Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Google Sites for Student Portfolios


During the AppsEvent at Chadwick International School back in December, I offered one presentation about using Google Sites for Student Portfolios. My room was full and part way into the presentation, I realized there were many folks who wanted the session to be more hands on, so I switched gears and went into Google Sites and started walking through the process we used at Cheongna Dalton School to build portfolios with our students. The teachers were very thankful and interested in the step-by-step process of creating a portfolio. I guess I did a good job, because I was recently contacted by an AppsEvent team member (Neil Trinidad) requesting a guess blog post about it. I'm posting the original here on my blog, but will be giving Neil a version to post on the AppsEvents Blog.

The content of the presentation is something you can read from the Slides above, so I will get into the discussions from the session that was more interesting for the teachers. The most commonly asked question was how to get students to create a portfolio when templates don't really exist in Google Sites. At CDS we dealt with this by building a portfolio with the students. For example, I created my Google Site going step-by-step to show the G2-G5 students exactly what they needed to do. I believe this is better than simply giving a student a template, because then they actually learn how to build the Site from the beginning. Many of the students were really happy and made tons of comments like, "Dude, we are building webpages. This is so cool." We started by simply going to Google Sites and using the + button to make a new Site.

The next step was to properly name the Site and give it an address by publishing it. Our student Sites are published only for people within our domain, which gives a layer of security for our First Program students. As a school, we have agreed to continue publishing within our own domain through G6 and then Sites become public. Students are taught to consider what they are posting and to alert a faculty member or parent if anyone from outside of our school ever contacts them online. After creating our homepage, we added subpages for each Term and then subpages under each Term for each subject. Homeroom and subject teachers decide what assignments the students should share and reflect on in FP, but starting in middle school, student select their own assignments to share and reflect upon.

After Term 1, the G3 and G4 students really needed very little support; mostly they needed a few reminders about where to find things in Google Drive. G2 continued to need some major hand holding during Term 2, but I think they are fairly comfortable at this point. The middle school students needed one 20-minute overview of Google Sites and the rest they basically did on their own with some gentle nudging from their House teachers. If you have any questions about using Google Sites for creating student portfolios, please feel free to contact me.

Monday, January 8, 2018

21CLHK10: Getting Google Certified

This presentation is the one I will be offering at #21CLHK10 on January 20, 2018 in the Hong Kong Convention Center.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Feedback from AppsEvent at Chadwick International School December 1-3, 2017

It is a nice feeling when you get positive feedback on a presentation you did and that is what I received from the AppsEvent feedback that was collected after the Chadwick International School event December 1-3, 2017. Only seven people filled out the evaluation, but it was overwhelming positive. I also received some great written feedback with some recommendations on how to improve the session on Tracking Discipline with Google Forms, Sheets, Docs, and autoCrat.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Takeaways & Shout Outs -- AppsEvent at Chadwick International School December 1-3, 2017

The AppsEvent at Chadwick International School during the weekend of December 1-3, 2017 was an great professional development opportunity based around Gsuite for Education. I offered two presentations at the event: Tracking Student Discipline with Forms, Sheets, Docs, and autoCrat and Student Portfolios with Google Sites. The first session didn't really go as smoothly as I would have liked, but I was able to receive some solid feedback that will help reshape my presentation for the future. The second session went great and people were very positive about the content and pacing of the session. Enough about me!

The best part about AppsEvents is the networking and opportunity for learning about new Gsuite products and new ways to use them. I got to code a drone thanks to Rob McElroy's (@edtechmac) session about Parrot Drones. What makes the little Parrot Drones amazing is the ability to use Tynker to code the drone thus tying coding and drone robotics together. Super cool! The simple Tynker programming language makes drone flight available to young and old learners. It opens up endless problem solving opportunities by creating challenges with everyday objects that drones must dodge or land on. Thanks, Rob!

Brett Petrillo's (@brettpetrillo) session about bringing out your school's inner Google was inspiring and an affirmation of the current work we are doing at Cheongna Dalton School. Brett explained how educational leaders need to use Gsuite to actually run the school and improve efficiency with the organization. Once again I was reminded of how lucky I am in my current position having an admin team of David Hill, Ben Scoville, and Malcolm Harrison who all use Gsuite with ease. This year they made the commitment to use Gmail less by using Classroom as a communication tool within their divisions. Everything can be easily found when needed this way, rather than everyone trying to search through all their emails to find documents, links, or announcements. One super cool thing I learned is that Brett uses Slides to create his weekly newsletter by changing the Slide size to 8.5 x 11.5. Genius! It was also nice to meet Brett face-to-face for the first time because we have been collaborating on Twitter for several years. Thanks, Brett!

Megan Godek's (@MEGodek) session on Google Drawing gave me many new ideas on how to use Drawing with our elementary students. Teaching kids to recognize shapes, patterns, and colors while also introducing elements of design and making their own images rather than simply copying something from the internet. Super cool! I'm looking forward to sharing her ideas and enthusiasm with my elementary team at CDS. Thanks, Megan!

