6.09.2017

We All Have a Reason to Celebrate!

Sure, it is the end of the school year. Sure, we all are exhausted from all of the tasks that we have been asked to do along the year. Sure, we are tired from the work that has been completed outside of the school day hours. But it is important to take the time to reflect on the awesome work that has been accomplished in 16-17 school year.

Over the course of the year, I have enjoyed hearing about the success stories that teachers have had after a lesson. Not staying in the same place and doing the same lesson can be very beneficial. Pushing one's self is an important trait for all teachers and learners to have. It is like the Blockbuster vs. Netflix situation. Blockbuster did not move with the times and push themselves to think differently with their business model. Netflix however decided that it was important to change their business model as human interest and demands changed over the years. Netflix is still around because they decided to push themselves.

I know that I speak on behalf of the tech department at BHS when I say that we are very proud of what has been accomplished tech wise. Bulldogs have done some GREAT work! Here is just a sampling of some of the great things that have been implemented this past school year...

Google Classroom

  • More teachers this year implemented Google Classroom into their courses to help students and teachers keep organized

PearDeck

  • Wellness 1 teachers used PearDeck for the first time to get student viewpoints with the topics at hand
  • French teachers used PearDeck as a vocabulary enforcer where they had to 'dress the snowman' based on the clothing vocabulary that they were learning
Adobe Spark
  • Students in The American Dream classes used Adobe Spark Video to produce a PSA
  • Students in Marine Biology used Adobe Spark Page to curate information based on their findings from a field trip to the Boston Museum of Science (they documented their experience by taking pictures to use in their Adobe Spark Page). The teacher also created an Adobe Spark Page to curate all student work from the class to share with everyone else.
  • Students in Power of Nature classes used Adobe Spark Page to showcase information about particular volcanoes.
  • Adobe Spark Post was used to share information to the bulldog community through its social media accounts
Presenting at Conferences
  • For the first time, the Bedford School District hosted its own Tech conference on a district workshop day where all employees in the district got together to talk about best practices with tech integration. There were many, many staff members at the high school who stepped up and presented at the conference. It was a cool experience for everyone to learn from each other!
  • Many high school staff presented at Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference for the first time. Topics included: The Changing Landscape in a 1:1 Classroom, Librarian & Tech Collaboration, and #GoogleAddict.
  • Several staff members have already agreed upon sharing their knowledge at our 2nd annual district conference next school year in October
Becoming Social Media Savvy
  • Counseling department helped produce a topic a month relating to social media for students and staff. These topics were discussed in advisories. 

Breakout EDU
  • At the beginning of the school year, staff participated in a Breakout EDU. Since then, many teachers used the Breakout boxes in their classes.
  • Some teachers challenged themselves to participate in a digital Breakout during a Workshop training.
Hyperdocs
  • Staff members throughout all disciplines created hyperdocs to help students discover, explore, apply, and share their learning
Google Keep
  • Several teachers have stayed organized over the year with using Google Keep
  • A couple teachers have explored around with DocStickers
GeoGebra
  • Geometry teachers used GeoGebra this year to help students visualize their learning - seeing as though all students have Chromebooks and the tool that they had before did not allow students to use with their Chromebook
Team Drive

  • Several teams and committees, such as the Leadership Team and the Self Management Committee, realized that they could be more efficient if they utilize the Team Drive feature in Google Drive
Google Expeditions
  • Counselors gave college virtual tours to Juniors in advisories
  • Google Expeditions were also given in math and science classes
  • Google recognized Toni Taylor's use of Google Expedition in a weekly Tuesday tweet
360 Filming
  • Film students explored around with creating 360 films for the first time
  • Teachers traveling with students to Machu Picchu during intersession used a 360 camera to document the experience - this will then be used in Spanish curriculum in the future

Screencasting
  • Several teachers in different disciplines implemented screencastify chrome extension. This was used either to film a project, record oneself with a piece of writing, or record a presentation. This has particularly been helpful in American Sign Language, and Humanities courses.
Osmo
  • Our life skills students were exposed to Osmo for the first time this year. They have had fun with making pizzas and giving change, using tangrams, exploring around with coding, spelling, and performing math operations.
1:1 Visits

  • Teachers willingly opened up their classrooms to visitors from other schools who were interested in learning how Chromebooks were used in BHS classes
LOTS TO BE PROUD OF! Obviously, I do not have every single new thing that happened this year. This is just a sampling of what I could remember. (If you think of something that I should add, let me know). Good things have been accomplished. Looking forward to the new possibilities next school year. #proudbulldog

And that is my Spiel...

