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Friday, October 25, 2013

Figure This - Math Challenges for Families

Figure This is a website produced by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The site presents viewers with a series of math problems designed to spark discussion and collaboration between parents and their children. The problems are based around objects and situations with which most students will be familiar. For example, there are questions about how movies make money, how far a paper airplane can fly, and when to buy block ice instead of crushed ice.

Applications for Education
Figure This could be a good resource for mathematics problems that you can send home with your elementary school students to discuss with their parents. Some of the challenges include a physical element that could be used in a fun classroom lesson.

Create and Reserve Appointment Slots in Google Calendar

One of the advantages of using Google Apps for Education rather than a generic, commercial Google account is that GAFE users have access to some settings and features that others cannot access. One example of this is found in Google Calendar. In Google Calendar, Google Apps for Education users can create appointment slots. The appointment slots can be used to show people when you are available and allow them to sign-up to meet with you. The Google Guru video below provides an overview of the process.


Applications for Education
This is the time of year when a lot of schools start to schedule parent-teacher conferences. If you're using Google Calendar inside GAFE, the appointment slots option could be a great way to have parents register for meetings. Another use case is showing parents when there is a need for a "room parent" volunteer.

Add Voice Comments to Google Documents With Kaizena

Back in May I shared a handy tool for adding voice comments to Google Documents. That tool was called 121 Writing. Over the summer 121 Writing was renamed as Kaizena. Whatever you call it, it's a good tool for giving audio feedback to your students.

To use Kaizena you do have to authorize it to access your Google Account. With the authorization step completed you can open any document, highlight a selection of text, and record your comments for students to listen to. John Hardison offers a good overview of the process in the video below.


Applications for Education
I showed Kaizena to a group of teachers today. The conclusion that a few of us came to is that Kaizena may not save you time in giving feedback to students. However, for students who need audio support Kaizena could be an excellent way to provide that support to students while giving them feedback on their written work.

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