Monday, May 28, 2018

Using Google Forms to Track Professional Development

Last week I had the pleasure of working with teachers at Sigsbee Charter School. In doing so I gained a good idea from their librarian and technology specialist, Jay Schwermer. Jay is using a Google Form with the Certify'em Add-on installed to issue certificates to teachers when they develop skills by completing tasks in a professional development workshop. For example, last week teachers completed a form after they built a Google Site that met defined requirements. They then received a certificate if they answered all of the questions on the form including a couple of quiz questions.

Certify'em is a Google Forms Add-on that makes it possible for you to issue automatically issue certificates to people who successfully complete your Google Form. When you enable Certify'em on a Form it will populate a couple of required fields in your Form and ask you to specify a minimum passing score. Complete those fields then write your quiz and set an answer key just as you would for any other quiz that you build in Google Forms. When students complete the quiz they will automatically receive PDF certificates in their email inboxes if they have passed the quiz. (If you want to use Certify'em to issue certificates without making people complete a quiz, just set one easy question as the only scored question).

Learn more about Google Forms, Certify'em, and other Google Forms Add-ons on Thursday during my Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners webinar. You can get a PD certificate for attending. 

WriteReader Is Now Available In Spanish

WriteReader is a fantastic tool for elementary school students to use to create multimedia ebooks. I have been impressed by it since the first time I gave it a try a few years ago. WriteReader provides students with a place to write stories that include pictures and their own voices. On each page of their stories students can record themselves reading their written words. Teachers can give students feedback by writing corrections directly under the words in their ebooks. A longer overview of WriteReader can be read here or watched here.

Today, the WriteReader team announced that their service now includes support for Spanish.

How to Embed PowerPoint Presentations Into Your Blog or Google Site

Last week I published a post about including slideshows in your blog or website. More than a few of you wrote to me with questions about the directions for embedding PowerPoint into your Edublogs blogs and one of you emailed me asking for help with Google Sites. To answer those questions I recorded the following short video. The important thing to remember is that you must upload your PowerPoint presentation to OneDrive in order for any of this to work.

Applications for Education
Embedding a PowerPoint presentation into a Google Site is a good option for students who want to include one of their presentations in a digital portfolio. Teachers who want to create resource pages for their students would also do well to put their slides into pages on Google Sites.

Including a slideshow in a blog post is a good way to show a collection of pictures without forcing visitors to scroll down long pages of pictures. This is a good thing to do at the end of the year when you might be building slideshows for end-of-the-year events.

Purpose Games - Create and Play Educational Games

Purpose Games is a free service for creating and or playing simple educational games. The service currently gives users the ability to create seven types of games. Those game types are image quizzes, text quizzes, matching games, fill-in-the-blank games, multiple choice games, shape games, and slide games.

Text quizzes, matching games, fill-in-the-blank, and multiple choice games are all rather self-explanatory. The other games require a little bit of explanation. Image quizzes made on Purpose Games are activities in which players click on an image to identify the answer to a question. As the game creator you add small dots to an image to provide answer choices. The shape games on Purpose Games are similar to image quizzes with the difference being that you can use a freehand drawing tool to identify parts of an image. That's how this map game was made. Slide games is a new, still in beta, game style on Purpose Games. In slide games multiple questions in slide format rather than all questions appearing on one screen.

Applications for Education
Purpose Games has been around for years. In fact, I first started using it with my students ten years ago. I bring that up to say that while it might not be the fanciest looking site, it has staying power. I used it with my freshmen world geography students as a way to, you guessed it, review countries and their capitals. I used the "playlist" function on Purpose Games to put together lists of games to share with my students. Sharing a link to a playlist is a better way of getting your students to a set of games than just telling them to find game X or game Y in the massive library of Purpose Games.

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