Friday, December 18, 2015

Google Classroom and EDpuzzle Working Seamlessly Together!

As my last post for this calendar year (Christmas break is coming up so I'm going to skip the next two weeks),this is going to be a short post, focusing on some new features in EDpuzzle that allow it to work seamlessly with Google Classroom.  For more information on EDpuzzle itself and how to use that tool, see my previous blog post here.  EDpuzzle has created some additions that now allow teachers to post videos directly to Google Classroom, as well as easily create students and add classes.

First, in EDpuzzle, you can now use the Share to Classroom button to add a new EDpuzzle video directly to your Google class for students to access.  They no longer have to go out to EDpuzzle itself to access the videos and you can still see all of the results and analytics that come with the video.

In addition, you can take existing classes of students from Google and import them into EDpuzzle.  This means that if you are a current Google Classroom user and want to try EDpuzzle, you do not have to have your student sign up for two separate classes in two different tools. They can sign up for just your Google Classroom and that's it!  This will also make beginning of the year set-up much easier.  When new students are added during the school year, one click in EDpuzzle lets you update those classes by pulling information from Google.

These new features have really taken EDpuzzle to a whole new level.  It is a great tool for a flipped classroom on its own, but with the new integration to Google Classroom, it makes assigning and managing video assignments much easier and more efficient for the teacher.  If you are an EDpuzzle user or are interested in trying it out, these features will make your life much easier!  Check out the video below for more information on how to use these features.

Have a Merry Christmas and I'll see you all in the New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Getting More Out of Presentations and Posters with Smore

Yes, s'mores are a sweet treat around the campfire, but is a simple way to create an online, beautiful flyer, brochure, or project. With so many design and content options and a finished professional product with multiple privacy options, it is perfect for educational use!

If you are looking for a quick poster tool that can be printed as a flyer or a PDF, or can be shared electronically, Smore may be for you. 

One of the things I love about Smore is the variety of options for items to add to a poster, like text, pictures, audio, video, links, and forms.

There is a free and a pro version, but I have found the free version is very robust. Once you have logged into Smore and click the new flyer link, a window opens with choices of the type of flyer you want to create. You can go from there using premade templates for creating your own from scratch.
If you share the flyer you create electronically, Smore gives you analytics regarding how many views your flyer has had. 

Here is a great example of a student project created with Smore.  

You can find more information about how to use the tool and ideas for using at this link

Interested in learning more? This is a great video tutorial on the tool.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Keeping it Organized with Google Keep

Well, it has been a few weeks.  Things got kind of crazy before Thanksgiving, so hopefully we can pick it up again in December and finish the year strong. I'm going to keep it simple this week and talk about a tool I learned about a couple of weeks ago from a colleague of mine at South that I absolutely love! While it has been around for quite a while, this is a new tool for me and has proved incredibly useful in just a few short weeks.

I am a list-maker.  I make lists for everything: groceries, things I have to do at work and home, Christmas cards to send, tech tool ideas for this blog, etc. Just about anything in my life that can have a list, does.  I have tried a number of tools to organize and track my lists.  I have used tools from the computer, online tools, and ones I can sync to my phone.  While most of them had benefits and I liked them, this new one is by far the best I have found and definitely a keeper.

Google Keep is not just a post-it note type list organizer.  It goes beyond just making my own lists.  One of my favorite features so far is the sharing feature.  I have lists that I have share with co-workers for things we need to get done, and lists I share with my husband so he knows what to get at the grocery store on his way home.  Just like with my Google documents, I can share separate lists and notes with different people.  This has been incredibly helpful and has helped streamline my organization.

Some other features I really enjoy include color-coding my lists.  For example, right now, my work lists are orange, my home lists are blue, my purchasing lists are green, and my Christmas lists are red.  This helps with visual organization.  I can also drag and drop my lists on my Google Keep page to organize them in any order I want, so I can keep work and home lists separate.  For individual lists, I can set reminders for myself if there is something urgent I need to get done, add a picture to my list (this has been really helpful for my Christmas buying list), archive lists I don't want immediately visible but still want to access, and other features like labeling, including checkboxes on my lists if I want, and deleting items I have checked off the list.  For a quick and easy tool, it really has a lot of features and options.

Overall, this is a simple tool and for many of us, a necessary one.  What I like most about it is the easy use while it includes a variety of features.  Most of all, I like the sharing options.  Check out Google Keep and add it to your Chrome on your PC from the Chrome Store, or add it to your phone, or both!  This is a great tool to help keep both teachers and students organized.  So if your New Year's resolution this year is going to be getting organized (again!), get a head start and try out Google Keep.

Google Keep Site