Thursday, August 17, 2017

Create Personalized Learner Profiles with These Four Ideas

Personalized Learning with Learner Profiles

There are several aspects to Personalized Learning including:
  • Learner Profiles
  • Customized Learning Paths
  • Competency Based Progress
  • Flexible Learning Environments
Today I'm sharing a few ideas for the beginning of the school year to support having students create and share Learner Profiles. Learner Profiles help teachers know more about their students. It is beneficial for both the student and teacher to know the student's interests and strengths.  Teachers can use the data from these profiles to guide students with the personalized choices they make about their learning.

#1 - Customized Desktop Backgrounds
One idea is to use  Quick Picture Tools Multiple Picture Wallpaper to have students upload and create a personalized Desktop.  Here is what mine looks like. There is the option to upload up to four images. I uploaded 3 images and then created the words using Google Drawings.  I downloaded the Google Drawing as a JPEG and then uploaded this into the Quick Picture Tool.  

Quick Picture Tools has other wonderful options. These are easy to use and there are many options for picture editing.

#2 Hear From Your Students 
Blabberize allows a person to upload a picture of themselves and then add a talking mouth and audio to have the image speak to you.
Click here to see my son's example. It took a small amount of coaxing to convince my son, Robert, to participate, as he can be shy, but the unique platform and creativity was enough to draw him in.

We used the site Vocaroo to record the audio since this site does not currently allow recordings with Google Chrome, and we were on a Chromebook. Vocaroo is very easy to use. No account is needed and my only tip to Robert was to lower the volume to half way for better sound quality.

#3 Strengths and Weaknesses
Read Write Think has a Diamante Poetry Creation tool that would be useful to have students compare their strengths and weaknesses. Here is my son, Ryan's example.

No account is needed and if students need to save their work and continue at a later time, they are able to save their work as a Read Write Think file and then open it up again on the webpage. 

#4 Extra Extra - Tell All About It has a nice assortment of tools for generating images and text. 
One of the generators is for a newspaper. This would be a great way to have students write an article all about themselves to share with their teachers. Here is a sample that I created.  No account is required and students could copy and paste their writing from a Google Doc into the site if they aren't able to complete the writing in one class period.   

Do you have a strategy, tool or method that you use to have students create Learner Profiles? If not, hopefully one of the above methods may be useful to you for the start of the school year. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wow - Take a Look at the Updated Google Earth

Google Earth - You Look Amazing!

Today Google introduced a brand-new version of Google Earth—on the web and Android—two years in the making.

You can read all about the updated Google Earth and its features in this post

The imagery and graphics are amazing. They almost look computer generated. Hold down the Shift Key while dragging a finger on the track pad to view a location in 360 degree views. 

Click and drag the Pegman (little yellow person) onto a street to begin a street view. Click on the arrows to move around.

Want to see where I am fortunate enough to spend my days? Click here

Thank you Google for this update to Google Earth. It looks amazing!

Game-Based Learning with Google

Motivate and Engage Students with Game-Based Learning 

and Google

Games are a huge motivator for kids, whether they’re reviewing a topic, taking a pre-assessment or receiving a reward for good behavior inside your classroom. When students play games, they feel challenged and enjoy a sense of competition and success.

The Google Suite is the perfect platform for creating interactive games.  With tools such as Google docs, Google Sheets, Google Presentation, Google Maps and Google drawings, there are unlimited ways to create games for students. Students can even be challenged to create their own games within the G Suite.

Playing games can engage your students with interactive flip cards, board games, geography games and review activities.  Today I’m sharing a few resources from a presentation that I recently presented for a SimpleK12 webinar.

Let’s start with one of my favorite Google tools that has a whole bunch of different games that you or students can create to use for instruction, review or fun! This is called Flippity. Flippity uses Google Spreadsheets to design a game and it offers a wide variety of gaming activities for students.  Each game has a demo, instructions and a template that you can make a copy of to create your own game.

But wait there’s more! You can open a Google Spreadsheet and get the Flippity add-on so that you can quickly create any of the Flippity games for your students right within a Google Spreadsheet.

Check out my Flippity Hangman game on Wisconsin cities by clicking here.

Battlesheets from Eric Curtis is a great way to reward students for their hard work or good behavior. 

When player 1 and player 2 both have edit rights to the Battlesheet, one important thing to know is that they can not look at each others tab. That would be cheating. Each player hides their ships and then they take turns trying to sink each other's ships just like in the actual game.  The spreadsheet is set up with conditional formating to allow each player to see where the other drops a bomb and also if each player has made a hit. It really is pretty cool how Google Sheets can be set up to make a digital version of Battleship.

Boggle from Susan Prabulos is a great way to challenge students to a word puzzle competition. Click here for the post from Susan. Click here to see an Earth Day Example and click here for a template to use to make your own Boggle game.

GeoGuessr - If you teach Geography of any sort in your classes, you’re going to love this next game-based site from Google. This is called GeoGuesser and it turns geography into a guessing game.

When you enter the game, you are taken to a 360 degree Google Map location.  The goal of Geoguesser is to make a guess as to where you are.  You can move around and use clues around you to make a guess as close as possible to the actual location.  

The closer your guess is to the actual location, the more points you will earn. You get a total of 5 guesses or turns.

I hope this post has given you a few ideas of how you might use the G Suite to incorporate some fun games for learning into your classroom.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Let's Start Drawing!

