One of the earliest edtech tools that I recommended to the teachers involved in the Writing Ourselves project, which I am the Technology Director for, was the DraftBack Extension. Once enabled, the extension allows you to playback your writing process for any doc that you are an editor on. Obviously, the best use case for this would be to have students do this.
What a powerful way for students to reflect on their writing process and for educators to assess (and offer feedback on) the way that they go about the writing craft. Awesome sauce.
If you’re like me, scrolling through a really long .pdf hoping to find the right page drives you bonkers. Did you know that, when looking at a .pdf in Google Chrome, you can jump directly to a page number?
Note: This is based on the number of pages in the document and occasionally the publisher of the PDF didn’t count the cover page and other initial pages in their numbering. So, typing in page 10, might actually land you on page 9 because the cover page didn’t count. But, hey, at least you only have to scroll one more page!
Let me start with this . . . I think the best thing that we can do for children in regards to the dangerous, disruptive and distorted content on the internet is to teach them to identify and avoid it. However, some students have difficulties with this and during intermediary times while helping them to develop better/safer online habits, an alternative support may be necessary.
One option is to use a separate Google Admin Organizational Unit (OU) that is has restricted internet access. In it, you can block all online content except for content that that you and your educators have identified as being a part of students’ learning experience. (The last thing that you would want to do is limit or prohibit their learning)
To do this:
- Login to the Google Admin Console
- Go to Device Management > Chrome Management > User Settings
- Select the appropriate OU (Organizational Unit)
- Scroll down to the URL Blocking Section
- In the URL Blacklist section enter only a *. This blocks ALL internet content.
- In the URL Blacklist Exception section, list every site that you do want your students to have access to. Keep in mind that an address like khanacademy.org will unblock anything starting with khanacademy.org, including things like khanacademy.org/math.
A few tips:
- When placing students into this group, you may need to move them in Active Directory in order for them to stay in the Google Admin Organizational Unit. It all depends on your setup.
- Maintain a Google Doc that teachers can access to see what sites are unblocked. That way, they can double-check their sites that they intend to use . . . and send you additions.
- Consider using an instructional piece about appropriate internet use to help students learn to make better choices so that they can be moved out of this group after an appropriate amount of time.
Again, this is not a perfect solution, but different students need different supports and scaffolds as we prepare them for their futures in our technology-obsessed society.
Note: These limitations will only be apply 1) in Chrome, 2) with the student logged into Chrome.
There are multiple options for creating animations (GoAnimate, Scratch, etc.) but my favorite way to do it is creating Stop Motion Slides. I like that I can make it exactly how I want it in this format. I think this has tons of potential in all subject areas (Please comment or share on Twitter with the hashtag #StopMotionSlides if you come up with any cool uses for it).
There are two main steps:
- Create a Google Slideshow where each slide is an incremental change from the previous one (like a flipbook).
- Open the slideshow up in Presenter view and use a screencasting tool (i.e., Camtasia, Screencastify, Screencast-o-matic) to record it as a video.
Here are a few of my tips for making it quick:
- Ctrl+D or ⌘+D to Duplicate Slides
- Use Arrows to Move Smoothly & Incrementally
- Move in groups when appropriate
- Rotate things incrementally
- Change Colors gradually
- Use Transparency
- Use Ordering
One of the complaints from Day 1 with Google Docs was the inability to add columns. Not too long ago, Google added this functionality, but it’s still sorely lacking in customizability. So, here’s a workaround:
- Insert a Table
- Enter your text and images
- Make the table’s border 0 point (a.k.a., invisible)
- Find a microphone
- Drop it
Years ago, I heard plenty of complaints about how Google Docs just didn’t measure up to Microsoft Word. My response always centered around the ways that Google Docs could change the way we worked and students learned. Most people have bought in, but I still occasionally hear complaints about missing features. One of them is adding captions to pictures – a major informational text skill in the English Language Arts standards.
Check out the GIF below to see how to use the “Insert > Drawing” tool to perform this task.
I should note, as has been pointed out that me on Twitter, that this process will reduce the quality of the image. I think that, for a student’s project it’s still okay. Just, you know, maybe not for your doctoral research paper or school yearbook.
The Duplicate Tabs button is probably an under-used option for most people. However, it can really come in handy. Every now and then, I need to keep a specific email open, but get back to my inbox. Duplicate Tab. Sometimes, I need to have a course in Schoology open, but open another. Duplicate Tab. One of my favorite uses, though, is when I have more than one Google Form submission that I have to fill out and they all have some similar entries (i.e., multiple session proposals for a conference, discipline referrals for the same incident with different students). Dup-li-cate Tab! Check out how that looks in the GIF below:
I love anything that saves me time and makes me more efficient. The Paint Format Tool? It’s one of those things. I ❤️ the Paint Format Tool (which I often call the Paint Roller Tool). Here’s why:
I am a huge spreadsheets nerd and a huge advocate of the use of spreadsheets in mathematics instruction. If you keep an eye on my site (or Twitter feed or YouTube Channel) you’ll see plenty of my reasons why I feel this way. Here’s one:
Spreadsheets are a great tool for proving mathematical algorithms and formulas. In this post . . . how we can use a Google Sheet to prove the formula for the mean (which, in spreadsheet land, is known as the average).
Check out this post about finding and exploring all 3 measures of central tendency with Google Sheets.