Monday, May 23, 2016

Using the New Google Slides Audience Q & A Feature

Google Slides recently added a feature that will make your presentations more interactive! The new Q&A feature provides audience members an opportunity to send you questions during your presentation.

How does it work? Check out my brief video!



Conclusion:

Google Slides Q & A is the perfect tool for any student to ask questions. It is perfect for the student who tends to dominate classroom discussion and the shy student, who finds it difficult to ask questions in front of others. With Google Slides Q & A, all students have the ability for their voices to be heard!

Monday, May 9, 2016

3 Apps to Build and Manage Your Classroom Library

Prior to my arrival as an elementary technology coach, I never realized the importance of classroom libraries.  Courtney, a second-grade teacher that I work with, introduced me to an incredibly easy-to-use App called Book Retriever. She uses this App to manage her classroom library, which keeps record of which books are available and signed out.

Books can be easily added to her library inventory by scanning the barcode on the back of a book or manually entering in information. The App already contains information on over 170,000 books, making it easy to filter by Guided Reading Levels, Lexile, Accelerated Reader, Reading Counts, DRA and Reading Recovery.

There are many different Apps out there, which can help you build and manage your classroom library. Here are three:

1. Book Retriever by Classroom Library Company (99 cents on iTunes Store)

2. iBookshelf ($1.99 on iTunes Store) - this App has had numerous awards and honors. Users can keep track of their physical and electronic books, as well as keep track of your book's "loan" status. You can scan the book's barcode or enter in its ISBN number to automatically enter it into your library.

3. Level It Books (currently $2.99 on iTunes Store) - this App is another powerful tool to use to build and manage your classroom library. Not only does it allow you to scan books into your library, you can view the Lexile Level and Guided Reading Levels for students. There is even a feature to see a book of the week (recommended by other educators).

Conclusion:

As a former secondary teacher, I was never exposed to classroom libraries. However, this is a great idea to promote literacy in both the primary and secondary levels.

The sad truth is that many of our students live in homes without books. Having a classroom library provides students with another opportunity to change their world one page at a time.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Schedule Posts in Google Classroom

Google Classroom just launched a cool new feature for posting announcements, assignments, and questions at a specific date and time. Google Classroom will automatically post your message in your class stream at the right time.

How does it work? 

1. If you are using the web version of Google Classroom, you will want to create an announcement, assignment, or question.

2. Click on the drop-down arrow next to the word "Post" and choose "Schedule."

3. Choose the date and time that you would like to post. Google Classroom will do the rest.

Conclusion:

I really like this feature because it gives you an option to plan ahead. You no longer have to post at the exact moment you need an assignment, announcement, or question. Google Classroom lets you plan days, weeks, and even months ahead!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

More Than a Back Up: The Creative Ability of Google Photos

How often do you use Google Photos? If you are not familiar with this amazing way to backup and sync photos from all of your devices. Google Photos is available via your web browser, iOS App, or Android App.

After releasing it this time last year, I knew that this was a free service, which allows you to upload an unlimited amount of high-quality photos (up to 16 megapixels) and videos (up to 1080p). However, I have to admit that I didn't realize it had so many cool features.

 Google's advanced search tools let you search your pictures by location, date, and even by a person's face!

After tinkering around with the iOS Google Photos App, I found several useful editing and creation features:

1. Create and Share Albums with others. You can share your album via a link and have other Google users add pictures to your album. This is perfect for having a class photo album to create slide show presentations, videos, etc.


2. Create collages from your existing photos. Why bother downloading another App to create collages? You can now do this in Google Photos! This can be the perfect tool for having students demonstrating their understanding of the day's topic.


3. Create Animations of your images with the Animation / Video feature. This tool can be used to have students have their pictures tell a story through animation!

Besides the unlimited storage space, there are many useful content creation tools to make your pictures speak a thousand words. How do you use Google Photos?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Save to Google: A New Bookmarking Option

Where do you go to bookmark your favorite sites? Many of us turn to Diigo, Delicious, Pocket, Bookmarks in Chrome, and Pinterest. Have you ever heard of the Save to Google Extension?


Simplicity is what makes the Save to Google Extension extremely useful. After you install the extension, visit your favorite site or image and click on the icon to save. 


You will be prompted to Save to Google and enter in a tag to make it easier to find your favorite sites and images. There is even an option to import your bookmarks from Chrome. 



The best part is that your "saves" are collected and saved at google.com/save and sync to your Google account. Whether you have three saves or three thousand, the Google Save interface is extremely easy to navigate and access your saves from your browser.