Saturday, May 17, 2014

Instructional Technology Update Andover High School Week Of March 31st-April 4th Google Groups & Forms

This week was a great week of working with teachers implementing a range of Google tools for collaborating with students and collecting responses.

The first teacher I worked with was Adriana Gonzalez. I have worked with Adriana on a range of projects during the school year which  integrated technology in her Spanish classroom. In this session we created some Google Forms which will be quizzes she can use across her classes and decrease the amount of time she will need to grade her traditionally assigned quizzes by doing them online. We worked together to create the forms and make simple reusable links to share easily and edit the quizzes for each class.  It took us only about 2 short half hour sessions to get her up and running with her quizzes and she will definitely be saving time in the assessment process moving forward. Each time we work together we are able to make her classroom more web based and easier to access online materials.

Social Studies teacher Lauren Ream was looking for a way to easily have students comment in a web based thread on specific subjects in her Western Civilization course. Lauren and I have already been working on a blog and adding more web based resources to add to her ability to share with her students more easily.

In just a short 1 hour period I was able to work with Lauren and her students to provide them access to creating a Google Group. Access for students was made more easily since students had provided their emails at an earlier time and they could easily be sent the invite. The benefits of creating a Google Group are that you can keep an exclusive or open group in which you can add comments to student posts or post discussion topics. Students add to the topics and create a stream of activity. The group can also be shared with a simple link. Emails can also be sent directly to the group as well.

Mrs. Ream used the Group to enable students to comment on specific classroom topics and to share perspectives. The link form the conversations can also be added to her current blog for revisiting at a later time.

I think from an integration standpoint Google Groups are a great place to start using a web based tool as you can commit to it on any level within your classroom. You can use it for just one assignment or use it for an entire course. Additionally those who are in the group are notified when a post or comment is made in the group. I feel as though this adds the element of being connected to the classroom.

This week I was also able to continue working with Art teacher Teresa Consentino on the development of her blog for her Art Foundations course. This week we worked at getting her older lessons created into PDF form on the scanner and adding the to her Blogger Blog. Creating her blog has been a process of selecting the most important lessons and what will work best being put online. With art it is also a challenge to choose art pieces which reflect a high quality of work and those which show the concrete concepts. We are working to develop her unit on 2 and 3 Dimensional Perspective Drawing. This process has been rewarding as it is a real model of transforming exciting art concepts into web based lessons and easy to navigate links.

On Thursday I had the opportunity to be a Judge at the West Middle School Science Fair. This was a great experience as I got to meet the students and find out more about their projects and what drove their scientific investigation. I spoke with students who did projects related to insulation efficiency,beach erosion and even the strength of spider webs.

I think a great component built into this fair was the integration of the "Green" projects. This really helped students choose to look into environmental issues in their science project and try to solve them. As an Instructional Technology Specialist it was great to visit and view the perspective of the students and their technology,engineering and science integration into their projects.

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