Wide Ranging Google Drive Activities – Infographic

GoogleDoc Info Graphic smallerThis wonderful infographic depicts the wide range of 21st Century learning opportunities — activities that support collaboration — all possible when teachers use the various components of Google Drive with students — inside or outside of their classrooms.

What is cool about these activities is how they can be used in tandem with almost any academic subject.

The original info graphic has live links, however this image does not. Check out a more detailed explanation at the Teach Thought blog.

The infographic was designed with Glogster.


Want to Blog With Students? How to Get Started

blogging pic

Have you thought about blogging with students?

Image my surprise the first time I blogged with students — within a week or two the quality of their writing improved. The students responded to teacher posts on a variety of topics, with mostly spontaneous, but well thought-through contributions. That was when I understood for the first time that when students write on a blog for an audience that offers prompt feedback, they learn about the topic and also about collaboration and digital citizenship.

To blog with your students, consider the following:

  • Determine what topics do you want to appear on your blog. Is it going to focus on one curriculum unit, a subject strand, or will it be a class project for the year? Will the teacher be the only one who works with students on the blog or will other teachers who teach other subjects also contribute and collaborate.  When we started blogging with third graders, we discovered, after the first few months of blogging, that the students wanted to originate some of the posts.
  • Choosing a blogging site can be tricky. If a school runs a course web system, it may come with a blogging component that is already integrated into the online class system. Here at school, our course management system, MyGDS, includes a WordPress blog option, though it works best for older students.

Continue reading

Word Clouds: Lots of Options

Created with Festisite.

Created with Festisite.

These days multiple word cloud options are available for students and teachers. Designing with words is an easy way for learners to create illustrations with spelling or vocabulary words, and some word cloud sites can evaluate short passages from reading material. To learn more about using word clouds, check out 108 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom at the Technology and Learning website (you may need to click past an advertisement).

Many people are familiar with Wordle — the original word cloud site — that is especially clean, easy-to-use, and without advertising. Yet, as with everything else in the digital world, however, word cloud sites are increasing. Sites building off Wordle’s success offer various options for saving, sharing, copying, and embedding, but no one word cloud site offers everything. Most of the sites allow a user to format with colors, fonts, and  typeface sizes.

  • ABCya.com — This word cloud site is designed expressly for kids by a small company that develops and markets apps. Users cannot embed images, but it’s easy to copy an image and use it just about anywhere else. You do not need to sign up to use the site, and this is good one to use with younger children because it clearly states that it complies with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). Some ads promote the company’s apps.      Continue reading

Everything (Almost) You Want to Know About Multimedia Tools


For educators and their students, part of teaching and learning in today’s world is knowing how to present information.

To discover a comprehensive list of media creation and editing tools, look no further and check out Software Tools I Like for Multimedia Production by Barbara Schroeder, Ed,D., an associate professor in the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University.

It’s an amazing blog post with links to all sorts of multimedia tools that can help educators and their students create good-looking presentations. I discovered a new tool — Screenr a web-based screen casting site that I intend to explore. Most importantly most of Schroeder’s recommendations are easy to master, thereby enabling our 21st Century learners to concentrate on the topics and the content they are studying rather than on the “how-to’s” of presenting.

A Partial List of Schroeder’s Categories                    Continue reading

Why Word Order Matters When You Search

The word order of a search matters in today’s connected world, so 21st Century learners of all ages should understand how search results change when a user rearranges the words. A short video on word order, uploaded by Google’s Search Anthropologist Daniel Russell — check out his Search-Research blog — teaches this lesson effectively.

Use this less-than-two-minute video, recently featured in a blog post at Free Technology for Teachers, as a quick and succinct teaching tool with students, parents, and other educators.

Lots More Fonts for Google Drive!

Until a few days ago, even as I was increasing my daily use of Google Drive, I assumed that font choices were limited.  Then I read a blog post about fonts over at the Education Technology and Mobile Learning blog (a great resource to follow).

Guess what?  We can use hundreds of fonts with our Google documents.

Google Fonts 1You can follow of the steps, with pictures, at the blog.  I’ve followed them on my laptop. They’re easy, and I and noted the steps here.

Point your mouse to the font list at the top of the page.  Click and hold and your font list opens.  Mouse down to the bottom of the fonts list where it says Add Fonts. (See image at left.)

Another window opens. (See image at right.)

In this window,  all of the fonts you can add-on are to the left-hand side  and the list of what is actually on your Google drive on the right side.

Peruse the list on the left and click on the fonts you want to add. At the top right you can filter the fonts in all sorts of different ways.

Click OK when you have selected the fonts that you want to use.  Once you choose them for one document, they seem to remain in the list for other documents. More on this later, if updates are required.

Google fonts 2Users can go back again and again.

One way to filter the fonts is by Date added, so it may be that more new fonts will be uploaded occasionally.

Still to discover is whether fonts will show up no matter what computer you use.

Several Google Drive tutorials are listed in right-hand column of this blog.

Outline of Available iPad Learning Activities


Check out the Edudemic Post.

This image from Edudemic — Full Spectrum of iPad Learning Activities  illustrates how the capabilities of the iPad interact with high quality apps and enable students and educators to develop and engage with in-depth learning activities.

This graphic is the clearest image that I’ve ever seen — highlighting the adroitness of  iPad capabilities and depicting range of opportunities offered to resourceful teachers and learners. It’s a connected learning gem.

Read the full post or check out other great learning information at the Edudemic blog. Don’t be put off by the many lists and the lack – sometimes – of expository writing. The Edudemic blog posts contain a huge amount of valuable information, curated especially for digital learners.

NOTE: If you peruse past posts here on GDSTechTips, you’ll discover several other links to Edudemic, usually on topics that relate to an issue or topic that is under discussion here at school.  One to check out is a GDSTechTips post linking to an Edudemic piece that described some of the ways iPad capabilities can be wasted in schools.