Ed. Tech. Report
Volume 1 Issue 5
I've recently been discussing with several people throughout the district the (perceived) shortcomings of the productivity software offered by Google. If you've used Google Docs, Sheets, etc., you have probably noticed that these programs offer the bare minimum when it comes to features. If you're a veteran Microsoft Office user, this might make using these programs a bit difficult. I'd like to offer a couple of thoughts on this subject.
First, as teachers who are using these programs with our students, are we teaching the program or are we teaching the concept? I happen to think that students should possess word processing skills and be able to prepare a spreadsheet to record and calculate data via formulas, functions, charts, and graphs. Is it necessary to have a specific program to teach these skills? If we are focusing on the skills, does it really matter what program we are using? Please participate in this 1-question poll to weigh in on these questions!
Secondly, many of the features are present, you just have to know where to find them! About a year ago, Google introduced a feature within Google Docs and Sheets called "Add-Ons." What we find are little feature chunks that users can simply "add on" to the basic Google programs. This system allows users to truly customize the Google Drive experience with only the features that they want. To illustrate how "Add-Ons" work, check out this video where I increase my number of available fonts in Google Sheets from six to 35, all with an "Add-On!" Do you have favorite "Add-Ons" that you'd like to share with others in our district? Hit me up on Twitter @MrBandi2015 #GoogleAdd-Ons and share!
Newest Addition to FASD Studios. . .
Speaking of the FASD Studios YouTube channel, please subscribe! You will have to be signed in to your Google Account to do so. Once on the channel's home page, simply press the red "Subscribe" button and it's done! Spread the word and let's boost the number of subscriptions to the district channel!
Until then, check out our latest contribution from Central Elementary!
Tech. Finds of the Week
For those teaching our younger students (Ages 2-8) how to read, this one is for you! According to a report from Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers, teachers can now register for a free premium account. This account will provide free access to the app's entire collection of books! See the article for instructions on how to register.
I'm constantly looking for way to dress up my new Google Site, and this may just be the ultimate tool for doing so! Canva offers a HUGE selection of graphics, textholders, and layouts for FREE. Users can download their images free of charge for use elsewhere. I've used Canva to create a custom banner and favicon for my school Google Site. Want to learn how to do the same? Schedule a coaching session!
I've been VERY excited to share this one with my Social Studies colleagues! Hstry is a FREE source allowing for the quick and easy creation of interactive timelines. The site allows teachers to create and manage classes and assignments! Very cool stuff here for those looking to add a technology twist to the old-fashioned history report. Check it out and let me know what you think!