Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hour of Code is coming

Over the last three years the Hour of Code has reached more than 100 million students in over 180 countries. Last year, you helped make this the largest learning event in history, with record participation from girls and underrepresented minorities.

This year, help us reach every student with the opportunity to learn.

Sign up your classroom today and get ready to do an Hour of Code with your class! Feel free to follow our easy how-to guide. You can even do an Hour of Code without Internet or computers!

Help us reach even more people by forwarding this email to another teacher. Or forward it to a principal to get your whole school on board!

Computers are changing every industry on the planet, and coding has become relevant to a wide range ofhigh-paying jobs—even those outside the technology and engineering fields. For millions of students, theHour of Code will be an inspiring introduction to this crucial 21st century skill.

Want a technology professional to volunteer in your classroom?

Check out our volunteer database and schedule a classroom visit! We’re excited to be working with both independent professionals and volunteers from huge tech brands to make the Hour of Code even more special!

Certificates for your students

To finish your Hour of Code in style, print certificates for your students at http://code.org/certificates.

Share your #HourOfCode on social media

Share your own stories with #HourOfCode to celebrate with learners around the world. Code.org will highlight some of its favorite posts on Facebook and Twitter, so get creative.

I’d like to personally thank every educator who’s hosted an Hour of Code so far. You’ve been an inspiration to all of us at Code.org. Thank you for your support, and for all you do for the children of our world.

We hope your students have an amazing time!
Hadi Partovi and the Code.org team

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Four Fantastic Feedback Tools for Google Docs

Four Fantastic Feedback Tools for Google Docs

as posted on ControlAltAchieve.com by Eric Curts
In the past when a student turned in the paper copy of their essay, story, report, or project, it was common for their teacher to pull out a red pen to provide handwritten feedback on the pages of the student's work. Feedback is a critical part of the learning process, providing helpful information on strengths, weaknesses, and guidance for improvement.

Now with tools such as Google Docs and Classroom, it is easy for students to create and submit their work digitally. So how does a teacher leave feedback on an electronic document? As we move from paper and pencil to Docs and digital, we need options for providing feedback that is valuable to the student, but not cumbersome and unnatural for the teacher to create.

Thankfully there are many excellent options for creating teacher feedback for digital work. In this post we are going to take a look at four specific options. These include tools for:
  • Text feedback
  • Voice feedback
  • Video feedback
  • Handwritten feedback
See below for details on each of these options, as well as a slideshow and one-hour training video where each method is demonstrated.

Option #1 - Text Feedback

One of the simplest ways to provide feedback to a student is with text comments. Text feedback can be added to a Google Doc by using the built-in Insert Comment feature.

  • Simply select the text you want to leave feedback for.
  • Next click “Add a comment” button that pops up to the right of the document.
  • Or press Ctrl-Alt-M if you prefer keyboard shortcuts.
  • Or click “Insert” then “Comment” in the top men bar.

When the comment box opens up you can:

  • Enter your text and then click “Comment” to leave the feedback in the right margin of the document.
  • Besides just text, you can also enter hyperlinks in the comment to connect the student with a helpful video or instructional site.
  • Student can reply to your comment by clicking on it, allowing a conversion back and forth.
  • If you are all done with a comment, you can click on the comment and then click“Resolve” to hide it. All of the comments for a document can be seen later by clicking the “Comments” button in the top right corner of the screen.

Option #2 - Voice Feedback
The next step beyond text comments would be voice feedback where you record your voice and attach that as a playable comment in the document. This can make the feedback more personal since it is your own voice, and may even be faster and easier for you as a teacher since you are just talking instead of typing.

One of the easiest easiest way to add voice comments to a Google Doc is with the Read&Write for Google Chrome web extension. The extension provides you with a toolbar that has many features, one of which is the “Voice Note” feature that allows you to record spoken feedback for the document.

  • First begin by installing the extension: Chrome Web Store link
  • Note: Because this is a Chrome Extensions, you need to be using Chrome on a PC, Mac, or Chromebook to be able to use this tool.
  • Read&Write has a free version and a paid version, but as an educator you are allowed to use the full version at no cost. To be able to use the “Voice Note” feature, make sure you register as a teacher for the full version using this link -http://rw.texthelp.com/drive/home/RegisterTeacher

Once you have the extension installed you can use it as follows:

  • Click the Read&Write button to pull down the toolbar.
  • Now select the text you want to leave a voice comment for.
  • From the Read&Write toolbar click the "Voice Note" button (on the right end of the buttons).

  • This will open a tool where you can click the microphone button to record your voice for up to 1 minute.
  • When done, click the stop button, and then “Insert” to add your recorded comment to the document.

  • Repeat as needed to add as many voice comments as desired.
  • Your recording can now be heard by clicking the play button in the comment.
  • Note: Your students do not need the Read&Write extension installed to be able to hear the recorded voice comments.

Option #3 - Video Feedback
You can add another dimension by recording video feedback for your students. Instead of just hearing your voice, the student can watch a video of your scrolling through their document, highlighting different sections, and narrating your comments about their work.

In my opinion, the easiest way to create video comments for a Doc (or any student work) is with the Screencastify Chrome web extension. Screencastify is a great extension that lets you:

  • Record your screen, webcam, and voice.
  • Record up to 10 minutes at a time for free.
  • Save the video to Google Drive.

