Saturday, April 20, 2013

gClassFolders Version 2 Improves Google Drive File Management

Last fall I introduced many of you to gClassFolders. gClassFolders is a Google Drive script that will create folders for you for as many course sections as you need. The concept behind it is this; students have a "dropbox" folder in their Google Drive accounts that you have shared with them. To submit work students drag files into that "dropbox" folder. From there gClassFolders sorts submissions to the correct folder for each student.

The latest version of gClassFolders is part of gClassHub which includes other useful scripts like Doctopus. This means that after your students have submitted their work through Google Drive you can grade it, write feedback, and have emails sent to students from one spreadsheet in your Google Drive account.

Some other highlights of the latest version of gClassFolders include the option to add students to add students without having to re-create all of your folders and an option for moving students from one class to another without having to re-create folders.

Applications for Education
It does take a few tries to really understand using gClassFolders and Doctopus. Once you get the hang of it though it can save you a ton of time in the management of the files that students share with you. Visit the instructions page on gClassFolders for detailed directions on running gClassFolders.

The Week in Review - Thinking About Summer In the Snow

Good morning from Greenwood, Maine. It has been a week like no other here in New England. In a matter of minutes on Monday I went from celebrating a Red Sox win to worry and sadness for my friends in Boston. Like everyone else, I was very happy to hear that the second suspect was arrested last night.

The last seven days have been busy. Last Saturday morning I announced the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp while I was waiting for a flight in snowy Fargo, North Dakota. More than one-third of the seats have already been sold for that event. I also spent quite a bit of time this week creating new materials for a new webinar series that I'm going to officially announce next week. It's going to be all about blogging. And to wrap-up my week I've put together the list of the most frequently read posts of the week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 10 Good Video Sources for Math Students and Teachers
2. Updated Again - Best of the Web 2013
3. Slides and Outlines from my Presentations at TAIS
4. Come Relax and Learn With Me This Summer
5. 5 Free Timers to Help You Time Classroom Activities and Breaks
6. Visuals for Foreign Language Instruction Offers Hundreds of Visuals
7. 5 Good Places to Learn to Write HTML

Would you like to have me to visit your school this year? 
Click here for information about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Fresno Pacific University offers online courses for teachers.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology. is hosting workshops in Atlanta, Chicago, and Boston this summer.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
Join more than 56,000 others who subscribe via these links.
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Video - How to Use the New Features of Socrative

On Thursday I wrote a post highlighting the new features of Socrative. Over the last eighteen hours I received a few questions about how to use the new features so I sat down and put together a short screencast demonstrating how to add pictures to Socrative quizzes and how to set up a quiz for self-grading. The video is embedded below.

National Geographic and the Common Core

National Geographic Education's website continues to evolve and it no longer has the "beta" label attached to it. One of the resources that I spotted on the site this morning is about Common Core standards. National Geographic and the Common Core is a small collection of web and print materials from National Geographic that can be used in ELA lessons aligned to Common Core standards. There isn't a ton of depth to the collections and I think that National Geographic could certainly add a lot more of their resources to the collections, but it's a good starting place if you're looking to bring some geography into your ELA lessons.

10 Educational Resources for Earth Day

This coming Monday is Earth Day 2013. As I've done in the past, I've compiled a list of resources for teaching about Earth Day and environmental science in general. Here are ten resources for teaching and learning about Earth Day and environmental science.

The Earth Day Network is a good place to start your search for Earth Day information. The Earth Day Network offers nine lesson plans about preserving the environment. This year the Earth Day Network is looking for people to share stories of climate change by uploading pictures that represent "the faces of climate change."

National Geographic has some other great resources for learning about environmental science and Earth  Day. On the National Geographic website students can learn about the Green House Effect through an interactive lesson. After learning about global warming in the Green House Effect interactive lesson, students can learn about alternative energy through the Wind Power interactive lesson.

Breathing Earth is an interactive map demonstrating CO2 emissions, birth rates, and death rates globally and by individual countries. From the moment that you first visit Breathing Earth it starts counting the number of births occurring worldwide. Placing your cursor over any country on the map reveals information about birthrate, death rate, and rate of CO2 emissions. One of the additional resources linked to Breathing Earth is an ecological footprint calculator. Using this calculator students can calculate their personal footprints, take quizzes, and learn about the ecological footprints of various businesses.

Google offers tours in its Explore Climate Change series. The tours explore the actions of organizations to prevent or adapt to climate change in different parts of the world. These tours include the World Wildlife Foundation's efforts in the peatland swamps of Borneo, Greenpeace's actions to prevent deforestation of the Amazon, and Conservation International's efforts to reduce deforestation in Madagascar. The tours can be viewed three ways, in Google Earth, in the Google Browser plug-in, or through YouTube.

Google offers tours in its Explore Climate Change series. The tours explore the actions of organizations to prevent or adapt to climate change in different parts of the world. These tours include the World Wildlife Foundation's efforts in the peatland swamps of Borneo, Greenpeace's actions to prevent deforestation of the Amazon, and Conservation International's efforts to reduce deforestation in Madagascar. The tours can be viewed three ways, in Google Earth, in the Google Browser plug-in, or through YouTube.

Turf Mutt is a nice free resource from Discovery Education. Turf Mutt features ten free environmental science lesson plans for K-5 teachers. The lesson plans have clearly defined objectives and detailed directions for carrying out each lesson plan. The majority of the lesson plans span several days. The lesson plans use a combination of hands-on activities, see Discovering Dirt, and reading/ research activities. Although not directly connected to the lesson plans, Turf Mutt has some videos to help students learn about topics in Environmental Science.

My Garbology, produced by Nature Bridge, is an interactive game that teaches students about sorting garbage for recycling, reusing, and composting. Students sort garbage into four bins according to where they think each piece of garbage should go. When a piece of garbage is sorted correctly a series of short animations explains why it should be there.  For example, a banana peel should be sorted into the compost bin. When the banana peel is placed into the compost bin students watch and hear a series of animations explaining how composting works.

Changing the Balance is a website for students to use to explore climate change through looking at its impact on mosquitoes, malaria, and the West Nile virus. There are nine sequential parts to Changing the Balance. In the first four parts students learn about mosquitoes, Malaria, and West Nile and how climate change may be a contributing factor to the spread of those diseases. In the beginning students also learn how mosquitoes bite and how Malaria affects the human body. The last five sections of Changing the Balance are geared toward a more general explanation and examination of causes and effects of climate change.

The Great Energy Challenge is a National Geographic feature that offers some nice interactive posters for evaluating personal and global energy consumption. Global Electricity Outlook is an interactive display of electricity consumption across the globe. You can view the global picture or click on the map to view regional consumption. The display shows the means of electricity production globally and regionally. To see how shifting production sources would impact the world or a region use the sliders below the map. The Personal Energy Meter is a tool for evaluating your personal carbon footprint. The meter asks for your location then asks a series of questions about your energy consumption. The result compares you to the average person in your region. I was below average in my footprint until I entered the number of flights I take every year. Wow! Flying leaves a huge carbon footprint.

EcoKids is a Canadian organization that provides free resources for teaching and learning about topics in environmental science. The resources designed for teachers require registration, but the resources for students can be accessed without registration. The games and activities section for kids offers dozens of online games across eight categories. Within each of the eight categories the games and activities are again categorized according to age appropriateness. The eight games and activities categories are: wildlife, climate change, energy, water, waste, land use, the North, and First Nations & Inuit.