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Have you ever wondered if students really appreciate how much work a teacher puts into an effective lesson? Students in Mr. Jim Parker’s AP Macroeconomics course are getting the opportunity to experience that themselves firsthand as part of an innovative new learning approach in the course. The activity, devised by their teacher, Mr. Jim Parker, involved developing a full, 80-minute lessons to teach their classmates about various aspects of the American financial system. As part of the learning experience, Parker’s students were responsible for crafting an essential question, preparing instruction, implementing an activity, and assessing student learning of their peers. After learning the basics of the financial system in an earlier unit, the students worked in small groups to develop lessons to educate each other on more in-depth content. Most groups used Spartan Docs along with Prezi to develop the presentations and assessments to help guide and structure their instruction. Mr. Parker believes that this approach is effective because the students can best colloborate with Spartan Apps but enjoy using Prezi to create engaging presentations. Also, he points out that “the students already know the basics of this content, so with that baseline knowledge they’re having to apply it and help their classmates to learn it.” Yet, Mr. Parker also notes that one of the challenges is ensuring that the lessons are accurate and cover the material thoroughly and effectively. Therefore, the students will share their lessons, activities, and assessments with Mr. Parker for review before presenting to the class. Prezi and Spartan Docs both have features for sharing, editing, and commenting that will make that step in the process more accessible for the students and the teacher. Overall, the students really enjoyed the project and found it both informative and fun. For teachers who are interested in this approach, Mr. Parker recommends that it be used for content that is an extension of prior learning rather than for new content. Also, he says that it’s important for the teacher to remain consistently engaged in the process and serve as a facilitator. “Ultimately, it’s a collaboration between the teacher and the students in developing meaning from text and differentiating between content that matters more and content that matters less,” says Mr. Parker. If you are looking for how to implement a student-directed teaching model in your own classroom, contact the district Tech Team for help. They can offer assistance and guidance in implement the process in your own classroom just as Parker has done successful with his own students.

 

When you're collaborating on a document in Spartan Docs, sometimes you'd just like to make a suggestion to the original author without altering the words. While traditional commenting has been available in Google Docs for sometime, the feature sometimes makes edit challenging since you might have trouble placing the comments properly or they might be too confusing for the author integrate into the writing effectively. However, recently Google introduced a new non-destructive way to make changes and edits much easier: Suggesting mode.

Suggestion mode allows anyone who can edit the document to suggest edits to the document owner. From there, the owner can accept or reject edits and they will be automatically added or remove. To enable Suggestion mode, all you need to do is open a document you have editing rights to and turn it on. To do this, look on the far-right side of the toolbar underneath the Comments button. There you will find a Pencil button with drop-down menu with the options to enter Suggesting or Viewing mode, (see screenshot below).


When you make changes to the document in Suggesting mode, your typed text is surrounded on the top and bottom by a bracket, and deletions are shown with a strike-through. A special comment card will pop up on the right as well. The card has checkmark and and 'x' buttons, so whoever has editing permissions on the document can accept the changes or dismiss them, (see screenshot below). As you can imagine, users can also discuss the suggestions by typing text into the Reply text box and have a side conversation about the edit being suggested.


Suggestions look a lot like comments, but the difference is that they are tied to actual edits to the document. Anyone who can comment on the document can enter text in Suggesting mode. For added convenience, edits made from in a Word document with Track Changes turned on will automatically be converted into suggestions in Spartan Docs. Likewise, if you download the document as a .docx file, suggestions will be shown as tracked changes in Word.

Of course, Viewing mode has its only special role here as well. In that mode, all suggestions and comments are hidden and the document is shown as it will be printed. You can't edit the document in Viewing mode, only in Editing and Suggesting modes.

Hopefully now that you know about it, you can put the new Suggesting mode to good use with your students and colleagues as you collaborate on documents in the future. This new way method of revising can hopefully speed up your editing and revising tasks much more in the future.

 
   
Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
 
iTunes Content for Your Classroom

Are you looking for a fun, simple web based tool to create graphic design projects for your own classroom? Want an easy to use tool that students can use to create? If so, look no further than Canva.
 
lino is a free online web sticky note service that can be used to post memos, to-do lists, ideas, and photos anywhere on an online web canvas. It is a completely free service that runs on all popular web browsers and features free mobile apps as well. Besides being easy to use by anyone, lino notes can have reminders on special days or deadlines. All you do is set due dates on your stickies, and you will receive an email reminder on the morning of the due date! Lino also supports collaborative spaces to share ideas with peers and colleagues. With so many uses in education, Lino is a great web tool for every educator and student to use!
Visit lino
   
 
Science Out Loud
MIT+K12 Videos Program

Science Out Loud is an original web series written and hosted by MIT students, spun out of the MIT+K12 Videos pilot program. With episode-lengths all less than 5 minutes, these videos take the traditional concepts taught in middle and high school science, engineering, and math classes and puts them in a context completely outside the classroom. You won’t find a single equation in these videos - instead, they feature the gamut of hosts and personalities who will take you into labs, rivers, and the sky! Take a look to see what they can bring to your 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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