Need More than the Docs App Can Do? Use the Desktop Version!

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 1.35.58 PMThe Docs App on the iPad is great and it allows for students to quickly create and share documents with others. Students can change the font to a limited number of fonts, they can change the size and color of their text, they can highlight, and they can also add a bulleted or numbered list. But what if they need to do more, such as double-space their text, see the revision history of a document, or use research tools? Have them use the desktop version!

How Does It Work?

The desktop version of docs or drive is accessed through a Web browser. Start by having students open Chrome or Safari (or whatever Web browser they use) and go to drive.google.com. From there, they will log in with their Google Apps account username (their email address) and password. The screen will then look like this:

drive_desktop_1This screen is really more of a viewer. Even if you choose one of the folders or documents from your Drive, you will won’t be able to do anything with it. In order to be able to edit, you need to open it in the desktop version. On the left, you’ll see three little lines. Tap those lines for the menu. Then choose Desktop Version.

drive_desktop_2You will be brought to the desktop version right away, but you will have to go through a few more steps before you are able to edit a document in the desktop version. Scroll through and select the document you want to open by tapping on it.drive_desktop_3You’ll be sent back to a very basic editor. drive_desktop_4You could edit the document from here by choosing Edit, but you’ll want to remind your iPad that you are trying to use the desktop version by choosing the two little down arrows next to the Edit button. drive_desktop_5The iPad really resists doing this, as you can see, so remind it again that you do, indeed, want to use the desktop version.drive_desktop_6After this, your document should open right away and you’ll have access to just about everything you have on the computer.drive_desktop_7

For example, you might not be able to create a table in on the iPad, even in the desktop version. But you will be able to double space documents, see the revision history, and use the research tools within Docs.

What Do You Think?

Yes, this process can be frustrating, but it provides additional functionality to Google Docs if your students are using iPads and there isn’t access to computers. Or have you found a better way? If you have, please share!

Get Students Playing with Kahoot!

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 12.18.15 PMGames are fun, and turning a quiz review or a discussion into a game can make these activities exciting and engaging for students. Kahoot.it! is a game-based Web 2.0 tool that teachers and students can use for content reviews or formative assessments. All you need is a projector, a host device, and mobile devices in the classroom to run a game of Kahoot!

How Does Kahoot! Work?

  1. Sign up for an account at getkahoot.com.
  2. Start a quiz, discussion, or poll, and give it a name. Kahoot!1
  3. Type in your first question. You can add an image or a video to make the question a little more engaging, especially if it has something to do with the question! You have options to make the question worth points or not, and you can also change how many seconds you provide to click an answer. Each question starts with the same number of points, and points are awarded to correct answers based upon how long it took to choose the answer.Kahoot!2Kahoot!4
  4. Add answers at the bottom of the page. You will probably need to scroll down to see where to add the answers. There’s a 60-character limit to the answers which is reflected by a number to the left of Incorrect/Correct button. Each answer defaults to incorrect, but you just click on the incorrect/correct button to change it. You can have up to four answers per question, and you can also make all of the answers correct if there isn’t just one right answer.
    Kahoot!3Kahoot!5
  5. Continue to add questions by clicking on the “Add Question” button at the bottom of the page. You can also move between questions by clicking on the numbers at the bottom left.Kahoot!11
  6.  When you are finished with the quiz, choose Save and Continue. You’ll be asked to provide a little more information about the quiz. You can keep the quiz public or set it to private, and you need to indicate who the audience of the quiz is. You can add a description or tags if you wish.Kahoot!6
  7. When you are all finished with that, choose Save and Continue. You’ll be taken to the final page, which allows you to play or preview the quiz. I recommend doing the preview because it shows you exactly what your quiz will look like to the students.Kahoot!8
  8. When the preview screen comes up, make sure to choose “Launch” on the right so that you are given a code to enter the quiz. Enter it on the little phone on the right and you’ll be able to play just like the students would.Kahoot!10
  9. When you are ready to allow students, launch the Kahoot! game and provide the code to your students. Project your Kahoot! on the screen so all students can see it, and you are all set!

