Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Collaborate with Google Slides - #winteraroundtheworld

Shannon Miller, from my Twitter PLN, introduced me to a  cool (pun intended) idea called Winter Around The World Project. This is a project after my professional heart. It is collaborative, timely, and meaningful to students. According to their website, the project uses Google Slides to collect winter stories, songs, poems, illustrations, and photographs from students and teachers around the world. Once all of these are collected as a slide deck, there will be a digital eBook published by Cantata Learning.

Here's my favorite winter story ever told:

If you have the chance to add to the story, use the information below for the richest experience:

Shannon Miller Twitter: @shannonmmiller
Twitter Hashtag: #winteraroundtheworld
Google Slide To Add Your Story: Winter Around The World

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Searching Skills - A Google A Day

Do you know how to search Google? Of course, a monkey can do that. Not so fast. Searching is a key discipline related to Digital Literacy. Educators take for granted that everyone knows how to search for resources online. According to Google Help, there are fourteen basic search options available. These range from specific punctuation marks to search operators. Knowing how to use these searching skills can improve your returned results. Not only that, but it will quicken the process of vetting the results. Let's see how this works, shall we?

Abraham Lincoln returns 79,500,000 results
Abraham Lincoln -war returns 41,000,000 results
Abraham Lincoln -war "foreign policy" returns 365,000 results

That's not too bad.  By harnessing the power of Google search students and teachers can spend less time searching and more time vetting the value of the source. Isn't that our ultimate goal?

Looking for a fun way to integrate searching skills into your classroom? Google has created a website that turns learning about searching skills into a game. I've tried a few games;  it is fun and challenging. It is called "a Google a day". (Click here for larger picture)

If you would like to implement this into your classroom, check out the Google Search Education website for classroom materials. Here's a great one minute video showing how to use a Google a day.

Hemingway App Readability: Grade 7

Thursday, November 12, 2015

GaETC - Three Take Aways

Another amazing GaETC has come and gone. This year's theme was "Super Heroes". As always, the volunteer staff and presenters were the true Super Heroes. Every volunteer I met was over the top helpful, and friendly. Even to those of us that forgot our badges for the 12th year in a row. There were so many high-quality concurrent sessions. I felt bad for not being able to attend everyone. A week later, I'm finally able to settle down and process the experience. Here's a few thoughts:

Chris Craft is a great resource, excellent presenter, and a really nice guy. Of his many presentations, I took the most out of Chris's Google Q&A, and his session on  Google Drive Add-Ons. PearDeck was a fan favorite. 

Image result for pear deck

GaETC concurrent sessions were rich with ideas related to professional learning. Professional learning programs and professional learning networks (PLN) were hot topics. The model from Clark County School District (CCSD) is an exceptional model. Clint and Carrie, instructional technologist from CCSD, led a live session taking the audience through their program called Club Tech. I'm glad to have them in my PLN, and excited to borrow some ideas for our new professional learning program.

The conference was active and full of learning. Some districts have many resources and employees, and some have few. Several districts were Windows, many were Mac, and even more across the state were embracing the wonderful resources of Google Apps for Education (GAFE). There wasn't any technology snobbery, or rumbles in the streets between Windows and Mac users (AKA: Socs and the Greasers). Just thousands upon thousands of educators trying to better their career and the lives of their students. At the end of the day everyone was there to share, teach, and encourage. Now that's enough to keep you going till next year.

Posting this clip does not endorse greasy hair, collared shirts, smoking, violence, or open fires.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Google Chromebook: The Mark Twain of Laptops

In 1897 Mark Twain said, " The report of my death was an exaggeration". Just like Mark Twain in 1897, the media wrote Google Chromebook off for dead this week. According to several sources, Chromebook production would stop after 2016. Should I blog about the misrepresentation of modern media? No. How about a lesson on proper evaluation methods of online stories? Maybe. Better yet,  I will link a blog post from Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior VP of Chrome OS. Enjoy and Bonjour.

Hiroshi Post: Chrome is alive