Sunday, 31 August 2014

Google Classroom Staff Meeting Resources

Today I am sharing my learning with the staff around using Google Classroom.

Here are all my bookmarks around its use.

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Here is the link to actually get to Google Classroom

remembering that you have to be in a Google Apps for Education domain for it to work.

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We will start with a video

And then here is a Google Presentation by Aaron Svoboda taking you through step by step if I go to fast or you forget something.

In the staff meeting we will look at...

  • Making sure you select teacher
  • Setting up classes- a fake class to start of with - syndicate groups
  • Adding students
  • Make a Google Doc as an assignment in this instance but attach a pdf or other file types
  • Share that assignment out to the fake class- make a copy each, view only, collaborative choices
  • Turning in, editing, suggested edits, revision history
  • Returning submissions
  • Marking scores/ feedback
  • Looking at your Google Drive- the file structure
  • Sending out an announcement
  • How to upload a CSV file for contacts to bulk emailing

Any questions write them in the blog comments so everyone can see and learn from the responses.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Dragon Dictate

Today I thought I would give the kiwi version of Dragon Dictate on iPad a trial and see if the boys had the oral language skill to be able to dictate their writing. I have had the American version of Dragon Dictate for a while. It was not available in the New Zealand iTunes store as it was not optimised for our accent.

I had high hopes that it would be more accurate now it has been released to New Zealand.

On opening the app it asked for access to my contacts. I disallowed as the thought of it being able to access my contacts made me nervous. So I would expect that recognising names might be problematic but I am not sure what use access to my contacts might give it.

I quickly showed the boys how to work the app. I decided to have them start and stop recording so it better teaches the boys about speaking in sentences and doesn't give the app too much to do at one time.

The app sort of got most of the words right but so much time was spent fixing up the missed text that I wonder how useful it would be long term.

We were trying to write, 'The fish tried to get away' but even after practising the sentence a couple of times the best we could manage was, 'Best try to keep away.' Not really helping a lot.

I asked the boys which they preferred and they said they wanted to persist with it.

I wonder what else we can do to make the app more responsive???

Any thoughts????? How have you found it?

Google Classroom - Reflection Two

New learnings from this week's writing....

From saying that I couldn't write on the boy's docs as they are writing I have changed my stance. You can't edit the writing as such but you can suggest edits which is actually nicer still. They can see what I am doing in real time and also get an email reminding them of the suggested edit. I like that they retain full ownership of the doc by not having the teacher write all over it.

To try and encourage more writing I am 'marking' the writing by the number of words completed. To count the words I highlight the text and go TOOLS- WORD COUNT to save me doing it manually.

I am also encouraging the boys to get rid of the squiggly lines by spelling the words correctly. Right click or CONTROL Click on the Macs.

I will accept all devices for writing with for the boys- I get Surface Tablets, old ACER PCs, Mac Book Pros and Chromebooks. Frustrating as some of the ACERS won't connect wirelessly to the network and need ethernet cables and some of the Apples won't work unless they are connected to power. From the Educamp West I went to in the weekend I saw Google Classroom working on an iPad. I might give that a go as well.

Some of the boys are quite adept and making things work - a good use for a pencil! Stick it in the centre of the missing key as a work around!!!

We do get there though!!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Google Classroom

This week Google Classroom came out for everyone. I have had a log in for a while now but no time to go experimenting.

Here are my Google Classroom Resources- tutorials and refections.

This week I made a point of it. The thing I liked most about it was how simple it was to put in to action.

  • You log in with your Google Apps log in. As a teacher be careful to state that you are a teacher, not a student, or you won't be able to create classes and I have no idea how to undo that sort of mistake!
  • Look for the + to create a class from your contacts.
  • For me my students weren't in my contacts so I had to add them. I'm not sure why they weren't showing up. Maybe it was something to do with our Google Apps admin set up. I am not an admin of our school domain as lots of teachers will not be.
  • After setting up a class I made them look pretty and identifiable by changing the header.
  • Each class generated a join up code so if you didn't want children to respond to an email I presume that they could enter the code to gain access to your class.

  • Once the classes were set up I made a Google Doc task sheet that I wanted to fire out to everyone. This was an 'assignment'. As I sent it out I could decide whether I wanted it to be view only or edit.
  • As it turns up to the student Classroom had named the doc and made a copy for every one.
  • The students then do the 'assignment' and turns it in for 'marking'.
  • Until they do that I can't see what they are doing which I find a bit annoying.
  • Once the the children 'turn in the assignment' they can't edit it until I have 'marked' it.
  • Once I have they can see my comments and mark that I gave it.
I liked it how Classroom automatically made the needed folders in my Google Drive so I could see what everyone had done for further reference.

I also sent everyone out an 'Announcement' - a bit like a group email to everyone. In this instance it was a link to a You Tube video that I thought they would like.

That is as far as we got this week. Classroom is a work in progress and I am sure Google will add more features the more feedback they receive from users.

Give it go.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Blogging Progress

We have given up on the iPads for blogging using Blogger. We gave it a good shot but it wasn't the right tool for what we were trying to do.

I was prompted to write this blog post on using the right tool for the job.

Maybe if I had my own full time class with control over the condition and apps on the iPads that we can use I could make it work but the kids bring me a variety of iPads to use, some of which are completely flat, some are first generation iPads, some with the Blogger app and some without.

If the iPads were being used in a 1-1 envirnonment where they were not being shared things would be easier.

Blogging can be done with the iPads but I found a disproportionate of time in each lesson was spent sorting the hardware and 'how to make it work' issues that time was being wasted.

So this term we are working with laptops- whatever the the boys can bring- Chromebooks, Mac Book Pros, Netbooks, Surface Tablets or whatever. It is sort of a BYOD thing.

Through it we are learning the limits of the devices. I learnt this week.....

  • Windows 8 is a whole different ball game from previous versions- a bit like hiding the dock you hover over invisible parts of the screen and menus appear that you didn't realise were there.
  • When blogging you really need the passwords and internet to work. This week neither did properly.
  • The school is moving over to longer passwords and some had changed and some had not- makes logging in REALLY difficult.
I will persist and hopefully things will be more smooth next week.