Classroom Connection

Kahoot is a fun way to have students work individually (if you have 1:1) or in teams to play a review game or have a class discussion. If you have a few devices in your classroom or even if you only have two, have students work in larger teams. When you create the game, make sure to allow a little longer to answer each question so that students have the opportunity to talk about the answer with their group. Pass the device around so that all students have the chance to choose an answer. They get really competitive with this game and they want to be at the top of the leaderboard! It will get loud in the classroom, but it’s the kind of loud you want– engaged-in-learning-loud! Even adults get into the competition with Kahoot! Students could also make their own Kahoot! quizzes for themselves or their peers as review.

Common Core Connection

As a review game, Kahoot! can potentially help students meet the standards because the questions you ask will be Common Core-aligned questions about the content you are studying. If you choose, you can wait between questions and discuss answers that were given to help students process the questions and answers. This will help students go deeper and explain their thinking on an answer, which helps with their communication and critical thinking skills.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Kahoot! in the classroom? How have your students responded to this type of review?

YouTube: Add Sections to Your Channel

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.44.56 AMIn a previous post, I talked about how to create a playlist. Making playlists is the first step when gathering videos for a lesson, and once you’ve done this, making playlists easily accessible to students is the next step. This post will show you how to edit your channel navigation so that you can put a playlist on the home page of your channel for easy access. Students are able to view your playlists by choosing playlist from your channel menu, but adding the playlist to your channel for a short time gives them immediate access to the lessons. One of my favorite things about doing this is that you can put a playlist up for a unit of study, and when you are finished with that unit, you can hide that playlist and put your next one on your channel’s landing page.

Edit Channel Navigation

This video will walk you through the steps for editing your channel navigation. This must be done in order to put a playlist on the landing page of your channel. It will enable you to add sections to your channel.

Add A Playlist to Your Channel

If you aren’t already there, click on the menu next to the YouTube logo in the upper left and navigate to “My Channel.”YouTube My ChannelNow that you are able to add sections to your channel,  you will click the “Add Section” button. If you don’t have this button on your home page, please watch the video above! The button will be located under the area for an Unsubscribed Channel trailer. This is an optional video that you can create to let others know what your channel is all about. Add a Section to ChannelClick on the Content dropdown menu and choose Single Playlist. When you do this, a new set of menus will appear underneath the Content and Layout menus. You can also change the layout from horizontal to vertical.Add a Section 2There are two options under Choose A Playlist. Click on the option on the right that says “Find playlist.” This will bring up all the playlists you have created. Choose the one you’d like to display on your channel.Add a Section 4A preview of what your playlist will look like appears, and if you are satisfied, choose Done in the upper right-hand corner of the workspace. Now students (or anyone who visits your channel) will be able to see this playlist when they visit your channel.

Remove the Playlist from Your Channel

Removing a playlist will not destroy it, but instead it will hide it from the front page of your channel. To do this, hover your mouse over the playlist you’d like to remove. In the right-hand corner of the playlist, you will see the edit icon (pencil) appear. Click the pencil.YouTube edit buttonYou will now see the menu that you used to add the channel to your section, and in the upper right-hand corner you will see a trash can. Clicking the trashcan will remove the playlist from your channel’s home page, but it will not remove the playlist from you account. You can always add it back if you change your mind by following the steps for adding a playlist to your channel.Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.29.10 AM

What Do You Think?

How have you used YouTube playlists on your channel home page? Do you have other suggestions for helping your students find your videos easily?

 

 

 

How to Create a Playlist in YouTube

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Gathering videos on a YouTube playlist is an awesome way to collect video resources for your students. You can include videos you’ve created for students, and you can also explore YouTube for videos that others have created for educational purposes. This post will just deal with creating the playlist. In the next post, I will show you how to edit your channel so that you can put your playlists on your channel for students to have easy access to the videos you want them to watch.

How Do You Create a Playlist?

