Every week I host a few of my colleagues in my classroom to share some cool tools and tips that I have found useful. This week we take a look at some Google tools to spice up your workflow and share some free training on Microsoft products.
If I am being honest, Google keep is a tool that I have had a love hate relationship with until I realized where it fit into my workflow. There are 100’s of note / todo apps out there and I always get bated away from Google keep because of those shiny features. It wasn’t until last year that it clicked with me. The beauty in Google keep is its simplicity and its ability to collect information that you can use in longer form projects with the ability to convert your notes into Google docs.
Here is an awesome YouTube video that talks about Google keep and how to get it setup for your workflow!
I use Google keep for short form notes that are disposable. Think of them as post it notes in your everyday life. You wouldn’t write a book on just post it notes, but sometimes you want to brainstorm ideas for your book and Google keep is the perfect tool to do just that!
Organizing Google Drive
One of the key tenants of organization is the idea that everything has a place. Over the last year or so I have been very diligent about keeping my Google drive organized so I can easily find what I need to at a moments notice. When I looked at my life, the main difference in types of items that I needed to store was the delineation of work and personal life. So from there I started separating the different folders I had created so I could easily find what I needed to. Below you will see an example of a few of the folders I have setup and what the structure looks like. Note the use of numbers in folder names to help keep things organized and tidy!
Google Forms (Choose Your Own Adventure)
I have a few English teachers join me for my sessions so I try to find something techy to add to their classroom so this week I found a really cool use of Google forms and that is to use them as a choose your own adventure. I can see a lot of cool applications of this in both English and Social Studies classrooms in which students can create their own endings to a story and share with peers or the teacher can build out a choose your own adventure based on different assignments for a lesson giving your students choice in their learning!
Here is a blog post explaining how to do it: https://sites.google.com/tcea.org/level2/choose-your-own-adventure
Here is a short example of what it would look like: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdxJi7I0LQW_Fp3iSqZv4tIkHrl-5WMrvJQfeqgi4WMXEnnhQ/viewform
Google forms aren’t just for formative assessment anymore!
Free PD From Microsoft
So a few months ago, I started looking into implementing a few Microsoft tools into my classroom and I stumbled upon the Microsoft Education Center and man did I go down a rabbit hole. So much so that I finished enough hours that I became a Microsoft Innovative Educator. There are tons of free resources that cover everything from Microsoft One Note to things like Minecraft. If you are looking for a fun (and free) way to get your CEU’s in then look no further then Microsoft!
At the beginning of the year, I wanted to up my game when it came to preparing my students to sit for certification exams. Up until this point I was using a mix of paper and pencil and Google forms for my assessments and neither of those are anywhere near what a certification test would look like. I also wanted something that allowed me to really dig into the data to see where I was missing the mark. Enter Edulastic. Edulastic is a powerhouse of student data and assessment creation. I was easily able to upload my already built paper pencil tests (PDF’s) and also create all new tests. What’s great is I can see a treasure trove of information in real time and see what students are struggling the most and see when they all complete the test. Best of all, you can get started for free!
Hopefully you found value in these little tips and tricks that I share every week. Note there will not be a post next Tuesday as we are on spring break. I would love to hear from you. What do you want to see more of, what are you struggling with in your classroom when it comes to technology? How can I help? I would love to hear your feedback: https://forms.gle/TatitHDRBeLzUPX18