Friday, April 13, 2018

Windows Searching and Drive Previews

1) DON'T

When in a folder in Windows many of us use the scroll wheel on the mouse to peruse the files until we come upon the one we need.  Here are two tips to do it faster.

If you know the name or part of the name of the file follow these steps
              1. Click on the Drive or the folder you think the file is in
              2. Use the search bar in the upper right and enter part of the name of the file (truncate it at first and then narrow the search by adding letters until you find the right fill.

Ex. Want to find Lunch Duty roster

1) Click on H: Drive and 2) Search for DU

Bonus:  When in a folder full of files, if you know the first letter of the file, just click on any file and then the first letter and it will take you to that section or if the files aren't sorted by name just keep tapping the letter and it will hop from one file with that letter to the next.

2) EZ Preview of student work in G Drive

When collecting student work in G Classroom sometime you want to check on student work but not take the time to open EVERY document. Here's how to do it?
  1. In the google Classroom Assignment, look for the folder at the top.  This is the portal to the folder in Drive where all the student assignments are actually stores.  Click on it.

    2. In the Drive folder, simply one-click on the first document and then click on the preview eye in the Drive tools bar.

3. Now scroll through the docs easily with the right and left arrows on the screen.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Teaching in Pictures for Generation Z

Weekly Tech Tips

Did you know that there aren't any millennials in our classrooms anymore?  Generation Z started around the year 2000 or before, some have already passed through our schools.  Did you miss it...I did.
Take a look at the differences below. 

Image result for millennials text per day

The one that stood out to me is the "Communicate with images" vs. "Communicate with text"...Whoa!  I remember fretting that students were writing so many texts (50, 60...100s per day).  But now if we look around students are constantly snapping pictures for Snap Chat and Instagram.  They communicate with Images.                                                                                                                                                                                                              The question I asked myself was, "How do I lesson plan for Generation Z?"  One sure thing is that I want to use more images.  Three ways that images can be incorporated into good lesson design are through social learning activities on Padlet, enlightening gif directions, and student made infographics.  


Padlet is a Digital Bulletin board that allows student thinking to be presented publicly in visual format.
This is great when you want to see all your students work in one place, for students to see each others and for multiplying learning opportunities.

Lesson Examples: 

Imagine teaching students to solve a math problem or write a thesis statement.  As a good teacher you want to check their understanding with an Exit ticket.  Each student writes the math problem or thesis down and turns it in.  Hopefully you have enough time to give good feedback to each student and for each student to read and understand the feedback.   There are a lot of maybes involved.  
What if, instead, students entered their sample math problems/thesis statements on a padlet?  The next day each student's warm-up activity is go to the padlet and read the math problem/thesis statement and vote for the best one.  Each student now has seen not just the teacher's example and their own but 25 others plus a class discussion on why the top vote getters were valued as the best...thus multiplying learning opportunities.

Padlet Samples

Enlightening GIF Directions

If a picture is worth a 1000 words then a GIF (a repeating, moving picture) is worth...  When you add GIFs to a list of step by step instructions you allow for a easy way for Generation Z to understand what they are supposed to do.
GIFs can be made from a series of images or from a video at or you can search for gifs on google as seen if the GIF below. 

Google Slides and Docs both support GIFs which along with your bitmoji and digital stickers, will really add to your Gen Z cred.  Sample directions slides.

Student Made Infographics

Infographics are essentially information in pictorial form.  Graphs, charts images and text coming together in an explanatory way.  As with many learning activities the teacher could synthesize the information into a graphic and it would help understanding BUT if students each do their own work we vault to the top of the Bloom's ladder and increase student learning potential.  Here are some student examples from recent projects. 

Try it out with easy to use templates at piktochart or canva or make your own in Google Drawings.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Google Keep: Quick Student Feedback on Google Docs and Slides

Weekly Tech Tips

Google Keep:
Google Keep is one of the apps provided in our G Suite accounts that can be used in so many different ways it is hard to describe.  Keep is described as a note keeping app (think lists and sticky notes) but its power lies in how versatile the features make it.  Here are some of my favorite features:
  • Draw or snap a picture with text and it will "grab" the picture text and write it in the note
  • Make a list of "To Dos", set reminders and check off once done
  • Organize by label and color
  • By far my favorite...pull up Keep in Docs and Slides and Drawings and drag or copy notes to insert in those docs.
Insert a Sticker

Insert Frequently Used Feedback

Insert a Suggested Edit Comment

Keep:  To get started with Keep and make your own lists, stickers and comments peruse the resources below.

Lesson Design:

When thinking about student feedback it is good to start with the end in mind by asking yourself some questions.
  1. What kind of feedback?
  2. Who will give the feedback?
  3. Where will the student find the feedback?
  4. What will the student do with the feedback?
Now that you have answered those questions design your template to accommodate your answers.

If you want to get student work, ideas or comments in one place a sharing table is a great place to start.  Find the template: 
  1. Use the NEW button in Google Drive
  2. Click the arrow next to the app and choose "From a template"  
  3. Check out the Williamsville templates and Google's General templates
  4. Slides, Sheets, Docs and Forms all have a template option

Chunk, Table and Organize

Chunk: One great way to start with the end in mind is to Chunk the lesson down into parts.  Think Introduction, Paragraph 1, 2, 3 and Conclusion or Restate, Answer, Cite and Explain.

Table:  Use the table option in the Insert menu to separate these parts physically in the vertical space of the document.  Add columns to provide clear locations for feedback.

