Sunday, November 30, 2014

Favorite Chrome Extension of the Week - December 1st

This week's focus is on using Chrome extensions to help you research on the web. These are great extensions for teachers and students.

#1: Tab Resize
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension is similar to Tab Scissors and Tab Glue, but on steroids. It allows you to choose an already existing layout, create your own, undo, and add blank tabs to the layout. I do believe this is my new go to extension when I want to create a new tab layout. It even supports multiple monitors, which makes be every happy. Here is a YouTube video showing how it works.





#2: Highlight to Search
Type: Search Tools
Summary: This makes searching on the web easy. Simply highlight text from an article on the web and a search icon will appear. It will even show you recommendations from the highlighted text. 





#3: Search All
Type: Search Tools
Summary: Quickly and easily find information from multiple search engines with this extension. Highlight the text you want to search, right click and choose the search engine from the available list. If you want to start a new search, click the extension and a pop-up will appear. Simply type in your terms and choose the search engine.





#4: Clearly
Type: Productivity
Summary: Strip extraneous images and distractions on webpages to make a  "clear" set of text to read. Highlight text, send the clip to Evernote account.


Before

After



Saturday, November 29, 2014

FormLimiter ~ Must Have Add-on for Google Forms

FormLimiter is a must have Google Forms add-on. The add-on allows the owner to 1) set a date and time to stop receiving submissions or 2) restrict people from submitting after a certain number of responses have been received.

Follow these steps to add the formLimiter add-on. 




Step 8: Set the Google form to stop receiving submissions on a specific date and time. 

~ OR ~
Step 8: Set the Google form to stop receiving submissions after the maximum number of submissions have been received.



This add-on is perfect for:

  • Time sensitive forms, such as quizzes/tests
  • Sign-ups
  • Surveys/questionnaires

Check out the formLimiter help section for more information. 





Kahoot: Unleashing Fun in the Classroom

Kahoot, an online student response system, will unleash fun in your classroom through gaming. It can be accessed through any internet capable device and is played like trivia. Students earn points for correct answers and the quicker you respond the more points you earn. If you are limited on the number of devices students have access to, then have students work in pairs/groups. 

In nine easy steps you can bring fun into your classroom using Kahoot. Watch your students start to beg to play. 

Step 1: Choose Your Kahoot
Kahoot has 3 types you can create: quiz, discussion, survey. No matter which one you choose students will see a question with four answer choices. On their device they will pick the shape that correlates with the answer they choose. 

You can also choose one from the public gallery (at the time of this blog there were almost 755K Kahoots to choose from). You can search by name, audience, and/or type.


Step 2: Launch to the Class
Project on a screen and launch the Kahoot to the class. 


Step 3: Students Join the Game
Students will go to kahoot.it and enter the pin projected on the screen once the game is launched. They are prompted to give a nickname. Teachers can give expections on whether or not the student is required to give their real name or not. 



Step 4: Students Answer Questions
For five seconds the question is projected to give the students time to start thinking. After the initial five seconds, four answer choices will be projected and the countdown begins. Each answer choice is differentiated by a color and shape. The students choose the color/shape on their device that corresponds with the correct answer. 


Step 5: Question Feedback
After time is up the correct answer(s) is highlighted with a check and the wrong answers are faded out. A bar graph will appear showing the class the number of students who choose each answer. Each student will receive personal feedback on their device to whether or not they got the answer correct. 


Step 6: Leaderboard
After each question a leaderboard will display showing the top five players. It never shows a full list of players, so those not in the top five do not have to worry about being shown where they are on the list.



Step 7: The Winner
At the end of all the questions the winner's name will be projected for everyone to see. 



Step 8: Students Rate the Experience
At the end the teacher can have students rate the experience: 
  • ‘How fun was it?’ Students answer 1 to 5
  • ‘Did you learn something?’ Students answer yes or no
  • ‘Do you recommend it?’ Students answer yes or no
  • ‘Tell us how you feel’ Students select happy, normal or sad

The accumulative feedback is displayed for the class to see, which is great for prompting discussion on what worked and what didn't work. 



Step 9: Gather the Data
The students will get personal feedback on their device; total points earned, number of correct and incorrect answers, and the position they finished. Teachers have the ability to download the students' data to see how each person answered and how long it took them to answer each question. This data is only good if the teacher requires each student to use their own name. 



Check out the Kahoot Tutorial for more information and ideas on implementing this engaging tool in your classroom. 



