Skip to main content

Posts

Open Educational Resources - A New Way

Educational materials cost a lot of money. Whether it is buying curriculum, purchasing items from Teacher Pay Teachers, or taking the time to develop your own and make it truly unique.  There is one other option, and this option keeps getting better and better. Open Educational Resources, or OERs, are resources that are developed by educators, for educators. These resources, which are openly licensed under Creative Commons for use, remixing, and re-sharing, are an excellent alternative to curriculum packs and Teachers pay Teachers.  Currently, there is group of Michigan Social Studies educators that have developed an entire textbook series, the MiOpenBook Project , that is openly licensed and freely distributed. In our current review of science curriculum, we have also found OpenSciEd , a collection of middle school level curriculum aligned to the NGSS standards. One of my favorites, that I had used in the classroom prior to my knowledge of OERs, was CK12.  CK12 is a collection of res
Recent posts

Google Docs - Email Building Blocks

Google Docs has recently added the Smart Chips to allow for more functionality in a document, allowing you to tag other people, pull templates, and have a document in a more collaborative environment. Now, Google has added the ability to draft an email in Google Docs and easily transfer this to Gmail for sending.  This update is extremely useful if you have an important email to send and you don't want to accidentally send it prior to it being done, you have an email to send as a team and you want everyone to have the ability to craft and have their say, or you have a list of running items that need to be included in the email over the course of time. Once you are ready to send it, click the Blue Gmail Logo and it will open in your Gmail. Once it is open, you only have to click send! No more accidentally sent too early emails! 

Locked Down Google Form Quizzes

Google Forms has added updates to allow for more "secure" testing in Google Forms, with caveats of course. Forms now supports Locked Mode for their forms, meaning that students cannot open other apps, and if they leave the quiz for another tab, the teacher will be notified.  To enable, open a new Google Form at forms.google.com .  Once you have the settings page up, you can make sure that the form is set as a Quiz and then look for "Locked Mode." It is important to note that "Locked Mode" is only supported on managed Chromebooks, or the school issued devices. If a student is using a non-school issued device, their quiz will not be locked.  Once you have made your form a quiz, you just add your questions and set up the quiz as you normally would. Now, when you ask students to complete the quiz, they will be restricted and you will be notified if the students are off task. 

Finding Images and Videos Clips to Use in Class

Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash When it comes to practicing what we preach, one of the areas where students could call us is citing our sources, especially when pulling pictures off of the internet. I was totally guilty of this in the classroom.  When asking students to be creative, we should be encouraging them to use items that are labeled for reuse or remixing. I wanted to share a list of resources that fit that category.  Photos Unsplash Pexels Pixabay New Old Stock Openverse Videos Pexels Pond5 Pixabay Videvo Audio Openverse YouTube Audio Library Free Music Archive While these are an excellent starter, it is still important to check licenses still. Overall, it is an excellent place to start with helping students find items to build their creative projects from.  I originally posted this, but attended a webinar the next day and we talked about this further. This list was shared during that meeting . 

Power in Simplicity - Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly Spark)

Adobe Spark was one of my all time favorite EdTech tool. It allowed students to create without having to learn how to use complicated programs. This allowed for students to truly demonstrate their knowledge and not their technological know-how or ability.  The good news is that Adobe Spark is still around, it is now known as Creative Cloud Express . All of the awesome features still exist! You can still create graphics, websites, presentations, infographics, and videos quickly and easily. When we talk about novelty and allowing students to prove their knowledge in a different way and this tool allows content to shine through instead of the technology tool.  Not to mention, they have added a ton more functionality including:  The ability to remove backgrounds from images Convert to GIFs Resize Videos Resize Images Merge Videos Convert from PDF!! Combine Files and more!  The best news is, everyone in our district has a free upgrade to the premium version of the account! No need to apply

Summary Option for Long Documents

  Google Docs recently got an update that allows you to add a quick summary to longer documents that are in Google Docs format. Using Artificial Intelligence to scan and read the document and prepare a short summary of the document. If you are looking at it, and disagree, you can set your own! This is a cool feature. As students are writing an essay or paper, this tool can inform them if they are on topic and have written a comprehensive and understandable paper. If the summary is not their position, they might want to start over. From a staff standpoint, this is great to make sure that items match our intent and purpose as we prepare to share findings, data, and more!  To create, simply like the little icon in the corner and select summary. 

Pageless Google Docs

  Google Docs has recently launched a new feature that is perfect for a world in which our students are not printing! The Pageless Feature allows for larger photos, graphs, and tables without worrying about page constraints, as well as being able to move seamlessly through a document.  Applicable features in the classroom would be looking at large sets of data, large images, and formatting in tables without worrying about page breaks and how things might get messed up. In order to add it to your Google Document, you can use the GIF below to navigate to the Page Setup Menu and then select pageless.