@millerg6 “The one question every teacher should reflect on over the summer…”
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@millerg6 “The one question every teacher should reflect on over the summer…”
@dan_bowen Very true
The educational landscape is becoming increasingly complex for teachers and school executives. There are more teaching methods, programs, syllabus documents & courses available than ever before. In addition to this, schools are also wrestling with how to best integrate technology into the curriculum.
The Using Technology Better team work directly with over 300 schools a year, and indirectly with close to 1000 (through combined PD courses etc).
The story is the same across all these schools.
1. Principals and teachers responsible for developing a technology plan are struggling to find unbiased advice that isn’t a thinly veiled sales pitch for a product.
2. Often schools are showcased as exemplary models of how things should be done (yet the model rarely works in other contexts)
3. You find it hard to find research based evidence that clearly shows what is working [and what isn’t] AND when you find something that seems to work, the technology changes and your model seems obsolete.
We can’t make your job easier, but we can make it more sustainable
The Using Technology Better BYOD Symposium has brought together some of Australia’s foremost thinkers and researchers to talk about ICT research, creating and executing a technology plan that will serve you now and into the future.
We’ve designed an event that will cut through the noise and inform you of the latest research in a ‘no bull’ way.
You won’t hear the usual content often regurgitated at technology conferences. You will hear a fresh perspective and current thinking. Other presenter will be talking about this in 2 years time.
All presenters have been hand picked for their expertise and results they are getting as they work with schools and education departments.
Each presenter will be available to answer your questions in the breaks and at our ‘ask the panel’ session.
The Teachers library is our online collection of training resources where you can watch the recordings and ask your questions.
@edutopia Whatever the future holds, there is no substitute for a teacher.
3. @DavidGeuri You don’t have to be a tech-expert to find ways to make digital tools relevant in your classroom.
@JasonElsom The jobs of a Teacher (a selection).
@jmattmiller Learn to TEACH like a PIRATE!
@edutopia The key to a better tomorrow.
@ibpossum I lost this for a little while – but I am glad it is back 🙂
It’s not that they didn’t try. The problem hasn’t been with their vision or their commitment to change. They have done their research, been to conferences and undergone training. Yet they haven’t achieved the result they want.
If your goal is to put the best educational technology in the hands of your students, you have the wrong goal. Using the best technology shouldn’t be the goal.
Yeah, I know that the goal is to improve student outcomes. But if this were the case, why do we ask what technology is the best instead of how we can improve student outcomes?
A one-to-one program won’t solve your problems. It can exacerbate them! If you don’t have a clear vision for how technology will improve teaching and learning within your school’s context, you’re wasting your time.
When you start the discussion, quite often, the device you prefer dictates the vision, the infrastructure, the training for the staff and, ultimately, the pedagogy.
So just for a minute, forget technology exists and answer the question, how do we want our students to learn? When you can answer in crystal-clear detail, you’re ready to formulate your strategy.
As you progress, change your strategy to address the issues that arise. But as you do, continue forming your vision and the culture that will ensure your success.
While formulating their BYOD plan in the vacuum of accurate information, schools tend to do so under the proverbial microscope. By this I mean they lack the necessary breadth of experience and perspective that enables them to learn principles from a range of learning contexts. Principles are transferrable, programs aren’t.
Too often the problem is a case of the blind leading the blind.
Most BYOD plans were drawn up in response to another school’s model. The problem with following models developed by others is, it’s THEIR model.
I’m yet to attend a conference where a presenter stood up and outlined in detail his school’s struggles, failures and disappointments.
But the reality is: Every effective BYOD plan has addressed specific issues within a school.
But if you’d copy another school’s plan, your plan will never be as effective because your situation is unique.
To ensure your BYOD plan is effective, you need to rise above the details, get a clear view and then navigate your path to your goal.
We have developed a Digital Leadership for Learning Program that aims to help you gain a clear perspective of how to achieve your goal, as well as provide to you the tools necessary to formulate your very own BYOD plan that works.
We will fast track you through the fundamental principles needed to formulate your plan that are specific to you and your unique learning context, as well as provide to you ongoing support and coaching to see you meet if not exceed your goals.
Our program was launched at the beginning of 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. Plans are in place to accommodate other countries if there is demand.
Our program is the same for all counties, but the face-to-face sessions conducted at each location is unique.
Contact us to learn more.
Tech in the classroom
A digital pacifier or real world tool?
It seems the expected revolution in education didn’t turn out as thought. Maybe what we’ve had has been more of an evolution. Watch this podcast to learn how.
0:00:13.0 Evolution in Education
0:00:43.9 What Does Better Mean?
So it seems to me that there’s been a revolution promised. But maybe what we haven’t had is a revolution. Maybe what we’ve had has been more of an evolution. So there has been an evolution in education, not a revolution.
Now we want to be in the business of teaching better, okay? We want our schools to be better. We want the staff that we are helping to lead and encourage and train. We want them to teach better. We want to create better learning experiences for our students, and we want to have students to be able to learn better in schools. But I don’t know if you’ve ever taken the time to actually ask the question, what does better mean?
Now does better mean that it’s more engaging for the students? Does better mean that we get better results? Is the fact that teaching is better or that learning better is it that it’s more trendy? And if teaching with technology is a better way, why is it better?
Now when I ask teachers that question, I actually get the opportunity to see and eyeball them to look in their face to have a conversation with them. Generally what happens is, we start off with this general notion about, well, things are better, or they should be better. But when we ask for specific ways in which they can be better, sometimes we struggle. Now we’ve got to understand this because after 20 years of having a one-to-one or a technology plan in schools in Australia, you’d think that we’d be able to answer the question more succinctly about how is technology enhancing things, why is teaching better with technology, how is the learning enhanced?
3. @ijukes Why Creativity in the Classroom Matters More Than Ever http://www.edudemic.com/creativity-in-the-classroom/
4. @IgniteNation Teach students success is no accident
It’s foolish to only use Google for doing online searches. Not only are there several other search engines just as useful, but Google has also created some new ones itself. Watch this podcast to learn about those search engines. One of them could be perfect for you.
0:00:05 Alternative Search Engines to Google
0:00:15 What Do You Love? Page
0:00:30 Inside the Google Suite
Now, in terms of search engines, we’ve also got some other options here. And Google has created a few different ones.
So the first one here is this one here, which stands for “What Do You Love.” So if I click on this, a new page will open up for me and in here I can type in whatever I like here. So let’s just say I was interested in cars and I could click that. And what it does is, it goes and it gets all the major tools that are inside the Google Suite and it comes back and gives me some information about it. So for instance here is Maps. And then I’ve got YouTube and I’ve got Sketch Up. We’ve got Paint and Searches. We’ve got Calendars. We’ve got blogs searches, Google Books, Google Translate. You’ve got all sorts of things—Google Earth, mobiles, moderator, trends, discussions in groups. You can even set up an alert for this particular topic.So this just puts it all into, like, a card file and just organizes it.
Now you’re not going to get a great amount of search results here, and you’re not going to necessarily find the best search results. But it’s just a different, graphical way of organizing your information.
4. @cbeyerle Mythbuster on school testing
With the sheer amount of available information from different sources online, how could you make sure of a source’s credibility? You may use Google Chrome. It has an extension that lets you look into and assess the reliability of a site.
Called EasyBib, the extension is actually an app for creating bibliographies. Check out the video below to learn how to use it to check a site’s credibility.
0:00:06 What is EasyBib?
0:00:35 EasyBib Options
0:01:15 A Link to a Page Showing What EasyBib Looks for to Determine whether a Site’s Credible
0:01:32 Other Websites Showing How to Check a Site’s Credibility
0:01:44 An Example of These Websites
Now there’s another extension here that I use all the time and this one is called EasyBib, and EasyBib is a bibliography creator. One of the great things that EasyBib does for us is, it looks at the website and then gives us an estimation of how reliable that website might be.
So in my Wikipedia website just here, I simply find the EasyBib extension in my Chrome browser, I click it and I get some options. So I could site on EasyBib; I could view the bibliography and it says here our credibility rating, this website may be credible. Okay? So it’s saying, that it might be credible. Now if I went over here to National Geographic and did exactly the same thing, you will see here that, that website now says: That our website is credible.
So there’s different ranking features that enable EasyBib to tell your students if they think a website is credible or not. Now I’ve put in your doc just here, a resource to know if a site is credible. That’s a site that EasyBib has created, where they show you what they look for to determine if a website is credible or not. So, two Chrome Apps and Extensions there that are really handy.
Now underneath here, I’ve also given you some websites to teach site credibility. So here, for instance, here’s a great website. Let me just drop it over into this Chrome account.Discover how EasyBib can easily check site credibility. #edtech #edu #GAFE #aussieED #usetechbetter Click To Tweet
This website is www.allaboutexplorers.com. Now, when your students go to www.allaboutexplorers.com, it looks like a great website. It has some nice images and graphics about it. I can find out about different explorers. So I’m going to go to Explorers A to Z, for instance, and then here I might want to have a look at someone—Christopher Columbus for instance, that would be a name that some students would know. So I’m going to click on Christopher Columbus here. Once again it opens up. It gives me some great information about Christopher Columbus. All looks pretty legitimate; we’ve got sharing icons and so on. But if your students start to read here it says, Christopher Columbus was born in 1951 in Sidney, Australia, and then it goes on. So how do we know if this is a credible site or not? Now here’s something interesting: If I use my EasyBib thing just here it tells me, this website is not credible. So, straight up, your students will get some information about that. Now they’re looking at things about, like, where does it link to, who’s the author, are they reputable and so on. But your students could immediately, without even having to read, and think about, “Is Christopher Columbus born in Sydney in 1951?” EasyBib would be able to give you that.
So you could create a lesson for your students, send them off to one of these websites. And part of the deal is, that they need to find information. And then, at the end of it, and hopefully, they found out that, maybe, this wasn’t right, because they checked other websites and so on (but you never know).
So a couple of things that would alert students: it says here, Christopher Columbus was born in 1951; down here it says, in 1942 he set sail. That doesn’t make sense; he returned in 1939.
So there are just some ways that you could get your students to be able to scan the page and see what’s happening there.
You’ve found just the perfect page with the information that you definitely want and you just need additional sources to complete your research. Why bother going through other pages which might be rubbish when you can find similar pages to the one you found?
Watch this video to find out how the Chrome Extension Google Similar Pages can help you out.
0:00:03 Google Apps and Extensions
0:00:33 Google Similar Pages Extension
0:00:44 Similar Websites
0:01:10 How to Use Google to Find Useful Information and Save Time
There are some Chrome apps and extensions that really help us deal with data and find great information. There [is one] that I want to mention in particular. [That] one is Google Similar Pages.
If I just click different accounts right now, it’s built into this account and not into my other one. If I, for instance, was going to do a search on cats and I went to Wikipedia and I did a search on cats, I have this extension here, which is a Google Similar Pages extension. And if I click this, a little drop-down menu will come up and it will tell me: That these are the websites that are similar to the website that I’m already on.
