Aug 162014


Google Classroom

Curious about Google Classroom? Hopefully I can answer your questions or take a look at my Getting Started with Google Classroom video (YouTube) or presentation here.

What is it?

  • Classroom is a brand new tool from Google that was designed hand-in-hand with teachers using Google Drive with their students to help them save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.
  • It’s like a super light version of Canvas
  • Classroom = an easy to drive VW Beetle, Canvas = a Ferrari with all of the bells and whistles
  • Take a look at this Classroom Overview

What can it do?

  • Create classes with a click
  • Add students to classes by email or a student entered code (automatically generated)
  • Class ‘Stream’ for discussions
  • Create assignments using 1 or multiple uploaded files, Drive docs, YouTube videos or web links
  • Open discussions in assignments, or private notes/discussion on individual assignments
  • Online assignment turning in, grading and returning
  • Automatic Drive folder and document creation – everything is created, shared and organized automatically for teachers and students!
  • Download assignment grade spreadsheet
  • Lots more now, and much more to come!

Take a look at Google Classroom in action.

A few things to know first…

  • Classroom has JUST been officially released… We are still figuring out the administration side.
  • To start with, teachers and students must both have the same email address domain to use Classroom (this may change in the coming months)
  • Let your district Tech folks know you’d like a student account!
  • New to Chromebooks and Google Drive? Learn more and discover some great Chrome apps here.

How do I get started?

  • Get a student Google Apps for Education account in your school district (if you are not already on the same domain as your students)
  • Head to
  • Log in using your new student account
  • On this page, choose ‘Teacher’ as your role, and submit.
  • You should now be ready to use Classroom!
  • Click the ‘+’ on the top right of the page and create a class
  • Give your class a name and section/period if you’d like
  • Once your class is open, head to the ‘About’ tab.
  • Give your class a title, description, & room number.
  • Lower on the ‘About’ tab you can add any class materials like:
    • Syllabus
    • Rules
    • Links to class Web site or other sites
  • Now, head to the ‘Students’ tab
    • Add a student or two to start via email address
    • Students can self-enroll by using the class code at

Where do I go from here?

  • If you just want to see the highlights and ‘figure it out’ on your own, watch this.
  • If you’d like a step-by-step tour that you can view and complete at your own pace, please watch this.
  • Want to use a Google Form for a quiz/assessment? Here’s how.

Complete step-by-step instructions are here.

Oct 142014

Thanks to Chris Haught for forwarding this to me. This Google Presentation highlights 75 different Google Play & Chrome Web Store apps. The slides are organized into student tools, teacher tools and language & literacy apps sections. The majority of tools highlighted are for Android tablets, but many are available for Chromebooks.

It’s certainly worth a look!

Oct 022014


backflipWhen one hears “Flipped Instruction” one typically thinks about students watching videos. And you’d be right! Videos are typically a large component of the flipped classroom pedagogy. When instructional video is used in the classroom, students retain more information, visually understand concepts more readily and are more passionate about what they are learning.

Video can:

  • assist students in making connections between curriculum topics
  • and discover connections between topics and the world outside the classroom. (

Video reaches students from a variety of learning styles, provides common experiences for discussions, and illustrates complex concepts that engage students. Read more about “Using Education Video in the Classroom” from Safari Montage (a leading provider of video for the classroom) for theory, research and helpful tips. When choosing videos for classroom use,

the most important thing to remember is to keep them short!

 Here’s a quote from Jonathon Bergman, one of the originators of Flipped Learning. This is from “9 Video Tips for a Better Flipped Classroom” by David Raths.

“Make videos short and interactive. Bergmann says he and Sams initially took their standard lectures and made videos that contained multiple objectives and pieces of content that were way too long. Gradually they learned to make them much shorter, with one video per discrete objective. “My rule of thumb is one to 1½ minutes per grade level,” he says. “That means for a fourth-grader, your videos should be no longer than four to six minutes; and for a 10th-grader, that means 10- to 15-minute videos.”

Students need more than just exposure to video, more than just consumption of video in the learning process. They also need to be taught how to evaluate and use information. They need to learn strategies for analyzing media and understand point of view. While information literacy and media literacy are not the primary focus when thinking about flipped classroom pedagogy, it is important to discuss these elements every time a video is used in the classroom. You can learn more at the Partnership for 21st Century Skills website.

Let’s take a look at what the Flipped Classroom is, and what it is not…

Articles about the Flipped Classroom Model

Many technology tools exist to make flipped classroom learning easier for both the teacher and the student.  My favorite tools are those tools which make the video watching process more engaging. We will take a look at few of those tools: Screencast-O-MaticTED-ED, and EdPuzzle.

 Thanks so much to Rachel Murphy & Jared Ward for providing the information and links in this post!

Sep 262014
UEN Professional Development offers an amazing 6-week online course on Project Based Learning. You can learn more about this course here. Below are some good foundational & informational articles and resources from this course to help you get started with PBL in your classroom:


The Power of Project LearningScholastic Administrator
This article highlights how project-based learning helps to prepare students for their future in the workforce by allowing them to focus on real world issues while working collaboratively and using available technology to generate answers and solutions while still addressing curricular goals.

Start With the Pyramid: Real World Issues Motivate StudentsEdutopia
This article illustrates the benefits of engaging students by using hands-on, real-world problems to achieve learning goals. Watch the video, “Project Learning: An Overview” embedded in the article which shows examples of some authentic projects that students are working on around the country.

What is PBLBuck Institute for Education

Why is Project-Based Learning ImportantEdutopia

Videos that show project-based learning in action in Elementary and Middle Schools:

How Does Project-Based Learning Work?Edutopia
This reading will walk you through the steps required to implement meaningful, project-based learning experiences.

Characteristics of Well-Designed Project-Based UnitsIntel

What Makes a Good Project?Gary Stager
In this article, the author highlights eight characteristics of a good project and then gives you questions to ask yourself as you begin to formulate your ideas to ensure a meaningful project design.

Design Principals for Effective Project-Based LearningPBL Online

Getting A Grip On Project-Based Learning: Theory, Cases And RecommendationsMichael M. Grant


Aug 182014


Chromebooks: Educational Tools & Resources

Collaboration Made Easy with Google Drive

Getting Started with Google Classroom

Create and grade quizzes with Google Forms & Flubaroo. 3 Minute Video on how it works.

Need a student account in Garfield? Request one here.

Aug 152014


Welcome to Beaver County School District! I don’t have a set agenda for today, so we’ll let your questions guide where we go and what we do. Below are links to other posts and presentations from my site that will help after and go beyond what we cover today: