Friday, January 27, 2017

Using Google Classroom from Home

This week 3 or 4 people have relayed parent concerns about accessing Google Classroom from home using a personally owned device like a home computer or tablet.

There's a simple solution: Make sure the student (or parent) is logged into the student's school account.

Here's a quick video explaining the issue and demonstrating the solution.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

PARCC Resources

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The following resources are available to help prepare students for the upcoming 2017 PARCC assessment

PARCC Online Assessment Links:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Googleicious Podcasts for Educators

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Those who know me know that I commute about 35 minutes to and from work every day, each way. During the new year I'm also spending a little time on the stationary bike trying to be more active. (I'm definitely looking forward to warmer weather when I can get outside again!) Whether I'm in the car or on the bike, I generally listen to podcasts to brush up on my skills and learn new ideas.

Podcasts are simply audio recordings that are distributed via Internet. You don't have to have an iPod or other mp3 player to listen - most folks download via smartphone or computer/tablet. While there are lots of different ways to listen to podcasts, I generally choose Google Play Music and YouTube since these work nicely across my smartphone, Chromebook, and desktop.

Here are my current go-to podcasts for tech-enabled education topics, and the links I use to listen - I'm sure you can find these on other platforms, too!

Video Podcasts (for the workout) 

Audio Podcasts (for the commute) 

NOTE: Matt Miller will keynote the 2nd annual Whatever It Takes Conference in Galesburg, IL. Join us June 14-16, 2017!
Visit for details!

Other Podcasts I follow: 

  • Goin' Digital with Dr. Greg Goins is another non-Google podcast I follow. This southern Illinois superintendent conducts periodic hour-long interviews with some of the movers and shakers in the EdTech world 
  • I also listen to the TED Radio Hour from NPR when I need a break from tech topics. While not Google-centric, I simply do not have words to recommend this thought-inspiring podcast highly enough!

Happy Listening and Learning! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Using Google Hangouts in District 205

Google Hangouts (sometimes referred to as "GHO") is a great tool for helping your classes communicate with an authentic audience. Hangouts allows teachers to video chat with people outside of your school environment, allowing for virtual guest speakers, virtual field trips, and so on. And, since it's Google-icious, you can also share screens and Google Documents, etc., remotely as well!

This quick 1-min video will cover the basics of Google Hangouts if you've never used it before.

However, within our school domain, Google Hangouts is blocked from our student Chromebooks and also cannot be accessed via our public wifi connection, so using the combination of a desktop workstation & classroom display is your best way to access and use GHO in a whole-class environment. GHO may appear to behave a bit differently than some might expect at first, due to our filtering policies. So, here's a quick tutorial on using GHO to enrich your classroom.

Launch Hangouts

The easiest way to launch GHO is to type to open it directly. You might instead choose to go to the "waffle menu" in the upper right near your profile picture. If you don't see the Hangouts icon on the first screen (below left) click More at the bottom of the panel and check the next screen (below right). If it's still not there, click Even more from Google.

Start a video call 

Here's the first hurdle - when you start up you'll see "unable to sign in." IGNORE THIS - you can see your profile picture so you really ARE signed in - I don't know why this occurs but just ignore it and click the blue  Start Video Call  button.

Invite participants

Hangouts will load for a bit, then you'll see that you've started a Hangout that is restricted to "Community Unit School District #205 only..." But don't despair! Click the blue Change link to    Allow  people outside to join the Hangout!

Next, you can either type in an email address directly and click the green  Invite  button, or copy the link and email it to the other user(s) who will participate in the Hangout.

Going further 

This 5-minute video from The Google Gooru (now associated with BetterCloud Monitor) shows the basics of How to use Google Hangouts.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Self-grading Quizzes in Google Forms

Google Forms now allows teachers to create self-healing quizzes. The process for creating, sharing , & using these is very simple. Free Tech for Teachers posted a quick & simple tutorial video.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Stay Organized with Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an extremely useful tool to help keep your classes (and yourself) organized and up to date.

And, if you use Google Classroom or Hapara to help manage your classroom workflow, a Google Calendar is automatically generated for you and each of your students! All you have to do is learn how to use it...

If you're not using it yet, why not make a New Year's Resolution to get started? If you are using it, try incorporating it into your daily classroom activities more this year?

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"New" IAR Replaces PARCC in IL

Image from After several years and no small amount of controversy, PARCC in Illinois is being replaced by the IAR: The Illi...

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