So this is something that’s been developed by Google, so it’s going to be good and it’s just a great way for your students to be able to find similar information.How to use #Google Similar Pages extension to collect similar great information? #edtech #aussieed… Click To Tweet
Now the way I would ask my students to use this would be, that if they found a website that had good information, was easy to read, it was reliable, then [they] could ask Google to find similar pages to that. So it could save your students randomly searching for information. And this would be a good way to be able to do that. So in terms of finding that, that’s a great influence. So if I could just click here, for instance, www.animals.nationalgeographic, it will take me straight to that page, and all that is used is the Chrome Extension to do that.
Now, I assume that most people know how to add a Chrome Extension to their account: Once you’re logged in, you simply just click on your apps button, you go to the Chrome Web Store and you just do a search for that in the Chrome Web Store. So you’d search for Google similar images and then you’d just add it to your Google account.
@FaithReeI Girl With Half A Face Was Horribly Bullied, Now She Tells Her Story! http://faithreel.com/girl-with-half-a-face-covered-in-a-tumor-was-horribly-bullied-now-she-tells-her-story/ …
We often hear of how Google Analytics is a powerful online tool, so we make sure to have it installed on our website. Among its many uses is tracking. Watch this short video to find out how you’ll benefit from using it as a tracking program.
0:00:29 How to Track Programs
0:00:48 Uses of Google Analytics
0:02:08 A Closer Look into Google Analytics’ Uses
Mike: So let’s just bring this back to the classroom for sec, because I love all the text stuff; I love to take them back to where we’re at in the call phase.
In terms of other things that we need to measure, obviously, we need to measure our students’ learning. We need to see that they are progressing and we need to track their marks and so on.
How do you see—I’m interested from a tech person’s point of view—how do you see that interfacing with that sort of data that you’ve talked about so far? Do you spend a lot of money on tracking programs? Or, how do you do it?
Blake: We’ve been talking about sort of managing the school top-down. You know, looking at other schools as a whole. But I think, if you’re going to be really drilling into the classroom stuff, there’s a number of tools that Google offers with a blogging platform and things like that. But the big one is Google Analytics for us. We pretty widely use it here.
I mean, not every teacher uses it, but a few teachers use it to really track the resources they’re putting up on Google sites, or any other website for that matter. You can put Google Analytics into almost any website and track what pages they’re (the users) going to on that site, how often they’re visiting the site, what time periods they’re visiting the site, when they go to a page, how often they’re there, how often they leave the page—you know what pages are they exiting the site with. You can drill down all the sort of stuff: how they’re getting there as well; are they clicking through from their email, or are they going through Google sites; are they clicking on a social media update, or, you know, a Facebook group; how they’re finding that information.
So all of that stuff is really, really powerful for teachers. I think certainly, you know, even from five years ago, that would have been something no one would have dreamt of.
Mike: Yeah, that’s right. And that data just makes such a difference too, because that’s when you can start to say, “Well, how long are they actually spending on a site? How they are engaging with it?” And you start to get some of those metrics.
So, as a teacher, that’s the sort of stuff I like to see. Maybe a student has gone back to a particular website five times. Well, I want to know that. Is there an issue? Do they not understand the concept? And I love the fact that you can start to pull that sort of information out.
Blake: Exactly. And here’s an example of a PA site that’s been up and running for—I think it’s been going for a few years now. It’s just a Google site that has a whole lot of resources on it that kids use throughout the year. And if we just look at the date range here, this is the total; sort of unique views or page views throughout the year.
You know, we want to make sure that this is actionable stuff. So you see here, the term starts at a little bit of a spike. That’s probably something that in class was mentioned. You’ve got to go grab this resource. Everyone goes and grabs it, so 38 people were on the site that day. So that’s probably, you know, a class. Someone went there a couple of times extra and then we see, you know, bubbles along, bubbles along, then something happens in April. What do you think happened in April, Mike?
Mike: Well, that’s getting towards the end of term, so you’re looking at revision and end-of-topic kind of things. The assessment tasks have been handed out and so on.
Blake: Exactly. And then, you see, it travels through the holidays and in through to May here. So that lets you sort of figure out, “Okay, well, kids are really liking this for revision. But what are they looking at?” So if we scroll down here, we can see exactly what they’re looking at. I mean, most of their page views are hitting the home page and from there, the number one page is this Physical Education three and four page. I can then drill into that and see how many people are looking at that page in particular and when.
So that creates a really good opportunity to say, “Well, these pages or this information seems to be getting hit at revision time.This information, like this page here, gets hit pretty evenly across the year and we’re actually going to have a look at that page if we wanted to, but I don’t think we would have access to this site.”
So, yeah, that’s the basics on the kind of overview of the behavior of where people were clicking through. There’s also an acquisition area here on the left in Google Analytics. We’ll click on the overview of that and we can see where people are coming in from, you know, this direct. It means they actually typed in the URL search. You know, they’re doing organic search. Or there’s referrals, I’ll click on that referral link. I can even see where this comes from. Okay, some have been sharing this with social buttons and things like that, and we can start to go down into that. There’s a forum topic there that references this website. So you can see where people are coming to your website from and how useful the information is to the users. And this is really good. Like, a couple of our staff ended up just redoing their websites for revision only because they realized no one is actually looking at it throughout the term. It’s only being used for revision, anyway. Let’s make it a revision website and really target and hone in on that and throw out the crap that we don’t need and simplify the whole thing for the kids. So it helps you to (kind of) on that journey of continuous improvement, and to make sure that the work that you’re providing them is timely and the right stuff for the right time and the right format.
Mike: Yeah, that makes so much sense. I really like that. I think it’s fantastic.
What’s your vision as a teacher? How did you form it? With the help of your students’ parents? Technology? Certain companies? Your own research? Are you sure you know how to make your vision a reality?
Watch this video to arrive at the best answers.
0:00:13.4 The Best Way to Make Your Vision a Reality
0:01:24.5 How to Progress According to Your Plan
00:02:16 Helpful Questions to Ask Yourself
In terms of who informs this vision: Is it the parent? Is it technology companies? Is it research? Where is this vision coming from?
So the best way to establish vision here is, that we’ve got to be realistic about our present reality.
So the question here is, what’s the best way to establish our vision while being realistic about our present?
So once you’ve got a clear picture about how your students learn and how your teachers teach, you can then start to design a plan that’s going to meet your needs.
Now the plan: Please don’t get stuck into this concept of “Right, I’ve just got to go and provide more staff training. I’ve got to do better training in my staff. Afternoons we’ve got to get the staff together and do techy-breckies and all these strategy things.” Basically, if you chase that too hard, what will happen is, that you will just continue to go round and round in circles, and you won’t actually start to make a real lasting change in what’s happening in your schools.
So here is where, when—you know, where you are. And you can realistically look at your vision. This is where you get to design a professional development plan; where you get to talk about infrastructure, device strategies, bridging the gap between where you are and where you need to be.
So, as you progress with your plan, your strategy can change to address the issues that arise. But as you do, what you need to do is just continue to establish that vision.What do you think is the best way to establish our vision? #edtech #edchat #GAFE #usetechbetter Click To Tweet
Now for those of you who are AOGs for the eLearning guides in the room, maybe you are in charge of establishing that vision. That task has been given to you to establish the vision and so on. So what you need to do is, you need to understand where this fits inside your school plan and then be able to work with the teachers and the exec teachers to enhance that plan.
For those of you who are in exec roles (and you are looking at this here), then please don’t feel like you need to solve the world’s problems. This is not going to change overnight. We’ve spent 20 years with one-to-one in schools and we already know that this is falling short.
So, I want to give you some questions that will help really narrow this focus down for you, and I’m going to give you five minutes just to work on this right now while it’s fresh in your mind. So, we’ve gone through “How do our students learn and how do our teachers teach? How will our students learn and how will our teachers teach?” And then, what we need to do now is, we need to establish the best way to establish our vision: By being realistic about our future.
1. @WeAreTeachers One of our favorites! #reading #edchat
2. @edutopia Happy birthday to our fearless leader, George Lucas!
4. @HistoricalPics I’m blown away by this photo
1. You cannot be a master teacher until you are a master learner.
2. A good #teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism.
In the podcast below, Blake talks about his digital school newsletter company and how such a newsletter can strengthen your school’s communications.
0:00:13 Blake’s school newsletter
0:00:25 Stats on newsletter signup
Blake: Absolutely. Before I do as well, I also wanted to talk with everyone about our newsletters as well—which is a company I’m involved with, which is the school newsletter—and how that can affect, you know, I guess, educate us about what we are doing with our school communication even, and all sorts of things.
We see here, we offer stats. When you sign up an account with us, you get stats on every newsletter. So, here is the stat on the latest newsletter that shows the breakdown of devices, right? How people are reading the newsletter? You can see here, you know, over 40 percent of people are reading it on a tablet or a mobile—and that’s really important information if you’re a school, and we see that across all schools. We have this data across all the whole range of schools. You know, we can see it’s almost 45 to 50 percent as an average across all schools reading on a tablet or mobile, right? And that’s really important, because, if you are sending a PDF, have you ever tried to read a PDF on your little mobile? It’s not great.Find out how your school newsletter affects your schools communication? #edtech #gafe #ACTLearn… Click To Tweet
So, that’s one of the things that kind of helps. You figure out how should you be providing communication: what are parents using, what’s going on outside your school, or inside the school community in terms of parents and students, and how things are getting consumed.
You can see how many pages are in this, how many unique readers have already hit this since this came out today—there have been 109 people who’ve already read through it—and then how long they’re actually on it. You could see the average read time is, like, 20 seconds. So, how much stuff you’re putting in your newsletter, you know? If people are in there for 20 seconds, you know, this is a 16-page newsletter, so looking at stats like that and saying “Okay, how can we make this more relevant for people? How can we improve the quality of what we’re doing?” And that’s something we’re going to continue to improve under the point, and we will be able to have analytics on how many people are reading each specific article. So, you can start tailoring and looking at certain pages and saying “Well, maybe the sport reports got to go.” or maybe the—you know, whatever it is. Or, “We got to put more effort into the principal’s report.”
So, that’s just another way that we’re looking at trying to strengthen school communities.
Mike: Yeah, that’s really helpful.
Have you ever wondered how education takes place among students and teachers? Watch this podcast to find out.
0:00:15.8 How do students learn and teachers teach?
00:00:43 Questions to consider
So, the first question that you want to be able to answer is—it’s about your present context right now—so, the question is: How do your students learn and how do your teachers teach?
So, how do your students learn and how do your teachers teach?
Now, there’s a whole range of questions that would come up underneath this, I guess in terms of this question here, and I’m going to give these to you in a minute and you’ll have time to go back through and have a look at them. But the first thing is, here are some questions that can get you thinking on this—and I’ll pause for 20 seconds between each of them—and you can just have a quick reflection time.
