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Friday, October 10, 2014

Flipped Classrooms Can't Be Passive Environments

This afternoon I had the pleasure of seeing Jeff Bailey present at the ACTEM conference in Augusta, Maine. Jeff shared his advice for developing a flipped classroom environment. You can find his workshop page here.

Jeff did share tools for creating flipped video lessons, but for me the value of the presentation was in Jeff's explanation of how he taught in a flipped classroom environment. Right from the start Jeff grabbed my attention by making the statement that flipped classrooms cannot be passive environments. He went on to explain that in his classroom (an high school engineering class) the flipped model has worked best when students have clear goals to reach for the day. To set those goals he has students complete a Google Form in which students state what they are working on, things they need help with, and their goals. See all of Jeff's talking points in his Prezi embedded below.

Spell Check in Google Sheets

Frequent users of Google Sheets (spreadsheets) may be happy to note that Google has updated Sheets to add an improved spell check option. The spell check option is found under the "tools" drop-down menu. Like the spell check tool in Google Documents and Slides, the Sheets spell check is checked against the web in order to stay updated. Just as you can do in any good spell check tool, you can add your own words and abbreviations to the Sheets spell check dictionary.

Applications for Education
The Sheets spell check isn't going to revolutionize the way that you use spreadsheets, but it could be helpful if your students are submitting quiz answers through Google Forms and you want to quickly check for spelling errors. The spell check may also be helpful to folks who are running scripts in which a misspelled column title could cause the script to fail.

Poll Your Students With Google+ Polls

Google has added a new option to Google+ in the form of polls. Google+ polls allow you to create a poll to share with the whole world, one of your circles, or members of one of your Google+ communities. You can add multiple pictures to your poll to add a visual component to your questions and answer choices. Your poll respondents can add comments to the poll just as they can with any other Google+ discussion. That option allows people to explain their votes on the poll. Click here to check out my first Google+ poll.

Applications for Education
If you're using Google+ Communities to communicate with students, Google+ polls could be a good way to quickly gather feedback about a question that you pose to them. Encourage your students to use the comments to explain their votes and the poll could serve as a great discussion starter.