Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Share to Classroom Gets Your Students on the Same Page - Best of 2015-16 School Year

All of this week I am on the road working with teachers in Texas, Kansas, and Arizona. Rather than scrambling to write blog posts at the end of each day, I'm taking this time to feature some of the most popular posts and new tools of the 2015-2016 school year.

One of the most frustrating experiences you can have in a classroom is trying to get twenty-seven kids to land on the same webpage at the same time. Nothing can kill the momentum of a lesson like having to spend five minutes saying, "click here" or "you mistyped the address" to a bunch of students while the rest of the class is ready to move forward. Over the years I've put shortened URLs on my whiteboard for kids to copy, posted links on my blog and told students to go there to click a link, and I've used QR codes to direct students to webpages. While all three methods have been helpful, none has been perfect. Now there is a new method that I'm excited to try.

Share to Classroom is a new Google Chrome extension designed to make easy for teachers to direct students to specific webpages. With the Share to Classroom extension installed you will be able to push webpages to your students' devices by simply opening the extension and specifying which of your Google Classroom classes you want to receive the page. Students do not need to do anything because the page will automatically load in their web browsers. You can also have students push pages to you. 

For Share to Classroom to work both the teacher and students need to have the extension installed. And, of course, both teachers and students will have be signed into their Google Accounts associated with Google Classroom.

GAFE domain administrators can install the extension for all users in their domains by following the directions outlined here.


A Quick Way to Create Rubrics Online - Best of 2015-16 School Year

All of this week I am on the road working with teachers in Texas, Kansas, and Arizona. Rather than scrambling to write blog posts at the end of each day, I'm taking this time to feature some of the most popular posts and new tools of the 2015-2016 school year.

From the same people that brought us Photos for Class and StoryBoard That comes another great tool called Quick Rubric. Quick Rubric is a free tool for writing, editing, and printing rubrics. On Quick Rubric you can create a rubric that is tailored to your points/ scoring system, the quantity of descriptors that you need, and utilizes the exact language that you specify. You can save as many rubrics as you like in your free Quick Rubric account. You can copy and modify rubrics your account so that you don't always have to start from scratch when creating a new assignment rubric.

Applications for Education
Quick Rubric won't make choosing the language that goes into your rubrics any easier, but it will make it easier to save, edit, and print your rubrics once they are complete. There is a rubric writing tips section in Quick Rubric as well as a formatting tips section that some teachers should find helpful.

Disclosure: Quick Rubric is owned by the same people who own Storyboard That and advertise on FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Zing eBooks - Best of 2015-16 School Year

All of this week I am on the road working with teachers in Texas, Kansas, and Arizona. Rather than scrambling to write blog posts at the end of each day, I'm taking this time to feature some of the most popular posts and new tools of the 2015-2016 school year.

Zing is a new service offering thousands of free fiction and non-fiction ebooks to teachers and students. On Zing you can browse for books by topic, language, or reading level. You can read the books in your web browser on a laptop or tablet.

Zing is more than just a repository of free ebooks. In the Zing reader students will find a built-in dictionary and tools for taking notes while they read.

Applications for Education
If you create an accounts on Zing you will be able to create Zing classrooms. In those classrooms you can create and manage accounts for students. Through your Zing classroom portal you can check your students' reading logs.

I like the potential that Zing is showing. I did find the registration process and initial set-up of a classroom to be a bit time intensive. To really unlock the full potential of Zing you would need to spend some time exploring all of the nuances of the service.

It is important to note that Zing appears to be available only to readers in the United States.

Great Google Drive Add-ons & Chrome Extensions for Teachers - Best of 2015-16 School Year

All of this week I am on the road working with teachers in Texas, Kansas, and Arizona. Rather than scrambling to write blog posts at the end of each day, I'm taking this time to feature some of the most popular posts and new tools of the 2015-2016 school year.

Last week I presented three webinars about Google Apps for Education. The third of those webinars was all about Google Drive Add-ons and Chrome extensions for teachers. If you couldn't attend the live webinar, you can still grab the handout here or view it as embedded below.

How to Create a Progress Chart in Google Sheets - Best of 2015-16 School Year

All of this week I am on the road working with teachers in Texas, Kansas, and Arizona. Rather than scrambling to write blog posts at the end of each day, I'm taking this time to feature some of the most popular posts and new tools of the 2015-2016 school year.

Flippity provides a handful of great Google Sheets templates. I've featured their Random Name Picker, Flashcard, and Jeopardy templates in the past. The latest Flippity template that I've tried is their Progress Indicator template. With that template you can create a progress chart that will update whenever you update the data in the chart. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to use Flippity's Progress Indicator template.