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Thursday, February 2
SchoolTool Grade Book Set Up

Tuesday, February 7
Google Classroom 2nd Edition

Tuesday, February 28
Google Classroom 2nd Edition

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This semester, AP European History (APEH) students at New Hartford Senior High are preparing critical book reviews and oral presentations, but with a technology-infused twist. In history courses, students ordinarily write thesis-proof essays in which they establish a thesis and then prove that thesis with supporting evidence and explicit, thesis-linking analysis. During the book review experience, however, students judge another writer’s argument instead of building their own. Upon choosing a nonfiction book related to the historical period to present, students have to identify an author’s thesis and assess the quality of that argument within the context of the entire book. There is a great merit in submitting a hard copy of an essay and delivering an oral presentation to a live audience. Without a doubt, some elements of those experiences cannot be replicated in a digital medium. Still, APEH instructor Mr. Jeff Walters (pictured in a cameo in the photo to the below with a few of his students) has found some unique benefits to adapting traditional student projects within an online environment. The technology of Google Classroom—first brought to Mr. Walters’ attention by award-winning teacher Mrs. Sandy Halpin—is a tool Walters has found capable of enriching the learning experience. In fact, leveraging Google tools have vastly updated the whole book review process, an assignment first made mandatory for students during the early 1990s. Using Google Docs, the writing, sharing, and critiquing steps have flowed together seamlessly and yielded a more transparent and more effective composition and assessment scenario that can benefit both student and teacher. As one of sophomore students in Walter’s class, suggests “the comments [that come] through Google Classroom were extremely beneficial . . . and much more accessible.” Using Google Classroom, teacher and students alike can maintain an ongoing dialogue about their book reviews through the “private comment " feature, as well as reference comments Mr. Walters has typed directly in their book reviews shared via Google Docs. Once students upload their completed book review via Google Classroom, students were then asked to record a 3-5 minute video of themselves delivering a speech about the book they reviewed. AP Euro students could digitally captured their video using a smart phone, tablet, computer, or video camera. The finished product, likewise, was uploaded and shared with the instructor via Classroom. “Recording a presentation allows for more freedom of expression,” explained another one of Walter's students. “I can use different editing styles to piece together what I feel would be a better presentation than one in the classroom,” Overall the assignment helps students grow their literacy, acquire course-relevant content, flex critical thinking skills, and hone the ability to effectively communicate. In AP European History, Google Classroom has been utilized in others ways, including tests, DBQs, and day-to-day homework. Likewise, it made AP Euro’s infamous “Quiz the Season to be Jolly”—an intense period of quizzing in the weeks after Thanksgiving break—immensely more manageable than it had been in the past. Logistically, the integration of Classroom with all of its other applications have been making for a fluid means of communication, creation, distribution, collection, and scoring of materials and assignments. Planning has also been a breeze, and editing student work is made easy. Statistical data is also conveniently at your fingertips. Moreover, it has environmental advantages that make it attractive to students, school officials, and community members alike. Overall, Google Classroom has proven to be intuitive, polished, and easy to use. If you are interested in exploring what Google Classroom has to offer, consider attending one of the many in-service opportunities offered by our Teacher Center. In addition, if you want to learn more about it in the interim and get set up with Google Classroom on your own, you can also contact the Tech Department and they would be happy to get you up and running during the school day as well.


While it is easy to bring data into a Google Sheet, sometimes manipulating that data in a particular way, such as separating a list of students that have their first and last name located within the same cell, may not be easy. Fortunately, there is an convenient little option is Google Sheets that makes is easy to convert said text into separate columns quickly and easily! The only requirement is that text needs to have a standard delimiter such as commas, semicolons, periods, spaces, or perhaps a custom separator you can define yourself.

To use this data manipulating technique in Sheets, start by pasting your text into the cells of a Google Sheet. Next, you simply select the cells you wish to work with. Finally, choose the Data > Split text to columns... command, (see screenshot below.)

After selecting the command, a small menu will appear adjacent to the selected range of cells, (see screenshot below). With this menu, simply choose the separator you want it to use among those listed or specify a custom one. Upon designating a separator, Google Sheets will instantly split your data across two columns!

With this quick, simple trick under your belt, there are probably lots of ways you can think of to use it to manipulate data in your classroom for creating everything from name tags to locker labels now that you know about it! Hopefully, it will serve you well the next time you need to separate out text data across column in Sheets in the future.

Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
iTunes Content for Your Classroom

Are you looking for a creative way to create media for presentations, explainer video, infographics, intro clips, and more for your classroom? If so, a fantastic tool for these kinds of projects is Biteable.
Biteable is a web-based tool that allows you or your students to create beautiful short videos that you can easily use in your classroom instruction to make your lessons more interesting and engaging or to your students share their learning with others. After creating a free account, the tool makes it easy to dive right in and start creating videos using templates and compelling media. Biteable prides itself on being very user friendly and can be used easily by both teachers and students alike of any grade level. Best of all, you don’t need any advanced video editing skills to use it and the process for creating with it very simple to follow. For a great video tool to try out in your classroom, take a look at Biteable today!
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Highlights from the Disruptive Innovation Festival
Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) is an online, open access event that invites thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses, makers and learners to explore the question “The economy is changing - what do I need to know, experience and do?”. This collection features the highlights of the festival from 2014 and 2015: start-up ideas, system transformation ideas and disruptive inventions. Many of the ideas presented are transferable to any classroom environment, especially if you are looking to add STEAM activities to your own classroom in the near future.
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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 & James Davis. If you wish to contribute to or inquire about the newsletter, please visit here.
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