This video is the first in a series of tools to help our students continue their academic journeys during a time of uncertainty. The presentation will be updated frequently with tools and tutorials as they are available.
WHO: Teachers that are looking for a way to know which students need help, what they need to help with, and who was first, all at a glance.
HOW: Teachers can sign up for a free account (paid versions available with additional options) using their school Google account at https://classroomq.com/. When the class is ready to go, the teacher launches a new session with a unique ID. Students open a new tab on their device and head to https://classroomq.com/students/, enter their name and the class ID code. If they have a question, students can click on the “Assistance Needed” button and optionally add a text comment. Students are also able to see where they are in line, so they can continue working.
WHEN: This product is great for classrooms where students are working individually or in groups. It allows the teacher to see who digitally “raised their hand” first, while also addressing the class as a whole if they notice many students have the same issue.
WHO: Teachers that are looking for STEM/STEAM project ideas on the fly.
HOW: Head on over to https://sharpen.design/stem, choose a category, and click on the “new challenge” button. The automated system will grab random options to put together such as:
WHEN: This tool could be great for choosing random group projects, a weekly enrichment program, or planning ahead for future projects. The simplicity of clicking a single button takes a creative burden off of teachers.
WHO: If you are like me, or many educators that I have met, you have quite a few tabs open in your Google Chrome browser right now. OneTab is great for teachers that are looking for a quick and easy way to share a large number of websites with students.
HOW: Start by installing the OneTab Google Chrome extension. In a Google Chrome browser window, practice by opening a few tabs with different websites in each. Click on the OneTab extension and watch the magic happen! OneTab will close all of the tabs in that window and create a link on the OneTab page that opens. If you select “Restore all”, the tabs will be reopened. “Delete all” will remove the links. Share as a webpage creates a unique URL including a QR code, allowing for a simple way to share resources. You can also name, share, and lock a tab group under the “more…” menu. OneTab is not only great for sharing links with students and conference audience members, but it also saves precious computer system resources by closing all of those open tabs. Best of all, it is FREE and does not require registration!
WHEN: OneTab is an option for sharing resources at the beginning of a new chapter/unit. It can function as a central location for students to find websites that teachers have found useful for the class. I have also found it to be a great option during conference sessions. I typically open all the resources I talk about (including the Google Slides link), activate OneTab, hit “Share as a webpage” and then copy the link over to a URL shortener such as YellKey or Bit.ly.
WHO: Teachers that are looking for an easy-to-use program to make data visually interesting in the classroom.
HOW: Head over to https://chartify.io/, no need to create an account. Click the “Try It for Free” button. Select which type of chart you want to use first, there are a variety of options. Give the chart a title/subtitle and input the data. The graphics will adjust accordingly as you enter the numbers. You can change the colors by using the selections on the left. The toolbar across the top allows the use to adjust a few settings such as, light/dark mode, number mode (number or %), aspect ratio, display subtitle, and add/remove data blocks. It seems that each chart type allows for a different amount of data selections, so be sure to check out which one will work for you. When finished, simply click the “Generate Chart” button in the top right corner and then share a unique link, share to social media, or download the image file.
WHEN: Chartify could be used by the teacher in class to demonstrate data. Students could use it for projects of all sorts. As no account is required to create, any grade level could easily use this tool. As we move forward in this day of data analysis and instant gratification, charts and infographics allow teachers to show and explain information in an instant.
Currently Chartify is free but ad-supported. The pricing page states:
“Chartify is 100% FREE.
We will explore how to monetise this service at a later stage.
Enjoy ; )”
As the calendar year winds down, many classrooms are switching from covering new material to reviewing past content. As teachers are gearing up for semester/midterm exams, they may look for ways to create engaging classroom review. Here are a few tools (new and old) that could prove useful.
Gimkit: In the past few years, formative assessment has boomed in the arena of engaging classroom tools. Gimkit takes the lead by adding strategy to the mix. Teachers can make their own questions/answers or import from Quizlet. Students then receive repetition through the activity while using power-ups to increase their score.