5.31.2017

It's All About Design


Throughout this school year, I have been thinking about how content is shared with students. Before any 1:1 program, we as teachers would put something together in a Google Doc (or lets be honest and say Microsoft Word) and print the document out for each student. You might have tried to keep text to a page. Very little graphics, if any, were included.

Fast forward to today where students have a device. We can think about creating and designing content on a document that has more of a design element to it.

At the beginning of the school year, I was fortunate to participate in a YouTube Live conversation with Lisa Highfill and Kelly Hilton, co-creators of the term Hyperdocs. You can watch the recorded conversation HERE. I also previously wrote a blog post about Hyperdocs which can be found HERE. Basically, their main objective with hyperdocs is to help guide students through an informal, reflective journey. This can be accomplished through the following steps:  Engage, Explore, Explain, Apply, Share, Reflect, and Extend. More information can be found on the hyperdocs website.

There are times however where you don't want to create a hyperdoc for students but still need to share information. This is where an element of design, in terms of layout, color, and style come into play.

Two different examples come to mind when I think of the design element. One has to deal with sharing information to staff about two senior project celebration days (days where we do not hold classes, but instead learn from our students and their senior projects) and the other about sharing information to students over the course of a unit in a Global Humanities course.

It is important to note that there is not one 'right way' of putting information together. The whole point of this blog post is to help people think about how they are sharing information to others.

  • Should everything be in Times New Roman font, size 12, black font?
  • Should there be some color?
  • Should tables be involved?
  • Should a different file type be used besides Google Docs?
If students have a device in front of them, should things be more visual? Is the expectation for people to print said file - if that is the case maybe there shouldn't be much color. One could argue for or against each of the questions above. It is up to you as an educator to make your best judgement.

Senior Project Celebration Days

What: Teachers must be informed with how two days at the end of the school year are run to accommodate student presentations.
Problem to Solve: Before curating information, several (10-20) emails were sent out on the school wide group email causing staff to not know when or what was sent. As a result, a member of the committee, Ms. Doyle, came up with an idea last year to put all of the important information together in a Google Sheet.


This year, the decision was made to organize the information differently to help staff out. Again, keeping in mind that the committee didn't want to send several emails out, they decided to put all of the information together in a Google Drawing.

Both the Google Sheet and the Google Drawing share the same information - it is just presented differently.  Each file had links that opened up different files. Ask yourself, which would you rather look at? Your answer might be different from a friend of yours. I hope however, you think to yourself, how can/should I share information out with students beyond just typing text.

Unit Study in Global Studies

What: Students must 'Go the Distance' to learn and extend themselves in a Global Studies Unit.
Problem to Solve: The teachers, Mrs. Cooney and Mrs. Hatzidakis, wanted a way to curate and share the steps and procedure they wanted their students to take along their journey. Below are three different versions of the same information. Which one would you rather be on the receiving end if you were the student in their class?

Version 1 (White background with black text)
Version 2 (Purple background, with tables, different font)
Version 3 (Circular workflow process table, with different font and colors)

I know...I don't have the all the answers or the 'right way' of putting content together. Hope that this has gotten you to think about design however. If you have any questions or you would like to talk about this topic with me, you know where to find me.

It all comes down to design! And that is my Spiel...

5.22.2017

Sometimes We Have to Unlearn to Learn....

