Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tech Thursday follow-up

I ran my second Tech Thursday after school today with some exploration into Chrome extensions and a quick glimpse at Google Add-Ons. I'm happy with the numbers - I had 8 attendees last week and 9 today (3 repeat customers from last week). It's interesting to see the variety of people; today there were two lunch ladies, our ESL teacher, a Spanish teacher, a math teacher, the school psychologist, an administrative assistant, and one special ed teacher.  And the 9th person was a lady who was subbing for our Media Center secretary who wanted to see what we were doing. 

What an interesting group! 

My only difficulty was that I didn't want to show them extensions that would only be helpful in a classroom setting, but I also didn't want to neglect my teachers. I'm hoping I found a good balance. 

I had several people email and say they couldn't make it for various reasons but said they wanted to be there, so that makes me happy too. 

He school psych told me that his favorite Thursday activity used to be eating wings and watching football. Now it's Tech Thursday. (I feel like I should use that on ads for the sessions. :) ) I told him that next week he can eat turkey and watch football and I'd see him the week after for Google Forms. 

Gobble gobble!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

#gafesummit KY

I've spent the past day and a half in Louisville at the GAFE summit in Kentucky. There have been some really great sessions full of ideas and resources. Here are my notes... if you find something you like or have any more ideas let me know!

(The topic sessions are bookmarked, so just click on a link to get to my notes for that session!)
  Or here's a link.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What I'm Doing

My GAFE sessions yesterday went great! At least, that's what I heard from most of the participants. Several people told me that they learned a lot, and others even said that it was the best PD they'd had (this was from multiple people, so it must be true, right? :) ).  They were happy to learn things that they could use immediately.

I have several different random projects I'm working on now:
1. Next week I'm going to spend 4 class periods with one of our special ed teachers. She'd like her kids to learn about and set up symbaloo accounts & webmixes.  (Here's what I have so far.)

2. A science teacher asked me yesterday about the possibility of finding a program they can use to create PARCC-like tests. We have Schoology to do the simpler types of questions (multiple choice, true/false, matching, short answer) but there are other types of interactive questions she'd like to have the kids practice with.  I did some looking and found iSpring QuizMaker (which I couldn't get to download) and EdCite. I thought EdCite looked decent; it has a lot of different question types and was FREE but I'm going to keep looking.

3. A math teacher asked me about the Random Number Generator in the Stats Toolpack in Excel. I'm not a big excel user, especially the stats stuff. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

4. Another science teacher had asked me about the availability of a MathXL-type program that is science (specifically Chemistry) based... I've been doing some searching on that one and found nothing.  I'm going to keep looking, but that makes me sad for the science teachers.

5. I want to check out the new Kaizena Add-On for Gdocs. One of our English teachers is interested in using voice comments while grading papers.

6. I spent several periods last week with different math teachers. As part of the Math Course of Study this year (which I'm participating in on the "tech side" but enjoying the math side too!) we were given a Math Practices Look-For Tool  and asked to observe another teacher or two to try it out. I decided that I was going to try and get to as many math classes as I could, so I asked last week if I could come observe. I really enjoyed being the classroom and seeing what they were doing. I'd like to get to a few more this week, which means I need to check the schedule and see who has what when. I've been checking for the same type of tool for other subjects but haven't been too successful. Yet another thing to add to my list!

So I'm keeping busy!  I also was asked to cover for a special ed teacher today while she had a meeting (there was a note in my mailbox which I didn't see and so I got a phone call telling me about it after I was a little late...). But then I also heard that I will be asked to cover more classes as needed. That makes me sad.  I don't mind helping out but I think it takes away from my role here.  We'll see what happens.

Have you ever heard that one insult can cancel out 10 compliments?  Yep.

Today might call for a milkshake on the way home. Maybe that will help cheer me up.

Monday, November 3, 2014


We have a PD day tomorrow (it's election day, so they don't want the kids in the schools as they're being used as polling places) and I'm leading a session on Google Apps for Education. Because I don't like to just stand and talk unprepared, I threw some information onto a Google Presentation.

I'm embedding it here for your reading pleasure. :)

(Let me know if you have any feedback! Especially before tomorrow!)