Google Classroom now makes it easier to assign work to individual students

Google is always looking for ways to improve their applications.  Now it is much easier to assign work to individual students rather than just to the entire class.  This will facilitate personalization when certain students might benefit from an assignment that is not necessarily assigned to everyone in the class.

This blog post by Andrew Garrett, one of the software engineers for Google Classroom, explains the changes.

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Rick Davidson

Google Tone – What Will They Think Of Next?

Add Google Tone to Chrome and you can send a  webpage address to another computer that has the extension.  Google Tone uses the computers’ microphones and speakers to transfer the URL.  In other words, any computer that has speakers, a microphone, the Google Zone extension and is within earshot can transfer this information.  Load all of the computers in a classroom with this app and webpage sharing just got a lot easier.  Even easier than Share to Classroom. You just might have to ask the students to be quiet for a few moments.

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Share to Classroom

Do you want to get your entire class on the same page?  Google Share to Classroom used with Google Classroom is the answer.  This app will allow you to push any website to all the students in your Google Classroom classes.  This is different from Google Cast For Education which allows you to share one computer screen to another in Google Chrome.  This facilitates students sharing their screen with the teacher.  In class, the teacher can project student screens one student  at a time.

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The New Version of Google Sites

The new version of Google Sites is ready to use. You can continue to use the classic Google Sites.  The instructions for the classic version.   How to access the new version.    How to use the new version.  How to incorporate an old version site into a new version site is promised for the near future.  The new version looks much more user friendly than the classic version.

I will be at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference on November 30 and December 1.  I will be conducting a workshop on Creative Commons on Wednesday and a workshop on Video Making in the Cloud on Thursday.

Google Cast for Education

Google Cast for Education makes is possible for students to cast their screens to the teacher’s computer. The teacher can then project a given student’s screen to a projection screen or to a TV. You would need a projector or mirroring software such as Apple TV or Chrome Cast. This app seems to work most easily by using existing classes in Google Classroom. Check it out. I think that a teacher can even do this from home. One of our IT people and I are going to test it tomorrow morning. Google Cast for Education

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Larry Cuban on Teaching Literature Using Technology

Recently I came across an article in a blog post by Larry Cuban in “Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice”.  He had the opportunity to observe a 7th-grade teacher, John DiCosmo, as he conducted a class on John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl”.  John began the class by using a back channel called Padlet. He elicited responses from his students to the following questions:  “What would you do if you found a treasure of millions, in cash, free and clear? How would your life change?”  A back channel is net-worked or online chat software that allows participants in a classroom or workshop to carry on a secondary chat exchange while the primary instructor conducts the discussion.  In this case, the students respond to the question anonymously as a stimulus for conversation.  The question is a very appropriate way to start talking about the “The Pearl” as the novella is about the ramifications of the discovery of a potentially very valuable pearl.  The student posts can be projected on a white board or smart board.  They can also be mirrored onto a TV using a tool such as Apple TV.  This article is about a 7th-grade classroom but the back channel technique could be used on other levels as well.  Padlet allows the student to write a response and they can drag in images, videos, and other files.   Mr. DiCosmo also created a video book trailer using fellow staff members to play the primary characters from the book.  What a fun way to show the students what would be expected when they make their own book trailers!

Other back channel possibilities are Twitter,  TodaysMeet, and Socrative.   I have used TodaysMeet in a number of workshops both as a participant and as an instructor.  It is very easy to use.  Whichever software you choose, back channels are a great way to elicit real-time responses from your students.  It can be particularly effective with students who might be reticent to speak in class

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

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10 Essential Characteristics of A 21st Century Educator by George Couros

Sometime I run into an article that says what’s on my mind better than I could ever say it.  “10 Essential Characteristic of a 21st Century Educator” is just such an article.  I especially like George Couros’ observation that “It is not technology that has the biggest influence on what we do; it is the speed of change being thrust upon us.”  Mr Couros, the author of “The Innovator’s Mindset” goes on to list ten characteristics that he considers crucial for 21st Century educators.  They are relationship builder, learner, inclusive, reflective, networked, innovator, leader, storyteller, designer, artist. “10 Essential Characteristics of a 21st Century Educator”  This article is worth reading.  Definitely food for thought.

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The New 2016 ISTE Student Standards

These are the 2016 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards.  The older standards included ways that students could demonstrate how they could use technology.  The new standards recognize that technology has revolutionized how we acquire, process and communicate knowledge.  Specifically, they reflect how technology can empower learning,  the acquisition of knowledge, innovation, the thinking process, communication  and collaboration.  Technology is redefining how we learn, what we learn and how we use what we learn.  The new standards reflect the reality that the digital age has truly provided us with the means  to do things we couldn’t do before.  Along with the power of digital tools comes the responsibility to critically evaluate data as well as to use it effectively and conscientiously.  While our students may be digital natives, most have not learned how to really use technology to empower their learning and their ability to communicate and collaborate. The new standards recognize the need to help our students reach their greatest potential given the truly awesome tools available to all of us.

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Why I’d Rather Cuddle with a Shark than a Kissing Bug By Bill Gates

My first novel is about a mountain lion in northern New Hampshire that kills other animals and some people.  I chose a Catamount because they are very effective stalkers and they were, at one time, indigenous to New England.  There are many who claim that these magnificent animals are still around. Until I saw this blog post by Bill Gates, I never really  considered that a mountain lion would actually be quite far down on the list of dangerous killers.  Hmm! I wonder if  one of my next novels will have to be titled “Mosquitos, A North Country Thriller”.  Check out Mr. Gate’s post.  It is eye opening.  “Why I’d Rather Cuddle with a Shark than a Kissing Bug” By Bill Gates

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Maptia, A World of Stories

Every once and  awhile, I run into a site that really blows me away. Maptia is one such site. The Photography and the stories  are outstanding.  Anyone can add their own.  This free site could be used to inspire our students to do just that.  You simply add your text and your images and then publish.  The site is easy to use, but the potential for creativity is unlimited.  I could spend the day just exploring the existing stories.  This is an excellent example of what one can accomplish with digital media.

Maptia

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