This past week, I was reminded, from time to time, we have to unlearn what we have always done in order to learn and improve. Sometimes this can be difficult to do. You have always done something a certain way...why would you want to ruin what is 'good'? However, sometimes change can be for the better. Sure it might take you awhile to get used to doing something new, but in the end you will see the benefits and progress.

Unlearn to Learn

Here is my recent journey of having to unlearn to learn over the past week.

I help manage our school's social media accounts. Whenever something needs to be posted on Instagram, I think to myself:

"What picture do we already have that I can use that relates to what needs to be shared?
"What picture could I take around the building?"
"Who can I ask that would have an image of...?"

There have been times in the past where I have thought,

"Well, I don't know what I would use as a picture so I don't know if I am going to post it on Instagram. Instead, I will just post it on the school's Twitter and Facebook accounts."

You probably already know what the problem might be with the last statement. Most of our students live in the Snapchat and/or Instagram worlds. They might not see what is shared on Twitter or Facebook.

Posting to Instagram 
"Traditional Method"
Let's say that I have already have the picture that I want to use for Instagram. In many instances it is a picture that was sent to me by mail. I would either need to send the picture to myself and open up the picture on my phone to post on Instagram, or I would share it to my drive. Sure that is a lot of steps, but hey, it is what I have done in the past.


"New Method"

I realized I should be using my phone to help me be creative in sharing information with the community. For instance, our school is celebrating turning 10 years old. I needed to find a way to share 'text' information in a visual format. Sure I could type all of the information under the image, but I didn't really have a 'good' image that related to the content.



It dawned on me that I really should push myself to try out Adobe Spark Post Mobile app. I have used the web version of the application but hadn't really tried the mobile version. To my surprise, I discovered that there were some great features in the mobile version that I had not seen on the web version.









Once I opened Spark Post, I discovered that you can 'remix' a spark post that some else has already created. I remember a colleague of mine, Mary Marotta, shared this information with me but I did not know what she was talking about until I actually used the app myself. I like the fact that I did not have to start from square one. Remember, I needed to share information through Instagram but I really did not want to spend more than 10 minutes to complete the task. I immediately scrolled through the 'school' category to see if there was something useful.











The Spark Post that I decided to use was an 'Open Mic' theme post. I decided to keep the background color and theme. The only thing that I changed was the text and content in the original Spark Post. 













Below is what I ended up creating and posting to the school's Instagram account.


Since then, I have also created other posts using the mobile version of Adobe Spark Post.



How and what I am using to post content to Instagram is not necessarily THE way to post to the social media platform. For me, realizing that I might want to change the way that I had ALWAYS posted to the platform might not always be the way that I want/should post. It is important from time to time to unlearn what you have always done to learn how to do the same task differently.

As always, if you ever want to chat about this idea, you know where to find me. And that is my spiel...

5.09.2017

Keyboard Shortcut for Providing Comments in Google Doc

Last week, I attended a math workshop put on by Alice Keeler. One of her talking points is all about being efficient and using keyboard shortcuts to save time. We as educators only have a certain amount of time in the day to get work done. Let's take back some of that time with using keyboard shortcuts. One way that this can be done is when we provide valuable feedback to our students through a Google Document with the commenting feature.

Keyboard Shortcuts:
Most people know the shortcuts when it comes to copying and pasting text. Many also know the shortcuts for opening a new tab. You might be asking yourself, "Self...how do I find out what keyboard shortcuts are available while using Google Documents?" Have no fear! Google has provided a keyboard shortcut page, which can be found under the Help Menu.


*NOTE: The keyboard shortcuts that you see in the gif file above are for mac users as I recorded this on my mac computer.

Assessing/Providing Feedback on Google Doc
Assessing/providing feedback on a Google Document can take sometime, especially when you first start to venture in this direction. I have heard many say that it takes longer to grade online compared to the 'traditional way' with pen and paper. However, there are a couple of keyboard shortcuts that can help save you time.

