Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Powerful Formative Assessment Tools for the Chromebook Classroom

As more and more Chromebooks hit the classroom, redefining instruction and instructional practices is getting easier and easier – you just have to know where to start. One step in the process is to rethink the way you gather crucial information about each student and their journey towards mastery of a concept. There can be real power in the formative assessment process.

To understand the richness of these new tools, you first need to understand formative assessment. This process is meant to measure where students are in the learning process by applying a diagnostic tool, usually in the form of questions. This can be done through both formal and informal assessments. The information obtained could then be used to modify teaching and learning activities with the goal of helping improve student comprehension.

Here are four assessment tools that are perfect for the Chromebook classroom. They can help teachers monitor student progress and allow for quick and easy differentiation. More importantly, they provide a fun and engaging way to review important concepts.


Socrative
This is always the biggest hit during the Chromebook workshop sessions that I do with teachers. Socrative is an easy to use and engaging way to assess student learning. Socrative uses a “room” system, and students enter a teacher’s “room” to begin an assessment.
Assessments can include traditional, open response or multiple choice quizzes, exit tickets, and even the fast paced Space Race group activity. 

My favorite test option is the single question activities that you push out to students on the fly. Use the short answer option to ask for immediate feedback on a learning goal. By using this tool, teachers can quickly gauge whether or not individual students, or the class, are ready to move on to the next concept. Socrative is web-based, requires no sign-up by the student, and can now use Google sign-in for teachers. Each room allows for over 50 students per quiz. Once the quiz is complete, Socrative provides a spreadsheet of responses that can be emailed directly to a teacher, downloaded as a spreadsheet, or saved for later.

Tip: Try the Space Race option, a favorite student quizzing activity. With a Space Race, students can answer questions individually or in teams – with each correct answer propelling a space ship across a screen until one student or team emerges as the learning champion when their space ship makes it across the screen.







Kahoot! 

Another favorite formative assessment tool is Kahoot!, which allows teachers to ask consecutive quiz-show type questions using a highly engaging and fun format. Students can use their Chromebooks to play this active and absorbing game.
Kahoot! uses sounds and timers to make the game high energy and interesting to play!
Kahoot! also allows teachers to share their quizzes, so you can search the library to find examples that might be perfect for your class.





Google Forms


Part of Google Drive, Forms, is an incredible way to assess student learning. I heard Diane Main, and educator from The Harker School, claim she doesn’t know how she got up in the morning before Google Forms, and I would have to agree. Forms is one of my favorite all time tools. This assessment tool allows me to push out a multitude of questions via a form – which is much like a survey. Student answers then populate into a spreadsheet – and that is where the fun begins.

Tip: Within the spreadsheet, I can conditionally format the answers, adding colored backgrounds to answers that are wrong, so that I can instantly pinpoint which kids are grasping the concepts and which ones need further intervention. This technique, which I learned from an innovative educator, Jennie Magiera, allows me to quickly differentiate my instruction as I get real time information about student comprehension. For more information on conditional formatting, please consult this tutorial.

Chromebooks provide a great platform for teachers to gather rich information about learning in their classroom. Armed with these devices, we can now administer formative assessments in ways that are both engaging and highly informative. Used effectively, these can provide a solid understanding of learning trends in your classroom.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Quick Start Guide to Google Classroom

By Holly Clark

Many people are jumping on the Google Classroom bandwagon, as they should be! It is an amazing way to manage workflow in a Google Apps for Education empowered class.

For those who want to get started, but don't know where to begin, I curated a few resources you should find very helpful!

In just 10 minutes, you can be an expert in Google Classroom!

Google Classroom: A two minute overview from Google


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11 Minutes to Mastery: An overview from my friend Amy Mayer


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A Video on the New Features




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Finally, a great read from this blog post on what you can do with Google Classroom from my friend Alice Keeler


Google Classroom is amazing! It helps teachers and students become digitally literate with out making them dependent on a cumbersome Learning Management System.

For my friends at GHCHS


To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Round-Up of Great Posts You Might Have Missed



Here is a list of some  great post you might have missed that were very popular on our blog!

Is Your School Future Ready?

