Nov 29

Create Surveys and Graded Quizzes with Google Drive

By:Teach Amazing

goog“Using Google apps such as Google Forms and Google Sheets (spreadsheet similar to Microsoft Excel) is free and easy. These tools combine to provide and excellent way to receive feedback and even distribute self-graded quizzes.

As of the date of this post, Google has updated the look of Google Drive and moved things around. So, even if you have done this before make sure you read this post to find out where everything is.

Step 1: Access Google Drive

Step 2: Create a Google Form

  • To create a new form, which can be used as a survey or a quiz, click New > More > Google Forms.”

To read further please click here:

Nov 29

5 Things Teachers Can Learn From Video Games

vldeo in educationBy:Alice Keeler

“Players of video games learn how to strategize and how to perform sometimes complex actions in order to achieve a goal. I believe we can all learn to engage students through studying video games. Here are 5 things we can learn from video games and adapt to the classroom.

1) Players Do Not Read Directions
In school we tend to give students the notes and then ask them to practice. Players of video games rarely read the directions first, they just jump in. The games themselves typically have some scaffolds to help the player learn the game; however, players typically dive in and probably die right away.

As teachers we can provide an opportunity for students to experiment with and explore what they need to learn before we tell them what they need to know. Sometimes students will take their learning much further than we had planned when we give them room to try things out first.” To read further please click here:

Nov 29

Step by Step: Designing Personalized Learning Experiences For Students

By:Katrina Schwartz

special ed“The phrase “personalized learning” gets tossed around a lot in education circles. Sometimes it’s used in the context of educational technology tools that offer lessons keyed to the academic level of individual students. Other times it’s referring to the personal touch of a teacher getting to know a student, learning about their interests and tailoring lessons to meet both their needs and their passion areas. As with most education jargon, the phrase isn’t fixed, but it usually connects to the idea that not all students need the same thing at the same time. It implies choice, multiple pathways to learning, many ways to demonstrate competency and resists the notion that all students learn the same way.

Educator Mia MacMeekin has put together a clear infographic highlighting some of the ways teachers design “personalized” curriculum.” To read further please click here:

Nov 29

Data-Driven Teaching Opens New Pathways for Learning

By: Eric Patroudes

classroom 6“How many times have you heard that some districts are making data-driven decisions or using research-based practices to announce a new initiative or request funding for the latest silver bullet in education?

Because of misconceptions about data or a lack of understanding about how it can be used to make strategic and well-planned decisions, many are unwilling to denounce data.

On the other hand, ever since Edward Snowden exposed spying on Americans by the National Security Agency, the rhetoric on the use of data has struck fear into the minds of parents nationwide. According to InformationWeek editor David Carr, many privacy advocates fear that “education data gathered together in a big national pool could be misused, or hacked or leaked in some inappropriate way.”

As in all areas of life — from politics to religion to education — there’s danger when something is not used for its intended purpose. However, it would be ignorant and irresponsible to dismiss the use of data in education without fully understanding the potential upside when it’s used appropriately.” To read further please click here:

Nov 29

How Raspberry Pi Can Be Used In The Classroom


RaspberryPiWhat is Raspberry Pi, and how is it currently being used in education?

Raspberry Pi is a tiny, credit card sized computer; you simply connect a mouse, keyboard and monitor, add an SD card and you have a fully-functional machine. Schools across the country are starting to use the Pi as a means of teaching children about programming, hardware and networking, all of which are part of the new national curriculum.

What kind of kit would a teacher need to get started?
For one set-up, you will need a Raspberry Pi which costs around £20. The Pi requires a USB keyboard and mouse, and you might need a VGA to HDMI adapter depending on the type of monitors your school has. You will probably already have most of the kit you need available in your classroom. Of course, there are other parts you can buy to make your Pi even more exciting, ranging from a fancy case to keep it in, to breadboards, LEDs, cameras and other electronics kit – even motion sensors” To read further please click here:

Nov 28

How To Integrate iPads With The New Google Classroom

By:  Greg Kulowiec

ipads8With the recent announcement that Google Classroom will be available to all Google Apps for Education schools by the week of August 11th, schools that have also adopted iPads are interested in exploring the platform to determine if it will integrate into their existing deployment to provide a helpful and approachable workflow solution.

