Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: December 2014

Schoology–Differentiation and Group Work

Schoology makes it very easy for teachers to assign differentiated work to students in ways that don’t make anyone feel singled out. Students can be assigned to pre-determined groups, or materials can be made visible only to specified students within the course.

Watch these videos to learn how. The first video will show you how to create groups within your courses. The second video will show you how to assign resources to selected groups or individuals within your courses.



Taking Risks

This morning I returned from VSTE and hit the ground running. When I stepped into Ms. Kass’s room to say hello, she showed me the projects the students were developing on their iPads. A few minutes later, I stopped by Ms. Potter’s office to let her know I was back in the building. The first thing she asked was, “Did you see the amazing stuff Ms. Kass and her students are doing?” Of course, I had just been there. Here is an administrator’s take on our iPad program and the learning environments it is helping us create.


Ideas Worth Sharing, iPad Edition

Yes, I’ve borrowed the TED tagline, sort of. Why not? When you have a good idea, share it.

Apple has put together a small collection of books perfect for our teachers in the iPad 1:1 program who might be looking for lesson ideas that go beyond Google Docs and for teachers who like to check out the shared iPad cart. The books describe lessons that can be adapted to fit different classroom environments. The books are created around specific apps, and luckily, we have all the apps in the collection.

But please don’t restrict your work to this small collection of lessons. If you have a good idea, share it with the rest of the 1:1 teachers. Remember we have the 1:1 Campfire group in Schoology.


Ready, Set, Research!

Today and tomorrow I am working with Ms. Thomas and Ms. Samuel, 8th grade Language Arts teachers, helping them kick off their research unit. We are using Schoology, Google, and Wikipedia.

Yes, yes, I know. Google is making us stupid and Wikipedia can’t be trusted. If you say so…

I think these tools are indispensable in today’s world. They are only seen as bad by people who don’t want to take the time to educate kids on how to get the  most out of them. Wikipedia is the absolute best place to start any search. Articles are written in very accessible language and organized in ways that help students narrow down topics, formulate a research question, and get to the original location of the information by following the links at the bottom. Google has given us A Google a Day puzzles to help students hone their search term selection skills. With the appropriate guidance, students can learn lots about validating sources, something they miss when using a paid service such as GALE (does anyone still use GALE?).

Schoology is letting us curate student ideas using the discussion tool. It is also making the distribution of documents and links to students very, very easy. Using a folder with student completion requirements, students will race each other to solve selected A Google a Day puzzles to earn badges.

Of course, when we are done with this introductory phase, students will take notes and draft their papers using Google Docs, and using Teacher Dashboard, Ms. Thomas and Ms. Samuel will be able to give timely feedback and scaffold progress without killing any trees.

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