#EduDuctTape Live Mini 006: AJ Vambaketes talks Gamification, Computer Science and more!

In my 6th mini-episode, I’m sharing an interview with social studies and computer science teacher A.J. Vambaketes from the #TeachBetter19 Conference.  A.J. shares about gamification, computer science, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), MicroBits, using Google Drawings to create gamification visuals and using Schoology’s completion rules.

Note: For the foreseeable future, mini-episodes, recorded live and on-location at a conference or event, will come out every other Wednesday morning.

 

AJ Vambaketes Mini Episode Image

 

#EduDuctTape Live Mini 005: Rachelle Dene Poth!

In my 5th mini-episode, I’m sharing with you an interview with Edtech Consultant, Author, Spanish and STEAM Teacher, Attorney, Blogger and EduGladiator Rachelle Dene Poth at the #TeachBetter19 Conference.  Rachelle shares about her favorite classroom VR tool (Nearpod) and student creation tool (Buncee), while also noting a few other favorite tools like CoSpaces and 3DBear.

Note: For the foreseeable future, mini-episodes, recorded live and on-location at a conference or event, will come out every other Wednesday morning.

 

Rachelle Dene Poth Mini Episode Promo

 

My Top 5 Retweets of 2019!

As excited as I am to share my own content on Twitter, I’m even more excited to share other people’s content on Twitter! There are so many awesome educators and creators out there in my Twitter PLN and I love to spotlight what they’re creating and sharing.  Here are my 5 “retweets” that were viewed the most!

(Note: these weren’t standard “retweets,” they were quoted retweets.)

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

#EduDuctTape Podcast 028

In the fifth episode of Season 2, I talk with Mike Mohammad about PearDeck, Flipgrid, NearPod, The Answer Pad, Formative, Classkick, Seesaw, Google Sites, student voice, learner profiles, digital portfolios & a wardrobe malfunction.

Mike Mohammad Episode Promo

4 Tips for Assessing Growth in Student Writing in Google Docs

It’s safe to say that most educators agree that feedback should be given to students not just at the end of an assignment, but also during.  Many educators would even say that the “during” feedback is more important, especially in writing.  But, how do we do that efficiently?  Reading & assessing student work twice takes up lots of time.

Well, I have 4 tips that I think can help.

By comparing a rough draft (or earlier draft) to the final draft (or most current draft), the teacher can assess the changes being made and decide if additional changes are necessary.  It’s also a great way for teachers to see what areas for improvement students are and are not catching.

Google Docs offers some great functions for doing this.  In this post, I’ll share 3 tips with you to help with this process.

Continue reading 4 Tips for Assessing Growth in Student Writing in Google Docs

Graphic Design Tools in Google Slides: Align, Distribute & Center

On the Google Teacher Tribe podcast (one of my favorite podcasts) Kasey Bell & Matt Miller often refer to Google Slides as the “Swiss Army Knife of gSuite.”  And I agree!  There are so many things that you can do in Google Slides.  In this post, I’m going to show you 3 super useful Graphic Design tools that are available in Slides.

Align – When you select 2+ objects (images, shapes, text boxes, etc.) you can align them horizontally (left, right or center) or vertically (top, bottom or center) with each other!

Distribute – When you select 3+ objects (images, shapes, text boxes, etc.) you can distribute them horizontally or vertically in relation to each other.  This spaces the objects out evenly.  It’s important to note that it’s based off of the positions of the leftmost and rightmost objects.  So, get your left and right objects into place and then use this tool to distribute everything else out evenly in between.

Center on Page – This tool does exactly what you’d expect it to, but with one nice bonus – if you have multiple objects selected it will center them as a group.  So, the objects themselves may not be in the center of the slide, but they will be arranged with the center of the group at the center of the slide.

A note for the Google Drawings fans out there: each of these items are also available there and work in the same manner.

Check out the EduGIF of these 3 tools in action below and, if it moves too fast, check out the Pausable EduGIF here.

Align, Distribute & Center in Slides Animation

Making Silhouettes in Google Slides

Adjacent Possible.  Have you heard of it?  If you listen to the Educational Duct Tape Podcast, you probably have.  It’s this theory that a new set of possibilities is enabled by taking one step beyond the current state of things.  Every step opens up new possibilities, just like every conversation with a person can lead to new possibilities that you had not considered.

Well, I had an Adjacent Possible experience a few days ago while interviewing Tony Vincent for Episode 26 of the Educational Duct Tape podcast.  Tony was responding to a question about how to help students get to know each other.  He shared with me about this activity that he had done where his students took side profile pictures of themselves and then turned them into silhouettes of in Google Slides.  They then added in images and words that showed their interests.  The students presented their slides to their classmates and, later, those same slides were played on a loop on a screen in the room.  What I love about this activity is that, on the surface, it’s a great “getting to know each other” activity.  But, underneath that, it’s also a fantastic way to teacher kids some new skills with a tool that the teacher planned on using in class.

This is actually an activity that Tony teaches participants in his fantastic Classy Graphics course. If you’re interested in learning Graphic Design with Google Tools, you should check it out!

There are certainly ways to make these silhouettes that would be easier.  But that’s not the point. The point is, opening students’ eyes to the possibilities within the tools that they have access to.  As Tony shared in the episode, his students became highly capable at using Slides to create all sorts of things.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not surprised.  By doing this activity, his students saw slides as more than just a tool for presentations.  They saw it as a creation space.

Well, as you have probably already guessed, I was compelled to turn this into an #EduGIF, so here it is.  After the GIF, I’ll share step-by-step instructions for making these.  By the way, I’d be honored if you used this GIF and these instructions with your own students in class.  You can repay me by showing me some of their creations!

Continue reading Making Silhouettes in Google Slides

#EduDuctTape Twitter Chat – 8/28/19

Well, the first #EduDuctTape Chat is in the books and it was a 🌪  of awesomeness! Wow! People shared some really, really cool stuff and now I want to share it all with you.

So, the questions all came from Episode 25 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast which featured Stacey Roshan as the guest.

There were sooooo many amazing responses, but I tried to curate some of my favorites for you.  It was difficult to narrow down the list!

Below, you’ll find those selected responses in this order Q2, Q3, Q4 and then Q1.  Since Q1 was silly & fun, I’ve chosen to end with that one.  Check it all out below!

Continue reading #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat – 8/28/19