So, do students learn better when they have access to a pen? Have you considered that? So, when talking about that old technology not created equal, so when it comes to what technology you are going to use and what training are you going to provide, do students learn better when they have access to a pen?
Another question that you might want to consider is: Do our teachers display resilience and persistence when they face technology difficulties?
So, we all know that technology doesn’t work immediately. Sometimes there’s issues with that. So, we want to make sure that our teachers have a level of resilience and persistence. How is that there in your school? Just have a quick think.
What about your students? You know, sometimes we think that students will just persevere and persist with technology. But we know that, that’s not the case, right? So, students, when they are faced with a problem, sometimes they just give up straight away.
Another question that you might want to ask yourself is: As a school, do we tolerate or do we celebrate or do we resist change?How do your Students Learn and Teachers Teach? Things to consider.. #edtech #GAFE #aussieED Click To Tweet
So, as a culture in your school, do you resist change, do you tolerate change, or do you celebrate change? Where would you be on that change continuum?
Another question for you is (this one around engagement): So, is student engagement and learning enhanced with the use of technology?
And before you just give a general yes or no answer to that, how will you measure this? So, what measurement systems do you have in place to actually track the fact that engagement has gone up and learning has been enhanced because you are using technology? How are you going to measure that at your school? This is your present system. What is in place right now?
And the next one we’ve got here is: How will we use technology to enhance the outcomes we are already experiencing?
So, in your schools, you’ve already got some great things happening. Regardless if you’re a high school or primary school, you’ve already got some good things happening in your school, students are achieving at a great level in some areas. So, how is technology going to enhance those outcomes? How can you actually take that great stuff and make it even better?
Alright. And here is the last question for you: Are we going to try and fix out weaknesses or are we trying to build our strength?
So, why are you using technology? Are you using technology because there is a number of things in your school that you are not happy about and there’s a number of frustrations you are trying to solve or are you using technology to actually enhance what’s working well for you? What’s the strategy? So, what’s in place right now?
How convenient that you no longer have to carry a pocket dictionary wherever you go. You still do? Watch this podcast to learn about Define—a Google Search hack that will replace your pocket dictionary.
0:00:06 How to use Define
0:00:35 How to learn a word using Define
0:00:40 How to translate a word using Define
Okay, the next one is Define.
Now one of the great things about Google is, that we have dictionaries built into what we are doing online. So, I can define things. So, if I wanted to, I could for instance pick on a keyword that we are looking at and then ask Google to define it. So, let’s just say I was looking at kangaroo—not kangaroo court, just kangaroo—we’ll see here that we get a definition; just here, where Google tells us it’s a noun. You can also click this little thing here and what it does is it gives you the origin of the word. And you can also translate it. And then there’s use over time.Learn how to easily find the definition of terms. #edtech #edchat #GAFE ACTLearn #aussieEd Click To Tweet
So, you can see here how words have been used over time. So, this can be a really interesting one for English teachers and for those that are teaching literacy and are looking at change over time in their curriculum.
So very interesting to get some extra ones in there. Sometimes, you’ll be able to see that there will be a little speaker icon and you can just click it and what that will do is read the word to you. That’s also built inside your Google Docs for those of you that are using the research option inside there.
When looking through Google Docs, teachers try to find out our students’—the end users—experience or level of engagement.
What are the constraints and how does it affect the end users? Watch this podcast to find out.
0:00:01 What do you look for when measuring Google Docs usage?
Mike: All right. So, you’re measuring your Google Docs usage; maybe a drive if you’re using Office. You’ve got some reporting metrics around that for your Office 365. And you know, Blake, if you’re just looking at your own service—I’m sure you’ve got some—we would be able to pull some metrics on that.
What do you start to look at next?
Blake: Well, I think—sort of, almost, before you, at the same time, you’re looking at Google Docs—you also want to be looking at what is the experience of the users. Like, one of the big problems of, you know, going to Google and cloud-hosted services is, that it does create a bit of a strain on your networking.
If you are starting to use YouTube a lot more, or, you know, collaborating on documents with the images in them and sharing stuff on drive and downloading and uploading, I mean, what’s that going to do? That’s going to hurt your Internet connection. And that’s one of the big complaints that we hear. You know, what about our Internet? You know, how is that going to cope? And that’s a very good question. How is that going to cope? So, we need to get some data around it. And we need to set a baseline and then figure out how it is coping. And, at the same time, we want to know that when we’re accessing Google, when we’re accessing your student-management systems, like compass or sector, if they’re cloud-hosted ones; they are operating at that relative speed as well.
So, what we do with a lot of schools is, helping them with their black box. I actually got a shell of one here. It’s a little box, like this, where we plug into the network port here, and basically it will sit on the network and do a probe on certain Internet services, depending on whatever was setup. For us, we look at Compass, we look at Google. We look at a whole range of services and then we sort of graph that out into a Google spreadsheet. I can show you what that looks like, to give us a better understanding of what the experience is like for a user on the network.
Because a lot of Internet monitoring graphs goes, “Oh, that’s fine, I can monitor our Internet. That’s easy.” You know, I’ll look at the graph on the router and it says, “We’re doing 18 megs a second.” And we got a 100 meg Internet connection, so we’re fine. Well, the reality is that: That’s the amount of through-put you’re putting through the network. That’s not the experience that someone is having on the network.
So, one of the things we do with this box, this Intex box as we call it, one of the things we do with that is, put this box in the schools’ network and try and get out to those services at the very same time that everyone else is trying to get out to those services. And then we say, “Okay, now what’s really going on?” Are we seeing that there’s severely server problems before lunch? Or, you know, whenever I leave for the day, everything goes quick again? You know, if we’re seeing a load like that, then we want to start to address the Internet connection.
So, I’ll show you the graph of that now.
Mike: Yeah, that will be great.
Well, should mention we’ve done a little bit of work together on just trying to pull together ideas like this for schools. And, so, if this is of interest to you, I’m more than happy to help you out and get you a black box going in your school.
Or, we’re actually running some Google apps, Admin-consult training on the second of June. So, if you’d like to sit in with us for an hour and just work out how do you really use your Google Admin consult, then we’ll put the link to that in the show notes as well.
Blake: Yeah, cool.
So, this is the example of the Intex box. All it does is, it basically pumps a line into a spreadsheet. And we administer all these through another spreadsheet exactly how we set it up. But what it will do is put a line in here and test www.google.com and test www.live.com for office, schools, office 365. It tests that Compass login and then tests that upload. So, you know, we’ve got Chrome Books a lot. So, a lot of things are being uploaded as well as downloaded. So, we use a little service where we just push a little image up there and we see how long it takes to push up there.
So, what that does is then, you know, every 15 minutes it does it again and again and again. And you’ll notice every now and again, it will do it one after the other. You know, it will do it a minute later. The reason that happens, and we see that here, is www.google.com rapidly went up. So, it went from 109 milliseconds to 2000. If that happens, it does a check straight away again to see if that was an anomaly or that was for real. So, it’s got a little bit of an arrow checking in there. And then what we do is, we just use Google Spreadsheets and we just work with it.
We can see during the holidays, we had a bit of network maintenance. So, it went offline. But if I just zoom in here, you can start to have a look at these services that we use at the school and how they operate throughout the term. So, this becomes very clear, down to the days the people are here and not here. You can see that’s a Saturday, Sunday—things are pretty quiet—and we start seeing these spikes and these losses and the speed go up. But this is actually really great, because now I can dive even deeper. I can pull that right in and have a look and say, “Well, you know what? You know, www.google.com is the blue one all the way down here, like Google is causing us no problems. It’s basically flatlining it.
You know, 100 or 93 and other services, like Compass, when we use it throughout the day, are really slow. Like, that’s to load the entire page of Compass, after you’ve logged in. And that takes 15 seconds, so that’s something we need to take up with Compass. That’s not our Internet connection. If we see all those lines move at one time—which I don’t think happens on our networking, really—but if all those lines move up at the same time, and all the services get slow, then we know that’s an issue with us.
So, it kind of serves two purposes here: We can say “Well, this is going to address an issue with our Internet connection. We can see the data on that, but we can also see the data on the deals we might have signed with Compass or other service providers or Office 365 or Google Apps or whatever it is. And we can say, you know, this isn’t cutting it. Like, this is too slow and this is not our Internet, because everything else is operating at a perfect speed.”
So, yeah, that’s the basics of how we sort of look into that data.
Mike: Yeah. And why this is so important for schools—just to make it really plain—is, that it comes back to that user confidence and experience that we started off talking about, right? So, quite often, people say, “We just need faster Internet. That’s going to make everything better.” But you can’t necessarily track that. And if you go and spend—let’s just say you spend an extra $5000 a year, or $10,000 a year, on Internet. How do you know that that’s actually changed anything at the call phase because the Internet wasn’t necessarily the issue?
So, it’s always good, before you go out and you start to spend large amounts of money, just put a relatively inexpensive box in your school. Start to get a baseline of data and then you can start to make targeted changes to your spending patterns and then you can track that change and see if you’re getting the bang for your bucks.
So, I’m really excited about this at the moment. Just even as just a normal classroom teacher, I can really see the value in that at the call phase. It’s not just something that the tech guys need to fix. But it’s something that actually impacts my teaching and learning experience in the classroom. So, I think it’s really cool.
Blake: And I think it’s all about being able to discern: You can actually discern if it’s the issue that you’re in or if it’s the other end. I mean, if people are saying to you, “The Internet is ridiculously slow. We need a new Internet connection.” and you put this in and you notice that the response time is fantastic and they’re really solid and they don’t move throughout the periods, they’re the same on the weekends they are during the day, then, you know, well, hang on. The issue is not the Internet; the issue is with maybe the Wi-Fi; the issue is with our network; the issue is somewhere else. So, you know, this is probably a less expensive way of diagnosing that problem than signing a contract for $10,000 to $30,000 for the Internet.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely.
Wouldn’t it be useful to know how many Google Docs you’ve made since you created your Google Apps account? You’ll see how Blake’s school is making use of such data in the video below.
0:01:00 Google Control Panel
0:01:15 What inside More Controls
0:01:21 Snapshot of our domain with its usage activity
Blake: And especially when we made a change, like introducing Chrome Books, we sorted out apps, Google Apps usage tripled in the space of three months, and we were already a very strong user of Google Apps. You know, every staff member had a Google site. There was a lot of resources on Google Apps and it tripled both in docs created, and in the traffic throughout our websites tripled within three months.
So, that’s a staggering figure to us. It was staggering to Google and everyone else. But it just goes to show, if you got the right tools and the right access, that can then inform the usage. And that was our goal. You know, to look at the usage. Because obviously, it’s very difficult to measure teaching and learning. But we’re going to hope that the more they use it, the more likely they are to have some kind of educational outcome inside that usage.
