How did you celebrate Computer Science Education Week? In the third consecutive month with a tech week to celebrate (October - Digital Citizenship Week, November - Media Literacy Week, and December - Computer Science Education Week) my fellow integrator, Anita Moose (@amooseIT), and I were pretty fried after organizing the first two and not sure how to get back up and excited for this huge event. Anita proved to be key to getting us motivated and excited by rallying the troops and reaching out to our middle school coding classes. She then matched them with elementary classes K-4th grade to share their knowledge of basic coding with some fun unplugged and digital activities. In addition to having students teach students, we held lunch sessions in the middle and high school with Ozobots, Osmo, and hour of code activities on the Chromebooks.
Our most concentrated effort was having coding and CS centers on rotation in the elementary school library with the help of our amazing librarian, Lisa May Howard (@aeslib) and AES G/T teacher, Julie WIlle (@jpwille). Using Bee-Bots, Pro-Bots, Ozobots, and code.org activities, every single student in the elementary got exposure to a variety of coding and CS concepts throughout the week with time to play, explore, and problem-solve.
The three buttons below will give you access to each of the resource documents Anita and I put together for teachers to use during and after CS Education week. We included videos, unplugged resources, and online activities.
Though we are getting more traction at including coding and CS (Computer Science) in students' everyday curriculum, it was still important to provide a specific focus on these topics to create excitement for pursuing these topics from the students and teachers. The underlying goal of each of the weeks was to encourage teachers to keep using the concepts throughout the year for a more comprehensive understanding and use. That's why we created resource documents for each topic (Digital Citizenship, Media Literacy, and Computer Science), to provide consistent access for teachers and allow them to go back at their convenience and use when applicable. The hope is that these weeks will soon be showcases of the great work already being done throughout the year. Please share any great resources you've used for this week or successes you've had.
You've often heard my ranting and raving about the great things done for edtech and education from the amazing people at the EdTechTeam. I was accepted to present at their Colorado Summit in Louisville, CO this November and joined 600+ educators for a weekend of fun and learning. It was truly an awesome event and a bit overwhelming with all the participants and presenters to hone in on the best tips, tricks, and practices to take-away and back to my teachers. Here is a list of the amazing things I gained from this incredible two day event:
1. Chromebooks are the answer! - I'm sure this could spark a lengthy debate on which device is the most effective for student learning and there can be a case made for a variety of devices depending on environment, but the more I speak with other educators in a variety of situations the Chromebook continually seems to rise to the top. In my district we have been steadily moving mostly to Chromebooks for students, but still have a mix of devices including iPads, iTouches, Android tablets, Macs and PCs. The Chromebooks are a breeze to manage using the Admin console and the simplified interface of the Chrome OS lets students get just about everything and anything done within the GSuite workflow.
Once you do take the plunge into the world of Chromebooks there are plenty of great tips you and your students can use to maximize your experience. I sat in on a session with Sean Williams (@seani) who walked us through some of the useful shortcuts, apps/add-ons, and extensions. Review his slideshow HERE, but some of my favorite are:
Shortcuts - save yourself some time and sanity with these keyboard shortcuts.
Ctrl+Shift+T - Open your last closed tab(s)
Ctrl+Windows Switcher - screenshot
Ctrl+Shift+Windows Switcher - selected area screenshot
Ctrl+Shift+? - Pull up a map of all the available keyboard shortcuts and what they do.
Extensions - get the most out of your Chrome experience with great extensions to improve you and your students workflow.
Extensity - as you continue to add more and more extensions you may notice some issues with performance.
Too Long; Didn't Read (TLDR) - this extension has been out for a while, but seemed to take a hiatus and wasn't working for the past year or more for most users. Well it's back, and I urge you to use it with your students to get great short summaries of any website and assist with their reading and summary skills.
Add-ons and Apps - when working in a Chrome environment it's always key to find useful apps or add-ons to allow you and your students to do more. Apps are currently being phased out in the Chrome environment so they are essentially websites again.