STEPS:

  • Place cursor where you want to add a comment
  • Use the following shortcut keys depending on the device that you have so that the commenting window will open on the right side of the Google Document:

Mac user: Command, Option, M
Chromebook User: Control, Alt, M

  • Provide your feedback
  • When completed with the comment, use the shortcut keys Control, M so that the commenting window will close




Close Current Tab

When you have finished providing feedback on the Google Document, don't hit the x on the tab in Chrome. Instead, use the following keyboard shortcut:

Mac user: Command, W
Chromebook User: Control, W

This will automatically close the current tab you are on.


I know that this seems basic, but you might be surprised at how efficient you become with providing feedback the more and more you get used to the keyboard shortcuts. Don't believe me...ask Jess Doyle as I know she has been using keyboard shortcuts for a couple of years now.

And that is my spiel...

4.13.2017

Creating Images with Google Auto Draw

In a recent post, I had mentioned that I was participating in #sketch50 challenge, where at the end of the challenge, I will have had created 50 sketches. Not everyone might have the time to actually create a sketch which is where one of Google's AI Experiments, Auto Draw, can come into play. If you find that you cannot create a 'well designed image' you can have auto draw actually predict what you are drawing and select from the images that it has already curated from artists.


For instance, I drew the following image from my laptop. On the top of the screen, it predicted that it might be a skateboard, or a bus, or a car or a... Then I am able to tell it what I was wanting it to be - In this case, I wanted it to be a car. I could then change color of the image, and if I wanted, I could also add other content with it. 






This can be a great way by which a student can get free to use images to support the work that they produce. I find this to be a very clever tool as it can be used in many different applications:
  • making a quick poster
  • getting images to support a Google Slide presentation (or for other web tools)
  • making a sketch note
The possibilities are endless. If you have any questions as to how you can use this tool with your students, stop by and we can chat.


Oh and by the way, if you have not tried out Google Quick Draw! yet, you have to try it out. It is a fun game to play where you have 20 seconds for the computer to figure out what image you are drawing. We played this with our advisees one day with the help of a projector and the IPevo Interactive Whiteboard.

And that is my spiel...



3.31.2017

#Sketch50 - True Inspiration

Let me start off by saying that I do not have the artistic ability like other people. However, I have always been intrigued with sketchnoting. Most people can agree with me in that Sylvia Duckworth does an amazing job with sketchnoting. If you do a simple Google search of 'Sylvia Duckworth sketchnote' several of her masterpieces come up.

Just this past December, I decided to attend Kathy Schrock's presentation at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference in New Hampshire on sketchnoting. Like I said, I have always been intrigued with sketchnoting. What I liked about Kathy's session was that she helped us walk through different tasks with sketchnoting...making people, shapes, borders etc. (Kathy has curated lots of resources on sketchnoting HERE) The session started to get my brain thinking that maybe I can sketchnote.

Fast forward to mid-March. I come across a tweet on Twitter that there was going to be a 50 day sketchnote challenge. Call me crazy, but I immediately thought that this was a cool idea.


My Challenge Journey
Sure enough, I decided to commit myself to the challenge and followed the Twitter Handle @Sketch_50. The first day was lightbulb. Sure I can draw that...

Day two was microphone or megaphone followed by speech bubbles for day three. It was not until Day four where I realized that there was something big happening.
1. Lots and lots of people have decided to join in on the fun from all over
2. People are inspiring others to participate in #sketch50
3. People are learning great techniques from others through the use of sketchnotes (for instance, on my first sketchnote, I did not include my twitter handle)
4. People are building their visual vocabulary through this challenge
5. People over the course of 50 days will have their own sketches that they can repurpose for future use


I also realized that we as people sure have different perspectives of one simple topic. Genevieve Pacada decided to curate all of the sketch notes from Day 3 - Speech Bubbles. I looked at some of these and was just in awe. It is cool to see other perspectives from people all over the world.

