Friday, September 30, 2022

Skittles and Google Sheets Math Activities

As a previous middle school math teacher, I always loved using practical, hands-on items to model and teach mathematical concepts. This included activities with bubble gum for percentages, ice cubes for equations, pancakes for mixed numbers, and helium balloons for integers.

Another classic favorite physical manipulative has always been candy, specifically Skittles. These red, orange, yellow, green, and purple candies have been used in many classrooms for students to explore math concepts.

Inspired by this, I have created an interactive, self-checking Google Sheets template called "Skittles and Sheets" which allows students to practice skills including:

🤔 Estimating
🖐 Counting
⚖️ Comparing
➕ Adding
➗ Dividing
📊 And Graphing

And the Sheet is self-checking, so it provides feedback to the students as they work through each problem, letting them know if that got it correct or not.

See below to get your copy of the template, as well as access a short recorded tutorial video on how it works, and also written directions.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

What's New in Google - September 2022

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from September 2022, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our September 2022 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 2022 meeting:

Monday, September 26, 2022

EdTech Links of the Week - 9-26-22

Each week I keep an eye out for the latest edtech resources through blogs, social media, podcasts, videos, user groups, and more. I then try to reshare these resources in many ways.

One way I share these is here on the blog in these "EdTech Links of the Week" posts. See below to explore the latest batch of resources, and be sure to share with others who may benefit.

If you want to make sure you don't miss new resources, you can:
📰 Sign up for my weekly email newsletter here: Newsletter link
🐦Follow me on Twitter here: Twitter link
🔗 Subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog here: RSS feed link

And as always, please let me know of any resources that you recommend. I would love to learn from you!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

My 2023 FETC Sessions

I am excited and honored to be presenting at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC 2023) in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 23th through 26th, 2023.

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 2023, 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!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Google Sheets in 20 Minutes

Google Sheets is easily one of the most powerful tools in the Google Workspace suite of programs. I use it every day in one way or another.

It can be used for many tasks such as:
  • Analyzing student data to identify at-risk students
  • Tracking student behavior
  • Managing inventory
  • Collecting attendance from a PD session and generating certificates
  • Providing conditional formatting feedback in learning activities
  • Building a learning database for students to draw conclusions from
  • Making pixel art
  • Creating interactive learning games and activities
  • And much more!
Unfortunately many people can feel intimidated by spreadsheets and not be sure where to begin. I want to take that fear away and help ease you into the wonderful world of spreadsheets!

To help with, below you will find a 20-minute crash course video on Google Sheets where we cover topics including view options, freezing rows and columns, sorting data, filtering data, formulas, charts and graphs, sparklines, conditional formatting, and even pivot tables.

You will also find templates you can make copies of to follow along and try out each of the features demonstrated. I am excited to see what you do with these skills, and welcome any questions you have as you learn!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Supercharge Google Docs with Add-ons

Google Docs is a powerful word processing program with many unique features including voice typing, the Explore tool, Version History, web fonts, and much more. 

However, Google knows that even with all of those features, Docs may not be able to do everything you want it to do. So Google Docs allows you to install Add-ons to extend the capabilities of the program.

Add-ons are third-party tools that provide extra features for Docs. Over time the amount of available Add-ons has grown tremendously. So how do you wade through all of these to find the best ones and the hidden gems? 

To help out I have collected a list of my favorite Add-ons for Docs. Certainly this is not a comprehensive list, and there are other awesome Add-ons beyond my list, but these will give you a good place to start. Some of these Add-ons will likely be familiar to you, but hopefully you will find a few new ones or be encouraged to dig deeper into one you have tried before.

See below for my list of recommended Docs Add-ons, what they do, ideas for how they can be used in schools, and a quick overview of how to install, use, and remove Add-ons. And be sure to let me know which Add-ons you would recommend to add to the list. I would love to learn from you!

Monday, September 19, 2022

EdTech Links of the Week - 9-19-22

Each week I keep an eye out for the latest edtech resources through blogs, social media, podcasts, videos, user groups, and more. I then try to reshare these resources in many ways.

One way I share these is here on the blog in these "EdTech Links of the Week" posts. See below to explore the latest batch of resources, and be sure to share with others who may benefit.

