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Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Week's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

This week was another busy week in the world of Free Technology for Teachers. At the beginning of the week I had the pleasure of working with teachers in Albemarle County schools in Virginia. Then on Wednesday evening I hosted Intro to Teaching With Video with Keith Hughes and Tom Richey. If you missed it, you can watch that presentation here on my YouTube channel.


Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Collection of Google Drive Templates
2. Science Journal App from Google
3. Using the About Tab in Google Classroom
4. AutoMastery Google Forms Add-on
5. Using Icons to Help Organize Google Drive Folders
6. Blended Play: New Website for Creating Online Games
7. Comparison of Screencasting Tools

Professional Development Opportunities
Three Practical Ed Tech professional development courses are starting in two weeks. How to Teach With Video starts on November 27th. To Geography and Beyond With Google Maps & Earth starts on November 30th as does Getting Going With G Suite.

Last week Teaching History With Technology rolled out to more people. You can still join and complete the course at your own pace. Learn more here.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
SeeSaw is my favorite digital portfolio tool.
Metaverse enables anyone to create amazing things.
Kids Discover provides fantastic tools for helping kids discover new information. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

Using Icons to Help Organize Google Drive Folders


Remember what your Google Drive looked like when you first started using it? It was neat, organized, and free of clutter. As you began to use Drive more frequently, you probably started creating folders and perhaps you are now looking for a way to organize them. In addition to color coding your files, you can add emojis and other symbols to your folders to help you identify them quickly and easily.

The first thing you need to do is open your Drive and identify a folder that you would like to add a symbol or emoji to. Make sure the symbol you select is something that helps you remember the contents of the folder. Maybe you use a snowflake for activities that pertain to winter or a test tube for chemistry lessons. All that matters is that your icon makes sense to you. Once you have selected your folder, navigate to one of the sites below, select the symbol you want to use, copy it, edit the name of the folder then paste the icon into the box where the folder name appears.

Symbol and emoji sites:

Math Games and Resources

There are so many fun and exciting resources available to help you engage students in your math classroom. These are some of the most popular math resource posts from Free Technology for Teachers from the last couple of years.



Seven Tips for New Google Classroom Users


Google Classroom is a great way to organize your lessons and resources. However, for new users it can be a little overwhelming. Here are some practical tips to help you get going.

  • Use the Topics feature to help students find assignments and questions quickly and easily. Topics act like a filter and allow students to see only the assignments they are searching for and not the entire stream of assignments.
  • Post materials that students will need access to throughout the year on the About tab. Be careful not to overload this page with resources, but it is a good place to share links to resources students will need to use all of the time.
  • Create all of your discussion questions on individual Google Slides. When you need a question during a unit, just download the slide as a jpeg and post it as an image. This is an easy way to have a bank of questions ready to go that are visually appealing as well.
  • Email all or a few of your students at once using the email feature on the student tab.
  • Adopt a consistent naming convention for your classes. You can always rename classes if you change your mind. If the classes are not in the order that you want them to appear, simply drag them into the order that fits your needs.
  • Create a class in Classroom for your department or grade level. Use it for planning, meetings, and announcements to get a feel for what Google Classroom is like from the student perspective.