Mike: What about if I just stop you there for a second. It might be a very elementary question for some people. But how is it that you measure docs created for instance?
Blake: Docs created, I’ll show you. What I’ve got here is the Google Control Panel, the Admin Panel and—can you see okay, Mike?
Mike: Yeah, it’s going through fine.
Blake: Beautiful! So, we’ve got the docs panel here. You’ll see all the apps. Sometimes it will be hidden down here. But there is this little reports button. Sometimes it’s in this More Controls area. But if I just open up reports, we can have a look here, at how our domain is going—basically, a snapshot of our domain.
So, I see here this is usage activity. This is stuff that I’m kind of interested in. You know, how often do people log into these services. And we can see here that Gmail and drive, you know, still alongside each other. And, sometimes, it outlines like that where I think there’s issues with Google reporting API. But, yeah, you’ll see that, you know, pretty much every day, we see 2000 people logging into Gmail and 2000 people using Google Drive—and that’s pretty good figures.
Over here on the right, we have some of our total users. It’s 4000 total users in our domain. That’s because we don’t delete previous years. So as kids leave, we leave their accounts here, in case they want to come back and grab something. I mean, it’s all free. So why not?
Mike: That’s a good strategy.
Blake: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve actually had a few kids recently come back for Uni project, or something they needed to reference something, and that was very handy that we had that.
So, on the left here, there are aggregate reports. And, you know, you sort of drill down into other details: how many people, you know, how much storage you’re using. You can see a lot of stuff at the start of this year and then it’s crawling back up again.
So, you know, looking at that–what is that, 2 million megabytes? I’ll let you do the calculations on that.
Mike: That’s insane!
Blake: That’s a lot of data. And how many people are on two-step enrollment? You know, we have pretty much 158. Not that many. So that’s sort of a more of a security thing. So that helps us on the compliance side of things.
If we’re going to look at actual activity, we can drop into the account activity and see student activity and how much they’ve used and that sort of stuff. We’re not going to do that but we can click into the students and have a look at that stuff.
Microsoft Power BI—Microsoft’s latest suite of online tools and services for visualizing data, sharing discoveries, and collaborating intuitively in several new, exciting ways—is the Holy Grail of educators seeking the best online experience.
Watch this video to prove our claim for yourself.
0:00:05 New product release by Microsoft
0:00:33 Microsoft Power BI Preview
0:01:00 Data sources
0:01:28 Links to all the data
0:01:46 What are the things that can be done with this suite of online tools and services?
Mike: So, I’m really excited about this new product that’s being released by Microsoft tonight. I know that you’ve got a demonstration account of that which really does help you look across your whole school at a range of different things, whether it be analytics on attendance, home works submitted, all sorts of things like that in terms of what’s happening into teaching and learning. So, do you want to just throw your screen up and maybe give us a quick look through that?
Blake: Let’s look at this Power BI stuff, because this stuff is really cool! I’ve just started working with this probably, what, two days ago—so very new. So, excuse the brevity here, I might make some mistakes, or not get things to work. But, effectively, this is a Microsoft product that runs on the Web. It leverages spreadsheets—so, Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets. You can also plug it (Microsoft Power BI) into a whole range of other data sources. Google Analytics is one of them.
I just show all the data sources to use so you can—yeah, we call it data workbooks, SQL servers. So, if you have a local database that runs with SQL, you can actually query that directly. You’ve got Google Analytics, you got all sorts of stuff. But for the most part, I think the Excel stuff would be the simplest way to get going.
What I’ve done is imported a workbook that has some kids’ NAPLAN data. Attendance data are in there, and some reporting data. And what it will do is actually link all that stuff together for us. So, if we look here, I’ve got attendance summary. And then there are the fields that are in that workbook. I’ve got NAPLAN data. And then I’ve got reporting data. So, they’re the three kind of areas that I’m looking at. And I haven’t quite got this perfect yet, but I’ll just show you what can be done with this and why I think it’s so, so important.
So, you know, a lot of tools have graphing engines. A lot of tools can do visualizations of data. But the problem is, to do that. If someone says to me, “Can you go and figure out which teacher has the most students in their class?” How do I do that? I’m going to sit down for bloody hours and scroll through all this information to make a graph and, you know, filter out the spreadsheets. That’s just a nightmare!
But with this, I just click on all data here and it pulls in that big spreadsheet that I had full of all this data and I just say in natural language, you have this natural language processor. It figures out what I’m talking about: Which teacher has the most students?
Mike: Well, that’s awesome!
Blake: That happened in real time. Nothing had to load. It’s just “Bang!” Straight, like that. So, I can see who has the most students. That’s interesting.
So, let’s try something else. Let’s try “Count students per teacher.” This is where you can see that natural language algorithm coming over. It’s the same thing that I’ve asked it to do—and I’ll ask it a totally different way—and this is the tower of it right, so that an average teacher can actually get in here and do something and not go “Holy crap! This is so complicated. I have no idea.”
So you know, that can rest on us as the administrator—to get the data in there in a way that’s query-able. And then if we want to say count students per teacher, what if one drilled down and said teacher in year nine? And I can see the count of students per teacher in year nine. Suddenly it’s changed. You know? So, I mean, this for me, this is like Nirvana. You know, this is the Holy Grail-kind of material. So that’s some examples.
You know, we can do other things, like total student ID results together. So, it’s sort of totaling the student ID’s results. We can do that. It sort of draws a graph of the excellence—how many people got excellent, how many people got very good and how many people got eight. We can drill down into that even more if we want. We can do another thing, like we can look at you know. Just bear in mind: It’s all happening while I haven’t pre-cached of any of this.An overview of Microsoft Power BI Preview and its relevance to schools. #edtech #msftedu… Click To Tweet
Total outclass, which is a field I setup (I should really call that truancy or absence or something like that), by student ID—and that would show me all the student IDs by absences. So, I can see here who hasn’t been here this year. The next person, you know, down the track. And I can do that at a per-year-level basis if I’d like to. So, if I do total outclass by forms for instance, that’s an interesting one. It will tell you which forms have the most truancy. You know, 9D is leading the pack there. And, so, that’s really easy for me to do.
I can also look at it by subject—Now that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?—for which subject has the most truancy mass. And then you might want to say, which subject against another topic, against student ID? And I can see which student ID was actually absent out of that subject by a graph here. So, yeah. I mean, you can really see the power of that. I mean, it’s crazy. I can even drill into one of those specifically.
I can say, you know, instead of by subject, I’m going to say, the total absences by 09 mass, year nine, like I’ve just read off one of those classes, and it will pull that up for me and show me the total outclasses in the list. So, yeah, it’s pretty much sky is the limit sort of stuff, isn’t it?
Mike: Yeah, that is so good. And what I love about that is, you can start to track multiple variables and you just start to wonder, I wonder if this is an influence on that. And then you just type it in, and boom! There’s the data right in front of you. So, in terms of being able to start to measure and track, I mean, this is just something new. I’m quite excited about it; I think it’s fantastic.
Blake: Yeah. And I can change that from a bar graph and say, show me a line graph. Obviously, that doesn’t work for that data. But show me a scattered plot, it will do that as well. I mean, this is Holy Grail material, and it’s very, very exciting. And, obviously, I’m brand-new to it; I’m still figuring it out. I’m just using some dummy data in there at the moment, but it would be interesting to see how big you can go with this. You know? I think, for us the Holy Grail is going to be: I teach math. I want to see just those kids. I don’t want to see their last three years of reporting data mapped against their behavior and against their reading and NAPLAN data. Bang! You know?
Mike: Absolutely, yeah.
Blake: Yeah, if you can do that at the tip if your fingertips—yeah, that’s pretty wild stuff.
Mike: Yeah, and I’ve been saying for probably a year now, someone is going to crack this, because this is where teaching and learning is getting to. It’s all about data-driven stuff. You know, NAPLAN tests, national curriculums, reporting data. That’s all the talk. Everyone wants to have a report that students have progressed and so on.
They’re wanting it to go from this gut-check kind of reality to having some hard numbers, and I’ve been saying for about a year like someone needs to just crack the fact that we need to get this data but not have to be, you know, mathematical wizards to make it happen. And I’m so excited that Microsoft has got this coming out. I just think it’s fantastic.
Blake: Oh it just blows me away, and I think,like, how many people in the school could probably put that data together? Maybe five or 10 out of the teacher base of 180. And it would probably take them days and days. And then you look at what you can do there, with just typing a few keys. I think that natural language engine that they got here is the key thing here. It’s not about the data. We’ve got all the data. How do we get it out? How do we extract it? I think that’s where they’ve done a great job
And BI is actually business intelligence, is what it stands for—power BI. And it’s been in business for a long time, you know, mapping sales charts and doing retail analysis and things like that. You know, bestselling categories, bestselling items. And what we’re doing is, we’re taking that and we’re remapping it into an education context. And it works surprisingly well.
I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or a good thing, but it works surprisingly well taking that same model and looking at it over different pools of data and pulling together saying, “Here’s this one student ID. I want to find out all of these things and connect the dots.”
Mike: Yeah. No, that’s very good.
The powerful conversion tool in Google Search comes in handy in the classroom. Your students can easily convert length, temperature, weight and more.
This video is part of a Google Search training resource in our unlimited support and training community. Go HERE to access our entire library of Professional Development resources for teachers
0:00:24 Why we call these search hacks?
0:00:50 How to trigger the Convert feature in Google Search
0:01:24 All about the Convert box
0:01:31 How to change the units of measurement
0:01:38 What units of measurement are available
0:02:50 Eg: how to convert temperature
There is a whole list of resources inside this document just here, so we are going to just work our way through them. We’re not going to open up all of them. Some of them are just there for you to have as a reference as we go.
So the first one that we’ve got here is just a few resources that we’ve got on search hacks and I call them search hacks because I guess they’re just like these little unknown tips that you can use when you’re doing a Google search to help you find the right information.
So I want to have to look at some of these to start off with. So the first one here we got is a key word, which is convert. So if I go to Google, and you don’t even have to go to Google, all you need to do is just search in the Omnibox, I type in the word convert and then I can type my conversion in, Google will automatically run a calculator for me and convert it.
So for instance I might be trying to do a conversion around weight or length or units, mass, even you can see here some currency ones, so if we have a look at convert, let’s go from miles to kilometres.Learn how to convert units of measurement using Google Search #GAFE #googleedu #edchatnz #aussieED Click To Tweet
We’ll see here that a little box opens up and it tells me that one mile is equal to one kilometre. Now this is all changeable, so I could say it will be 17 miles and we instantly change it and also I can click on this little button here and I can change that to different units of measurements just here.
If you wanted to get out of length for instance and you wanted to look at mass you can do that, there’s speed, there’s volume area and fuel consumption all sorts of things in here as well.
Now this is really handy for our students who are collaborating and especially the students that are collaborating across different platforms.