A colleague of mine, Jess Gilcreast, tweeted out to others that she decided to curate all of her sketches in a Google Docs table. This way she has a one stop shop of accessing all of her sketchnotes. Very clever idea as I would not have thought of doing something like that. I am going to do something similar with the use of storify. I have seen a couple of people mention or use this tool recently - thanks Tina Zita and Mary Marotta. My only hope is that over the course of these 50 days, I will see some improvement on my sketchnotes.


To see my personal journey that I have taken, click HERE.

Will You Join Me?
I highly encourage you to also get inspired by either participate in the challenge (you don't have to start from square one, or just follow the hashtag #sketch50 on twitter). Sketchnoting can be done in many ways:
  • Paper and pencil/pens
  • Google Drawing
  • Notes (Apple app on your iPhone)
  • Paper 53 (iPad app) - my personal preference
You would be surprised with what you see. True inspiration. Hope you will join me on this adventure.

And that is my spiel...



3.27.2017

Bingo with Your Chromebook

Looking to change up the way chromebooks are used in your classroom? How about having students play bingo electronically...

Google Drawing
Donna Dennis, a co-worker, came up with idea of creating a bingo board template in Google Drawing. Students would either make a copy of the bingo template or receive a copy in Google Classroom. Then students determine what words they want to use to put in their board by dragging the text boxes into the bingo game board. Once the have a match, they are able to bring over a chip to place over the square in the bingo board. This is a very clever way of having students still be able to determine what board they have without using paper. (Down fall you might say would be that students could move their chosen words around the board, as their words are not locked into place, while the game is being played). To see an example of the template that I am talking about, click HERE. - In the image below you cannot see the word bank or the chips that are provided.



If you are interested in the Google Drawing template, feel free to make a copy of it and adapt to your own content. Each word in the word bank is an individual text box. Click on the text box and edit the text. Within five minutes, you can have your own version!

Flippity


Those of you who know me know that I am a big fan of Flippity. The creator has very seamlessly created back end scripts for the average user of Google Sheets to help make their life that much easier.  Just last week, I noticed that Flippity has a bingo option! How cool is that? The steps are very easy:


  • Make a copy of the Bingo Template
  • Add your own words
  • Publish the spreadsheet
  • Provide the link for students to get their own version of the bingo card
For full details from Flippity, click HERE.


To try out a demo of G-Suite terms Bingo board that I put together, click HERE. When you get to the page, select the play tab (decide if you want a free space), then click on the link right above the QR code. You will be given a random arrangement from the words that I put into the spreadsheet. 

NOTE: each time you go to the link, it will give you a different arrangement. What is nice about this is if you put it through classroom, or have student type a shortener goo.gl url, they will automatically have a different game board. In other words, I clicked on the blue arrow next the link above the QR code. This opened another tab on my computer. I took the link from that new tab and used the goo.gl shortener chrome extension to get a shortened link. This link is what I told students to type in order to get their own board.

I also made sure that I put in more than the minimum number of words to help make sure that students did not have words on their game board.

When a student has a particular box, they just click on the words and a chip appears. If they make a mistake, they can just click on the chip and it will disappear. Very easy to use.

As always, if you have any questions on how to use this tool or you want to chat about how you can implement it in your curriculum, you know where to find me.

And that is my spiel...

3.24.2017

#GoogleExpeditions in the Geometry Classroom

*This post is near and dear to me seeing as though I used to teach math for eight years.

Virtual Reality is certainly a buzz word these days. Lately at our school, we have been exploring ways by which we can incorporate virtual reality in the classroom. One idea came from a math teacher, Trever Reeh, who blogged about having students explore angle of elevation.

Google Expeditions


Mrs. Taylor, a Geometry teacher at BHS, decided to try out a similar activity but instead use Google Expeditions. To get the students used to the app, she showed them around Machu Picchu first. She highlighted certain geometric characteristics as well as showcase the area. We heard lots of 'that's cool' and 'can we go somewhere else'.

Next step was to get students to understand how angle of elevation and right triangles can help determine how far they are in the virtual world to certain landmarks. Two landmarks in particular were the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. Students were paired up where one visited Paris, while the other visited London.

