google forms

Recap/Thoughts: Google Certified Trainer Bootcamp

Thursday and Friday of last week I headed to Orange, VA for Google Trainer Bootcamp. I was excited and eager to learn and to see how much I could prepare myself for the path of Google Trainer. Our Trainer was Sean Williams (@seani), and I found myself learning quite a bit!

My biggest takeaway from the bootcamp was how prepared I actually was for Google Trainer. Originally, I did not plan to apply for Trainer until May 2019 because I did not feel that I had enough material ready, nor did I feel very confident. By the end of the bootcamp, I had moved my application date from May 2019 to December 2018. I should be ready before that, but that’s the absolute latest I’m giving myself to turn in an application.

Prior to bootcamp, I had taken Kasey Bell’s (@shakeuplearning) VIP Google Trainer course. Even if you don’t take the VIP version, you’ll find yourself swimming in knowledge. Kasey provides a lot of information on teaching adults and becoming a Trainer in general. If you’re looking to become a Google Trainer, I highly recommend her course, especially if you are unable to attend a Trainer bootcamp in your area. She provides a lot of extra resources as well.

I have completed a good chunk of my Google Trainer application. I still need to create a video to submit, and of course, I need to take care of offering some more Google-based PD sessions. I offer PD all year long, but it’s not always related to Google, nor do I have the required materials/resources to accompany what I do offer, as most of it tends to be 1:1. I’m not sure what I want to showcase yet with my video. I’m going to peruse YouTube to see what others have done in their videos and hopefully, that will spark some ideas or at least give me a plan of action to follow.

The application did get me thinking about my goals for next year, and I have since been able to not only design my Google goals, but also my other goals for my role as an ITRT in my district. Here are the Google-based goals I have concocted so far:

  • Offer 2-3 session options a month (18-27 total) to staff in a 1:1 Tech Bytes format.
  • Offer 1 after school session per month to all district staff (9 total)
  • Offer 2 monthly scheduled sessions during the school day to staff at FCHS/FMS (18 in all)
  • Present at 1 conference on a Google topic
  • Add at least 1 Google tool/tip to the Fluco Toolbox resources section of my site per month (12 total)
  • Work with a small cohort of teachers in my district to train/prepare them to take the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam in June 2019 (at least 6)

In addition to my goals being ready, I have already begun designing professional development sessions in a new format. I have developed a list of requirements that every PD session will have. I am requiring myself to have a Slide deck and an agenda with resources ready for every session. I created a master Slide deck to work from, as well as a master agenda template. Prior to every session, attendees will receive the agenda in a PDF and have access to the topics in advance. They can also check out the shared resources. This lets them think of potential questions to ask in advance.

So far, I’ve been able to develop 3 professional development sessions for next year. These are all on more advanced features of Google, and I’m planning to stay away from developing beginner sessions until I have flushed out a nice variety of advanced sessions. These sessions are designed so that I can use them as professional development or submit as part of a proposal to present at a conference. So far I have the following:

  • 6 Advanced Tips and Tricks for Google Forms
  • Google Calendar for the Busy Professional
  • Upping Your Google Forms Quiz Game

I’m also in the process of putting together sessions for Google Calendar on the Go! and Analyzing Google Forms data. I’ve got the list of key points to cover. I just need to complete some more research and put together the materials and images. It is definitely a lot easier to plan professional development with master templates and requirements for sessions!

Google Trainer Bootcamp is definitely worth it, so if you have the opportunity to attend one, I highly recommend doing so. It will definitely help you to prepare for the trainer application, and it also pays for your Trainer Skills Assessment exam.

 

Fluco Toolbox: Formenate

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based around your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever had a multiple choice quiz set up in Google Docs, and wished you could easily make it a Google Form as well? Ever wished that the process was quick and easy?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Formenate

First, the basics:

Name: Formenate
URL: Go here (or get the Add-On in Google Docs)
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Take a multiple choice quiz that has been set up in Google Docs and easily convert it into a Google Form. Don’t spend wasted time copying and pasting each question. Just select your desired options and go!

I stumbled onto this Google Docs add-on by accident. A colleague had told me to check out another add-on that allowed a user to convert a quiz set up in Google Docs to Google Forms. I installed it, and found it was almost as much of a hassle as simply copying and pasting. It was quickly removed, and I searched for another option instead. Formenate popped up in my results so I gave it a try. Right away I knew my teachers would love it!

