Feedback for Students in G Suite – An Overview

Feedback in G SuiteTeachers and students in districts that use Google for Education have access to a free suite of apps, G Suite, to create and publish. But why use G Suite? Why not Microsoft, pen-and-paper, or go full tactile and have students use typewriters? The reason to use G Suite is feedback (collaboration too, but that could be a separate blog post!

A Quick Note

This post is meant for teachers who are almost proficient with or just learning G Suite. Additionally, this post contains nothing about add-ons, extensions, coding, or anything extra. Strictly G Suite.

What is so special about feedback?

One of the most valuable interventions teachers can use with students is feedback. According to Hattie and Timperley (2007) feedback is vital:

…Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement…The feedback that students receive from their teachers is also vital. It enables students to progress towards challenging learning intentions and goals.

– Visible Learning

Marianne Stenger shared research tips for providing students meaningful feedback in Edutopia. Number 2 on the list? The sooner the better. That’s where G Suite comes in. Here is a quick-and-dirty look at using G Suite to give students immediate feedback.

Comments (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)

Comments are a great way to give students immediate feedback as they work in G Suite. Select text or an image. There are three ways to insert a comment:

Demonstration of 3 Ways to Insert a Comment in the Google Docs Editor

Use either of these methods and type a comment:

Animated GIF of a comment inserted into a Google Doc

Comments are even better when an editor is tagged in them. This sends an email to their Gmail. Tag an editor by typing “+” or “@” followed by their email address.

Animated GIF of an editor tagged in a comment

Comment boxes serve as spaces where teachers and students can converse. Here teachers and peers can give feedback about work.

Screen capture of a discussion in a Google Docs comment

Comments “disappear” when they are resolved. The good news is they never truly disappear. The “Comments” button in the upper right of the editor keeps a record of them. This is great for keep track of all feedback students receive, whether it is from teachers or peers.

Demonstration of Comments history in Google Docs

Feedback in Google Classroom

Teachers can add a private comment to any assignment in Google Classroom. This is what it looks like as a student:

Private comment feedback from a teacher in Google Classroom

Teachers can also give feedback for students’ answers when they reply to questions in Google Classroom:

Feedback on a student's reply to a question in Google Classroom

A nice aspect of feedback in Google Classroom is that it keeps track of the number of private feedback comments exchanged between student and teacher. What a great way to document the amount of feedback provided to a student.

Google Classroom keeps track of the feedback comments exchanged between teacher and student

Google Keep (Works in Docs and Slides)

Google Keep integration is a great way to give feedback in Docs and Slides. One way to do this is to have comments ready to go in a Google Keep note, then copy-and-paste them into comments.

Additionally, Google Keep can be used to give students longer-form narrative feedback in Docs and Slides. To make the most of this strategy, create a label for each student and each assignment in Google Keep. That way, feedback can be organized by assignment and by student.

In Docs:

In Slides:

Google Forms (Response Validation and Quiz Mode)

Response validation is a great way to give students a question they work on until they get correct. I love using Response Validation for digital breakouts. Simply use short-answer questions in Google Forms, click the three dots, and choose Response Validation.

Screen capture of Response validation in Google Forms

This is a great strategy for a math problem – students receive an error message until they type the correct answer. They know immediately if they are correct or wrong – instant feedback!

Animated GIF of response validation in Google Forms

Error messages (the red text above) are a great way to scaffold for students as they work on finding an answer.

Quiz Mode is another good way to give students feedback in Google Forms.  Quiz mode allows teachers to give different feedback for correct and incorrect answers. It also allows for links to be added to answer feedback, meaning students can be directed to a resource to re-learn questions they answered incorrectly. Watch as I demonstrate:

Two G Suite Apps That Are Not Great for Student Feedback (Forms?! and Sites)

Didn’t I just discuss ways to use Google Forms to give students feedback? Yes, I did. Forms is great for giving feedback when they answer forms their teachers create. However, when students create Google Forms, there is no good way for teachers to give feedback inside of Google Forms. The same holds true for the Google Sites (still called New Sites). As much as I love Google Sites, I wish there was a way teachers and students could exchange feedback inside its editor.

If you would like to share your thoughts with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.