While there are currently a number of workflow solutions and Learning Management Systems that work well with iPads, Google Classroom will likely become a top contender for iPad classrooms because of the integration with both the Google Drive and Google Docs iPad apps as well as any number of iPad creativity apps. While there is not an iPad app for Google Classroom, the web interface works seamlessly and allows students to turn in any assignment or file that is in their Google Drive account as illustrated by the video below.

 Why Use iPads With Google Classroom:

  • Students access Google Classroom through the web on iPad. This means that no additional apps need to be installed or updated.
  • Any assignment created and distributed by the teacher that is a Google Document or Spreadsheet will automatically bump students to the Google Docs or Spreadsheet app for completion when they click on their individual file within the Google Classroom web interface.

To read further please click here:

Nov 28

6 Apps To Build Algebra Skills

By: Laura Devaney

“These algebra tools could become students’ go-to resources

algebra-skillsMany students begin school with a love of math, but stumble when they reach algebra. With the increasing prevalence of mobile learning, though, on-demand apps and resources can help students stay on top of their algebra lessons.

Here, we’ve gathered a handful ofalgebra apps summarized on, an app resource site with more than 6,000 apps in more than 300 subcategories.

[Editor’s note: eSchool News has not reviewed these apps, which were originally curated by Apple Distinguished Educators, but has selected some that may help you meet your instructional needs.]

1. Factor Race, $0.99
Begin at the starting gate with a race car. Move around the track to the finish line as you factor equations correctly. When you complete each level you earn a better race car. Ready, Get it correct, Zoooooommmm!

Factor Race is a game where the player must identify the binomial factors of trinomial equations For example, factoring x2+x-2 into (x-1)(x+2). The game uses logic to develop cognitive math skills. The touch mechanic of the game engages children in a hand-on learning process, implementing kinesthetic learning. The game incorporates mathematical problems attuned to binomial and trinomial factoring, based upon problems from textbook materials.”To read further please click here:

Nov 28

Computer Science Classes for Kids Becoming Mandatory

By: Kathy Pretz

codess“Reading, writing, arithmetic, and coding: That’s the new curriculum in England’s public schools. England became the first country in the European Union to mandate computer science classes for all children between the ages of 5 and 16, starting with this school year. Depending on their age, students are getting lessons on algorithms, debugging programs, and coding in languages such as Java.

Meanwhile, some schools in Estonia are teaching programming to pupils as young as 6. Programming is scheduled to become part of the curriculum in Finland starting in 2016. Italy, Singapore, and other countries are working on changing their curricula.

There are several reasons behind such efforts. As the world becomes more dependent on computers, some countries want their youngsters to better understand software. Others say digital literacy and informatics (the British term for information science) are essential components of a modern education, and failing to teach such skills will harm their country’s economy. Many also say that teaching students to code is the first step in getting them interested in pursuing careers in the information, computing, and technology (ICT) fields.

Another factor is pressure from high-tech companies, which are demanding countries change what they teach to address the growing shortage of people with ICT skills.” To read further please click here:

Nov 27

How to Help Extroverts Thrive in the Classroom

By: Leah Levy

extrovertt“Over the past several years, there has been a great effort in the popular media to redeem the term “introversion” from something that almost feels pathological to a valid manner of processing world — one that teachers, colleagues, family members and friends should encourage and embrace. We’ve done so ourselves here at Edudemic, and for good reason: the traditional classroom tends to validate extroverts far more than introverts, and it’s important that we even the scales.

But that’s not to say that extroverted learners don’t have their own unique needs in the classroom. After all, the extroverted tendency towards socialization and experience can be their own downfall if it leads to distraction throughout the school day. What’s more, there are many aspects of learning that necessarily draw on more introverted skills, like sitting at a desk and reading quietly, and extroverts may require extra coaching in these areas. And as many within the extrovert-introvert discourse have pointed out, few students (or teachers, for that matter) are all one or the other all of the time. Rather, introversion and extroversion lie on continuums that one given student will slide up and down throughout the day. As such, it’s best for everybody involved when teachers account for both processing styles throughout the day.” To read further please click here:

Nov 27

Google Classroom: Indicate Templates Attached

By: Alice Keeler

google classroomsGoogle Classroom is a great way to share resources, assignment directions and Google Docs templates with students. One issue with Google Classroom is that attached templates are visible in the assignment submission side of Classroom, but not on the students visible stream. When creating a description in Google Classroom for an assignment it is recommended that you also describe what resources the students will be accessing through Classroom and also to mention if there is a template provided.

