Think about the last time you bought a car. As you were going through the process, your salesman probably started discussed the “options” you had to add on to give you all the bells and whistles to make driving as pleasurable as a Matthew McConaughey Lincoln commercial. Whether you enjoy heated seats, alloy wheels, built in navigation, or even wifi you can build your car to fit your needs. Google has a plethora of add-ons that can enhance your technology experience, and the best part is most of these features are free to use.
If you are unfamiliar with add-ons, do not worry as add-ons are simple to use and many are premade for you. As educators, we have specific practices that are effective and research based. Google add-ons make many of our practices more efficient decreasing the time a teacher has to spend on managerial processes. Who couldn’t use a little extra time in their life to spend with their family or have more time planning engaging lessons for their students?
As an assistant principal, one of my favorite add-ons is called autoCrat. This feature allows me to communicate with my entire student population and parents individually. Our school uses positive behavior intervention support and I have moved our school-wide behavior monitoring system to an online format. To ensure parents are receiving timely feedback, I use autoCrat to send individual reports home electronically. All the parent needs is an email address. Of course, if a parent does not have this access a paper copy is provided. This one feature allows for increased communication between the school and the parents as well as keeping behavior rating scales private. The key to making this a success is collecting parent emails at the beginning of the year. If you have blended families or children living at different homes, you can easily add extra space for multiple emails to communicate.
The following video displays simple steps to set up an autoCrat merge using google docs:
AutoCrat is a quick tool to begin using add-ons withing google docs. I would recommend exploring Alice keeler’s Webpage that gives you free access to a variety of tools you can implement in the classroom immediately.
Do you want to learn more about add-ons and how you can use them in your role as an educator? Find me on twitter. If I do not know how to do it someone in the #edchat realm will be able to guide you.
Immediate feedback is vital to increasing academic performance and giving you information that allows you to alter lesson plans to meet the needs of your students. During the course of a day, how can each student receive individual feedback on their progress? Can you realistically provide this to every student? Utilizing technology as a tool to provide student feedback can benefit you professionally and personally. Students can receive timely feedback on their learning and you are freed up from hand grading papers that a tool can do for you. If you are using technology often, you may know about the tools I am going to discuss however if you are just putting your toe in the SAMR Swimming pool this is a place to begin.
For any multiple choice quizzes or documents that could be graded via scantron then Flubaroo is a perfect start for you. Flubaroo is an add-on for google forms and instantly grades student work. To read an in-depth article on how flubaroo works, I suggest visiting Alice Keeler’s website. Alice is a google classroom expert who has tutorials on a variety of edtech tools.
If you are prepared for your class to become rowdy and excited about learning then you need to add Kahoot to your bag of classroom tools. Kahoot provides you and the student with immediate feedback within each game. This game based learning software can be used in numerous situations. The Kahoot website has a journal providing examples from classrooms that can be a catalyst to creative lessons in your classroom.
Do you use videos to help student access content? Zaption allows you to use existing videos and easily embed questions or add comments throughout to check for understanding. As students navigate videos at their own pace you receive detailed analytics how students are working with the content.
The three edtech tools I have shared are just the beginning of your digital journey. If you have questions regarding any of the tools please contact me on twitter.