Tuesday, November 8, 2016

How To Split Cells In A Spreadsheet

Have you ever had a spreadsheet where you'd really like to split a cell that contains multiple data points (last name, first name) into individual cells with only one data point each? I know that I used to use this a lot for taking my class roster and separating the last and first names. Today I'm going to show you how to use the Text to Columns feature, in both Google Sheets, and Microsoft Excel to do just that.

Google Sheets:

As you might expect, with Google Sheets generally being a simplified version of Excel, the process of splitting text to columns is fairly simple.

  1. Right click on the column to the right of the column that contains the text you'd like to split.
  2. Choose the option Insert 1 left; you're going to need to do this for each additional word. Since I will end up with two separate words in this example, I only need to do this step once as I only need one extra cell.
  3. Highlight the cells that you want to split.
  4. Click the Data heading from the toolbar.
  5. Click Split text to columns. This will take the first name and place it into the second column that you just added.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

You Asked For It, We Answered!

Since we started using Illuminate and Schoology as a district, teachers have been lamenting the fact that students are able to open other windows or tabs in their browser while taking online tests. While there are programs that can lock down the browsers, those have a cost associated with them.

I'm happy to announce that I've developed kiosk logins that can be used with the Chromebooks that are similar to what we used with the M-Step assessment last year. Now, you can have students log into one of two kiosks before they log into the Chromebook and they will be taken either to either the Illuminate student portal, or to Schoology.

Before students login to their Chromebooks, they should click on Apps which can be found in the lower left hand corner, right next to where they click to shut the Chromebook down. Once they click there, a window will pop up with the different Kiosks that we have loaded into the machines. Have students choose the app associated with the program in which they are testing.

If they're using the Illuminate Kiosk, they will go to the Student Portal and will be asked to input their username and password as usual. If they are logging into Schoology, they will be asked to enter their email and password.

When logged into any of these kiosks, students are unable to leave the window that they're logged into, making it impossible to tab over to different websites to look up answers. When students are done with the assessment, they will need to power down the device in order to freely move around the web.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

REMC Classroom Maker Project (#cmakers)

I just wanted to share some exciting information with you that I just heard about through the CISD.
The REMC Classroom Makers (#cmakers) project is a multi-year effort to provide local REMCs with maker training, curriculum and materials to be used with their districts to support and expand curricula and learning.  Makering is the convergence of hands-on DIY and technology.  It involves problem solving through failure, creativity, exploration and often collaboration. 
I went to one of the training sessions with Melinda Waffle last week and got some hands-on training with the different kits that she is putting together, all available for you to check out!

Some of the kits available for you include:

  • Circuitry Kit - create circuits that turn on lights, make noises, spin motors, etc.
  • Coding Kit - create code that makes robots move and interact with their surroundings
  • Construction Kit - allow your students to be creative with hands-on manipulatives
  • Gaming kit - create games that can be played on tablets
  • Robotics Kit - program robots to perform different actions

Individual Items
  • 3D Printer with laptop Bloxel set
  • Breakout EDU Box Dash (robot)
  • Google Cardboard (up to 5) Green Screen
  • Keva Planks Little Bits kit
  • Makey-makey kits (up to 5) Osmo (Numbers, Letters & Tangram)
  • Ozobot set Snap Circuits (up to 2 kits)
  • Sphero Strawbee connectors
If you're interested in learning more about these exciting items, check out the CISD website.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Saving A Google Doc In Another Format

If you're like me, you probably think that Google Docs are the greatest things since sliced bread. That is, unless you need to use the document in a way that doesn't involve the web, say like if you want to upload the document into another program that isn't setup to accept Google based files.

If you need to convert your Google document into another format, the process is simple. With your document open, click on File, and then on Download as, which is about two-thirds of the way down the page. This will open up a list of seven different formats you can choose from, such as .docx, .pdf, .epub.

