Thursday, September 29, 2022

Grading Google Forms Short Answers Without Google Classroom

Last week I got an email from a reader who was looking for advice about grading short-answer questions in Google Forms. Specifically, the person wanted to know if there was a more efficient way to grade short-answer questions than tabbing through the "responses" pages. 

While you can have short-answers automatically graded for you in Google Forms, it only works if students write their answers exactly as you wrote the answer key. That doesn't work well if you are requiring students to write complete sentences in their own words. In those cases you have to manually grade your students' responses to your questions. When I'm not using Google Classroom I do that by having Google Forms generate a spreadsheet of responses for me. I can then grade students' responses in one long column and update the scores in one long column. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to grade short-answer questions in Google Forms when you're not using Google Classroom. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Five Time-saving Ways for Teachers to Use Technology

Making time for yourself is one of the things that I talk about in my new keynote presentation titled Using Tech to Bring Joy Into Your Teaching. There are many ways that technology can help you get more time for taking care of yourself and doing the things you enjoy outside of professional responsibilities. To that end, here are five time-saving ways to use technology so that you can have more time for yourself. 

Use Smart Replies
If you use Gmail or any G Suite-based email account, enable the Smart Replies function. Smart Replies will predict what you want to write in response to an email in your inbox. Using Smart Replies saves me ten to twenty seconds per reply. Taking an average of fifteen seconds per email for twenty messages in a day and you’ve gained five minutes. Watch this video to learn how to enable Smart Replies in your inbox.

Use Canned Responses
This is similar to using Smart Replies but instead of letting Google guess what you’re going to write, you actually create replies that you save for reuse at any time. This video will show you how to use Canned Responses in Gmail.

If you're an Outlook user, you can create canned responses to use to answer frequently asked questions in your email. Here's a good video overview of how to create and use canned responses in Outlook.

Give Quizzes in Google Forms or Microsoft Forms
If you have to give multiple choice or similar quizzes, use Google Forms or Microsoft Forms. Both will let you create a quiz that your students can take online and have grades automatically calculated for you. An overview of creating a quiz in Microsoft Forms can be watched here. A series of Google Forms tutorials can be seen in this playlist.

Use Scheduling in Your LMS of Choice 
Every popular LMS contains a scheduling tool that you can use to write up a list of assignments and have them distributed on a schedule over the course of a week or month.

Block Yourself from Social Media Sites 
Those times when we check Facebook for “just a minute” are never just a minute and they quickly suck time out of our days without adding much, if any, value to them. Use a Chrome extension like ReCall Study Time or Stay Focusd (intentionally misspelled) to limit the amount of time that you allow yourself to spend on social media sites. Better yet, teach yourself to ignore social media distractions by using Focusable

The 2022-23 Practical Ed Tech Handbook

Every year I publish an updated version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook. This year it took me a bit longer than usual to get it done. That said, the 2022-23 version of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook is now available for free to anyone who is subscribed to The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter or who registers for it here

This year’s edition of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook has 58 pages divided into thirteen sections.

1. Communication with students and parents – page 5
2. Creating Blogs & Websites – page 9
3. Web search strategies – page 15
4. Digital citizenship – page 17
5. Video creation and flipped lessons – page 22
6. Audio recording and publishing – page 31
7. Backchannels and formative assessment – page 32
8. Digital portfolios – page 36
9. Augmented and Virtual Reality – page 38
10. Intro to Programming and Makerspaces – page 43
11. Accessibility Tools – page 48
12. DIY Game Creation – page 54
13. Helpful things that don’t fit into one category – page 56

You can get your free copy of The Practical Ed Tech Handbook when you subscribe to The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter right here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How to Find TED-Ed Lessons by Grade Level

Yesterday, I received an email from someone who saw my post about TED-Ed's The Writer's Workshop. She was wondering if there is a way to search TED-Ed videos by grade level. That's not a function available on YouTube, but it is a function available on the TED-Ed lessons website. To sort TED-Ed lessons by grade level go to the TED-Ed lessons page then look about half-way down the page on the righthand side to find "filter by" and "sort by" settings. In the "filter by" drop-down menu you can choose elementary school, middle school, high school, or university. You can combine grade level sorting with sorting to find the oldest, newest, most watched, and least watched TED-Ed lessons.


Applications for Education

As TED-Ed's lesson database continues to grow, being able to sort by grade level will become more and more useful in our searches for content appropriate for our students.

A Student Video Contest for Economic Education Month

October is Economics Education Month and the Council for Economics Education is hosting a student video contest to promote student awareness of how economics is a part of their daily lives. 

The contest is open to students and teachers in the United States in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. To participate students and teachers should create short videos (under 60 seconds) that answer the question, "how is economics part of my everyday life?" There are three divisions in the contest. Those are K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The teachers and students producing winning videos will receive prizes in the form of American Express gift cards. 

Other than the time limit it appears that the videos can be made in any style as long as they address the question of "how is economics part of my everyday life?" Multiple entries can be made by teachers on behalf of their students. The complete contest rules can be read here (link opens a PDF). The submission deadline is October 19th. 

If you're looking for ideas for how you and your students can produce videos for this contest, take a look at my recently updated big list of tools for classroom video projects