Everything EdTech

Tips, tricks, and news for the EdTech Community

May 5, 2016

EdTech News

Google Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week

Whether by coincidence or design, Google provided teachers with several great announcements and updates just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week. These came in the form of a product acquisition and a wonderful update to Google Slides.

On May 2nd, Google announced that they had acquired the popular interactive tutorial design startup Synergyse. Synergyse allows businesses to create interactive step-by-step tutorials on how to use the various Google Apps. The service allowed users to create and share tutorials on how to complete specific tasks. The applications for this service in education are endless. Schools that are adopting Google Apps for Education now have the ability to quickly and easily produce custom tutorials to speed adoption by teachers and students. And the best news is that in an email announcement to current Synergyse subscribers about the acquisition, Synergyse shared that the former subscription service would now be available for free.

Learn more at https://www.synergyse.com/.

Google also announced an update to Google Slides that allows Live Q & A and polling inside a presentation. Similar to add ons like Poll Everywhere, the feature allows presenters to more fully engage with participants by allowing them to submit questions from any device to a link that displays in the Slide Presentation. Other users can see all of the questions and can even vote them up or down. The presenter can then address the questions during the presentation. Google calls this talking with your audience rather than to them. It is, of course, nothing new, but having it built in to the Slides application certainly makes its inclusion much easier for presenters.

Check out the video below to see an example implementation of this feature.

Introducing Slides Q&A: A new way to talk with your audience—not at them

More on SAMR

The SAMR Model first developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura provides a great framework for teachers looking to increase the effective integration of technology in the classroom. In the original version, the Model was often displayed as a ladder with the idea that teachers should "climb up the ladder" to reach the redefinition level.

Recently, however, this idea has been, well, redefined. Technology integration leaders have now adopted the analogy of a swimming pool with redefinition represented as the deeper end of the pool. There may be no better guide to this analogy that Jaclyn Stevens wonderful Thinglink interactive graphic that is included below.

We are still looking for recommendations of the favorite apps and resources of AMSTI Specialists and Teachers!

The Big Tech Coach

Keith George, the Big Tech Coach, is the Educational Technology Specialist for the Alabama Math, Science & Technology Initiative (AMSTI) of the Alabama State Department of Education. An educator with over 20 years experience in integrating technology into the classroom and coaching others to do the same, Keith is working to complete his dissertation on Instructional Technology Coaching in Alabama. Keith is a Google certified educator, a Symbaloo PD Pro, and an ALEX Certified Trainer. Keith also serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Auburn University Montgomery School of Education and is a co-founder of EdCamp Montgomery.