The G Suite logo I used in the image for this blog post.

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The Social Studies Digital Content List

The Digital Educational Content ListBack-to-school time always reminds me of my first days teaching history. I used the curriculum from my textbook and supplemented it here-and-there. It did not make for engaging instruction.

Textbooks are static, dated, and give learners one perspective. I constantly searched for supplemental content in addition to making some of my own.  Over time, I found some great resources. Here are digital content resources I used in my classroom or found in my practice as an edtech coach. Not all listed resources are exclusively for digital use though all are useful for 1:1 classrooms. Grade bands are based on Common Sense Media reviews or my personal judgment from using the resource.

Bill of Rights Institute

Grades 9-12

The Bill of Rights Institute has lesson materials for our founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights.  They also have some more US History content such as Civil Rights. The Bill of Rights Institute created a free online course  teachers can help themselves to, Documents of Freedom.

Choices Program

Grades 9-12

Brown University’s Choices program has mostly paid and some free Common Core aligned resources for current issues, US History and World History. I have long been a fan of their products.  Each curricular unit PDF they sell is $37 and comes with good reading passages and a simulation in which students argue for one of four choices. A great bang-for-the-buck use of PTA mini-grant funds. Thank you, Jessica Riley, for sharing the Choices Program with me.

Crash Course Curriculum

Grades 6-12

Crash Course is one of the best educational YouTube channels. Check out their free Common Core aligned (opens PDF) curriculum for US History and World History.

DocsTeach

Grades 6-12

Common Core aligned free primary source documents and accompanying activities from the National Archives. Thank you, Jane Highley, for sharing DocsTeach with me.

FrontRow – Social Studies

Grades K-8

Common Core aligned freemium differentiated activities and assessments. Thank you, Shawn McFarland, for sharing FrontRow with me.

History of Philly

Grades 9-12

History of Philly is the website of the ongoing Philadelphia: The Great Experiment documentary series. Their free educational materials are great resources for teaching US History from 1600 through 1994.

Khan Academy – Arts and Humanities

Grades K-12

Khan Academy was one of the first in the digital educational content space. Their Arts and Humanities section includes content for US History, World History, AP World History, and AP US history. Khan Academy is Common Core aligned and includes videos and practice questions.

Listenwise – Social Studies

Grades 6-12

Common Core aligned freemium website that uses public radio content to help students practice listening comprehension. A good resource for current events.

Miller Center

Grades 9-12

Free US History content from UVA’s Miller Center organized by president. The Miller Center is the go-to source for presidential speech transcripts often accompanied by audio and video. Thank you, Jessica Riley, for sharing the Miller Center with me.

New York Times Learning Network – Social Studies

Grades 7-12

Common Core aligned free resource that uses New York Times content in lessons that include writing prompts and quizzes. Social Studies content is broken out into sections for US History, global issues, Civics, and Social Studies skills. Additionally, there is a Current Events section.

Newsela

Grades 2-12

Common Core aligned news articles with assessment questions. Newsela is freemium. The free version has some functionality, but there is much more with the paid version. Newsela has content covering Government and Economics, Geography, World History, and US History.

PBS Learning Media – Social Studies

Grades PreK-12

Common Core aligned free lessons from PBS.

Read Like a Historian

Grades 9-12

Common-Core aligned free US History and World History lessons with primary source documents with questions and prompts. This website from Stanford University has primary source documents with modified versions as well. I have long been a fan of Read Like a Historian. Thank you, Adam Washam, for sharing Read Like a Historian with me.

ReadWorks – Social Studies

Grades K-8

Common Core aligned free reading passages and comprehension activities. Thank you, Joshua Howard, for sharing ReadWorks with me.

TED-Ed Social Studies

Grades 4-12

Common Core aligned free videos with accompanying multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and discussion prompts. I’ve long appreciated TED-Ed’s concise but information-packed animated videos and platform for adding assessment and content to any YouTube.

So what did I miss? How long after September 2017 will this list be woefully out-of-date? Please comment below or tweet me at @tomemullaney. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Five Educational Android Apps for Chromebooks

Five Educational Android Apps for Chromebooks

Update (8/20/17): I have to add one more Android app to the list: Google Keep. Watch me demonstrate using the Google Keep Android app to give students feedback.

