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Showing posts from 2017

Using OneNote to create a Choose your own Adventure book

[I did have 3 hours of Parent Teacher Conferences tonight, but I wanted to make sure I got my November daily post in!]
I spent way too much time as a kid reading through the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Like these folks (link) I would map out the different paths to see what possibilities existed in the text. If you haven't ever read one, the format is pretty simple (well, to the reader).  You start at Page 1 and read a few paragraphs that are on the page, describing your situation. In "The Cave of Time" you're out hiking in the woods and come across a cave that you decide to explore.
 After turning to the next page (as instructed) you are then required to make a choice, which will require you to jump to a much further page in the book (say, 18 or 27 as in the example below).

From there you keep reading one page at a time, with the bottom of the page asking you to make a choice (or sending you to another page without choice).  As you can see from the narrative stru…

Who are you?

In preparation for my next blog post (I'm blogging once-a-day in November!) we should talk about who you are.  In today's cloud-based services, you need an identity.  It's typically based on your email or your phone number. 
One option is your Microsoft Identity. Most folks already have a Google, Facebook or Twitter identity... and this is the same idea.  Having a personal Microsoft Account does not mean you have to get another email or really do anything except register to get your Microsoft "space" and allows you to use cloud-based services like Word, PowerPoint, Excel & OneNote.
If you don't already have a Microsoft Account, attach it to one of your existing emails.  If you're okay with it, I would recommend creating a new email through this process (even with the same name @ outlook.com) but I've also just attached it to my gmail account.
Do NOT use your School email.  It will work and you could do it, but then you can't tell just by looki…

Stop Ditching Homework

I know it's trendy for folks to proselytize "Ditching Homework" - it's a catchy phrase, great memories of your own homework are likely hard to find and you won't get invited to speak at conferences or sell books if you're encouraging folks to do the something they're already doing.
Now, I'm only speaking of high school -- to elementary teachers, I would suggest you follow Hattie's advice that 5 effective minutes is as good as 1-2 hours and to avoid "projects"(Link).  But people arbitrarily throw out statements that have little basis in research, or produce straw arguments to avoid the "homework as an effective learning device".
So my suggestion is not that it will teach responsibility (one blogger insists there is no research indicating this, but of course, there is, but I don't care either way -- it's not my goal) or will prepare them for post-secondary studies (who says they're going to post-secondary?).
Instead, …

Making Microsoft Forms Quizzes with Math (Free, Easier and Quicker)

So Twitter serves up a lot of great tips, tricks, techniques and shortcuts for busy teachers. Choosing to follow the right folks helps prevent a lot of the nonsense.
Eric Curts (Twitter) provided one to help Math teachers with quick formative assessments : Making Google Forms Quizzes with Math (Free, Easy, and Quick).
It's just as free, quicker and easier with Microsoft Forms ... and remember that Microsoft is free to all schools, teachers & students.

So Eric wanted to make this problem below into a self-marking Quiz.  He had to use a separate app to create the math, change it into an image and then paste the URL to get the Math into Google Forms.  With Microsoft Forms, it's all included -- reduces the workload considerably!
Visit https://forms.office.com and click on Getting Started and log in with your School Microsoft Account.
Don't have a School Microsoft Account?  Again, it's free for schools, teachers & students - visit https://products.office.com/en-us/s…

Why students OneNote

So my good friend and colleague Anjuli Ahooja and I were fortunate enough to host a student panel on learning technologies at the STAO (Science Teachers Association of Ontario) and teachers in the audience asked the following questions.  I tried to keep to actual student quotes.

"I use Google Classroom... What is the advantage of using OneNote ClassNotebook?"
"I've used both ... this [OneNote] is more seamless""Google is so dependent a lot on internet connection, because they're internet based software and systems they have limited functionality in terms of the things you can be creative with... we're able to do more things" [OneNote works without need for continuous wifi]""Because you have so many resources at your fingertips, you're able to use them all in one common space... I feel a lot more engaged and I'm a lot more easily able to integrate aspects into one common note instead of having multiple [files]""Becaus…

Audio in Learning (in OneNote)

Last week was crazy busy (3 conferences, report cards and my Dad's memorial service) so I'm catching up on my November committment.

As Richard Byrne laid out today in his post, "Voice Recording Tools", audio can be very effective for both students as content, as product or as feedback from teachers.