So it could be, for instance, that a school is working with another school in America and I give the example a lot of a couple of schools we connected that were in year-four and now doing weather, so one of the schools put together a Google Doc, a Google Form and one of the questions they asked the students in there was how far are you from an ocean?
The students in America we’re going to write in miles and the students in countries, such as Australia, they we’re going to write in kilometres but the students didn’t know how to convert that.
So a quick and easy way to make that conversation with them for just to come and go and convert and then type it in. Obviously with temperature we have Degrees Celsius and we have Degrees Fahrenheit and so the students were able to easily make those changes in temperature as well.
So convert is the little figure that opens that up for us.
Want to access more Professional development resources for teachers? Check out the Using Technology Better Unlimited Support and training Program
0:00:06 Using Google Apps to do a mail merge
0:01:01 Running the Autocrat Add-On
0:02:11 Steps in doing mail merge.
Hi Mike Reading here from www.usingtechnologybetter.com. In this short video, I wanted to just show you how we can use Google Apps to do a mail merge.
Now a lot of people want to know how can they do a mail merge in Google Docs and they often struggle to find a way but there’s actually a way that you can do it quite easily.
So to do a mail merge using Google Docs, what you need to have is you need to have a Google Doc, which has your text with a couple of tags in here that you want to use to do the merge and then you need a corresponding Google Sheet with your column headers here and they need to match up.
Now something to notice here, they don’t have to be an exact match so for instance in my sheet here I have elective choice but in my Google Doc I just have the world elective so we can make those merge up.
Here’s another example of one that I’ve also created so you can have student names, dates and so on and this would be the corresponding merge sheet that we would use. So to do a mail merge using Google Docs, here is what we need to do. You need to go to your Google Sheet and you need to add the add-on which will run this for you and the add-on is called “Autocrat”.
So if you haven’t got autocrat, basically what you do is go to add-on, come down to the bottom here to get add-ons and then you would find the autocrat add-on here in the store by just searching through and finding it or you could just do a search here.
Once you found it, just click the free button and then add it to your account. Once you’ve added it, you will notice that under the add-ons tool bar you will have the option here for autocrat. So what we want to do is we want to just launch autocrat so I’m just going to click that button just there and we can see down the bottom that it’s working.
Now we’ve already done this as a demo in one of our live trainings that we ran for Principals and exec teams but it will still work for us just the same. So basically what I’ve got is I’ve got a doc here called “First Aide” but let’s just run this as a new merge job.
So I’m going to click this red button just at the top here and it will just line up all the parameters for us. Now one of the great things about this is that it all just runs straight inside your Google Sheets and you don’t need to go off using other programs to make it happen.
Okay so here we have the first step and you can see it just works it all out, we just need to choose our template. So you can choose your template out of your drive account or you can create a brand new template if you wanted to. So let’s just choose this one from drive and the one that I’m going to use, what I’m going to search for is the one called “Mail Merge Example” now I’ve already had it up before but we’ll just show you how to go through it.
Alright, so here we go here, I’m just going to click that and open it up. Okay so here we’ve got merge tags. So we’ve got student name, date and teacher so if I go back here, student name, date, teacher. So we would need to just merge those inside the sheet here. So the student name is obviously going to be student name and date, it’s going to be date, teacher is going to be teacher. Now you could move those around because if you look here, these are all the row headers so as long as you can find the tag then you’ll be able to match it up so it doesn’t have to be exact match.
So once we’ve done that we can just click save. In the next option here we’ve got some ability to insert values into the spreadsheet in terms of our naming convention. So here it’s going to be student name newsletter so you can use student name, you can use date, teacher and so on and then here we can choose do we want to have a Google Doc or PDF which is really the last option. So at the moment I’m just going to create Google Doc and you could email these as well.
Now under advanced settings, you can do a whole lot of conditional formatting, oh that’s all looking ugly right now but you can have all sorts of different things in here, folders that you can save to and so on. So I’m just going to save all our settings so that we can run this new merge.
So here we are, we’ve got our merge jobs just here. Already all packaged up, ready to go. Now you could just go ahead and run the merge down the bottom here, clicking that little run merge button or you might want to preview it. I always preview it first just to make sure it’s going to run properly and then you could always go back and edit if you want.Check out the quick and easy steps to do a mail merge using Google docs. #edchatNZ #nswdec #GAFE… Click To Tweet
So I’m just going to click on the preview button here, it’s just going to pull up our preview document, I have all the merge tags inserted and we can just have a look at it here. The great thing about this is you can always edit your template right from here, nice way to be able to do that, you don’t have to go back to drive and find it, you can just edit it straight out of here. So the first one, first name here you can just see in the background is Harry, so “Hi Harry, Thanks for attending the first aid course” there’s a date, there’s the teacher so it all looks like it works pretty good.
If I click the next one it’s just going to show me the next merge and so on. So once all of those are done, you see that we just come up and click the X button here and then just click on run merge and then it will run it in the background. Now with all these merged documents, what it does is it creates individual documents for the merge like you’d expect and puts them all into a folder for you just here.
Now here’s my merge doc folder, so if I go here you will see that we have the first name has come up, the elective and the choice when it was last modified and so on.
So really simple way to be able to do mail merges and hopefully that’s been a real help for you. If you need any other help or tips and tricks, what we’d love you to do is head over to the www.usingtechnologybetter.com website, there you will see that there’s an unlimited support program that your school can join but we also have lots of tips and tricks right there in our blog.
So thanks for watching and we’ll see you again soon.
There is no doubt about it, teachers are busy!
To help busy teachers stay on top of some of the discussions that are taking place in education, I thought I’d collate a few of my favourite quotes, tweets and thoughts from the week.
I’ve also added a summary of what I have posted on the blog this week, plus a few posts from the archives which are getting the most reads.
I always find it interesting to observe the collaboration culture in schools. Often teachers expect their students to work together on group tasks, collaborate on assignments, whilst in the staffroom very little collaboration occurs.
Extend this beyond the staff room to schools that collaborate with other schools and this become rarer still.
You best resource isn’t your textbooks or Google search, it is each other!
I always love to see the discussion that occurs around tweets like this (they are usually 1 sided).
Obviously teachers who use Twitter love this quote. What what about teachers that aren’t?
Are these teachers irrelevant?
What are your thoughts?
3. @curriculumblog Characteristics Of A Culture Of Learning http://edge.ascd.org//blogpost/characteristics-of-a-culture-of-learning …
If you have been to any of my courses you will know that culture is of particular interest to me. Culture seems to be one of the single biggest influences in behaviour.Culture seems to be one of the single biggest influences in behaviour. #edchat #edu #cpchat Click To Tweet
What is the culture of your school?
1. Great teachers focus not on compliance but on connections and relationships.
2. Technology should never drive instruction. It’s role is to support and enhance learning.
A look at one of the influences to our decision making process when schools are looking at BYOD or a 1:1 technology plan.
A look at how you can use Google search effectively with your students.
This is a great tool that allows you to see how a word has been used over time in literature. You can compare words and see trends.
This simple website is great for schools. Downforeveryoneorjustme pings the website you are trying to load and will tell you if it is down for everyone or just you.
In this Using Technology Better Show Blake and I speak with Andrew Douch about how he uses podcasts to deliver content to students.
Google have a little known tool called Ngram Viewer. Ngram Viewer searches words in Google Books and correlates their use over time.
Have a look at how to use this tool
0:00:09 How Ngram view works
0:00:27 An example of how you can use Ngram viewer to correlate terms such as global warming
0:01:01 How to correlate words to see if they are associated
0:01:58 How to extend your students thinking with Ngram viewer
This video is part of an hour long training on how to deal with data and Google Searches. You can access the entire video plus our entire collection of training videos in the Unlimited Support Program.
There’s another link here in the document that is for Ngram, which is Google Books. Now this is searching not web traffic but the books, what’s been written about inside books. So let’s just take those same search terms, so let’s type in global warming and the good thing about this is because it’s in a book, I can search for between 1800 and 2000 and so what I can do here is you’ll notice on this graph that there’s nothing written about global warming until about let’s say 1978.
At around about 1985 we get this incredible jump in stuff being written about in terms of global warming. So it’s a really interesting way to look at the history of a word. Now if I wanted to chart global warming versus climate change, I just need to put a coma between the two words and we’ll be able to look at both of those together, it will say that global warming and climate change roughly follow each other as a correlation, but climate change has incredibly continued on the projectile more than global warming.Have you seen this awesome tool? Ngram lets you study word usage over time #gafe #aussieED #edchatNZ Click To Tweet
Now for those of us that are teaching high school, you might want to investigate the reason why the search term or the term global warming has started to plateau but the term climate change has continued to increase in popularity. So why is it that we’re now starting to change our language from global warming to climate change? So there are so many different applications that you could use this for in a classroom.
So I encourage you to get in there, have a play, get your students correlating results, searching for things, looking at trends but both online trends and written trends in books and then start to ask the question why okay? In the session this morning we talked about question everything and so one of the great things that we can do is question why and this starts to give us the ability to better do it. Now obviously this is looking back into the past, we can’t a get a trend correlation on that. So Ngram Viewer, have a play with it, awesome tool.
This video is part of an hour long training on how to deal with data and Google Searches. You can access the entire video plus our entire collection of training videos in the Unlimited Support Program.
With there being so much information on the internet, how do our students deal with all this data?
In this video we will show you how to easily find trends and correlations. We will look at a tool called Google Trends.
0:00:03 How to deal with data?
0:00:15 Google Trends
0:00:50 Search Terms
0:01:07 Find out what’s trending of the moment
0:02:13 How to correlate data and compare trends
This video is part of an hour long training on how to deal with data and Google Searches. You can access the entire video plus our entire collection of training videos in the Unlimited Support Program.
Now how do we deal with data? So there are a couple of tools that help us dig down into all of this search data that we’re finding. The first one that I wanted to show you here is Google Trends. This is a great tool for you to use with your students when you’re trying to get them to understand the context of what they’re looking at in terms of a search result. So basically what you do is you go to www.google.com\trends and you will see that there’s a search box just up in the top and you type in your search term that you’re looking at.
So it could be, for instance, let’s have a look at global warming. I typed in the search term global warming, the page opens up here for me and this shows me all the search terms for global warming. Now you’ll see this goes back to just below to – where does it take us to? Beginning of 2004 right through to today and you will see that there’s a screen here and it graphs out the search phrases.Now some interesting things to take note of, you can find what’s trending at the moment okay? You will see here that there’s little letters sometimes on the top of peaks and what those letters stand for are news headlines that might have caused a sudden spike in search results.How to use Google Trends with your students. #gafe #aussieED #edu Click To Tweet
So here if I look at the H, I’ve got Los Angeles Times and it says Bush to set realistic goals to combat global warming, so that particular news article created a bit of a frenzy. In November 2008 if I look at this G, I’ve got the Chicago Tribune it talks about the governor’s pledge to fight global warming together. So that’s the trend of what has happened. At the top, just above the graph here, you will see that there’s a graph here that you can check and it says forecast.
