Add Spark to Student Presentations

Welcome Meadow View teacher and guest writer Rose Peck!

By Rose Peck

My language arts classes recently used the spark.adobe online graphic design app to create “book trailers” as a book report project. This is the best free option I have found to help students quickly make successful videos. We used our Chromebooks and students needed very little guidance as the app is fairly intuitive and has good tutorials.

The video animations can be used in place of slideshows and have the option to add music. Students were very proud of their finished products!

Other offerings from spark.adobe are social graphics and web stories. Here are some Spark resources:

Welcome to Adobe Spark
Cnet Review of Spark
Educators’ Guide to Adobe Spark


Basic Technology Skills Survey

Here are the March 2017 results of the Basic Technology Skills Survey completed by Prairie Mountain licensed staff.

Prairie Mountain teachers, as a group, show excellent technology skills. Out of a total possible score of 168, scores ranged from 85 to 164 with a mean score of 133 and a median score of 139. These will be interesting numbers when we gather data from other schools, but they don’t give us much direction.

What is a bit more interesting is looking at the responses to specific questions. Here are some examples that show PM staff technology strengths and also some areas where we’ve not done a very good job of training staff. Continue reading “Basic Technology Skills Survey”

Using Google Forms to Check It Out

Google Apps for Education continues to add features that help classroom teachers. Here Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers shows you how to use a Google Forms Add-on called “Check It Out”. Creating a Google Form with this Add-on gives you the ability to have students, staff or parents check out resources and check them back while keeping all things organized in a Google spreadsheet. Very clever. Continue reading “Using Google Forms to Check It Out”

Adding Your Picture to Your Google Account

When you login to your Google account, you’ll see a logo in the upper right-hand corner. Unless you’ve changed that image, it will be the first letter of your first name, “T” in the Test Student’s case. If you are viewing a document at the same time as other users, you’ll see a string of such images indicating who is viewing the document. But in a meeting of more than 5 people, this can be confusing: T, B, R, L, T, D and L might not be very helpful.

You can replace the letter with your mugshot so people can clearly identify who you are and who wrote that so very clever tongue-in-check comment about punctuation!.?* I’d be happy to send you a copy of your mugshot we use for your email. Continue reading “Adding Your Picture to Your Google Account”

Google Speaks Up with Voice Typing

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 10.57.27 AMTwenty years ago I remember telling a friend that in just a couple years computers won’t need keyboards.It has taken a long time for this to happen, much longer than I had naively suggested. But now it seems like we really might be there.

Last fall Google introduced Voice Typing. Voice Typing allows you to speak into your computer and see the results appear in your Google document. I’m recording this blog post right now by using Voice Typing and a Google Doc. It works with multiple languages including Spanish. También funciona con múltiples idiomas, incluyendo español. (See full translation here.) Continue reading “Google Speaks Up with Voice Typing”

Creating Animated Movies with an iPad

4 year old Theo creates his first animated movie.

The iPad and animation are made for each other. Long gone are the days of video cameras or, gasp, 8 mm movies. With the iPad and the free app Lego Movie Maker, anyone can be the next animation sensation. Here are a few things to know before you start.

Creating animation is a learned skill. Helping students understand how it all works is critical to successfully creating animated movies. Teachers or parents can help children understand the basics by having them build simple animation devices like thaumatropes, flip cards, window shades, flipbooks and zoetropes. You’ll find how-to instructions for all of these here: Basic Animation. Continue reading “Creating Animated Movies with an iPad”

What’s New with Google Classroom

whatsnewAs with all things Google, change is always in the air and Google Classroom is no exception. Since the last BiTE post, Google has updated the Classroom grading process.

The Student Work Page allows you to follow students’ progress and, once an assignment is turned in, grade it and return it to the student. You can see the number of student who have submitted work and a list of students who have and have not turned in an assignment. You can even see thumbnails of a student’s work.

You can add private comments to a student’s work or a comment for  the whole class.

Grades can be exported as csv files and then opened in or added to a Google Sheet.

Here’s a What’s New in Google Classroom page to bookmark with more specific information and some step-by-steps.



Google’s Share to Classroom Extension

googleclassroomGoogle Classroom is a great online environment for you and your students. Whether you have Chromebooks in your classroom, iPads in your classroom, scheduled weekly lab time for students or students with home access to the Internet, Google Classroom can make your instructional technology more meaningful and easier to use. Here are two good places to start: Google Classroom 101 and Getting Started with Google Classroom

And now Google has added Classroom Sharing. Read this short article written by a teacher using this Chrome  extension: Continue reading “Google’s Share to Classroom Extension”

Sketchnoting or Visual Note-Taking

sketchnoting What is sketchnoting?

Sketchnoting, or visual note-taking, combines words and images to record information you are hearing, reading or remembering. Sketchnoting is a great way for students, and teachers too, to increase recall and understanding of information. And, although this can be done using iPads, it might be better if you started with just paper and pencils. Remember, sketchnoting isn’t a drawing exercise. Any one can do it.

How can I learn/teach sketchnoting?

How should I start? Continue reading “Sketchnoting or Visual Note-Taking”

Showbie: the Way to Submit

By Guest Contributor Erin Moss

iPads are a wonderful inclusion in the classroom, but at times finding ways for students to submit work can get a bit overwhelming. If you haven’t tried the Showbie App, it will change your class workflow issues immediately. And it’s FREE, easy to use & set-up.

I had my students using numerous apps for various purposes, but didn’t always have an easy way for students to get their assignment to me to view, grade, or leave comments. It’s not very handy having 35 iPads turned in on my desk to review. Then, Showbie came into my life. Continue reading “Showbie: the Way to Submit”