First begin by installing the Screencastify extension: Chrome Web Store link

  • Note: Because this is a Chrome Extensions, you need to be using Chrome on a PC, Mac, or Chromebook to be able to use this tool.
  • The first time you go to use Screencastify it will ask for needed permissions, and will ask where to save your videos. I recommend having the videos saved to Google Drive since you have unlimited storage in Google Apps for Education and the videos are easy to share with your students.

Once you have the Screencastify extension installed you can record video feedback as follows:

  • Bring up the Doc you want to create a feedback video for.
  • Click the Screencastify extension.
  • Select the "Tab" option or "Desktop" option depending on how much of the screen you want to record.
  • Select your microphone from the menu.
  • Choose to embed your webcam if you want (a small video from your webcam will be placed in the corner of the recording).
  • Finally click “Start Recording”.
  • Now speak your feedback as you scroll through the Doc, while Screencastify records everything on the screen and everything you say.
  • When done click the Screencastify extension again and click “End Recording”.
  • You will now see the recorded video to review if you wish.
  • Give the video a relevant name by clicking on thetitle in the top left of the screen.
  • Next click Google Drive "Copy Link" icon in the top right corner of the screen to share the video and copy the link.
  • The link to the video can now be pasted into the Doc for the student to click and watch your video feedback.

Option #4 - Handwritten Feedback
One final option for providing feedback is basically the digital version of the traditional red pen. Using the Google Classroom mobile app it is possible to add handwritten annotations to your students’ Google Docs. This makes it possible for teachers to circles words, draw in proofreading marks, use different colors, and hand write comments right onto the Doc.

Note: Because this is a mobile app you will need to run it on your Android or iOS phone or tablet, or on your Chromebook if you have one of the models that allows you to run Android apps.

First you need to begin by installing the Google Classroom mobile app for Android or iOS.

Once you have launched the Classroom mobile app, you can add handwritten feedback to a Doc as follows:

  • From the Classroom mobile app, open the student’s Google Doc.
  • Click the pencil icon in the top right corner to switch to annotation mode.
  • Use the tools at the bottom to hand write on the Document. 
  • These tools include a penmarker, andhighlighter.
  • Each of the writing tools can have different colorsand thicknesses selected.
  • There is also an eraser tool to remove annotations, as well as a selection tool to move annotations.
  • As needed you can use two fingers to pinch and zoom in the Document to move around.
  • When done making your annotations, click thesave icon in the top right of the Classroom app.
  • A PDF will be created showing the content of the original Doc along with the handwritten notes you have made.
  • If needed you can add more handwritten annotations by opening the PDF and going back into edit mode.
  • The student will be able to open the PDF through Classroom to see your handwritten comments.

Going digital may mean setting aside the red pen, but it certainly does not mean giving up feedback. In fact, with the tools mentioned above teachers have more options than ever to provide feedback that is personal, informative, and engaging.

Be sure to check out Eric Curt's Website http://www.controlaltachieve.com/ for more of his posts. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

iEarn - Global Projects and Activities

Interested in connecting your students globally?  Check out these projects hosted by iEarn (International Education and Resource Network):

Money Matters Project

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/782836154ac18a36600ab48e7/images/5792df66-8007-4400-a8ba-77b33cc17252.jpgWe invite you and your students to take part inMoney Matters project!

Students will be able to collaborate with students from different countries and learn more about money, they also will get into conversation about money, learn some facts about history of money and about money in other countries, discuss students’ pocket money and proverbs about money, make media products about money.

Holiday Card Exchange
https://gallery.mailchimp.com/782836154ac18a36600ab48e7/images/275a395d-0a21-4aa8-8cac-7fb36d3458f6.jpgLast year more than 20,000 students from 314 schools in 42 countries participated in the Holiday Card Exchange. Did you miss it last year? Don't miss out this year! Learn how students in other countries celebrate Christmas, Chinese New Year, Eid and other festivals. You'll receive mail from overseas and have fun preparing cards to send to reliable iEARN partners. Communicate online and share information about how special it is live and celebrate in your country. Click here to join in the fun: Holiday Card Exchange Registration
Unsure if this project will work for you? Check out the video that Sergey Glyzin (Russia) created for his class. Holiday Card Exchange Video

Solar Explorers Project
solar-explorers-main-image (2).jpg
Please join us in the Solar Explorers project. Students will research alternative energy sources with a focus on solar energy. They will look at the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all as a basis for their research and answer the question: Why is this goal important?
Students will then design, construct and test a solar cooker as an example of alternative energy use and compare their results with other schools. Enrollment for the project will take place in September and the project will run through October and November. The project will take place on the Solar Explorers forum in the iEARN Collaboration Centre.

Our Story Book
https://gallery.mailchimp.com/782836154ac18a36600ab48e7/images/c497350a-4c37-4b32-894c-0ac35200be1a.jpgOur Story Book is a project to collect different ideas from diverse culture and countries to complete one amazing story. Students can contribute their ideas to the story, and also learn from others’ opinion. Our Story Book project runs twice a year and one story book is composed of the working from five groups, and each group has 10 days to work on a part of the book. The project duration is scheduled for 10 weeks. The completed books will be published by students in three different level of age and the suggested student’s numbers in each group is from 1 to 6.
Please register by October 7, 2016 to join the Our Story Book project from October 10 - December 18, 2016.