When Google announced Android apps were coming to Chromebooks, I was not enthused. Chromebooks are great for learners and teachers because of the Chrome OS’s simplicity and lightning-fast boot-up. I was defensive about Chromebooks and not excited about change.

My love of Chromebooks for education is not universal. Joe Wilcox, citing kids’ love of iPhones, argues, “The PC, whether desktop or notebook, is obsolete in the classroom… If the fruit-logo company doesn’t seize the moment, a competitor will—and almost certainly selling devices running Android.”

But what if Chromebooks incorporated Android apps in a way that did not compromise the OS while giving teachers and learners the best of all worlds – mobile apps, keyboards, and touchscreens?

I recently purchased the ASUS Flip C302 which has Play Store access. My wariness of Android on Chrome OS was mistaken. The Flip C302 is a dream. Everything works great, including Android apps.

Long term, I hope companies make convertible flip touchscreen Chromebooks with a world-facing camera above the keyboard. This gives the device full tablet functionality. ASUS has done this with its C213. Time will tell if these Chromebooks are iPad killers. In the meantime, here are five educational Android apps to consider using with your students.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom’s web interface is great. One thing missing is the ability to instantly embed content from a laptop’s webcam and/or mic. The Classroom Android app allows this:

Further, John Sowash documented the app giving very useful notifications.

Pros:

  • Very mouse friendly. It actually works better with the mouse rather than the touchscreen.
  • Ability to embed directions and content using the webcam and/or mic.
  • Enhanced notifications.
  • The Android app allows teachers annotate on student work and saves it as a PDF.

Cons:

  • Why doesn’t Google Classroom’s web interface allow teachers to use their webcam and mic?

Google Expeditions

The Google Expedition Android app renders beautifully on a Chromebook. I made this screencast with it:

Pros:

  • Teachers can search for and preview Google Expeditions from their Chromebooks.
  • Teachers can lead Google Expeditions from their Chromebooks.
  • Students can view Google Expeditions from their Chromebooks like they would with iPads.

Cons:

  • None I have encountered yet.

Squid

Squid is an Android app for note-taking, Math, and sketch-noting. Thank you, Robby Payne of Chrome Unboxed, for turning me on to it. Have a look at me trying it out:

Pros:

  • Its simplicity of use.
  • Graph and lined paper in the free version.
  • Annotate images in the free version.
  • Notes can be exported as PDFs, JPEGs, and PNGs for free.
  • Premium is relatively cheap – $1/month or $10/year.

Cons:

  • The highlighter is a premium feature.
  • Importing PDFs is a premium feature.
  • Writing does not work with the mouse.
  • On my Chromebook, the only input that works is “Finger,” meaning it does not recognize pressure sensitivity with my stylus.
Screenshot 2017-07-04 at 10.01.52 AM

Active pen does not work on my Chromebook.

Adobe Illustrator Draw

The Adobe Illustrator Draw Android app is a wonderful tool for art and sketch-noting:

Pros:

  • The mouse works for a lot of features.
  • It’s free!
  • So many beautiful options for colors, shapes, and brushes.
  • Images can be saved as PNGs – with transparent backgrounds if desired.

Cons:

  • Shapes cannot be manipulated by the mouse.

Google Jamboard

Google Jamboard is a $5,000 piece of hardware marketed at businesses. The device looks very fun to play with but at that price point, it is likely a non-starter for education. However, the hardware is powered by an Android app available for free in the Google Play Store. The app renders well on Chromebooks. While not perfect, it has great potential for students to collaborate in a fun way:

Pros:

  • Real-time collaboration.
  • Very fun!
  • Handwriting recognition.
  • Nice ability to clip anything from the web and add it to a jam.
  • Jams can be shared as PDFs and images to Google Classroom. This makes me hopeful there might be more education integration coming for the app in the future.
Google Jamboard exports jams as PDFs or images to Google Classroom.

Google Jamboard exports jams as PDFs or images to Google Classroom.