What 10x Thinking Can Do For Your Classroom

How (and Why) It's Time To Create Digital Portfolios

How (and Why) to Create Interactive YouTube Videos


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Unleash the Power: A Quick Look at Google Classroom for the iPad





Digital workflow has long been a problem for those trying to incorporate digital products into their classrooms. That was until Google Apps for Education came along and started making things more collaborative and turning in work in became easier with the use of shared folders.

Then in August, Google Classroom came out and teachers everywhere have been rejoicing! Its easy to use, makes Google Apps for Education almost seamless to use and it helps students organize themselves.


Thankfully on the iPads Safari has made accessing Google Classroom possible, but the new iPad app opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Special Features:

  • Photo Assignments - which are easily uploaded via the Camera Roll
  • Upload Screencasts and Videos - now apps that use either the Camera Roll (like iMovie) or allow for uploading into Google Drive (like Explain Everything) can now easily be collected and accessed from the Google Classroom Folder



To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is Your School Future Ready?


What is Future Ready? The Future Ready pledge is a movement developed by the U.S. Department of Education to help U.S. schools meet President Obama's ConnectED goals.


The Alliance for Excellent Education, working with the U.S. Department of Education, has built a coalition of 31 partners (and growing) to lead the movement.


What is EdTechTeam’s involvement in the Future Ready? EdTechTeam, one of the coalition partners, is supporting the initiative by producing "Future Ready School" events to help educate teachers and school level leaders on what future ready can look like at their school and around the globe.


What are Future Ready School Summits?

The idea for these summits is based around inspiring the ideals of Courageous Leadership, Empowered Teachers, Student Agency, and Inspiring Spaces. They are also committed to providing the resources, devices, and infrastructure necessary to support these important themes.


The high-intensity two-day program will hopefully raise awareness around what is possible today, and what other innovative schools are already implementing.

Sessions will offer opportunities to explore potential solutions, and the event provides support for the difficult work of fostering the cultural change necessary to make visions into reality in a real world educational institution.

This is an exciting new endeavor for the EdTechTeam, but more importantly for institutions who wish to get their schools future ready! What an exciting time to be in education!






To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.




Thursday, January 8, 2015

Making a Change: 40 Schools in 7 Days





Guest Blogger
Michelle Armstrong
Rundle College Director of Technology
Calgary, Alberta Canada
EdTechTeam Featured Speaker






It was a typical Canadian November, fraught with freezing temperatures, blizzards, power outages and bus crashes, but we’ll get to those later. In just 7 days, 8 Canadian trainers were able to provide quality PD to 190 educators from Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories. How? It all started with a pledge.

Samsung Canada made a major commitment to Canadian public education in 2014, pledging $1 million in school technology grants, putting 1357 tablets and 971 chromebooks into 40 schools across Canada. Fully aware that technology is nothing without learning how to use it, Samsung also pledged to provide educational support for those new devices. That’s where me and EdTechTeam come in.

The locations were scheduled, the trainers were booked. 190 educators from across the provinces and territories agreed to come together at one of 12 workshops around the country.



The tour began on November 1st in Calgary, Toronto and Saskatoon. A total of 16 schools were brought together for training on a variety topics from GAFE basics to Android Apps for the classroom. As with many of EdTechTeam’s training sessions, attendees were hesitant at first, “not convinced about another technology item to try to integrate” but the reviews were consistently positive, most agreeing “that was the most enjoyable and engaging PD I have ever attended.”

The following weekend the trainers shifted to Maple Ridge, Ottawa, Selkirk and Coquitlam for another round of successful sessions with an additional 10 schools, then things started to get a bit dicey with the maritimes trip right on the heels of the Buffalo Snowstorm. Jeff Humphries made it into Newfoundland without incident. Little did he know how difficult it would be to get out! With his flight cancelled, and his next training session scheduled in St. John NB in just over 12 hours, he worked his Canadian charisma to change his flight, only to board a plane so turbulent that, let’s just say the passenger beside him made use of those bags in the seat-back pocket. But he made it, arriving in St. John, NB to find that no taxis were running.