First things first: Open up Google Docs and click the Add-On menu button. From there, select to get add-ons. Formenate will appear after a search, so go ahead and install it. Give Google Docs time to install the add-on before going to the next step. It will take less than a minute.

Once the add-on is installed, then you’re ready to convert a Docs quiz to Forms. First, open your multiple choice quiz in Docs, or create a new quiz. Formenate requires that the quiz be set up as a Numbered list. If you’re creating a quiz from scratch, then this is easy. Just make sure to select the icon on the right side of the that has numbers 1, 2, 3 and what looks like writing beside it. Now, type in 1. and press space. Your document will automatically be formatted. Finish typing in the question and press enter. The next line is automatically formatted to be 2., but if you press the tab key on your keyboard, you can tab in and have the options to add answer choices a, b, c, etc. Use the decrease indent button to move back to using numbers and to start the next question.

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Make sure to select Numbered List before creating your form. Make sure any already created quiz is formatted this way!

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Decrease Indent button

Once the quiz is created, go to the Add-Ons menu button. Look for Formenate and select “Start”. A new window slides in from the right side of the document. Select the options that apply to your quiz. Give it a title, select if all questions are required (or not), whether to collect email, and so on. If you need Forms to grade, make sure to select to make it a quiz at the bottom. Choose how many points each question will be. If the option you are looking for is not available, don’t worry. You’ll always be able to edit the settings once the Doc has been turned into a form.

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After all necessary options have been selected, click the blue “Formenate” button. If you have done everything correctly, you’ll see a red “Success!” message below this button, and if you scroll down, you’ll find links to preview your form, as well as to edit it. Your form is saved in the main area of your Drive, so make sure to move it to the appropriate folder.

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Now that your quiz is in Google Forms, you can finish making any necessary changes. Don’t forget to complete the answer key portion! Formenate doesn’t do this, so it must be done in Forms instead.

This tool will help you save so much time, and you can now have copies of the Doc and Form version of your quiz. Easily edit the Doc version of the quiz and create a new form with the click of a button. From looking at the creator’s website, it seems that there will be an add-on in the future that will allow you to convert from a Form to a Doc. If one is released, you can bet it’ll be featured on the Toolbox!

Resources

Reflections on VSTE 2017

Another VSTE has come and gone, and it was fantastic! This was my 2nd year attending, and it was even better than last year because I had some wonderful connections and people to meet up with. Big shoutout goes to my tech buddy Heidi Trude (@htrude07). She and I love tech conferences, meeting speakers, and bouncing new ideas.

I arrived bright and early on Sunday morning and got checked in. My big task for the day was my Minecraft presentation. I was scheduled to go right at the start, which was fine by me. I was able to get it over with and then focus on other things with the conference.

I had a full room of 30, and I set up my session to play some Minecraft themed music from my YouTube playlist. I also dressed up in my Steve outfit, which many people got a kick out of. My topic was on empowering students through architecture and design. I focused on how this topic empowers first, and then dove into each of my workshops- middle school, rising 1st/2nd grade, and my Cityscapers club. From there I also talked about empowering preschool kids, using my buddy Reed as an example. I got a lot of good questions, and shared all of my workshop resources with folks, which they really appreciated.

The rest of the conference was a whirlwind of fun and learning. Here are some of my favorite key takeaways:

  • Virtual courses and professional development: I listened to a presentation from a district on how they were offering virtual courses for professional development. This allowed them to be flexible for their teachers, and to offer many chances for teachers to find ways to use the tools in the classroom. I want to design a course for next year, and I’m thinking it may be on Google for beginning teachers or something like that. I just need to research and toy with my idea more.
  • Minecraft for Teachers: Minecraft is a game meant to toss the player into it with very little instruction or guidance. While there are teachers who will also embrace this tactic and learn to play the game this way, there are others who are too hesitant and uncertain. I am thinking of potential developing a play and learn series geared specifically to them.
  • Minecraft Challenges: I had forgotten that even though I no longer have access to the old MinecraftEDU, I can still get access to the lessons and world files for the program. I would like to import some of the worlds into Minecraft and redesign them to work for students. This is something that could take awhile, so for now I’ve downloaded a latitude and longitude scavenger hunt world to tinker with.
  • Google Forms and Data Validation: I loved this session because it gave me new ideas for my teachers on how to use forms to get certain answers or to set up puzzles and passcodes for access. For example, a teacher can use data validation to get students to enter a secret code to then be taken to the quiz part of a form.
  • School branding: I loved both the keynote speech and the session done by Eric Sheninger. His work affirms that I’m on the right path with branding, especially with our schools. I took away some new ideas for branding, and have since met with one of the middle school administrators to see how we could do better. We actually have a plan in place, and it will allow us to get more stories and pictures from classrooms without teachers having to do much extra.
  • Photojournaling– I went to this session to learn about the impact photojournaling can have on students, and how it promotes collaboration. The presenter had us do some of the activities in the lesson plan itself, and of course received the lesson and all necessary resources. The best part is that the lesson is written in such as way that it can be applied across disciplines, so teachers can modify as needed.

