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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 MBQ 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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Google Search. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

I’m probably showing my age. But the old orange juice commercial still comes to mind every once in a while. You know the one. Everyday folks drinking orange juice all day long cause . . . you know, it’s not just for breakfast anymore. (You’re welcome, Florida Orange Growers Association.)

And it came to mind again yesterday while I was working with a small group of educators as they explored all of the different tools available in Google’s G Suite for Education. I had stopped to talk a bit about Google Search and a teacher shared what I’m guessing was the overall mood of the group:

Search isn’t really a tool, is it? Not like Docs or Slides. And don’t most kids already know how to search on Google?

Yes, it is a tool. And after a few minutes of gentle conversation and examples, mmm . . . it was clear that maybe we don’t all know as much about the power of Google Search as we think we do. (Yesterday I overheard one particular user mention that she starts all of her searches by clicking the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the Google search page.) And while we’re all pretty good at putting some keywords into the Google search box and hoping for the best, I think we can do better.

Google Search isn’t just for breakfast anymore – we need to realize that finding and organizing information is a vital digital literacy skill that we and our students can’t ignore. And it’s becoming even more critical as more and more of the documents, sources, and tools that our students need are being pushed online. So . . . Read more

Best posts 2017: Tips and Tricks for using Google Expeditions

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much Chex Mix, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read seven of the most popular History Tech posts from 2017. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


I will be the first to admit that I love new and shiny gadgets quickly catch my attention. I love finding new tools and ideas that can help teachers and kids do their jobs better and more effectively. And here at ESSDACK, it’s actually part of my job. I get the chance to play with and learn about all sorts of shiny toys.

My latest gadget? Virtual and augmented reality tools. The potential for engaging students and using this sort of technology to gather, organize, and create information is pretty mind blowing. I especially love the work that Google is doing to make the tech more accessible for schools. The Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer is especially affordable and easy to use. Plus it’s designed to be used with a wide variety of third party tools. And the Google has also developed its own apps that work with their Cardboard viewer. Read more