Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Three Ways Teachers Can Improve Remote Learning

This is a guest post from Hali Larkins (@HaliLarkins), communications intern at The Learning Accelerator and Master's student at Columbia Teachers' College.


Right now, many students are still trying to navigate major changes to their environments, learning formats, and wellbeing —all factors that can impact their ability to do well in remote learning. Teachers can help students to do their best by introducing them to tools and skills that allow them to manage their own learning. We found that not only do skills in self-directed learning help students to take initiative and set goals, as well as to identify and choose the right resources, but it can also lead to success in remote learning. Here are three areas that teachers can focus on to better help students develop the skills that they need to do well during these times:

Build Independent Learning Skills: 
Independent learning, whether synchronous or asynchronous, requires students to exert greater effort to self-regulate and direct themselves. Teachers can help students build these skills by giving them tools to track their learning through goal setting— a fundamental skill that can help students track their learning progress. With the help of their teachers, students who are learning remotely can co-create schedules and goals in order to manage, monitor and reflect on their learning to know when and where to seek help.

Partner with Families: 
Remote learning also provides a tremendous opportunity to increase partnership with families. Teachers can establish open lines of communications using tools such as Google Classroom to provide weekly guardian summaries and offer frequent communication through emails, texts, and virtual check-ins. These mechanisms can empower parents and guardians tooth guide students and provide valuable feedback to teachers.

Foster Supports for the Whole Child: 
Students’ abilities to fully engage in learning is ultimately influenced by their social and emotional wellbeing (SEL). In remote learning, teachers can implement SEL supports by providing time for students to reflect, journal, and share their feelings, through the use of emojis, and by providing “brain breaks” during instruction time. These strategies not only help teachers to fully understand students’ emotional needs but also provide them with valuable information to adjust instruction as needed.

Navigating remote learning continues to be a challenging task for students. The areas and strategies mentioned above can be applied at every grade level and with all students to provide skills in self management that are valuable beyond academics.

Monday, March 29, 2021

A New Citation Generator from ClassTools

Russel Tarr at ClassTools.net has developed another handy tool for students. This time he's made a citation generator. The ClassTools Citation Generator will create a MLA, APA, Chicago, and HAD citations for any URL that you enter. It will also create citations for books from large publishers. I gave it a try this morning and made this short video about how it works. 




I didn't demonstrate it in the video, but there is a ClassTools Citation Generator bookmarklet that you can install in your browser. With that installed you can simply click it we you're visiting a website and have a citation instantly created for you.

Applications for Education
Like most citation generators, this one makes it a little bit less of a chore for students to cite their sources when writing a research report or assembling a presentation. And if it's less of a chore students are more likely to do it and get in the habit of citing their sources.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Copyright, Transcripts, and Worms - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it feels like spring! All week we had unseasonably warm weather. We even had a thunderstorm yesterday. All that warm weather has made almost all of the snow to melt which has created some big mud puddles. And where there are mud puddles there are worms and my children playing with mud. That's what we'll be doing today. I hope that you also have something fun to do to start your weekend. 

This week I published some blog posts on Practical Ed Tech in addition to my usual posts here on Free Technology for Teachers. One of those posts was all about Gmail tips, take a look.

These were the most popular posts of the week:
1. New Copyright Compliance Checks in YouTube
2. Google Meet Transcripts Automatically Saved as New Google Docs
3. Record Annotated Video Presentations With PresentationTube's Chrome Extension
4. Forky - A Simple Mind Mapping Tool
5. A New Option for Shortening Microsoft Forms Links
6. Kahoot Now Displays Questions and Answers on the Same Screen - Finally!
7. Enable Audio and Video Captions on Any Page in Chrome

On-demand Professional Development at PracticalEdTech.com
The registrations for my Practical Ed Tech webinars and courses is what enables me to keep Free Technology for Teachers going. Right now there are three on-demand courses and webinars available.
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 34,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Google Meet Transcripts Automatically Saved as New Google Docs

For Google Meet users one of the easiest ways to improve the accessibility of your live online instruction is to enable captions during your meetings. A transcript of those captions can be quite helpful to students who miss the meeting and or those who want to revisit the highlights of the meeting. Google Meet Transcripts by Scribbl is a new Chrome extension that can make the process of creating a meeting transcript and sharing it easier than ever before. 

Google Meet Transcripts by Scribbl will record all of the captions that are generated during a Google Meet call. When the meeting is over a Google Document containing the transcript is automatically generated for you. The best part is that the transcript is time-stamped! The time-stamps make the transcript easier to read and easier to find a section of the meeting without having to read through the entire transcript. The transcript is a Google Document so you can share it just like you would any other Google Document including publishing a copy for each student via Google Classroom. 



It should be noted that if you try this extension and it doesn't work the first time, check to make sure that you don't already have another caption-saving extension enabled in Chrome. If that's the case, disable the other one before running Google Meet Transcripts by Scribbl

Applications for Education
Google Meet Transcripts by Scribbl could be a great tool for teachers who want to have a written record of what they said and what their students said during an online class meeting. (If you record students' comments make sure you are in compliance with your school's policy about recording). It could also be useful for recording the notes or minutes from a staff meeting that is held in Google Meet.

A New Option for Shortening Microsoft Forms Links

It has always been possible to shorten long Microsoft Forms URLS with third-party services like Bitly and Yellkey. Recently, Microsoft added a built-in URL shortener to Microsoft Forms. This option now appears when you click on the share button in Microsoft Forms. Check the small box that reads "shorten URL" and you'll have a shortened URL to share. 

While the shortened URLs that Microsoft Forms provides are shorter than the default URLs for Forms, they're still fairly long URLs that aren't exactly memorable. To create shortened URLs that people can actually remember and spell you'll want to use the custom URL shortening provided by services like Bitly, TinyURL, or Yellkey. All three of those URL shortening services are demonstrated in this short video



On a related note, now that we're getting closer to the end of the school year you might be thinking about end-of-year surveys for students and parents. Here's how to use Microsoft Forms to create a survey