So when we click this forecast, Google will put out a dotted line and it will actually forecast what they think will happen. Now the great thing here about global warming is that we can chart graphs against each other, so search terms against each other. So you could sit here with your students and you could say to them “What’s another search term that would be like global warming?” So here we could put in here, for instance, climate change. Okay and so if I click that and click search we’re going to see that global warming and climate change are now plotted against each other.
If you’re looking at correlations, you will see there is a fairly good correlation between the two, global warming gets more searches than climate change. If you wanted to see the difference that this might make, you might want to look at the G20 for instance or you might want to look up Kevin Rudd as a prime minster who is pushing a lot about climate change and global warming and so on. So it’s just a nice way to be able to look at this. Now these are all search trends okay? So things that are happening in terms of search.
This short video helps you understand how technology companies can set the learning agenda in your school.
0:00:00.6 Story about Bill and his horse and what this has to do with your technology plans
0:00:36.2 Why you need to be aware of who is driving the direction of your schools Technology agenda
0:01:39.9 How technology companies can drive your school’s technology agenda
0:02:01.6 Who developed the concept of BYOD (Bring your own device)?
0:04:07.2 What you can do to remain in control of your schools BYOD plans
To watch the entire training video, and to receive more resources just like this, join the Unlimited Support Community
One of my favourite stories is about this guy by the name of Bill and Bill is a man, he’s galloping down the street on his horse and one of his friends yells at to him “Hey Bill, where are you going?” And so Bill looks out over his shoulders as he’s hurdling down the street and he says “I don’t know, ask the horse.”
And you know this story reminds me of a lot of school’s technology plans and their BYOD plans that if you are in charge of developing ICT in your school, an interesting question to ask yourself is this “Who is driving the technology agenda in our school?” Quite often what happens is we can end up on this technology plan, we can end up on this desire to create a better learning environment for our students and a better teaching environment for our teachers but we don’t quite understand who is driving the agenda.This is an interesting Blog post on Who is driving the technology agenda in our school? Click To Tweet
We know that we are hurdling towards some sort of a result we know, there’s some where that we’ve got to get to but we are not necessary in control. Technology is kind of like the horse and the horse is taking us but we don’t know exactly where we’re going to end up. So I wanted to just take a moment to look at this concept of who’s driving the agenda, the technology agenda in your school.
Now there’s several agenda or several people that can run an agenda in our school and as we’ve been working a lot with schools over the – especially the last year, we’ve been able to dig down into some of these agendas and then find out where they actually lead us.
So one of the first places or one of the first things that can drive a technology agenda is actually technology companies. Now one of the great things that companies can do for us, the technology companies is that they create this sense of a feeling, like you always need to find the latest and greatest technology to achieve your outcomes. Now here is an interesting question for you which you might want to consider. Out of this concept of bring your own device, where did this really start? Where did the concept and where did the terminology come from, bring your own device? Just stop and have a think about that for a second. Where did that came from? BYOD, Bring Your Own Device.
Do you know the whole concept of BYOD or Bring Your Own Device was actually developed by technology companies? Were you aware of that? Not just bring your own device in the business world but bring your own device in technology. Now I get to sit in a lot of meetings at big technology companies and generally the head will come in and I’ll start to talk and they all start with a similar story, you know they’ll say “Well my student is in X, Y, Z school and they’re in this year” you know I’ve really come to understand the power of technology and how this can really differentiate my child’s education. So I’ll talk about this with great passion about why they’re in it and I’ll say, and this is why we are in this market. We are here to make a difference with the next generation.
We are here to drive change in education. We believe that we can deliver a far better education system by using technology. And then I’ll go and say now this year, the goal is to ship X amount of devices. Now as you sit there and you listen to that, knowing that the whole concept of BYOD really was delivered and developed by companies to sell more computers, that actually makes sense doesn’t it? The more devices they can get into the hands of students, the more devices they get to sell and so on.You should always think twice when you hear someone say 'We're here to drive change in education'… Click To Tweet
Now it’s not all bad, it’s not a bad thing that the BYOD was developed by companies to try and sell more devices because what is happening is that schools that are strategic in their thinking that understand that this is where this agenda is being driven from, well then we can leverage this enormously in your school and you can create perfect opportunities to partner with these companies to get what you need in terms of education. So I’ve seen some schools who have partnered with technology companies that have been able to tap into professional development budgets that weren’t necessarily there beforehand.
They found ways to develop support systems, insurance systems and so on because at the end of the day, the technology company wants to sell technology and the school wants to re-enable the students to have technology, but technology that works. So if you’re thinking and understanding this concept, then one of the greatest things you can do is leverage this to the best of your ability to make the best purchasing decisions you can.
The full version of this video and transcript is available in our Unlimited Support Community. Register now to access our entire library of resources, plus join the online community of teachers.
The pressures of senior schooling can be challenging for many students. More difficult content, conflicting time demands, looming exams and juggling part-time work can all add-up to a stressful couple of years.
A blended learning approach can provide students with the flexibility and support they need to manage their learning more effectively.
A blended learning model encompassing viewing/reading material prior to class (often referred to as a ‘flipped’ approach) allows the students to cover and digest the material at a pace suitable to their needs and level.
It also gives them the opportunity to focus more heavily on topic areas they find most challenging, and easily catch-up on content they miss while absent.
Face-to-face time can then be utilised for the actual application of the theory, with the teacher on hand to help out.
After class, students can use worked example videos to review the theory application as they continue their private study and practice exam questions. Self-grading quizzes and prompted group discussion questions also allow for students to keep track of their progress and continue to learn from each other after hours.
You might just start with a few pre-lesson videos, or an after-class discussion topic and build your approach and material from there. Regardless of how you start out, an online learning and collaborating system is usually a key part of the blended learning model.
Choosing one which best suits both your and your students needs can help make the journey simpler and more effective.An online learning and collaborating system is a key part of the blended learning model, but which… Click To Tweet
The great thing is that they are both free to use in your classroom. When I first embarked on a blended learning approach with my senior Chemistry students, I chose Edmodo as the class learning and collaboration platform.
The product had a great social learning focus, with a friendly and simple interface that made it easy for students to ask questions and share their knowledge and findings. Edmodo was popular with my chemistry students, so I also expanded my use of it to some of my junior classes.
This year, I decided to move my senior students to Schoology. In addition to the social learning tools, I found Schoology had other features more suited to the needs of my VCE course. The platform is more structured and organised, making it easier for my students to find and access their coursework.
It has richer progress tracking and statistics, and I’ve got more control of when students can access materials. Overall, Schoology is a more mature system. It is suited better to mature students (I continue to use Edmodo with my junior students) and is great preparation for the types of LMS they will likely use if they continue on to tertiary studies.
There are also other learning management and collaboration tools that you can explore for use in your own blended classroom. Many Google Apps schools utilise Google Classroom, Google+ or Google Sites. It’s even possible to design a great combination solution using a few different tools.
I’ll be sharing my ideas and showing participants how to set up an effective LMS to support blended learning at the Using Technology Better Conference.
In my ‘Learning management made easy’ session, you’ll have the opportunity to play with each of these tools and discover which Learning Management tool best suits your needs.
To help you narrow down the Chrome extensions that are useful for teachers, we have put together a list of my favourite ones.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. If I have missed one of your favourites, please let us know about it in the comment section below.
In the next post I will share my favourite Chrome apps for teachers
LastPass is an online password storage system. This Chrome extension is the one reason I could never leave Chrome as my main browser!
Save to Google Drive allows you to easily clip content and save screen captures to Google Drive
Awesome Screenshot capture and Annotate is a necessity on Chromebooks. It allows you to snip content, annotate over the top and then save directly to Drive
The Webpage screenshot Chrome extension will rock your world. Not only does it allow you to capture your screen, but it allows you to capture the website and then edit the content on that capture without changing the font, text size, images etc. It allows for some brilliant writing tasks for students.
The Save to Pocket Chrome extension allows you to save websites and web content for viewing later – even if you are online. I use this all the time before travelling.
If you are like me, you will have way too many tabs open in your Chrome browser. This reduces battery life and performance. Too many tabs for Chrome allows you to easily see what tabs are open and then suspend those tabs for viewing later.
I love the suspend tab option – I use it to save tabs that I don’t have time to get to. You can log out of Google, sign back in and your tabs are preserved.
TLDR stands for too long don’t read. The is cool chrome extension will summarise pages for your and give you various length summaries. Brilliant!Check out these great #chrome #extensions for #teachers Click To Tweet
This Chrome extension will read text off a page for you. Simply select the text and right click to speak. Obviously, this is great for students struggling to read, but you can creatively use this in your classroom in so many ways. One example is, select some text that the grammar is wrong and ask the students how you could re-write this to make it sound correct.
Clearly swipes a webpage and removes all adds, comments, images and distraction!
Spreed is a speed reading extension. When you are on a website, you can click the spreed link and 1 word at a time is presented against a black background. You can adjust the speed that the text is displayed, increase the font size etc. I have build my speed up to reading 900 words a minute. This extension is also great for people with ADD 🙂
In this video, I want to introduce you to a new concept in presentations called “Sway” by Microsoft. This is a great alternative to PowerPoint presentations.
0:01:21 How Sway functions
0:02:11 Creating a new Sway
0:04:16 Availability of Sway
Hi Mike Reading here and welcome back to www.usingtechnologybetter.com. In today’s video, I want to just introduce you to a new concept in presentations called “Sway” by Microsoft and this is a great opportunity to get your students using a different program which would just save you a little bit of death by power point. So Sway is still in preview mode but anyone can access it, you just need to sign in with your Microsoft account.
If you don’t have one of those you can get one for free, just go to Microsoft and sign up. In Sway, you can have a look at a few different examples of sways that are being created, but basically it’s just a different kind of a layout of information. Now this can have all sorts of imbedded media such as photos, videos, texts and so on and you’ll see down here if I just move to the next Sway, it just sort of slides across the screen nice and neatly, now you can set it up in different layouts and see how those work and it’s all just on the inside just here.
So if I go into my Sway just here, you will see that you can create a new Sway or you can import one from a Microsoft document, power point or PDF. Here is one that I’ve imported from a PowerPoint slide that I had. Now I wanted to show you this because it’s not an exact science and it doesn’t come across seamlessly.
So what it does is it takes your slides and it just pulls apart all the bits and pieces that are on there and put them into these different cards. So on the front page I had a title, I had some texts about how people would contact me, I have my logo and I had a couple of images down here as well so basically what that did was grab all of those different aspects and then pull them all together.Check out Sway. It's another easy way for your students to process and present their thoughts.… Click To Tweet
If I was to go here and preview that, it would kind of look a little bit like this. So at the moment I’ve got the title that came here, some of the text is just down the bottom and was great, this one here was actually sliding down the screen, different layout. So if kept going down you’ll see the logo comes up, you’ll see that some images come up and so on, so once again, not the best way to do this.
