Wednesday, October 13, 2021

How to Schedule Re-use of Google Forms

Earlier this week a reader sent me a question about re-using the same Google Form multiple times per week or month. The idea being that students would answer the same questions multiple times throughout the week or month and the teacher would be able to see all of the responses in the same Google Sheet. 

There are a couple of ways to schedule the re-use of the same Google Form for student responses. The first is to manually create and schedule assignments in Google Classroom. Each assignment would include the same Google Form. While that works, it could get tedious to manually schedule the assignments over and over again. Another solution is to create a recurring event in Google Calendar and attach the Form to the event. That allows you to schedule it once and have it repeat as many times as you like on your schedule. The downside to that method is that students have to go to the Google Classroom Calendar to see the event and the attached Form. 

In this short video I demonstrate both methods of scheduling a Google Form for re-use on your schedule. 



If you have a question for me, feel free to email me. Some questions will even be included in the next episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Five Genius Hour Activities With Tract - Students Teaching Students

Disclosure: Tract is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Genius Hour or 20% time in a classroom provides students with an opportunity to pursue topics and projects of their choice. Rather than the teacher telling students what project they should complete and how they should complete it, students choose the topic and the project that appeals to them.

Genius Hour can feel empowering to students. But some students can feel overwhelmed by not being told what to do and when to do it. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a middle ground. I’ve always found that middle ground in providing students with a list of suggestions and examples to explore to inspire them to come up with their own projects. Tract is a great place to find ideas for Genius Hour activities. I reviewed one of those last month and this week I’ve gone through the whole library and selected a handful of Tract activities for Genius Hour inspiration.

Create Your Own Paths
As you may recall from my article about it in September, Tract is a platform designed for students to learn from students. Lessons found on Tract cover an array of fun and interesting topics including photography, gaming, cooking, music, sports, and much more.

Lessons are called “paths” in Tract and students can complete the ones they find as well as create their own paths. In fact, there’s a path called How to Create a Learning Path. How to Create a Learning Path is a seven-part path which begins with helping students identify topics they’re passionate about. From there students learn to research, outline, produce, and revise their own learning paths for other students to learn from. The learning paths can all be completed on each student’s own schedule as all of the paths are on-demand and self-paced. One thing that I particularly like about the How to Create a Learning Path path is that it includes helping students develop challenge or practice activities to include in their paths.

Esther Wojcicki wrote a comprehensive guide for teachers to follow when their students are doing the “How to Create a Learning Path” path. You can get a copy of that free guide right here.

Plan and Create Your Own Game
It seems like “professional gamer” is now a career aspiration for almost as many students as “professional baseball player” was for my generation. And while becoming a professional gamer is cool, becoming the person who owns the game is where the real money is. Some of my students over the last few years have realized that and started to list “game designer” as their career aspiration.

Tract has a learning path that teaches students how to design their own games. How to Plan Out and Create Your Own Game has all of the attributes to make it a great Genius Hour activity. It appeals to students’ interests in video games and it is one of the longest and most difficult paths in the entire Tract catalog. Students who are passionate about video games could really dive deep into the nuances of game development through this learning path.

Bigfoot and Legendary Monster Stories!
Is Bigfoot real? And if not, how did the legend of Bigfoot and other monsters begin? Those are questions that students can dive into through the learning path titled Legendary Monsters: Bigfoot, the Missing Link? This learning path concludes with students looking at the “evidence” to decide if Bigfoot is real. A great extension to this path is to have students create their own “legendary monster” tales. Heck, they could create costumes then go out and film a “monster in the wild.”

Legendary Monsters made me think about Halloween. And if you’re looking for some Genius Hour activities to do around Halloween, take a look at this set of Tract learning paths.

Create a TikTok Hit!
This learning path caters to students who want to become the next TikTok “star.” In this path students complete three challenge activities in which they learn the characteristics of music that goes viral on TikTok and beyond. It’s important to note that students don’t have to use the TikTok app to complete this learning path.