1. Make sure you are logged into YouTube with your GAFE account (if you use Google Apps for Education in your classroom) or whichever account you will point your students to.YouTube sign in

2. Search for a video you want to add to the playlist.YouTube video search

3. Click on the video you want to view and/or save, and look at the menu under the video. You will see an “Add To” button. YouTube Add to

4. If you have already created some playlists, you will see all of them when you click on “Add To.” Check a playlist to add the video to that list. If you do not already have a playlist, choose “Create new playlist.” You will have the option to make your playlist public, unlisted, or private. Public playlists are always available on your playlists page. Unlisted playlists and private playlists are available to your eyes only. To share a playlist with students, it must be public. You can change this at any time in playlist settings.

YouTube Create PlaylistScreen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.33.10 AM

 

5. Now that you’ve created a playlist, where do you go to see it? Click on the menu next to the YouTube icon at the top left. You can either click on “My Channel” choose one of your playlists from the ones that are listed in the menu.

YouTube MenuPlaylists can be as long or as short as you’d like them to be. You could have a playlist for each unit of study, or you could have a playlist for each week– whatever works best for your students.

What Do You Think?

How have you used YouTube playlists with students?

 

QR Codes: Hanging Digital Work on Classroom Walls

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.38.30 AMQR codes are everywhere, from product packaging to business cards. But what is a QR code, and why should teachers care? One of the biggest concerns I hear from teachers as students create more and more digital products is that there won’t be any student work to hang on the walls. Using QR codes allows students to create a portion of a project on paper– such as an illustration or some other work of art– and the student can then make a QR code that contains the digital product they’ve created to go along with it. Print the QR code, attach it to the artwork, and anyone with a mobile device can view the project in its entirety.

Reading QR Codes

My favorite app for reading QR codes is i-nigma. It’s the quickest reader I’ve come across. Just launch the app, hold your phone or iPad up to the QR code, and wait for the ding. You won’t have to wait very long– the app uses the camera of the device and it uses the whole screen to scan the code, not a little red line within a special place on the screen. It’s seriously fast. There are other apps you could use, such as Red Laser (an iPhone app that works on the iPad), QR Reader for iPad, or Qrafter. All of those apps are great because you can also create QR codes directly from the device. But the fastest reader out there is i-nigma.

Below is an infographic I created about QR codes with some ideas for how they can be used in the classroom.

Common Core Connection

It is a stretch to say that there’s a Common Core connection when using QR codes in the classroom, but they do help with the dissemination of information. Using QR codes provides students with easy access to materials you create or websites you would like for them to visit. It also provides a quick way for anyone coming through the classroom to have access to the digital products your students are creating, and those digital products are all reflective of their understanding of Common Core State Standards. Additionally, having students create QR codes for their own work helps them develop their digital literacy skills as they learn new ways to share their work.

What Do You Think?

How have you used QR codes in your classroom? what is your favorite tool for reading or creating them?

Inform Your Teaching with Google Forms

forms-iconIf you are a teacher who has access to technology in the classroom and you aren’t using Google Forms, you really should be! Forms can be used by any teacher who has a Google account, even those who don’t have Google Apps for Education through the school, and they are a fantastic way to gather information from students or parents.  Teachers can collect all sorts of data using forms, including:

  • daily attendance
  • quick exit survey
  • quizzes or tests
  • parent or student contact information
  • signups for volunteer activities
  • walkthroughs
  • evaluations
  • staff surveys
  • reading logs
  • walkthroughs
  • evaluations
  • staff surveys
  • choose your own adventure activities
  • applications for school programs

If you are teaching in a school that has Google Apps for Education, students also have access to Google Forms in Drive, so they can also create their own surveys for class projects.

I recently presented a session at the Ed Tech Team Orange County Summit featuring Google for Education called InFORM Your Teaching with Google Forms. The session was geared toward teachers who are just beginning to use Google Forms, and it was a standing-room-only session with lots of energy. When I present to teachers, I like to include a hands-on aspect to my sessions, and this one was no different. Teachers spent about half the time creating a new form that they can use as the school year begins.

Want to Create a Form?