Equatio - allows you to insert complex equations into most GSuite tools. Use voice, handwriting (touchscreen required), or keyboard input. NOW FREE FOR TEACHERS!!
Draftback - add-on for Google docs that enhances the existing 'version history' that can be used to see past revisions and revert back to those versions. Great way for you and your students to watch the evolution of the writing process and reflect on practice.
Desmos - a powerful graphing, web-based, calculator that can be used individually or as a class with teacher-led activities and instruction.
Google Keep - turn your sticky notes digital! Create to do lists, notes, and reminders that can be shared with others, organized, and inserted into Google docs.
2. Bitmojis and Google Slides - There are a ton of great uses for Google Slides in the classroom and I was blown away by Sylvia Duckworth's (@sylviaduckworth) presentation on tying together the Chrome extension Bitmoji and Google Slides to create fun comics for teachers or students to use. Many of us have already dipped in the Bitmoji world via Snapchat, but utilizing the Chrome extension is a great way to use these fun comics to create meaningful digital literature for both students and teachers to express themselves. Check out Sylvia's presentation HERE and her website (sylviaduckworth.com) for more awesome ideas and how to get started.
3. Sketchnoting - Another great topic championed by Sylvia Duckworth. She gave several presentations during the summit to help people get started and advance their skills in how sketchnoting can work in the educational environment. As we do move to an more digital environment for students it's important to still provide students with tactile ways to record and remember information. There often seems to be a disconnect if students simply type down their notes and we are getting closer with the tools available to live comfortably in both worlds. I cannot do the topic justice in comparison to Sylvia so please check out her presentation HERE, blogpost HERE, and her website for more information on how to find the best tools and strategies for you.
We were also introduced to Rocketbook which combines the best of both worlds when it comes to taking notes and keeping digital records. Sketchnote, doodle, draw, scribble, etc... and use an app on your phone to send your documents to a variety of locations all at once. Very cool tool I recommend checking out.
My favorite take-away was the WolframAlpha add-on which essentially puts the power of Siri into your Google Sheets. Insert questions into your sheet and use the add-on to quickly grab the answers. This is obviously the most simplistic use of this amazingly powerful add-on so add this to your Sheets and start playing.
So there you have some of my biggest takeaways from the incredible Colorado Summit put on by the EdtechTeam. Alas, I am only one man so there was no doubt a plethora of other great things happening that I couldn't get to throughout the Summit. I've said it in previous posts, but if you are able be sure to make the time to go check out a summit near you. The information, connections, recharging, and excitment gained from this two day event is incredible. Feel free to comment on any of the topics above or any great ideas you've taken away from this or another EdtechTeam Summit.
With the overwhelming access to technology our students have, promoting good digital citizenship from K through 12th grade is a must! Though we have been helping teachers integrate Digital Citizenship into their classes using the Common Sense Media lessons we wanted to make a big push for this year's Digital Citizenship Week.
So where do you begin? We wanted to get both the students and teachers involved with a variety of activities during the week in order to build some momentum that we could carry throughout the year. We created morning announcements to be read by students in each building, hosted lunch activities that included the online digital citizenship programs from Common Sense Media (Passport, Compass, & Bytes) and our own surveys created using scenarios from Common Sense's newly released Social and Emotional Learning resource. These survey's included videos of our students reading several of the scenarios posed from the SEL resource and followed up with questions to the students on what they would do if put in those situations.
Thanks to the support of our amazing AES Librarian, Lisa May Howard (@aeslib), we were able to set-up a digital citizenship "hub" in the library during the students weekly library rotation to ensure all students were exposed to the digital citizenship activities and skills. Both the AMS and AHS librarians were also crucial in supporting our cause during the week by setting up digital stations and conducting short lessons for students.
Students were offered a chance to be entered into a drawing for participating in several take-home activities for the ES and MS and for completing the Digital Dilemma forms at the HS. Teachers were entered into a prize drawing for completing any of the digital citizenship activities we provided with their students or completing the Google Digital Citizenship training. You can use the buttons below to access all our planning documents and resources.
