Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Five Ways to Use Google Forms in Your Classroom

The recent release of new functionality to Google Forms reminds us why we like it so much. Now you can shuffle questions and include a Search feature.  It also provides a shortened URL to share with others! 

Here’s our top 5 ways to use Google Forms in your classroom:


Self and Peer Review Allow students to reflect on their performance, and that of their team.  Be sure to ask them how they will make their next collaborative activity better.  Keep on hand for conferences.
Document PD Every time you attend a PD session, complete the form, including title, presenter and summary.  Have checkboxes to indicate what professional or employer goal the session met.  When the end of the year comes, you have all your information in one place.
Quizzes Perfect for quick formative assessments and trackable data.  Use Flubaroo to score and email results to students.
Collect Student Work Do you have students using Web 2.0 tools to show what they know? Have a form ready for them to send you their URLs.
Rubric Ever collect projects and wonder if the student even looked at the rubric?  Create a form and have them score their work before you do.  You now have a starting point for student conferences too.
OK, one more…


Class Management Use Forms to document student behavior.  Include name, incident and consequence.  Sort by name, and use to inform conduct grades and parent conferences.  
How do you use Google Forms in your classroom?  Please share your ideas!

Monday, September 22, 2014

iOS and Android Apps - Back to School with Balefire Labs

Here's a great back to school article by Karen Mahon, President of Balefire Labs. Balefire Labs is a web resource providing research-based reviews of educational apps for iOS and Android.

I think you will find one or more useful resources in the article.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Productivity Tools for the Educator

The recent announcement of new Apple products and their updated operating system highlight how dependent many of us are on tech tools that are supposed to improve our lives.  I’m just as guilty, with too many devices, running too many operating systems, and a love for the newest and greatest ed tech applications.  


As with closets and drawers, the time comes periodically to do a “spring cleaning” and clear out the unused apps and dusty folders that no longer serve their original purpose.  For me, such cleaning also allows those quality applications to rise to the top.  

The focus of this post is quality productivity tools - sites and apps that provide four important functions:
  • Saves time on tasks I have to do frequently
  • Works with most of my devices (phone, tablet, laptop)
  • Is used often during the week
  • Improves my life by respecting my time or taking tasks off my list
Not surprising, the ones that stand out are all Google applications.  They run on all my devices and allow me to access them at work, at home and when I travel.


Google Forms A “survey” application that auto-creates a spreadsheet of responses (including a visual summary). Can be used to gather information, for formative assessment, rubric, student reflection form, class management log, documenting PD, collecting student work, and more.  Having all the collected information in one place provides a huge organizational benefit.  

Google Calendar Create a class calendar and share it with your families. Turn on notifications and reminders, add collaborators, and attach documents.  Use the invitation feature to share events, like Back to School Night or the class party.  I can have my personal events on the same Google Cal, but keep those private. Even works offline.  

Google Classroom Allows teachers to assign and collect work paperlessly.  Auto-creates folders on the students' Drive, which improves and models organization skills. Teachers can access student work in one place and easily provide real-time feedback. Still in beta, with more features to come.
This is just a short list, and we know there are many more good productivity tools out there. What do you like to use, and how does it benefit your life?
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