Tuesday, February 28, 2017

G Suite Top 10 Music Tools- Web and Mobile

1. VexTab Music Notation

Input music directly into Google docs! This Docs
add-on lets you render standard music notation,
drum notation, and guitar tablature in your
documents using the VexTab notation language.

Link to Add On: goo.gl/MyufY1

Tutorial: www.vexow.com/vextab/tutorial.html


UJAM offers online software that allows you to record
and produce your own song. UJAM is cloud-based,
no download is required.

Add to Google Drive goo.gl/OujgNj

Link: www.ujam.com

iOS: goo.gl/lCeISf

3. Audio Cutter

Audio Cutter Chrome app allows you to cut out a desired
musical fragment from an MP3 file (selected from Drive or
your computer) and save as a new file to Google Drive.

Chrome Extension: goo.gl/NxHm9G

4. Glogster

Create glogs with this interactive visual platform in
which users create a poster or web page containing
multimedia elements including: text, audio, video,
images, graphics, drawings, and data. Sign in with
your Google account.

Link: edu.glogster.com

5. Mobile Apps for Music Education

Database of music teaching
apps and creation resources
selected from 1000's of tablet
and smartphone apps for
Android and iOS .

Link: goo.gl/lsY734

6. Smart Music

A fully web-based interactive practice tool that
connects educators and students online and
provides students with immediate feedback to
help them improve. Works on Chromebooks!

Learn More > www.smartmusic.com

7. AtPlayMusic

AtPlayMusic offers music education apps for
all ages. Whether you’re just learning a new
instrument or interested in improving your
practice time, we have the app for you!

Learn more> http://www.atplaymusic.com/our-apps/

8. Royalty Free Music

Enhance your Google presentations with
music! Check out these music file resources:


9. Flat- Music Scores/Guitar Tabs Editor

The collaborative sheet music editor that lets you create music
scores and guitar tabs with your friends. Create and edit your
music score documents with your Chrome browser in real time.

Learn More > goo.gl/6NYZS5

10. Google Play Music Apps

Sound Search for Google Play helps you recognize music and songs
playing around you. Download > goo.gl/F5JLQi

YouTube Music lets you watch and listen to a nearly endless catalog in
an app designed for music discovery. Download > goo.gl/9pRfLv

Monday, February 27, 2017

Virtual Reality in the School Community

When consumer ready hardware became available for photographing and filming in 360° we looked for a way introduce Virtual Reality into the school community. The Ricoh Theta S provided us with technology capable of accurately capturing 360° video at a reasonable level of quality. The challenge was “How would the students learn how to master a technology, and then fit it into their curriculum?”

It became very clear, very quickly, that the students I intended to work with were anxious as ever to begin a Virtual Reality (VR) project, and their Media Arts Curriculum in Ontario allowed the project to take on a more meaningful purpose by becoming a major culminating piece of work. The project idea was to create an interactive tour of the campus utilizing 360° video, standard HD video, images and sound bites in order to highlight key areas and details about campus life. The students began research in earnest, looking up cameras and techniques to shoot so that when the Ricoh Theta S camera arrived they would be fully conversant.

Although shooting in 360° was a new concept the students really only wanted to learn how to use it by experimentation. This involved determining the step by step process of how to position a 360 camera effectively, how to download the footage to a computer so that it could be edited, actual video editing, and then uploading to YouTube as an immersive 360° video. From here, the idea sparked of creating a tour of the school using a variety of media which could be used by prospective families and foreign exchange students who could not come and experience the school in person. With four floors to cover, the girls began to delegate tasks, creating a project outline for class submission. It will be a year long process of filming assemblies, sporting events, social events and exciting classroom experiences that will then be added to a purpose built website. This site is still work in progress but some of the videos have already been uploaded to the school's’ YouTube channel.

With the culmination of their grade twelve Media Arts project coming in May the girls will turn their focus onto future projects. Where will they go from here and how will they assimilate this technology into classrooms? It is extremely important in the 21st Century to encourage students to create a digital portfolio. By incorporating new technology, such as immersive 360° video, the students are able to show their abilities, providing them the opportunity to have a competitive edge. We now live in an age where online presence is so critical. If that presence is effective, informative, detailed and embracing of new technology, then it can only show the students in a positive light.

Great credit goes to Annie, Michelle and Sara for their enthusiasm to embark on this project and continued perseverance in working on this substantial project.