Needless to say all the hard work and planning resulted in a very successful and fun week getting the word out about digital citizenship, but as I mentioned earlier the main goal is to make this mindset last throughout the year. In working with building and district administration we provided the resources to help teachers and staff integrate the skills of a good digital citizen into any and all of their lessons and projects with students. Building principals were trained in what to look for during observations to ensure these crucial skills are being taught and what questions to ask (in-person & digitally) to promote further discussion of digital citizenship with their staff. Feel free to use any and all of the resources linked in this post for your own work on cultivating good digital citizens in your school and feel free to comment below on any successes you've had in creating a positive digital citizenship culture in your school or district.
My awesome fellow Integrator and #ETCoach, Anita Moose, recently organized a book study for the book Classroom Management in the Digital Age. If you haven't yet checked out this amazing resource I recommend you go grab yourself a copy right away and get reading as this school year begins to hit full stride.
One aspect of the book I really liked was its lack of focus on a specific technology or device. With so many options out there for schools and classrooms it's great to see a focus on the strategies and skills needed to be successful in any classroom that is technology-rich regardless of type of device or tool.
Here are some of my take-aways from the book:
Those are a just a few of the great topics in this guide, but having your own copy on hand gives you access to a library of strategies with far more depth. My partner, Anita, arranged a hour long twitter chat with the authors and members of her book study, below you will find some highlights of the conversation, but the entirety of the chat can be found using the hashtag #CMDigitalAge. Not only is it important to reflect on these ideas and strategies, but collaborating with fellow educators can help move the design process along for shaping your policy and expectations.
There's nothing quite like the real thing, so consider picking up yourself a copy of Classroom Management in the Digital Age and join the conversation on twitter at #CMDigitalAge. Please comment below on any of your highlights from this resource.
I've been a big fan of the EdTechTeam and their awesome summits providing meaningful and exciting edtech PD for teachers. They have also branched into online learning and offer a multitude of great courses through EdTechTeam Online. These course focus on GSuite tools for education, Apple Teachers, Paperless classrooms, assistive technology, teacher leaders, and other critical teaching tools and strategies. Courses are anywhere, anytime learning that can be taken for graduate credit. This summer I took their Creating Global Learners with Geo Tools course and was pleasantly surprised at the power of GSuite tools like Google Maps to enhance a teacher's lesson in far more areas than just Geography.
Being an extensive GSuite for EDU user I was amazed at all the new tools and ideas I gained from taking this course. The possibilities of utilizing Google Maps to teach a multitude of subjects and help students gain a global perspective is seemingly endless! One of the things that really stuck out to me was the http://www.geteach.com/ map comparison engine. I see a lot of use of this tool for students to get amazing visuals on data that can be used for a lot of teaching purposes. Another tool that I really saw the benefit of was using My Maps as an alternative presentation tool for teachers and students that helps look outside of their world. The Google Lit Trips is a great place to get started and I plan on sharing that right away. I really hope to promote the use of this with the teachers in my school and get the students engaged in different and broader way than they are used to.
Here are some of the resources I explored in the course that really stuck out:
Google Art Project - Great resource to expose students to digital media resources for history and art. Specifically, the historical figures section provides access to great pictures and primary sources that can be used for students to create their own narratives about a figure and then do some research to compare stories and facts.
Google Crisis Map - Interactive Map allows students to layer various types of data about various crisis situations nationally and worldwide. The weather, hazards, emergency preparedness map would be a great basis to teach students how to collect data and analyze patterns from different regions with other corresponding data to make their own hypothesis on why the weather and hazards may be occurring.
GeoGuessr - Game that uses Google Street view to give clues about a mystery location in the world. Great way to teach students to use context clues to be able to narrow down a location based on what they can see and what makes sense in a particular region.
Into the Wild map - My Map creation of the locations visited by Christopher McCandless from the story Into the Wild. This could be used as an example of how students could use My Maps to create their own maps based on a book they’ve read. Including links and other resources at various locations mapped from their story.
