Monday, April 20, 2015

g(Math) for Google Forms Now Supports Handwritten Responses

Thanks to John Stevens this morning I woke up to the news that g(Math) for Google Forms can now be used by students to respond to questions that you have written in Google Forms. g(Math) had previously only supported the creation of questions in Google Forms. That alone was a great feature as it allowed you to easily insert graphs and equations into your Google Forms. This update allows your students to use the same Add-on to reply to your questions.

g(Math) for Forms now allows your students to create graphs and equations while answering your Google Forms questions. It even includes an option for submitting handwritten responses.

John Stevens put together a post outlining, with screenshots, the steps to deploying g(Math) for Forms for students. I created a short video of the process that includes the perspective of the teacher and the student. That video is embedded below.


A couple of important points to note about using g(Math) for Forms. First, your students don't have to deploy it, you deploy it for them. Second, send your students to the "deployed URL" to complete the form instead of the usual "live form URL."

Ideas for Using Pear Deck in Your Classroom

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

As more schools go 1:1, teachers often feel challenged to make their traditional lessons and activities more interactive. One of my favorite tools is Pear Deck because it allows a teacher to take a PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF and incorporate various student activities to check for understanding and engagement. Pear Deck is free for students and teachers (with a higher end, paid premium model) and it fully integrates with Google Apps for Education.

When you sign in to your Pear Deck account, create a new interactive lesson by selecting “New Deck.” You can then create a slideshow from scratch or import a PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF. Once you have imported an existing document or created your presentation within Pear Deck, you can go through and edit the slides incorporating free response (text), free response (number), and multiple choice questions within the slide. If you have the premium option (they offer a free 30 day trial) you can also use draggable features as well as freehand drawing for students to demonstrate understanding, such as crafting an image, indicating a point on a map, and more.

 

This can allow you to do a quick check for understanding or have students engage with the material as you present. It’s also a great way to deliver engage students with bell ringer activities or an exit ticket. Check it out and play with it in your classroom!

Learn more from EdTechTeacher this summer. They will be offering Summer Workshops in 5 cities this June and July.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Handful of Ways to Display YouTube Videos Without "Related" Content

Advertisements and "related" videos in the right hand side of a YouTube page can contain some content that you don't want to accidentally project when showing a video to students. Here are some ways to project YouTube videos in your classroom without showing YouTube's sidebar content.

Watchkin is a service that allows you to watch and project YouTube videos without seeing the related sidebar content typically seen on YouTube.com. Watchkin can be used in a few ways. You can enter the direct URL of a video into Watchkin to have the sidebar content removed. You can search for videos through Watchkin and have family-friendly results displayed (if a video appears that is not family-friendly Watchkin has a mechanism for flagging it as inappropriate). Watchkin also offers a browser bookmarklet tool that you can click while on YouTube.com to have the related content disappear from the page.

View Pure is a simple little tool that strips way all of the distractions of related videos, comments, and promoted videos. To use View Pure just copy the link of a video into the "purifier," click purify, and your video will be displayed on a blank white background. You can also install the View Pure bookmarklet to accomplish the same goal.

Quietube is a handy little browser extension that removes all the clutter from YouTube allowing you to view only your selected video. Quietube removes all advertising, sidebar content, comments, and ratings. Installing Quietube requires nothing more than dragging the Quietube button to your toolbard. Then anytime that you're on YouTube click the Quietube button to remove all of the clutter and just watch your selected video. Quietube works for Viddler and Vimeo videos too.

SafeShare.tv makes it possible to view YouTube videos without displaying the related videos and associated comments. To use SafeShare.tv simply copy the url of a YouTube video and paste it into SafeShare.tv. SafeShare also offers browser bookmarklet that eliminates the need to copy and paste links.

Embedding YouTube videos into Google Slides, a blog post, or wiki page will also allow you to show videos without displaying the sidebar content that is typically found on a YouTube page.

Send a Letter to Your Future Self Through FutureMe

Future Me is a service that lets you write an email to your future self and have it delivered to your email inbox at a time that you schedule. It's easy to use Future Me. To use Future Me just type your email, select the date you want it to be delivered on, and then enter your email address. You can choose to keep your letter private (default setting) or make your letter public (anonymously) and have it placed in the gallery of public letters.

Applications for Education
When I learned about Future Me my first thought was that it would be great to have students use Future Me at the beginning of a school year. Students could write about what they hope to learn that year, what they do or don't like about school, and goals that they have for themselves. Then at the end of the school year students can read their letters and see how they've changed over the year.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Handful of Tools That Help Students Analyze Their Own Writing

Last Saturday I reviewed Analyze My Writing. That post proved to be one of the most popular posts of the week. It also prompted a bunch of questions from readers looking for other tools like it. Here are some more good tools that students can use to analyze their own writing.

Hemingway is a free tool designed to help you analyze your writing. Hemingway offers a bunch of information about the passage you've written or copied and pasted into the site. Hemingway highlights the parts of your writing that use passive voice, adverbs, and overly complex sentences. All of those factors are accounted for in generating a general readability score for your passage. A new beta version (you can opt-into it) includes tools for formatting your text within the Hemingway editor.

WordCounter is a simple tool that writers can use to identify the words that they use most frequently in their text. To use WordCounter simply copy and paste text into Wordcounter then select how many words should appear in your "frequently used" list. To improve the utility of your "frequently used words" list you can tell Wordcounter to ignore small words (like it or the) and to use only root words.

StoryToolz offers a few tools to help you edit your work. The Cliché Buster analyzes your work to find clichés that you have used in your writing. The Readability tool analyzes your text to estimate a reading level on several scales.

Word clouds can help students analyze their own writing by showing them the words that they use with the most frequency in their works. Wordle is the "old reliable" of word cloud creation tools. There is a Google Docs Add-on called Tag Cloud Generator that will create a word cloud within a Google Document. Some other options for creating word clouds are TagulTagxedo, and ABCya's Word Cloud Generator.