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Monday, January 26, 2015

Make a Copy of a Google Doc for Each Student... The Easy Way!

Last week at OC Taylor, three fourth grade classes were going to be completing their Plan, Do, Study, Act goal sheet for this semester.  The teachers wanted the students to complete it digitally using the PDSA template found in the GCISD Template Gallery.  The problem is... the gallery is fairly complicated to access from an iPad.  We decided to use a cool feature in Google Drive that works with any Google Doc, Slides or Sheets file.  Here's how it works:

1.  Every Google document has a unique URL that ends with the word "Edit".


2.  Change the word "edit" to "copy" in the URL bar and press Enter.


3.  When students access this URL, it will ask them if they want to make a copy.  They simply click the blue "Make a Copy" button and a copy will be created in their Google Drive account for them to edit!  (If they're not already logged in to their Google account, they will be asked to login before they get to the screen above.)

Tips for sharing the URL with students:
  1. Post the link to Edmodo or Google Classroom.
  2. Use a URL shortener like https://bitly.com or http://goo.gl
  3. Paste the link into your favorite QR code generator.  I like http://goo.gl (which also shortens the URL at the same time) or http://goqr.me.
  4. Install a browser extension so that it's just a click of a button to create the QR code or shortened URL.  I use Chrome and my favorites are the "goo.gl URL Shortener" and "The QR Code Extension".  More info about the QR Code Extension can be found HERE.  More info about Chrome extensions in general can be found HERE.
OC Taylor teachers shared the URL with students via this QR code (feel free to use it too!) and it worked great!









Friday, January 16, 2015

Blendspace


Have you tried Blendspace yet?  It's a great way to collect and share lesson resources.  Signing up is easy... just login with your GCISD Google account!  The company has created a great step by step handout for getting started with Blendspace.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/183181600/About-Blendspace-Handout

Check out some GCISD teacher created examples here: 
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ttERvN6Xl3URSV2iDUxAV4jI7bsxcq3KaOWs1A7WirU/pub 
(I'd love to add your examples!  Send them to me via the form below.)

How can you use Blendspace in your classroom?

  • To collect all your resources for a particular lesson or unit in one place so that they're easily accessible.
  • To provide students with extra practice or enrichment for specific skills or topics 
  • To create choice boards to give students options for personal learning time
  • To "flip" your lesson

What kinds of things can be added to Blendspace boxes?

  • Links to webpages for research
  • Links to videos
  • Images
  • Google Docs or Presentations
  • Text instructions for hands-on or digital activities
  • Files (PDF, video, etc) from your computer

Other things I love about Blendspace:

  • It's easy to collaborate on Blendspaces with teammates to save time!  Just click the Share button and then choose Collaborate.
  • There is also a large, searchable gallery of already created Blendspaces that you can copy to your account and modify to meet your needs.
Check out the Blendspace I created for learning more about Blendspace:
(If you're viewing this blogpost via email and can't see the embedded Blendspace below, click this link. https://www.blendspace.com/lessons/W_Qyz30l4hC98Q/using-blendspace-for-student-choice-boards





How have you used Blendspace in your classroom?  Please share in the comments or share your Blendspace URLs in the form below:  http://goo.gl/KCCdxm



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thinglink


I originally shared Thinglink in a blog post last year (http://engagingtechtools.blogspot.com/2013/09/thinglink.html) but I wanted to remind everyone about this amazing resource that now has a free teacher account that makes it easy to add and manage student accounts.

Things I love about Thinglink:

  • It can be used in ALL subjects in ALL grades.  
  • It's an easy way for student to "smash" or "layer" products (video or picture) from other apps into one final project.  
  • It's a website and an app (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thinglink/id647304300?mt=8). Perfect for 1:1 or BYOD classrooms.
  • It's a great way to combine paper products with digital.  For example: students can draw/illustrate a diagram of the water cycle on paper and then use a picture of it as the background of a Thinglink with video explanations for each phase.

How To Create a Free Teacher Account:
1.   Go to the Thinglink Education website: https://www.thinglink.com/register?student=0&teacher=1
2.  Login with your district Google account.

Add Your Students:
1.  Click the Students icon at the top.
2.  Click the "Register Students" link in your class (or create additional groups if you have multiple classes).
3.  Type (or paste) a list of your students... just their first and last name.
4.  Thinglink will generate a list of user names and passwords.  Warning:  They definitely aren't pretty!  You'll want to print the list of logins AND save it as a PDF for future reference. 

Sharing Completed Projects (from the app):
  • Students can easily share their Thinglink on KidBlog by tapping the Share icon below their published project and choosing Copy.  This will copy the URL to the clipboard.  Students can then create a new blog post and paste in the link.
  • Students can add their Thinglink to the class "channel" by clicking the first icon below their image after they publish (it looks like a stack of pictures).  Then students will be able to see the work of their classmates via the class channel.
Check out my initial blog post on Thinglink for more ideas and instructions.

 
 
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