Cons:

  • A touchscreen is essential. The mouse does not play well with Jamboard.
  • The app renders nicely on Chromebooks but is not very useful on phones and rendered very darkly on my wife’s Samsung Galaxy Tab A.
  • Only five colors available for drawing.
  • Shape recognition not perfected.
  • Difficulty grabbing objects. Notice the difficulty I experienced in the video.
  • Google Drive files render very small.

Thank you for reading.  Are you curious if your Chromebook can run Android apps? Here is the list of Chromebooks that support Android apps. How would you use Android apps with your students? Please comment below or tweet me, @TomEMullaney.

Image sources:

Android logo (Wikimedia Commons)

Google Chrome logo (Wikimedia Commons)

Google Play logo (Wikimedia Commons)

Make Awesome Exit Tickets with Digital Breakouts

Exit Ticket Digital Breakout ThumbnailAuthor’s Note: This strategy is very similar to the Make Vocabulary Fun with Digital Breakouts strategy I blogged about on BamRadioNetwork’s EdWords blog.

Here is a strategy for using digital breakouts to make exit tickets that challenge and engage learners while producing useful assessment data.

Step One: Make a Google Form with the digital breakout locks.

Use response validation to set each lock (they are short answer questions) to be a key vocabulary word or concept from the lesson. Sometimes locks are referred to as “codes” as seen below. Set each question to be a required question.

Screenshot 2017-06-08 at 10.45.45 AM

Keep this to four or five locks.

Step Two: Make a Google Form with quiz mode enabled.

Click the settings gear in the upper right corner of the form to enable quiz mode.Quiz Mode

Add multiple choice questions to Google Form that assess what students learned. The number of questions should equal the number of locks in the first Google form. Choose the correct answer for each question in the form. Feedback for correct answers should be short answer questions that assess the lesson. The answers to those questions are the locks in step one. Feedback for incorrect answers should be links to remediating content.

Updated for Blog Post

Step Three: Make a one-page Google Site.

The first element is a text box that outlines a scenario where something is locked. Have fun writing it and model creativity for learners. See below for an example.

The second element is a section with another text box. Put the text, “Want some hints? Click here.” in the box. Link “here” to the Google Form with multiple choice questions from step two. Set the section style to “Emphasis 2” or “image” to call attention to this text box. This box can also contain a link to a resource that reviews the lesson content if a teacher wants to provide that scaffold. Here are two examples of what this section can look like:

 

Without Scaffold Resource

Without scaffolding recourse and section style set to “image.”

 

 

With Scaffold Resource

With scaffolding resource and section style set to “Emphasis 2.”

The third element on the page is the Google Form with the locks from step one. Simply insert it.

That’s it. The exit ticket is complete. It gives learners a way to interact with lesson content and assesses them using multiple choice and short answer questions. All a teacher has to make are:
Two Google Forms
A one-page Google Site

Please make copies of the two Google Forms in this Google Drive folder to use as templates to make a digital breakout exit ticket. Click the image below to try a US history digital breakout exit ticket I made for tenth-grade students.

Kill the Bank! Thumbnail

Thank you for reading. If you would like to discuss this strategy further, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney.

Meet the Next Awesome Education Blogger…You!

Meet the next awesome education blogger...You! Blog Post Image

In my latest BamRadioNetwork EdWords blog post, I argue that teachers need to blog and provide some suggestions for getting started and setting sustainable publishing goals. I also discuss what teachers should and should not blog about. Please comment below or Tweet me @TomEMullaney if you would like to discuss. Thank you for reading.

360° Video – The New Frontier in Learner Engagement

360 Video - The New Frontier in Learner Engagement

YouTube is a vital tool all teachers should employ to engage learners. Teachers can use tools such as EdPuzzle and TED-Ed to build on the YouTube learning experience. Teachers can now use YouTube to share 360° videos – giving students a tactile, kinesthetic experience that allows for movement (see below) when watching videos.

Take advantage of these videos by using a YouTube search filter to find them:

Even better than having learners use a trackpad or mouse to explore a 360° video on a laptop is using the YouTube iPad app to have them explore using their fingers and movement. Watch as I demonstrate:

The amount of 360° content on YouTube will likely continue to grow. Teachers will have access to more excellent content to share with learners. In the meantime, here are four of my favorite 360° videos, two for science teachers and two for history teachers. Click play and use a mouse (or finger on a phone or tablet) to explore all 360 degrees of each video:

 

 

 

If you would like to discuss this with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.

