Thing 6 – Google Apps

Google Drive and Dropbox may have been the best thing to happen to me in my teaching career. I remember the days of working on a document at home that I planned on using at school the next day in the hopes that 1. the email would be at school on my big bulky classroom desktop computer 2. the document would not end up in a new format that I would have to rearrange and resize before rushing down to the printer/copier. So here’s why I love google drive…

1. In the Cloud…

Saving items to my google drive makes that same document, powerpoint, or whatever available across all platforms and devices. Besides the fact that I can now access the files saved on my laptop from my iPad or iPhone, I can carry a document and its info in my pocket without ever having to print it. Let me give you an example…

The other day I rushed to the grocery store on my way home from a long day of teaching and football practice to get items to make dinner AND to pick up materials I was going to use for a Biochemistry lab the next day (this way I didn’t have to hit up the Walmart at 11 at night with the REALLY interesting crowd). As I walked the aisles I knew i was missing two items I needed for the lab but couldn’t remember and of course didn’t bother to write them down earlier (my wife is laughing as she reads that part). As I was about to walk out dejected and resigned to the fact I would have to get to school before 6 to find the lab and then run to the 24hr store before school started, it dawned on me… I Have The Lab Saved On GoogleDrive! I popped open the App on my iPhone and sure enough there was my beautiful pdf with all the lab materials listed! GOOGLE TO THE RESCUE!

2. Collaboration…

If you create a document IN Google (not uploading a .doc you made in word), you can have multiple collaborators! Meaning that students can all be typing on the same document AT THE SAME TIME! They go wild the first time you do it (especially if you project the document on the board as they add to it) and the see their words ‘magically appear’ along with their names. So if students are working together in a group, they can be collaborating in the classroom, in different classrooms, and even at home! You can use the same concept of a Google Doc as a closing activity and have students write down questions they still have from the lesson, or things they had learned from the lesson.

3. ‘Links’ to knowledge…

Once you have created or uploaded a Google document, Google provides you with a weblink that you can give to students so they can view the document at any time. These are especially useful if you want to provide the kids with a. access to past documents or b. answer keys! This is why Google is soooo great for me. My kids always want to be able to check their work AS THEY GO. They don’t want to turn in something if they aren’t confident they are correct. And as long as you create a class culture that the key is to be used as a resource and not for copying, I have found that kids respect that and appreciate that you provide it for them.

4. Ease of use…

The really nice thing about Google Drive is that you can connect it to your desktop or laptop. What that means is that when you connect your drive to your computer, it creates a Synced folder that you can simply drag and drop items, or save documents to that folder. This beats the heck out going to  the google drive website, pressing upload, finding the document, etc..

So if you would please Collaborate with me by clicking the link below and tell me what you think of Google Drive so we can help each other! Hooray for Collaboration!

Click Here to Add to Our Live Google Doc

Thing 5 – Google Forms… and Flubaroo?

Google forms is an easy way to give online quizzes, polls, or feedback forms to your students, colleagues, or parents. In my class I do “Warm Ups” (Some might call it bell work, bell ringers, etc.) each day to either awaken prior knowledge on new material we are learning or to retrieve the previous day’s learning. At the end of each week I post to this site a simple google form that the students complete based on the warm ups. This way I don’t have to check, collect, or grade any papers! Instead, I have the google form. It collects the data, it can grade the quizzes, AND can email the students their results so they get immediate feedback too!

Here’s an example of one of my Warm Up Quizzes: Warm Up Quiz 9/27

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Fig. 1 – My Google Drive

Now, here’s how you do it:

1. Log into your google drive and find the red button that says “create”. Click it an a drop down menu appears, choose “form”.

2. Give your form a title and start writing in questions. You can choose from different styles of questions like multiple choice, list, checkboxes, or just written text (although those become harder to grade in the next sections). I usually make the first question just “First Name” and leave as a short text question. At Cathedral, our forms can automatically collect our students’ email/log in. in order to send them their results you will need this info so make sure you check the box at the top marked, “Automatically collect respondent’s Cathedral High School username” (or you could make a question that asked respondents for their email address).

3. To add new questions you can either:

  • Duplicate the previous question my pressing the button to the right of your first question that looks like one paper lying over another.
  • Create a new question by pressing the button at the bottom of the page that says “Add Item”
form1

Fig 2 – Google Form Tool Bar

4. This is important, if you plan on using this as a Quiz DO NOT MARK ANY CORRECT ANSWERS ON YOUR FORM. All that marking them does is place the mark on that answer so that when the student looks at it they see the correct answer marked for them.

5. When you’re finished, you can view your completed quiz by clicking “View live form” near the top of the page. But more importantly you want to be sure that the button to its left says “Accepting Responses”. This means your form can be viewed and filled out. If this is meant to be an actual quiz that you do not want students able to see at all times, simply click that button and it will change to “Not accepting responses”. (You can easily switch it back by pressing it again)

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Fig. 3 – Send form options

6. When you are ready to share your quiz and make it like click the large blue button that says “Send form”. You can send the form (make it viewable) three different ways:

  1. Copy and paste the URL into your own blog or website
  2. Email your students (or whomever) using the window on the screen
  3. (What I use) You can choose to get the “Embed code” so that you can embed the quiz directly into your website.

Flubaroo

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Fig. 4 – Google Spreadsheet

Now  here’s where it gets fun. The other button in that bar says “View Responses” clicking this will take you to a new Google Spreadsheet that WILL AUTOMATICALLY COLLECT YOUR RESPONSES! (I know, right!?).

