Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Schoology Media Albums

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Often overlooked but quite versatile, Schoology has a built-in option called “Media Albums” when creating assignments. Media Albums are a way to organize photos, videos, and audio files within your Schoology course or group. In order to access this tool first go to your Schoology course. Next, click the materials button in the left navigation –> and Add Materials –> Add Media Album.

A window will popup. Fill out the Media Album form with a title and description. At the bottom, you will notice a few small icons. By default, media albums are set to:

  • Enable comments so members of your course are able to post comments on the media album
  • Allow Instructors and Students to Add Media, or limit this ability to Instructors only
  • Publish the album so that it is visible to the Members of your Course

One you click CREATE, the media album is set. Feel free to upload and add different types of media to it from your hard drive. What is neat is that teachers AND students can post, share, and comment on the added media. So how can we use them in class with our students? What if…

  • students upload pictures of books they’re reading with a short review in the caption
  • students document steps in an experiment during a science lab
  • students use media albums to post field trip photos
  • students post created memes on topics/themes from class
  • students post their artwork in a digital gallery
  • teachers and/or students create digital “gallery walks”
  • students upload pictures to help students better visualize a novel
  • teachers host student presentations

Check it out and see what you think!

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Tech Tip Tuesday: How to Use Your Projector as a Secondary Display for Morning Announcements

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So you’re trying to show the morning announcements but the minute you go to take attendance the video ends up in the background and Genesis ends up front and center. So how can you do both?

Quite simple actually. What we want to do is set our Macbook to use the projector as a “separate display.”

At the top of your desktop window, select the AIRPLAY icon as you normally would. Next, instead of selecting “mirror built-in display” choose USE AS SEPARATE DISPLAY. By selecting this option, you will notice that a) your projector screen is showing a blank version of your desktop wallpaper, and b) your Macbook has its normal current view.

To have the morning announcement populate the projector view, hover over the web browser icon you use in your Dock. Right-click on the browser and select NEW WINDOW. (Reminder: morning announcements need to be shown on Safari, so for this step, you may want to just open Safari instead of a second window on your current browser). A new separate window will pop open. Minimize the window so that you can click and drag it. Next, select the window and drag it toward the right, to the edge of your screen. As you continue to drag it past the edge, the popup window will begin to appear on the projector screen. Keep moving it until it gets centered.

Once you have this where you want, maximize the screen and you are set to open the announcements. As the announcements are playing, feel free to go back to your original window on your Macbook and open Genesis.

This should help you overcome this issue. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Hope this helps.

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Schoology Google Drive Assignments Integration!

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Schoology recently released the new Google Drive Assignments app to make it easier for teachers to assign Google Docs right from within Schoology. Taking a page out of Google Classroom, students are then able to own a copy of the Google Doc that you have attached to the assignment, edit, and submit, all from within Schoology too! And to top it off- you can grade it and leave comments just as you would a normal Google Doc from… all within Schoology!

The best part about this new integration is the seamless fluidity of both platforms (Schoology and Google) working together. You can view, edit, and comment, regardless of which platform you are in. For example: Once the teacher creates the assignment with the Google Doc Integration attached- the student will get a copy of his/her own. They can access it from within Schoology (which loads fully in the webpage and can be edited right there) OR they can open the Google Doc from within their own Google Drive and do the editing there. Doesn’t matter! All changes to the doc will be reflected back on Schoology’s end for you, the teacher, to see.

Here’s how to get this new tool. First, you need to access the Schoology App Center (usually found by clicking home –> then App Center in the left navigation. Scroll and search for Google Drive Assignments –> Click the link –> click Install LTI App –> then designate which courses you want to attach this app too (I recommend choosing all). Once this is done, go to one of your courses, and begin creating an assignment.