After all those sessions, I was on information overload, and still am. I am slowly working through bits of it as I complete my daily work. I feel that I can be a better teacher and ITRT once I’ve started applying more of what I’ve learned.

I also made new connections and reconnected with folks from last year. It was good to see so many familiar faces. I tweeted up a storm, which should be no surprise if you know me well. I can go back later to check out those tweets and discover new ideas.

VSTE definitely helped me recharge my batteries. I felt on top of the world as I left Roanoke on Tuesday afternoon. I am ready to work on making more changes to my work, and improving myself.

This will be my last VSTE for awhile. I am going to skip next year (unless my district decides to send us) because I want to save up for ISTE 2019. It’s going to be in Philadelphia, and very doable in my case. I just need to make sure I have the money ready to roll. I know my district won’t be able to fund something so pricey, but I am very determined to experience this amazing conference at least once in my career!

Social Media & Feedback

The school year is winding down here in Fluvanna County. Our students only have a 1/2 day to attend tomorrow, and they are out for the summer. Staff have 3 days next week, and I have more beyond that. My mind is wrapping things up for this year, and beginning to make plans for next year. I have received my contract for next year, and am happy to be returning to the district. I have plans to improve on what I’ve done, and am working with leaders in the school board office to try and make some of it happen.

As many of you know, social media was a focus of mine this year. In fact, I’m going to be presenting on it at the West Virginia Statewide Technology Conference. I believe that social media branding is very important for schools to take part in, and that more schools need to tell their stories. Alas, not everyone feels as though it is a necessary task when added to the other bits and pieces of work for school, but it does pay off and parents do take notice.

Because I am presenting, and because I want to make improvements next year, I needed to turn to our main viewership base- families of the students. I needed to get their feedback on their thoughts about social media, and I needed it to be honest so that improvements could be made. I know our first year really pushing it didn’t go well in some areas, while it excelled in others. Reading over the responses so far, I see many parents who agree with the observations that I have made.

However, first years never go as planned, and are usually meant to be ways to work out the kinks and problems for the next year. If professional development is my main passion, then school social media branding is my second one.

When it came time to develop my survey for parent feedback, I considered the following:

  • It needed to be anonymous
  • There needed to be a separate survey link for each school
  • It needed to be quick and easy
  • It needed to ask the few burning questions on school media

The anonymous part is pretty obvious, but I stated it anyway. The reason a separate link was needed for each school was so that parents with students in multiple schools could separate their comments based on the school’s page, and give feedback regarding both schools if they wished. Quick and easy was a point because no one wants to spend forever doing a survey on anything. Rating scales were key to making it quick. Finally, it needed to ask my target questions and get written feedback from parents. That way I might gather some specific topics or points to address when preparing for the next year.

Here are the questions that were decided on for each survey:

  1. Think back over the school year. What types of posts do you recall seeing on [School]’s Facebook page?
  2. How often do you feel [School] utilized their Facebook page?
  3. How satisfied are you with the frequency that [School] posted to their Facebook page?
  4. How did adding school stories, identified with #flucostories on the Facebook page, impact your overall view of the school?
  5. How satisfied are you with the frequency that #flucostories appeared on the Facebook page?
  6. How satisfied are you with the types of #flucostories that appeared on the Facebook page? (clubs, classroom activities, sports, events, etc.)
  7. Please provide any suggestions you have to help [School] improve the Facebook page for next school year.

With the exception of Question 7, all questions were based on a 1-5 rating scale, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. The survey was designed in Google Forms, and handed off to each school. If your school uses social media and wants to get feedback from families, feel free to borrow the questions I’ve listed above.

I am looking forward to analyzing the data and determining the weakest areas for each school. I am also looking forward to (hopefully!) developing a more uniform plan for the district, instead of going on a school by school basis.

