Friday, February 23, 2018

Save Items to Read Later in Chrome Through Reading List

If you are like me, you spend a lot of time browsing through different articles on the Internet and want a solution for revisiting them when you have more time to read. If you are a Chrome user, you could bookmark your articles; however, I have found that I often forget about them.

Reading List is a Chrome Extension that students and teachers can use to save websites to browse through for a later time. Simply visit the Chrome Store to install the Extension.

Once the Extension is installed, visit the website of your choice and click on the Reading List icon. Choose the green plus sign to add to your reading list.

Once the website is added to your reading list, there are a variety of tools to help you locate your articles.

Use the All and Unread tabs to show all items saved or filter through unread items. You can manually revisit the website or use the search feature to quickly locate an article if you have a significant number of items in your list.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Cheat Sheet for Using Apple Classroom to Manage Student iPads

If you have student iPads, then Apple Classroom is a great tool for managing student devices! If you have never used this tool before, you will need to download Apple Classroom for your teacher iPad. Students will NOT need a special app on their iPads. Instead, they will need to visit Settings > Classroom to enter into your class.

I have created the following Cheat Sheet for using Apple Classroom.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

5 Tips for Creating Your Own Textbook in Google Slides

Although textbooks have been an important part of learning for decades, more and more teachers are starting to get away from a physical textbook. Online textbooks offer many different advantages, such as interactivity and having the most up-to-date information. To save costs, why not create your own online text using Google Slides? Here are 5 ways to create your own textbook in Google Slides:

Want to see a sample book? Check out this sample! 

1. Publish Slides

If you decide to create an online text, you may want to consider publishing your Slides presentation to the web so that it will function much like an actual book. When you do this, your students will only see only content appearing on slides (not presenter notes) and have the ability to interact with content, such as embedded links and videos. This feature is a great way of sharing presentation, which can be viewed through a browser and not Slides App.

Go to the File Menu > Publish to the Web

2. Embed Videos from Google Drive and YouTube

Videos can be used to supplement student learning. You can easily embed YouTube of Google Drive videos into your Slides. Whether you want to share a video showcasing a movie clip or flipping your classroom, videos can help expand on topics and create an interactive experience.

3. Add Hyperlinks

Have you ever thought about the power of a hyperlink? Hyperlinks are valuable tools for providing scaffolds and supports to help students learn. For example, you may predict several vocabulary terms that students will not understand. To support student learning, you decide to hyperlink to definitions of the terms. Perhaps you are talking about a specific location in the world. Instead of showing a picture, you decide to hyperlink to an interactive map in Google Earth.

4. Add Images

Images are the perfect tool for helping our visual students understand material; however, textbook companies often use images that don't have much meaning to your specific students. Why not add images from your classroom to your presentation? It may help students make deeper connections to content by uploading personal examples of images from your classroom or using Google Photos, Drive, or your webcam.

If you are having problems finding content, then you may want to search for Google Images in Slides. All images are copyright free and are able to be reused.

5. The Most Up-to-Date Content

The best part of having your own book via Google Slides is that you have the most up-to-date content. You can add current events, links to the latest content, provide real-life examples of content in action. Having the most accurate and up-to-date information makes content relevant and engaging. Once you update content in Google Slides, it will be automatically updated in your published slides.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Designing a Custom Header for Google Classroom

If you are a Google Classroom user, then you probably know that you can change the theme and header in your classroom. Did you know that you can create your own custom header in Classroom?

How Does it Work?

Simply use Google Drawings to design your custom header. It is recommended that you change your canvas size to 800 x 200 pixels (File Menu > Page Setup > Custom). Download your picture as a JPEG or PNG file and upload to Google Classroom.

Want to see it in action? Check out my video below:

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Form Scheduler: Another Google Form Add-On to Manage Responses

If you are a user of Google Forms, then you might want to check out another great Add-On called Form Scheduler. The free version gives you the chance to close your Form at a maximum number of responses or a specific date.

There is a paid feature to open your form during specific events. For example, let's say that you have a reoccurring event that happens from 9 am to 1 pm on your Google Calendar. You can use Form Scheduler to open during that time period.

Monday, January 29, 2018

NEW iOS Screen Recording Feature!

Screencasts are extremely helpful for learning how to use an app, find resources, or following step-by-step instructions. If you were an iPad user, this step involved a complicated set of instructions and wires. This is no longer the case!

You can now record screencasts and share from an iPad or iPhone. There is no special App to download because it comes native with iOS 11. 

How does it work? 

First, open up Settings and choose Control Center. You will see a listing of applications that you can use to add to your Control Center (when you swipe up on your device).

Then, you will need to tap on the green plus sign containing the "Screen Recording" option. 

Next, swipe up on your screen to access the Control Center and you will see an icon that looks like a white bullseye. Tap on this icon to begin recording. 

Finally, when you are finished, you will need to swipe up again to access the control center. Tap on the bullseye icon again to stop your recording. Your video will convert into a video and save on your camera roll. Now you can share your video via text, email, Google Drive, etc. 

Need to see this in action? Here is a screen recording:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

4 Important Tips for the Question Feature in Google Classroom

Google Classroom provides teachers with a variety of ways to help students learn how to function in an online environment. Have you ever used the Question feature to post something in Classroom? Here are four things you should know about the Question Feature. 

1. How to Post a Question

When you are in the Stream section of your Google Classroom, choose the plus sign and choose Create Question. This feature is a powerful tool to help gain insight into what students know or address misconceptions that they may have. 

2. Ask a Short Answer Question

You can ask students a Short Answer question by default with the Create Question feature. Google Classroom has added some helpful features to prevent student misuse. For example, you can turn on/off the feature for students to respond to one another or be able to edit their response. This is helpful if you want to keep students on task. 

3. Poll Your Students

When you create a question in Google Classroom, you click on the "Short Answer" icon (bottom left-corner of your screen) to create a poll. A poll consists of a multiple choice question without needing to create a Google Form. You can turn on/off the class summary feature, where students can see the summary of responses. 

4. Restrict Students from Posting in the Stream!

When Google Classroom first came out, it was difficult to prevent students from posting to the Stream. I remember working with a 4th grade class that thought it would be fun to post random stuff. You can now restrict students from posting to the Stream. How does it work? 

1. Visit the Students Tab at the top of your screen, which lists all of the students in your class. 

2. On the left-side of your screen, you will see your Class Code. Underneath the code, select "Students Can Post and Comment." This is the default setting on Google Classroom.

3. Choose "Students Can Only Comment" if you want students to have the ability to reply to posts.  Choose "Only Teachers Can Post and Comment" if you do not want students to be able to reply to posts. 


A recent study by The Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017 found that almost 6 million college students have enrolled in at least 1 online course. As advancements in technology continue, this number will rise dramatically. How do we prepare our students to survive in an ever-changing online world? Tools like Google Classroom provide students with the opportunity to communicate and function in a safe online environment.

Perhaps you are skeptical of using Google Classroom because you are fearful of students posting something inappropriate. The Question feature in Google Classroom may be a great place to start to help students navigate the complicated online world that we live in.