Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Flipping Out Over Flipgrid

Our students live in a world surrounded by video and social media. They prefer to watch a youtube video to learn how to do something new and to communicate with their friends over video. Hence the popularity of Facetime, Kik, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. among our youth. (Gen Z Media Consumption: It's a Lifestyle, Not Just Entertainment by Nelson Granados)

Flipgrid is one of my newest favorite video apps for the classroom!♥ Inside and outside of the classroom Flipgrid allows students voices to be amplified and heard. Flipgrid teachers are able to create a digital community for their classes. These communities are known as "grids." Teachers post topics, videos, or links for discussions and students respond to the prompt and to each other with short video reflections. Flipgrid is meant to provide a digital space for students to reflect on topics with their teacher and peers. It is an awesome way to get students participating equally in discussions and for students to hear their peers voices and insights.

Flipgrid is available as both an iOS and Android app, and teachers and students can login through any browser as well. Flipgrid offers a free version (Flipgrid One) and a paid version (Flipgrid Classroom) which offers additional features and possibilities. More information about pricing can be found here.

I would recommend that a first time user of Flipgrid sign up for a free account. As a Flipgrid One (free plan) user, you can create 1 grid (with unlimited topics and unlimited students), so this is a great place to start to see if you like integrating Flipgrid into your classroom before paying for a year subscription for Flipgrid Classroom.

When teachers create their grid they have the ability to decide on notifications, and also if they want the grid to be password protected and have moderated responses. It is reassuring to know that I have the ability to moderate responses considering that Flipgrid is all video based. This allows teachers to have complete control over what gets posted on their grid and what doesn't.

The other nice feature is that students don't have to login to an account and doesn't require student authentication. Students just need to know the grid "code" or the URL link to your grid. By default, all grids are private (plus, don't forget that you can also add additional security by requiring a password). You don't need to worry about someone online accidentally finding your grid(s) without being given the link or code.

With the full paid Flipgrid Classroom version ($65.00/year) teachers have access to the full version of powerful tools. Teachers can easily manage activity across classrooms with the management tools, customize the length of students' videos, an unlimited number of student response videos and replies-to-responses, individualize student-video assessment and scoring rubrics, integrate custom LMS and website embedding, and much more...

If you want to learn more about Flipgrid, have access to some awesome resources, and gather ideas for how it can be integrated into various content areas, you can make your own copy of this "Get the 411 on Flipgrid" HyperDoc to facilitate your own professional learning. The 45 day FREE trial of Flipgrid Classroom code at the top of the HyperDoc is good through the end of the year.

I also received a special code that can be used through Cyber Monday (Monday, November 27, 2017) for $25.00 off your Flipgrid Classroom subscription. I wanted to share this code with anyone who has begun to flipping out over Flipgrid in their classroom. This would make your year-long Flipgrid Classroom subscription only $40.00!

Additional Resources to Get You Started:
The Educator's Guide to Flipgrid e-book
Getting Started: Educators
Flipgrid Privacy Principles
Privacy and Security Settings
Moderate or Hide Videos
Lock Grids with a Password
How to Delete or Hide a Video

Tearra K. Bobula
NR21 Professional Development Strategist
Carson City, NV

Monday, November 13, 2017

Keep Up with Google Keep
Although I may love having students take traditional notes analyzing the dark depths of Iago in Othello or identifying the stages of the hero’s journey with Odysseus in The Odyssey, all those notes can become an organizational nightmare.  Often times, students lose their notes, or they get mixed in with other work.  One way to ensure those notes never get misplaced is to store them in one area.  I recommend Google Keep.   With Google Keep, students can take notes that they can share, and export to a Google Doc.  But wait, Google Keep offers much more than the ability to take notes. Students can set reminders, add images, color code, create lists, collaborate with others and it’s all tied to their Google Drive.  In the classroom, teachers can use Google Keep as a virtual word wall, a feedback tool, and as a one-stop shop for videos, links, etc. of information.  Students can even transcribe printed notes into text as well as keep voice notes.  So the question that remains is--How will you use Google Keep in your classroom?  Here are some resources for inspiration.

