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Thursday, February 11, 2016

11 Backchannel & Informal Assessment Tools Compared in One Chart

Last winter I made a series of charts in which I compared popular ed tech tools. I'm now going through those charts and removing some tools and adding some new ones. The chart embedded below is the updated version of my chart comparing 11 backchannel and informal assessment tools. At the bottom of the chart you will find links to video tutorials on each of the tools featured in the chart. You can download the chart here or find the Google Docs version here.

The First Presidential Election - A Hip Hughes History Lesson

A few weeks ago in my post about the Electoral College I included a list of lessons about Presidential Elections from 1900 through 2012. Those lessons were created by Keith Hughes. This week he released another lesson. Keith's latest lesson is about the first Presidential election. In three minutes Keith runs-down what made the first election different from all that have come after it.


Applications for Education
After watching the video above ask your students to think about how campaigns today would be different without social media, television, or radio. Or flip that concept and have them use tools like this fake Facebook template to develop a social media advertising campaign for George Washington.

How to Make Your Writing Funnier - And 21 Other Writing Lessons

The Writer's Workshop is a TED-Ed playlist featuring short lessons on writing. Some of the lessons are on basic things like When to Use Me, Myself, or I while other lessons are of a more conceptual nature like How to Build a Fictional World. The latest lesson added to The Writer's Workshop is How to Make Your Writing Funnier.

In How to Make Your Writing Funnier students are introduced to the history of writing comedy and the rules for writing comedy. The "think" section of the lesson students are given a couple of tasks that introduce them to the process of writing comedy. One of those tasks is thinking of frustrating or annoying scenarios to which many people can relate. The second task includes mind-mapping around a word that triggers a memory. The complete lesson can be found here.

The Writer's Workshop playlist is embedded below.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Track Who Has Completed Your Form and More in the Latest Version of Google Forms

Over the last few months Google has tried to persuade people to use the new version of Google Forms. I, like many others, have been reluctant to change because the new version lacks some of the functions that I love about the older version of Google Forms. Today, I received an email from Brooks Hocog, who works at Google, informing me that the features many of us have wanted in the new version of Google Forms will be rolling out soon (some users may already see the latest updates).

The latest update to the new version of Google Forms brings with it support for Forms Add-ons and Google Apps Scripts. You will now be able to use Add-ons like g(math) and Choice Eliminator in the new version of Google Forms. 

Google Forms users within a Google Apps for Education domain will now be able to directly track who has and who hasn't completed a Form. You will have to send direct invitations to your Form in order for this function to work. The great thing about this function is that if you see someone hasn't completed your Form, you can send him or her a reminder through the "send reminder email" function in Forms. 

Here's Brooks Hocog's run-down of some other new and or updated options in Google Forms. 

  • Use Templates from the Google Forms home screen: Use the templates now available on the Forms home screen to jumpstart your Form creation. We currently offer templates for customer feedback, event sign-ups, quizzes, and more.
  • Email notifications on Form submit: You can now get real-time email notifications when someone responds to your form.
  • View individual responses from the Forms editor: In addition to the summary of responses currently available in the Forms editor, you can now see individual survey responses as well. This will save you valuable time when analyzing your Forms. You can also print or delete individual responses from this screen.

Photos for Class + Canva = Fun Animal Stories

Photos for Class is a great tool for locating Creative Commons licensed images that your students can use in all kinds of projects. The great thing about Photos for Class is that when students download an image from the site all of the attribution information that they need is included in the image's footer.

This afternoon I saw a neat example of using Photos for Class to create a simple meme or one-image story. The example was on the Storyboard That Facebook page (Storyboard That owns Photos for Class). In the example they had an image of a polar bear and a fun fact about polar bears.

When I saw the sample this afternoon I immediately recognized how easy and fun it could be for students to create their own animal stories through a combination of Photos for Class and Canva. You could have students search for a picture of an animal on Photos for Class then upload it to Canva where they could put it into any of the Canva templates to create a small poster or online graphic. Students could then add some fun facts in the form of text written over the image. See my example below.

The Photos for Class search tool can be added to your classroom, library, or school website. A video on that process is available here.

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