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Favorite Chrome Extensions for the Week - November 24th

Here are my favorite Chrome extensions for the week. This week focuses on saving time while trying to get work done.

#1: Closed Tabs
Type: Accessibility
Summary: This extension is great when you need to access closed tabs quickly. Every time you close a tab it is added to the Closed Tab extension for easy retrieval. You have the ability to clear all tabs when the list gets too long. 



#2: Autocopy
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension allows you to automatically copy text or links when they are selected saving the number times a day you click Ctrl/Cmd + C




#3: Timer
Type: Productivity
Summary: Set a timer for allotted time you would like to be on the web.


#4: Strict Workflow
Type: Productivity
Summary: Enforces 25 minutes of distraction-free work by blocking those distracting websites. Then gives you a 5 minute break.



If you are new to Chrome or want to learn more, click here to see some of the great things Chrome allows you to do.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Favorite Chrome Extensions for the Week - November 17th

This week the Chrome extensions are focused around helping students with reading and writing. The extensions can be used to aid students who might struggle with reading, need assistance in writing or those that need to want to or need to improve their reading speed.

#1: Select and Speak
Type: Productivity (Reading)
Summary: Select and Speak allows students to select a word or words and have it read to them. There are 43 voices to choose from with both male and female options. The student has the ability to pause, as well as slow down or speed up the reading. This is a great extension for students who struggle with reading or are learning English as a second language.


#2: BeeLine Reader
Type: Productivity (Reading)
Summary: This is a great extension uses a color gradient to guide your eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. It makes reading text online easier. Students have the option to choose from a 5 different color gradient or customize with the colors of their choice. There are settings for different fonts, including one for dyslexic students.


#3: Spreed
Type: Productivity (Reading)
Summary: This extension is used to aid students in increasing their reading speed without compromising comprehension. It takes the online text and puts one word (or multiple if the student chooses) in a pop-up. The student can use keyboard shortcuts to increase/decrease the rate the words appear. After the text has been completed it will show the students the WPM. 


#4: VoiceNote
Type: Productivity (Reading)
Summary: With this extension students are able to write using their voice. The text starts to appear once they begin to speak. Students can say the word 'period' to end the sentence. Once the extension recognizes that the student is done with the sentence, it moves below and the student can continue to speak the next sentence. Errors can be corrected on the notepad and then the text can be copied and pasted into a Google Doc or Word document. This is a great extension for students who struggle with writing because they can't type or physically write. 



Help Students Better Understand Difficult Text with Rewordify

Rewordify is a great web tool that will reword difficult text to help students better understand. Copy and paste text from the web and it will show the modified words in yellow (color can be changed).



The site already has existing classic literature uploaded, reworded and ready to be used. You can search by title or by author. 



Teachers also have the ability to create learning materials and quizzes based on the vocabulary from the text. 



I see a lot of potential for this site to be used with struggling readers or any student who needs help improving their vocabulary. 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Get Student Feedback Using Geddit

I just discovered Geddit and am in love. This is an awesome assessment for learning tool. 




Here is why Geddit is so awesome!

Student Accounts
Student have the ability to sign in with a Google account or create an account. Students do NOT need an email address to create an account. They can give a username instead. 

Once they have logged in to Geddit, the teacher will give the students a code to join his/her class.

Students Can Check-in
Geddit allows students to "check-in" with the teacher to let them know how they are feeling about the lesson. The teacher is the only person who can see the students' response, so they can answer without fear of judgement. Here are the students' choices:

  • I don't understand this :(
  • I think I get it?
  • I'm OK with this
  • I've got this
  • Easy, I could teach my friend

Teachers Can Push Out Questions
Teachers can create separate lessons filled with questions to ask students. The teacher then pushes out each question to all the students at the right time. Teachers have the ability to create standard questions (multiple choice, short answer, long answer, or poll) or a math question. 

There is even the ability to ask a question on the fly, by creating a quick question. For the quick question the students will see A-D for multiple choice, T/F for true and false, box for short answer and A-D for a poll. Verbally give the students the question and answer choices and push out a quick question. 

If your classroom is not 1:1, that is okay. Ask questions where students have to answer in a group.

Show Students Class Data
Teachers have the ability to share with students how the class as a whole answered a question. It will not show the students individual answers. Teachers can use this to have class discussions on why some students might have answered a particular way. 

Student Data
Teachers can pull up individual students to see how they answered all of the questions, as well as send them a private message that will show up only on their screen. This is a great way to redirect a student without embarrassing them or give a student encouragement when you see they are frustrated. 