Building Lesson Sets

When building a lesson set in Google Classroom you can attach a variety of file types. When the student views the assignment in their stream they will see the YouTube videos you linked, any URL links you provided and any documents that the students can view or edit.” To read further please click here:

Nov 27

MyBackpack for Early Learning on iPads

By: Monica Burns

ipadsssMyBackpack is a new iPad app that let’s students access Waterford Early Learning software from an iPad.  With this app children ages four and younger can can sing and read along with interactive nursery rhymes.  Older students can read, listen and sing along with 16 traditional tales books and 35 reading, math and science songs.  Kids can practice and drill their math skills with the game Mental Math.” To read further please click here:

Nov 26

Using Sway in Primary Schools

By:Andrew Robertson

KATHY cassidy“At primary level, I think it’s fair to say that one of teachers’ principle roles is to inspire young learners and sow the all-important seeds of curiosity to explore and learn. We all know how well young children respond to homework or class work that involves a practical and creative element, whether that’s using role play to understand a new concept, or drawing illustrations to develop writing skills.

Technology is right up there with acting and colouring-in crayons, due to its ‘fun’ association and familiarity. I’m therefore very eager to see how the latest Office app, Sway will fare with primary learners.

Create presentations using Sway

Sway will essentially enable students to illustrate and express their ideas in a fun, interactive way and then very simply share them with their classmates, teacher and parents. To read further please click here:

Nov 26

Excellent Activities and Lesson Ideas on Using Explain Everything in Class

By: Med Kharbach

explainsExplain Everything Lesson Ideas is a short interactive guide that offers a wide variety of ideas and tips on how to use Explain Everything app with students in class. It actually outlines 6 basic activities that span different age ranges and subjects: Literacy, Science, Mathematics, and History. These activities are designed to help students leverage the power of this app to think in new ways. They also help them take a creative approach to applying and demonstrating what they are learning.” To read further please click here:

Nov 25

Google Classroom: Office Hours or Video Tutoring

By:Alice Keeler

google classroom“If you are using Google Classroom you may want to consider adding a permalink to a Google Hangout (GHO) onto the “About” section of Google Classroom. This creates a permanent video call that you can use for office hours, to schedule informal meetings with students or for having tutoring hours.
In Google Classroom there are 3 sections: STREAM, STUDENTS, and ABOUT. The 3rd section allows you to post information about the class in general along with materials such as the syllabus, link to the classroom or school website, office hours and tutoring.” To read further please click here:

Nov 25

How To Handle Students Who Lie And Deny

By: Michael Linsin

disruptive students“While observing your class gather materials for a science experiment, you notice a student kicking the heels of the boy in front of them.

But because you’re in the good habit of letting misbehavior play out, you decide to watch a bit longer before jumping in.You see the boy turn and ask the student to stop.After a brief pause, however, the student resumes the practice. You mentally record every move, and as soon as they sit down, you approach.

The student sees you coming and before you can even get all the words out (“I saw you kicking Darren and—”), they begin aggressively denying.

“That’s not true! I didn’t do anything. Oh my gosh! I wasn’t kicking anyone.”

Your first inclination is to refute the student’s claims, to prove that you’re right and they’re wrong.

“Yes, you were. I saw you with my own eyes from across the room. Now stop lying and take responsibility for your actions.”” To read further please click here:

Nov 24

25 top ways teachers use Twitter in the classroom

By:Jeff Dunn

twitteratschoolgraphic“Figuring out how to turn your standard classroom into a high-functioning connected classroom that lets students learn like never before is, well, incredibly difficult. You need to review education websites, consult with colleagues, ask questions, confer with school leaders, and work with all your various constituents. From parents to teachers to students, bringing tech into education is usually a steep STEEP uphill slog.

