Welcome

Screenshot 2016-02-19 at 11.58.58 AMThis site is home to Ramapo Indian Hills High School District Instructional Technology and Staff Development. Here you will be able to find resources and tools to help you become more comfortable using technology with your students and implementing innovative methods in your classroom. Use this website for numerous resources, coaching appointments, newsletters, and workshop materials. I am committed to showcasing some of the great work our staff is already doing while helping to make the technology integration in the classroom both seamless and virtually invisible.

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Schoology Enhancements on the Horizon

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Schoology has recently announced two BIG updates that they plan to roll out at the beginning of the next school year. The first is an enhanced Google Drive integration feature that will offer many useful features within Schoology. Teachers will have the ability to “make a copy” of various Google Docs for each student in their class (similar to what Google Classroom already offers) with one click so that students do NOT have to make a copy of your document on their end. There will also be an “auto-submit” button for a cleaner and easier way for students to submit Google Doc assignments to their teachers. Check out the video below for the update:

This is a welcome feature as there is less reason for students to leave Schoology and more opportunity for the teacher to manage the classroom. With better Google Drive integration, teachers can easily embed and attach Google Docs/files to their assignments, as well as a better comment/edit system. Teachers will now be able to edit and comment on student work as they would in a Google Doc. Any notes made in Schoology will also show up on the Google end! Even rubrics will now be available right from within the Google Doc assignment for easy grading! Teachers will also be able to monitor student writing and activity in real-time from within Schoology.

The second Schoology update and enhancement will be on the quiz/test end, with more interactive question types. Teachers will now have the opportunity to create even more questions such as Label Image, Highlight Image and Hotspot, Highlight Text, Charting, Math Short Answer, Number Line, Math Formula, Math Variable, Opinion Scale Likert, and more. These new question types should help students better prepare for online assessments and the future of test-taking online.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Draftback

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There is a pretty cool Google Chrome extension called Draftback.  One you install it, it will automatically attach itself to your Google Docs in the top right corner of the window. When you open it on a Google Doc that has been typed in or shared with you, it will document the number of revisions that have taken place on that document.

But here is where it gets fancy- When you click on the Draftback button in the Google Docs window, it will begin auto rendering every revision that has taken place on that Google Doc. Once it is finished, click on the view button. Draftback will begin replaying every keystroke that has been typed in the document. This makes for a really great tool to help gauge student authenticity when writing and submitting work, as well as getting a glimpse into HOW the students compose their written assignments.

However, I could see this being used in other ways as well. So what if…

  • You and your student watch the revisions as they occur and note the errors as they are happening in real-time, on a collaborative document together.
  • You could show and explain to parents exactly HOW their child is doing with writing or exactly HOW many revisions they have made (if any).
  • You show your own writing to the class and discuss the corrections and edits you have made while writing and WHY.
  • You had your students conduct a Draftback on their own written work and document/track the revisions/errors/confusions.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Animoto for Simple Video Assignments

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Animoto is a simple web-based program that creates a video from various video clips and photos of your own and syncs it to music, to create a more professional-looking slideshow. Used by professional photographers to create demos of their work, Animoto makes for a very low-barrier way to focus on content and information in a concise manner, without the need to learn all of the nuances of a more elaborate program like iMovie.

You can access Animoto by simply going to www.animoto.com or by installing the Chrome App. After signing up and logging in, Animoto will ask you to pick whether you are creating a slideshow or a marketing video. Then select a theme/style and click create. Once you are in, it is simple enough as clicking the “plus” sign to add images/text/video and arrange them on the timeline.

So what if…

  • You used Animoto as a video to supplement a lesson or as part of a flipped learning unit.
  • Students used Animoto to elaborate on a theme or make connections.
  • You used Animoto to introduce a new unit.
  • Students used Animoto to share information about themselves.
  • Students used Animoto to create a marketing ad.

Check out Animoto today!

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Print Friendly

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If you’re like me, there always comes a time when you want to print something from the web and the version you print, just isn’t what you expected. You get more pages than you expected. The layout is off. You printed an image of a youtube video along with the comments. Luckily, there is an easy fix.

There is a Google Chrome extension called Print Friendly and PDF. All you have to do is add the Chrome extension to your browser, by going to the link above. Next, after finding the website or article from the web that you would like to print, simply click on the extension (green printer icon). The program will load the web page/article that you were on in a more “printer friendly” version. From here you can remove ads, remove navigation, and anything else that is unwanted just by clicking on the things in the document viewer. You could also remove entire paragraphs. This is perfect for those long articles that students may not need to read in their entirety. Another bonus? You can increase font size, convert the web page/ article to PDF, and or share it out via email.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Videonot.es

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Videonot.es is a great tool that will help you AND your students when using video instruction inside and outside of the classroom. Simply, Videonot.es affords students the opportunity to watch a video in one-half of the screen and take notes in a simple text box in the other half of the screen. What is really cool about this program is that as students take notes while the video is playing, Videonot.es synchronizes their notes with the video, timestamping each individual note with a link. For example…

If student A is watching a Youtube video about The Valley of Ashes (from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby) and notes something important at 1:40 of the video- Videonot.es will “timestamp” the note they are creating with the time of the video. If they click on the note they created, it will play that section of the video and highlight their note. Even cooler- Videonot.es syncs with Google Drive. Students can simply go to Videonot.es (that’s the URL) and select “connect to Google Drive”, and it will create a Videonot.es folder in their Drive. They paste the video into the URL search bar at the top and Videonot.es will find the video and load it up. Then they get to work. Once finished, students can save the notes they took (it automatically saves to their drive folder) and then share it out as well (Videonot.es follows the same sharing procedures as Google ).

There is also a Videonot.es app found here. Install this, and you and your students will be able to create/use Videonot.es from directly in their Google Drive. From Drive click “new’ –> “more” –> then find Videonot.es in the list.

This tool is another great way to track student work on flipped videos/lessons. And, as much as I like it for students, it’s useful from the teacher side when previewing a video you plan to show to the students and take your own notes.

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Google Keep Integration

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Google recently updated its Google Keep app and integrated it into Google Docs. If you don’t know what Google Keep is- Keep is a note-taking app built as part of the Google Suite. Unfortunately, it often goes unused as most do not know it is even there, let alone what they can do with it. Users can use keep to take notes, built “to-do” lists, find and save sources/links, archive information, and transfer little notes between your cell phone and your desktop using the Keep App for IOS or AndroidContinue reading

Upcoming Out-of-District Conferences

Here are a few out-of-district conferences that I wanted to share. Each of these conferences is free. However, you may be interested in getting travel reimbursement. If so, you will need to complete the “Request for Professional Leave/ Out-of-District Conference” form in MLP. You can also earn up to 7 PD hours toward the district 21 if you have yet to use these allocated hours.

EDcampAccessNJ 2017

Saturday March 4, 2017 at The College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ.

https://edcampaccessnj.org/

SpEdcampNJ 2017

Saturday April 1, 2017 at Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls, NJ.

http://www.spedcampnj.org/

TeachMeet Pre-Service 2017 

  • This conference is geared toward student-teachers and first/second year teachers.

Saturday March 18, 2017 at Toms River Intermediate South in Beachwood, NJ.

http://www.teachmeetnj.com/

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Fun With Google Search

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We all know Google can do some pretty amazing things, but even Google Search has some tricks up its sleeve.

Go to www.google.com to bring up the Google Search page, then try any of the following “tricks” followed by clicking the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to see something cool happen or… pass some time: ** Do not click on the auto-phrase complete as it may not work! Continue reading