When you click on your option of file type, it will save it in your downloads folder. From there, you can upload it to that pesky program that hasn't quite gotten the hang of playing nice with Google.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Syncing Your Schoology Gradebook To Your Skyward Gradebook

In this post, I'll be explaining how to sync your Schoology and Skyward gradebooks at the beginning of a new course:
  1. Choose the grading categories that you plan on using from Skyward.
  2. Next, log into Schoology and navigate to your Schoology course.
  3. Click on the Skyward app on the lower left side of your course and click Configuration.
  4. If you don’t already see a dropdown box under the Schoology Course Categories header, press + Include Category for the categories you want to map from Skyward to Schoology.
    1. Select (Create New Schoology Category) if your Skyward categories do not yet exist in Schoology.
    2. Choose the corresponding category from the dropdown if it already exists.
    3. If you have chosen to weight your categories in Skyward, you will be able  to view and set the weights of each category. (Note, this must be ok’d by building principals before weighting grading categories.)

We've gone Enterprise! Schoology enterprise that is.

Great news everyone, we've decided to purchase the Schoology enterprise version this year for the secondary buildings. This is going to change the way those of you who used the free version in the past have done things, and I feel that it might interest many of you who haven't tried it in the past.
  1. You no longer have to build your courses from scratch, We've linked Skyward and Schoology which means that all of the courses and sections that are built into Skyward are automatically pulled into Schoology.
  2. Along those lines, you no longer have to have students join your classes by giving them the code. Because of the Skyward link, all teachers and students are already rostered to the class.
  3. You only have to enter grades one time. Schoology will now become your "go to" gradebook. Any assignments that you build in Schoology will automatically be created in your Skyward gradebook, no more grading in Schoology and then turning around and entering them in Skyward.
  4. You, and students, have the ability to record audio right in the assignment, discussion, or quiz/tests.
There are too many more things to list in one blog post, so I'll be sharing other tips and tricks as time goes on. If you're concerned that you don't know how this Schoology thing works, don't worry, we'll be having training sessions once school gets underway.

I'm looking forward to "...boldly going where no one has gone before" with all of you this year!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Google Classroom Users Can Now Assign Quizzes Through Quizizz

For anyone out there who has used Kahoot, you probably already know how much fun students have playing, I mean studying with it. I recently found a new tool that is similar in some ways to Kahoot, but offers some interesting differences - that program is called Quizizz.

Like Kahoot, Quizizz allows you to create multiple choice questions. Like Kahoo, Quizizz gives you a code that students type in to their device after going to a login screen (join.quizizz.com). And finally, like Kahoot, students gain points by answering questions correctly, and the faster they answer the questions, the more points they receive. The way that Quizizz differs from Kahoot is that students are not tied to the teacher's overhead to see the questions; students see the questions on their own devices.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tip of the Week - May the 4th be with you!

Happy Star Wars day to everyone! Today's tip has to do more with general time savings rather than a specific tip for one of our commonly used programs. Most computer mice now a days have a scroll wheel, or some part that allows you to scroll up and down on the computer screen. I've been using mine for quite some time, but it wasn't until recently that I started using one of the functions of the scroll wheel - the double click.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tip of the Week 4/25/16

Last week's Tip of the Week is a little late, I got all set to write it and then noticed that many of the images that I'd uploaded in previous posts had disappeared and spent the afternoon chasing down the missing images. Hopefully things will go more smoothly from now on.

I wanted talk about keyboard shortcuts this week. I've already told you about two timesaving shortcuts that I use on a daily basis, Ctrl+Tab (for moving between tabs) and Alt+Tab (for moving between open windows) you can see that post here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Customizing Your Profile Photo for Your Google Account

Have you ever received an email from someone and saw either their picture, or a picture of something that represents them and think "How do I get MY picture to show up?" Today I'm going to show you just how easy it is to link your picture to your Google account.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tip of the Week 4/15/16

I've decided that, in addition to blogging about educational technology in general, I'm going to start writing weekly tips for programs that we commonly use in our district, mostly centered around Illuminate, Skyward, and various Google programs that we have available to us. If you'd like to learn about something specific, feel free to send me requests and I'll add them to future Tip of the Week posts. 

Now, without further ado, here is this week's Tip of the Week...

Using the Tab Key to Quickly Enter Data

Friday, February 26, 2016

Changing a Student's Password to the Online Testing Portal in Illuminate

If you're having students test online using the Illuminate Student Portal and the student is having trouble logging in, you may need to change the student's password. First off, make sure that the student is entering in the correct username, this will be the students UIC, or state ID number, which can be found in the Illuminate roster; it will be the ID column to the left of the name.