When the window opens to create the assignment, you will notice a new button in the center that reads: Assign from App: Google Drive Assignments. Click on the Google Drive Assignments button to open your Google Drive from within Schoology (you may need to allow permission for this to open). Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 12.44.26 PM

Find and select the file you want to attach. Then, go ahead and name this assignment, add a description, include dates, and select a category. You can still embed videos, rubrics, or other media tools into this assignment too! Once the assignment is created, click on it to see how it will open in the new window. The new tool really takes a lot of the guesswork out of attaching and embedding Google Docs as assignments. If you’re a heavy Google Drive user, or plan to be, this app is for you!

I am attaching the directions on using the Google Drive Assignments App from Schoology. Feel free to check it out or reach out to me with further questions.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Back Up Your Files to Google Drive

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As you finish the school year, it’s always a good job to back up your files and take them with you for the summer. If you haven’t been using Google Drive as often as you’d like, using it to back up the files on your computer makes a lot of sense. With this, you can backup all the files on your computer, directly to Google Drive, and have access to these files from anywhere… at any time. Here is how to do this:

The first key is to make sure you are using Google Chrome when uploading your files. Chrome gives you the opportunity to upload entire folders from your hard drive. Other web browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer) may not give you this option.

Next, go to Drive.Google.com or use the Google Drive app from your web browser (not the Google Drive app on your Mac! I will mention this at the end).

Once you’re on Google Drive double check your settings: Click the “settings”/ “gear” icon in your drive located on the right-hand side. Click that –> then click “settings” –> then check the second option called CONVERT and see if it is checked off. By checking this option off, it will take any files you upload and convert them to Google type files (for example: Word will become a Google Doc, Excel will become a Google Sheet, etc. I prefer to have this checked! Next click “done”.

Now, to begin uploading files to your Google Drive click “NEW” –> “File / folder upload”    –> select the file from your hard drive –> then click “UPLOAD”. Google will begin syncing and uploading your files to your Google Drive. Do this as much as you need.

*Pro Tip: Create a Google Drive folder first, then go into the folder you created and THEN upload your files. This way your files will be uploaded directly to this folder and keep your Drive organized.

** The reason I mentioned NOT to use the Google Drive app on your Mac is that this is strictly a sync app. By doing this, it will “drop” files into your Google Drive while keeping the files on your Mac as well as possibly download duplicate copies. This could max your hard drive out.

 

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Backing Up Your Schoology Resources

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We are in the stretch run toward to the end of the year. Now is as good as a time as any to begin organizing your materials and saving them for next year. So what if there was an easy way to do this is Schoology? Have you checked out Schoology’s “Resources” tab?

The Schoology Resources is where you can save all of your stuff to your personal filing cabinet to be reused next year. You have a few options with this. You can save individual assignments, save entire folders of content (great for entire units), and/or save your entire class!

Here is how to do this:

To save your course to your personal resources: Select the course you want to back up –> click “options” –> then “save course to resources”. In the box that follows, leave the collection as “home” and folder as “no folder”. This will then save your ENTIRE course and ALL of the assignments/materials within to your personal resources folder. Depending on the size of your course and number of files within, this may take a few minutes. Wait it out. To see your course and all of its content once backed up go to the “Resources” tab at the top –> select “Personal” –> and you should see the course folder on the right.

To save an individual folder or assignment to your personal resources: Select the course that you want to back up an individual folder of contents or individual assignment/material from. Select the “gear” icon to the right of the folder/assignment –> then “save to resources”. In the box that follows, leave the collection as “home” and folder as “no folder”. This will then save your folder with all of the contents within OR the individual assignment/material to your personal resources folder. To see your folder or the individual assignment go to the “Resources” tab at the top –> select “Personal” –> and you should see the course folder on the right.

To retrieve your course/folder/assignment next year: Select the “Resources” tab at the top –> then select “Personal”. Once you find your course/folder/assignment in the list to the right, select the “gear” icon to the right of it –> then select “add to course” –> then choose the course you want to add it to. This will copy and add this folder/assignment to your new course next year. What is great is that all of the contents within/settings etc will be moved as well. So if you had an entire unit worth of work in your resources folder in a particular order, it will copy it directly over. The only thing that is not saved to your resources or brought back to the new course is any student work/submissions.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Coggle.it

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Coggle.it is a great online “brainstorming” or “bubble” tool that makes for a great way for students to generate ideas and share complex information.  Coggle.it lets users create “bubble” that are posted to a board with text, images, or links.  Further, with Coggle, users can connect these “thoughts” to others to make connections. Simply go to Coggle.it, select sign up here, then use the Google single sign-in to register.

