Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to Create Self-Graded Quizzes in Google Docs

In my free ebook Google for Teachers I included directions for creating and publishing a quiz using Google Documents forms. Recently, Dr. Mark Wagner published a blog post that includes directions for creating formulas that will result in quizzes created in Google Docs forms being self-graded. His post includes a video screencast and slides. I've embedded the video below.

Applications for Education
Grading quizzes can be a tedious task if you have many students on your roster. Creating and administering quizzes through Google Documents forms can save you time and save paper at the same time. By saving time on grading you can give students feedback quicker than before.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
5 Tools to Create and Administer Quizzes Online
47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom
Google for Teachers II - Free Ebook

Download TED Talks

TED hosts hundreds of thought-provoking and entertaining videos. Just last week I played this one in one of my classes as part of conversation about patience. TED Talks have been available through a Silverlight desktop client for over a year. Now TED Talks are available to Windows users through a Bit Torrent client. Read this TED Blog post to learn more about this new option for downloading TED Talks.

On a related note, Common Craft recently made a video explaining what Bit Torrent is and how it works. Watch the video below.

BitTorrent, Explained. from BitTorrent, Inc. on Vimeo.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
15 TED Talks to Watch Before 2010
Put TED Talks on Your Desktop
Teaching With TED Talks

Google Instant Updates - Navigate Without a Mouse

Yesterday, Google announced some useful enhancements to Google Instant search. First, you can now navigate through Google Instant's search predictions and search results without using a mouse or trackpad. Just use your keyboard's arrow keys and enter key to scan results and select a link. The second part of the announcement from Google informed us that Google Instant is now available in searches for videos, blogs, news, and books.

Watch the video below to learn more about the updates to Google Instant.

Applications for Education
A few years ago I had a student who physically could not use a mouse and had to use a keyboard for all of his web navigation. Needless to say, this was a challenge for him. Google's latest update to Instant will improve web search experiences for students who face similar challenges.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google for Teachers - Free Ebook
Google for Teachers II - Free Ebook
Google Earth Across the Curriculum

Worried About Students Being Off-task? Watch This

I've seen Alfie Kohn vs. Dwight Schrute floating around the edu-blog-o-sphere for the last few weeks, but I finally took a few minutes to watch it today after Tara Weegar posted it on Facebook.

Almost every time I talk at schools or conferences about 1:1 computing environments, I'm asked questions along the lines of "how do you make sure the students are staying on task when you can't see their screens?" For the last few years my response to this has been, "I try to make sure that the assignments I give are engaging." If I design lessons and give students assignments that are engaging, the instances of students going off to a website or task that isn't productive is low. I'm not perfect and sometimes my lessons and assignments aren't as engaging as I hoped they'd be. Those are the times when students get off task.

Five Free Resources for Developing Typing Skills

A lot of readers might be surprised to learn that I have very poor typing technique. In fact, this post is being written primarily without the use of my thumbs or pinkies or ring fingers touching the keyboard. Over time I've developed a technique that works for me, but I do wish that I had learned to type correctly when I was young. Below are five free resources that can help your students develop proper typing techniques and avoid typing like me.

When selecting free typing programs I prefer tutorials and games that provide instant feedback about my typing skills, or lack thereof. Typing Web is one of those tutorials that provides instant feedback after every free typing lesson. Typing Web offers beginner through advanced typing lessons for free. You can register to track your progress or you can use Typing Web without registering.

Tux Type is a fun, open source, program designed to help young students learn touch typing skills. Students can play a variety of games which increase in difficulty as a student's skills improve. Tux Type is available for Mac and PC.

If you're looking for something for a typing program that doesn't require software installation try the program from Sense Language. The program is web based, but is also available for use offline. The best feature of Sense Language's typing program is the option of creating your own typing activities or using the standardized lessons. Sense Language's typing program has useful timing options and audio feedback features to help students develop their typing skills.

Power Typing hosts a small collection of five typing games that students can use to develop their typing skills. Power Typing also offers typing lessons for Qwerty and Dvorak keyboards. The two games that I found easiest to access are Alphabetic Rain and See Don't.

Good Typing is a free online typing skill development program. Good Typing provides 27 graduated lessons designed to help students learn to use their entire keyboards correctly. Unlike some free online typing programs, Good Typing offers support twenty different keyboard styles including US style, Japanese style, and several European languages.