Friday, May 23, 2014

ExamTime ~ So Much More than Exams!

I recently came across a post on Educational Technology and Mobile Learning's blog that shared 7 Great Web Tools to Help Students Study Collaboratively.  I explored some new ones, but one that really caught my eye was ExamTime.  From the name, I expected it to be an assessment tool, but it is really so much more than that and very useful as a learning platform overall and it is FREE.
An overview video gives you just a snapshot, but I'll explore the great tools contained in the resource as well:

MindMaps Map Tool

Good digital maps that don't require accounts, are easy to download and use can be hard to find. The ExamTime MindMaps tool allows you to easily map out thinking, connect other ExamTime tools, add notes to nodes and collaborate on all your thinking.  You can play an animated version of the MindMap as well as download a png of the map when done.  A how-to video is also available.  

Flashcards Tool

Memorization work in a classroom is tedious but paper flash cards are even more tedious.  As a parent, I hate them as I find the "set" in the bottom of a backpack but never know if the set is complete.  Digital flashcards, easily shared among classmates and easy to make are a great feature within MindMaps.  Check out the how-to video here.

Quiz Tool

The Quiz Tool is provided as a tool that students can use to help study for the exams the teacher might give, but not necessarily to replace the teacher's assessment.  I created a simple quiz and was delighted to see that you can send the quiz out via URL or embed.  This only works if the quiz is public.  A private quiz can be shared with someone through an ExamTime account grouping or via direct email.  This makes the quiz tool a ver usable resource.  The user experience with the Quiz Tool is great!  After taking a quiz, the user submits for results and then can even review each question.  Again, a great tutorial is available to making a quiz.


Study planner provides as student with a drag and drop organizational tool that would make partitioning out a larger task into work-able pieces, plan out group work with a team and/or set up tasks to ensure completion.  While similar to Google's Calendar, it might be a resource for older students to see the details in a sequential manner.  The video is also complete on this tool.

There are a few other tools with this great resource that are somewhat repetitive to the Google Apps tools such as the Notes feature, but this is certainly a resource that is worthwhile to explore for a classroom.  Students that need supervision, organizational help, and teacher support, will find this to be very valuable.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Add-On Additions!

Google Docs has a few new Add-Ons that are worth checking out! It had been a while since I check back into the Google Add-on menu.  I suspect that the resources available in the Google Docs Add-on page will grow quickly and in just the past few weeks there are some notable new ones.
If you are not familiar with Google Docs Add-ons, they appear in the main menu bar after opening a Google Doc or Sheet.  You will see different Add-ons depending on which App you are using.  The ones that run on a Google Spreadsheet (like the Doctopus Add-on) have no use for a Document, so they do not show when entering the Add-ons from a Document.  To explore the Add-ons first open a Document or Spreadsheet.  In the top menu bar, click Add-ons, and Get Add-ons as shown:
Much like you would see in the Google Store, you will see icons of the available Odd-ons.  Clicking on the icon will bring up information about that specific tool.  The benefit of Add-ons is that they work within the document type that you are working on and you do not have to leave the document to make use of the tool.  When this feature first become available, you just knew it was something that would take off, and I suspect it is beginning to!

Here are a few of the new Add-ons I am excited to explore how they can make a difference in the classroom as well as some that have been there from the start but are worth looking at again!:

Docs Add-ons


This Add-on addresses a problem that math teachers have complained about when using Google Docs for some time.  This tool will allow the user to create complex math and graphs from within the Google Doc from a sidebar tool.  There is a graph creator by which you type in an equation (y= formatted) and it will display the graph for the equation.  It also will create geometric signs, custom characters and formulas.  The creator of g(Math) has a great tutorial that will be valuable to those deciding if this is a worthwhile Add-on:


A second tool that is available in Google Docs is OpenClipArt.  This resources provides over 50,000 images as clip art from a sidebar in the Google Docs window.  This is a fantastic resource for educators and students wanting to add interest, color or image resources to their work.  

Sheets Add-ons


Doctopus is a well-loved scripts that you used to have to access through the scripts menu but is now and Add-on.  This script takes you class spreadsheet of names and emails and will organize and disseminate documents, assignments, and materials to certain or all students' Google Drives.  It will name the documents for each student and will even allow you to set up sharing settings.
This video should get you started:


Again, a well-loved script that is now available as an Add-on, Flubaroo is fantastic.  This script will support you as you assess students.  It will help you to grade, analyze and even email the students the results of the assessment.  An overview video should help you see what this script has to offer:

All of these Add-ons seem to be "adding on" quickly to keep checking back for more!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Grammar Interactively!

Several times over the last week I have seen Tweets and posts about the site Quill.  I finally have had some time to look it over and I am pretty excited about it.  This site, with a portal for student or teacher, provides students with work in learning english grammar skills in an interactive format.  The set up and use of the site is pretty intuitive but I will walk through the basics:

  1. Once a teacher creates a class, Common Core aligned lessons appear of which the teacher can select.  You can view each lesson and the CC standards of which it applies.
  2. Upon selecting a lesson, a due date can be decided upon.  Lessons can be assigned to the whole class or not.  
  3. Once lessons are determined, the teacher can either manually add the students or a class code can be offered to the students.
  4. Teachers can edit student accounts as well
Quill has an introductory video with student reactions and an great explanation on how the program works on the student side.  It is very complete and definitely worth watching.  It can be found here:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week - Thank You!

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week Google has published this beautiful video.  The comments on the page read:

Thank you to the millions of passionate teachers who inspire curiosity in their classrooms...lesson after lesson, unit after unit, year after year. We're fortunate to have had many of you in our lives, and we can't wait to see what the future will bring because of the work you're doing today.
Please give yourself the gift of watching!

Thank you to all the amazing teachers out there!

Boost Engagement with EverySlide

PowerPoints, Keynote and Google Presentations are not necessarily my favorite choice for sharing information with large groups of people, but sometimes they are just what is needed.  If you are going to use a presentation, why not make it viewable and available for each student as the information is presented?  It gets even better as you can also add interactivity to run a quick poll of the group using the information on the slide itself! Everyslide is super simple to use and does not require any type of install for you or the students.

It works like this:

  1. Upload any presentation you have already created to your free educator Everyslide account.
  2. Click "present".
  3. A unique code will be generated of which you can share with the class.
  4. Ask for feedback or run a poll as you present.
  5. Students will be prompted to enter their email addresses at the end of the presentation, if you want to collect data on the class.  Information about the responses and students will be downloaded to a spreadsheet.  
Check out the introductory video: