Tech Tips and Updates

Previous Tech Tips

Digital Accessibility Tools for Students


3 Ideas to try:

  • Starting a class using Padlet - You could pose a question to your class at the start and have each student put their answer onto a Padlet. This could be anonymous and would be more effective if the question is one that does not have a simple answer, one that requires them to think and reflect. This would allow everyone to see the others responses and can lead to a good discussion.
  • Collaborative notes - students can work collaboratively on notes during class so they can share out their own perspectives and can even pose questions to each other to further their thinking.
  • Simple Google Form as an Exit Ticket - Use a Google Form to gauge students understanding of what they learned that day. Have 2 questions with the first question being a multiple choice and the second being a paragraph response. The responses tab of your Form will automatically create a chart showing you the responses and you can easily read through their written responses. No counting of slips of papers and you will quickly know what adjustments to make or what questions to focus on.
    • How well did you feel you understood what we learned today.
      • 1 - Not at all
      • 2 - Somewhat
      • 3 - Ok
      • 4 - Great
    • What is one question you still have over what we learned today?


Tech Tools:


Effective Examples and Inspiring Talks

BiWeekly AHS Tech Newsletters 2017

Tech Tips Blog Posts

BiWeekly AHS Tech Newsletters - 2015/2016

Friday, April 10th

  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology - article talking about some of the qualities effective teachers have who use technology effectively.
  2. Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom - article talking about how we need to look at the use of technology in the classroom with a focus on how it is affecting student learning.
  3. TPACK Explained - article going over TPACK and how we can use it to evaluate our technology use in the classroom.
  4. SAMR Resources and Explanation - page created by Kathy Schrock that has many examples and explanations of SAMR, another great tool to help us evaluate our technology use in the classroom.

ESL Tech Tip

Quizlet is a website that allows you to create your own sets of flashcards (including pictures and sound) to practice vocabulary, key terms, or even words in a foreign language. There are four main ways to study the terms plus two different game formats that make studying more exciting. Quizlet even has its own free app that you can download from Google Play or iTunes for study on the go.

Another great feature of Quizlet is that you can study sets created by other users. I know there are several Ames teachers who already use Quizlet. Here are usernames for AHS & AMS ESL teachers so you can see the variety of sets created for students: Kendall Schuldt, Shaeley Santiago, and AMS ESL. If you've got a Quizlet user name and would like to share your sets, let us know.

Friday, March 27th

  1. Chalkup to Annotate Google Docs - Chalkup is a LMS (lesson management system) that allows you to do many things others allow you to do, but you can also annotate Google Docs by drawing on them to give feedback to students.
  2. Add Audio Comments Using Doctopus and Goobric - Kaizena is a great way to leave audio feedback for students but you can also now do this if you use Goobric to leave rubric feedback for students. You do have to use Doctopus first to create the assignment for students but then you can quickly insert audio feedback.
  3. New AHS Student Tech Tips site - I am working on a tech tips site for students. Let me know if there is anything you want added. I am going to roll it out to students soon and will even let them add their own tips by submitting them to me to put on the site.
  4. Silent Class Discussion Using Google Classroom - Post by Nicholas Provenzano about how he used Google Classroom to conduct a class discussion while he was gone to a conference and even participated during the class.
  5. Five Ways Students Can Share Videos Without YouTube - Post by Richard Byrne that shows five alternatives to YouTube for sharing videos by students.
  6. Stop Uploading PDF’s and Digital Worksheets - Post by Alice Keeler about alternatives to the cumbersome digital substitution many are doing by just uploading digital copies of old worksheets or PDF’s.

Friday, March 6th

  1. Gradebook split screen chrome extension - Post and extension by Alice Keeler that makes it easy to grade digital assignments by automatically opening up your gradebook in another window and resizing both windows for easy entering of grades.
  2. Actively Learn - Add notes/questions/resources to digital text to help students as they read, either text that is made available from Actively Learn or upload your own.
  3. Customize headers, footers, page numbers in Google Docs - Post by Richard Byrne about the updates to Google Docs that allows for more customization of headers, footers and page numbers.
  4. Google Classroom updates - Post by Richard Byrne about the most recent Google Classroom updates which includes the ability to customize the header/theme.
  5. AHS Teacher Tech Share Page - Share out how you are using tech in the classroom by using the simple Padlet wall on the AHS Teacher Share Page.

ESL Tech Tip

  1. Rewordify - Free website that identifies challenging words in texts or websites and rephrases them for ease of understanding. To see more details about how to use this site to adapt text for students, read this post on the ESL Resources for Teachers website.

Friday, February 20th

  1. Send Emails Later with Boomerang - This newsletter was written earlier in the week but sent on Friday using a Chrome Extension, find out how.
  2. Homeroom Activities Page with Resources - page on AHS Tech Integration site with resources for Digital Citizenship and cases of poor Digital Citizenship.
  3. Real Benefit of Using Google Sheets Add-Ons Like Flubaroo and Goobric by Richard Byrne - Saving time using the Add-ons is something we all can do easily.
  4. Flipboards update - Flipboard was updated this week and while we can’t embed on a Google Site again yet, go to the page to click the link and see the new online interface for some curated tech tips.
  5. Save Kahoot Quiz Results in Your Google Drive by Richard Byrne - Save your Kahoot results in Google Drive for viewing later.
  6. Top 10 Alternatives to InfuseLearning by Jonathan Wylie - Formative assessment tool InfuseLearning will stop working in April, look at some other great options for conducting formative assessments in the classroom.

Friday, February 6

  1. Newsela - Find nonfiction articles by subject with varying Lexile levels for readers.
  2. Apple TV post by Tony Vincent - Great tips on how to setup and use your Apple TV for the classroom.
  3. Teacher Share page updated - Examples of how technology is being used in the classroom have been added by teachers and there are other examples available also.
  4. Connecting Your Classroom To Others - there are many ways we can use digital tools to connect our classrooms with experts or other classrooms.
  5. Better Feedback for Students - John Hattie’s research of 800 meta-analyses showed that effective feedback was a top impactor of student success.
  6. Create an Online Collaborative Whiteboard - Post by Richard Byrne showing how you can easily create a whiteboard to work with others on online. (No sign-in required)

Friday, January 23

  1. Updates to Google Classroom - Google has added some new features to Google Classroom, including a mobile app.
  2. Easier Communication with Students - There are lots of ways you can communicate with your students in a safe and effective way outside of class.
  3. Updated AHS/AMS Tech Site - Slightly updated the site to make it easier and simpler to use. Feedback is always desired.
  4. Google Docs: force students to make a copy - blog post by Alice Keeler that tells you how you can force students to make a copy of a doc you are sharing with them.
  5. 15 Uses for the Swivl - blog post that details different ways the Swivl can be used by teachers.

Friday, December 12

  1. Update to Google Docs - You can now merge table cells in a doc.
  2. New Semester = Great time to try Classroom!
  3. Can't attach Numbers, Pages or Keynote files through Gmail. - Gmail does not recognize the file types and no files will be sent if you are trying to send iWork files, use Drive instead.
  4. Curate Resources for Student Differentiation - Have resources ready for students to help them improve or advance more easily using curation tools.
  5. Tips for Classroom Videos Creation
  6. Google Santa Tracker - Fun activities for little ones as they prepare for Santa. Even includes some learning activities such as coding.

Tuesday, November 25th

  1. Getting rid of notifications in Mac App Store - Simple step to get rid of the notifications about updates in the Mac App Store.
  2. Better Feedback: Paper vs Google Docs - Google Docs make it easier to give more effective feedback than a physical piece of paper.
  3. Searching Tips page for students, and staff - Page for students, and staff, about how to search more effectively using Google.
  4. Google Search by Reading Level - adjust the search results based on reading levels of the text.
  5. Fun stuff for kids to do - Some fun things you can do with kids over break using some free apps. Includes augmented reality and problem solving apps.
  6. Register for Edcamp Iowa - Edcamps are great ways to learn and connect with others in a less formal space. Edcamp Iowa is in 5 locations across the state on January 31st.

Thursday, November 13

  1. Self-paced Google Apps in Teaching class - Online course to help get started and go further using Google Apps.
  2. Awesometables page - Find tools you need using the Awesometables page or add your own using the Google Form link on the page.
  3. Create custom Google search engines - Create your own list of sites for students to search from to help them get started.
  4. 3 Google Drive Updates - post that details 3 important updates to Google Drive, including why it might look different for some of you.
  5. Filter Reading Level in Google Search
  6. ITEC Keynote videos - Adam Bellow and Peter H. Reynolds
  7. Register for Edcamp Iowa - Edcamps are great ways to learn and connect with others in a less formal space. Edcamp Iowa is in 5 locations across the state on January 31st.

Friday, October 31

  1. Add-ons in Google Forms - Add-ons were added for Forms and now give you more options/abilities than before.
  2. Correct way to have multiple accounts in Chrome - Best way to have multiple Google accounts in Chrome for quick access.
  3. Google Drive Offline - Don’t let an outage online affect your ability to get to your files, be able to access the files in your Drive while you or Drive are offline.
  4. Padlet use in the classroom for collaboration - Padlet is a great collaboration/curation/creation tool with many uses in the classrooms. There are even some new updates to padlet.
  5. Google Docs Research Tool - Students can more easily keep track of their resources and sites using the built-in research tool in Google Docs.
  6. New Google Drive - The updated Google Drive adds a lot of functionality and even the ability to edit Word files without converting them.

Friday, October 17

  1. Google Classroom Updates - Some updates were made this week to make Google Classroom more manageable from the teacher end.
  2. gMath Add-On for Google Docs/Sheets - Insert graphs and equations into a Doc, edit previous equations, or create a Google Form with equations/graphs inserted.
  3. Exitticket - formative assessment tool: Deep assessment tool that gives you quick access to how students are learning.
  4. Kaizena updated - voice comments on a Google Doc: Kaizena is now an Add-on in Google Docs for easier commenting.
  5. Commenting/Suggesting in Google Docs - Basics for leaving feedback in a Google Doc using built-in features.
  6. Google Search Tools and Strategies - post by Richard Byrne about how to search better. (for teachers and students)