And that’s just working to bring ANY technology into your classroom. What about when you want to actually allow students to use social networks like Twitter to enhance their learning? That’s a whole other can of worms.

As gross as it may sound, we’ve worked with those cans of worms before. We know what education technology integration requires and how to best make it a reality. That’s why we’ve actually started offering a few education consulting services through Evil Ventures, a new offering with an evil name but only good intentions. Check it out if you’re looking to bring in an education expert to help you on your path to a connected classroom.

Since most classrooms have a budget somewhere in the negative digits, we wanted to share some of our favorite ways teachers use Twitter in the classroom right now. They are all based on previous experiences and demonstrate an array of ways teachers are effectively integrating social media into education.” To read further please click here:

Nov 23

Google Forms: Daily Sign In

By:Alice Keeler

google forms“Each class I ask my students to fill out a Google Form to check into class. I also ask the students to provide a link to their digital portfolio where they post all of their work and I ask them for “Comments/Questions/Concerns/Compliments” so I can respond to them personally. Recently I have added a rating scale of their comfort level in the class. This has really helped me to better target the students “To read further please click here:

Nov 23

Three iPad Apps for Creating Multimedia eBooks

By: Richard Byrne

story_creator“One of my favorite things about iPads and the web in general is the ease with which anyone can create a multimedia product. Teachers can create and organize multimedia reference materials for students and students can create multimedia products to show off their ideas. The following three iPad apps allow you and your students to create multimedia ebooks.

Story Creator is a free iPad app that makes it easy to create narrated picture books on your iPad. To create a narrated picture book on Story Creator start by inserting a picture as your book’s cover. To create a page just tap the “+” icon and import a picture, draw a picture, type some text, or do all three. After completing one or all three of those previous actions tap the microphone icon to record your narration. After making your recording you can quickly adjust it so that each word of text is highlighted to match the timing of your narration.” To read further please click here:


Nov 23

Coding In The Classroom: How Teachers Are Learning To Code

By:Guest Author

Web Programming Development“Like a slow moving barge, the discussions around teaching students to code have remained afloat, drifting slowly towards a far away destination for many years. Although there is still progress to be made to achieve the goals of code fluency, current activities indicate that significant change is happening and thankfully, on a global scale.

In recent years, things have started to pick up speed. Steve Jobs of course was a passionate advocate of everybody, everywhere learning computer programming as a vital way to train us in new approaches to thinking. New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg made some waves in 2012 when he declared his new year’s resolution to be to learn to write code. Celebrities have started to pop up in various campaigns and the momentum is building.

The endorsement of code literacy’s importance is nowhere more welcome than through governments. Countries such as Singapore, the UK, and the US have made the news as they stood up and showed it was firmly on their agenda and in the places where it matters most – in schools.”To read further please click here:

Nov 23

8 fundamental Internet lessons to teach your kids

By: Jilian Kumagai

internet“With two things as rapidly changing as the Internet and a child’s development, sometimes safety settings aren’t enough.

Besides built-in precautions like Google SafeSearch, what should parents teach their children about the Internet, and when’s the right time to start?

According to Amy Morin,’s child discipline expert and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, these lessons should start “right from the get-go.”

“The overall lesson is that the Internet can be a wonderful tool and doesn’t necessarily have to be dangerous, but that bad things can happen,” Morin says.

Chronological age and developmental age — a child’s psychological maturity — can differ from one another, so Morin emphasizes having continual conversations according to “whatever conversation is developmentally appropriate.”

As a grade-schooler, that means acknowledging the Internet has adult content and not to open up sites that Mom or Dad  hasn’t opened already, while middle schoolers should know how to handle cyberbullying and pornography, as well as how much information about themselves should be kept off the Internet or hidden under privacy settings.” To read further please click here:

Nov 22

Create Killer Presentations with Explain Everything

By:Ann Elliot

explain everythingExplain Everything is a whiteboard and screencasting app that makes creating interactive lessons a simple proposition. Its full-featured editing options and its import/export functions allow it to stand apart from the other competitors I tested. Read on to find out why the Explain Everything app’s educational focus, adaptability, and user engagement make it the best its kind.