If the username is correct, but it's still not letting the student log in, the next step would be to change the password. There are two ways to do this: the first way would be through the student search function, either through the search bar at the top of the website, or through the Students tab in the toolbar. The second way would be from the online test roster.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Using Google Doc's Voice Typing Tool

Recently I had a teacher come and ask me if I had a way of helping support a student that needed another method for getting his thoughts down on paper. I immediately thought of using Google's text to speech tool. I thought I’d do a little more research on it and discovered that it is an extremely easy tool to use, all you need is the microphone that is built into your device, or if you'd prefer something different, you can purchase an external microphone.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Using Advanced Printing Options From Google Docs

When printing from Google Docs, the only options that are immediately available are which pages you’d like to print, how many copies you’d like, and the ability to print two sided (assuming you’re using a printer that is able to do two sided copies). If you want advanced features, you have to choose Print using system dialog… (Ctrl + Shift + P) from the Print page. Choosing this option will take you to the print options that you see when you print from word processing programs such as Microsoft Word.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How to Change the Language on a Chromebook

We've recently had some issues with students going into the language settings and switching the language to something else. This video will show you how to go into the Chromebook settings and change it back to english.

How to Create a Rubric in Illuminate - Basic

Hey everyone, I've been receiving a lot of questions about creating rubrics in Illuminate, so I thought I'd go ahead and make this tutorial. Making rubrics is a fairly simply process, if you can make an assessment in Illuminate, you can make a rubric.

Creating an assessment: 

The first thing that you need to do is to create an assessment. You do this by clicking on Assessment on the black toolbar. From the dropdown menu, choose Create a New Assessment. On the next screen, you'll want to choose Manual Assessment. Before clicking Okay, you need to supply the number of questions that you want on your assessment, or in this case, the number of sections in your rubric. 

At this point, you're going to need to add the New Assessment Information. While you are only required to add a title to your assessment, there are a few other pieces of information that you will find useful, later on, if you include them now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Illuminate Tips & Tricks

I'm excited to see more and more teachers utilizing Illuminate to record and analyze student data, and not necessarily because of the directive to put in CUAs or final exams, but for formative assessments or tickets out of class. Illuminate is a powerful tool, and with a little training, actually fairly easy to navigate.

I've recently started putting together step-by-step directions, called Illuminate FAQ, on how to get around in Illuminate in order to help teachers that just want a quick tutorial. So far, I've created an introduction that walks you through the basics of the Illuminate work area (tool bars, control panel, etc.), how to set up your grade-cam, how to filter student results to look at subgroups, and how to remove individual scores.

The link to these tutorials can be found on the District Staff webpage on the left side of the screen. I'm always looking for more information to help teachers out, so if you'd like to see something added to the Illuminate FAQ, please shoot me an email and I'll get right to work on the write-up.

For those of you who feel that you need one-on-one help rather than trying to use these tutorials, I would be happy to meet with you during any time that you are available. I can come visit during your PLC time, planning time, or before and after school to help get you up and running.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Using Google Maps in Your Classroom

When I taught 6th grade science, we had an introduction to Geology in which we studied the rockcycle, tectonic plates, and volcanoes, among other things.  One project that students always did was to log onto the USGS website and look at the location of various earthquakes around the world in a certain period of time.  Typically we had students break up into groups and have them plot the longitude and latitude on maps and see if they noticed any trends.  Once we gathered all of the data (each group had a small set of the entire data), we looked for overall trends which inevitably led to a discussion about the Ring of Fire, an area around the Pacific Plate where much of the world's earthquake and volcanic activity take place.
Google Maps

One thing that I always wanted to do with this project was to use Google Earth.  Students would still use the set of information that they had, but the would be able to interact with the output in ways that they couldn't on a black and white copy of the map of the world.  The only issue that I had was that there was no way for students to share their maps with the class, or with me, unless I gave each group my Google Earth password.

By the time that our school started it's 1-to-1 program, using Chromebooks, I had moved on to 7th grade science, and no longer taught that content, but I still think about it.  Another issue was that with Chromebooks, we would not be able to download Google Earth, but we did have access to Google Maps.  I know that you can currently share maps with other people, much like other Google Apps for Education products, but I can't remember if that was an option back then;   Whatever the case, I can see using Google Maps for all types of projects, whether the Ring of Fire in science, or creating an interactive map of Lewis & Clark's voyage, sites of ancient cultures, etc. rich with pictures, movies, and text.