Mrs. Taylor started a different Google Expedition, High Points of Europe: A Tour of Towers, and had those going to Paris virtually see the Eiffel Tower first. The partner then measured the angle of elevation the student took to see the highest point of the tower. Once the measurements were taken, students switched roles so that measurements could be taken by looking at the top of Big Ben in London.

Students then had to do some quick research on their Chromebook to find out information about how tall the towers are, with correct units, to determine about how far they are from the landmark in the picture.

This was such a great opening activity for the students to learn about a new mathematical topic. They were engaged and had fun. I certainly wish that I was able to implement this activity back when I taught Geometry to my students.

A BIG thanks to Trever for inspiring us to try this out activity. Of course, if you would like to chat about how you can use Google Expeditions or Virtual Reality into your curriculum, stop by and we can chat.

And that is my Spiel...

3.17.2017

Google Street View - Creating 360 Photosphere

This week, Kerri Lunn and I have been exploring around with how one might be able to create a 360 Photosphere. One such app that will allow you to create a photosphere is Google's Google Street View. This app is different from Google Maps. This free app allows you to explore the world as if you were there in person. It integrates Google street views, still images, as well as 360 photospheres.



Check out the two photospheres that we created:

Main Entrance to Bedford High School



Tech 222 Office - check out our digs!


Exploring Around the World

When you open the app, you have the ability to search for a particular location at the top of the screen. Based on what you search, you will see a sample of photos and photospheres (360 photo). These will be located at the bottom of the screen. You will also notice who has actually uploaded the photo. By selecting the particular photo or photosphere, it will open to give you the perspective as if you were there in person.

You will notice in this screen shot, that there are three different red dots on Bedford High School indicating that there are three different photospheres available to view. The photospheres were taking in the locations (or almost) that are shown.












Adding Your Own Photosphere
If you want to add your own photosphere, click on the camera icon.


Then you will be prompted to take several pictures guiding the orange dot in the white circle.

Tip: Make sure that you do not move too much as this will distort your image. It definitely takes some getting use to.

Publishing Your Content
Once you have taken multiple pictures to complete a 360 photosphere, it will take a few minutes for the photo to be rendered. Then you will have the option to publish your photosphere. Things to note: in order to publish, use must be logged into your Google Account. Location of the photo will also be provided. Thus, you will want to make sure that your school district allows for work to be published with location tied to it (if you are working with students). Also, proper etiquette is to make sure that people in the photosphere give permission for their picture to be taken if their face appears.



And that is my Spiel...

3.01.2017

Creating 360 Videos

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been exploring around with virtual reality and 360 pictures/videos. Through this exploration, I have learned from and been inspired by Sylvia Duckworth (@sylviaduckworth), Kathy Schrock (@kathyschrock), Julie Spang (@jaspang), and Mary Marotta (@mmarotta). My main purpose is to find and implement authentic 360 experiences in the classroom. Sure, it might be cool to be able to take a picture or record something in 360. But how can one make sure that the learning experience has been enhanced.

Implementing 360 Videos
  • Periodically, students and teachers attend field trips throughout the school year. One could bring a 360 camera with them and actually capture part of the experience. This then could be shared with students who could not attend due to being out sick for that time.
  • Each year, students and teachers participate in what we call Intersession. This is where all parties involve participate in an experience beyond the typical curriculum. Some travel throughout the world - this year some students will be going to China as well as Machu Picchu. By capturing 360 video, Spanish teachers could integrate actual experiences with future classes about the location and culture.
  • Each year our seniors are required to do a senior project. How cool would it be for a senior to record their application of knowledge? That senior could then take that video and have students virtually experience what the student experienced during their senior project presentation with the help of VR headsets. (Great idea Ms. Hatzidakis!)
  • In the future, it would also be great for students to be able to take a 360 image and curate information relating to that image by placing hot spots. I know that some programs like Thinglink are already creating 'spaces' for uses to be able to do such a thing. Just a different way of sharing information beyond a typical Google Slide presentation or poster presentation.
Creating 360 Videos

Our school purchased a Richo Theta S. This camera allows a user to be able to take still 360 images as well as record true 360 video. I have found it very easy to capture images and video from the device. I, however, found it a bit challenging to actually upload a 360 video to YouTube. You cannot just go to YouTube to upload the video file like you would with any other non 360 video.


