In the 19th regular episode of Season 2, I am sharing an episode with Catlin Tucker, author of Balance With Blended Learning, where we talk about how teachers can streamline feedback during class time so that they have less to do outside of class time. Catlin shares strategies from John Hattie and Mark Barnes as well as a handful of great tech tips to make feedback more efficient!
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?”
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:
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.
On 1/7/19, Google announced that you could now embed previously created Google Drawings into Google Docs. Before this announcement, you could create new Drawings from within a Doc, but you could not pull in Drawings created in the regular Drawings platform.
This was limiting, because the Drawings tool within Docs was only provided a small workspace and had less tools. It was also frustrating that a Drawing couldn’t be in both places – a Drawing and Doc – without copying and pasting or using the following workaround.
Up to this point, the best workaround was to download the Drawing as an image and then insert that image into the Doc. This was frustrating for a few reasons: it involved inconvenient extra steps and it meant that the Drawing in the Doc would not update if the actual Drawing was updated.
Well, now Google has made good on fixing this. In the Google Docs Insert menu, go to Drawing and now you can select New to create a new one or From Drive to select one that you created in the Google Drawings platform. When the drawing is changed in Drawings, you’ll see an Update option in the Doc to show the changes (unless you selected Unlink when you added the Drawing). Check it out in the animated GIF below:
Sometimes, I think a trick, hack or shortcut that I do with technology is unimpressive and something that everyone either knows or doesn’t care about. But then, when I mention it to someone, and they’re like “Whoa!” I think “Welp, this should be an EduGIF.”
Recently, I had the good fortune to be recording a guest appearance on the Shukes & Giff Podcast (er, maybe it’s the Shukes & Jake Podcast, now!? Kidding!). When I was chatting about Emoji Bullets with Kim Pollishuke (a.k.a. “Shukes”), I mentioned, “So, I’ll just click Shift+Command+8 and then…” and she said “Wait, What!?” And then I knew it, EduGIF time. So here it is . . .
in most Google Tools:
Click CTRL (Command on Mac) + Shift + 7 for Numbering
Click it again to undo numbering
Click CTRL (Command on Mac) + Shift + 8 for Bullets
Want to add a little flair to your HyperDocs and some fun to your lesson plans? Ditch those boring bullets for some emoji bullets!
In many cases, this can obviously lead to a less-professional looking document or slideshow, but in the classroom . . . why not add a little fun? Our learners l-o-v-e emoji and it may just make schoolwork look a little more inviting. So, here’s how to use them as bullets in Google Docs & Slides. First up: a GIF animation, followed by the step-by-step.
Click the appropriate button to add bullets.
Add any of the default bullet styles.
Right-Click (or two-finger click) on the first bullet and select More bullets.
In the first dropdown menu, select Emoji.
Now select your emoji!
Right-click (or two-finger click) on the first emoji bullet if you’d like to change the size of the bullets.
Did you ever really, really, really want a student (or colleague) to understand your feedback on a portion of a Google Doc? Well, my friend, I have got news for you. Surround a word (or group of words) in a Google Docs (or Slides, Sheets, Drawings…) Comment with asterisks (*) and you’ve got bold text. 💥Boom💥 Surround them with underscores ( _ ) and you’ve got italicized text. 💥Boom💥
🤔❓Why does using the underscore lead to italicized text instead of underlined text!? I have no idea. Ask the Googs.❓🤔
Even more puzzling, there’s no option to create underlined text. But hey, 3 minutes ago, you didn’t know about how to do bold or italics, so calm it down, buddy.
Here’s the real head-scratcher: some people seem to want strikethrough text in a comment. 🤷🏻♂️ Why? I dunno. But it’s possible. Just surround your text with hyphens (-) and you’ve got strikethrough. Medium-half-excited-don’t-know-why-anyone-wants-this-feature-💥Boom💥. But again, 4 minutes ago, you were clueless that this was even within the realm of possibility, so turn your snark dial down, Francis. Anyhow, here’s a GIF. Please enjoy.
A few weeks ago, I posted a little hack that I like to use for making student answers in Google Docs easier to find. You can see that post here. Multiple people reminded me of a practice that many elementary educators love using:
Instead of just pre-formatting the answer space, actually create an answer table. This makes it less likely that students accidentally mess up the pre-existing content in the doc and makes their answers easier to find. This is a great practice when assigning these Docs as Make a Copy for Each Student in Google Classroom.
There are 3 different ways to do this. I’ll show each in the GIF below and then go over them in some additional detail below the GIF.
If you’ve ever created assignments in Google Docs, Slides or Drawings for students to complete, you’re all too familiar with this struggle: students accidentally deleting, moving or modifying elements of the assignment.
Well, in Google Slides, there are 2 ways to prevent this from happening and here’s the easier of the two: put the content of the assignment in as a background. Then, the only way a student can delete, move or modify it would be to actually go into the background settings and change it…. which can’t be done by accident.
Let me show you how, first with an animated GIF and then with step-by-step instructions.
Set up your slide with any text, images, etc.
File > Download as > PNG Image (JPEG will work too)
Clear off the slide.
Click Background, then, next to Image, click Choose.
Click the downloaded image file from Step 2.
Voila! Send your assignment out in Classroom (or share it with students or have them make a copy).
When given the chance, I’m always going to pick an assignment where students are creating their own representations of their mastery of learning standards. However, I know that it’s not realistic to expect this all the time. So, I can see the value in annotating images rather than just typing. Google Drawings and Google Slides are great platforms for this . . . but what if it’s part of a bigger activity that does involve typing? Well, insert a drawing into a document, put the picture in, and tell the students to annotate it! Check it out in the animated GIF below (typed instructions follow the GIF).
In the Google Docs menu, click Insert > Drawing.
In the Drawing that pops up, copy and paste in an image (or drag it in from a separate tab as I did in the GIF).
Add instructions within the Drawing as needed.
Click Save and Close to finish preparing the drawing.
Assign the document in Google Classroom as Make a Copy for Each Student.
When students open the document, instruct them to double-click on the image that they see to open up the drawing and annotate it.