Andy MacLeod
Director of Technology & Instructional Innovation
Holy Name of Mary College School
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Friday, February 24, 2017

Using Google+ for Professional Development

Temple ISD became a G-Suite for Education District in 2013. We started by concentrating on six base apps - Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Draw, Slides, and Gmail. The five instructional technologists and I became Google Certified Trainers and then proceeded to provide a base of knowledge to teachers through content and grade level targeted two-day trainings. Once we got comfortable using G-Suite core apps, we were ready to take the next step. Staff from various campuses (or even different hallways) have a hard time connecting with each other. We wanted to create a social media platform that would connect Temple ISD teachers.

Google+ has some great application as a professional social community. Because we manage the Google accounts, teachers already had a Google+ account. That provides consistency and sets the account apart as a professional account. We did some very targeted training on creating a professional profile. That included appropriate headshots (not pictures of children or dogs!) and school related profile information. You can see our Google+ Basics document here. There are a couple of hurdles to get over when using Google+, and setting up the profile is one of them. Some teachers don’t use much social media and may be a little intimidated by it. We found it is best to set up profiles in a face-to-face environment where teachers could get immediate support.

So, we got the accounts set up, but we then had trouble getting teachers to use the accounts. We tried setting up some like-minded communities and sharing in PLC’s, but we got limited traction. One day I happened to be visiting with my dear friend, Debbie Boyer, who was the Director of Instructional Technology for Canyon ISD at that time, and she shared with me a contest that she did with her teachers to encourage great teaching practices and collaboration through social media. Debbie used themes like “Top Chef” and “Game On” to create contests where teachers showcase great learning in their classrooms through Twitter. She got local businesses to donate prizes for the weekly drawings.

Using Debbie’s genius idea (with her permission, of course!), we created “Survivor TISD”. Based on the show Survivor, we created a place where “instead of being voted off an island, you will be voted ON to this island of learning!” We got our Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction dress up like Jeff Probst to set the stage. You can find our 2016 contest and 2017 contest on the Temple ISD Instruction YouTube channel.

Last year, we used 6 Instructional Strategies from Lead4ward each week as the Challenges. Teachers would pick a strategy, use it in their classroom, and then post a picture or video and description of the activity on Google+. We used a Google+ Collection, Instructional Strategies, to house the directions for using the Lead4ward strategies. We even added a technology twist for each strategy. We used hashtags (#survivortisd, #week1, etc.) to help organize and count the posts. Be sure and have your teachers make their posts available only within your domain. That helps promote and focus your school’s community post responses.

We also got over 40 local businesses to donate a prize (valued at at least $100) for the contest. I worked with our Business Office to make sure I had the proper donor forms. In turn, we promote the sponsors through our website, Twitter, Facebook, local news avenues, and of course, Google+! Temple is a great community and is very supportive of its teachers.

Now, in our second year of Survivor TISD, we made a couple of changes. We decided to concentrate apps that we found teachers find useful in the classroom. We developed 6 themes:
  • Now You See It: Teachers chose from these digital organizers - Sutori, MindMup2, Padlet, Piktochart, Symbaloo, or Thinglink.
  • Game On!: Teachers used the online games Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live, Socrative, or Go Formative in this challenge.
  • We Love Google: The challenge fell during Valentine’s Day week. Teachers chose any Google app for their post.
  • Lights, Camera, Action!: Temple ISD uses WeVideo for video editing, so teachers will use WeVideo to create a short flipped learning lesson to share.
  • Get Reel: In the “Get Reel” challenge, teachers can use EdPuzzle, PixiClip, MySimpleShow, Powtoon, or Playposit to create, manage or grade a video.
  • Survivor Smorgasbord: In the final week of the contest, teachers can choose any app from the previous weeks’ lists - or any they want to show off!
We created “tribes” this year to promote Google+ Communities. Teachers could create groups of 8-12 teachers in their community. In order to get points as a tribe, at least 75% of the members had to post for the week. Tribes earn extra points by responding to posts. In order to get started, we created a Google Form that was completed by the “tribe leader”. The Instructional Technology Specialists then helped the “tribe leaders” get the Google+ Communities set up.  

Also, instead of weekly videos and emails, we set up the challenges on our Teacher Intranet so that teachers could plan ahead more easily.