To get you started, I’ve created a Google Forms Task Challenge. It’s the first in what I hope to be many, but it gives you a starting point to create a share a form. If you do create one, you do not need to share it with me (unless you want to!). The purpose of the Task Challenge is just to give you a starting point. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do or ask in a form, so this is just meant to be a jumping-off point. You are not bound to only do what’s on the challenge. In fact, many of the attendees went above and beyond in creating a form.

Sending Vs. Sharing

Usually when you work in Google Docs, you share your documents rather than send them. Forms are a bit different. You can share them with collaborators and have other teachers add and edit questions on your survey, but when you are ready for respondents to fill out the form, you have a few options:

  • send via email
  • post a link on a website
  • embed in a website
  • make a QR code for quick access

Here is a quick video that shows you a couple of steps in this process. It doesn’t include how to embed in a website, but it does show where you will find the code. It also doesn’t include how to create a QR code.

Common Core Connection

Is there a Common Core Connection here? Sure, there is. Using Google Forms as a teacher will help you assess your students’ progress toward achieving the standards, but if you have students creating forms, it’s even more of a tool to help students meet the standards. Additionally, students are improving their 21st Century Skills when they collaborate to create a form, which can be used for any subject or reason. Asking clear and precise questions, and determining the correct type of question for a specific purpose,  helps students improve their communication and critical thinking skills.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Google Forms with students? What are some suggestions you have for using Google Forms in the classroom?

Student-Centered Use of Technology: My Phil”apps”ophy

photo 1I created Come On, Get Appy!  to share apps and show where and how they fit with the Common Core. With so many apps in the app store, and the number is growing daily— how do I choose the apps I share?

How I Choose Apps to Share

I follow two major ideas when thinking about apps:

  • Apps used in the classroom should be predominately creation apps.
  • All the apps you use with students should fit on one screen. This gives you 25 slots on an iPad—and that’s a lot. The apps I have on my home page include creation apps and curation apps, because those are the ones I use most often. If I find I’m not regularly using an app, I’ll exchange it with one I use more often. This makes my home screen the only screen I really need for most of my work.

I realize that these ideas go against what many teachers want. I frequently get requests for content apps, and I have no problem with content apps. In fact, I’ve shared posts on content-based apps (like Sums Stacker). However, I prefer to spend my time and money on an app that can be used across the curriculum for multiple purposes and can be used in student-centered ways— rather than on an app that is only about consuming content.

Student-Centered Ways? What Do You Mean?

When I conduct Professional Development on technology integration, I always bring it back to the idea that what we are doing with technology needs to focus on student-centered uses. Actually, everything we do in the classroom should be done in student-centered ways. So, what does this look like? What I want to see when I go into a classroom is students making choices— not only regarding the tool they will use, but of the product they will create using the tool. I want students to demonstrate their learning of a topic, and I don’t direct how they demonstrate this learning. I believe that this can best be accomplished using creation apps.

For some teachers, allowing students to choose the apps they use and they products they create can feel overwhelming. It requires the use of a rubric focused on the content, not the product. It may mean that there are 20 different types of products to grade (assuming 40 students are working in pairs) for any given assignment. If the class is studying figurative language and the students need to prove their understanding of figurative language, some may choose to make a video or a presentation of some sort, while others may write and/or produce a story.  Some might not want to use technology at all. That’s completely okay. Students need opportunities to choose the best tool for the job. If they can justify why he or she has used a particular tool, I consider the use of technology to be done in a student-centered way.

Students making the decisions about which tool to use for which purpose is student-centered use of technology— even if the decision is to use no technology. In order to be able to make these choices, students need to have access to multiple apps that will allow them to create different products. As teachers, we need to make sure we are focused on the process—not the product.

Common Core Connection

This post isn’t about an app, per se; it’s about all apps. If you are using creation apps, there is a greater chance that you are addressing Common Core standards and the 7 Cs. Standard 6 of the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing states: “Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.” Producing and publishing writing takes many forms, and creation apps allow students to produce, publish, and post their work. The College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, especially standards 4, 5 and 6, can also be met through the use of creation apps.

What Do You Think?

I have a number of favorite creation apps. I’ve already written about many of them— Kidblog, VoiceThread, ExplainEverything, Coach’s Eye, Tellagami, Skitch, and Thinglink. However, there are so many more that I will eventually feature on Come On, Get ‘Appy! 

