Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Google Forms as Quizzes

Google Forms: 

If you are like me, you have come to love Google Forms.  

Google Forms help me: 

  • Gather parent/student info at the beginning of a course
  • Obtain Exit Ticket data at the end of a lesson
  • Survey and poll the class and faculty
  • Create self-grading assignments for quicker feedback
  • Design flipped lessons
  • Take orders for fundraisers
  • Collect RSVPs for an event

Now Google Forms offers a Quiz feature within the app itself!  (no extension needed)

For multiple choice questions, it is as easy as a mouse click to assign correct and incorrect answers that will be self-graded.

Check out my video as I make a Google Form into a Quiz.  
**Form-pros can start the video at about 1:12 to get straight to the action!**

For those of you accustomed to using Flubaroo as an extension in your Google Response Sheet, I have a link here that provides a comparison of the two options. Scroll down on the page to see an info-graphic highlighting the features of each.

Have you used Google Forms as a Quiz?  Send us your feedback in the comment section below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Google Classroom Throwback Tuesday

In its debut year, the SMASD Techspot hosted 38 posts highlighting the possibilities for technology integration in our classrooms.  That is an impressive foundation for a digital resource library.

Here at Techspot we want you to know that the articles that you didn't have time to read are still available to you.

How to find old posts:

Use the search box in the upper left hand side of the blog.
  • Type in a keyword.
  • Hit "Enter" or Click the magnifying glass.

Browse the new "Index" page. 

  • Second to last tab across the top of the blog.

Visit our Featured Post.
  • Once a month, we will have a Tech Tuesday Throwback.  
  • It will be posted on the right-hand sidebar under "Featured Post".
  • Reminisce and reevaluate to see if this is something that could now work for you! 

This week - get back to the basics with Google Classroom.  See more by clicking the featured post.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What's new in Google Classroom?

As the school year begins, it is important to establish effective means for distributing and collecting student work.  Now more than ever this "work" isn't restricted only to dittos we ran off of the copy machine.

Establishing your Google Classrooms now will allow you later to exchange any link or file effortlessly between the teacher and the student from anywhere on any device.  (Also, our new school & teacher webpages will be able to link to Google Classroom for participating teachers.)

But more on the basics of Google Classroom next week....

For those of you Google Classroom veterans, you may have noticed a few new features.

1. INVITE GUARDIANS - Under "students" on any class page you will see the option to add a parent email address.  Upon receipt of the email, parents will have the opportunity to subscribe to Google Classroom summary reports.  

The reports include:

  • Missing Work
  • Upcoming Work
  • Recent Posts
To see a sample report click HERE.

This is an effortless way of keeping parents in the loop with what is happening in your classroom.
I personally am very excited for this option for the dance team.  Think about how it may work for your team or club too.

2. TOPICS - For the avid Google Classroom teacher or student, the "Stream" may get a little crowded or overwhelming when trying to find a post.  This year, when you create a post you may assign it a "Topic" or category of your choosing.   You may choose to categorize by assignment type, unit name or anything you wish. 

  • Choose/create the category when making a post.
  • Click a category on the left to sort your stream.
3. ANNOTATING IN THE APP  - Teachers who have the Google Classroom App on their Android or iOS mobile devices can now annotate over an assignment by using their finger or a stylus on the device's screen.  This is great for math teachers who before were limited by document formatting, as well as language arts teachers who want to circle, underline and draw arrows within text.

For instructions on how to actually write notes on student work click HERE.

4. POLL YOUR CLASS - The "Question" feature is a must-use for short answer assignments.  Now, using the same tool you can do a quick poll of your class, choosing whether or not the class sees the summary of responses.  It's good for exit tickets or to check for understanding.

5. POST TO A LATER DATE  - As of May, teachers can schedule their questions, announcements and assignments to post at a later date.  This would be very useful for the quiz that you don't want released until the class begins.

~Speaking of tests, watch for the upcoming post on how Google Forms can now be self-grading quizzes~

These features were all added due to requests from users like you.  If there is a feature you would like to see added, don't hesitate to send feedback by clicking the "?" in the lower right hand corner.

Go to classroom.google.com to access or make 
your Google Classroom.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tech Thank You!

It's hard to believe that the 2015-2016 school year has come to an end. The tech coaches would like to send out a big thank you to everyone who took the time to read the blog, contributed with comments, and/or tried out something new this year. We have some exciting ideas in store for next year and can't wait to share them with all of you. If you have any questions or concerns over the summer, please feel free to e-mail one of us. Have a relaxing and enjoyable summer and we'll see you in the fall!

Thanks again for all you do!
                Angie, Jen, and Amanda 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Let's keep it CLEAN, St. Marys...

You clean your desk drawers, organize your filing cabinet and store away decorations.

But, where is digital organization on your list of to dos?

I must admit, I am very much a guilty party.  I had no idea where to begin when it came to digital clean up.  To get to my daily flipcharts I would navigate a maze of folders that I created years ago.  There was little rhyme or reason to the organization.  It was a path that I would spend an hour re-figuring out at the beginning of every year.

