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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Handy Note Taking Chrome Extensions #edtech #googlechrome

I like being able to take notes sometimes when I'm using Chrome to jot down ideas or things, usually that I just want to keep for a short time.  I usually use a Chrome shortcut trick by adding a bookmark to "data:text/html, <html contenteditable>" in the address bar.  It makes an editable page that I can type on, but I can't save the notes without copying and pasting somewhere else.  It's great when I need to copy and paste a bunch of items or just jotting down quick ideas.

I read about a few Chrome extensions on the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning website that save your notes so the next time you visit a web site they are available to you.  The first one, Sidenotes, adds a sidebar for you to type notes on.  The second one, Notes Anywhere, puts stickies on any page that show up the next time you visit that page.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Create Quick Rubrics #edtech @StoryboardThat

For teachers, time is crucial.  Tools that make the classroom or preparation more efficient are invaluable.  A great rubric tool I've used in the past is called ThemeSpark and I love it because it's drop-dead simple.  Another one I came across today from +Alice Keeler is called Quick Rubric.  Like many of these types of tools you get a template to fill in with the scores and criteria and then you can save, print and share them.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Google Photos is Awesome #gafe #google #edtech #ipaded

Google products are great and they are here to stay.  One of my favorite tools on my iOS devices is Google Photos because it automatically backs up all of my photos and videos and stores them FOR FREE.  If you are a camera snob and want the highest possible resolution possible for your photos and don't want to lose the original then every photo you back up will count against your data quota.  But if you just want to take them, store them, and possibly use them later for something else then Google Photos is a great alternative to iCloud or putting them on your own external hard drive.

If you're a GAFE school and they are school photos and videos it's not a big deal since you have unlimited storage, but if it's your personal stuff then choose to backup your photos using the High Quality option in and you'll be able to back as much up as you want to a personal Google account.

Do I think Google is using my photos for some nefarious purpose?  No.  But are they somehow using all of the metadata from your photos to better their services and tailor offerings to you, possibly by spotting trends or locations?  Most likely, but that's a chance you have to take.  There is no free lunch and here's a good article about that.

In order for things to work nicely you have to have Google Drive on your device and Google Photos.  In Google Drive Settings you have to have Auto-Backup turned on.  Then in Google Photos you have to make sure Back Up and Sync is toggled on, then you're all set.

What caused me to write this post today was the feature Google just added which is the ability for Google Photos to automatically delete the photos from your device once they are securely backed up in the cloud, which is a great idea for those of us who don't have large capacity phones.  It's a bit scary taking this step because your won't have any more photos in your Photos app but it will give you back precious space.  If you want to grab a photo from Google Photos and put it back on your iOS device it's very easy to save it back into your Camera Roll by pressing the Share button and Save Image.

Another new feature is the ability to share albums with friends via SMS, email or instant message.  Simply create a new album, share the URL, then friends can view anything you put in it on their own device in Google Photos or on the web.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hour of Code at Lincoln Elementary #hourofcode

Fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Nicpan-Brown from Abraham Lincoln Elementary, organized an Hour of Code event last night and the turnout was great.  Even though it was a cold, windy and rainy night, we had over 85 students and an additional number of parents come out and spend an hour coding.  Mrs. Nicpan Brown also had more than $500 in prizes to give away including a 7" tablet and lots of robot.

There were students from elementary, middle and preschools in Wenatchee as well as students from private schools too.  We have one more night (with prizes) this Thursday at 6pm at Lincoln Elementary and it's open to any K-7 students in the Wenatchee School District. Come on out and join the fun!  Chromebooks will be provided for those who do not have them.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Digital Challenge #2 - Family Stories #edtech #ipaded #wsdtech

Our technology department wanted to design an extension activity for our 1:1 students that wouldn't require the teachers to put in any effort, but would allow students to stretch their brains using their devices.  The idea that came about was a weekly Digital Challenge, or a a way for students to use their iPads and do some neat activities and projects outside of class.  We're using Google Classroom as our delivery tool and giving students one week to complete each challenge. So far we've had about 150 kids sign up!

Our second digital challenge was modeled after NPR's Story Corp and we wanted students to use their time over Thanksgiving break to interview a family member about their favorite holiday memory.  They had to use a recording app on their iPad and submit it through Google Classroom.  The winners are below.

Digital Challenge #2 Winners:

Winner - Annalise "Pie" - Judges were looking for clarity, an engaging story and the correct time length, all of which this short story had.  Annalise interviewed a family member who told us about a Thanksgiving meal during his time in the Navy when he invited his friends over for dinner.  Listen to the story to hear the humorous outcome.  Annalise wins two Little Caesar's pizzas delivered to hear at lunchtime to share with whomever she wishes!

Photo of Annalise and Principal Brown

Second Place - Kalynn "Mariners" - She interview her mom about her favorite childhood memory.  An embarrassing dance contest and the Mariners were involved.  She won a set of earbuds and a stylus.

Photo of Kalynn and Vice-Principal Bucholz
Next week's challenge is to make a trailer using the iMovie app.  We are looking for exciting, engaging, inspiring, or otherwise great trailers.

Quizalize to Make Learning Fun @Quizalizeapp #edtech #gamification

There are a handful of really good online tools and apps that make assessing and learning fun for students.  The ones that immediately come to mind are Kahoot! and Quizziz and Socrative and I'm sure there are more out there I'm not aware of.  One that came across my radar the other day that I'm really starting to like is called Quizalize.  It allows you to create quizzes like the other ones do but also has some neat features that make it worth checking out.

It has a Team Game View that allows a teacher to see, or display for the class, where students are at answering the questions.  It shows horizontally which students have answered which questions and shows vertically where students are at answering questions correctly.  It divides the class into two teams so there is an element of competition involved too.

The Live Dashboard shows real-time results on how each student is doing overall and also lets you drill down to see which questions students struggled with, which I know Kahoot! does too.  After the students complete the quiz they also get personal diagnostics that show number of questions correctly answered, how long it took them, and how many points they earned.

Plus, it's free!  And, it also has a Marketplace where quiz creators can buy and sell quizzes they've created.  And, and, and it has Google Classroom integration so you can assign a quiz directly to a class.  Nice features all around and well thought out.  I highly recommend not only teachers using it but having students use it to challenge their classmates and demonstrate their knowledge of content by creating their own quizzes.  Oh, and it has Google sign in to boot.