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Showing posts from November, 2013

Re-Introduction to Moodle

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Most of our HHS teachers were trained on Moodle at some time in the distant past.  If you remember everything about Moodle and use it everyday, you can stop reading and go watch TV or knit a sweater or something.  :)  This post is designed to be a refresher on the basics of Moodle, and perhaps a nice introduction to our newer teachers who are just getting started.

Peer Editing with Google Documents

Imagine this scenario in Mr. Tek's history class, in which students write a thesis paragraph about whether or not Alexander the Great was really "great." For homework, students create a Google Document, and write a paragraph with a strong thesis statement.In class the next day, Mr. Tek assigns peer pairs, telling each student who will be peer reviewing their paragraph.Students open the paragraphs on their devices, and share the documents with their partners (using the blue "Share" button). Students also share the documents with Mr. Tek.  [For this activity, the Sharing permission is set to "Can comment," so that peers can make comments with changing the text of the document.]Students comment on each others' paragraphs, including both positive feedback and constructive criticism. Students then return to their own paragraphs, and make changes based on their reviewers' comments.That evening, Mr. Tek can open each document and judge the quality of…

Brainstorming Sessions with Google Documents

Brainstorming, the act of writing down ideas quickly without judging their appropriateness is a common tool for beginning a lesson.  It is traditionally done with a class by having the teacher write ideas on a whiteboard or easel paper as the class calls out suggestions. With Google Docs, members of the class can skip the "middle man" and put their ideas directly into a document.* This lets everyone contribute, not just the loudest or most persistent students.

Imagine Mrs. App's Biology class is beginning a lesson on the ethics of cloning technology.  She is going to use a shared Google Document as both a warm-up activity and a brainstorming session. Before class, Mrs. App creates a Google Document and shares it with her students.  In the document, she makes two phrases:  "Reasons why cloning technology may be beneficial" and "Reasons why cloning technology may be a bad idea."As a warm-up activity, Mrs. App's students open the shared document on t…

Video Back Channels with Google Documents

Google Apps is a great tool for student use. On one hand, it's simpler to use and learn than the Microsoft Office Suite. On the other hand, its collaboration tools are amazing, and almost impossible to mimic with traditional Word or Excel.

One creative way to use Google's sharing capabilities is through what is called a "back channel."  A back channel is, in essence, a secondary conversation that is occurring in the background of a lesson or presentation, usually via some form of computer technology.  For example, many large-audience presentors use a back channel to field questions from a 2000-member audience.
Example Ms. Google has a great video for her Intro to Law class, the about the OJ Simpson trial (on VHS of course, so she has to go find a VCR).  The video is challenging, and in the past, Ms. Google would often pause the video to make comments or ask questions.  Today, she is using Google Apps as a video "back channel" discussion. Before class, Ms. G…