Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Keeping Student Work!

In the previous post, there are directions for archiving your Google Classroom for future reference. While I went through this process with my previous classes, I looked around my classroom at all the student work  piled up on shelves, overflowing from cabinets, and collecting dust on counter tops. I realized two things;

First, my classroom is a mess and needs some organization overhauling.

Second, I wondered if there was a better way to archive student work.

Then, my new fancy S4 caught my eye.  I had a great idea, I could take video and describe the work to create a video archive, I also thought of becoming the photography I always wanted to be and take tons of pictures to make a digital archive. Then I decided to do what I do best, let me ask Google for ideas.

Sure enough, Google prevailed and I stumbled across Richard Bryne's blog all about this exact idea. The blog has great ideas for using iPad apps, the only thing is I don't have an iPad, nor do I want one. (This is a topic for a larger debate.) However, I think Skitch will help do what I want and let me use my S4 for more than playing music. Thanks to Mr. Bryne's blog, I found a great tool to aid me with de-cluttering my classroom while being able to continue hoarding student work. I'll just fill up yet another Dropbox account instead of over-stuffing my classroom.  I'll become a digital hoarder rather than a physical hoarder...not sure what is better, but at least my classroom will be clear.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Archive Classes in Google Classroom

Those of us who are secondary educators on a block schedule, are wrapping up the first semester...but, what do we do with all those Google Classrooms we made, and what do we do with the student work? Most teachers are "student work hoarders." Meaning that, we like to save everything we've done with a class, for various reasons. Sometimes, you have great student work you'd like to reference later, or sometimes you have an amazing assignment that you'd like to reuse, for whatever reason, we often save everything. Usually, to the point where all our file cabinets are overflowing. With the help of Google we are reducing our paper trail, yet we still want to save our work. So here is how to Archive your old Google Classroom page.

1) Log into Google Classroom
2) On your "Home" page, locate the classroom you want to archive.
3) Click the three dots in the right-hand corner of the classroom and select archive.

4) You'll see this "warning." Select "ARCHIVE"

Once archived, you'll have a new menu option nestled under "home" called "Archived Classes."
You will still be able to see the classroom, and access student work, however, "you won't be able to make changes."  (Hence the warning that pops up.)

Once you open the archived class, you can still view everything, and there are options to restore the classroom if you need to make changes.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Search Ted Talks from Chromebook File Manager

Since my last post was a novel, here is a nice quick and easy tip.

You can peruse Ted Talks through the local file manager on your Chromebook with this extension. The catch is, your Chromebook needs to be running the beta or dev versions. Which, is fairly easy to switch over, even if they are managed by your technology department. If you're not sure what version you are running type this into the Omnibox in chrome; chrome://version. The top line will display the version and build. Here is a sample of mine...This sample is from my laptop running Linux Mint 17.1. However, my Chromebook is also running the dev. version. (the Chromebook is streaming Netflix at the moment.)

To change your chrome channel  follow the directions from Google, listed here. If your Chromebook is managed by the technology department, just ask one of them to change it for you, there should be no reason to not at least update you to beta.

Final Exam Portfolio's with Google Drive.

As a secondary level educator, it is inevitable that my students will have to take some type of "final exam." Apparently. I am a rare breed in my neck of the woods, as far as viewing this "final" culminating assessment as a way to prove without a doubt that students mastered the content, instead of a massive regurgitation exercise that shows how well students memorize and recall information they're told they need to know. Every year my culminating assessment takes a different flavor. One year it was a lab practicum, one year it was a collection of thought experiments, another year it was a TED-talk like presentation...this year there will be three parts to the assessment. First,  I plan to use Google Drive and Google Classroom for students to "host" a portfolio of work that can serve as evidence to prove mastery of specific content. The portfolio will include various reflective prompts that will require students to dig deep into their inner learning and rate their own mastery of the content.  The second part of the exam will challenge students to access their inner Earth Science STEAM brains to create a solution to a local Earth Science themed problem using limited resources. The third part will require students to peer review their work. How will all this work you ask? Let's start with the portfolio.

The First Part: Host a portfolio on Google drive.

Students will be required to select appropriate documents, that meet specific criteria to serve as evidence for their learning. They will be expected to organize a domain public folder with a document that defends their evidence as proof for their understanding. Students will also have the bonus option to customize a generic index.html file that can be edited using Drive Notepad to serve as a landing page for their work. (A separate standard will be amended to the assessment to rate their mastery if they choose to use HTML)

Part Two: Inner STEAM Challenge

For this section, students will be presented with three local scenario's that are related to Earth Science. They will be required to design and propose a solution to one scenario. The scenarios will be presented in such a way that students have to use Earth Science concepts and scientific thinking to be able to develop a plausible solution. The solution will demonstrate mastery of specific concepts, contain visuals/schematic plans where necessary for appropriate apparatuses, and be presented through formal proposal writing.

Part Three: Peer Review

Grading is a significant part of teaching, but how can we make grading easier? For this assessment, I'm turning to my students to help take the edge off the massive amounts of grading following this assessment. Students will participate in a peer review activity, where they will politely critique portfolio's and STEAM solutions. This peer review won't be the end all be all of arriving at a grade, however, it will significantly help me streamline my efforts. This peer review session will use the grading rubrics, retrofitted into a Google form to quickly gather student data that I can use as reference while I review students' work.

With the help of Google Drive, Google Forms, and Google Classroom my students will be presented with a unique culminating assessment that will prove the opportunity for them to prove their understanding on multiple levels.