Hyperdoc Resource: Don’t Be Fooled! Learn to Be a Healthy Skeptic

“Fake news” is a term that’s become more and more popular. What isn’t new is students falling for such news reports, often failing to research or dig deeper for the truth. Instead, whatever has been posted is taken at face value.

Here is a hyperdoc that I developed with the assistance of the journalism/media teacher. It focuses on helping students to determine how likely something online is fake news. It was designed for a high school mass media class so will work well for 9th-12th grades. In the interest of focusing on fake vs. valid, we did not use anything political in this particular lesson.

Name: Don’t Be Fooled! Learn to be a Healthy Skeptic
Description: A hyperdoc for grades 9-12 on determining the validity of a news article. Includes resources, and a final project in Prezi.
Notes: For this lesson, there is a form for evaluating and a doc with directions for the project. Both are currently set in the hyperdoc to make a copy. Make sure that you modify each as needed, and then repost with your own link before sharing with students.

Link to Hyperdoc

Feedback is appreciated. @tisinaction on Twitter or comment here!

Hyperdoc Resource: Minecraft Makershop Unit

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Holy llama riding in a minecart! It’s finally done!

If you’ve followed me for some time, you’ll recall that last summer I ran a workshop for middle school students called Minecraft Makershop. This is a workshop that I designed and developed after applying for a grant to help fund the process. I had a small crew of students join me for a 5 day workshop, but we learned a lot. Now that I know about hyperdocs, I’ve taken the workshop and redesigned it. All of the original workshop projects are included, with the addition of more discussion, more critical thinking, and more problem solving. Hyperdocs made this all possible. Plus, using the hyperdoc format allowed me to really organize the entire workshop so much better. I’m happy to finally be able to release my workshop nearly a year later. I will be using my new hyperdoc unit version this summer when I teach during Kids College.

Name: Minecraft Makershop (6 hyperdocs unit!)
Description: Would you like to give a workshop on Minecraft? How about add some activities to an afterschool club? Or integrate Minecraft in other ways? Minecraft Makershop is a hyperdoc unit that focuses on building and design theory in MInecraft. Students learn about the basics of building, giving feedback, and using redstone. The final project of the unit is a collaborative group build that implements each learned objective.

This Minecraft Makershop unit includes 6 hyperdocs, enough work for a 5 day workshop (if hosting a 4-5 hour session). Teachers are free to redesign the time restraints to feed the needs of their students. In addition to the 6 hyperdocs, there is also a Resources folder, and a guide to help you set up the unit. Because this is a unit, and not just a hyperdoc, the link to the file below is a .ZIP file. Download and unzip to access all of the folders and files, then upload to your Drive.

If you would like to see a preview of one of the hyperdocs of this unit before downloading the entire thing, please click this link to view the 2nd hyperdoc in this unit: Minecraft Makershop Activity 2 Hyperdoc

Download the entire .ZIP file here.

Feedback is appreciated. @tisinaction on Twitter or comment here!

Hyperdoc Resource: Minecraft Redstone Challenge #1 Base/House

Here is the most recent hyperdoc resource that I have created. I worked on this at the end of last week, and it gave me a chance to try another of the templates. While learning how to do hyperdocs, I’ve tended to take lessons I’ve already taught and redid them to fall into the hyperdoc format. The nice thing is that they turn out better than what I had originally planned.

Name: Minecraft Redstone Challenge #1 Base/House
Description: This hyperdoc is set up as a MMTS Game Board. The board gives options for students to explore using the redstone element through videos and text guides. Students apply their work twice on the board, and they also will share the final product with classmates as well.

Here’s what you need to know:

– The “Wonder” section is set up as a Google Form to collect student information. I have set the form up so you can make a copy, make your own changes, and then change the link.
– The “Create” section link will automatically ask students to make a copy of the document when clicked. It gives the guidelines for the challenge. Edit as needed.
– The “Share” section currently has no link. On my original, I set it up so students would be directed to a Padlet. Please insert your own link.

Other Notes:

My students in middle school and are part of an after school club. We use the regular Minecraft for PC edition of the game. My students play on a server that I have set up via a hosting service. This hyperdoc can be adapted for other versions of Minecraft, including Education Edition. Just remember to change the directions to reflect this on the instructions document.

Download Here

Feedback is appreciated. @tisinaction on Twitter or comment here!