Free Online Event: Google Docs Writing Workshop

How would you like you like to improve your students’ writing skills along with their technology skills? In this webinar, you will learn how to utilize the many features available in Google Docs to facilitate a digital writing workshop and maximize writing instruction in the 24/7 classroom. Join me and Simple K12 as we demonstrate how to


  • Use sharing and commenting tools combined with cooperative grouping strategies to provide students with immediate feedback.
  • Help students improve writing skills by teaching them to use the integrated reference and writing tools available.
  • Monitor student progress using the revision history feature.
  • Put the tools together to enjoy the benefits of using these online digital writing tools to support all learners.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 @ 1:00 PM EDT

Google Docs Research Template – A Stepping Stone

Google Docs Presentation is well-suited for use as a tool for short student driven research projects because of the availability of efficient integrated research tools right on the page. Earlier this year I designed a template to introduce teachers to the usefulness of the tool.

The purpose of the template is for use as a starting point to help teachers plan and implement technology driven learning experiences that are fueled by Essential Questions and aligned to Common Core Standards. The template includes built in screencast tutorials to help students learn to use the technology. This allows teachers to focus on the content instead of being consumed by student questions about using the tech. After all, technology is a tool for learning, not a subject area. It is meant to be integrated, not isolated.


It should be noted that the template is like a recipe that produces end products that are all very similar, and it was designed to help teachers and student build their tech expertise and increase their comfort level with tech integration, but it is not the end goal. The goal for teachers is to eventually feel comfortable enough to design their own flexible lessons that allow them to get out of the way and let students make their own choices about which digital tools to use to complete research and present knowledge and ideas.  Please consider the template to be a helpful stepping stone to guide the learning.

The template is available for modification and reuse. Feel free to edit the topic. Just change the Essential Question and modify the template to create your own Multimedia Research project. Please use it to jump start the process of using technology as a tool for learning, but once you are comfortable, please keep going.

Multimedia Research Template

CCSS 3.W.7: Conduct a short research project to build knowledge about a topic

Digital Tool: Google Docs Presentation

Pickup a Copy of This Template

  1. You must be signed in to Gmail before you can pickup your own copy of this template. 
  2. Click on this link: Chicago Research Template
  3. Choose Use This Template and a copy will be added to your own list of Google Docs. 
  4. Feel free to edit the topic. Just change the Essential Question and modify to create your own Multimedia Research template.

A Google Docs Template for Multimedia Research


The Google Docs Presentation is well-suited for use as a starting point  for short student driven research projects because of the availability of efficient integrated research tools right on the page. To introduce students and teachers to the built in features, I created a  simple template to guide the learning and help everyone discover the usefulness of the tool. 




Template Features

  • The planner can be used with any content. Just associate a learning goal with the template and it’s ready for use.
  • Built in tutorials allow students to explore the tools at their own pace.
  • The activity provides opportunities for teachers to help students fine tune their search skills as they engage in the research.
  • Of course, this is a template so it can be modified.

Tips:

  • Start with a simple learning goal  the first time you use the template to ensure student success.
  • To encourage collaboration, divide students into groups, have one group member pick up the template and ask that student to Share the copy of the document with others in the group.
  • Teach students to use the Comments feature to collaborate and provide feedback to other group members.

Take a Look at the Template



Pickup a Copy of This Template

  1. You must be signed in to Gmail before you can pickup your own copy of this template. 
  2. Click on this link: Research Planner
  3. Choose Use This Template and a copy will be added to your own list of Google Docs. Feel free to edit and modify.

Create Your Own Template

  1. Sign in to your Google account
  2. Create a new document or modify an existing one.
  3. Add your content and save.
  4. Go to your list of Google Docs.
  5. Choose Create New > From Template .
  6. On the new screen that appears, choose Submit a Template.
  7. Click on the link to Choose from yourGoogleDocs
  8. Complete the form with information about your template and submit.
  9. The template will become available in the gallery in a few minutes.
  10. Choose Preview to grab the link to publish so students can pick up your template.

An Updated Digital Differentiation Model

This is part of a Digital Differentiation model, my way i of weaving a web of flexible tools together for teaching and learning. To keep the model relevant, frequent updates are required, as new tools and trends emerge. 

To access the most current resources, please click on the tab at the top of this blog:

Digital Differentiation – Current 




Updating 


Ten months ago I published a Digital Differentiation model on this blog. I’ve been using the model to guide the work I do each day and I’ve been sharing it via webinars and hands-on training sessions.