If you want to make sure you don't miss new resources, you can:
📰 Sign up for my weekly email newsletter here: Newsletter link
🐦Follow me on Twitter here: Twitter link
🔗 Subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog here: RSS feed link

And as always, please let me know of any resources that you recommend. I would love to learn from you!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

4 Free eSignature Options for Google Docs

Google Docs is a wonderful tool, and new features are constantly being added. However one option that is still missing is an easy way to digitally sign and insert your signature into a Google Doc.

Now certainly there are some paid solutions for this, but many of them involve turning the Google Doc into a PDF, which may not be what you want, and of course they cost money.

To help with this I have brainstormed four ways that you can sign a Google Doc that are free and put the signature right into the document. These include:

✍️ Using handwriting fonts
📷 Inserting a signature image
✒️ Signing an embedded Google Drawing
⚙️ Using the "Simple Signature" add-on

See below for a tutorial video where I demonstrate each of these options, as well as detailed written directions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Google Tools to Support All Learners

Technology can be a powerful tool to assist students when learning, as it provides accessibility and accommodations to support everyone. In particular the Chrome web browser allows users to install a wide variety of web extensions that provide tools that can help all learners.

In this blog post we will take a look at dozens of Chrome web extensions and apps and other tools and features that can assist students in seven main categories:

🗣️ Text to Speech
🎙️ Speech to Text  
👓 Readability
📗 Reading Comprehension
🔊 Audio Support  
☑️ Behavior, Focus, and Organization
🧭 Navigation
 
Some of the tools fit into more than one topic, but each is only listed once. Certainly this list does not cover all of the useful web extensions and tools available for learners, but it is a great place to begin. 

In addition to the list of extensions and tools, I have also linked in the video from a webinar I did on "Google Tools to Support All Learners" along with my ever-growing resource document and slideshow from the session.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Jamboard for Teaching and Learning

I am a massive fan of charcuterie, so nothing would make me happier than if Jamboard was literally a board with lots of yummy jams on it, along with meats and cheeses.

Even though that is unfortunately not the case, Jamboard is still a pretty awesome thing!

Jamboard is actually a tool from Google that is an online, interactive, collaborative whiteboard. It has loads of useful features including drawing tools, sticky notes, images, shapes, textboxes, backgrounds, and much more. Jamboard can be used for brainstorming, designing, collaboration, and learning activities of all sorts.

Recently I recorded a webinar where we took a deep dive into Google Jamboard. We looked at how to use all the features of Jamboard, as well as explored templates, ideas, and examples for how it can be used in schools for teaching and learning.

See below for the recorded video, as well as links to my Jamboard resource doc and slideshow, as well as detailed directions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

9 Add-ons to Supercharge Google Slides

Google Slides is already a powerful tool for student creation and collaboration. You can see a wide range of educational uses in my Google Slides resource document (bit.ly/curts-slides).

As awesome as Google Slides is, you can make it even awesomer with the use of Add-ons!

Just like Docs, Sheets, and Forms, you can install Add-ons for Google Slides. Add-ons are third-party tools that provide you with extra features and functions that are not normally available in Slides.

In this blog post we will take a look at how to find, install, and manage Add-ons, as well as nine of my favorite Add-ons for Google Slides that can be valuable for students and educators.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

8 Engaging ELA Activities for Google Docs

Google Docs is a wonderful word processor, but is much more than just that!

Although we can certainly use it to type up a report, take notes, or write an article, we can also get creative with the features and functions built into the program to make some fun learning activities.

Recently I did a video training webinar where I took a look at eight creative ways to use regular Google Docs features in new fun ways to practice and develop literacy skills. These include:

🟨 Highlighting for summarization
⬛ Creating blackout poetry
😀 Emojis for writing and summarizing
📘 Cloze reading activities
🐉 Making "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories
💡 Prewriting with embedded graphic organizers
✍️ Writing less to write better
⌨️ Generating punctuation practice

See below for the recorded training video, as well as resources, ideas, and templates for each of the activities.

Friday, September 2, 2022

What's New in Google - August 2022

Catch up on everything new in Google Workspace for Education from August 2022, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our August 2022 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 August 2022 meeting: