Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How to Google Search Efficiently and Effectively

A special team in my district and I all attended a day-long session with Sabba Quidwai from EdTechTeacher about a month ago. It was a great professional development experience about PBL, and I've been impressed with all the ETT presenters I've heard so far. 

That said, Sabba mentioned this seemingly small but incredibly important nugget of information about how to efficiently and effectively conduct a Google search, and I wanted to share with you!

If you were asked to find information from NY Times articles about test scores in college {but not the SATs} written between 2008 and 2010, how would you search for that? The graphic below dissects the proper search term for finding that information:

Ways to tailor your Google search:
  • Search only a particular site with the search term "site:"
  • Use a tilde (~) to search for synonyms of a particular search term
  • Use quotations (" ") to search for an exact phrase
  • A dash (-) placed before a word will exclude it from the search
  • Two periods (..) will show results from a range of time

This PDF from United Tribes Technical College Online will give you lots of ideas for getting more out of your Google search, and it would be great to share with older students. 


Monday, November 9, 2015

How to Lock an Object in Place on an ActivInspire Flipchart

Interactive flipcharts are a fun way for students to stay engaged during a whole-group lesson. But sometimes you want certain parts of your flipchart to stay locked in place so students don't waste time trying to move them. 

For instance, in the flipchart page below, I wanted kindergartners to drag items from the bottom into a box at the top to make a sink or float prediction. However, I didn't want students to be able to move the blue or pink boxes, so I locked them in place.

To lock something in place, right click on the object, and then click "locked," as shown below:

You can also use this keyboard shortcut: Control + Shift + L
As long as you are in presentation mode {the blue box in the top, right corner of your screen, as shown below}, the object will not move.

When you are ready to re-design your flipchart and need to move that object, just click the blue square in the top corner and change it to design mode {red}, as shown below:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

8 Ways to Quickly Share Links with Students

It can sometimes be challenging to share links {especially long ones} with students, but here are 8 ways to share that will make your life easier.

1. Canvas
A group of CISD employees is piloting Canvas this year. If you're part of the pilot group, Canvas is a great way to share links with your students!

2. Link on your website
CISD staff members already have a pre-built website to customize and store links. For everyone else, I recommend Weebly (a free, super-easy, drag-and-drop website builder).

Teach your students to navigate to your website for everything {they'll get quicker with more practice!}, or save your website on the home screen as an "app" on iOS devices.

3. AirDrop

I've found this to be the fastest way to share anything across newer iOS devices. {Learn more about AirDropping here.} Keep in mind that AirDrop only works for the following devices: iPhone 5 or higher, iPad 4 or higher, iPad mini or higher, iPod Touch 5th generation or higher.

4. Symbaloo
This free tool lets you store a collection of links all in one place. {Click here to read more about Symbaloo.} 

While there is a free iOS app available, downloading it on student devices isn't necessary. My favorite way to share a Symbaloo with students is to link a QR code to the Symbaloo and let students scan when needed. I did this for a webmix of quick EdTech instructional videos for students, and it worked really well. You can also save a webmix of student links on an iOS device screen as an "app."

5. QR code
There are a ton of QR code generating websites and apps, but my favorites are this website and this app. It's easy to print a few sheets with QR codes to all the class links and hang them around the room for quick student access.

6. Seesaw

Seesaw is a free ePortfolio tool that is perfect for the K-12 world {particularly K-4}. One of Seesaw's features includes the ability to drop a link into each student's journal/portfolio so students can access it with one click. Click here to read more about the linking feature in Seesaw, and click here to read my blog post series about Seesaw.

7. Google docs
Create one Google doc or sheet that houses all your classroom links {if using docs, consider creating a Table of Contents}, and share with students.

8. Google Tone

Personally, I have yet to get to try this method, but it sounds promising! Google Tone is a Chrome extension that allows users to send a link wirelessly to other computers with Tone installed. Click here to read more about Google Tone.