Google Street Art - Access to audio tours, online exhibitions, world collection, and artist stories to provide students access to a genre of art that isn’t always easily accessible and can be just as moving as traditional art. Good way to get students interested in art who may not be interested in traditional art.
My final project was to create a lesson using My Maps to help students become better global citizens and understand a larger impact they and others have on our world. I chose to focus on population growth and what it could mean for various places and cultures around the world. Use the button below to access the lesson plan and feel free to use it or modify it for yourself.
My post may have given you some insight to how tools like My Maps can greatly enhance your teaching and students' path to becoming global learners, but there's nothing like the real thing. Go check out the EdTechTeam Online learning place and take advantage of some great courses they have to offer. Feel free to comment below on any ways you've helped your students become global learners or utilized tools like My Maps in your teaching.
After attending 4 days of the InnEdCO conference I have been slightly overwhelmed at the amount of great ideas and information I was given by so many passionate and innovative educators. Though it may have been overwhelming it was also extremely inspiring and recharging to be shown how to implement so many great ideas from the simple tweaks of existing practices to the reinvention of how we do business at my school district.
One theme that was woven throughout the conference was the application of Design Thinking to many of the issues we face in education in order to come up with innovative, applicable solutions that help address all the stakeholders needs. Watching this process being applied to facilitate discussions for so many various topics has really proved its value in how we plan and problem-solve in education. I plan on bringing this process to my own district and technology team as we plan for the upcoming year with various tech initiatives and professional development opportunities.
Several Sessions that I attended and plan on utilizing resources from are:
Developing PD that Matters- This session was a great crash course in working through the design thinking process to identify an issue or need in a group and work through the steps to try and create helpful and meaningful solutions to creating meaningful PD.
One topic that rose to the top of our priority list was the effective differentiation of PD to keep all staff engaged and is an issue my department is constantly struggling with. I will continue this design process with our staff to work through a meaningful solution and develop some valuable PD that benefits all.
Using Google Sheets to Facilitate Discussion- I really enjoyed this snapshot session by Scott McCleod on a quick and easy way to utilize Sheets to facilitate and record thinking on a variety of discussions that are often held with staff, students, and the community. With some simple formatting Sheets can be transformed into a recording tool that follows protocols like Mission impossible (example, template), Start-Stop-Continue (example,template), and 6-3-5 brainwriting (example, template). All of these and more are protocols we have used many times in my district and transforming them from paper hard copies to a digital medium will be greatly appreciated and more efficient.
Quality Student Feedback - Maximizing Their Work Time and Yours- Providing quality student feedback is always a priority for teachers, but the ability to do so can be difficult and time-consuming. Elementary teachers Penny Potts and Betsy Sise gave some great examples of how to utilize add-ons in Google Docs, Google Form practices, Chrome extension Screencastify, and the feedback tool Kaizena to rethink how we can give students (and get from students) meaningful feedback on various assignments. Sharing these resources with my teachers and connecting them with educators like Penny and Betsy will hopefully encourage them to try new avenues and not feel overwhelmed about implementing new processes that will benefit their students.
Strategic Planning to Improve PD and Eliminate Silos- This panel session included administration from Weld County schools and showcased their strategic approach to how they planned initiatives at a district-wide level and involved as many key stakeholders as needed in order to eliminate silos of people who wouldn’t typically work in conjunction with each other to accomplish goals, PD or otherwise. They praised the StratOp process in helping them create a plan that was actionable and adaptable as they revisited through the planning process throughout the year. My biggest take-away was having the buy-in from all the district administration to commit to this process and work together to enact a plan that will result in real action and solutions. I hope that by sharing this model and its success with my own district will encourage them to take a look at our own process for planning PD and other initiatives and how we can improve it for the betterment of our staff, students, and community.
