Friday, August 5, 2016

The Value of Add-ons and Systems

Back in June when Google launched the new quizzes feature in Google Forms I saw plenty of people Tweeting things about the evils of multiple choice. Many of those same people accused Google and bloggers like me of perpetuating the evil practice of using multiple choice. The trouble with Twitter is that people often read just a headline and respond to it. Or they respond out of context without looking at the full picture. (That's one of the reasons why I don't often get involved in Twitter chats, but that's a topic for another blog post).

Here's where tools like Google Forms' quiz mode, Add-ons like Flubaroo, and other simple quiz systems like Formative have value for me and many other educators. A short multiple choice quiz that gives students instant or near instant feedback can be one part of giving you and your students an opportunity to see what they know about a topic before embarking on a new unit of study. Those same little quizzes can be used by students as a review tool to help identify what they need to spend more time reviewing. By using the instant feedback mechanisms in tools like Google Forms' quiz mode, Flubaroo, and Formative students don't need to wait for me to mark all of their responses and return them. And by having the grading done nearly instantaneously, I have more time to sit with students in one-on-one or small group settings. That meeting time is also used more effectively because the students and I already have a list of the area(s) in which we need to focus.

On a related note, if you're wondering how to use Google Forms' quiz mode, I made a video about it which you can find on my YouTube channel or watch as embedded below.

More Than 11,000 People Get Their Ed Tech Tips This Way

Keeping up with changes in the educational technology landscape can feel like a daunting task. Heck, even keeping up with the blog posts that I publish on Free Technology for Teachers can feel like a lot to do. That's why in January of 2014 I launched the Practical Ed Tech weekly newsletter.

The Practical Ed Tech newsletter is sent out just once per week on Sunday evening (depending on your timezone). The newsletter features one of my favorite ed tech tips and also includes a list of the most popular posts of the week from Free Technology for Teachers. It provides a quick and easy way to get informed about the latest cool tools and tips in the ed tech world.

You can sign up here to join more than 11,000 educators who get their ed tech news through the Practical Ed Tech newsletter.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Just Beam It - Quickly Share Large Files

Just Beam It is a free service for quickly sharing files up to 2GB in size. To transfer a file to someone else just drag a file from your desktop to Just Beam It in your browser. After dragging and dropping your file Just Beam It will generate a link to it that you can share with anyone. If you upload multiple files, Just Beam It will zip them together on the fly for your convenience.


Applications for Education
If the email service in use at your school can't handle large attachments, Just Beam It could be one way for students to share files with each other and with you. Just Beam It offers a Chrome Web App that you might find useful too.

Purps the Penguin Helped by Kids With a 3D Printer

Image Credit:
Charlesjsharp - Dec 6, 2009
3D printers can provide students with a powerful tool to use in developing solutions to all kinds of problems. Read Write Web recently featured a fantastic example of students using a 3D printer to solve a problem. With the help of their school's library media specialist, Sue Prince, students in a Mystic, Connecticut middle school created a cast for an injured African penguin. The whole story can be found in the video embedded below.


To me, this story is another great example of students putting their heads together to solve a problem with the help of their teacher and the help of technology.

SIDLIT Slides - Leading Students #SIDLIT2016

This morning in Kansas I spoke at the SIDLIT Colleague to Colleague conference. The title of my keynote was Leading Students in a Hyper-connected World. The slides for my talk are embedded below.