Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Google Adds Another Control for Teachers Using Google Meet

Eleven days ago Google announced the launch of new Google Meet controls for teachers. Those new controls were the ability to specify who can or cannot share screens in a Google Meet meeting. This week Google announced the launch of another meeting control for teachers using Google Meet.

The latest update to Google Meet introduces a feature that Google is calling Quick Access. This feature will let students within your G Suite for Education domain join a Google Meet without "knocking" first. Fortunately, Google is giving teachers the option to turn off the Quick Access feature. The Quick Access feature for Google Meet can be turned off or on for every meeting that you host.

Quick Access in Google Meet will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks. G Suite for Education domains that are on Google's "rapid release" track will see it sooner than others.

Remember, if you're worried about students joining a Google Meet before you get there, you can turn off the Google Meet link in Google Classroom and use meeting nicknames instead. Here's my video overview of that process.

Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know

Last week I hosted a Practical Ed Tech webinar titled Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know. Afterwards I had many requests for accessing the recording of the webinar. The webinar is now available on demand. If you missed it, the webinar is available as an on-demand webinar right here on Practical Ed Tech.

What's the Webinar About?
Too often our students don’t get beyond the first few pages of search results before declaring, “Google has nothing about this!” Why? Because the average time spent on a search is just 1 minute! And the average search term only has three words!* We can help our students do better than that.

In this recorded webinar you will learn why informational searches are the hardest types of Internet searches for students to conduct. You will learn how to help students break-down complex search topics into manageable pieces and then put the whole picture together. You’ll learn how to help your students save students tons of time by thinking before searching. And you’ll learn how to develop instructional search challenge activities to use with students of any age.



*Source: Moz – The State of Searcher Behavior.

Monday, September 14, 2020

How to Create and Use a Digital Sign-out Sheet in Google Classroom

In the past, I've always been fortunate that I didn't have "wanderers" who signed-out for the bathroom and never re-appeared. That's largely due to the fact that my classes are electives that kids choose to attend to begin with. So I never kept great records of when kids signed-out and signed-in from trips to the bathroom. But this year, for contact-tracing purposes, I have to keep much better records of when students leave my classroom than I have in the past. Rather than keeping a paper sign-out/ sign-in sheet, I'm using a Google Form that I have posted as a material in Google Classroom.

In the following video I demonstrate how I created a sign-out/sign-in sheet in Google Forms, how I post it in Google Classroom, and how students utilize it. In the video I also provide a possible modification of the Form.

Three Video Lessons That Are Full of Poop

SciShow Kids has long been one my favorite YouTube channels for elementary school science videos. It went on hiatus for a while then it came roaring back a few weeks ago. One of the new releases on SciShow Kids is all about dung beetles. That, of course, brought out the ten-year-old in me and I had to watch it. This seems to be a pattern with me because I have previously featured a couple of other lessons about animals and their poop.

The new SciShow Kids video about dung beetles explains why dung beetles eat dung, how they get nutrition from it, and why people should never eat it.



Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop? explains why and how some animals get nutrients from eating the excrement of other animals. The video also mentions why the feces of some animals has more nutrients than that of other animals. Like all MinuteEarth videos, the description notes on YouTube for this video include a list of the references used in producing the video. Watch the video on YouTube or as embedded below.



Why Isn't the World Covered In Poop? is really a lesson about dung beetles and the role that they play in the ecosystem. In the lesson students learn how many types of dung beetles exist in the world, where they exist, and how dung beetles help reduce greenhouse gasses. And as a bonus, you can pick up a cheesy middle school-appropriate joke from watching the video.



You can find all three of these videos through the search built into EDpuzzle where you could then add in questions and clarifying comments. Here's an overview of how to use EDpuzzle.

Three Good Resources for Teaching Fact vs. Opinion

This afternoon I was talking with a few of my students about TikTok and its new relationship with Oracle. The course of that conversation brought up a lot of "I've heard X" and "I've read X" statements from my students regarding news about TikTok. As you might imagine would happen with teenagers talking about their favorite app, the conversation got animated. I spent a lot of time helping discern fact from rumors and opinions. All that to say, this afternoon reminded me to review facts vs. opinions with students. I used this Common Craft video, but there are some other good resources you might want explore. Those are outlined below.

Factitious
Factitious is a game that is designed to help students practice identifying real and fake news stories. The 2020 version of the game features stories about COVID-19.

To play Factitious simply go to the site and select start. You'll then see an article appear on the screen. Read through the article, click the source listed at the bottom, and then select either the green check mark or red X to indicate whether or not you think the article is a real news story. After you make your selection you'll get instant feedback and an explanation of how you can tell if the article was a real or fake news story.

Points are awarded in Factitious based on accuracy, speed, and whether or not you viewed the source link before making a guess at the legitimacy of the story. The 2020 version of Factitious contains three rounds with five stories in each round.

Bad News
Bad News is a website that offers simulations that show visitors how misinformation is spread through social media. Bad News is available in two versions. The regular version is intended for those who are high school age or older. Bad News Junior is appropriate for middle school and older elementary school students. The difference between the two versions is found in the news topics that are used in the simulations.

In both versions of Bad News players work through a simulation in which they attempt to build a Twitter following by spreading misleading news stories. (I must emphasis that there are no real Tweets sent and you don't have to even have a Twitter account to play Bad News). Through the simulation players learn how headlines, memes, and Tweets are designed to manipulate people and prompt reactions from them. The simulation also shows players how Twitter bots are used.

There are six distinct sections of Bad News. At the end of each section players are awarded a badge signifying that they have learned about the manipulation techniques associated with trolling, impersonation, discrediting, polarizing, emotional manipulation, and conspiracy theories.

Checkology
Checkology is a service that is designed to help students develop those skills. Checkology offers interactive modules for students to complete. Each of the modules is comprised of between twenty and forty-seven instructional video clips and interactive comprehension checks. The four of the modules are titled Info Zones, Democracy's Watchdog, Practicing Quality Journalism, and Misinformation. As you might expect, the contents of the modules gets progressively more difficult as each section is completed.