Monday, December 10, 2018

Google Slides: A One-Stop Resource for Authentic Assessment

With so many edTech tools available to you, it can be easy to overlook some of the features and potential of your G-Suite applications.  In a recent podcast, The Google Tribe appropriately titled G Suite's - Google Slides the "Swish Army knife" tool for the classroom.  And this could not be more true.  Notice three ways to use this FREE and intuitive tool to raise the level of engagement in your classroom.

#1 - Interactive Table of Contents

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a student group discussion centered around how information has been lost or removed from the group presentation? Assigning interactive tables of contents with internal linking in Google Slides could be the answer.  
  • What is it? A designated slide within a Google Slides assignment listing the titles of each requirement and internally linked to the slide representing the information. 
  • What is the benefit? Interactive Table of Contents helps when grading group assignments as teachers will clearly be able to distinguish one student's work from another.  Nor will there be a need for student conferences about group members who refuse to complete their parts of the project. 
  • Assignment Ideas: Novel Studies - Chapter Summaries / Characterization / Iconography / Figurative Language, Math Study Guide, Interactive Vocabulary, Research Project
  • Link to NEPF Standards: (I.S. 3, Indicator 4), (I.S. 5, Indicator 3), (4 C's - Collaboration, Critical Thinking)

#2 - Stop Animation 

Want to add a little creativity to your classroom?  Consider assigning your students to demonstrate a learning concept by creating a stop animation with Google Slides. 
  • What is it? The use of images, graphics, and text on multiple Google Slides that when "played" creates a mini video presentation of a learning topic/concept.  
  • What is the benefit? Provides an authentic assessment opportunity for students which requires both critical thinking and creativity to demonstrate mastery.  Allows for student voice and choice in the assessment process.  Finally, when sharing student creations, classrooms are able to experience learning topics in multiple ways.
  • Assignment Ideas: Visualize - Chemical Reactions, Steps of Math Problem, Battle Reenactments, Visual Chapter Summaries, Interactive Vocabulary 
  • Link to NEPF Standards: (I.S. 2, Indicator 1), (I.S. 3, Indicator 2), (I.S. 5, Indicator 3), (4 C's - Creativity and Critical Thinking) 

#3 - Moveable Digital Activities 

  • What is it? Interactive assignments which allow students to move and manipulate objects (i.e. sorting) to demonstrate mastery of topic(s)/standard(s).
  • What is the benefit? An engaging way for students to demonstrate working knowledge of a topic/objective.  Can be easily submitted as a form of formative assessment.  Could be used in place of manipulative activities and minimize "clean-up".  Appeals to visual and kinesthetic learning styles. 
  • Assignment Ideas:  Categorize Figures of Speech or Types of Energy Exchange, Demonstrate Volume, Calculate Addition/Subtraction of Integers, Sort Historical Events on a Timeline
  • Link to NEPF Standards: (I.S. 2, Indicator 1), (I.S. 2, Indicator 3), (I.S. 5, Indicator 3), (4 C's - Critical Thinking) 

Looking for more inventive ways to utilize G-Suite applications?  Be sure to tune in to The Google Teacher Tribe podcast featuring creative ideas from Kasey Bell and Matt Miller.


(Material adapted from The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast ep. 60)

Monday, December 3, 2018

BYTE-SIZED BLOG: What is Computational Thinking?

A guest blog by Cindi Chang in celebration of Computer Science Education Week 2018
What is Computational Thinking?

Computational thinking is using special thinking patterns and processes to pose and solve problems or prepare programs for computation.

There are four pillars that comprise computational thinking:

·         Decomposition

·         Pattern matching

·         Abstraction, and

·         Algorithms (sometimes referred to as automation)

Decomposition is breaking a problem down into smaller, more manageable parts. Multiplication is an example of decomposition. Take 436 x 12. This can be a bit challenging to solve. We can break it into (436 x 2) + (436 x 10), which is 872 + 4360, which equals 5232.

Pattern matching is finding similarities between items as a way of gaining extra information. “Pattern recognition can be associated with common acts like knowing how to open a new book or even being able to seamlessly hop from using one brand of phone to another.”

Abstraction is ignoring certain details in order to come up with a solution that works for a more general problem.  In other words, removing details that are too specific so that one instruction can work for multiple problems. An example is making a bed. You don’t need to know the exact pattern of sheets in order to tell someone how to make a bed, or the color of the blankets, or how many pillows there would be. Those details can be abstracted out when giving instructions on how to make a bed.

Automation (algorithms) is the act of controlling a process (by automatic means) and reducing human intervention to a minimum. For example: we could create a computer program that asks us for n number of sides and returns a polygon for us.


(Material adapted from Computational Thinking and Coding for Every Student by Krauss and Prottsman)

Nevada Academic Content Standards for Computer Science:


Cindi L. Chang, M.Ed.