How Much Good Can You Do?
Students earn digital coins for completing learning paths in Tract. Those coins can be redeemed for prizes. But what makes Tract unique is that most of the prizes are donations to causes for the greater good. For example, students can redeem 250 coins to make a donation of one meal via Second Harvest of Silicon Valley toward the UN Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger.

So a Genius Hour challenge for some students could be to successfully complete as many learning paths as possible to make as many donations as possible.

How to Start Using Tract
As a teacher you can sign up for a free Tract account at https://teach.tract.app/ (use the code BYRNE to get access). Once you’ve created an account take some time to explore the paths that I’ve highlighted above. Then in your teacher account you can create a classroom and invite your students to join (they don’t need email addresses) and start completing some learning paths. Watch this video to learn more about how Tract works from a teacher and student perspective.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month - Safety Tips Sheets, Posters, and Lesson Plans

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Stop.Think.Connect. has a large collection of posters, tip sheets, and videos that you can use to promote good online safety practices in your school or office. You can find all of them in this gallery which can be sorted according to resource type (poster, tip sheet, video, meme).

The Stop.Think.Connect. tip sheets can be previewed online then downloaded as PDFs to print and distribute to students and adults. Many of the tip sheets are available in Spanish, French, and Turkish in addition to English. Likewise, the posters in the collection are available in multiple languages.

Here's a couple of the videos from the Stop.Think.Connect. resources gallery.




Free Lesson Plans
Google for Education's Applied Digital Skills lesson library includes a couple of lesson plans that align with Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
  • Avoid Online Scams is a lesson plan for middle school and high school classrooms. This lesson includes a scenario in which students have to identify the signs of a scam phone call and email then decide how to respond.

  • Creating strong passwords is a good first line of defense in cybersecurity. In Create and Safeguard Passwords students learn how hackers attempt to crack passwords (hint, it's not random guessing) and how to use that knowledge to create stronger passwords for themselves.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Transcribing Early Copyright Applications

By the People is the Library of Congress project that was formerly known as the Crowd project. The name changed at some point in the last year, but the purpose of the project remains the same. That purpose is to enlist the help of the public to transcribe historical documents housed the by the Library of Congress. Over the years hundreds of thousands of documents related to the American Civil War, baseball, and Women's Suffrage have been transcribed through the By the People project. There are still transcription projects running for documents from presidential collections and the Civil Rights Movement. American Creativity: Early Copyright Title Pages is the latest collection of documents available for viewing and transcribing in the By the People project. 

American Creativity: Early Copyright Title Pages contains hundreds of thousands of title pages from publications submitted to federal courts for copyright protection between 1790 and 1870. As I just learned from reading about the project, until 1870 the process for copyright protecting a work required authors to submit an application, a fee, and a copy of the title page of their work at their local federal court. American Creativity: Early Copyright Title Pages is organized according to decade. You're free to browse through the titles, download covers, and contribute to the transcription. I found it fun to browse and just look at some of the titles and topics that were "trending" in different decades. 

Applications for Education
As I've written in the past, the By the People project can be a good opportunity for high school students and some middle school students to learn while contributing to a national project. All of the collections in By the People do have timelines and some other resources that help to provide context for the documents that are in need of transcription.

The Smithsonian has a similar crowdsourcing project called Smithsonian Digital Volunteers. In this short video I demonstrate and explain how you and your students can participate in the projects.

Webinar Recording - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions - Season 2, Episode 3

Last Thursday Rushton Hurley and I hosted the third episode of this season of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. As we alway do we answered a some interesting questions from readers and viewers including questions about Google Slides add-ons, finding copyright-friendly and classroom-friendly pictures, and connecting classrooms. We also shared a couple of cool tools and inspirational videos. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording right here and get a list of shared resources here


The next live episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions will be on October 28th at 4pm ET/ 1pm PT. You can register for the session right here