And finally there is Dean Stokes (@deanstokes). What can I say about Dean? I feel like my IQ goes up by simply being in the same room with this guy. I attended three of Dean's sessions. The first was about supporting literacy with Gsuite and third party products. The voice recognition software now built into Docs was a mind blower. The last time I played with Google voice recognition, I left thinking I'll wait until this gets better. It is now much, much better. It was typing my spoken comments with a very high level of accuracy. Very useful for many things, but especially for students who have difficulty typing or have trouble with spelling. It could also be a great tool for helping ELL students learn about correct pronunciation. The second tool Dean introduced us to was Chrome's Read & Write extension -- AMAZING! It is free for teachers, but there is a small fee for students, but even just having the teacher version for yourself would open up tons of learning opportunities for your students. The Read & Write tool bar comes with a regular dictionary that allows you to find a definition of any word you highlight. There is also a picture dictionary. There is a function for the Read & Write tool bar to read aloud a highlighted passage and much, much more. It is definitely a help tool for supporting literacy in a variety of ways. Awesome!

The second session I attended was Dean answering any question you have about Google. If you have the chance to simply sit down with Dean and talk, you should always take that opportunity. We had a very good discussion about a variety of topics, but my big takeaways were about Jamboard and Google Timelapse. If you haven't heard about Jamboard, you better look into it. It is Google's redesign of the old school digital whiteboard. Remember how most of the education world decided that digital whiteboards were mostly useless for a variety of reasons I will not get into now? Well the folks at Google found a way to make them useful by taking away the parts that sucked. Digital whiteboards didn't allow for more than one person (usually the teacher) to use them, but Jamboard does allow more than one user and the user doesn't have to be in the room or the building or even in the same country. Thanks, Google! Timelapse takes satellite images of the earth going back to 1984 and plays through them showing how an area has changed over time. Really cool!

The final session of Dean's was the closing keynote and it was totally worth the price of the event all on its own. It introduced me to Google ReWork. I website where Google explains how they make and maintain their culture of innovation. Dean took Google's lessons and applied them to education. It is a major change in the way education is currently done in most institutions around the world, but it is time we start moving in this direction. Considering the incredible success of Google and companies like it, we can clearly see that the world of education needs a serious rework. Super amazing! Thanks, Google for sharing your approach and I hope that educators start reworking our schools in this image. And thanks, Dean.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

#pubpdasia Reflection

First, I want to give another shout out to @maplesyrupedu for creating the concept of #pubpd. It really is simply brilliant. Second, I want to give another shout out to @clos_gm for bringing the idea to #Asia with #pubpdasia. And Third, I want to give a shout out to all the educators all over Asia who jumped on this idea and arranged multiple locations where live f2f events happened while the Twitter chat was running. I think we are on to something here and it has the potential to be huge. The next #pubpdasia will be happening in January and the amazing duo of @mcelroy23 and @cho_liz are going to be the moderators.

Reflection on #pubpdasia:
The best part of this event was the combination of a live Twitter chat and face-to-face discussions. In Cheongna we had six participants, which was actually five more than I thought I'd have. Things are really busy at school these days and not many folks are really in to Twitter, but that was part of the magic. Two of our directors showed up, this I did not foresee at all, but it was great. One has been trying Twitter and the other one said, "I haven't touched my account in a month and probably won't again until the next time." One of our English teachers showed up, and at one point he asked me to tweet something for him, because he isn't really interested in Twitter either. Do you see what was happening? People who saw no purpose for Twitter were suddenly seeing a use for it. And people who probably will not get in to Twitter were still part of the discussion. This is a perfect synergy. And that, my friends, is my big takeaway from this event. We need to be doing more activities like this in the future, tying f2f social gatherings with social media events.  We were discussing ideas that came up from the questions asked during the chat, but being able to think about our own context and things that would work at Cheongna Dalton School. I'm hoping to get more people out in January, but even if I don't find more people to join -- I am sold on this idea.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

#PubPD is coming to Asia!

Carlos Galvez (@clos_gm) is starting an incredible professional development opportunity for Asia and it is starting at 18:00-19:00 on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. The idea is simple -- go to a pub, order an adult beverage of your choice, and get on Twitter. That's it! Amazing educators from around Asia will be joining the chat with the hash tag: #pubpd. For those of us in Korea, there are currently two pubs that I'm aware of involved in the action -- Cocky Pub in Yatap and Hans Craft Brew in Cheongna. Come out and join! If you can't make it out of your house, at least have a drink and follow the chat on Twitter. #PubPD was originally the brainchild of @maplesyrupedu from Canada. Like... Those Canadians are pretty cool, eh? Totally not a bunch of knobs or hosers like those folks from the US.