Share Lessons with Other Teachers
After the lesson ends the teacher can export the data to see how all students performed and get a whole class picture. You can also share your lessons with your colleagues, so they do not have to reinvent the wheel. No student data will be transferred when you share a lesson. 


If you haven't tried Geddit, I highly recommend you check it out. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Student led edcamps

I just participated in a #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate) Twitter chat when someone's post to one of the questions grabbed me. The question and answer were:




It is so simple, yet I had never thought of it. Student led edcamps can be so powerful. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the edcamp style professional development here is a little run-down. Edcamps are referred to as the "unconference" because there are no formal presentations. Instead, educators gather together and using two different color post-its they state what they want to learn and what they are willing to be an expert on. From these post-its sessions are formed.

So how would this look in the classroom? Students can use the edcamp style to create discussion groups. Let those who are the "experts" guide the discussion with the students who might be struggling with the content. There doesn't have to be one "expert" in the group. The power comes from the students getting together to talk about one topic. Use this style to create small groups of students. The best part is the students are guiding their own learning in that moment based on their personal learning needs. 

As learners, we need time to discuss and process hard concepts/ideas. This style allows for those times to take place. Students can document the discussion using a shared Google Document, so that students not in the group can go back to reference. Great study aid!

What about multiple classes coming together to have student led edcamps? I can see the power in this concept. If you choose to adopt this idea, please share how it worked. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Favorite Chrome Extensions for the Week of November 10th

I have been on a search for some new Chrome extensions. This week I am showcasing extensions that I have just recently found. 

#1 Too Many Tabs
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension is for the tab hoarders out there. It allows you to see a visual of all of your open tabs. It also allows you to easily suspend the tabs that you are not currently using so you can improve your computer's memory. When you need to access the suspended tab, simply open the extension and move the suspended tab back over.




#2 Notifier for Twitter
Type: Social & Communication
Summary: This extension displays tweets, mentions and/or direct messages as pop-ups on your computer screen. It will also pull up your Twitter feed in a pop-up window so you can quickly check tweets from any open tab/window. I personally choose to just be notified when there are mentions or direct messages because I would never get anything done if my twitter feed was popping up all day.




#3 English Dictionary Translate Pronunciation 
Type: Social & Communication (but I consider it more productivity)
Summary: Use this extension to have a word pronounced for you. Also shows the definition of the word and gives you the ability to translate the English word into another language. Great extension for the English language learners. 




#4 Explain and Send Screenshots
Type: Productivity
Summary: I take a lot of screenshots to send to people in order to explain something. This extension is great because I can quickly take a screenshot and then annotate on it. I can download the image or share the link to the annotated screenshot. 


Monday, November 3, 2014

My Favorite Chrome Extensions for the Week - November 3rd


Being a Chrome Extension addict is great. I love learning new extensions that will help me not only be more productive, but allow me to work smarter and not harder. Here are my favorite extensions for the week. 

#1Screencastify
Type: Productivity (Video)
Summary: This extension is awesome! It takes a screen capture of the tab that you have open. The only downfall that I can find is that it only captures the information in the open window and not the entire screen. With that said, it is free, easy to use, and will upload the file to YouTube, Drive, or download onto your computer right have you make it. Great way to showcase a lesson, resources, or walk people through an online step-by-step.




#2: Google Quick Scroll
Type: Search Tools
Summary: If you are anything like me, you can get frustrated when you conduct a Google search and then can't find the information you are looking for on the page that is recommended. This extension helps alleviate that frustration. When you have Google Quick Scroll turned on, it will highlight the text on the web page that you go to, so you don't have to spend time searching through all of the irrelevant information.






#3: Ginger
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension is a dream come true for me. I am the first to admit that grammar is not by strong suit. This extension gives grammatical and spelling suggestions as I type. It is working now as I am typing in Blogger. Now it doesn't work as you are tying in a Google document, but you have the ability to copy and paste paragraphs into the Ginger extension and get suggestions on the spot. Now that I have found this extension, I cannot imagine living without my new friend.
 


#4: Goo.gl URL Shortener
Type: Productivity (Social & Communication)
Summary: This extension might not be new to many of you, but it is always worth mentioning. There are a lot of URL shortener extensions out there, but this is my favorite because when you create a free account it will keep track of the number of clicks on that shortened URL. When you click on the extension it will instantly create a shortened URL and copy it, so you can immediately share. It will also create a QR code for you to be able to take a screenshot.