Feb 3, 2017

Custom Unit 5 Google Templates

Staff and students can now submit their own template designs to a special Unit 5 template gallery accessible in Docs, Sheets, and Slides!  This can be used to make a great tool (magazine template, tracking tool, etc...) easily accessible to users across the district!  As an initial example, you will find a 2017 Calendar template in the Google Sheets area to play with.

So how do you access and submit templates?  Well, it's very easy...

Dec 7, 2016

Citation Feature is Back on Google Docs Explore Option

Google recently removed the Research feature in favor of the Explore option.  With this change, the citation feature which was very popular within the Research feature was removed.  Google has just recently reinstated this feature within the Explore Option under tools.  Below is a video on how you can review using the citation feature.



Video By Richard Byrne 

Technology for General and Special Needs Classrooms

On Wednesday Nov 30, 2016 I was fortunate to be able to attend the conference on Assistive Technology for General and Special Needs Classrooms.  The conference was hosted by Infinitec (http://www.infinitec.org/ ) with a grant from the ISBE.  (http://www.isbe.net/ ) The conference covered a variety of tools to assist a wide range of students with and without special needs.  It was easy to follow along and manipulate the different tools presented.  It was also fun to collaborate with colleagues from other schools districts.  The presenter Jenn Skalitzky did a great job.  

Have it Your Way with Google Chrome, was the first session and in my opinion  the best of the three sessions.  Jen went through a multitude of apps and extensions which can be used to customize Google Chrome.  She explained the many ways students are able customize their own workspace in Google Chrome with a single click.  These customizations give ANY student the upper hand to make their learning easier.  I have linked out the spreadsheet I am putting together so anyone can have access to the tools which were presented; and also added some of own favorites in there. (This is a work in progress, so check back often.)

The second session was all iPad apps and iPad Built In Supports and the many ways in which you can use the accessibility mode and guided access within the classroom.  This document will be ready later in January as Nora Bardi, our Special Needs Technology Director and I will be working on updating the apps list so it is the most current.

The last session No Cost/Low Cost Technology Solutions for Diverse Learners was geared around using web resources to build your Universal Design for Learning toolbox.  Many of the sites presented in this session were free, while some had pay options with more features.  These web-based resources included reading, writing, and math.  These are also on the spreadsheet I linked out.  

Overall -  I would rate this an 8 out of 10.  I was able to grab some new tools for my own tool box and for the many teachers I work with on a regular basis.  As with any new tools, go through them and test to see which ones are for you and which ones you can live without.  


~Amber O’Day - Instructional Technology Coach, Secondary

Dec 5, 2016

Digital Comics with Google Slides

📛 Problem

Digital comic creation tools have limited functionality, require account creation, and can be very difficult to incorporate collaboration between group members.

💡 Solution

Google Slides provides an environment where students can work collaboratively, arrange images and text easily, and publish a professional looking digital comic strip.

YouTube Video Editor Trick!

One of the questions that I get all of the time is regarding video editing for student projects.  My go-to suggestion these days is the YouTube video editor.  There is nothing wrong with Movie Maker (the age old standard), but there are some advantages to the YouTube editor that I would like to outline.  You may find something here that you like and inspires you to try it out with your students or personal projects!

Streamline the recording & uploading flow

I go in and out of many classrooms these days and see students still recording video on flip cameras and hand-held video cameras.  Once recorded, these video files must be removed from the recording device, transferred to a computer, and then imported into the video editor of choice.  With YouTube, there is an easier way!
The traditional way

Nov 15, 2016

Guide to Using SMART Notebook with Students

Have Students Use SMART Notebook When it is Smart

SMART Notebook is a great resource within our district.  Many teachers utilize it in conjunction with our SMART Interactive Whiteboards as an option for content delivery.  But when, and how, can it be best used by our students to increase learning?

Oct 20, 2016

New Google Features including "File Upload" question type in Google Forms!

::The following blog post comes from the official Google Blog for Education::



New time-saving features in G Suite for Education

G Suite for Education helps students move from collecting ideas to creating projects and papers as quickly and easily as possible. Google Docs achieves this by facilitating collaboration, making it easy to work on any device, and weaving in machine intelligence to handle the more mundane elements of getting work done.
Today we’re introducing new time-saving features to Docs, Sheets and Slides designed to speed up and simplify the way teachers and students work, so they can focus on what’s really important—teaching and learning. These apps still have all of the same functionality that students and teachers love, with the addition of these new features.

Sep 16, 2016

Check it out Google Form Add On


I was recently watching a video from Richard Byrne who I follow on YouTube and on his blog Free Tech for Teachers. The video was how to setup a Google Form for a check in and check out system.

The first thing I thought of was classroom libraries and departmental equipment.  No more, who has that book, where are the ipads, or who borrowed the PE equipment.  Now you have a very easy check out/in system you can post to your website.

Using a Google Form add on called Check it out, allows teachers to create a very simple form and system for students and teachers to check out and check in items.  Take a look at this video it explains it very clearly and is less than 5 minutes.




Rubric Grading and More with Goobric and Doctopus

Have you ever wanted to...
  • Add audio feedback to a student's Google Doc assignment?
  • Seemlessly move from one Google Doc assignment to the next when grading?
  • Grade a Google Doc using a shared rubric that is visible and able to be manipulated on screen?

Check out our new series of videos focusing on the use of Goobric/Docotopus (Google addons and extensions) to incorporate rubric grading into your use of Google Classroom.



Sep 8, 2016

Student Late Work Form Submission - Google Forms


On Tuesday, September 6th, Tera Pendleton a NCHS Business Education Teacher, talked about the form she makes the kids fill out if they have submitted late work.  Since she doesn't visit those assignments in Google Classroom after they have been check, she directs the student to fill out a Late Work Submission Form through Google Forms. Once a week on Thursday's, Tera goes through the submissions and reviews late student work.   

This process is geared for student accountability.  They fill in their names, class hour of assignment, assignment name and WHY it is late.   Thanks for sharing Tera.  

Here is the link.  If you think it is something you want to use, just make a copy in your Google Drive.