Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mailbag - Answers to Questions from Readers

Every week I receive dozens of questions from readers. Some of the questions are quite specific while others are broad enough that many people can benefit from the answers. Here are some of the broader questions that I have answered lately. (Some of these questions have been edited to remove school identifying information and or for clarity).

Do you know if there is a way to embed a widget into Google Classroom? As in I would like to embed the Latin LolCats widget by Laura Gibbs so that everyday my students would see one of the Latin LolCats (these are proverbs with cat picture illustrations).

Unfortunately, at this time there isn't a way to embed that widget into your Google Classroom stream. Of course, you could link to a webpage that contains the widget or other element that you want your students to use.

I love the automatic grading in Google Forms. My question is, is there way to set a time limit on the quiz but still be able to let kids who are absent take the quiz when they come back to school?

The Google Forms Add-on called FormLimiter will allow you to set a time at which your form will automatically stop accepting responses. You can disable the Add-on at any time too. So if you wanted to use the Add-on during a class period then reactivate the quiz at a latter time, you can do that. I have a video on how to use FormLimiter.

Hi Richard, I'm an ESL teacher. I've used SoundCloud in the past to have students record themselves reading sentences that I have printed on documents. I like being able to comment on their recordings. It's hard to keep track of all of the recordings though. Can you think of a better way?

Depending on the technology you have available to you and your students' comfort level, there are a couple of options that come to mind. First, you could have your students enter the URLs for their recordings into a Google Form. That way you can have all of their submissions organized by timestamp in a corresponding Google Sheet. Another option could be to use TinyTap's new Talk or Type feature that allows you to create simple quizzes that your students respond to by speaking into their iPads.

I have to find a way for each teacher to collect and put team points in daily to one place ( through an ipad). Hopefully the software will total each team's daily points to display digitally on a school wide TV. I don't want to burden the staff with very much or they won't want to do this. I have looked into Google Doc spreadsheets but can't figure out how to get a daily total and show the scores in a visual way for elementary students. I was going to create a daily Google Form for each teacher to just put in Team 1 through Team 6's scores but can't get farther in the daily totaling and display of those scores.

The first thought that comes to mind is to use a Google Form that has multiple pages in it. Make the first page just one question that asks teachers to identify which team they are adding points for. Their answer to that question should then direct them to the page that has the entry form for just that team. To do this you will have to create multiple pages in your form so that each team has its own page. The concept is similar to the one I explained in this video