As you can see in this picture, Google automatically makes your questions the header on each column and places the students answers in them.

Grading

To have google automatically grade your assignment, click the tab titled “Tools”.

When the dropdown menu appears, the first item listed is “Script gallery”. Click that!

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Fig. 5 – The Script Gallery

A box will appear with a list of scripts that google can run for you to analyze your data. The script you want is called FLUBAROO, so type that into the search bar. When it pulls up the result. Click “Install”.

It’s going to ask to be able to view some of your Google information, do not freak out! Its okay, it just needs permission to read the google spreadsheet so that it can grade it.

Once you have installed Flubaroo, there will be a new tab at the top titled “Flubaroo” (See Fig. 3 for proof). Click the tab and choose “Grade Assignment”. Now before you can grade your assignment, you will have had to have taken your own quiz to make a key. You will then use your response as your Key and compare your students answers to it.

Grade your assignment and Flubaroo will create a new ‘page’ to your spread sheet with data on student results.

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Fig. 6 – The results of a recent assessment

Finally, to send your students their results, click the “Flubaroo” tab again and choose “Email grades”. You’ll have to identify which column of the responses is the email addresses before it can work its magic.

Finally, you can see a report on how your students did by clicking “View Report” in the Flubaroo tab. The report is simply a histogram of the grades, but it’s still pretty helpful.

Other Uses

Recently, I had my students create their own google quizzes, post them and then take other students quizzes. It was a fun way to 1. get them to review and 2. teach them a valuable skill.

Scroll to the bottom of this post and you can see their quizzes: Agenda 9/25

Now, there are more advanced techniques and tricks available if you’re interested. Please contact me if you would like more information. Otherwise, please complete my newest google form below!

Thing 4 – Notability

In my Honors Biology class the students are required to take their notes for my class twice. Once as a “messy” version that tey can doodle on and make mistakes on, and then another clean and well organized version. I don’t check this, rather, its on the “Honor” system… get it. But seriously though, I encourage our students to use notability one of the two times. Most choose to do it as the clean version because of the ability to highlight and color code their notes. On my end, I always provide a ‘pdf template’ for them to take their notes on. This usually means Cornell Notes (if you’re unfamiliar with Cornell notes, let me know and I’ll send you info, otherwise I’ll post on here about them soon)…

Cornell

Cornell notes organize the notes into “Key Ideas” and allow the notes to be the answer to the Key.

The advantage of using a ‘pdf template’ is that the students can easily download them directly to notability and write over the top.

Notability may be great for notes… but it’s even better for graphic organizers. Using the iPad, notability, and a predetermined graphic organizer allows for an opportunity to collaborate with fellow students and share ideas causing the graphic organizer to grow (Talkboard is a great app for collaboration too!). The key is to start with a simple shape, and let the students decide what should go where. There is no right answer when it comes to graphic organizers because it is based on the way the individual student, or group of students, thinks.

Example of a simple graphic organizer from our cells unit

Example of a simple graphic organizer from our cells unit

So download that app and crack it open. If this post helped you, or if there are other ways I can be of assistance, please contact me and let me know.

Thing 3 – Social Media

If you look down the right side of this page you’ll see the live twitter feed for @CoachKubuske.
// This is my professional, and semi-personal, twitter feed that I use in my class. I have organized my other technology pieces (like wordpress and YouTube) to automatically update my Twitter with Tweets about new content added to this site. This is a chance to have technology do the work for you rather than you always feeling like this..

.

when it comes to new technology in the classroom.

The other advantage to your students having access to your twitter is that it:

  1. Gives them yet another avenue to contact you about class information (please remind your students about responsible use and the fact that it is inappropriate for them to ‘direct message’ you)
  2. Allows your students to ‘humanize’ you and see that you have hobbies and interests that they might have in common

Now, if you thought this information was helpful please let me know by tweeting at me
or by mentioning 13 for 13 in your own tweet! 
//

Thing 2 – Blogging

As a part of my class, I incorporate this blog using a site (and app) called wordpress. It’s a free service and gives me the freedom to create a “website”. WordPress allows users to customize their webpage, settings, themes, and other essential elements of web design. WordPress allows use to start at the novice level and still build a dynamic site. Blogging allows me to post daily content to a front page as well as “static” pages, or pages that don’t change on a daily basis. These are noted at the top in the tabs. This is where I post links to documents and answer keys.

FrontPage

The blog posts are the daily updates that read like articles on the front page. This would be information that is pertinent to that day and I would direct my students there at the beginning of a class. Its a great way to post information, task lists, and weblinks. Each post is tagged with a yellow marker showing the date, a title, and a category so I can keep organize posts for different classes on the same front page. When writing a blog post, it can be as simple as writing out a document…

Posting

I choose to use wordpress because it gives me the freedom to use ‘html’ code or as well giving me a lot of options to customize my page. The ‘dashboard’ is where I choose which options I want to change, use, or update…

DashboardYou can see on the left side some of the options. Posts and pages are for my information; Media is where I upload pictures or animations (you can also insert pictures from weblinks called “hotlinks”); Comments is where I can monitor student comments on my posts; Feedback are for polls; Appearance is where I customize the look.

I would strongly encourage other professional educators to start a blog of their own because of the flexibility it gives you to post daily information as well as static information.

Now, tell me what you think…