 Here are the 5 steps that I have been taking to start the process of digital clean up.  The initial task is daunting.  Once the organization process is established, it will become habit and your digital cleanup will be an ongoing process instead of the obstacle that you try to avoid.

NUMBER 1:  Google Keep .

  • Get the sticky notes off your computer screen.  keep.google.com gives you digital post it notes that follow you from classroom to classroom, device to device, school to home.
  • What a great way to make your to-do lists: 
    • End of year business 
    • Make up exams/work
    • Summer reminders
    • Classroom items you want to look to purchase
    • Things you want to remember for the start of next year
      • (Unlike that post it - the google keep note won't lose it's stick!)

You can even add links, check-off boxes, reminders, and share your notes with others.

NUMBER 2:  Get it in your PBox.

  • Check for files that you may have only saved locally on your machine:
    • Desktop Screen, Downloads Folder, Picture Folder etc.
  • Get these in your PBox asap.  Cut, Copy, Drag and Paste those files into your Y or Z drive to prevent their loss.
Next year: Get in the habit of doing this right away! - Don't wait until year's end.

NUMBER 3: Name those media files.

  • Media files have the tendency to save as generic names: 
    • WIN / IMG
    • the name of your camera
    • the timestamp
    • numerical order
This can make it very difficult to search for the image or video that you are looking for later.

  • You can bulk name your files very easily on your PC
    • Highlight all of the files that you want to rename in the same category
      • e.g.  MacBeth Videos 10th grade
      • 5th grade field trip 2016
    • Right Click and choose Rename 
      • it will seem like you are only renaming one file
    • Hit Enter
All of your files are now renamed "MacBeth Videos 10th grade (1, 2, 3, 4, ...)" 
"5th grade field trip 2016 (1, 2, 3, 4....)

NUMBER 4: Delete and Organize.

To find unused files: 
  • Open your PBox or any file within your PBox.  Click the Date Modified header to sort your files from oldest to newest.

  • Use your judgement... here I see I have files that have not been modified or opened since 2003, I am guessing those can go.... 
    • Hold Crtl as you clik through the ones you want to delete and then delete them all at once.
  • If you are worried about permanently deleting files, try making a folder called Old Files and keeping them there for another year, to see if you actually will access them.
To create folders: 
  • Right Click anywhere in your PBox.
  • Hover over New then click Folder
  • Find a filing system that works for  you.  I use a style similar to that of my actual paper filing cabinets.
  • Then Drag, Drop, Cut, Copy and Paste your way to a better organized drive.

What is Archiving?

  • Google Classrooms will appear in students' lists of classes until they are Archived by the teacher (or the student removes him/herself from your class)
  • Archiving a Classroom: 
    • Preserves your posts, assignments etc.
    • Removes them from your active classes screen, for organization
    • Gives you access to the posts, for reuse next year
    • Does not allow you or a student to further modify the class
    • Still allows you the option to restore the class if you need to reuse/modify it for any reason
How to Archive: 

  1. On the class card, click the dots and select Archive.
  2. To confirm, click Archive.

What tricks do you have for tidying your digital world?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


At NeoK12, they believe that kids learn best when they see how things work, when, where, and why they happen.  Watching educational videos is a great way to learn because it allows kids to build a visual picture or model in their mind. The visual dimension not only helps them understand concepts better, but also stimulates curiosity and encourage self-learning.  Go to http://www.neok12.com/ to check out the topics available!

NeoK12 also features innovative tools for learning and teaching.
      These include:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Genius Hour!

Once again, I am hitting a topic that may not directly be a tech tool, but that will more than likely incorporate technology somewhere along the way. I thought this would be a good post to leave you with for the year to give you time to think about implementation next year. 

I first heard about Genius Hour last year when I was teaching 5th grade and I was intrigued by the idea. As the definition above states, Genius Hour is adapted from Google's 20% time idea. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin highlighted the idea in their 2004 IPO letter: "We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google," they wrote. "This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. (Side note: Gmail was created during a 20% time project!) During Genius Hour, students have a chance to pursue their passions and creativity and innovation are encouraged. Each student develops a big question focused on a topic he/she would like to explore further. They take the time to research about their topic and then plan a project that will be shared. The research will incorporate information from all kinds of different sources and technology can even be used to connect students to experts on the topic. Projects students create can be shared within the class, school, or through technology, the world! 

My students last year completed Genius Hour projects, and it was amazing to see how engaged they were. Student choice was a huge motivator and they couldn't wait until Genius Hour time. I know...the biggest roadblock that comes to mind is, "I don't have enough time as it is-how am I going to give students an hour a week to pursue their passions. I get it. However, it isn't as hard as you might think and is something that can be incorporated into elementary, middle and high school environments. It just takes some rethinking on how you use your time in the classroom.

There are many articles and resources out there about Genius Hour that can say it much better than I can. I encourage you to think about how you might be able to incorporate Genius Hour into your classroom. Your students will thank you! 

Here are a few links to get you started:

On Twitter, search #geniushour