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History Nerdfest 2016 Day Two: VBQs – Using Google Forms and multimedia to create engaging problem solving

And now it begins.

This morning is the the first day of the full on #ncss16 conference. Five sessions to attend today ending with a 5:00 presentation with @MsKoriGreen that will focus on using VR and Google Cardboard. Diet Pepsi, almond croissant, and fully charged devices.

First session?

Video Based Questions. Using Google Forms to create a more interactive version of a DBQ. I’ve been using something that I called a MDQ for a while that sounds very similar. My Media-Based Question also uses video, audio, and photos to engage kids in some sort of a writing prompt.

Kelly Grotrian from East Brunswick, NJ has also been using the idea of mashing up Google Forms with Document-Based Questions. She’s done Read more

More goodness from Google Forms: Self-grading quizzes

Over the last few weeks, Google rolled out a variety of new tools and goodness. Expeditions that focus on using their very cool virtual reality Cardboard tool, Google Cast for Education, new creation apps for Chromebooks, and my new favorite – self grading quizzes via Google Forms.

How sweet is that?

We’ve been using Flubaroo as an Add-on for years to help us collect, organize, and grade student responses. And now we can easily do the same sort of thing right inside the upgraded version of Forms. Read more

62 ways to use Google Forms

I feel bad. I ran across a very cool Google Doc and I can’t remember who told me about or how I found it. So . . . if it was you, thanks.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been pushing teachers to use Google Forms. Google Forms is a tool built into the free Google Docs app that allows you to create online surveys and assessments. People are using the tool in a wide variety of ways, from pre-tests to exit cards to collaborative time lines to lunch counts to graphic organizers to instant feedback to, well . . . you get the idea. Basically, you create a fill in the blank type form that automatically and instantly transfers the collected data in an easy to use spreadsheet.

If you don’t get the idea, here’s a Google Form that might help make things clearer. Head here, take the survey and get a sense of how powerful this free tool can be. Find the results of the survey here.

The cool Google Doc I found is titled 62 Interesting Ways to Use Google Forms.

My favorite? Number 56 – Classroom Compare and Contrast. What is the document missing? A reference to how Google Forms work great on mobile devices like smart phones, iPods and iPads.

If you don’t have a Google account, you really need one. Google Docs and Forms is just one of the reasons why.

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Google Keep – Note taking alternative, cross-platform sharing tool, and all around nice guy

I waded into the shallow end of the Google Apps / GAFE / Chromebook pool last summer. In November, I dove off the high board as my office went all Google – mail, calendar, documents, the works.

I’ve been using Google Docs forever so it’s not like the stuff is completely foreign to me. But going all in . . . with all my stuff, emails, contacts, online? Yeah, there was an adjustment period.

But after a few months, I really am falling in love with the syncing of info and materials between all my different devices. I’ve also had a chance to start playing around with all of the different Google tools buried in my account.

My latest favorite? Google Keep. Basically Keep is Google’s version of

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Tip of the week: New Google Earth. Great! And . . . meh.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you that I am a huge Google Earth nerd. I love geography. I love maps. I love Google.

It’s a simple formula. A + B = C. Maps + Google = Google Earth nerd.

So when Google pushed out an online version of GE this week, all was right with the world. At least until I started digging into it a little bit. Don’t get me wrong. Any time I can play with an online Google tool, it’s a good day.

The new version does have a few cool features. But I’m just a little disappointed that  Read more

Okay, Google. Teach my class

I just got off the phone with a former social studies teacher and current building admin. She’s working with several of her teachers as they develop standards-based lessons and units.

Part of the problem that they’re running into, of course, is that the state standards here in Kansas are not your typical standards. Our document does list some suggested people, places, events, and ideas for each grade level. But that list is not mandated or assessed at the state level. The social studies standards in Kansas is made up of a simple bulleted list:

  • Choices have consequences
  • Citizens have rights and responsibilities
  • Societies are shaped by beliefs, ideas, and diversity
  • Societies experience continuity and change over time
  • Relationships among people, places, ideas, and environments are dynamic

The purpose behind this “simple” list is to encourage classroom instruction that ties social studies content to these big ideas. We used the term mental velcro a lot – why teach the aftermath of the Civil War? Why teach about the Army of Amazons in southeast Kansas? Why teach redlining in Chicago during the 1930s?

Because Read more