Taking a page out of Google’s platform, some other great features include being able to collaborate live on a document, leave comments, managing the public or private share settings, and being able to present the information in a fullscreen mode OR download and print it. I also like that your participants do not need a login to join the room. Finally, I like that Coggle.it simply saves your information as you go!

I used Coggle.it to create a map of the 4 C’s and the various edtech tools that are out there and where they fall in these 4 categories.  So what if …

  • Students made text-text, text-world, text-self connections during reading?
  • Students researched their lineage to create a family tree?
  • Teachers collaborated on a Coggle.it as part of evidence during a PLC?
  • Teachers documented evidence/examples as part of an ongoing SGO?
  • Students selected a topic of study to analyze during a reading and mapped the progression throughout the text?
  • Students created a mindmap as part of a social media campaign along with infographics, etc?
  • Students created a sociogram- a graphic organizer that maps relationships between people and can connections – both obvious and subtle? Perfect for a History or English class.

Hope this helps!

 

Tech Tip Tuesday- No Photoshop? No Problem- Try Sumopaint or Pixlr

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As we begin to shift to life without Adobe, I figured now is as good as ever to share two apps/programs that I think will help replace the loss of Photoshop, should you need that sort of editing program.

SumoPaint looks and feels almost exactly like Photoshop and requires no sign-up. This is a browser-based app that simply runs off flash in your web browser. Simply go to sumopaint.com. I have tested it myself (for what it’s worth) and found that it is stable and loads fairly well. There are obviously features found in PhotoShop that you won’t find here, but this is probably the closest to being a direct PhotoShop clone that I have found. Image layering effects are also there. I was able to crop myself out of a photo and drop me on a beach in Bora Bora…

The second tool is called Pixlr. Pixlr is an online photo editor that is another PhotoShop alternative. As with Sumopaint, Pixlr works in your browser. Just go to https://pixlr.com OR use the Google Chrome App found here. What’s nice is this program also offers some advanced image editing and effect tools and works decently well on your phone/tablet!

Combine the two and I think this will help ease the loss of PhotoShop.

Hope that helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Create Copies of Google Docs With a Simple Add-on

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One of the things to remember, when sharing Google Docs with others (especially students) is to only share documents as “view only”. This will save your document from being edited or deleted by the other user.

However- what if you teach multiple sections of the same class over the course of the day? Instead of making multiple copies of one document to send out to each of these classes, what if you could make a duplicate of any Google doc, sheet, slide, or drawing, for each of these classes?

There is an add-on by Alice Keeler called Copydocs that will do just that! Simply follow the link above to get this add-on and for directions on how to use it! Each class is named in the document title to help manage the correct documents for the correct class.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Wizer.me for Digital Worksheets

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Wizer.me is a free website where you can create digital “worksheets” built to engage and track student progress. This site makes great use of SAMR levels 1 and 2 (Substitution and Augmentation). As a teacher, you can embed a number of key features in your digital worksheet such as:

  • Video clips/ Youtube
  • Audio
  • Images
  • a variety of question types such as multiple choice, open-ended, fill in the blank, matching, sorting, etc.

Another added feature is that you can embed various other tools within Wizer.me such as Quizlet, Thinglink, Google Maps/Slides/Docs/Sheets, and a plethora of others just by using the embed code as you would with Schoology.

Interested in Wizer.me? Just head over to www.wizer.me  and select signup. Then use the Google Single Sign-in.  Once in, you can begin creating your “worksheet” from a variety of templates and themes/colors. Click to insert question types or tasks (found at the bottom). Once you are finished you can use the 1-click feature to share your assignment with students or post to Schoology (or embed within a material). You can even have Wizer.me auto-grade for you or you can check the responses individually.

Hope this helps!

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!