G suite.jpg
Las Vegas

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

G Suite Updates!

Google for Education is always updating their products, and there are some new exciting features this Fall!

As you know, Forms is an awesome way to create quizzes and exams. The problem is that teachers would have to manually input student scores into Classroom after they take the exam. This is no longer a problem! Forms and Classroom are now able to "talk" to one another so teachers can easily transfer studet scores from Forms into Classroom. Take a look at the tutorial on the right to see how to accomplish this!

Google has added two new updates for Slides. The first allows you to import notes from Keep seamlessly into a Slides deck. In Slides, click Tools > Keep notepad. This will pull up all of your notes from Keep. It's then just a matter of pulling your Keep notes into a new slide!

The second Slides update will make your life easier, especially if you are a huge Forms user. You know how Forms will automatically create charts and graphs using the data you collected? Now you can easily copy a chart from Forms and paste it into a Slide. Take a look at tutorial on the right and start inserting more graphics into your Slide decks!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Skip to My Symbaloo

Have you used Symbaloo?  Symbaloo is a free bookmarking service that allows you to save your favorite or most visited sites.  Access your sites and share them with others.  Teachers can use this in the classroom by bookmarking sites that they will need students to access.  This site is especially helpful if teachers have multiple sites that students will visit within one class period.  Simply have them go to the Symbaloo and then from there they can go to different sites.

Need more inspiration?  Check out this article 6 ways to use Symbaloo in the Classroom--https://en.blog.symbaloo.com/6-ways-to-use-symbaloo-in-the-classroom/

Felicia Wilson
Las Vegas

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Literacy Shed is my Best Friend Forever

Reluctant writers are everywhere and for one school year, I thought they were all in my 3rd-period class.  Essays, summaries, poems, and even their names were all items they simply weren’t interested in putting on paper.  I needed to find something that would get them writing because they NEEDED to write.  I came across a website called The Literacy Shed.  This free site houses short films and animations with teaching ideas.  I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to get my students engaged with a visual and then have them do a writing extension.  No matter what the writing extension was, the point was they were writing.  It became a popular feature in my class, so every Wednesday was dubbed Creative Writing Wednesday.  I saw a change in some of my most reluctant writers as they put pen to paper and added words to their page and even my shy students began to share aloud their creative pieces.  I highly recommend that you check out this site and see how you can use it in your classroom.

Here are a few of my personal favorites.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Add a little Splash with Unsplash

If you are looking for a way to add a little more pizazz to your presentation slides or to make them more professional then I have the site for you.  Unsplash.com is a site that offers you free  HD photos that you can use at your discretion.  Simply download the photo(s) you like and use them as backgrounds to your slides, desktop, etc.  It’s free and it’s easy!

Check it out! Unsplash.com

Also check out this Youtube video tutorial on how to edit and use Unsplash.com photos in your Google Slides.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Wonder of Google Drawings

GD77Flyer (1).jpgEver since I was a little girl, I’ve rooted for the underdog.  If it was the tortoise or the hare, I pulled for the tortoise.  I rooted for Charlie Brown to finally kick the football, The Greeks to win in The Battle of Salamis, and Lennie to live a happy full life in Of Mice and Men.  I rooted for them because I believed in their potential.  So, it is no surprise that I am sitting here, writing about the potential of Google Drawings.  It is the underdog of the G-Suite tools.  In workshops, I have led and in general conversations with people, Google Drawings doesn’t appear to be utilized as often or at all.  So, my question is Why?  Is it the name?  Drawings gives off the connotation that you need to be an artist, creative or Salvador Dali-esque.  The reality is that Google Drawings should be in the forefront alongside Google Docs, and Forms because you can create wonderful things that can be applied in the classroom.  Here’s a list of possibilities:
  • Posters 
  • Flyers
  • Timelines
  • Infographics
  • Hyperdocs
  • Sketchnotes
  • Custom logos
  • Memes

But rather than me telling you about all the wonders Google Drawings has to offer, why don’t you see for yourself.  Here are six resources that will help you get started.  Enjoy the wonder that is Google Drawings!

Felicia Wilson
Las Vegas