Friday, February 15, 2019

Creating a Digital Guess Who? Game

You may have played the game Guess Who? as a kid. In it, each player was given a bank of 20 or so faces. You each had to choose one and then take turns asking each other yes/no questions until you could guess which person your partner picked. We have the ability to create a similar game but with images related to our subject areas. For example, consider these 16 images of famous art pieces. Students in an art class could practice their knowledge of both art related knowledge and terminology while asking questions.

To create these games we use a software app called Desmos Activity Builder. This app was developed as a companion to Desmos' free graphing calculator and was used primarily to create activities related to math. In this case, the Desmos version of "Guess Who?" is called Polygraph. And even though this app was developed for mathematics, this Polygraph activity creator can easily be used to create these "Guess Who" type games for any subject area. The hard part, really, is just coming up with 16 related images for your students to look at and describe. Watch the video below to see how to create your own.

To help out, I have created some for a few subject areas

Canadian Landscapes: Desmos Polygraph

Identifying Art: Desmos Polygraph

The Periodic Table: Desmos Polygraph

Canadian Iconic Symbols (for French): Desmos Polygraph

And, of course, There are a pile of them created for math: Desmos Polygraph

Thursday, January 31, 2019

5 Reasons to Pilot Student Podcasting Projects

Written by John Spencer.   
To check out the full post and see how you can sign up for email updates like this one, 
click this LINK 

The Advantages of Podcasting with Students

  1. It doesn’t take fancy equipment. Students can record and even edit audio on their smartphones or tablet. Often, videos will require the correct lighting or staging. However, a podcast is different because it’s limited to sound. Many of the tools are free. Students can edit audio with Audacity, which you can use on a Mac, PC, or in Linux.
  2. You can listen on the go. As a teacher, you can load all the audio to one place and listen on the way home. Similarly, students can listen to each other’s podcasts as well.
  3. It’s a chance for students to develop their voice. Students can own the entire process, from inquiry through research, through composition, editing, and launching. In the process, they can practice their public speaking skills, interview skills, and communication skills.
  4. It’s a way for all students to participate. Because you can prep ahead of time and edit afterward, I found that many introverts actually thrive when given the chance to podcast. Similarly, ELL students who might need additional language support have the time and space to practice ahead of time before recording.
  5. It develops lifelong skills. Students learn how to research, think critically, create, iterate, and empathize with an audience. In some cases, you might even have students market their podcasts and learn how to reach an authentic audience.

Things to Consider Before Podcasting:

Before getting started with student podcasts, consider the following:
  • How much time do you want to spend on your podcasts? Will your students be editing the podcasts and adding audio or is this more of quick record? If you have time to spend on it, you can have students create well-polished podcasts. However, there’s nothing wrong with having students create podcasts quickly with a focus on the learning/processing of information. Consider, too, if you will have students create a single podcast and drop it as a binge-worthy season or if they’ll stick to a weekly schedule.
  • Who is the intended audience? Think through whether you want students to publish to classmates, to parents, to the school, or to the larger global community. You’ll need to be sure that you are COPA and CIPPA compliant and that you have the correct media releases.
  • Where will you house the podcasts? If you want to have a public podcast and reach a larger audience, you might want to go with a self-hosted WordPress site that will allow you to upload audio and create a feed on iTunes. However, you create a modified version of this by having students record the audio with a simple image in the background as a YouTube video or by posting a link on Google Drive.
  • Is there a quiet space? It helps if you have permission to move outside but it might also help to use a foam device to reduce audio distractions.
  • How will you keep it authentic? The last thing students want to do is create an audio worksheet or even an audio essay. A podcast is a different format and, on some level, a different genre of composition. How will you help students explore an audio-only format? What will they need to focus on?
  • How is this supporting learning? In other words, how will you connect your podcast to the standards?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Googley Art Ideas

Looking for ways to engage your student in online art lessons?  

Check out Eric Curt's Control Alt Achieve blog post for all you need to carry out these lessons in your classroom.

#1 - Pixel Art with Google Sheets

#2 - Mondrian Art with Google Sheets

#3 - Self-Portraits with Google Drawings
(credit to Julie Lyle)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Getting Googley with Primary Students

Build a Snowman with Google Slides

This is a fun activity where students make a snowman using pieces and parts provided, and then write a story about them. This is a great way to develop tech skills such as copy and paste, drag and drop, and basic of Google Slides. It also encourages creativity and writing skills.

Wintertime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings

Google Drawings also works well for drag and drop activities like "Magnetic Poetry". With this template, students are provided with 100 common words from the Dolch list, as well as many winter-themed words. They can then drag and drop these words onto the canvas to write a poem, sentence, or story.

See these activities and many more primary focused Google activities on Eric Curt's blog Control Alt Achieve.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Google Teacher Tribe Podcast

Image result for google teacher tribe podcast jpg

The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast is a weekly podcast designed to give K-12 educators practical ideas for using G Suite and other Google tools hosted by Matt Miller (Ditch That Textbook) and Kasey Bell (Shakeup Learning).

There are over 73 podcasts available.  The latest podcast features Kim Mattina discussing how to create your own Google Expedition.  

For a full list of the 73 podcasts currently available in iTunes preview click HERE

Monday, December 10, 2018

December Coding and Robotics Activities

Engage your students this December in some of these free online coding and robotics activities: 

Wonder Workshop
Pre-reader - Grade 8 | Blocks, Wonder, Xylo, Blockly | Dash or Cue robot
Find hours of family-friendly fun with Wonder Workshop's printable packets of creative coding activities. Bring coding to life with Dash, Dot, and Cue robots by downloading these online and offline activities to use during Hour of Code and beyond!

Are your students still excited and talking about the Hour of Code they participated in? Check out our Holiday Templates for your Ozobot Bit 2.0’s to keep their excitement level up this holiday season! Free to download and use in your classroom.

Grades 2-8 | Blocks
Learn to program drones and a high tech sleigh with coding magic to capture presents and navigate down the mountain to return Christmas to Whoville.

Google Santa Tracker is an annual Christmas-themed entertainment program first launched in 2004 by Google, Inc. that allows users to track Santa during Christmas Eve and before that allows users to play, watch, and learn through little activities that are added daily from the start of December.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Google Gmail Improves It's Smart Compose Feature to Reduce Gender Bias

Gmail has a feature called Smart Compose that leverages Google AI to anticipate what you are going to say in an Email.

Smart Compose learns how you like to communicate and anticipate what you might say.  Google has tweaked the Smart Compose feature to not use personal pronouns and make assumptions on gender. For more information on this click HERE.

This feature can be turned on or off using the instructions below: