-Suite apps within this drive. You can also upload files from other locations on your computer, including your personal drive, by using the File Upload link under the New button. An even easier way to populate the team drive is to drag and drop files from your drive into the team drive. Unfortunately, you are still unable to move an entire folder into the team drive, but you can select all of the items in the folder and move them over in the same way you would move items around in your own drive (contact me if you are unsure of how to do this).

Team Drive Etiquette – or How Not To Make Your Team Hate You

If you are working in a team drive and want to personalize any of the materials, be sure to first make a copy of the item and then move it into your own drive before you make any changes!

Additional Features or How-to Guides for Google’s Team Drive

If you would like to learn more about the many aspects of adding and controlling team members, creating and deleting materials, or any of the other fine points of team drive, please contact me to set up some one-on-one coaching time. If you prefer to be a self-directed learner, here is an excellent resource from the G Suite Learning Center – Get Started with Team Drives.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cool Tools

EDpuzzle – The Easiest Way to Engage Your Students With Videos

You found the perfect video for that concept you are covering today.  You show the video, but you have to keep pausing it to go into greater detail or ask the students questions to make sure they understand what they are seeing.  You get to the end of the video and discover that one of your little darlings was in the bathroom….THE WHOLE TIME.  And another kid appeared to sleep through the whole thing.  What a waste of time…..

But wait!!!  What if there was a FREE tool that you could use to engage all of your students.  A tool that

  • allows you to create quiz questions during strategic sections of the video
  • allows you to insert your own images and voice comments
  • lets you see how long each student watched each section of the video and stops the video if they try to multitask in another internet tab
  • allows you to upload your self-created videos
  • gives you a large library of videos on multiple subjects already created by other people
  • allows you take and edit videos directly from YouTube, Khan Academy, Vimeo and many other sources
  • easily shares your newly created video with any one of your Google Classrooms

EDpuzzle is the easiest way to engage and hold your students accountable when using videos. Instead of having all students sit in the dark to watch a video at the same time, EDpuzzle gives you the flexibility to have students watch the video independently, in small groups, as a center activity, or as an activity outside of the confines of the regular school day. By having each student interact with the video, you are ensuring that they at least attend to the content and interact with it in a meaningful way.

EDpuzzle has FREE features that make it extremely valuable.

  • Search – You can search for videos with questions already created by looking within the EDpuzzle library. If you want to make your own video and create your own questions, you can narrow your search to channels like YouTube, National Geographic, TED Talks, and Khan Academy among others.
  • Assign – EdPuzzles are easy to share with your students. If you are a Google Classroom user, simply link your class to your EDpuzzle account and you can create an assignment that is delivered right to your students. If you are not yet a Google Classroom user, EDpuzzle allows you to create classes that students join by entering a code. You can even Tweet or email the code to your kids!
  • Video Controls – Want to keep your kids engaged with your video? Through some strange voodoo, EDpuzzle knows when you leave the tab where the video is playing and it STOPS PLAYING!!! What??? You mean I have to actually watch the video and not just put it on while I play video games in another window? You can also set videos so that the viewer cannot skip ahead or move on until they answer a question correctly.
  • Progress Tracking – Speaking of answering a question correctly, progress tracking lets you see how much of the video a student has watched and how many questions they answered correctly. You can even see how many times they watched a specific section before they were able to answer the question correctly.

EDpuzzle can be a very powerful tool because there are so many ways that EDpuzzle can work for you.

  • Flip your instruction by giving students a brief video quiz to watch and complete for homework. That way you can repurpose the time in your classroom to differentiate practice and instructional opportunities based on the data you receive back from the “EDpuzzle” you’ve assigned.  EDpuzzle makes flipped learning much easier as you have the accountability mechanism in place to ensure all students are reviewing and comprehending your flipped instructions.  
  • Differentiate your instruction by creating leveled questions, sharing videos of varying difficulty levels, or assigning videos based on interest or formative assessment data.
  • Encourage creativity and mastery of content by having students create their own videos and question sets to share with classmates.
  • Engage students instead of allowing them to be passive consumers of information.

Now is the time! Get out there and create awesome learning opportunities for your students.

 

 

Posted in Creating Accessibility, G-Suite for Education, Google Classroom

Getting Started with Google Classroom

imagine if you willImagine if you will, that there is a free program out there that will allow you to organize your materials, share work with students, collect assignments with ease, and allow for immediate and personalized feedback for each and every one of your students.  Another classroom dimension…Google Classroom Dimension

Google Classroom is an excellent platform for teachers to not just organize learning, but to impact learning. At the most basic level, Google Classroom allows you to ditch the copy machine and share assignments and materials digitally with students. It also keeps work flow nicely in check since students can return their completed work with a simple click of a button. If you like to be organized, you don’t want the hassle of students losing papers or assignments on the regular, you want the opportunity to have students collaborate in a controlled environment, and you want to be able to provide personalized feedback to students on their work, then getting up and running with Google Classroom should be on your must-do list this school year.

