Saturday, January 9, 2021

Daily Artifacts of U.S. History

Earlier this week I was catching up on some RSS feeds in Feedly when I came across this drawing from the patent application for the board game that became Monopoly. That drawing was the featured artifact of the day on the Today's Document website published by the U.S. National Archives. It's a resource that I frequently used when I taught U.S. History. Every day Today's Document features a new image or document from the archives. The documents are usually accompanied by some additional research links and lesson plan resources. 

The Library of Congress offers a daily artifact feed similar to the one offered by the National Archives. Today in History from The Library of Congress offers a new image or document along with the story of the notable event or person connected to it. The LOC generally includes more information about the featured artifact than what the National Archives includes about their daily documents. 

Applications for Education
When I was teaching U.S. History I used both of the resources on a regular basis. Sometimes I'd use, with modification, the lesson plans associated with the artifacts. Most of the time I just used the featured artifacts to spark little discussions about moments in history.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Ten Time-savers for G Suite for Education Users

Do you have a New Year's resolution to exercise more, read more, or just spend more time doing something fun? If you're a G Suite for Education user, you might make more time for your New Year's resolution by handling routine tasks more efficiently. To that end, here are some of my favorite time-saving tips for G Suite for Education users. 

Use a Comment Bank in Google Classroom
If you use Google Classroom to give Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets assignments to your students, create and use a comment bank to speed up the process of giving feedback to your students. Watch my video below to learn how to do this.



Use Google Keep to Add Comments to Students' Work
Google Classroom is great for giving feedback on final drafts of students' work. But if you don't use Google Classroom or you want to give students feedback on early drafts of their work, then the following method of using Google Keep to add comments to your students' Docs, Slides, and Sheets can be a time-saver.



Self-grading Quizzes
If you give multiple choice, true/false, or short-answer quizzes use automatic grading options that are available to you in Google Forms. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a self-grading quiz in Google Forms.



Set Default Point Values and Requirements in Google Forms
Almost everyone who has made created a Google Form has at one time or another forgotten to set a point value for a quiz question or forgot to require a response to a survey question. You can avoid doing that and having to go back and fix the error by creating default point values and a default question requirement for all of your Google Forms. Watch my video below to learn how to do that.



Copy and Reuse Questions from One Google Form to Another 
If you find yourself trying to make a few different versions of a quiz, importing questions from one quiz to another can be a bit of time-saver over manually rewriting entire questions and answer choices. 


Gmail Features for More Efficient Handling of Your Inbox
If opening your inbox feels like the world's longest game of whack-a-mole, Gmail has some features that can help you win at that game. Those things include creating canned responses, scheduling messages, enabling smart replies, and creating message filters. Those time-saving Gmail features are demonstrated in the video below. The video also shows you how to use confidential mode in Gmail.


Schedule Assignments in Google Classroom
I generally create all of the assignments for my classes at the start of the week. I don't give all of the assignments at once because I use the scheduling feature in Google Classroom. That way my assignments roll-out to students throughout the week to correspond to the lessons of the day. I do it this way because then I don't have to remember to post assignments at the beginning of each day. I also do it this way because I tend to work more efficiently when I focus on one task for a block of time once a week as opposed to small chunks throughout the week. (By the way, I write blog posts in similar manner). 

How to Give Self-grading Quizzes to Students Who Don't Have Email Addresses

Yesterday afternoon a reader sent me an email to request help creating and distributing self-grading Google Forms quizzes to her students who don't have email addresses. Specifically, she wanted to know if a Google Forms quiz could be put into Schoology and if her students could take the quiz without having to enter an email address. 

It is possible to create self-grading quizzes with Google Forms and have your students complete the quiz even if they don't have email addresses. The key to doing that is to make sure that in the settings for the quiz (click the gear icon on the Google Form) you have unchecked "collect email addresses" and unchecked "restrict to users in domain." With those options unchecked you can then share your Google Form in Schoology, Canvas, or any other learning management system.  

Microsoft Forms can be used in a very similar manner to Google Forms to create self-grading quizzes. Just like with Google Forms, you'll need to make sure that your Microsoft Form isn't restricted to users within your organization. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to create self-grading quizzes in Google Forms and Microsoft Forms and distribute them to students who don't have email addresses. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Every U.S. Election Through 2012 Explained

The events of the last 24 hours in Washington DC have stirred emotions in nearly all of us. This morning my students wanted to talk about it in my computer science class (they know that I used to teach social studies). One of my students had heard a reference to the election of 1876 in a news story so we talked about that for a little bit. If you have students asking questions about the same topic, Keith Hughes has a good video explanation of the election of 1876. In fact, he has good explanations of every Presidential election through 2012

For additional resources for teaching about the events of the last 24 hours in Washington DC I recommend taking a look at the following collections of resources:

Overviewer - Turn Your iPhone or iPad Into a Document Camera in Zoom

Thanks to a recent article on The Verge I just learned about a new, free iPhone and iPad app called Overviewer. Overviewer is a free app that lets you use your iPhone or iPad as a document camera during a Zoom meeting. The app essentially mirrors your iPhone or iPad camera into Zoom via Airplay or Lightning Bolt cable. 

Here's an overview of how Overviewer works. 




Unfortunately, there isn't a similar Android app available right now that I'm aware of. However, I have been successful in sharing my Android screen through a USB cable with a free desktop program called Vysor. 
 
Applications for Education
This could be a great app for anyone who has an iPhone or iPad and needs a document camera for online instruction. I haven't had a chance to try it yet this morning, but my plan is to use the Zoom annotation tools to highlight while using the Overviewer app in a remote lesson.