Now if I wanted to create one, it’s very simple all I need to do is go to create a new Sway and you’ll see that there are some options in here, it’s very user friendly, it’s very intuitive.
If you wanted to put the title Sway you can just type it in there, you can change the background and so on. You can’t just drag and drop contact – you can just drag and drop content into this which is really easy. You can also choose the different type of cards you want.
So you’d have over here, pictures cards, video cards, you can embed tweets and all sorts of things in here. You also have different slideshows and you can have groups and stack your cards as well which you can play around with. So the insert tabbing, you simply just click on the insert button up here and you can see that you can get suggested things from Sway. If you had some text already typed in, it would then do a search around the text that’s in there and suggest things.
You could pull your texts or images or videos out of one drive, you can see here there’s also Facebook, Bing and so on. If you click on here add a source, basically what you can do is let Sway know where you’d like to get information from and they’re taking advice from that at the moment.
You also have the ability here, when you click insert to upload straight off your computer. If you have a look at the cards, we’ve been through here, have a look at different card designs. If you click the little plus button just here, you can choose text, headings, pictures and upload as well.
The design tab just across the top here is the look you’ll see that a lot of these are coming soon so that’s still in preview mode. If we click on the style, you will see that you can change the fonts, the colours, the background and so on so it’s all just there for you.
When you come in here to insert, you’ll also notice that there’s a search function up here and if you are searching for whales for instance, you will notice that the search results here are tagged with creative common licenses.
So this is all just searching Bing images. Now Sway is also available on the iPhone, not available on the android but it’s just another great way to create content to have your students creating ideas, synthesizing their thoughts, processing and analyzing and then presenting.
Once you try watching YouTube Videos (especially training videos) at a faster rate, you’ll never go back!
This video will show you how to play YouTube videos at a slower or faster rate, whichever might be helpful to you.
0:00:21 How you can watch YouTube videos at a faster rate.
0:02:01 Sharing a video in YouTube
Hi Mike Reading here from www.usingtechnologybetter.com. I just posted a little tip for our teachers in the unlimited support and training community at the usingtechnologybetter.com site and I thought I’d share this video with you, my blog readers and YouTube subscribers as well.
So in this short video, what I’m going to do is just show you how you can watch YouTube videos at a faster rate.
Now why would you want to do this? Well we want to do this so that we can get through more content quickly. So I listen to a lot of podcast and I listen to – and I watch a lot of YouTube videos and I don’t want to just watch them at a rate that the person presents them in.
Now before we could do this with YouTube itself, what I used to use was an app in Google Drive called “Video Notes” and this is a fantastic app for using videos with your students, and I’ll make another video about that later.
But now what we can do is simply just open up the YouTube video that we want to watch, right down the very bottom right hand corner of the YouTube video, you will see that there is a cog and that cog is a settings cog. Now when you click that, a box opens up and there will be an option for you to choose the speed.You can easily watch #YouTube video's in double time. Here's how Click To Tweet
You will see in there that you can make the video play slower which might be helpful sometimes, but you can also increase the speed to 1.25, 1.5 or two times the speed.
Now for me, I generally watch the videos in about 1.5 speed, sometimes you can get away with two times depending on how fast the person is speaking and how quickly the they are presenting the content. So this is a great way to save you time, make you more efficient and so on.
So here is what I want you to do. I want you to go and open up a YouTube video [if you are listening to this via podcast] or you might want to just go back to the beginning of this video, click on the cog, change the speed and just a have a listen to it. And then what I’d love you to do is just share this video with other teachers so that they can benefit from this video and become more efficient as well.
So to share a video in YouTube, all you do is just underneath the video you will see that there is a share section, just click that and then you might want to tweet it, you might want to add it to Facebook, you might want to share it on Google Plus or whichever social media you prefer.
If you like more tips like this then simply head over to the Using Technology Better unlimited support and training community, and there’s all sorts of tips and tricks on how you can use technology better to engage your students. We’ll see you in the next video.
Social media and social collaboration tools are continuing to get a lot of attention for the potential value they can add to teaching and learning. This comes from their ability to increase social learning. But why is Social learning important? Why should social learning be enhanced in your classroom?
Because learning IS social!
Right from the moment we’re born, we learn from those around us.
Our behaviours and skills are modelled on those we observe in others. Your students come to class primarily to learn from you, to benefit from your knowledge, experience and passion. However, they can and will be each other’s teachers and students too.
The work of Albert Bandura in developing Social Learning Theory finds that learning will most likely occur if there is a close identification between the observer and the model. Those closest identifications will occur between your students.
That means you potentially have a class of teaching and learning weapons at your disposal! By cultivating social learning in your classroom, you can encourage your students to help each other interpret and translate your teaching and find meaning in the content.Social learning encourages your students to help each other interpret and translate your teaching… Click To Tweet
You’ve most likely been utilising social learning principles for years. Think about all those times you’ve asked your students to ‘turn to the person next to you and discuss’.
However, bringing the right technology into the equation can maximise these opportunities. It gives your students the opportunity to connect with those outside their normal social groups, and provides a place for the learning conversations to continue outside the physical classroom.
Google+ communities are one tool that can be a great way for schools using Google Apps to increase social learning opportunities.
You can create a closed community for your class, providing a safe environment for students to interact with each other. To do this, follow the steps below:
1. Google+ and choose Communities from the menu on the left.
2. Choose Yours from the top menu.
3. Click Create a Community.
4. Choose whether you want to restrict the community only to members of your school.
5. Choose if you want the community to be private or open within your school (or the wider world).
6. Choose if you want people to be able to ‘ask to join’. This is often the quickest way to get your students to join your community!
7. Click More options and configure the settings to suit your needs.
8. Click Done.
Communication and collaboration can then grow through the sharing of thoughts, opinions, images, links and resources. And, most importantly, through the giving and receiving of feedback. The great thing about G+ communities is that they can also easily be used in conjunction with other social learning tools.
To use Google+ communities, both you and your students all need Google+ profiles. Students must be aged 13 or over, and it’s easiest if you’re already a Google Apps school. If you’ve got younger students or don’t have access to Google+, don’t despair! There are other tools that can be used in similar ways, including Edmodo and Google Classroom.
In this short video (transcript is also available), Mike will show you how you can use some of the best features of Google Classroom and Teacher Dashboard together so that you can get the best results and the outcomes for your students.
0:00:15 Great features of Google Classroom
0:01:10 Great features of Teacher Dashboard
0:01:29 Why use Google Classroom and Teacher Dashboard together?
0:03:42 Work flow for students
0:05:06 Key points
Hi, Mike Reading here from www.usingtechnologybetter.com. In today’s video, I’m going to show you how we can use some of the best features of Google Classroom and Teacher Dashboard together so that we can get the best results and the outcomes for our students.How to use the best features of Google Classroom and Teacher Dashboard together Click To Tweet
Now when we use Google Classroom, one of the greatest features of classroom is being able to easily set assessment task for our students and then be able to have those students turn those assessment tasks in. The one-piece that’s missing for me in that ability to do that is the ability to easily see what the students are working on especially if they are using individual documents.
If I had 30 students, what I would need to do is have 30 tabs open with each of those documents in there and just be able to see what those students are doing. Now as a teacher, I want to be proactive and I want to be able to find the students who are falling behind, maybe who are disengaged, maybe who are just struggling with the question or are otherwise distracted.
And so it can be a little bit cumbersome using Google Drive in the classroom to just stay on top of all that work and especially if you’re a high school teacher and you’ve got multiple students across multiple days. But here we’ve also got the ability to use teacher dashboard.
Now Teacher Dashboard enables us to see all of our student’s work all in one screen from inside of class and so it’s a great feature to be able to easily interact with our students and find out how they are getting on.
So you might have a particular assignment or a document that you want to send to your students, and so what you would do is you would put in your assignment here and from here, we would want to attach the document that you would want to assign to your students. Now when you assign this document, it’s going to show up in the Google Classroom folder inside their drive account.
You’ll have access to see each of those student’s work because they are shared back to you with the teacher, and once again you are going to have to have multiple documents open at the same time to be able to see how that goes.
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to say that these students can view the file because I don’t want it to be a collaborative document and in fact, let’s just make a copy for each student. So I’m going to assign that document to those students, it’s just going to work and into the background and then if I go and have a look as if I’m a student, what will happen is if they go to their stream just here, what will happen is that you’ll have an assignment that will show up here for those particular students.
Now those students can open that document, they can work in it, here it is just here, look at that for spelling mistake, and they can open that document. Now as I said, if your students are working in that document, what you could do as a teacher is you could come back to your particular drive account here, you could open that there and you would be able to see this as your students open it and then be able to interact with those students.
So there is student-1 who hasn’t open, let’s have a look for student-2, so let’s go back to their stream account. So student-2 now opens a document, when they open it, the document is actually created for them and so if I go back to my drive account just here you will see that that student will now have appeared, so there it is just there and so I would have to have this document here if I actually open and I’d also have to have this document here open and so I could see this student as well.
Now what I would do in terms of workflow for the students is I would say to the student once they’ve got this document open here that I would say to the students “What I want you to do is I want to take this document and I want you to add it to the class folder that was created during Teacher Dashboard.” So when Teacher Dashboard is set up, then you are able to see and access the student’s work inside that folder.
So I would say to the students “What I want you to do is I would click here, move to folder” and I would say “Please put it into your English folder.” Alright, so once you have your student who has put their document inside the English folder, then I can come back to my Teacher Dashboard account just here and I can see that this is the document from Ashley and then Carl would have his document there, Trisha would have her document there and once again I could just hover over it to get an idea of what they’ve done and I could simply click that link just there which would open up a new tab for me and it would give me access straight into this account just here.
So with this, now what I’m able to do is have all of my student’s work all in one screen but I’m still able to interact with those students and keep the rest of what they are doing. So I love both features of Classroom and Teacher Dashboard but I love the way that they can work together so well. The one thing to notice about this is, when your student comes back in and they turn in that document just here for you as a teacher, if I go back to my Teacher Dashboard account and just refresh that, what you’ll find is that the document would have been removed from your Teacher Dashboard view okay?
So basically once the document is inside your English folder, the students work in it, when a student returns that document to you, it takes it out of the English folder and puts it back into the Google Classroom folder which is a really great feature.
So if you have any questions about how you can you can use Google Classroom and Teacher Dashboard together or if you’d like a free trial of Teacher Dashboard then just simply send an email to the email address that’s on the bottom of your screen right now, right inside the video and one of the help team will contact you and get that process started for you.
Want to receive more great tips like this one and see how other educators are are using technology to engage their students? Check out our Unlimited Training & Support Community where you receive all our training, get expert advice and collaborate with others
In this short video we compare Google Classroom and Teacher Dashboard by Hapara and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both tools.
