Tuesday, June 2, 2015

5 Awesome Google Form Add-ons

I'm watching sessions from Google Education on Air and came across a great session from Ryan Archer @ArcherEdTech. He presented three add-ons for Google Forms that I hadn't tried before, but will now! Here's the link!

1. FormMule - This mail merge add-on lets you setup emails that are triggered when someone completes the form. Different emails can be created and specified per form choice. Great for PD sign-ups and reminders.

2. Form Values - Quickly populate form fields with this add-on. It is installed in forms and lets you setup lists of items you can use later. When selected, the designated field is populated with what you setup without having to retype or copy/paste each time.

3. Choice Eliminator - Let students select topics from a list and have them be removed when you get the desired number of students. Let's pretend my students were researching authors. I could create a form of the authors they could pick from. I only want each author assigned once. With Choice Eliminator, when a student picks a person, it is removed from the list so others cannot pick it..

A couple of add-ons that I use on a regular basis are Flubaroo and Autocrat.

4. Flubaroo - Turn your Google form into a Quiz or Test. Run this add-on to grade student responses against a key that you create.

5. Autocrat - Similar to FormMule, Autocrat lets you setup emails to be triggered on form submission. These can send documents with the email. I used this add-on when my Maintenance director needed to inspect campuses and send a report to the campus principal. He completed the form from his smartphone and when submitted, the report was emailed to the designated recipient. I also used this tool to get feedback on PD and distribute certificates of attendance from the same form.

Google Education on Air

I really love the innovation and creativity of Google. They have been focused on users from the beginning. Their efforts in Education are no different. I am a huge fan of GAfE and the tools provided for teachers and students at no cost. I enjoy working with a cart of Chromebooks in my classroom and the many apps available for use from the Chrome Web Store.

Google wants to help educators use these tools better and just hosted its first Education on Air conference in early May 2015. The theme was Practical Innovation. Speakers and attendees connected from 185 countries around the world.

All the sessions are available to view on demand. The first day has several panels and keynotes with fresh ideas on skills needed and way to affect change. The second day is filled with breakout sessions grouped by audience interest. Educators at every level can find something new to learn from this event.

Here is the link: https://educationonair.withgoogle.com/

As I began watching some sessions I realized what a great opportunity this conference could be for schools requiring summer Professional Development in Technology for their teachers. A district could use Google Classroom as their LMS and assign sessions, quizzes, reflections, and projects to teachers over the summer.

Benefits for schools:

1. It is free!

2. Teachers could learn from home (in their pjs)!

3. Teachers can learn at their own pace as their summer schedule allows.

4. Encourages teachers to use the tools they learn about in the sessions.

5. Supports the use of GAfE if you are a district using that product.

Using Google Education on Air for summer PD is a win-win!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Cool Games - According to my teen

My fifteen year old daughter is a tech junkie. Not only did she take Computer Science for her Foreign Language this year, she also got the award for Highest Average in the class. This year also saw her earn the Highest Average in BIM class as well as placing 6th at UIL Region in Computer Applications. She is a self-proclaimed member of the Nerd Herd.

She is always bringing me cool apps and games she and her friends find. The school she attends in a GAFE school so they look for Chrome Apps that they can play on the Chromebooks in her classes.

Here are her latest suggestions:

1. Little Alchemy - This game is more like a puzzle. Players start with four basic elements and then must combine then to create new things. There are a total of 530 possible combinations and the elements grow as you add more combinations. For example, fire + earth = lava, lava + earth = volcano, volcano + energy = eruption + ash and so on. What a great little puzzle to experience chemical reactions.

2. Cube Slam - This Google Experiment resurrects the classic pong format (I remember playing it with joysticks on an Atari!). The added twist is that you can either play the computer or send a friend a link and challenge them. It uses the web cam and mic on the computer so you can see and hear your opponent. Each level adds more difficulty and challenges.