Google Released a New Tool Called AutoDraw

There is a new drawing tool from Google and it is really amazing! 
Draw a sketch of something and AutoDraw will find possible images to turn your sketch into beautifully drawn images. AutoDraw uses artificial intelligence to recognize a drawing and then suggests professionally made images to replace your simple sketch.

Like this!

There are several tools to help make your drawing amazing such as the AutoDraw pencil, a regular pencil, a fill bucket, and a text tool. 

Here is a short video explanation:

AutoDraw works on Chromebooks, laptops, tablets and smart phones. To access AutoDraw just simply use the URL

Here is a little information from the designers of AutoDraw:

Download or share your images with a link and use the side bar (3 lines) menu for additional option.  

How might you use AutoDraw with your students or staff? I'd love to hear all about your ideas. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Watch YouTube Videos In a Google Document? YES!

Play YouTube Videos in a Google Doc With the DocuTube Add-on

Most Google Doc users who want to include a YouTube video in their doc, will simply hyperlink the video or just paste the link in their Google Doc. If a person wants to watch the YouTube video they will click on the link and a new tab will open to the video.

But wait. . . there is a more seamless option!

With the DocuTube add-on, viewers can see the YouTube videos directly in the Google Doc!

Simply open a Google Doc and click on add-ons and then get add-ons. Next search for Docutube. 

Once you and your students have the DocuTube add-on, theYouTube videos that are hyperlinked or linked in your Google Doc will be viewable.

I first heard about this from Lance Yoder in this video:

Anyone creating Hyperdocs will find this add-on particularly useful and a game changer. 

Remember:  The DocuTube add-on will need to be added in Google Docs before viewing the YouTube videos in your Google Doc. 

I highly recommend giving DocuTube a try. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Three Clever Tech Ideas - My PLN Cares Enough to Share

- Sharing is Caring -

Image Link
As I follow blogs and posts from my PLN, I often think, "Oh, I have to share these ideas with my colleagues!" Well, today I'm doing just that. Here are some great posts from EDU folks that I follow. They share their ideas, knowledge and creations without hesitation to help us all be better and more efficient at what we do.
I truly appreciate their Sharing is Caring attitude.

#1 Google Classroom Speed Grading via Lance Yoder -

Would you like to see a quicker and more efficient way of grading student work in Google Classroom all the while still being able to leave feedback?
Check out this video and this blog post

#2 How to Add Music to Google Slides via Richard Byrne - Free Technology for Teachers

What a great idea to have music playing in a Google Presentation. This post and video shows a great work around to make this possible.

#3 Black Out Poetry with Google Docs via Eric Curts - Control Alt Achieve

Do you plan to have your students give Black Out Poetry a try for poetry month in April? This post and video show us a really neat way to do Black Out Poetry with Google Docs.

Thank you so much Lance Yoder, Richard Byrne and Eric Curts. You folks set the example that each of us should follow to share what we know and create to help educators everywhere. And ultimately to help students benefit from your sharing is caring attitude. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

3 Fantastic Features of Google Sheets

Google Sheets has some new updates and great features

Google sheets can be used for many options beyond just collecting and displaying data. I have used Google sheets for displaying information such as this example. And it is also a great tool for creating rubrics like this one. 

Here are some features that I've used in the above examples.

1.  Rotated Text 

To rotate text, simply select the cell or cells you wish to rotate and click on the text rotation icon in the top tool bar. You can even choose the degree that you wish to rotate.

2.  More border styles
You can now choose from several new border styles including thicknesses and double borders.
Simply choose the cell or cells you want to add borders to and click on the borders icon.

3.  Link to cells and cell ranges



This feature makes it possible to move around a spreadsheet by linking to cells or a cell range. This would be helpful also to make a table of contents on a spreadsheet. 

To link to a cell or range of cells, simply right click on the cell and then choose Insert link or Get link to this range. 

Watch this tutorial to see linking in action.


I really enjoy playing around with all of the great features available in Google Sheets. And I love that I can use this app for more than just collecting and displaying data. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Five Ways to use Canva That May Impress You

Canva is a wonderful site for design and creation.

Canva is web-based with apps available for Chromebooks and iPads. Use Canva to create professional documents of all sorts with more than 1 million photos, icons and layouts available. Drag and drop functionality makes Canva easy to use with a free Design Essentials Tutorials Course to help users learn how to use Canva

Here are 5 ways to use Canva that you may not know about:

1.  Programs for special events

 To create programs like these in Canva, click on "more"
and then scroll down to "events" and then "program"

 2. Trifold Brochures 

 To create brochures like these in Canva, click on "more"
and then scroll down to "marketing materials" and then "trifold brochure"

3.  Infographics

To create infographics like these in Canva, click on "more"
and then scroll down to "blogging and ebooks" and then "infographics"

4.  Certificates

To create certificates like these in Canva, click on "more"
and then scroll down to "documents" and then "certificate"

5.  Resumes

To create resumes like these in Canva, click on "more"
and then scroll down to "documents" and then "resume"

There are so many other useful templates in Canva. I'm quite impressed with all of the possibilities.

I highly recommend using Canva with your students. Two of the ISTE Standards for Students are Creative Communicator and Innovative Designer. Using Canva will promote both of these standards (among others) in the classroom.