Thursday, March 5, 2015

How to Search for Publicly Shared Google Documents

A few weeks ago I wrote a short blog post about searching for publicly shared Google Documents, Slides, and Spreadsheets. Since then I've had a few people ask for a video about the process. So this evening I put together a short demonstration of the process. The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Searching by file type and searching by domains is a great way for students to refine their Google searches. Searching for and within a DOC, a PPT, or XLS file can lead students to resources that they might not otherwise have seen. Along the same lines, searching for publicly shared Google Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets can take students to valuable content that they might not otherwise find in a standard Google search.

Join Me for An Afternoon of Free Webinars About Google Apps

On March 31st Simple K12 is hosting an afternoon of free webinars about Google tools for teachers. The webinars will start at 1pm Eastern Time and run until 5pm Eastern Time.

I will be conducting two webinars that afternoon. In my webinars I'll share some of my favorite Google Search strategies, ideas for teaching search strategies, and using Google Forms and Spreadsheets to streamline workflow. I will be presenting at 2pm and 3pm. Click here to register for this free PD opportunity.

These free webinars are designed for folks who are new to using Google tools.  Teachers who would like to pick up some tips for teaching others how to take advantage of the great things that Google has to offer will also enjoy the content of these webinars. Click here to register.

FAQs About Simple K12 Webinars:
1.) Is this free?
a. Yes!

2.) Can I have the recordings after?
a. We will make the recordings available for 2 weeks following the event.

3.) How do I access the recordings? Do I need a SimpleK12 membership?
a. No, SimpleK12 will share the links with Richard Byrne / and all of the registrants following the event so you can view for 2 weeks following the event. But be sure to register so you will be notified.

4.) Why would you do this when people are in class?
a. Historically, this is one of our most highly attended days and times. We will make recordings available for those who are unable to attend.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time presenting these webinars. 

Great Tools for Informal Assessment

This afternoon at the NCTIES 2015 conference I gave a short, interactive presentation on tools and strategies for conducting informal assessments in your classroom. Included in the presentation were demonstrations of Plickers, Kahoot, and SeeSaw. I also shared the idea of taking advantage of recording options on cell phones to have students record short video and audio messages about their understanding of a concept. The slides from that presentation are embedded below.

Disclosure: SeeSaw is currently running an advertising campaign on

Teaching With Technology and Primary Sources - Slides

This morning at the NCTIES 2015 conference I gave a short presentation on using technology in lessons and projects incorporating primary sources. The slides from that presentation are embedded below. The slides don't do a whole lot without hearing me speak at the same time, but they will at least provide a list of the tools that were shared during the presentation.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Two Tools for Turning Outlines Into Mind Maps

Some students prefer to see ideas organized in an outline style while others see large concepts better when they're in a mind map format. Text 2 Mind Map and MindMeister's Google Docs Add-on bridge the gap between the outline format and the mind map format. Both tools allow you to type an outline then see that outline turned into a mind map.

To create a mind map on Text 2 Mind Map type out an outline in the text box. After typing your outline click "draw mind map" to have your mind map created for you. If after creating your mind map you need to add more elements to just add them into your outline and click "draw mind map" again. Your mind map can be downloaded as a PDF or PNG file. The mind maps that you create on Text 2 Mind Map can also be shared via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

To create a mind map with MindMeister's Google Docs Add-on create a bullet point list in your document. Highlight your list then select the MindMeister Add-on and click "insert as mind map." A mind map will then be generated based on your list. There are a couple of tips to note about MindMeister's Add-on. First, you cannot edit the position of cells in the mind map. Second, you must use bullet points or number lists generated by the list menus in Google Docs. I tried just selecting a list without the bullet points and MindMeister didn't create a mind map for me.