 Not to be stopped after coming so far, he hired a military driver to get him to the school right in the nick of time... to witness a school bus slide into a power pole out front of the school. Have no fear, no one was injured, but the power outage that resulted kept Jeffrey on his toes, arranging access to his cellular hot-spot in order to keep the training going. In the end, power was restored, and 15 teachers from New Brunswick were left inspired, not only by the breadth of knowledge that Jeffrey provided, but his tenacity and perseverance in the face of Mother Nature’s hijinx. It should be noted that Jeffrey went on the very next day to provide training to teachers from Nova Scotia and PEI, receiving a unanimous “strongly agree” by all attendees when asked to rate if they felt the workshop was an excellent learning experience. (Then he went home and slept for a week ;-)

The tail end of the tour capped off with training sessions in Kelowna and Yellowknife: 7 days, 8 trainers + 10 provinces + 3 territories = 190 inspired educators with unlimited potential heading back into their classrooms!

Special thanks to: Michael Wacker for allowing me to be the lead on this project; to Stacy Drohomyrecky and Nicola D'Souza from Samsung for their amazing coordination efforts getting all of the training sessions booked and finally to the amazing trainers that were so willing to share their passion with other Canadian educators: Tracy Poelzer (BC & SK), Kylie Kissel (with me in Calgary), Jim Jamieson (Toronto), Scott Monahan (Toronto & Selkirk), Lise Galuga (Ottawa), Jeff Humphries (Ottawa & Maritimes), James Petersen (Yellowknife & Pre Training Webinars). You are an amazing crew. I can’t wait to work with you all again!



To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015



By Katie Gibson
Teaches at the Independent School Rundle College
Calgary, Alberta Canada




When I first started teaching Grade One in September of 2013, I never dreamed that I would be able to do such impactful things with technology in my primary classroom. I’m constantly amazed by the capability and aptitude that five and six year olds have for computers and sharing their work.

Each day I grow more excited by the possibilities of where I can take my students and what they can produce with the technology that we are lucky to have at our school. I began the journey of using technology last February after attending the EdTechTeam Google Summit in Edmonton. I was so inspired and couldn’t wait to get back to my classroom to try everything I had learned. All my students were equipped with Google IDs, and strategy helped to log onto their Drive accounts with little help.
                             
"I made each young student a magnet with their login and password 

that they were able to use and access when they wanted

to login to their Drives."

I started simple, by having students write short stories on Google Docs and share them with me. We also worked on introducing typing with TypingWeb which definitely helped them improve their typing abilities.

I also had my students use Google Drive to share letters they had written with our pen pals in Singapore, helping them begin to learn more about collaboration.  In the Spring of last year I tried a Mystery Hangout with my class. We connected with a class from Taber, Alberta, and it was inspiring how engaged and excited my students were to be talking live with another class. They were enthralled by trying to figure out where the other class was from, and we followed  up the activity by having them collaborate and share their written work with each other.

This year I introduced my students to technology beginning in September, and it has been a whirlwind of fun and impactful learning. Here is a short list of some of the great things we are doing in our classroom.

1. I have created multiple choice quizzes on Kahoot, Students are able to complete the quiz on an iPad and the energy of playing along as a class is nearly palpable.

2. I have used Google Forms at the beginning of the year to complete learner profile surveys with my students, which I use to keep track of their learning. I have also used Google Forms for self-assessments.

3. In Science, instead of drawing a collage for summer activities in a workbook, my students completed an interactive poster for the same topic using Glogster.

4. We have enjoyed visiting many famous landmarks as a part of our Social Studies curriculum, through the help of Google Earth, and Google Maps street view.

5. As part of our Social Studies curriculum this year, my students have been contributing to a class blog with the help of Easy Blogger Jr. They are able to upload pictures, videos, text and voice recordings about what they are learning to our Grade One Social Studies blog. Their parents are able to access the blog to see what their children are learning, and they are able to leave comments.

6. Most recently, our Grade One’s participated in the Hour of Code. We had another colleague, Michelle Armstrong, join us with some helpers from our Jr./Sr. High School, and all of the Grade One’s were on their own computer learning about computer programming and how to code. I was amazed by the level of engagement and enthusiasm my students displayed during this activity.

While it may seem intimidating to think about getting Grade One students connected and using technology, the reality is that technology is their future. The earlier they learn how to use it to help them enhance their education and create meaningful projects, the better off they are going to my presentation.



To learn more about an upcoming summit, register for an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education in your region, or contact EdTechTeam about custom professional development and organizational change coaching.

EdTechTeam is a California Benefit Corporation and global network of educational technologists dedicated to improving the world’s education systems using the best technology and learning principles available. EdTechTeam produces Future Ready Schools summits and custom professional development for teachers and school leaders around the globe.