What are your favorite creation apps? How do you use them in student-centered ways?

 

 

Finding Documents in Drive using “Recent”

DriveI was recently in the middle of a presentation, and I had asked the teachers to complete a Google Form. The form was embedded in my website, but I wanted to show them how Google Forms gathers the responses in a spreadsheet. I went into my Google Drive… and I had a total brain freeze. I could not for the life of me remember what I had named the form, let alone where I had put it. Thankfully, being able to find the sheet by looking under “Recents” saved the day!

Recent Items

Under the red “Create” button in Google Drive is a listing of how you can view your documents. You can view the documents that are in your own Drive. If you have shared items that you haven’t moved into your Drive, you can find them by clicking on “Shared with Me.” If there are items you have starred as important, you can search for them by clicking on Starred. And if you haven’t found what you are looking for in this manner but you know you have recently created, edited, or modified a document, you can find it by clicking on “Recent.”

Drive Recent

Once you click on it, all of the items you have recently viewed or modified will be shown. You will know you are looking at your recent items because the word “Recent” on the left will turn red. Drive Recent 2

Within the Recent items, you can then filter in some additional ways to find documents. There are two filtering menus that are side-by-side, which gives you some flexibility in how you find what you are looking for.

Drive Recents 5

You can filter by the owner of the document. This is especially helpful if you know that the item you are looking for is one that is owned by another user and has been shared with you. The filter on the left works in conjunction with the filter to the far right. You will notice that both drop-down menus are the same, but you can’t have the same option chosen in both menus.

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What Do You Think?

Do you have a way of organizing your Google Drive so that you can easily find your documents (without having to use Recent)? Please share if you do!

Google Tip: Shortcuts Rule!

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 5.51.27 PMHave you ever wanted to know something really, really fast when doing a Google search? I know I have! The thing I’ve been most curious about is earthquakes. My husband always feels them and I rarely do. When he asks, “Did you feel that? We just had an earthquake,” I never believe him. But now there’s a quick and easy way for him to prove himself right! Not only that, but there’s a quick and easy way to find information about many different things in Google using these shortcuts.

Give it a Try

Go to Google in your favorite search engine. My favorite happens to be Chrome. Type in earthquakes, and you should see this!

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Traveling soon? Type in your flight information. You can also find out what time it is in your destination.

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Need to know money conversion rates for upcoming travel?

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Do you cook or bake? I love cooking but sometimes I can’t find my teaspoons. I always wonder how many teaspoons I’d need to make a tablespoon. Check this out— and the little arrows allow you to change any of the value types so you can convert any measurement (not just in the kitchen!).

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Type in an arithmetic problem (or the word, calculator) and, guess what? You’ll get a calculator.

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Wondering how your stock is doing?

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Feeling bored? Type in the name of any celebrity and “bacon no.” You don’t need the quotation marks. I have yet to find any celebrity that has a Bacon number of more than 2. That’s insane! (and no, I won’t tell you how long I spent doing this today…)

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Is This All?

I could go on and on. You can use find the weather forecast, sports scores, upcoming movie times at your favorite theater, word translations, driving directions, health conditions, restaurants in the area, anything! I was reminded of these shortcuts this weekend at the Annual CUE Conference. Thanks to Brandon Wislocki, who demonstrated these awesome shortcuts at the Google in Education West Coast Summit and at the CUE conference.

What Do You Think?

Do you know of any other shortcuts that aren’t listed here? More importantly, have you found a celebrity that has a larger-than-two Bacon Number?

Safety First! How to Filter Google Searches on the iPad

Attachment-1It’s pretty safe to say that teachers want to keep their students safe while they are on the Web. We teach our students appropriate online behavior, we teach them never to share personal information on social networks, and we teach them to be good digital citizens. In addition, school districts have filtering systems that help keep students from inappropriate content when they are searching on the computers. Sometimes, though, unsavory images and content get through filters. This video shows how to set up another level of safety when using the iPads by turning on Safe Search in two different Web browsers.