UPDATE: Google Meets Remote Learning Improvements

Teachers have been scrambling over the last week or so to figure out how to connect with and instruct their students during extended school closures. One of the first questions that many seeked to answer was “How can I do a synchronous video chat or lesson with my students?”

People rushed to test out Google Meet (formerly Google Hangouts), but red flags appeared quickly:

  1. Students were able to mute classmates in the meeting.
  2. Students were able to kick classmates out of the meeting.
  3. Students were able to access the meetings later, without the teacher’s “supervision” to continue chatting (Jake’s note: I’m not sure this is a bad thing.  They do this in our hallways and playgrounds, right?)

Well, Google for Education has reacted swiftly and effectively.  Last night, they released an update to Google Meet for gSuiteEdu users.  This update remedies the 3 issues listed above.

In my tests so far today, #1 and #2 above are already fixedIssue #3, however, still persisted in my test and it looks like it’s because that part of the rollout won’t be quite as swift (the post lists that it may take as long as 2 weeks to roll out to everyone).

Don’t come down to hard on ol’ Google here

I have already seen some “too little, too late” comments on Twitter about this. I do NOT agree with that.

First off, if you switched to Zoom because of this issue with Google Meet, there’s no reason to switch back to Meet.  You’ve got a solution that is working for you.  Just stick with it.  Don’t ask your students to learn a new platform.

Now, if you want to say “You were too late on this, Google!” slow. your. roll. Like every other tech tool that we’re using, Google Meet was not built for synchronous remote video lessons. They could’ve easily said “too bad, That’s not the intended use of Google Meet,” but instead they said “We’ll fix that for you.”

And not only that, but they went from becoming aware of the problem to fixing the problem within 1 week.  1 week!  That’s tremendous.

Not only is that the kind of proactive, growth mindset, seeing a problem and fixing it mentality that we want our tech companies to have, it’s the kind of mentality that we want our teachers and students to have!

Think about that: they tried something out (essentially, a beta, as they call it in the tech world or a pre-assessment as we may call it in education), observed a flaw, listened to feedback and put improvements in place.  In the classroom, we call that formative assessment.  In the landscape of remote learning?  We call that awesome.

#EduDuctTape Episode 39, Part 2: Remote Learning!

In the 2nd part of episode 17 of Season 2, I continue my focus on the use of technology for #RemoteLearning, #HomeLearning or #DistanceLearning in the age of school closures for the coronavirus (covid-19).  Multiple guests share their advice for formatively assessing students in these scenarios. Tools discussed include Quizizz, Zoom, Google Forms, Google Classroom, Screencastify, Edulastic, EdPuzzle, PearDeck, and Formative. Also, my son Cohen joins to show off his comedy chops.

See the Show Notes Here

#EduDuctTape Episode 39, Part 1: Remote Learning!

New Episode graphic. Contains same information from text below, along with the podcast logo.

The 17th episode of Season 2 is the 1st part of a special episode focusing on the use of technology for #RemoteLearning or #DistanceLearning in the age of school closures for the coronavirus (covid-19).  Multiple guests share their advice for using live, synchronous video in these circumstances. We discuss StreamYard, OBS, Zoom, Google Meet, Screencastify and Flipgrid.

See the Show Notes Here

#EduDuctTape Live Mini 009: Missy Paden

In the 9th mini-episode, 1st-grade teacher Missy Paden and I reflect on the first iteration of the Educational Duct Tape Workshop along with Missy’s goal of using Choice Boards, her experiences with using tech in the primary grades, and her growth and excitement around #edtech in her 18th year in the classroom.

Images shows a picture of Jake & Missy together, along with a title for the episode.Note: For the foreseeable future, mini-episodes, recorded live and on-location at a conference or event, will come out every other Wednesday morning.

Show Notes available here.

 

 

#EduDuctTape Live Mini 008: Christina Florence

My 8th mini-episode features an interview with high school science teacher Christina Florence from the #TeachBetter19 Conference in November 2019. Christina shares about her plans to start using Scratch in her Anatomy, Biology, Chemistry and Biology 2 courses to creatively represent scientific concepts.

Image shows a picture of Jake and Christina, the podcast logo and this episode's titleNote: For the foreseeable future, mini-episodes, recorded live and on-location at a conference or event, will come out every other Wednesday morning.

Show Notes available here.

 

 

Strategies for “Sticky” Vocab Learning!

Header Image for Post, contains post title and a picture of a dictionary

If you could be a fly on the wall of an average classroom, it’d be pretty likely that you’d hear something like “Don’t forget to study your vocab words tonight!” or “Remember to review your flashcards tonight!”

While there’s been a move away from the rote learning of yesteryear, most educators agree that having a firm grasp of content area vocabulary is still an important piece to the learning process.  I think that there are two important goals for learning vocabulary in content areas: (1) retention of the words (sticky learning) and (2) application of the words.

In Episode 34 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast, I spoke with Dr. Jared Cooney Horvath, author of Stop Talking, Start Influencing, about both of these goals.

A week after that episode came out, I was joined by dozens of “Duct Tapers” in the #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat to discuss the podcast episode, including these two goals.

Below are some strategies that you can use in your classrooms to increase your students’ ability retain and apply their vocabulary learning.  Some come from the chat and others come from the episode. Continue reading Strategies for “Sticky” Vocab Learning!

My Top 5 Lessons Learned in 2019

Over the last few days, I’ve shared some of my most popular content from 2019 (top posts, top Instagram posts, top tweets, top retweets & top podcast episodes).  However, it’s important to own the things that weren’t popular or successful.  It’s also important to learn from those things!

