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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Great Tools for Creating Backchannels & Informal Assessments

Yesterday at the NCTIES 2016 conference I hosted a three hour workshop on creating and using backchannels and informal assessments in the classroom. The tools that we used are featured in the slides below. Videos and the group's discussion posts are available on this Practical Ed Tech page.

Best of the Web - Spring 2016

This afternoon at the NCTIES 2016 conference I had the privilege to once again give my Best of the Web presentation to a packed room (conservative guess of 350 people). The presentation features short overviews of my favorite new and or updated ed tech resources of the last year. Almost all of today's presentation featured things that I haven't included in past Best of the Web presentations. The slides from the presentation are embedded below.

How to Use Google's My Maps in Your Classroom

This morning at the NCTIES 2016 conference I facilitated a short workshop on using Google Maps and Google Earth in the classroom. Both tools are so robust that it is hard to cover everything you can or could do with them in just 90 minutes. To support the workshop I have a bunch of additional resources available on this Practical Ed Tech page.

One of things that I introduced in the workshop was the idea of having students collaborate and create multiple layers on a map. Directions for doing that included in the slides embedded below.

Here are some good uses of creating maps with multiple layers.


  • Multiple layers could be used for showing data differences on a year over year or month over month basis.
  • You could display the same data with different base layers for comparison.
  • Students working collaboratively on a map can be responsible for editing their own layers on the same map.
  • If you’re using Google My Maps to have students create literature trips, they can create a different layer for each chapter of a book.
  • Students mapping the history of an event like the U.S. Civil War could create a different layer for each year of the war.