Is it worth it? I got an email from a teacher at the start of the contest this year that confirmed it for me:

“I am not sure who's idea Survivor was but I told my principal last year that it was the best Professional Development tactic of the year. I learned more participating and tried more new strategies from Survivor that I still incorporate into my classroom routines. It is a keeper! Thanks for doing it again this year. I have already begun extending my teaching toolkit again. Plus it is so much more fun than "sitting and getting". We get to see real life, effective examples without having to work out the bugs, BONUS!” - Alisa Stewart, 4th grade teacher

Luann Hughes
Technology Director
Temple Independent School District
Temple, Texas

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Student Summits in the New Year!

One of the most fulfilling opportunities we have at EdTechTeam is working directly with students from around the world. The Student Summit program brings the knowledge and rigor of our educator focused events with the excitement of an academic celebration. This year has kicked off with some amazing educational experiences for kids.

We begin with Temple High School from Temple, Texas. Centered around the idea of creation, one hundred high school students learned about animation, coding, media composition, publishing and more. All with tools they have access to and use every day. Students came away empowered and excited to learn more.

A"I had a great time and learned so many new things. It was a great experience. " - Tatyanna

Next, we headed to the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan for an amazing event for elementary and middle schoolers. They designed custom 3D prints, coded with Minecraft, edited images, scripted interactive stories and more! A huge shout out to the local student presenters: Andy, Husandeep and Sohan for teaching classes and learning in the process. And a big thank you to the phenomenal work from Seher and all the Canadian Academy student tech team who created this video!

Student Summit at the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan

"I think that every single activity was really fun and I learned a lot from each an every one of them!" - Devang

Finally, EdTechTeam would like to congratulate our most recent Student Summit Grant winner, the Design-Lab High School in Newark, Delaware. Their submission competed with schools from around the world and this innovative school will receive a customized Student Summit.

We look forward to working with their students and teachers! Interested in learning how you can host an event for your own students? For more information, please visit: EdTechTeam.com/students

Kern Kelley
The Google Apps Guide Book

\Get your copy of Kern Kelly's The Google Apps Guidebook today!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

TOP TIPS for Classroom Management in the Digital Age

Classroom Management in the Digital Age: Effective Practices for Technology-Rich Learning Spaces (2016) by Heather Dowd and Patrick Green

Cross-posted from Learning Light Bulbs by Nate Gildart

Get your own copy of
Classroom Management
in the Digital Age!

Something I really enjoyed about this book is the emphasis that it’s not about classroom discipline, and acknowledges that student behaviour hasn’t really changed all that much. The nature of classrooms has. The focus is teaching in the 1:1 environment, or in environments where kids are connected. The book is broken down into four general parts: Classroom Procedures, Classroom Rules and Expectations, Teaching Tips & Strategies, and Partnering with Parents - and it tends to lend itself as a reference. The authors do suggest it be placed on the shelf and pulled out from time to time. The table of contents is thoughtfully written in clear topics. I’m not going to repeat all of these, but rather highlight some of what I feel are interesting points from each. My personal thoughts are in italics.

I. Classroom Procedures

Students juggle a variety of procedures. (in my mind, we tend to forget that as adults - our students see several of us in one day, and we all have varying expectations and approaches to teaching)

  • Well defined procedures use time efficiently = more learning time
  • Teach the procedure, practice it, monitor / correct / reinforce, and review when necessary

Calling students to attention is something done with or without devices.
  • Begin when eye contact with everyone has been made
  • Students have their hands off devices, not visible to the student (or as I do, they are closed or faced down)
  • No earbuds
  • Adopt a signal, practice it, use it consistently. I tend to use the same expression, such as “Alright, let’s go for it”, which means “begin the task”. (see p.5 of the book for ideas)

Collecting student work is also a constant, but now there are a variety of methods and formats when doing it online. This makes it tricky at times.

  • Blogs or Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Google Classroom allow submissions to be timestamped, which helps (p.lists several of the more common LMS)
  • Submissions can be electronic through Google Forms or shared spreadsheets, for example, or the more cumbersome email

Communicating the day’s agenda and homework was a nice topic to see, as I do this each day. I post what we are “learning, doing, and homework” - a Visible Learning approach. I don’t post it in classroom but rather project it on the board. I’m thinking I should do both. (homework is posted, but not the activity / lesson objectives, however)

What students do when they walk in the room also sets the tone. (if you have your own room; teachers move in my current school) A well-managed class has students who know what to do and are ready. This could be sitting with books or devices out, or even a regular activity to warm up. This can be done digitally with an accessible slideshow or clear instructions for students to begin working straight away. (freeing up the teacher to take attendance, do housekeeping) See p.12 for an example. The authors suggest a warm up activity as a method for taking attendance. (ie) an online quizzing tool, such as a review of a homework reading. Work not done can also be proof of being absent. (though in my class sometimes students neglect to “submit” a digital worksheet)

Shared devices in a school can be an issue, in terms of teaching students to protect their account login, determining where work is to be saved, and accounts that may also require a login. (as with iPad apps) Chromebooks and iPads are making this easier. I’d suggest that developing a responsible culture is necessary.