Here are my top 5 Lessons Learned in 2019!

  1. Practice like you Play – In October, I was a featured speaker at the Quincy Conference in Illinois.  I practiced my presentations on the flight there and a little more at the Airbnb that I stayed at.  I thought it would all go great.  And it did, except for one detail: my AmazonBasics wireless presentation remote was a hot mess.  There were at least a dozen times during the day that it didn’t click when it should have or clicked multiple times when it should have clicked once.  I looked so unprofessional.  I have since purchased a better clicker (I’m looking at you, Logitech Spotlight 😍) and now I always practice with my remote.  This lesson could also be, sometimes you’ve gotta pay more to get good quality.
  2. Prufreed – Er, Proofread.  My Google Translate in Google Sheets #EduGIF has traveled the world (literally).  It had more than 85,000 retweets in Indonesia and nearly 90,000 upvotes on Reddit.  But I didn’t proofread it before I published it and now it’s too late.  There is 1 error in there (the code for German is de, not ge), 1 silly choice (why translate taco from English to Spanish!?) and 1 not-so-great example (it translates bienvenido to you are welcome, rather than welcome).
  3. Back up your backups! I recorded a mini-episode of the Educational Duct Tape podcast with my friend Missy Paden at the Educational Duct Tape Workshop in December.  I edited it and had it almost ready to publish.  It was a great interview.  When I went back to publish it, the audio file had disappeared.  Poof.  I should’ve backed it up.  Instead, I ended up publishing an episode where I reflected on the disaster.  Multiple people reached out to tell me that they found my reflections to be valuable!
  4. Check – In May, I interviewed John Sowash for an episode of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast.  When I went back a few days later to edit the interview, I discovered that I hadn’t plugged in my microphone and, instead, my audio was recorded via my computer’s built-in mic.  Oops! It sounded horrible. I should’ve checked before recording!
  5. Double-Check! – In August, I interviewed Mike Mohammad for an episode of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast.  When I went back a weeks later to edit the interview, Mike’s audio wasn’t there.  We must have disconnected before it finished uploading the audio, or maybe there was an error message that I ignored.  Fortunately, Mike was willing to re-do the interview a few weeks later.  And it’s a good thing, too, because it became the 5th most listened-to episode of 2019.

Here’s to more successes and more lessons learned in 2020!  Happy New Year!

8+ Tools for Developing Learner Profiles

Mike Mohammad joined me in episode 28 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast to discuss 2 questions that an educator might have.  One of the topics that we discussed was learner profiles.  Mike posed the question, “How can students create a profile of themselves as a learner to share with an audience beyond the classroom?

Tools for Learner Profiles Title Image

While Mike and I did not discuss the it during the show, I want to quickly compare and contrast the terms learner profile and digital portfolio.  While there are similarities (both are typically curated by the student, both showcase the students work in school and both are often done digitally) there are also some differences (typically, digital portfolios are a showcase of academic work and growth while learner profiles also often focus on the students’ capabilities, characteristics and aptitudes as a learner).

Regardless of which end result you’re looking to cultivate in your school (learner profile, digital portfolio or a blend of both), there are plenty of tools that you can leverage.

A week after the episode in which Mike and I discusssed this aired, I hosted a Twitter chat about the questions from our talk.

Here are some of the participants’ responses to the question about learner profiles:

Continue reading 8+ Tools for Developing Learner Profiles

SCRATCHing the Surface: Trying Out Scratch

Scratch is a block-based programming tool from the MIT Media Lab that gets pigeon-holed as a tool for introducing students to coding & programming.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tool for that, but it’s oooohhhh sooo much more!  In my mind–and in the minds of many students who have used it–Scratch is a place with infinite possibilities for creation.

That creation can be, well… just about anything. And that anything could relate to games or music or jokes or…. science, math, social studies, language arts, world languages…. you get the picture.  ANYTHING.  It could be a great classroom tool.  Especially when put in the hands of students.

So, let me give you a little intro to Scratch.  Let’s SCRATCH the Surface.

I’ll update this post periodically, adding a few new #EduGIFs at a time.  If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll know when new #EduGIFs are added.

First Steps

Continue reading SCRATCHing the Surface: Trying Out Scratch

15+ Tools for Student Voice

In episode 28 of the Educational Duct Tape PodcastMike Mohammad joined me for a chit-chat.  One of the topics that we discussed was student voice.  I posed the question, “How can educators provide opportunities for student voice?

Mike promptly made the distinction between student voice and student choice.  While both are powerful things to leverage in the classroom, they are very different (though we often lump them together, as Mike pointed out).

I think that educators’ definitions for the term student voice are inconsistent – some seem to believe that it simply means
– hearing each student’s answer or thinking
– while others believe that it means empowering the students to have a voice in some (or all!) aspects of their education.

Mike made it clear in his response that he subscribes to the 2nd “definition” of student voice.  His response fits with the description that Edutopia usesstudent voice involves letting “students’ input and expertise … help shape their classroom, their school, and ultimately their own learning and growth.”

I definitely believe that that is the type of student voice that we want to strive for.  In a recent #EduDuctTape chat, educators shared their favorite tool for empowering student voice.  It’s important to note that simply using the tool doesn’t provide opportunity for or empowerment of student voice.  It’s all about how you use it.

Here are some of their responses:

Continue reading 15+ Tools for Student Voice