Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Google's Applied Digital Skills: 150+ Free Tech Skills Lessons for You and Your Students

Digital skills are more important than ever for our students and for us as educators. 
  • Our students need digital skills to be prepared for the jobs of their future, and to function in daily life now. 
  • As educators we need digital skills to communicate more effectively with our students, provide them with more engaging learning experiences, and to stay organized ourselves.
There are loads of wonderful resources to help all of us improve our digital skills from blogs to YouTube channels to podcasts and more. One fantastic, and totally free, resource is Google's Applied Digital Skills.

Applied Digital Skills is a totally free, video-based, online curriculum to teach digital skills for your students in any subject area and for your own professional development. There are over 150 ready-to-use lessons covering a wide range of age levels, tech tools, and topics.

See below for a short video demonstrating this awesome resource, as well as written directions with all the details. And a big thanks to Google for sponsoring this blog post!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Build a Jack-O-Lantern with Google Slides and Mote

A few years ago I created my "Build a Jack-O-Lantern" activity for Google Slides. It was a giant hit with students as it let them be creative while improving their writing skills and tech skills.

With Fall here once again, I decided to revisit this favorite activity and add a new twist to it. In the years since I first created this project, we now have an amazing new tool in the Chrome Web Extension called Mote.

Mote is a free tool that makes it easy for you and your students to record your voice and add it directly into your slideshow (or document, form, email, and so much more). With Mote we can make this activity even more engaging than ever.

  • You can use Mote to add audio support to the activity by recording directions and embedding them right into the slideshow.
  • Your students can use Mote to record themselves reading aloud the Jack-O-Lantern story they write, and embed their narrated story into their slide.
  • And the students can record themselves making spooky sound effects or speaking for their pumpkin.

I had the pleasure of recording a video with Jon Neale and Sue Tranchina for their pop-up Mote PD series. See below for the short video explaining how your students can do the "Build a Jack-O-Lantern" activity with Google Slides and Mote, as well as detailed written directions.

Friday, October 1, 2021

What's New in Google - September 2021

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from September 2021, and see great ideas and resources!
Below is the recorded video from our September 2021 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and Google updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Workspace news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Workspace is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the September 2021 meeting:

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Halloween Drag and Drop Poetry with Google Drawings

Magnetic poetry kits have been around for decades, providing children and adults with inspiration to create poems on refrigerators everywhere.

As fun as those magnetic kits are, they have some limitations. By using a technology option, such as Google Drawings, you get many benefits:

  • No limit on the quantity of words provided. Just copy and paste more of them as needed.
  • Great tech skills practice with dragging and dropping and copying and pasting.
  • Ability to edit the words provided if needed.
  • Ability to add your own words.
  • Easy collaboration with others.
  • Easy to share or download your final creation.
  • No pieces to get lost.
  • It’s free!

In the past I have shared Google Drawing templates for students to create drag-and-drop "magnetic" poetry with a winter theme, Valentine's theme, and Spring theme. This time I have created one for Halloween.

See below to get your free copy of the Halloween Poetry template to use with your students (or yourself) however you want, as well as a video and directions on how to use it.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Podcast Spotlight: Get the Most out of Google

I recently had the pleasure to once again be a guest on the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast with Vicki Davis, where I shared about some of the best new Googley updates for schools from the last few months and what's coming soon!

In the past I have been on Vicki's awesome podcast twice before where I talked about:

I am excited to share this latest episode with you, as well as encourage you to dive into all the episodes of the podcast! This podcast is described as follows:

Every weekday, join full-time teacher Vicki Davis, author of the Cool Cat Teacher Blog, as she dives into what matters most to classroom teachers. The best and brightest educators and idea creators will inspire you as they are interviewed on this show. You'll learn behind the scenes tips, classroom ideas, and practical mindsets for anyone working with today's kids.

I was so excited to be a guest on the show! See below for a link to the episode and other relevant resources...

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Screencastify Makes Video Quizzes Easier with Interactive Questions Feature

There are lots of screen recording tools available, but one of my favorites has always been Screencastify

It is super easy to use with options to record your screen or webcam or both, as well as annotate on your screen, edit the recording afterwards, and share the final video in many ways.

As useful as Screencastify has always been, it is now even better with two new free features: Interactive Questions for video quizzes and Viewer Analytics!

  • The Interactive Questions feature makes it easy to add multiple choice questions to your video so you can assess student understanding while they watch your videos.
  • The Viewer Analytics feature allows you to see who has viewed your videos, and how many times, so you can get a better measure of student engagement.

See below for a short video walkthrough of these new features, as well as written directions. And thanks to Screencastify for sponsoring this post and video! All reviews and opinions expressed are based on my personal view.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

My 2022 FETC Sessions

I am excited and honored to be presenting at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC 2022) in Orlando, Florida this January 25th through 28th, 2022.

I always look forward to an opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

You can register for FETC at https://www.fetc.org/

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at FETC 2022, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!