Friday, January 31, 2020

Google Snacks Volume 12 - Google Classroom Basics

Google Classroom is a very powerful tool for teachers to use for creating assignments, grading, organizing, and so much more. This session we will cover creating a Classroom, creating Topics and Assignments, how to prepare and schedule assignments, and what the Stream does.

Begin by opening Google Classroom (the Waffle icon) and click on the plus icon in the top right corner and select Create Class.

A new window should appear asking you to name your new class. You can add Section and Subject, but only the name is required.

Once you create the class, the screen will default to the Stream. We will talk about the Stream towards the end once we discuss what ties into the Stream. For now, click on the Classwork tab at the top of the page.

The Classwork tab will look empty when you first start a new class, but it will quickly fill in. Start by clicking on the Create button to show the different options for things you can make. We will start with the Topics since this will help you organize your assignments.

Topics are used to keep assignments in sections, such as for different units, chapters, etc. You can use these Topics for organizing assignments however you want.

After you have created a Topic or two to get started, click on the Create button again and select Assignment.

A new window will open for you to begin creating your first assignment.

The only thing technically required for an assignment is a Title, but you can fill out the rest (including your Topic) as needed. You can edit assignments at any time, and the screen will look the same when editing as it does when creating. You can change an assignment Topic anytime, just in case you forgot to set the Topic when creating the assignment or you want to just move it around.

You can choose to prepare and schedule assignments in advance or just save them as drafts for later by clicking the arrow next to the Assign button.

Creating Drafts is nice if you are not sure when you want to assign something, or you are just getting some concept assignments in order. Scheduling assignments will allow you to plan out your year/semester/quarter better than just assigning things on the spot. If you do just click Assign, it will immediately assign the assignment to the class. You can always change the scheduled date of an assignment, just in case the class falls behind or snow days happen, or anything else that would cause you to reschedule.

Now that we have created some topics and assignments, we can switch back over to the Stream tab by clicking at the top of the Classroom.

The image below shows what an example Stream might look like, let's go over the different aspects.

The top icon with the arrow is the Stream Share field, this is where you can post a variety of things. Stream posts can be anything from reminders about assignments, class announcements, or supplemental materials. The circled icon is what a posted assignment will look like. The icon for the assignment matches the icon from the Create image previously shown in this post.

The Stream is similar to a Facebook wall, if that helps to make more sense. You can allow or deny students from posting on the Stream. You even have the same posting options with Stream as you do assignments. You can schedule a post, draft one, or post it immediately.

In Classroom Advanced, we will cover integrating other Google apps into your Classroom (such as Forms Quizzes covered previously) and also exploring other assignment options. I hope this helped you get to know a Google feature you didn't already know before. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Google Snacks Volume 11 - Comments: Docs and Slides

Comments are a great way to have students make peer edits on Google Docs or take guided notes with Google Slides. Comments are available on all Google apps, but we are only focusing on Docs and Slides for this session.

Peer editing for Docs can be used by any class writing papers or doing any other type of project that requires peer editing on a Google app. Begin by having the students Share a paper or draft they have written and make sure they choose the option "Can Comment".

The default behavior for sharing is "Can Edit", so make sure you tell students to change the option. If a student accidentally shares the doc with another student using the wrong privileges, they can change the permissions in the sharing.

Students can select as little as one word or as much as a paragraph (or more) for a selection for a comment.

When you click on the comments, it will highlight the section associated with that comment, or vice versa.

Guided notes are a way for students to follow along and take notes of a lecture presentation. You can assign guided notes with or without a grade in Classroom. Create an assignment and attach the Slide presentation to the assignment and choose the option "Each student will get a copy".

Students can comment while they follow along with the lecture presentation.

They can add comments to each slide on their own copy of the Slides with their own notes. They can even click on specific elements of the slides and make comments/notes on specific things.

Once the lecture is over, students can turn in their commented Slides for points. You can then return the notes to them for studying.

Lastly, you can open Comment History by clicking the button at the top of the app near the Share button that looks like a chat bubble with lines.

The Comment History will show you all comments made by everyone.

I hope this helped you get to know a Google feature you didn't already know before. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Bonus Bite: Forms Quizzes - more cheat prevention

There are two more cheat prevention methods you can use with Google Forms Quizzes. These are a little bit less straight forward, which is why they are in a different blog post.

You can add Sections to your quiz by clicking on the bottom button on the right hand side of a question.

A normal quiz without sections will show all of the questions on screen at the same time. Sections make it so only one section of questions will be on screen at a time. If you only have one question per section, it will only show one question on screen at a time, this method does not work with shuffle questions unfortunately. If you have a few questions per section and use the shuffle questions, it will shuffle the order per section.

Sections will help with screen cheating while shuffle helps more with students memorizing the question and answer order.

The other option to help prevent cheating is creating an attendance code. You might be familiar with this since we use them for the students for Counselor Connection. An attendance code will make sure the only students taking your test are in your room. No one can be in another classroom or at home where they have access to another computer to look up the answers, since you will be giving them the code the day of the test.

Let's go over how to create your own attendance code and how they work.

Start by changing the FIRST question in your quiz to Short Answer.

Turn on Response Validation and make sure the question is Required.

Enter the code you would like for the quiz.

Make sure you enter a Custom Error Text (where it says, "Please enter the correct code"). If you don't enter a custom error text, if the student enters the wrong code, it will show them the correct code. If you put the attendance code in its own section, as explained above, then the students will not be able to go past the attendance code question until they enter the correct code.

That's it! Go forth and make awesome quizzes!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Google Snacks Volume 10 - Google Forms Quizzes

Google Forms can be used for much more than just your typical response form. One of the best features is the ability to turn a form into a quiz. Google Forms Quizzes offer a lot of beneficial features including, but not limited to, drastically reduce cheating, reuse quizzes and update info as needed, no more paper tests, and automatically grade them!

Begin by opening up a new Google Form and click on the Settings gear.

Click on Quizzes at the top of the settings then select Make this a Quiz.

Don't close the settings window yet, we have a couple more changes to make. Once you have made the Form into a Quiz, click on the check box for Locked mode on Chromebooks. This makes it so the quiz can only be taken on our managed Chromebooks, but the students cannot open other tabs or applications while taking the quiz. This is the first step in preventing cheating since they can no longer search for answers.

While still in the settings window, click on the Presentation tab and choose Shuffle Question Order. This is step two in preventing cheating since students will not be able to memorize a set order of questions from a previous student.

You can now close the settings window. Next we will look at the questions themselves. At the bottom of each question, click on the three does, then choose Shuffle Option Order. This only works for questions that are multiple choice type. This is the third step in preventing cheating since students cannot memorize the answer order.

You will have to shuffle the option order on each question, but it does work on every type of multiple choice question, including Multiple Choice, Checkboxes, Dropdown, Multiple Choice Grid, and Checkbox Grid.

Once you have created a question and added some answer options, you can mark your answer key. At the bottom or the question, click on Answer Key and select the correct answer for the auto grader.

Auto grading is available on every question type except paragraph.

The last topic we will cover for this session is importing questions from other Forms Quizzes. You can import questions by clicking on the Import button on the right side of the questions section, the icon looks like a page with an arrow pointing to the right.

An example for importing questions is to combine several chapter quizzes into one unit quiz. Once you choose to import questions, a new window will open showing the questions on the test you selected. You can choose to import select questions or all of them.

Now you are ready to create Google Forms Quizzes! I hope this helped you get to know a Google feature you didn't already know before. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.