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Tuesday, January 12
Beginning Google Classroom

Tuesday, January 17
Google Classroom 2nd Edition

Tuesday, January 31
Google Classroom 2nd Edition

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If you take a peek into some of our classrooms at Perry Junior High these days, you might see a new technology literally in the hands on our students. We aren't talking about traditional desktop computers or laptops either but rather the technology of their personal smartphones. When you combine their phones with inexpensive cardboard headset viewers donated by NYSCATE and install a free app from Google, you have the makings of a powerful "VR" or virtual reality toolset that can be used to enhance leaning in any classroom. Mr. Roy Stewart, who teaches art , and Ms. Meredith Doyle, who teaches Spanish, have been some of the first into try out this technology to in their classrooms. The mobile app they are using, which is called Google Expeditions, is a VR platform that’s been developed specifically for providing virtual field trips in the classroom. It provides an exceptional array of experiences that includes visiting famous places such as world-class museums and landmarks. In the case of Mr. Stewart’s art classes, (pictured below) student participated in an experience centered around the life and works of Vincent van Gogh. Using the software, students were able to examine the famous artist’s work up close, getting to zoom in on paintings in a manner only allowed only to expert curators. Students were also able to visit major art and history museums with their teacher as a guide. While students “walked " through a museum exhibit through their VR headset, Mr. Stewart was able to “guide” them on his own tablet device to direct students to certain places or aspects of a particular work. The software works by provides VR content to view as well as essential questions and even a written script to the teacher to follow as they lead students through the experience. Because it was done in some of his computer art classes, the experience could also focus some on the technology involved to create these kinds of virtual experiences such as stereoscopic imaging (two photographs of the same object taken at slightly different angles are viewed together, creating an impression of depth and solidity), the gyrometer of modern smartphones (which allow the phones to sense movement ), the effects of 360° videography, CGI imagery, and other relavent technical topics for the art students offered even more to them than the VR experience in and of itself. Although some students were familiar with virtual reality, most were new to this kind of experience. The students were a ecstatic as they began to immerse themselves in the three-dimensional imagery. As far what students thought of using the technology overall, one commented that “It was more immersive than simply seeing a photo. Being able to go to a location and have a sense of depth is incredible.” Meanwhile, in Spanish classes down the hall, Ms. Doyle has tried to harness the immersive elements of Google Expeditions to foster deeper cultural and historical understanding found within her curriculum. To visit the ancient Inca landmark Machu Picchu, her students would have to travel to Peru by plane nearly 3,900 miles, and then maneuver a complicated bus, train, and footpath network. For their first exploration of this World Heritage site, however, students just need to catch the bus to their Weston Road campus! Once she got the software up and running in her classroom, Ms. Doyle was able to guide her students through the major aspects of the site and provide them a near firsthand experience of it while learning about its significant influence and impact on Incan culture. Introducing students to far off and exotic places and rare artifacts seems to be the strongest initial draw to many Google Expeditions. Google suggests, however, that the aforementioned aspect of promoting familiarity is the key. They point to anecdotal evidence from teachers who argue their students are far more engaged during their actual field trips to museums to, say, Ellis Island, when they have previewed the locale through Google Expeditions. With such new technology, great opportunity presents itself. Like its flagship educational site Google Arts and Culture, the company is not directing teachers in an Expedition’s specific use in the classroom. Hence, while classroom trailblazers such as Stewart and Doyle are using Expeditions as a warm-up or ticket-to-leave activity, teachers will have to roll up their sleeves and find new and exciting ways to weave such engaging technology into their curricula more fully. Overall, using Expeditions in very easy and there is a huge amount of available content that will be sure into fit your curriculum, no matter what subject or grade level you teach. To find out more about Google Expeditions and if you would like to try it out with your students, just contact the Tech Department and they will work with you to see where Expeditions can take you and your students in the new year and beyond!

 

While Google Slides has been an outstanding presentation tool in its own right for its anywhere, anytime web access for years, a new feature was added earlier this year that can take your presentation to the next level in terms of audience interaction and engagement. The feature, which is called Q&A, allows presenters to actually collaborate with their audience in real-time during a presentation by letting questions to be submitted about the presentation and even voted on during a presentation!!

To use the new Q&A feature, start by opening any Slides presentation. Next, click the dropdown arrow next to the Present button in the top-right corner, and choose Presenter view, (see screenshot below.)


Next, your presentation will enter its normal full-screen presentation mode but you’ll see a URL displayed as a header across the top of your presentation slides. This is the unique URL that attendees can use to submit questions at anytime during your presentation from their own devices whether from a computer, tablet, or even a smartphone.

When audience members visit that URL, they’ll see a very simple forum like interface where they can type a question into a box at the top of the screen. They also will have the option to ask the question anonymously if they don’t want to be identified.

On the presenter side, audience questions will appear on your screen in real-time in a presenter view window, (see screenshot below). If you want to show a question to the audience, you can click on Present and that question will be displayed in your presentation for everyone to see. This feature allow from true engagement between you and your audience and make the traditional Q&A time found in virutal all presentations even more easier to understand and follow for attendees and presenter alike.



As mentioned, audience members can also vote up or down (using the thumbs up and down icons) for questions. This can be useful for very large presentations where a presenter might only have time to answer a few questions, and can focus on the ones that receive the most votes.

In closing, there are a couple of provisos you shold also be aware of so the feature works correctly for you or your students. First and foremost is that you can only use Slides Q&A if you have edit or comment access to a Slides presentation. Also, know that by default, any user in your domain can submit a question to a Q&A presentation. Lastly, if your organization permits external sharing, you can allow external users to submit questions as well but only if this is enable on your domain.

Now that you know about it, hopefully the next time you or your students are giving a presentation with Google Slides, you can try out the Q&A feature and really connect with your audience in a way that is value added for all involved and leave the traditional digital slideshow a thing of the past!

 
   
Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
 
iTunes Content for Your Classroom

Are you looking an easy to use web-based tool for creating online learning activites and exercises for your students to reinforce your classroom content? If so, Edueto is a wonderful tool for the job.
 
Edueto is a free web-based tool that has been designed for teachers to create many types of original quizzes and exercises for their students, who complete them in and outside of the classroom. After signing up for a free account, teachers can get started by choosing one of the templates right from the Edueto homepage and begin creating activities for their students. Likewise, they can also browse the Edueto Library and see if there are any exercises already made by other teachers that you can use right away! Overall, Edueto offers a wide range of digital classroom activities that are can be used at any grade level or subject area. Take a look today and see what Edueto can do in your classroom!
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Teaching, Leading, Learning, K-12
Dr. Steven Miletto

This ongoing, engaging podcast is comprised of interviews and solo shows focused on providing ideas and resources for K-12 teachers and school-based administrators. It is updated weekly and hosted by Dr. Miletto who has been an educator in Georgia for 29 years. He has served public school families as a history teacher, assistant principal, and high school principal. Currently, he is the executive director of the Heart of Georgia RESA. Check out this production for some great ideas, techniques, and tools that you might be able to use in your classroom in 2017!
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