Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Digital Citizenship in Schools - More Than Web Filters?

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”― Alvin Toffler
Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. (Source)
Digital Citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use. (Source)
Too often schools and educators do little more than hide behind a web filter and leave the digital citizenship to the students. Web filters have their place, but in a digital world, I believe schools and teachers have some responsibility to support students as digital citizens. 

Here are a few of our favorite resources for teachers, parents, students, and schools to support digital citizenship and digital literacy. 
Can you share any additional resources or activities? 



Monday, August 21, 2017

How Will You Inspire Your Students to Be Curious Lifelong Learners?


"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." Walt Disney


We live in an incredible age. The digital revolution in education has given us access to the knowledge of the world. Anything you want to know is just a few clicks away. As educators, one of our jobs is to inspire students to ask questions and explore answers. In the perfect world, these questions lead to answers that lead to more questions.

Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog post about using lesson hooks to engage students. I shared a few digital resources that I use to engage, motivate, and inspire students.
This post started me on my a journey connected to Curiosity in the classroom. I've been fortunate to facilitate some professional development sessions and I've started to organize some resources connected to Curiosity in the Classroom. I still have more questions than answers, but that is a good thing. I am learning.

Here is what I have so far, what would you add to this growing list of resources?
  • Explore Curiosity PD HyperDoc - Staff Development Exploration
  • Curiosity - Resources and websites to support creative exploration and student choice.
  • Activities - Activities and ideas connected to student choice and curiosity in the classroom.
  • Explore - Books, videos, and websites connected to curiosity and inquiry.


"My favorite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. I think if you are curious, you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities." Mario Testino



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Google Classroom Essential Tips

Google Classroom Introduction

Google Classroom is a great workflow solution from Google Apps for Education. It is important to understand that Google Classroom is not a traditional website that can be fully customized. Google classroom is more of a Learning Management System. Classroom allows teachers to post announcements, assignments, ask questions, share resources, and create a calendar of due dates in a secure online location.

Google Classroom is an essential tool to support collaboration, communication, and digital workflow connected to Google Apps for Education.

We've created this Google Doc to connect new and experienced users with Google Classroom Resources and Updates. 



Google Classroom Essential Tip 1: Teacher and Student Views
It is important to understand both the teacher and student view of Google Classroom. Teachers signing into Classroom for the first time should sign-up as a teacher. Teachers can create sample classes and invite other teachers as students. This will help teachers to better understand the student view. Google Classroom also creates a Google Drive folder for both teachers and students.


Google Classroom Essential Tip 2: Assignment Options
Google Classroom supports different sharing options and it is important to understand the different Sharing Options in Google Drive before venturing too deeply in Google Classroom. Teachers also have the ability to assign an activity to all students or differentiate the distribution by choosing students or groups of students.


Google Classroom Essential Tip 3: Workflow
Understanding the workflow of distributing and collecting assignments for both the student and the teacher is essential.  Learn more about workflow with this Google Classroom Workflow Explanation


Google Classroom Essential Tip 4: Share to Classroom Extension
The Share to Classroom Extension allows teachers to share websites directly to Google Classroom or directly with students.


Google Classroom Essential Tip 5: About Section
The ‘About’ section of Classroom is the place to share resources and links that students will use frequently. This is a great place to organize frequently used digital resources without losing them in the stream.


Google Classroom Essential Tip 6: Archiving Classes
When ending or starting a new year or semester, it is best practice is to archive last year’s classes to preserve the class materials, any assignments, and any postings to the class stream. Reusing an existing class with new students can be a confusing experience. You can still access the old class files in the Classroom Google Drive Folder, but the archived classes are moved to a separate area to help you keep your current classes organized. An archived class can still be viewed by you and the students in the class. Posts can be copied from archived classes. However, when the class is archived, you can't edit or add anything to the class until you restore it. Additional Resource: Archive a Class Tutorial


Google Classroom Tip 7: File Naming Convention
Google Classroom will keep the Google Drive name of the attached file. If the option of giving a copy to each student is used, then the student’s name will be added to the end of the document. Consistency in naming is an essential to help keep teachers and students organized. Try to use the same name for the drive file, classroom assignment post, and your grade book entry. Additional Resource: Alice Keeler’s Naming Conventions for Google Classroom

Google Classroom Tip 8: Assigning Work, Topics, and Scheduling Posts
Teachers can assign posts to specific students to allow for differentiation. Google Classroom allows teachers to organize post by topic. Students and teachers can then sort post by topics. Additionally, teachers can post in the stream immediately or schedule a post for a future day and time. Additional Resource: Organizing Your Class Stream Help


Google Classroom Tip 9: Grading
Google Classroom creates a Google Drive (Called Classroom - It can be renamed.) folder for assignments created. Use these folders to quickly review and grade assignments turned in by students. You can view them in progress or after they have been turned in.


Google Classroom Tip 10: Discussion Questions, Exit Slips, & Formative Assessments.
Google Classroom allows teachers to post short-answer or multiple choice questions. Teachers have the ability to allow students to see each other's responses so this feature can be used to for classroom discussions. Additional Resource: Google Help -  Create a question


Google Classroom Tip 11: Guardian Summaries
Teachers can facilitate communication with parents with Guardian Summaries. These daily or weekly email updates include missing work, upcoming work, and classroom activity. Additional Resource: Google Help - Classroom email summaries for guardians.


Google Classroom Tip 12: Single View Student


See a single view of a student’s work—Teachers and students now have a page that lists all of a student’s work for a class and the status of that work.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Developing a Future Ready Classroom With the 4 Cs

The skills connected to collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity are essential for all students. The best classroom activities provide students with opportunities to practice these skills in learner-centered environments.
  1. Collaboration - Students need the opportunity to work with their peers in both the physical and digital work-space. A classroom full of students with headphones in front of their screens is a dull place no matter how engaging the activity might be. Students also need to learn that collaboration is more than divide and conquer. 
  2. Communication - Personal and digital communication are essential skills that must be developed in a learner-centered classroom. It is also important for students to understand best practices as a "digital citizens" connected to their modes of communication. 
  3. Critical Thinking - If the students can "Google" the answer, did I really need to be asking it? Being connected is more than just access to answers. Students also need to develop the skills needed to evaluate and personalize information. Connected learners should be inspired to discover and explore new questions not just search for answers.
  4. Creativity - Creativity in a 1 to 1 classroom is not just creating artistic works. Creativity is using digital tools to find new ways of doing something. Students need to find and explore new ways of learning and creating connected to digital resources.

Want to learn more?

Explore Resources and Tools in this Interactive HyperDoc for Educators Connected to the 4 Cs.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Google Keep & The Organized Digital Student



Google Keep can be a powerful tool for organization and workflow.





If you need help when working with G Suite Education Resources, click on the G Suite Training icon near the top right of the computer screen. 

The G Suite Training extension  consists of searchable interactive video resources and tutorials to support teachers and students. If you do not see the G Suite Training Symbol, make sure you are signed into Chrome


Start With Color to Organize Classes

Notes and Lists can be color coded to match classes or to group resources.
Click here to learn more about changing the color of a note. 


Use Labels to Support Class Projects and Connect Resources

Labels can be used to organize resources and connect them to classes. Notes and lists can have more than 1 label.

Click here to learn more about labels in Google Keep. 


Pin Important Notes and Lists to the Top of Keep

Important notes and lists can be pinned to the top of Keep.

Click here to learn about pinning notes. 


Reminders in Keep

Reminders can be scheduled for a time or a location. You can receive notifications on your Chromebook and Mobile Devices.

Click here to learn about searching in Google Keep.