OneNote doesn't require any additional plug-ins, programs, apps or logins -- you just click INSERT
The instant you click on the AUDIO button, it creates an audio file next to your cursor, titles it with the name of the page it's on, and starts recording.  It starts recording the instant you click the button, so be ready!  The instant.  (Ask me how many times I've deleted the audio recording and started again cuz I wasn't ready!)

Having Audio incorporated into OneNote makes it really easy to tie audio content to documents.  So easy to give feedback to a student exactly in their work where they need it.  And students can show you they know how to pronounce a…

Report Cards & Learning Skills - Student Self-Assess

We just finished our report cards for the first Report Period and, in anticipation of giving them formal feedback, I asked my students to do a self-reflection of their Learning Skills, and to provide me with some feedback.  (If you'd like to know more about the Learning Skills we assess, the chart is on Page 11 in Growing Success).
I headed over to Microsoft Forms https://forms.office.com and copied the text from our Report Card so that they would read the same text they'll get at the end of this week.  They then had the ability to rank themselves just as I had to. 


I also added two text boxes at the bottom of the Survey:
What comments do you have to explain your ratings above? What evidence do you have that the highest or lowest rating is true & fair to you? What feedback do you have for me or for the course? I always add the last comment on any survey I send out to anybody ... it's always important to give folks a chance to add on anything they haven't had a chanc…

Tech is not the be-all and end-all

Although I said I'd blog every day in November, I meant "school days" and didn't intend to blog on the weekend. But I had a few minutes between tasks and was browsing Twitter and came across Draper's post:
It’s (still) not OK for teachers to remain digitally illiterate. Here’s why…
Now, for starters, I encourage any and all teachers to aim towards integrating technology into their classrooms in a meaningful and appropriate to their task way. I'm a tech guy.  I enjoy experimenting, and failing, with technology in my classroom as we push against physical & virtual pedagogical boundaries. However, I decline to agree that a teacher who does not integrate technology into their classroom is in any way neglecting the best interests of the student so long as the teacher is focusing on critical thinking and social & emotional learning (and their subject matter), and is, in their own way experimenting with their craft.  That latter part is important -- if they …

Keeping up with Microsoft

So on Fridays, I sit in the Lounge at School so that folks can get assistance with things. It's good because just seeing me will prompt them "Oh, I had a question for you!"  Today, someone sat down with a coffee and asked me "So, if you have a question, who do you ask?" The question serendipitously coincided with my Feedly highlighting a new post from Richard Byrne, an avid tech blogger (who I recommend following). He gave a good run-down of Twitter accounts to follow to keep up with tips & changes with Google.  Since I'm committed to blogging every day this month, I thought I would respond with whom I follow on Twitter from Microsoft.


@Microsoft - the primary Microsoft Account.  I don't actually follow it; I rely on the rest of my Twitter folk to provide an important filtering action to let me know what's important.


@MSFTEnable - one of the most impressive things I learned at Ignite2016 (the all-Microsoft conference held annually) was that ever…

#Hyperdocs .... or, like, just a OneNote

Scrolling through my Feedly a few weeks ago, I came across a Richard Byrne blogpost describing something called a Hyperdoc, so I read through and thought, hey... they're just describing a OneNote page!  (And I'm old enough to think, "Hey, Webquest!")
And so I dug in a little bit more and I found they wrote a whole book about the process, except they called them Hyperdocs and used GoogleDocs to jury-rig things!
In OneNote, you really don't need many instructions to do this if you're familiar at all with OneNote.  The overall process is relative straightforward - create a OneNote page, insert a table into it.  In the first column, place all the resources you'd like the students to look through.  The second column is a space for their thoughts on each piece.  The authors have a great collection of Hyperdocs for you to look at here: https://hyperdocs.co/samples

Once you have the template filled out, you can then use the ClassNotebook Tool to distribute the H…

Desmos, OneNote & Replay

So using Desmos activities are a great way to encourage exploration and discussion in math class -- if you haven't tried them, I encourage it.  They're collected at https://teacher.desmos.com/ 

But ... Desmos doesn't give you quite enough.  It doesn't have a way of capturing the work that the student does within their space, and it doesn't allow for annotation of class contributions as we come together to discuss.  Well, not surprisingly, OneNote comes to the rescue. 
Using the Windows shortcut Windows-Shift-S it is really quick to snag the Desmos screen and pop it into a waiting OneNote page.  From there, we can grab our pen and (using wireless projection) talk about what all the different responses mean and where to go from there.
(An aside : one of the nice features of Desmos activities are the way you can hit PAUSE and it will pause all the screens of the students working.  I always give them a heads up "10 seconds to pause..." and it's refreshing…