Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

The number from my
first road bike race.
Good evening from Woodstock, Maine where I'm a little late on writing this week in review because I spent the morning competing in my first road bike race. Road biking is a pursuit that I took up this summer and have enjoyed immensely. I was happy with how I performed today so I saved my number. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you are doing something fun too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Simple Google Search Tools and Strategies for Students
2. How to Insert Special Characters Into Google Documents
3. Math at Mount Rushmore
4. Best of the Web Fall 2014
5. Remind Launches a Chrome App for Communicating With Students and Their Parents
6. Poll Your Students With Google+ Polls
7. Math Chat - Solve Problems Together in Real Time

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference? Click here to learn about my keynote and workshop offerings. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
BoomWriter and WordWriter are fantastic tools that help students develop their writing skills.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Flipped Classrooms Can't Be Passive Environments

This afternoon I had the pleasure of seeing Jeff Bailey present at the ACTEM conference in Augusta, Maine. Jeff shared his advice for developing a flipped classroom environment. You can find his workshop page here.

Jeff did share tools for creating flipped video lessons, but for me the value of the presentation was in Jeff's explanation of how he taught in a flipped classroom environment. Right from the start Jeff grabbed my attention by making the statement that flipped classrooms cannot be passive environments. He went on to explain that in his classroom (an high school engineering class) the flipped model has worked best when students have clear goals to reach for the day. To set those goals he has students complete a Google Form in which students state what they are working on, things they need help with, and their goals. See all of Jeff's talking points in his Prezi embedded below.

Spell Check in Google Sheets

Frequent users of Google Sheets (spreadsheets) may be happy to note that Google has updated Sheets to add an improved spell check option. The spell check option is found under the "tools" drop-down menu. Like the spell check tool in Google Documents and Slides, the Sheets spell check is checked against the web in order to stay updated. Just as you can do in any good spell check tool, you can add your own words and abbreviations to the Sheets spell check dictionary.

Applications for Education
The Sheets spell check isn't going to revolutionize the way that you use spreadsheets, but it could be helpful if your students are submitting quiz answers through Google Forms and you want to quickly check for spelling errors. The spell check may also be helpful to folks who are running scripts in which a misspelled column title could cause the script to fail.

Poll Your Students With Google+ Polls

Google has added a new option to Google+ in the form of polls. Google+ polls allow you to create a poll to share with the whole world, one of your circles, or members of one of your Google+ communities. You can add multiple pictures to your poll to add a visual component to your questions and answer choices. Your poll respondents can add comments to the poll just as they can with any other Google+ discussion. That option allows people to explain their votes on the poll. Click here to check out my first Google+ poll.

Applications for Education
If you're using Google+ Communities to communicate with students, Google+ polls could be a good way to quickly gather feedback about a question that you pose to them. Encourage your students to use the comments to explain their votes and the poll could serve as a great discussion starter.

Thursday, October 9, 2014