So, what is the process that I took? First I took the footage on the camera. I then followed the instructions that Ricoh provided on their website - where I connected the camera to my Mac computer. I found the file that I was interested in, but you will notice that the file is in the format of two different camera shots (see image below).



You must open the Ricoh app (already downloaded on my Mac computer) and place the file in the app. This will create the '360 file' that you really want. Unless I am missing something, you cannot just place this MP4 file in YouTube. YouTube will not know that it is an actual 360 video. On YouTube's help website, it states:

"Your video file needs to include certain metadata for 360° playback to be enabled."

So, I had to install an app on my Mac computer so that it will add the metadata it needs into a new file. Instructions on this process can be found HERE.

Once this was done, the file was then uploaded to YouTube. You will know that your video uploaded correctly if you see the arrows on the top left corner (when viewing video on laptop) or the cardboard icon shows up on bottom right corner (when viewing on a mobile device).

While this all seems like a lot of steps and a lot of work, it really isn't. Just a new process of doing something new. Now that I know what is entailed, I will be able to do this much faster in the future. 

Below is my very first attempt to uploading a 360 video to YouTube. It was filmed on a nice winter day on a country road. Yes, you will get to watch me walking in the middle of the road. I encourage you to see the difference between using a VR headset and a chromebook/laptop. The video most certainly will not receive any Academy awards as the quality is not great. I was more interested in learning about the process of how one could create such video. Moving forward, I would use a selfie stick or a camera stand (if stationary) when filming. You will notice that the camera does take itself out of the video but you can still tell that a hand was holding the camera while filming the video.



I can't wait to investigate more with 360 videos and virtual reality. It seems as though this is where we are headed. Just have to keep in mind of practical uses in the classroom. You know where to find me if you want to chat about how you can implement this in your curriculum.

As always, that is my Spiel...

2.18.2017

Using & Sharing G-Suite Templates

Let's face it...there are times where you are not interested in creating something from scratch or you do not want your students to have to either. You just want to be able to use a template that has already been made. Why reinvent the wheel? Well, Google Drive has some templates that you can choose from. The question you might ask is, "Well, how can I find templates for docs, slides, forms, etc."

If you are in the Google Drive tab, you will notice that when you go to create a new document, by selecting the new button, you are not prompted with an option to create a document from a template.












Instead, you will want to actually be on the landing page of the type of file that you are looking to use a template. For example, if you are looking for students to compose a letter or write newsletter for an assignment, you might have them go to the landing page of Google Docs (docs.google.com) OR select the docs icon in the top right waffle icon.


By doing this, not only will you find Google Docs that you have in your drive, you will also find some templates that have already been created for anyone to use and alter. Even if you do not like what is provided, the templates will give you an idea of how one has created them. This might give you some inspiration on how you can design some of your files moving forward. This might also give you some inspiration to share your own templates with your school domain.

Finding a Template

One row of templates are located at the top.



By selecting the word TEMPLATE GALLERY, you will find more options to choose from.



Select the one that you are interested in and away you go.

Providing a Template for Your School Domain
You have the ability to add a template for your school domain as well. Once you are in the template gallery, select your school district tab. Then follow the steps to submitting a template.



Recommended Templates for Teachers

Google Forms has a couple of templates that can help teachers get started: Exit Ticket and Course Evaluation.


Of course, if you have any questions, you know where to find me.

And that is my Spiel...

2.06.2017

Efficiency with Using Multiple Tabs in Chrome

Sometimes the 'simplest things' are the 'best things'. One such example has to deal with managing your chrome tabs and windows. We all have experienced a time where we wanted to be able to see two different tabs in a chrome browser at the same time, but we don't want to have to deal with bouncing back and forth from each of them to accomplish work. You also don't want to have to manually select new window from the file menu of Chrome. So the solution you ask? Use two different chrome extensions, called Tab Scissors and Tab Glue.