Design Thinking About Grades- One of the final sessions I attended at InnEdCO was lead by Brian Rozinki from Peak to Peak Charter school and had our group really think about grades and how we might re-invent that idea to best benefit teachers and students. Brian walked us through the design thinking process and recording our thinking on a Padlet to better be able to review and come back to the ideas we cultivated as a group. Though we didn’t walk away with a concrete answer I feel we had good discussion as educators and many of us were on the same page in wanting to make grades something meaningful for all involved. This is definitely a topic that needs continued discussion and I know I have many teachers on staff who would like a chance to look at how we are grading our students and what the best method, if any, really would be.
There you have some really great ideas, tools, and conversation from my time at InnEdCO. Though there are definitely more things to explore from my time in other sessions I think my focus on the take-aways from the sessions described above are really great focus points that can produce some meaningful change in my district. I plan to push on our use of the Design Thinking process to help plan out future thinking with any of these initiatives, as I feel like it can really help organize a deep dive into ideas and produce realistic, actionable next steps.
If you are a Google school you have probably run into this issue before. A student or staff member is leaving and since you have had everything stored in Google Drive they would like to take many of these files and documents they have created throughout the years with them. The only problem with this is the inability to easily transfer ownership of a mass amount of files from one organization's Drive to another (or personal). Well I have found several methods of getting this done and to be up front, none of them are perfect, but they will get the job done.
The first method is somewhat of a manual fix. You have the ability to download entire folders of content from your Drive and then simply upload those files to another Google Drive making that new account the owner. Downloading folders from Google Drive gives you zipped files that can be easily stored until you're ready to upload them to your new Drive. Watch the short video below to see how the process is done.
One flaw I've found is that trying to download large folders full of content can lead to download errors. Breaking the content up into several folders seems to be one way to fix this issue. Other problems are random files will get corrupted in the process causing you to lose the ability to access them and have to go back and find those particular files to re-download and upload until you can get a usable version.
Another way to get your files is through the 'my account --> control your content' features within GSuite. This is Google's solution to how you can archive or take data with you from a variety of apps including Photos, Contacts, Calendars, Gmail and Drive (plus many more). You can select particular folders (or labels) when doing Gmail and Drive or just grab the whole thing. Google then creates zipped folders in a size (ranging from 1 GB to 50 GB) and type (.zip, .tgz, .tbz) of your preference. Google will then send you the archives via email or to a cloud storage of your preference.
Some issues I've experienced with this process is successfully getting all the data you've archived to successfully transfer without errors. Just like with the manual download option selected above, you are best to choose smaller folder sizes and really narrow down which data you need as opposed to a wholesale archive. The Gmail archive comes in a .mbox file format which is a real pain to access. I found a free download called Aid4Mail that worked well to convert the mail files to text documents I could read, but the whole process is pretty awkward.
If you are transferring ownership within an organization then all you need is administrative privilege and the process is quite easy. Log into the admin console and from the dashboard, go to Apps -->GSuite -->Drive and Docs. From there you can select the 'transfer ownership' option and navigate the screen you see below to quickly transfer the entirety of one Google Drive to another.
Only downside of this option is it's all or nothing and you can only use it to transfer files from one person in an organization to another. Great for sharing important files from staff who are leaving, but no good in helping those leaving to take copies of their files with them.
Final option is relatively new and especially for transferring content from a school's organization account. Go to takeout.google.com and start the process of transferring Gmail or Drive files to a personal account. Clearly Google recognized this issue of people wanting to take their files with them as they leave an organization and is working on a simple solution you can read more about here.
I've only witnessed this process used a few times and there still seems to be some glitches in all the files completely transferring, but did its job for the most part with little effort from the user. As with all things Google I know they will continue to improve the process and smooth out all the wrinkles.
At this point those are the three methods I've experienced for transferring Google Drive and other apps files from your organization's account to a personal or other account. The more we work in Google the more content we create that is worth taking with us and these processes are crucial to being able to take your hard work with you. None are perfect, but it's way better than leaving everything on the table and starting from scratch. Please comment below if you've had any experience with this process or found better ways to get it done.
