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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Cheat Sheet for Creating Self-Grading Google Form Quizzes

If you are a Google Classroom user, you may find it difficult to give your students quizzes; however, you can quickly assess your students by using Google Forms. This is NOT a new idea, but many of my colleagues have asked me about it lately. Here is how you do it:

1. Create and Publish Your Quiz Using Google Forms

Google Forms provides you with a platform to ask multiple choice and text questions. You can even embed videos and pictures!  Just remember to have a section for students to enter their name. More on this later!

2. Create an Answer Key

Fill out your Google Form with the correct answers. It may be helpful to use the name "Answer Key" so that you can keep track of the correct answers.

3. Have Your Students Take the Quiz

Publish your quiz and have students take it!

4. View Results and Use Flubaroo

View the results of your "quiz" in Google Forms by accessing a Google Sheets with your results. You will also want to install the add-on Flubaroo (in Google Sheets) to automatically grade your results.

Here is a cheat sheet for the entire process:


Click here for the actual link to the presentation. 



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Apps Parents Should Know About: Omegle

Several years ago, someone had mentioned to me a new website called Chatroulette, where users can chat with strangers using their webcams. This website became a hotbed for child predators; however, there is a similar site that parents should be aware of called Omegle.

What is Omegle? 

Omegle functions the same way as Chatroulette. This site allows users to annonymously chat with other anonymous users via an instant message and / or webcam. If you don't want to chat with the person on the other end, you simply choose "next" and you will chat with another random user.

This website is being used by teens and tweens all over the country, who are bored and are excited with the site's tagline "talk with strangers." In order to fully understand this site, I decided to try it out and was shocked at what I saw. A large majority of the users were naked males over the age of 18 years old, who were exposing their genitals.

What You Should Know

Omegle is filled with users who are looking for more than a friendly conversation. I would highly recommend talking with your child about the dangers of visiting such sites. Many of our kids have a false sense of security over virtual strangers. There is a belief that nothing can happen over the Internet. Unfortunately, everyday there are headlines that suggest otherwise.

Sites and apps like Omegle are often used as a "gateway" to other Apps. Users often meet on Omegle and turn to instant messaging apps like Kik to continue the conversation, share photos, videos, etc. Users still have a certain level of anonymity because Kik only requires a username. No cell phone number or personal information is required.

As a parent, we need to talk to our kids about what is acceptable and unacceptable information to share over the Internet, such as information that reveals your location, identity, and pictures/videos that could haunt you later. I love the line in the movie The Social Network, which states that the "Internet is ink, not pencil." In other words, everything that we do on the Internet has the potential to be a permanent part of our identity.

Need more resources?

I am currently developing a website that is filled with information about apps, websites, and resources that parents should know about. Check it out!

Monday, February 8, 2016

5 Engaging Ways to Use Google Forms

Google Forms is one of my favorite tools because of the infinite possibilities it provides any classroom. Here are 5 ways that you can incorporate Google Forms into your classroom today:

1. Pre-Assessment Tool

What do your students already know? What misconceptions do they have? Creating a Google Form offers excellent tools like multiple choice, rating scales, and text questions to gauge your participant's knowledge. This is extremely helpful trying to get a temperature of your class, as well as making your lesson more effective and more efficient.



2. The Power of a Poll

Polls are a great way to measure likes, dislikes, feelings, and perceptions; however, they are also a great authentic teaching tool. You can use your own polls to teach students about statistics, bias, misconception, etc. Polls are not just limited to the math classroom because they can be effective in any classroom.

Want to teach your students about democracy? Why not have your own class election? Have students in your science classroom keep valuable data on experiments, types of species, etc. in a real-life environment.

3. Start your Lesson with a Bang!

The start of many lessons usually begins with a "hook" or way to engage students. Use a Google Form to embed a video (or picture) and a writing prompt. This is the perfect tool for any subject area because writing translates across the curriculum. Have students state their opinion, share a memory, summarize a concept, make a prediction, or share a current event.



4. Choose Your Own Adventure

Do you remember reading choose your own adventure books in school? Why not make your own "adventure" using a Google Form? Students become highly engaged when they have options or choices for what they learned.

I was recently giving a workshop to demonstrate how this particular idea might work. We had participants choose which college mascot they would like to learn about. Their choice directed them to a new page, where they would learn more about the mascot. I provided text and pictures, but you could also include videos and links.

When participants finished, they were directed to a page containing a brief quiz to assess their understanding. Want to see it in action? Check it out!

5. Tweeter Board

Want to get your student's tweeting without Twitter? Use the Tweeter Board template developed by Tammy Worcester Tang. This amazing resource is a Google Form that collects data into a Google Spreadsheet. It is a great resource to use the power and engagement of social media without needing to use social media! Click here to learn more.



Conclusion:

There are literally hundreds of other possibilities for Google Forms. What ideas do you have? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

4 Reasons Why Teachers and Students Should Use Google Keep

I have found that many teachers do not realize the power of Google Keep! It is one of Google's most useful, but little known tools available as an iOS App, Android App, and Google App.  Here are 4 reasons why you should use Google Keep:

1. To-Do or Not To-Do? That is the Question!

What makes successful people successful? They are efficient with their time. Why not create a new note to create as a to-do lists to keep yourself (or students) on task? Students could very easily use notes to keep track of homework assignments or keep track of tasks needing to be completed for an assignment. 

Best of all, notes can be customized in ways that work best for you:
  • Add checkboxes so that you can "check" things off your list
  • Set reminders based on your location or time

2. Plan and Collaborate

Collaboration is an important skill in the 21st Century and Google Keep provides an easy-to-use platform to inspire group planning. Students can easily share ideas, notes, and images with other users in realtime. 

Google Keep provides students with an opportunity to learn the art of prioritization, easily moving individual list items in a way that makes sense. 

3. Excellent Search Features

As you begin using Google Keep, you may find yourself creating numerous notes. With so much information, Google Keep provides you with powerful search tools to find what you are looking for by text or note features like labels, color, images, audio, and even who you shared your note with. 

4. Remind Yourself in the Way That Works Best 

We all learn and think differently, which means we plan differently as well. Whether color-coding notes or reminding yourself images, text, and audio (on the mobile App), Google Keep provides you with a way to keep information in a way that works best for you.  

Conclusion:

Have you tried Google Keep? I'd love to hear how you use it personally, professionally, and with students.