Google Education On Air on a bright and sunny Saturday.
I've been logged on all day. Watched all the keynote speeches. Tried to go to as many breakout sessions as I possibly could. Met some awesome educators from all over the world. There are currently 10+ pages in my EdTech PD notebook dedicated solely to info from this event. I haven't left my living room all day. My eyes have been non-stop on the screen. Back and forth between Twitter and the sessions. And it was totally worth it.
While I'm coming down from tech information overload, I figured I'd debrief and share some of my favorite things I learned and things I'll be trying out ASAP in my classroom (because my students don't think I'm crazy enough)
Google Sheets Add-On: Essay Metrics
As soon as @EdTechnocation presented this add-on, my mind immediately began turning and thinking about how I could use this in the classroom.
Once the add-on is installed, it can import information from Drive files or Google Classroom assignments. It goes through the files, exporting specific information about each individual one. In this case, I tested it with one of my 6th grade RC personal narrative assignments. It gives you a lot of information about each student including, word count, number of sentences without capital letters, sentence count, number of paragraph, sentences per paragraph count, ARI reading age (in years), number of revisions, and number of simple and complex connective words.
Honestly, that's beautiful. I can totally see this making data analysis on student written expression a little easier. I can see, without even opening the Docs, some of the issues my students were having. Too few sentences. Too many sentences per paragraph. Run-on sentences. Fragments. Capitalization. I could have used this information to plan individualized mini-lessons and correspondin centers. I also think it might be an interesting thingto show the students so they can see their progress.
Docs Add-On: Highlighting Tool
In the same session, the Highlighting Tool add-on for Docs was discussed. Highlight within a Google Doc and the highlighted text is exported into a separate Doc and organized based on color. Perfect for text evidence in an article or research! I'm about to review the components of a literary analysis body paragraph this week using the rainbow color strategy. I might have the students add this so they can highlight each component of the mentor paragraphs with its designated color with the highlighter. Then they'd have a whole separate file of sentence starters, bank phrases, and other examples to help with their body paragraph composition.
New Google Sites > Old Google Sites
The only Google feature I've heard the most complaints about is Google Sites. It definitely wasn't built for teachers. The new Sites changes that. Set up in a drag-and-drop format, it is a lot easier to maneuver through and use. I played around with it after it's release and I definitely love it more.
If you haven't experimented with it yet, do it now. I guarantee you will be happier.
Side Note: Google Sites will not be releasing the migration tool for the old Classic Sites until 2018.
Voice Typing & Leaving Comments
I'm a huge fan of Docs Voice Typing (and it's update). Most of my students use it to take notes and type their papers and projects. However, until viewing @ericcurts' tutorial on Docs Feedback, I didn't know you could use it to leave comments.
When reading a student's paper, enable your voice typing. Highlight the portion of the text where you want to focus. Say clearly "Insert Comment" and then the comment bubble will appear, ready to type the words you dicate as speech-to-text.
Going to make longer essay comments so much easier.
Screencastify and Comments
In the same session, Eric talked about using Screencastify to record comments and sugestions and then sharing that link with the students. As a frequent user of the extension as a component of my flipped classroom and an occassional Kaizena voice comment user, I never thought of that idea. For students requiring extensive changes and suggestions for their writing, I can see the benefits of recording a video through Screencastify and then sharing the Drive link in a comment.
Since my students are going to self-pace their way through their literary analysis comparative essay during this unit, this might be a great way to combat the differences in conference schedules. Students can view the video, make the corrections, and continue on their self-paced essay journey.
Simple premise: hit record and starta talking, but I can totally see this being awesome in class.
I'm thinking about using it for discussions. Sometimes talking becomes one-sided with certain students dominating the conversation. I'd love to have each one reflect on their reading with this tool and then save the URL and share it under a question on Google Classroom. The students who need the extra processing time will receive what they need and the students hesitant to participate will come to the discussion table with at least one thing to say. I also loved the idea of using it to record something they've written during Writing Workshop and then being able to share it with their parents or family members.