I was very excited to have an opportunity to attend and present at the EdTechTeam Summit April 29th-30th in Breckenridge, CO. I always jump at the chance to take advantage of an event so close to Aspen that never disappoints and always provides me with great resources and ideas to take back to my staff. Below you will find some of the strategies and tools that stuck out to me during my two days at this awesome event:
Make Learning Visible! Creating Student Digital Portfolios with the new Google Sites - Everyone seems interested in utilizing digital portfolios as the most effective way to display student work, and most importantly, understanding. The biggest question has become how do we do it? There are plenty of avenues out there and if you are a Google school then I think the new Google Sites has to top your list. The site revamp has really made sites a useful tool and with many of the same sharing and privacy functionality as a Google Doc it becomes very easy for students to use and limit visibility until the time is right. Some updates to the functionality of the teacher-student workflow would be nice (Hey Site Maestro!) but I think the pros far out weigh the cons. Check out the amazing resources and presentation by Pamela Lewis for more great info on getting started.
Map What? Map That! - Google Maps and My Maps are two amazingly powerful tools that can be taken advantage of in many ways in the classroom. Mapping data from a Google Forms survey can give incredible visual context to what is being collected. By coming several of the GSuite tools a fun and interactive scavenger hunt can be created that has students traveling to various locations around the globe watching informational videos on YouTube, answering questions in Google Forms, and retrieving information from Google Slides and Google searches. Check out Leslie Davison's presentation for more details on what activities like this can look like.
Zero to Ninja: Sheets and Forms- EdTechTeam's Michael Wacker walked us through the process of becoming Google Sheets and Forms Ninjas by completing a self-paced activity that earned you digital badges along the way based on your completion. So while learning a bit more about Google Sheets and Forms was nice, the real take-away I had was the process of becoming a "Ninja" and earning the digital badges that came with each level of accomplishment. The process was set up through Google Slides which provided the instructions for each activity and then a final submission of which levels you completed via Google Forms gave you the necessary codes to get your badges and keep them in a Google Sheets trophy case. The badging process was facilitated through a great add-on created by Daniel Sharpe that can easily be used for multiple applications. I see so many applications of this process both with students and teachers. Check out Wacker's site with the ability to become a Ninja in all the GSuite apps.
There you have three of my big take-aways from yet another amazing two days of PD, learning, connection and excitement at the EdTechTeam Breckenridge summit. Below you will find another summary of my reflection on two things learned and how I hope to apply them in my own practice. Feel free to comment below on any experience you have had with any of these tools/ideas and what works for you and your students/staff.
Many people have been talking about flipping the classroom, but I feel like it has hit a wall when it comes to implementation. Some of the road blocks are obvious: lack of access, lack of training/PD, and unclear learning targets, but what are other reasons are there for people to take advantage of this strategy? I think the unknown is one of the biggest hang-ups people have in looking to implement this in their own teaching and I've put together a presentation with some resources to help get you started.
Some of the highlights from the presentation that I find particularly useful are:
I made sure to mention the ISTE standards and SAMR and TPACK models at the beginning of the presentation to get people thinking about the "why" when it comes to using any of the tools to try and flip content. I think when we have purposeful use of these tools to deliver content to our students in effective and innovative ways we can really see the benefits of flipping the classroom and how it can impact the work we accomplish with our students. My biggest piece of advice is to start small and focus on one area you really see potential in and branch out from there. If you have any great examples or experiences flipping your own classroom feel free to comment below. Feel free to refer and use the presentation for your own teaching and have fun flipping out!
There have been some significant and simple changes since my last post about Google Forms and I thought it was time to get the word out for all you avid Forms users out there.
So there you have some new and some not so new features as well as a few tips on how to maximize your Google Forms experience. If you have had any experience or other ways to utilize these please share in the comments below.
Tech Integration Specialist at the Aspen School District. Level 2 Google Certified Educator. Former 4th grade teacher and Spartan for life! Go Green!