Extension activities would be something I think are easily done digitally - there’s so much out there. The extension activity would have to be engaging and relevant. Let’s face it, students have other work they want to be doing if they “finish early” - an unfortunate truth. The authors note activities such as writing, composing, gaming, artwork, and they note giving some options that won’t lead to sloppy work and time wasting. See a list of suggestions on p.17.

Another area the authors touch on are file naming conventions. This can save or waste a lot of your time. They correctly point out that file naming conventions are more and more being generated for the teacher and student through the LMS. (ie) Google Classroom copies of docs for all students. However, sometimes it is the case that there needs to be a file-naming system. This also teaches organizational skills to students.

Although I have by accident, not design, developed paperless classrooms, printing needs have to be addressed, though I feel this depends on the school. I would argue more paper is used with 1:1 environments, but believe it will change as more and more teachers learn to assess in the cloud. Schools need to develop a when, where and how to protocol for printing. And I’ll add, a protocol that strengthens environmental stewardship.

II. Classroom Rules and Expectations

This section begin with a school culture discussion related to acceptable use / digital citizenship policies. These can be the basis for your school and classroom. Some thoughts I appreciate:

  • Only set the rules you intend to enforce
  • Don’t let techno panic set in (ie) don’t freak out and ban devices when a couple of students are off task - we used to pass notes 30 years ago, so deal with it more rationally) I’d suggest setting the rules and enforcing positive work habits in the classroom
  • Battery life management is another issue discussed, so schools must decide whether (1) there is there charging allowed, (2) no school charging, or (3) a device sign out system. My current school has the sign out system, and it is at times a burden on human resources. Shared device classrooms certainly need charging

Caring for one’s device is also a major issue. Some students do, and some don’t. (not to mention teachers. This has to be taught, and part of the school culture. I’ve thought of doing a “Be Nice to Your Device” campaign at my school. See a list of suggestions on p.25, along with the Be Prepared To Learn school habit noted on p.26

No audio spaces may be necessary when students are doing homework when in quiet areas, or areas in which others may be distracted. (so get them in the habit of carrying earbuds in their schoolbags)

Poster campaigns are a good way to promote the rules and expectations, and if enforced, should lead to good overall habits in the school culture of device care and digital citizenship. (see p.27-30 or download some ideas here from the EdTechTeam)

Digital citizenship is certainly an ongoing topic of discussion and discourse in schools and hopefully at home and the authors make the all-important point that we were doing this before we had devices in classrooms. It has to be integrated across the curriculum. Resources are abundant. (see Common Sense Education for grade appropriate lesson places and resources)

I used to do a kind of Boot Camp at the American School in Japan for Grade 9 students (paired with a learning habits session) in which we discussed digital footprints, security, privacy, and acceptable use policies. These can include handling of devices, care for devices, etc. (see p.32-34) A great suggestion (which we did not do) is to include parents in the process.

My students often say they can multi-task, but we know any time we do more than one thing at once our attention is divided. Distraction is always going to be an issue in managing a classroom - digital tools are simply another distraction. The authors discuss research behind music and that if it is to be played instrumentals are best, and more likely classical music will provide the mood students claim they want to be in. I need to have a clear discussion with my students with regard to distractions and managing distraction as independent learners. This would be a good collaborative, reflective and community activity, one in which they can develop strategies to deal with distraction. (we do discuss this, but only in clips and phrases) The authors describe strategies such as closing apps and tbs, disconnecting from wifi, locking students to an app (this would be in a controlled device environment), and thankfully mention developing engaging lessons. Imagine that!

III. Teaching Tips & Strategies

This is a section that I feel can apply in the connected or “disconnected” class. They include personalized learning approaches and engaging lessons, but here is a list of strategies / considerations that may be applied to a unit, lesson, or activity.

