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Within schools, educators and students everywhere have all felt the pain of watching students pour heart, soul, and hours of effort into a project worthy of a wide audience only to have the projects molder in the corners of a classroom, viewed only by a handful of students and their teacher. This had been the ultimate fate of the video components of Multi-Genre Projects created by students in Ms. Nugent’s English 10 Honors Class. The Multi-Genre Project is one where students have to write an interesting prose and then express it using another creative medium beyond the prose, whether art, video, photography, or sculpture. Recently, this project changed in a new and exciting way. Rather than being relegated to her classroom alone, Ms. Kelly Nugent (pictured to the right with one of her students) made sure her students’ poetry, short stories, experimental writing, and art made their way to the high school display case to be enjoyed by all. In addition, the videos—many of which were profoundly moving and beautifully crafted—were graded and now live a much happier open existence rather than a lonely life on a neglected flash drive. With the student work in the display case, students and faculty viewing the projects can also view the student videos with a simple scan of their smartphones! Inspired by Mr. Matthew Romanow and his use of QR Codes in math class, Ms. Nugent imagined QR Codes could be use to give passersby instant access to student-produced videos. After a quick tutorial from Mr. Romanow, Ms. Nugent was able to produce the QR codes using an online QR-Code Generator. Once students uploaded their videos to their Spartan Apps Drives, Ms. Nugent created printed QR codes to hang in the display cases. Students who scan the QR Codes can immediately access and enjoy the videos making the display of student work truly interactive. Besides its strong ties to technology in so many ways, the Multi-Genre project is an opportunity for students to see the relevance of the “A” in STEAM. Ms. Nugent says she her students to see the power of the technology, science, and the humanities coming together. “The foundation of the project will always be the student writing but I ask them to enhance and expand their projects by also drawing on the artistic and technological skills they have developed over the years. It really add a whole new dimension to the activity.” Nugent says students use their knowledge of math, 3-D printing, video game production, and more as they complete these projects. From their production to their display, they truly are a synergy of creativity and technology. STEAM projects like this have their place in every subject and grade level. If you are looking to implement STEAM activities in your own classroom, contact the district Tech Team for help. They can offer push in support, ideas, training and more to get you and your students started with STEAM in your own classroom!


One of the best parts of using Spartan Docs is sharing documents so easily with others. As easy as it is, simply sharing a document link and asking a group of users to manually make their own copy can sometimes lead to confusion. Many who use Spartan Apps would know to use File > Make a Copy without any problems. However, there are may be some that will begin making changes on the original if they had editing rights or those who don't even know how to make their copy, such as young students.

Fortunately, Google has now made it very simple for you to FORCE those you share with to make a copy of a document automatically before they even open it. The steps for this process are very quick and easy.

To start, first locate the URL of your Google Doc. While it is quite long, scroll to the end of it and change the last word in the URL after the slash that reads edit to copy, (see circled area in screenshot below).

Now when you can copy the entire URL and share it with whomever, they will be prompted to Make a Copy of the document in order to open it! Once they visit that link, a prompt will appear (see screenshot below) prior to the document opening.

After accepting the prompt, the document will open and retain the same name but with the words Copy of will appear in front of it and it will be saved to the user's Drive automatically!

Keep in mind that this force copy trick only works with Google Docs. You can force copies of Sheets and Slides but the procedure is slightly different and requires a few more steps. Here are the steps if you need to do that:

  • It must be a Google Sheets or Slides file that YOU have created. Not just one shared with you.
  • Create a shareable link by going to the blue button in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Choose any option that allows you to share with Anyone.
  • Click Done.
  • Locate the URL of your Google Sheets or Slides file.
  • Change the last part from edit#gid=0 to copy.
  • Share the new URL with anyone and it will force a copy to be created prior to opening!

Hopefully the next time you need to share out copies of your Spartan Apps files, these tricks will come in handy for making the process even easier for you and those your are sharing with! You are only a few steps away from ensuring copies of your files are used now!

Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
iTunes Content for Your Classroom

Do you wish there was a quicker and easier way to provide feedback for your students? It doesn’t get much easier than talking to them. Luckily, with Kaizena, that is totally possible and just as easy!
Kaizena is a web app that fully integrates with Google Drive. Using Kaizena, a teacher can grade student work and provide audio feedback, comments, or even a URL link right on their shared Google Doc. Using the app, a teacher opens the document using Kaizena, and the student work pops up in a new browser tab. Then the teacher can grade the work, highlighting sections that they would like to comment on. Once a section is highlighted, they can choose to leave an audio comment, text comment, or even a hyperlink to an online resource. From there, the teacher shares it with the student. Its as simple as that. Take a look today and see what Kaizena can do for you and your students in your classroom!
Visit Kaizena!
Project-Based Learning
Edutopia, The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups. Because it is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying and are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning. Check out these videos and see how they can be applied in your own classroom!
Visit on iTunes
The New Hartford Tech Spotlight is a monthly informational e-mail newsletter published for all faculty and staff of the New Hartford Central School District by Mike Amante & Kathy Donovan. If you wish to contribute to or inquire about the newsletter, please visit here.
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