Organize: Set the background and text colors of each section or column to something distinct.  If you set the font, size and color or each column in the template when you drag feedback from Keep it will take on the styles that you set.  Be consistent with the cell colors for where students write (say Gray) and where students look for feedback (Orange).


Key considerations:
  • When designing, begin with the end in mind...student use of your feedback
  • Consider using Keep to speed up frequent commenting or have some fun with Stickers
  • When setting up your stickers or can always share them with colleagues right from Keep.
Here are some you might like.

Enjoy your life!


Friday, October 20, 2017

Google Slides Add-ons and Classroom Organization

Larry’s Weekly Tech Tips
1.    Google Slides:  Check out the Add-ons menu in google slides.
  • Suggested Add-Ons
    • Peardeck:  Add slides to check for student understanding and launch Peardeck right from slides
    • Unsplash:  Access 100s of HIGH quality photos.
    • Don’t bother with Shutterstock or Adobe which require accounts for full access.  

2.   Google Classroom organization
  • Teach students to use the To-Do menu that can be found in the hamburger menu File:Hamburger icon.svg - Wikimedia Commons to see a list of work due and filter by class.

3.   Screenshots on a PC

  • Option 1: Use printscreen button and paste into a document or image editor. Google docs and MS Word both have crop options when an image is selected
  • Option 2: Use the Snipping tool, standard on Windows machines. Go to your school programs folder and find the windows accessories folder and drag the snipping tool out onto your desktop for easy access
  • Option 3: There are several chrome extensions that will snip or record anything in the chrome browser. Try these. Nimbus to snip and Screencastify to record

Those are my tips…but I have been wrong before.
Enjoy your life.
Larry Goble
Teacher assigned as Instructional Technology Coach

Williamsville Central Schools

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Oh-My-Forms...Test, Grade, Give Feedback and Pass Back Assessments with Google Forms and Classroom

     Think you know forms?  You have been using Google Classroom.  You have been using Google Forms.  You may have even been using Google Forms within Google Classroom but because of recent and some not so recent changes to forms and classroom you can now easily administer, grade, give feedback and pass back a worksheet or test within the G-Suite.

     The first step is to create a quiz in google forms.  One new feature is that you can have google forms grade short answers and put in several "correct" answers such as "two" and "Two".  You can also restrict what kind of answers are allowed for instance a number or text.  
    It is also important to look at the settings for the quiz.  For a quiz that matters I like to release grades after review and turn off the check boxes.
     The key step is to attach the google form quiz to your Google Classroom post in a particular way.  Instead of posting the public share link to the form, attach the form as a document directly from your google drive.  

     One last switch to turn on in the google classroom assignment post is the "enable grade importing" button.  This enables the magic later on. 
Grade and Give Feedback
     Once students take the quiz you can go into the form, click on responses and then individual.  If you want to give specific feedback on individual quizzes you can do that.  If you want to review the short answer or other questions and assign points you can do that.  If the questions are all straightforward multiple choice you won't have to do anything at all in the form. 
Pass Back 
     Once you are ready to release the feedback, correct answers and grades go to the google classroom assignment post.  Click the import grades button and then select all students with the top checkbox and choose return.

     When students go back to the google classroom post and click on the form they will now see not only their grade but also what answers the put, which ones were right and wrong and also any feedback you have given them.
     Lastly, any grades in classroom can be imported into your Wits gradebook with a few clicks.  Magic.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekly Tech Tips

With our switch to the Windows 10 operating system a frequent question is, "Where is ...?"  Below are a number tips that might get you a little closer to finding...

1. Open the File Explorer Tab:  While you can right-click on the desktop and personalize the theme to add a desktop icon of "This PC" the explorer tab really has all you need.

2.  Pin to Quick Access:  On the left hand side is a list of drives and folders your PC has access to.  You can add to the Quick Access list by navigating to a folder, right-clicking and then "Pin to Quick Access"  Do this with any folder in your H: drive you frequent to save a couple of clicks

3.  Use the Search Bar:  For finding documents you can't remember where you put them.  Click into any folder or drive (Quick Access or H: Drive) and then type in a key word in the document name. will get list of files that have that word(s) in it.

Better Yet...move to online cloud storage in Google Drive where MS Office, H: Drive and File Explorer and more are found together in one place anywhere you have internet access.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

End of the Year Checklist: Google Classroom

As things wrap up with exams you may have some end of year procedures you like to do to make sure you get a great start in the Fall.  This year we may want to add one more to our list and clean up our Google Classroom too.

1  Keep Student Exemplars:
a.   go into the google classroom assignment,
b.   click the mini file folder at the top,
c.    In that drive folder, right click on the exemplar and make a copy
d.   Drag the copy to your exemplar folder

2  Review/Return all assignments
a.   In google classroom, click on the hamburger menu and press work
b.   Click on the To Review tab at top
c.    Choose the class to review or All classes
d.   Click on each assignment and check to see if you have returned all work to students.
e.   Use Snowman menu to mark as reviewed.  (You can also do this as a habit during the year to keep grading organized.

   Archive this Year’s classes (you can still get to them)
a.   Go to the classes homepage (has tiles of all classes)
b.   Click the snowman menu on each tile and choose Archive.
c.    This cleans up your classroom page but you can still un-archive the class OR copy assignments from archived classes.

Here is a video if you want a visual walkthrough.

Enjoy your life!