  • Room arrangement
  • When the teacher should be at the front back or center (as in the middle of the room - I’d love this mobility if we had the space)
  • Pods, pairs and groups along with a limit to the number of devices to be used (I made this mistake today by forgetting to tell groups of four to use only one device, I myself distracted momentarily, and only later noticed there was less discussion and more non-verbal collaboration on a shared document - which was not my intended approach)
  • Seating assignments (see p.43)
  • Page 46 highlights activities for higher-order thinking (webquests), tech for creation (art, film, music), deeper learning of “how things work”, choice, personal connections

Dealing with tech questions is inevitably going to be an issue in schools. Some have tech coaches, IT experts, student tech teams. They point out that teachers need to know their primary role is to help students learn, and point to the tech support or opportunities to develop tech support in schools. (ie) student tech teams, technology coaches, IT support, technology “hubs” in a school. Teacher can scan the room and ask students for help. I am quite surprised how often a teacher will not know how to do something, that has often been taught or put in a tutorial, but will not ask a student in the room and instantly call “tech support”. (I teach as well and often am in class or a meeting) I do sometimes give students a tech challenge and require them to figure it out together. Usually someone in the class figures it out. However, I do make sure I know what to do, so this may not be the best example!

Managing projects is a topic that comes up, suggesting that there be multiple technology roles, especially when working in groups. (this is if technology is needed in the project) Pages 52-55 discuss how to manage tech-dependent projects, including research skills and questioning techniques, which are very important. See p.55 for “Guidelines for Online Sharing”.

Pages 56-60 discuss choosing the appropriate tools, as well as note-taking.

IV. Partnering with Parents

At the moment it’s safe to safe most parents today in 2016 haven’t grown up in a digital classroom environment, nor grew up with social media, and thus have a difficult time understanding the current classroom environment. Unsurprisingly, the Dowd and Green suggest strong communication is a key to a successful partnership. They suggest communication tools such as (and I see this in our elementary school frequently):

  • Newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Open house days

In terms of communication strategies, discussions on:

  • Why digital devices and why the ones that are being chosen
  • Sharing classroom expectations with parents
  • Sharing access to assessment data (via tools such as Net Classroom, Power School, etc)
  • Share classroom activities with parents explaining how the devices are being used (this has me thinking it would be good to have parents be given the opportunity to do a device-based activity with their children, for fun, on the weekend, but one that is related to the subject being studied)
  • Discuss with parents strategies for working with their children at home: when can the device be used for school, and when used for play, when to charge it, etc
  •  Further resources are near the back. (websites, books, ISTE standards)

Nate Gildart
DP History/ TOK/SS Teacher
Instructional Technology Coach
Google Certified
Educator/ Trainer and Innovator
Tokyo, Japan

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 Classroom Management 
in the Digital Age? 
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Feb. 23rd Live!
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Just in Time! Global Collaboration in the Classoom

As a third grade student, I remember the excitement in the air the day we received our pen pal letters. We had waited for months to hear from kids in another state. It was our chance to exchange letters with someone else our age and have a voice as we shared with a “genuine audience” about our lives as 8 year olds. Even though we only exchanged letters a couple times throughout the school, this pen pal exchange offered me a chance to connect with students in another part of the country. It was something out of the ordinary amidst the textbooks and workbooks that so often filled our school day.

What if you could provide your students a chance to connect with other students around the world several times throughout the year as you incorporate global collaboration into your classroom? We live in a time in which we truly can invite the world into our classrooms and make the learning authentic and come to life (more than twice a year)!

Interested in learning more about how to get started with making your first global connections or expanding the work you are already doing? Join us for a brand new “Just in Time” course launching in February on “Global Collaboration”. In this 15 hour course you will learn at your own pace about implementing strategies that will connect yourself and your students with the world. You can earn 1 graduate credit for this course as well! If you are interested in taking the EdTechTeam Online Global Collaboration course, click here to register. Use promo code "sneakpreview" for a 10% discount. This promotion expires on March 15, 2017.

For a Sneak Preview to our Global Collaboration Course, join us live on Wednesday, March 1st at 12pm CST to get a better idea of the course! RSVP here.

Interested in a different course? Our "Just in Time" self-paced courses are perfect for the flexible learner with 15 hours of work and an optional graduate credit. To learn more about our self-paced courses, click here.

For a taste of one of our courses, watch this Hangout on Air with CEO Mark Wagner as he discusses the importance of Global Collaboration and Community.

Dominique Dynes
Google Innovator 
Certified Trainer
Director of PD
Latin America
Guadalajara, Mexico