0:00:34 Why I like the way Google Classroom is set up.
0:00:57 Great features inside Google Classroom
0:01:48 Sharing assignments
0:02:33 Strengths and weaknesses of Google Classroom
0:04:40 Strengths and weaknesses of Teacher Dashboard
Mike: Hi, Mike Reading here from www.usingtechnologybetter.com. How are you doing today? Today I’m going to show you a comparison of Teacher Dashboard by Hapara and Classroom by Google. We’ll have a quick look at some of the positive and negatives or some of the strengths and weaknesses of both programs and then show you how you can use both together to get the best results.
Now for those of you who are looking at Google Classroom, you might have had a chance to sign up and have a bit of a play. You can set up your classrooms here. One of the greatest things about the way that classroom is set up is that it’s so easily organized here so you can easily create assignments here, you can attach different types of documents and all of your assignments here for the students to see.
No you can also as a teacher, and your students can do this as well, you can post announcements and have a discussion going inside that same stream which is a great feature. One of the great features that we have inside of classroom is that the due date for a document or an assignment is very visible to both the teacher and the student. You can also get a quick overview of how many students have done the work and how many have turned that in. Now from a teacher’s point of view, the turn-it-in feature is fantastic.
So when a student turns in on assessment task, it will show up here that is being turned, well let me just show you what it looks like for student when they have their stream happening here, this are all the assessments that are due in this particular class, they can open an assessment here and then once they are finished with it, they could either turn it in from this button here or they can turn it in from right inside the document.
So lots of teachers are loving it, students are loving it and that’s a very nice way to keep your work organized. In terms of sharing assignments, it’s very easy to attach different document types, it’s all just here and you can attach multiple documents to an assessment task which is a nice way of creating a topic maybe in giving the students all the work that they need and then they can have all their work once they turned it in all in one neat place.
The way it works inside your drive account is really nice, you have a classroom folder just here, you’ll have all your classes and then all the different folders that you have or for each assessment that you’ve done, plus you can put your own teaching resources in that folder as well. So in terms of assigning task to students in terms of keeping your work organized, that’s a fantastic way to work.
One of the downsides of using classroom at the moment is that once you have shared a document with a student, you’re still able to see that student working in that particular class but you’d need to have one tab open for every student unless the students are all working on a collaborative doc of course. And so with this, the teacher overview can become a little bit complicated and for teachers who are looking to be a little bit more proactive in their teaching, in terms of catching students who are falling behind before it’s too late, this becomes a little bit cumbersome and teacher dashboard does this feature really well.
One of the other weaknesses of Google Classroom at the moment is that when you want to assign a document to the class, it gets assigned to the whole class. So unless you are creating different classes with different students in there, it’s a little bit harder to assign documents to groups or to individual students and once again that’s a real strength of teacher dashboard as well. One of the strengths of classroom over Teacher Dashboard is the sharing functionality.
Sharing inside Google Classroom is instantaneous and you don’t have to wait for the sharing function to run in the background virus scrip like they do in teacher dashboard. So when you assign a document to a particular student, it will end up in their drive account instantaneously so all we need to do is select that document, click ad and give it a name and then just click assign and that will be done straight away.
Now you can set the sharing permissions just here and you can make individual copies for a student which is a great feature as well. Now one last weakness of Google classroom is that it’s not very functional for schools that have different domains for their teachers and their students. Google Classroom can’t work across multiple domains.
That trusted domains aren’t happening yet and so this is a feature that’s limited to a number of schools because I just can’t access the program. Teacher Dashboard enables that to happen in a different kind of a way. So there are a couple of great strengths to classroom but there are a couple of weaknesses as well.
When it comes to Teacher Dashboard, one of the great strengths of teacher dashboard is the ability for teachers to view student’s work all in one screen so it saves you from multiple tabs open in multiple places. So right now what I’ve done is I’ve just come into my dashboard from my E7 English class. I have my students that will show up and I can tell you all the work that those students are working on so long as those students have put that work into the English folder in their drive account.
Now if you’d love to see a video on how teacher dashboard works, you can see our other videos on our YouTube Channel, just go to www.usingtechnologybetter.com and just search for Teacher Dashboard on our blog and all of those videos will come up. So a great feature is being able to see your student work.
One of the other great features that Teacher Dashboard has is that you are able to see all of your student’s work in their Google sites, in their blogger so all of the Google products are featured inside Teacher Dashboard but they are not there in classroom just yet. Another one of the great features of Teacher Dashboard is the ability to see your student’s work regardless of which folder it’s in.
So I can see all my student’s on shared work, their public folders and their extended folders and all that documents and can even get visibility into their trash if I wanted to as well. So by using this, I can see all students’ work regardless of which folder it’s in and even if it sits outside of that Google Classroom environment.
One of the other features that we have inside Teacher Dashboard is the interact feature where we can see what all of our students are doing if they are using Chrome as a browser and we are able to interact with their screen, so we are able to send student’s messages, we are able to open up tabs on their screens for them and in fact we can even send messages to the whole class and we can open up tabs for the whole class which is another great feature. So there’s a whole load of features in here.
One of the features that you do have here is smart copy, and with smart copy, you can select multiple files, you can see that you can select up to five at the moment. Now just like Google Classroom, one of the things that you can do is you can share documents with your students. I guess one of the weaknesses of Teacher Dashboard is that it takes a little bit of time for this to process. If you are going to share a document with a whole class, it can take several minutes for that to happen.
But just like classroom you can select several documents at once and push them through. It doesn’t just have to be Google documents it can be any kind of documents just like classroom can do as well. The good thing about this is though that when you are sharing, you can select which class to share it through to or you can share it with just individual students or groups of students so that’s one great feature that teachers are loving.
So if you are one of those schools that has the ability to use Google Classroom and you’d like to use Teacher Dashboard, there’s a great way to be able to work in this, the two can work together nicely. If I was going to share out a document, one of the things I would do is I would share that document out to the class using Google Classroom and then what I would ask the students to do would be to take that document and then put it into the particular that you need them to put it into for Teacher Dashboard which would give them a view ability just here.
Now just be aware that when your students move that document into their Teacher Dashboard folder, they can still access it from Classroom and they can still view it and edit it, but as soon as that student turns that in, it will no longer be viewable here so the teacher would then need to go back to Classroom to be able to mark that work, review it and then it’s handed back to the students. So you can use both together quite well.
So in my next video, I’m going to show you how this feature works and give you a demonstration of how we would share a document out using Google Classroom, view it as the students work inside Teacher Dashboard and then go back to classroom to market and then send it back to the student. If you’ve got any questions, we’d love you to just type your question in the comments section underneath this video and we can be able to continue the discussion there.
If you’d like a free demonstration of Teacher Dashboard for your school or maybe even a free account to trial, then just simply send an email to our help team, the email is just there on your screen and one of our team will be able to contact you and then get you started to see how we could best serve you in it. So I hope that you are enjoying both Classroom and Teacher Dashboard together and we’ll see you in the next video.
We have all heard the the phrase pedagogy. But what about its bigger brother Andragogy?
Andragogy is the method and practice of teaching adult learners; adult education.
For teachers, we often call andragogy professional learning or professional development. Lately I have been thinking about the differences between andragogy and pedagogy and what that can teach us about learning.
A demonstration of the new user interface for Teacher Dashboard by Hapara.
0:00:48 How to access the new user interface in Teacher Dashboard
0:00:59 Features of the new user interface in Teacher Dashboard
0:01:53 Grouping students with the new user interfaces Teacher Dashboard
0:02:24 Setting up groups
0:02:42 Accessing student’s accounts
0:03:29 Teacher Dashboard Smart Copy feature
0:04:09 How to easily send or sharing documents to a class or student
Hi, Mike Reading here from www.usingtechnologybetter.com. This short video is just a video I’ve created for our teacher dashboard customers who are looking at the new user interface and wondering what’s changed and how things are functioning a little bit differently.
If you don’t have a teacher dashboard account for your school, we can set you up with a demonstration and show you the features and the benefits of using teacher dashboard with your students and we can set you up with a free trial of your account at your school to see if it might be a good fit for you in the way that you operate. [Read more…] about Teacher Dashboard New User Interface
A great 21st Century Learning Skill (I would ague the century is irrelevant), is to be able to cite other sources correctly.
In Australia, the ACARA ICT General Capabilities (Australian National Curriculum for our overseas readers) suggest that a student should credit other peoples images by the end of year 4 and cite all sources including authors names and websites by the end of year 6.
There are some great plagiarism tools for teachers, some paid and some free. Below are the best free and paid plagiarism tools for teachers (plus a bonus Google Add-on).
The ability to find, assimilate and produce your own work is becoming increasingly hard for students and the temptation to plagiarise is becoming harder to resist.
Education is a funny thing! For years nothing changed in education. If you wanted to compare a slowly evolving idea or concept it would usually be compared to education. Principals could develop a 5 year plan and know that if they just stuck with that plan, things would pan out the way they wanted.
In contrast, education today is rapidly evolving (at least in some sectors). Teachers are experiencing an increasing rate of change, especially in the area of educational technology.
As such some buzzwords become irrelevant more quickly than in the past.
There are some great buzzword cartoons on cartoonstock.com
Last week my family moved from Australia to New Zealand. Even though the two countries are only a three hour flight apart, it was a logistical nightmare and something that took a year of planning (both in terms of family and company structure).
There were three main reasons why we made the move. Each of them are born out of a worldview that also impacted my classroom teaching style.
Teachers, you can apply this to your classrooms and school leaders can apply this to your school plan and culture.
Thank you Mike! I really found the 4 week course on ‘How to Motivate, Manage & Engage Your Students’ really interesting and great food for thought on how to improve my class routines and student engagement. I look forward to the next sessions with the technology course.
Kiki TsoliBankstown Senior College
Just replayed last week’s session and enjoyed it just as much second time around. This is a great facility!
Where was this kind of training when I did my Bachelor of teaching???
Ken SullivanSunning Hill School
(Juvenile Correctional Centre)
I just wanted to say an extra big thank you for providing such a great service. Online, at night and in the comfort of home – with my two young children asleep in the other room – pretty awesome actually. It was very engaging and entertaining.
OMG!!! What a change! This class has a lot of students in it, and I find the room very small for all the different personalities. But after I set the picture, the students were working with me instead of against me.
Vicki NationChair Mathematics Faculty
I have been teaching for four years, and this was the best Professional Development course I have completed…even the students said to me “you should do these things more often.
Ailie GrangerGriffith High School
Mike, awesome course, fantastic resources and a real wake-up for someone who considers himself technically astute but not necessarily updated!
Shaun HardyTechnological and Applied Studies Teacher
Coffs harbour High School
Today was amazing. By far the best PD I have done in my 5 years of Teaching.
Josh HardingHead of IT - Cobham Intermediate School
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