#EduDuctTape Episode 39, Part 3: Remote Learning!

Graphic Text: New Episode! Special Remote Learning Episode, Part 3: - Tracking Student Progress in Remote or Home Learning 3.23.2020

In the 3rd and final part of Episode 17 of Season 2, Jake continues his coverage of edtech ideas and suggestions for Remote or Home Learning during the covid-19 pandemic closures. In this episode, Jake shares the perspectives of 3 educators (plus his own) for tracking students’ progress during remote learning.

See the Show Notes Here

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

Slides Timer Extension

Two and a half years ago, I made an #EduGIF about adding timers to Google Slides using YouTube Videos and posted it on my site. Well, it’s time to introduce a new option.

Clay Smith is an educator in New York City. He’s also a talented coder. And that coding talent extends to gSuite Add-Ons and Chrome Extensions.  The newest in his repertoire of projects is Slides Timer, an extension that makes certain text placeholders in Google Slides text boxes come to life as timers when in present mode.

As Clay’s site explains, the extension accepts 3 different placeholders:

  • <<5:00->> will count down starting at 5 minutes.
  • <<2:00+>> will count up starting at 2 minutes
  • <<time>> will display the current time in AMPM format

Judging by the feedback form on Clay’s site, I’ll guess that this extension is still a work in progress. There are a few things that I’d change, if I could, but it’s already an awesome option as it is!

Check it out in the #EduGIF below!

Animation shows the use of Clay's Slides Timer Extension in action.
Pausable version of this #EduGIF available here: youtube.com/watch?v=16iqS5cWVZ0

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!

Adding Audio to Play on a Set of Google Slides

Not long ago, Google finally added the functionality of adding audio to Google Slides for all users.  And, not long thereafter, we started asking for improvements! 😬  Hey, it’s what we do! 😃

In this post, I’m going to share with you a hack to get the most asked for improvement.  It’s not an elegant hack (that’s an oxymoron, I think) but it’ll do until Google adds the actual functionality.

When you add audio, the main choice that you’ll have to make is
– “Do I want this to stop playing when I advance to the next slide…
– or do I want it to continue until the audio ends…
– or do I want it to loop until the end of the slideshow?”
Unfortunately, there’s no option to have it play on Slides 1, 2, 3 and 4 and then stop on Slide 5.

But what if that’s what we want?  In this post, I’ll show you a hack to set your audio to play for a subset of slides, but not for others.

My first idea for a hack was adding a different piece of audio on Slide 5, but that just leads to both audio files playing simultaneously.  Back to the drawing board.

My second idea worked.  So, here it is…  #EduGIF first, step-by-step instructions next.

This animation shows how to add audio for only a subset of the slides in a Google Slides file. The steps are typed out below the image.

Continue reading Adding Audio to Play on a Set of Google Slides

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

Searching for Images with Transparent Backgrounds in Google Image Search

There are lots of reasons that you might need images with transparent backgrounds! Maybe it’s for a #StopMotionSlides project!  Maybe it’s for a graphic design project!  Maybe it’s for a green screen video or image!

No matter what your reason is for wanting an image with a transparent background, the easiest option is the same: do a Google Image Search for images with a transparent background!

There are ways to take images and remove their background, but if we can start with no background, that’s even better!

Search in Google > Images > Tools > Color > Transparent

Note: Unfortunately, this is not a perfect process.  Using this strategy misses some images with transparent backgrounds and includes some images that it should have left out.

Check out the #EduGIF below.  A Pausable #EduGIF is available here.

Google Transparent Image Search Animation

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