He’s Making Podcasts Now

One of my very favorite Portlandia sketches is She’s Making Jewelry Now.

The song is about the struggle to find career fulfillment. I identify with this song so strongly because I while I have found fulfillment in my teaching career, it was a struggle to do so.

That’s why I have started the Sustainable Teaching podcast. My mission is to talk with teachers about what we can do to make our profession sustainable for us and the school day engaging for our students.

I tell the story of my teaching career in my pilot episode. I was honored to have someone whose awesome work I admire, Kendra Tyler, as my guest for episode 2. Please click the podcast logo below to listen to those two episodes. Every week in March I will release a new episode with another awesome teacher.

Thank you so much to Jason Mammano whose blog post, Podcasting on a Chromebook, was an invaluable resource for this venture into podcasting.

Thank you for listening. I would love to hear your feedback. Please comment below or send me a tweet at @TomEMullaney.

sustainable-teaching-podcast-thumbnail

Make Vocabulary Fun with Digital Breakouts

make-vocabulary-fun-with-digital-breakouts

My latest BamRadioNetwork EdWords blog post is Make Vocabulary Fun with Digital Breakouts – my strategy for using Quizlet, Google Forms, and Google Sites to rejuvenate vocabulary review. Thank you for reading and considering it. Please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney if you would like to discuss further.

Have iPads? Use Them For Google Expeditions!

have-ipads-use-them-for-google-expeditions-splash-image

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Update 7/15/17: I was honored when my colleague Cristie Watson gave me a shout-out for leading her students on Google Expeditions on iPads:

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Google Expeditions is a great app for engaging students and broadening their horizons.

I led my colleagues on a Google Expedition at the NCTIES 2016 conference:

The app is marketed in conjunction with Google Cardboard and Android phones. This is fine but involves lots of moving pieces. The cardboards need to be cleaned frequently, especially during cold and flu season. Additionally, a complete Google Expeditions set for ten students costs $3,999.

The good news is that you can probably lead your students on a Google Expedition tomorrow. And you can do it for free with equipment your school owns if it has any functioning iPads. Google Expeditions runs on iPads in a “window mode” that gives students a 360 view. Having tried this with students, I can attest, they love it. Sure, the cardboard viewers are more encompassing, but no student has complained about not using a viewer.

A Brief Technical Note

To lead an expedition from one iPad to others, all devices need to be connected to the same WiFi network with peer-to-peer sharing enabled. Test this by using two iPads to lead and follow an expedition. If it does not work, ask your IT department about enabling peer-to-peer sharing.

Articulate Expectations

I beta-tested Expeditions with my literacy block. I led them on an expedition of the Empire State Building.

google-expeditions-empire-state-building

The kids loved it. They were very excited. I could tell they were not listening as I read the narration provided by Google Expeditions. This was a low-stakes beta test but I would have to ensure students would listen when I led expeditions as part of classes.

Since then, I have pulled groups of seven students to lead them on Google Expeditions. Keep the group numbers low if possible. Thirty students in a Google Expedition could become chaotic. Before I hand students iPads, I lay out my expectations:

  • Treat the iPads like precious treasure. We cannot afford to have one broken.
  • Google Expeditions is awesome. You’re going to go banana and I need you to listen as I explain what you are seeing in each scene.

Making those expectations clear at the start has made our Google Expeditions successful. I have led sixth-grade students on expeditions of pyramids in Egypt, the National Museum of Iraq, the Great Wall of China, the Palace at Versailles, and the human auditory system. My colleague Cristie Watson and I have documented some of these moments with our students.

cristie-tweet-about-tom-and-google-images_censored

Leading expeditions is easy. Teachers need to sign in with a Google account and then simply search for and download expeditions they want to lead. Students open the app and join the expedition, no sign-in required. Students can move their iPad to change their view of the 360 image. They can also use their fingers to change their vantage point. Swivel chairs are ideal but not essential.

Some Resources to Get Started:

If you would like to share your thoughts with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.

The Google Expeditions logo I used in the image for this blog post.