Monday, August 18, 2014

Edmodo or Google Classroom?

With only 5 workdays before the first day of school, GCISD teachers and administrators are struggling with a big decision - Edmodo or Google Classroom?! I can’t make the decision for you but I can share some information that might help as you make this important decision. GCISD Instructional Technology will support Edmodo or Google Classroom. The choice is yours! 

The most important factor to keep in mind as you make this decision is your students. You do not want any one student to have to manage 2 different learning management systems (LMS). For this reason, I would encourage you to make the decision as a campus or grade level team. While some of your students may have previous experience with Edmodo, Schoology, or another LMS, that should not be a factor in the decision you make for this year. Any experience you or your students have with managing or utilizing one LMS will transfer to Google Classroom or Edmodo.



Edmodo
If you are comfortable with Edmodo and it is working for you, there is no reason to change at this time. Several campuses have invested valuable time and energy training teachers, students, and parents. If you already have a system that works for your classroom, there is no reason to change! Edmodo has 2 major features that Google Classroom does not have at this time - parent access and quizzes.



Google Classroom


If you are comfortable using Google Drive then Google Classroom will be a natural next step for you. It is simple, straight forward, and integrates seamlessly with Google Drive. If your campus does not have a campus-wide learning management system this would be great place to start. As you and your students grow in your knowledge of Google Drive, Google Classroom will allow blended learning to occur by extending your interaction with students beyond the walls of your classroom.


Google Classroom is new so they will be continuously adding features throughout the year. Create a class and give your students a code. They will log in with their GCISD Google accounts and begin participating in your class. You can post an announcement or an assignment. Assignments can be uploaded from your computer, Google Drive, Youtube, or any hyperlink. If you choose to attach a file from Google Drive to your assignment, you will have a choice of how to distribute it to students:


Whether you choose Edmodo or Google Classroom, GCISD Instructional Technology will support you! 

If you are a blog subscriber from outside GCISD, your district must be a Google Apps for Education district and must have the Google Classroom feature turned on at the admin level in order to use it.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Top 10 Apps for Elementary Digital Classrooms

I'm often asked for a list of my top 10 apps for a digital classroom.  I created this presentation for a breakout session during last week's Digital Classroom Cadre 5 training.  These are the apps that I think give you the biggest "bang for your buck".  They can all be used for students to create projects in any content area.  (If viewing this blog post via email, go to http://gcisdleadwithtechnology.blogspot.com to view the slideshow.)



Download a PDF of the presentation here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxlRLSbpU4dtSjduV2lRd2tyWG8&authuser=0

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Math Tools for Elementary

I created the following presentation for a breakout session during our Digital Cadre 5 training this week.  

Several of these tools are great for creating images to be used in other apps like Shadow Puppet, Tellagami or Popplet Lite.  For example, students can create and screenshot representations of numbers using the Number Pieces Basic app.  Then capture the student's thinking by inserting the images into Shadow Puppet and recording audio explanations.  

Do you have another math tool app or resource you love?  Share it in the comments below!



Download a PDF of the presentation here: 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxlRLSbpU4dtTFhDUGp1N3AwWkE&authuser=0 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mission MapQuest

Create your own Google Maps Treasure Hunt!


This is brought to you by Nicki Anderson and Kim Grant, both 4th grade teachers at CES.

With Google Maps Treasure Hunt:
  • Create your own MapQuest.
  • Share with other users using a QR code, URL link, or download a web shortcut.
  • Use for a formative assessment.







Monday, August 4, 2014

Make Your Own Stylus

Today's guest post come to us from Jan Cline, 7th grade math teacher at Heritage Middle School.  

The search for the perfect stylus...

I am a digital classroom teacher and we make a lot of instructional videos.  My students are always asking me to use a stylus.  It seems that no matter how careful they are, the stylus falls apart in a week or so. 

Yesterday,  I went on a search for the best stylus. The styluses at the top of the list are all around $20 each. That is way too expensive to buy a classroom set.  I personally have a fine tip stylus (adonit Jot Pro) for writing on my math tutorial videos.  It is really good, but again too pricey for a classroom.  It was on the list as one of the best for making videos.

So...in my search I saw several ways to create your own stylus.  I made one and it seems to work. 

You need:
  • Foil type candy wrapper - I used twix
  • Pencil with a good eraser
  • Tape
  • Scissors

1.  Cut the Twix wrapper like this..

2.  Put one of the flaps over the eraser end of the pencil and tape it in place.  Silver side out.

3.  Wrap the Twix wrapper around the pencil and put the other flap over the eraser.  Again, tape in place.  

4.  Tape around the base of the wrapper so it will not move.  

It's been kid tested and it survived.  It's so easy. The students could make their own!  

Here it is in action!



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