Here are the basic (and amazingly awesome) features of Google Classroom:

  • Announcements – update students quickly or have them focus on an event that is coming up – let students read the information instead of listening (or not listening) as you make the announcement in class.
  • Assignments – Create an assignment and decide how students will interact with it (make a copy, view only, share a copy with other students). Each assignment is automatically given a “Turn In” button that students can click when they are finished.
  • Calendar  – Create a calendar for each class that is automatically shared with each student. Due dates for assignments are automatically added, but you can also add important dates for students and parents.
  • Co-Teacher – If you co-teach, you can invite your teacher friend to be an admin in your Google Classroom. Both teachers will have the rights to create, grade, and manage materials in the Classroom.
  • Drive Integration – Anything you have created in your Google Drive is immediately accessible when creating assignments, announcements, and questions in your Classroom.
  • Folders – As soon as you create your initial Classroom, Google automatically creates a folder labeled “Classroom” in your Drive. All of your classes will have a subfolder within this folder, making it easy to quickly access materials either from the Classroom view directly, or within your Google Drive. Students will also have this same experience, with a “Classroom” folder immediately created in their Drive the first time they join a class.
  • Question – Creating a question in Classroom will allow you to take a quick poll, spur discussion or get kids thinking about what is coming next.
  • Share to Classroom Button – Google has created an extension that allows you to share any web content with your classroom. If you have found a video, web page, or other web based resource that you want your students to interact with, simply click the extension. You can even create an assignment, ask a question, or make an announcement that features the resource.
  • Stream  – This is where the students will see the entire flow of information; announcements, upcoming assignments, and questions.

Steps to Creating Your First Class in Classroom

  1. Navigate to classroom.google.com
  2. Sign in for the first time – you can use Classroom with your personal account as per a Google update that came out in the spring. However, I would recommend that if your district uses a G-Suite for Education domain, you live within that domain. It will make it easier for you and your students.
  3. You will see a blank Classroom page with a lovely invitation to create or join your first class. Click that plus sign! Obviously, you are going to select “Create Class”New Google Classroom
  4. Name your class – when naming your class, keep in mind that your students might be enrolled in multiple Google Classrooms. Just calling it the school year or something non-specific like your mascot and the year might cause confusion. Creating naming conventions for yourself where you consistently use your last name or the subject you are teaching as the class title will help students.
  5. Your class is now created and ready for you to personalize, add students, and start creating assignments. Your initial class should look something like this, but you can change your theme to one of the preset options or upload a photo to create something more personal to you.Changing your Theme
  6. Personalize the “About” section. You can use this section to upload permanent documentation that you might need for your class (syllabus, homework policy, contact information, etc). If it is in your Google Drive, you can easily add it to your Classroom. You could even create a welcome video using Youtube or Screencastify and post it in this section. About
  7. You will eventually want to add students to your class and you have two options for how to do this.
    1. First, click on the “Students” tab in the header.
    2. If you are a glutton for punishment, you can add students by inviting them to your class. To do this, click “Invite Students” and begin populating the list by typing in their names or emails. The students will get an email invite that they will need to accept before they are enrolled in your class. Adding Students
    3. If you have students that can navigate to the website and type under their own power, the easier way to have them join your class is by displaying the class code on a screen. Adding Students by Code

Creating Your First Assignment

Now that the hard work is done, you can start using your Classroom to teach. When you create assignments in your Classroom stream, you have the ability to attach videos, web links, or materials from your Drive. You do not have to attach any items if you simply want students to create their own materials to turn in to you. If you do attach an item from your Drive, you need to decide how you want the students to interact with it. The options are:

  • Students can view file
  • Students can edit file – this means all students will be working in the same file
  • Make a copy for each student

Options

It all depends on what you want students to do and the level of collaboration you are looking for on the assignment. If you choose “Make a copy,” each student will take ownership of their own doc. No matter what you do, students will be able to access these materials either directly in the stream or in the classroom folder in their Drive.

You can set due-dates, assign the material now, schedule it for later, or save your work as a draft if you just aren’t ready to push out the assignment just. Once you create a due-date for an assignment, it will automatically be added to the Google calendar tied to your class!

Since I know you are just itching to get started, I will bring this lengthy post to a close. However, over the next few weeks, I will focus on a different feature of Classroom so that your classroom experience is robust and fulfilling!

If you would like more information on how to use Google Classroom, feel free to contact me through the Contact link on this blog. If you are a member of the Lebanon City Schools staff and would like to schedule a one-on-one session for training, email me via district email.