Tab Scissors
You can get tab scissors from the chrome store, under the extensions section. By selecting this chrome extension, it will automatically create two different windows for you.

NOTE:
1. The two separated windows will take the same real estate as the original window. Thus you will want to make sure that the original window takes up the full screen of your computer.

2. You will notice in the GIF below, I want to be able to see the Sheil Spiel tab as well as the YouTube: Closed Captioning Google Slide presentation tab. Thus, because the Google Slide is the tab on the right side, I selected its tab before hitting the Tab Scissors chrome extension.



Tab Glue
You can get tab glue from the chrome store, under the extensions section. When you are ready to merge the two chrome windows back into one, you select the tab glue extension. See the GIF below.



Hope that this simple tech tip can help make you be more efficient with your work.

And that is my Spiel...

2.02.2017

Creating Closed Captioning for Your YouTube Videos

For the last two years, I have been invited to Ms. McElwain's American Sign Language classes to help them with a video project that they do with fairy tales. Why I particularly enjoy this project is due to what Ms. McElwain asks her students to do that is not done in any other class at Bedford High School. You might be thinking, well that is obvious...she is asking students to sign. Yes, but she also requires her students to learn how to add closed captioning in their videos. Not everyone knows American Sign Language, so by including this with their videos, others can learn a bit of the language. Me personally, I would have liked to have had the opportunity to learn this language. Thanks to Ms. McElwain, I know how to sign tech teacher.

Steps for Creating Closed Captioning
  • Students first figure out what they are going to sign before they even film
  • Students then record themselves signing on their Chromebook using Screencastify (click HERE for previous blog post on how to use this tool)
  • Students send their video to their School YouTube channel to work on closed captioning (click HERE for instructions on how to use closed captioning or see below)
  • Depending on your school environment, students should check their 'sharing permission' of their YouTube video. (either have them select Unlisted or Public)
  • Students share their video with their teacher through Google Classroom


Watching Any YouTube Video
Whenever you watch a YouTube video, you can activate Closed Captioning on the Video by selecting the CC box at the bottom right of the YouTube video. Closed Captioning will then appear.

*NOTE: For the video in the image below, I did not actually work on the Closed Captioning even though it was a video that I screencasted. YouTube is making its best guess on what is being stated. Thus, there might be some errors in what is being stated verbally versus being shown through text.



If you would like to learn more on how you can implement this feature with your curriculum and students, you know where to find me.

And that is my spiel...

1.13.2017

Electronic Verbal Feedback w/ Read & Write

Last month, a colleague of mine, Donna Dennis shared with me an efficient way for a teacher to give electronic verbal feedback on student work. She was introduced to this idea at the Christa McAuliffe Tech Conference, I think it came from Jenn Judkins. I thought it was a very clever idea and wanted to share.

Instructions on how to get things set up and actually record comments can be found below in the Google Drawing below. However, in order to access the links provided in the Google Drawing, you will want to click HERE. In order to use this process, you must be using Chrome as well as the Read & Write chrome extension.



What I appreciate most about this process is that students do not need access to a separate account (through an add on, chrome extension, or google app). Only the teacher needs access to Read & Write to leave electronic verbal comments in a students' Google Document. I also appreciate the fact that Read & Write will give an educator a free account if they do not currently have an account. Not only is the process extremely simple, it also forces the teacher to provide quick, short feedback as the default to voice comments is a minute or less. Just as we ask our students to think about their thoughts, it forces teachers to also do the same.

NOTE:
All voice comments that you leave can be found in a folder in your drive called "My Voice Notes". Read & Write organizes these all for you.

When a student wants to play a recorded comment, they select the link provided and listen to the comment in a separate window.


Of course, if you have any questions or want me to work with you to get things set up, you know where to find me.

And that is my spiel...