Explain Everything Review

Background: According to MorrisCooke, the force behind Explain Everything, the app is a “unique interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool used by over 1.5 million students and educators.” The app’s tools allow users to create lessons, presentations, and tutorials to share in person or electronically. Users can annotate, narrate, and animate material, importing and exporting information to and from nearly everywhere.

The app is recommended for grades 7-12, but teachers of lower grades may still benefit from the app by using it to liven up lessons. Explain Everything is available for the iPad, Android devices, and Windows devices. Users can download the latest version of the app for $2.99 in the Apple App Store for iOS devices or on Google Play for Android devices.” To read further please click here:

Nov 22

Rethinking Assessment: How to Maintain Objectivity

By:  Mark Barnes

exams“Assessment of learning needs to be objective. Teachers should attempt to eliminate as much subjectivity as possible.

Calling student activities “good,” “bad,” “weak,” or “nifty” brings opinion into the assessment process, which isn’t to suggest that opinion is not important. However, the most important opinions are the ones teachers often ignore–the opinions of  our students.

For a long time, I thought assessment was about grades–which also meant my opinion played the most significant role. After many years of assigning numbers and letters to students’ work, I spent an important summer researching the practice and realized that grading and assessing were two completely different things.” To read further please click here:

Nov 22

Teachers: Do less to achieve more

By: Harry Webb

stribbell-connecting-with-parents-460x345“Do you think that we should cut out all of the pointless things that we do as teachers so that we may focus on the stuff that’s important; the stuff that makes a difference? Well, if you do then you are not alone. I have heard this sentiment expressed many times by exasperated educators and I am sure that I will continue to hear it in the future. The trouble is that it is leads us nowhere; an easy yet surprisingly empty sentiment that solves no problems.

If we really want to become more focused then we have a greater challenge on our hands. I remember when the penny dropped for me and it took Dylan Wiliam to dislodge it. The fact is that everything we do, we do for a reason. Every last one of us could sing that interminable Bryan Adams, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, theme to our students and mean it. Very little of what we occupy our time with is pointless and, where it is, it’s probably not a huge factor in our work. The work that fills our days, evenings, weekends and holidays is all likely to impact on our students. I am referring to planning, assessment and following-up behaviour issues. Yes, diabolical managers sometimes devise excruciating procedures that are inefficient – I accept that – but they are rarely pointless. And this is why we need to focus more on efficiency.” To read further please click here:

Nov 22

4 Coding Apps For Kindergarten and Elementary School

By:Graphite by Common Sense Media

scratch junior“Common Sense Media’s service Graphite, which offers independent ratings and reviews of learning apps and websites, has compiled this list of apps to get young students started on the road to coding. For complete reviews, and for each app’s “Learning Rating,” visit the Graphite website.

Grades: K through 2
Price: Free
Concepts: Digital creation, logic, combining knowledge
ScratchJr‘s icon-driven interface is a good fit when the goal is introducing kids to programming concepts without all the complex programming. The interface does take some time to figure out: It’s not as simple as handing the program to a classroom of kids, but with a little teacher guidance, ScratchJr offers a rich and challenging environment for very young programmer.” To read further please click here:

Nov 21

7 Ways to Deal With Digital Distractions in the Classroom

By: Leah Levy

distractions“Some call today’s students “digital natives.” Others call them the “distracted generation.” Whichever term you prefer, it’s clear they’re both far more than labels: they capture the core conflict many of us involved in education — educators, parents, and even students — feel about the use of technology in the classroom.

To educators who embrace new technologies wholeheartedly, digital devices are a powerful tool for creating an engaged and individualized educational experience. To those that are a little more hesitant, digital devices seem more like a quick route to Instagram and Facebook — that is, to distractions that interfere with the educational experience, rather than boosting it. Most educators, however, believe both of these things at once and to varying degrees throughout the day, based on the types of classes and resources available to them, and, really, what time it is.

Within this debate, there’s only one thing that’s crystal clear: digital technology in the classroom is here to stay, whether it’s provided directly by the school or used surreptitiously by students on the sly. The question is not, “Should we allow digital devices in the classroom?”, it’s “Now that they’re here, how can we prevent digital devices from becoming a distraction?” Let’s take a look.” To read further please click here:

Nov 21

How have teacher workloads changed over the past 25 years?

