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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Keeping Track of Students' Websites

A couple of months ago I wrote about how my students are using Google Sites as digital portfolios this year. Fortunately for me, this year I only have twenty-five students' sites to keep track of. Years ago I had more than one hundred to keep track of. If you find yourself trying to keep track of one hundred or more student websites, try the method that I described in the following blog post from 2015.

This morning I answered an email from a reader who was looking for a little advice on keeping track of more than 150 Google Sites maintained by students as their digital portfolios. Here's the scenario that was described to me,
I have more than 150 students using e.Portfolios and I struggle with finding different students' work. I ask students to name their GoogleSites specifically so I can sort them. I have created a form for student to complete to keep a record of the links. Maybe you have a better way?
This was my suggestion for attempting to keep track of all the sites. (I used this method myself with about 100 students a few years ago).
To make it easier to sort submissions I create student groups (not for collaboration, just for sorting) and make a different form for each group. Students have to submit their updates to the form that is assigned to their group. That way instead of having 150 students making submissions to one form I have 25 students making submissions to each of six forms. It's a little easier to sort through 25 students making submissions than 150 students making submissions to one form. I make it the responsibility of the students to enter their submissions on the correct form.

Google Classroom Originality Reports Expand Next Week

Back in August Google unveiled Originality Reports as a beta product in Google Classroom. According to an email that landed in my domain administrator account this afternoon, Originality Reports will be available in all G Suite for Education domains beginning on January 21st.

Originality Reports in Google Classroom will let you check documents for elements of plagiarism originality against the millions of webpages and books that are indexed by Google. Students are able to run Originality Reports on their own work before submitting it as an assignment in Google Classroom.

Teachers who are in G Suite for Education domains can activate Originality Reports on up to three assignments within a Google Classroom. Teachers who are in a G Suite for Education Enterprise domain (the paid, upgraded version of G Suite for Education) can use Originality Reports on as many assignments as they like.

Using Originality Reports as a Teacher
If you're like me and most teachers who use G Suite for Education, you're probably using the free version of G Suite for Education and therefore will only be able to use Originality Reports on three assignments. That's why I foresee it only being used on long and infrequent assignments like research papers and not on short and frequent assignments. For shorter assignments I'll just use the good old standard of, "that doesn't sound like something student X would write" and then copy and paste a phrase or two into Google search to check for plagiarism.

Do You Know What's On Your Phone?

When was the last time you looked at your phone? According to my site analytics there's at least a 30% chance that the answer to that question is "right now." But when was the last time you looked at all the stuff that's on your phone? How many files do have you that downloaded (knowingly or unknowingly) that you needed to look at just once? What about that app you thought you'd use all the time that you haven't used in months or years? The point is, we all have things cluttering up our phones that we don't need.

Three Benefits of Cleaning Up Your Phone
  • It could run better without all of those little files that don't need to be on it. Cumulatively, they could be hogging up a bunch of space on your phone.
  • Removes security risks. If you have some apps on your phone that you haven't used in a long time, there's good chance that you've forgotten what kinds of permissions you've granted it. And if it's an app from a small developer, it might not even be supported anymore which means they're not paying attention to permissions and security either.
  • Preserve your battery by removing apps that you don't use that might be running in the background and eating away at your battery.