This post originally appeared on the Screencastify blog, here.
We all know how important it is for students to demonstrate
their understanding of a particular subject or problem by “showing their work.” If your students are using tablets, there are a number of great interactive whiteboard recording apps that allow students to write with a stylus, annotate images and provide audio explanations.
But what about the large student population who are using Chromebooks, not tablets? Some new Chromebooks have touch screens and a small number are ready to roll with Android apps, but for the majority of our students, this type of recording feature is nowhere in their near future. And it’s a great feature! What’s better than telling a student to “show their work”!? Telling them to “explain their work” or, better yet, narrate it.
As an educational technology advocate and problem-solver, I am always looking for a hack. And, here’s my hack for this. Tell your students: “click on the Screencastify extension, select Cam, spin the computer around, aim it at a piece of paper, starting writing or drawing and explain away.” In short, spin it around, write it down, explain with sound.
Never gonna go to war, never gonna drop a bomb
Never gonna shoot a gun and hurt you
Switzerland is never gonna say let’s fight
Never gonna tell a lie, Neutrality
These are not lyrics by Rick Astley. They’re by me, and they’re really lame. But. . . .they serve as a pretty good intro to the idea of having students record their own videos/songs of pop hits recreated with content-related lyrics.
If you know me, you know that I love a good “Rick Roll.” You also know that I love the idea of students proving their mastery of content by creating things rather than by filling in bubbles.
This idea mixes students love of 1) being creative and 2) lyrics videos on YouTube. Here’s a video (with even worse lyrics), followed by the steps.
It’s important that you clear your browsers cache and cookies regularly. Doing it daily isn’t necessary, but doing it monthly (or even more regularly) would be wise.
In layman’s terms, cache and cookies are like little pieces of the websites that you visit. In the short term, they help you load that site faster when you visit it next. In the long term, however, as the sites change, the cache & cookies start clogging up processes (often because they are no longer part of the sites that you visit). Clearing them will help your browser run more smoothly!
Here’s how to do it in Google Chrome:
Note: it was really hard to make it through this post without using a lame pun with the words cache or cookie. In fact, I think that my self-restraint earned me a cookie…. oops.
Giving speeches or presentations in front of their peers can be a really nerve-wrecking activity for students. We often encourage them to practice, but . . . what’s practice without reflection and self-assessment?
Students can use the free Google Chrome extension Screencastify to record themselves giving their speech or presentation. Then, they can view that recording and reflect on how they did.
Screencastify automatically saves to their Google Drive and is not public, unless the student chooses to upload to YouTube or share the Google Drive file.
Click on the extension and follow the prompts to set it up.
When ready, click on the extension to record.
Select Desktop (recording entire screen), Tab (recording just the current tab, even if you navigate away from it) or Cam (recording only the camera). If doing Desktop or Tab, decide if you want the webcam on or not.
Click Record and start talking!
Click stop and then watch your masterpiece. Remember that it’s also saved in your Google Drive in a “Screencastify” folder.
When at conferences and other learning events, I see lots of people using a variety of different URL Shorteners and QR Code creators. I started to wonder… which is the best? Here’s a chart to help you decide… Continue reading Which URL Shortener is best?
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.
Wait, what page are you on? I’m confused. What slide are you referring to? Ugh, what cell are you in!?
GSuite’s tools make collaboration–both between adults and between students–a piece of cake, but it can still be tough to keep up with one another, especially in lengthy Docs, Sheets or Slide decks. Did you know that if you click on their icon it will jump you right to their location? You’re welcome.
Ever wish you could put the same file in each students’ folder without making copies? Have a project that belongs in your Science folder and your English Language Arts folder? Any time that you need a Google Drive file to be in multiple locations, use Shift+Z to open up the “Add To” option. The same file will be in each location – edit it in one location, it updates in the other. Awesome sauce.