By:Sarah Marsh
preping“Teachers, who have been in the profession for more than two decades, reflect on how the stresses and strains of the job have changed. Talk to any teacher and they’ll tell you about their working week of 50 hours or more, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said last month.

His words came as he called for teachers to say what unnecessary tasks they do and how the “runaway train of bureaucracy” might be reined back.

We’ve been exploring how teachers can gain a better work-life balance, and as part of that we set out to find out how workloads have changed over the past few decades. How have the pressures of the job changed and why? Here’s what teachers, who have been in the profession for more than 25 years, told us:

The advent of email has increased workloads – but it has benefits

Although email existed when I started teaching, we didn’t use it. At John Lyon School in Harrow, my post in 1993, each teacher had a pigeon hole, big enough to take a standard A4 file. Communication was by memo (and conversation) but one’s pigeon hole was, in a sense, today’s inbox.” To read further please click here:

Nov 21

Giving Parents a Voice in a 1:1 or BYOD Environment

By:Mr Hooker

BYOD“Our focus in education has always (or at least should always) been on the kids.  They are the reasons the school building exists.  However, we’ve blurred the lines in modern education between school and home. Once you start inviting technology into your school (via BYOD) or you start supplying the technology (via 1:1) you instantly put some pressure on parents to not only comply but be on board.

Where most districts fail (and where we failed initially) is that thinking a “parent night” type meeting or newsletter would be enough to notify parents of this disruptive change. I use the word “disruptive” here not as hyperbole, but to really drive home the point that many parents are not ready for the digital world that lies ahead for their teens.  Whether you are doing any type of mobile device initiative or not, there NEEDS to be conversations taking place on your campuses about this from elementary through high school.

I feel like as a district, we’ve improved from the unidirectional communication methods to more of a collaborative conversation with our parents around technology usage and their kids. I’ve written in the past about our Digital Parenting 101 course.  This semester’s 6-week course had over 130 parents involved and one of the best parts of the course is the discussion forums.  As an administrator it’s such a blessing to be able to have insight on the struggles of the community with screen time, gaming addiction and social media troubles.  It helps me stay informed as well as finding resources to help parents in this digital era.” To read further please click here:

Nov 21

The 10 best classroom tools for gathering feedback

By:Katie Dunn

feedback“Getting feedback from your students can serve multiple purposes: it can help you understand your students’ comprehension of the material, it can give you insight into what teaching methods work or don’t work, and it can help engage students in their learning process by knowing they have a voice that is heard. Not only can feedback offer insight for both teachers and students, it can be an integral part of group work and classroom time, given the plethora of connected devices in the hands of our students these days.

That said, there are a lot of classroom tools available for gathering feedback. You can poll students or have them create a survey for a project, use clickers and other classroom response type tools in real time, get feedback on teaching methods, and more. But which tools are best? We’ve collected a few of our favorites and listed them below, along with some of the activities they’re best for.



Sometimes, a particular tool ends up being awesome for a slightly different purpose than it was originally designed for. Twitter definitely falls into this category for classroom polling.” To read further please click here:

Nov 20

8 Special Education Communication Apps

By:Laura Devaney

specialled“These apps are intended to help special-needs students build communication skills

Technology facilitates faster and easier communication for everyone, and it plays a unique role in helping students with special needs develop important verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

Here, we’ve gathered a handful ofspecial education communication apps summarized on, an app resource site with more than 6,000 apps in more than 300 subcategories.” To read further please click here:


Nov 20

6 elements of a successful iPad implementation

By: Semantha Messier & Stephanie Schroeder

ipad in class“As more districts across the United States move to 1:1 initiatives, a common barrier is financial resources, and a common temptation is to regard these initiatives as technology enterprises rather than instructional transformations. In a three-year pilot project, the Boulder Valley School District(BVSD) addressed these challenges by implementing a creative approach designed to entice public funders by providing all students with equitable access to digital devices.

A key feature of our model was synergy among multiple, interdependent program elements:

  • Community engagement
  • A strong instructional model
  • Digital devices and apps for students
  • Logistical support
  • Guidance toward high-leverage resources
  • Ongoing, embedded professional development”

To read further please click here: