Monday, October 27, 2014

81 Dash - New Backchanneling Tool

Are you familiar with backchanneling?

To “backchannel” is to use a digital forum to have an online conversation about a speaker, presentation, or topic. The conversation is synchronous allowing all users to talk in real-time. Traditionally, backchannels are hosted on various platforms including Today’s Meet, Class Commons, and now 81 Dash. With the growing popularity of social media, many conference developers have transitioned to using Twitter, along with a specific hashtag, to publicly share their learning and confer with colleagues. In the realm of classroom teaching, many teachers continue to use backchannel platforms, as opposed to social media accounts, as it gives all students access and eliminates the need for a personal social media account.

In the past, many teachers have used TodaysMeet as a tool for backchanneling.  Recently we have discovered a new backchanneling tool called 81 Dash that was developed by educators for educators.  

User Features: 81 Dash allows teachers to register for an account and quickly create rooms. Teachers can then name their room and decide when their room will expire.  Once in a room, participants can exchange messages like a chat room or share files.  Students can join your 81 Dash room by using the URL that was assigned to your room and then registering.  Students can register by creating their own 81 Dash login with an email or they can register as a guest without an email. Teachers also have the ability to manually create accounts for students by using the 81 Dash provided Excel sheet.  

Along with deciding when a room expires, teachers can also determine if a room is “Active” or “Locked.”  Active rooms allow teachers and students to post and interact, while locked rooms allow only the teacher to see the room and what people have posted.  Teachers also have the ability to delete student posts to better moderate the conversation.  As a teacher or a student, you can get a PDF transcript of the room’s conversation to save and refer back to later.

Happy Backchanelling!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Using Google Forms in the Classroom

Google Forms is a Google tool that is part of our Google Apps for Education Suite that allows users to collect, organize, and analyze data quickly and easily.  Google Forms provides several templates to create polls, surveys, and/or quizzes in the classroom and beyond. You can even insert videos, add images, create your own theme, or have others collaborate on creating your form.

After creating the Google Form, the link can be shared with anyone to complete.  Responses to your form are automatically collected and organized in a Google Sheet for easy reading and sharing.

There are many ways that Google Forms can be used in the classroom.  Below are the ITF Team's favorite five!

1. Quick Formative Assessment
A Google Form can be created to gather quick, formative, data from your class.   Teacher's can include multiple choice, short answer, paragraph text, checkboxes, or choose from a list.  Data from the Google Form can be used for class discussions and to drive future lessons.

2.  Collect Parent or Student Data and Digital Work
Sending parents a Google Form to fill out at the beginning of the year is a great way to collect important information that you might need throughout the year. In the past, parents have often had to fill out several different back-to-school paper documents that the teacher ultimately has to organize and file throughout the year. By using a Google Form, parents can click on the Google Form link & simply fill out one survey with all of their contact information.  The teacher will then have all parent information in one digital document that can be accessed from anywhere at anytime.

Keeping and organizing students' digital work can sometimes be overwhelming.  Teachers inevitably have an email inbox full of links that have to be sorted and opened individually. Instead of asking students to email the links to various digital projects throughout the year, teachers can use a Google Form to collect all of the links to student work. Students can fill out the form with their name, hour, and also the share link from any online work they have created.  Once the data is collected on the Google Sheet, the teacher can filter by name, hour, or link to the project. The teacher can even share the Google Sheet with students, parents, or others so everyone has an opportunity to see all students' work.

3. Exit Slip
Google Forms can be utilized as a quick and easy way to create and administer an exit slip. While Forms are not extremely efficient for lengthy quizzes, they can be exceptionally useful when gathering a few quick pieces of data on an exit slip. Best practice would be to create new forms and require the user to sign-in as well as collect the respondent’s username (both can be selected at the top under “form settings”). Then request that the student enter his or her first name, last name and follow-up with your question fields. Then, post the link to the assessment in your Brightspace course or on your classroom website. 

4. Students Collecting Data
Students can create and send out Google Forms to collect data in various subject areas for various projects.  This is a fast and accurate way to collect data simply by attaching the link to an email, a website or even social media.  Students can even work collaboratively to create the form by going to “File” and “Email Collaborators”.  

5. Sign-Up Sheet for Clubs, Sports, or Events
Teachers can easily use a Google Form to have student sign-up for a club, sport, or event.  By using a Google Form, teachers can set a specific date range for when the Form is available.  Student can sign-up at home or by using their phone on their own time. Teachers can easily see who is signed-up, schedule times, and organize the data within the Google Sheet to move forward!