Google Classroom Update Feb18

Google Classroom Feb 6 iOS update

google classroom logoThe Google Classroom iOS app was updated on Feb. 6, 2018. It includes two new features for teachers as well as bug fixes and performance improvements. Now teachers can grade questions and rename their classes on iOS.

Google regularly updates its app. This is a general reminder to update your apps often to take advantage of new features

 

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Translate a PDF using Google Drive

open with google docs

Do you have a PDF in another language that you need to translate? Google Drive/Docs makes it very easy to translate a PDF document. You can do this in two easy steps on your computer. (It doesn’t work on a tablet or smart phone).

upload documentStep 1: Convert your file to text

  1. Go to http://drive.google.com on your computer.
  2. Upload the file from your computer (click and drag or New | File upload)
  3. Right-click on the file (two-finger click or ⌘-click on a Mac)
  4. Select Open with | Google Docs.

You can now view your converted document. Note that some of the text formatting may be lost and tables, columns, lists, endnotes, footnotes, etc. may lose their format.

translate documentStep 2: Translate a text document

  1. With the document open, go to Tools | Translate document in the top menu.
  2. Type in a name for the document and choose the language that you would like to translate to.
  3. Press Translate to see a new document with the translated text in a new tab.

Use Explore in Google Slides to Build Better Presentations

explore header

Google Slides

Google Slides is the G Suite product that lets you create presentations right in your browser. You can even work on a presentation at the same time as other people. All you need is a G suite account, which you have if you have a Gmail account. Google Slides is even easier to use with Explore. (Explore is also available in Docs and Sheets.)

Explore in Google Slides

The Explore feature was added to G Suite in September 2017. Explore can help you design better presentations in less time. Based on the content of your slide, it dynamically suggests designs. If you don’t see any suggestions, you may have too much text on the slide or your images may be too small. Try modifying those features and removing any added shapes to activate suggestions. You can use also use Explore to add images and other content to your presentation.

Add Content with Explore in Google Slides

Use explore to add content from the web or from your Google Drive. When you enter a query in Explore Search, you will receive results from the Web, Images and Drive.

Explore search results for slides

slides explore web resultsWeb Search

Use the Web Search results to find content from the web that you can use. A select number of results are shown in the Explore window. When you click on a link, it opens in a new tab. To see more results, you can click on See all results on Google.

insert image in Google Slides exploreImage Search

Find images and add them quickly and easily to your presentation. Hover over an image to display the + symbol and add it to your presentation. A hyperlink to the source image is automatically added to the inserted image.

Drive

Search your Google Drive for content. Clicking on a result opens the file in a new tab.

Google Slides Challenge

If you are new to Google Slides, do the tutorial from G Suite Learning in as little as 10 minutes. If you’re experienced, redesign an old presentation using Explore.

 

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Use Shadow Puppet EDU in the Classroom

shadow puppet logo

Shadow Puppet EDU is a free, easy-to-use tool for creating videos using photos and video clips. Video has many uses in the classroom, as an effective learning tool in any subject. Students can narrate a process, or procedure, show the steps of a solution, present a published work, etc.

screenshot of Shadow Puppet EDU appFeatures of Shadow Puppet EDU

  • Combine video clips and images to make a video
  • Record voice-over narration, add music or both
  • Add animated text annotations and pointers
  • Interact with images while recording
  • Up to 100 items per video, and up to 30 min long
  • Built-in web search for images and animated GIFs (can be disabled in settings)
  • Automatic image citations are added at the end of videos that use web images
  • Tap undo to redo the recording for a particular page.
  • Copy a completed video to re-record it.
  • Easy to share or save to the camera roll
  • Works on iOS only

Ideas for Using Shadow Puppet EDU in the Classroom

  • Create a presentation with images of all the new words for the week.
  • Share three family traditions, using images, video clips, and text.
  • Create a presentation to publish your research project.
  • Create a presentation describing a field trip or a solution to a problem
  • For more ideas, get the Activity guide.

Differentiation Using Shadow Puppet EDU

  • Give students the photos/video clips needed for the video.
  • Give students a completed video that they can re-record.

Considerations for Using Shadow Puppet EDU

  • Have students create a storyboard before they create their video.
  • If students are working in groups, assign them roles and rotate the roles so that every child experiences all the components of the process

Resources

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Teacher Self Assessment

skyscrapers resembling reflection

reflections in mirrorsThe Value of Reflection

I believe that reflection is a vital part of a healthy and balanced life. This includes self-reflection, for how else will we be able to chart our paths for self-improvement? When schools go through the accreditation process, they have to do a self-study. I’ve been through several such experiences for accreditation by Council of International Schools (CIS) and Middle States Association (MSA) of Schools and Colleges. I found it an arduous but rewarding process because it highlighted the things that the school was doing well, and guided us through a process for prioritizing and implementing improvements for the school. It required individual reflection and group reflection, discussions between various groups of colleagues as well as the teaching staff, goal-setting, implementation and evaluation. I think that this is a great model for teacher evaluation.

Revising Teacher Evaluation

I previously taught at a small international school. Our superintendent explained that he had a hard time evaluating us from just a few visits to our classroom, knowing that those few visits provided an incomplete picture. He suggested self-evaluation and peer evaluation as steps in the teacher evaluation process. The staff members brainstormed to decide what made a good teacher and came up with ideas like classroom management, collaboration with colleagues, use of technology, student perception of learning and teaching within the classroom, preparedness, pedagogical knowledge. Then a sub-committee looked at the brainstormed ideas as well as models of teacher self-assessment found online, and created the first draft. The sub-committee consulted with the staff and used the feedback to create a working document.

It Starts with Self-Assessment

The first step was self-assessment, requiring evidence to support the level of proficiency that the teacher thought he/she had. Next was peer assessment. Teachers identified peers to assess them and could decide how many times they wanted to complete a peer assessment. Then they could have a principal or the superintendent evaluate them. The superintendent would first meet with the teacher to discuss their self and peer evaluation steps, the improvements they’d made and their existing challenges. Then he/she would observe the teacher during at least two classes. As part of the process, teachers evaluated both the assessment standards and the process and made appropriate revisions at the end of each school year.

Some teachers resented the self-evaluation as one more thing to keep track of. They had trouble gathering evidence to show their level of proficiency for each standard. This was a few teachers; most took ownership of the process and benefited from it. However, we had a community of teachers that were generally reflective. We spent staff meetings discussing articles by Alfie Kohn, Wiggins and McTighe and “Classroom Instruction that Works”. Teachers were constantly asked to take part in the decision-making of the school and gave feedback to the superintendent. The school aimed to be student-centred and recognized that it also had to be teacher-centered and support teachers.

Learning from Process

I believe in self-assessment. I use it in my classes and for myself. Incorporating self-assessment appeals to me because it lets teachers identify their challenges AND work to improve them. Hopefully we do the same thing in our classrooms. We focus on the process, letting kids revise, improve, resubmit because the process and the learning that happens is more important than the tangible product.

Some teachers are uncomfortable with videotaping their lessons or having peer assessment. Maybe that’s because we need consistent standards between ourselves and those who assess us, or maybe it’s because knowing that we’re being “watched” forces us to self-reflect, a sometimes unflattering and scary process.

 

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Revised January 30, 2018. First published on February 18, 2010