Play4A: Teachers can use Play4A to create arcade-style games using material from the classroom. Students will have the choice between a wide variety of game styles to can repetition of questions while trying to complete the game.
Classtools Arcade Game: Much like the above, the Arcade Game Generator by Classtools allows teachers to use questions and answers from class to create classic arcade games like Pac-Man. Teachers can make games rather quickly but adding questions can prove to be tedious.
Factile: There are many ways to create “Jeopardy”-style game shows for the classroom now. Factile is another one of these. The downside to factile is that many of the great features are only for paid users, such as “buzzer mode”.
Pear Deck: Are you a teacher that frequently uses slideshow presentations in the classroom? Pear Deck allows teachers to add interactive questions into their Google Slides presentations, engaging students in the lecture while also capturing important checks for understanding. This could be useful for everyday lessons as well as classroom review. Students simply open a web browser on any device, head over to joinpd.com and type in the unique code given for that session. This allows students to follow along during the presentation while also answering questions that have been adding beforehand or asked on the fly by the teacher.
WHO: Teachers interested in an engaging platform for classroom content review.
HOW: Head over to https://play4a.com/ and select “Create A Quiz”. You will be prompted to create as a guest or to create an account. Add multiple choice questions and answers then share when you are finished. You will be given a code to share with your class. Instruct your students to head over to the same website, but they should select “Play A Game”. Next students will enter the code you have provided and choose to play as a guest or to create an account. Upon entering, students will have the opportunity to play 15 different games using the questions that you have entered.
WHEN: As it currently stands, this website does not record any results from the games being played. Due to this, I would not recommend this option for formative assessment, but rather an option to reinforce fact-based content. As the only question type is multiple-choice, teachers are limited to low-level questions. Students will find the games to have a wide variety and engaging.
WHO: Teachers looking for tools to let students demonstrate their knowledge.
HOW: It is a rare occasion that I come across a tool that I believe is fully capable of being used at all grade levels and across all content areas. While I have known of Book Creator for quite a while, it wasn’t until recently (August 2017) that it became available for all through use in the Google Chrome web browser. The best part to me is how easy and intuitive it is to create with. While it may not have sophisticated tools like an Adobe program, it has everything students need to get creative and demonstrate their knowledge through a variety of means.
Head over to app.bookcreator.com, sign up with your google account on the “teacher sign-in” tab. Complete a short questionnaire about your grades and subject areas, then get rolling! Below you will find an awesome presentation by Jon Smith (@theipodteacher) that will have you up and going in under five minutes.
WHEN: The potential of this tool revolves around projects and journals. The ability to record voice and video allows students multiple approaches to demonstrate their knowledge and skill sets. This could be used in Health/P.E. class to journal, music class to write musical notations while recording sound/video, as well as all the other content areas.
JON SMITH PRESENTS BOOK CREATOR AT #OETC18:
WHO: New teachers, teachers in the later stages of their career, and those feeling the grind.
HOW: Discussing books is not something I normally do on this blog, but this book is something special. I have never been one for reading, but after picking up a copy of “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess, I found a spark to innovate again and developed a passion for reading books by teachers. I would recommend this book to new teachers to learn ways to develop amazing lessons. Teachers that may be feeling the grind over their career will walk away from the book refreshed and remember why they got into the passion to start. The main focus of the book is developing “hooks” to grab students attention and engage them in the lesson. The biggest take away for me is the adage: “Do students run TO your classroom, or AWAY from it”?
WHEN: This book makes a great gift for any teacher. It is small enough to read in a weekend but it could also make for a great book-study program for an entire school.
WHO: Teachers looks for a way to learn on the go or an opportunity to multitask!
HOW: The MAGIC Potion EDU Podcast is a side project of mine. This podcast will focus on techniques, ideas, and concepts to enhance your classroom and help build a positive culture in your school. It can be accessed by most popular podcast channels (Anchor.fm, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc..) or by simply visiting the homepage at www.magicpotionedu.com.
WHEN: Podcasts are great for professional development during your planning period, the commute to/from work, or even while grocery shopping! One of my preferred times is while I am mowing the lawn and doing other chores around the house.