Of course, ten months is a long time in the world of edtech, and I’ve added some new tools and resources to my personal teaching toolkit, so I decided it was time to update the model and tweak it just a bit. The original article and interactive graphic can still be found on this blog. Here is the new post:

Technology is a tool that can be used to help teachers facilitate learning experiences that address the diverse learning needs of all students and help them develop 21st Century Skills, an idea supported by the Common Core. 


At it’s most basic level, digital tools can be used to help students find, understand and use information. When combined with student-driven learning experiences fueled by Essential Questions offering flexible learning paths, it can be the ticket to success. Here is a closer look at three components of effectively using technology as a tool for digital differentiation.


The goal is to design student-driven learning experiences that are fueled by standards-based Essential Questions and facilitated by digital tools to provide students with flexible learning paths.


3 Components:


Essential Questions

Student-driven learning experiences should be driven by standards-based  Essential Questions.  These questions should be open-ended to allow for flexible learning paths. Devise question by looking at the standards that determine what we teach.  
Click on the tiny circles in the graphic for more information.

//cdn.thinglink.me/jse/embed.js

Flexible Learning Paths

Use digital tools to provide students with flexible learning paths to meet their unique learning styles.


Teacher as Facilitator

The role of the teacher shifts to facilitate student-driven learning experiences. This new role allows teachers to maximize instructional time because the classroom structure provides opportunities for frequent interaction with individual students for assessment, modification, reteaching and enrichment.

———————————-

A Guide to Facilitating an Interactive Learning Project

I have been creating a lot of student projects that use ThingLink as a tool for learning. I have also received a handful of questions from teachers who are highly interested in facilitating a similiar project of their own, but need help with the management involved.

“With so much active student engagement, how do you manage a project like this?”

To answer that very good question, I used MentorMob to create a playlist to guide the project you see below. The playlist takes you and your students through the step by step process of managing the work flow and collaborative group roles, integrating some free and user friendly web 2.0 tools to facilitate the learning process, building the project and turning it in.

A Guided Playlist to Facilitate the Project

http://www.mentormob.com//learn/widget/61812/580/99cc33/3-0

The Final Project

//cdn.thinglink.me/jse/embed.js….

Adapt the Playlist to Launch Your Own Project:

If you think a playlist like this will help you facilitate this type of active and engaging student  project, you can make a copy of it for your own use, then edit it to fit your project. You will find the option to copy at the top of the page when you are viewing the playlist.

Check out more project 
examples on the ThingLink Toolkit

Tag Galaxy

Tag Galaxy is a Cool Tool to visually explore word relationships. Just type in a term and watch a 3D orbiting galaxy of words and their associations evolve  Click on any word to move it to the center of the galaxy, then click on it again and watch the globe populate with tagged images from Flickr.

 Watch Demo

Uses in the Classroom:

  • Project Tag Galaxy on a wall to help students visualize vocabulary words, ideas and concepts.
  • Display Tag Galaxy on an interactive white board and let students touch the globe and explore. 
  •  Use the photos to prompt creative writing.
  •  Engage students in a guided visual search.
  • Start a discussion about word relationships


The Blooming Orange

I’ve always been interested in new ways to view and think about Bloom’s Taxonomy and the folks at Learning Today have created a poster worth sharing. To help teachers get thinking about ways to apply Bloom’s higher-order thinking skills in the classroom, they’ve put a spin on the traditional hierarchy and  limited the number of verbs in each section to create The Blooming Orange.

They’ve popped Bloom’s verbage into the segments of an orange and intentionally depicted it as a circle to illustrate the fact that often these skills do not occur in isolation, they often occur simultaneously. This Blooming Orange presents itself as a teacher-friendly tool for planning and possibly an easier way for everyone to think about Bloom’s. Be sure to click on the link below to visit the Learning Today blog and print a copy of this poster to hang  in your classroom.

JogTheWeb for Guided Student Learning


One of the best ways to use JogTheWeb is as a tool to create flexible, guided activities to help all students learn. It’s easy to design a Jog for success if you set a goal of providing students with multiple ways to access and acquire information. Design your lessons to include video,  text written at a variety of reading levels, simulations and interactive websites then see if it makes a difference in the success of all students. Take a look at a very simple Jog I created, Let’s Explore the Nervous System, to view multiple ways to present information to students.