In a previous post, Google Docs & iPad 2 … What a beautiful combo, we discussed how to use Google Docs to easily create multiple choice assessments. Although daily formative assessments at the beginning or end of a lesson is great, these Google Docs Forms can be used to collect all kinds of other useful information. Here are some areas where I have put Google Docs to use for me:
Problems With Homework
As a math teacher, the beginning of a lesson often starts with taking up a question or two from the previous night’s homework. To quickly and easily get a grasp of which question caused the most problems for all students, a quick generic form can be made to easily determine which question(s) caused the most difficulty. Having students raise their hands with the question they would like to look at is fine, but this method allows all students to voice their opinion of the work from the previous day. Adding simple anonymous questions on a scale (1 = strongly agree, 5 = strongly disagree) such as “The Homework Last Night Was Difficult & Hard To Understand” can allow the teacher to quickly see if more focus must be given to the topic.
Homework Completion Spreadsheet
Using a Google Doc Spreadsheet and an iPad can allow the teacher to quickly check student progress on a daily basis and record the information in a public spreadsheet. Each of my classes has a sheet within a Google Doc Spreadsheet which lists student numbers and homework checks, forms/money which must be returned to school, tests which need to be signed by parents, etc. which can be viewed by the students & parents via the course website. All edits are updated instantly online, making this a painless way for the teacher to keep the student & parents informed.
Survey Student Understanding / Confidence in Your Course
Periodic surveys to gather data throughout each Unit of your course can get you valuable information regarding how confident students are feeling in your course. Just because students aren’t asking questions does not necessarily mean students understand content!
Hopefully these ideas will inspire you to use the free Google Docs tools available to you in order to make your classroom a better place to teach and to learn.
In order to implement a paperless classroom, my goal was to have students complete handouts in PDF form through an App such as Neu.Annotate (see my post here) with the use of a stylus to make writing easy and tidy.
After limited research, I sprung on a great deal through a company called iThrough who had a stylus with the description “Anodized Hand Writing Touch Pen Stylus for iPad” for $2.49 each. Great deal, but I would later learn that devices such as the iPad have a touchscreen which utilizes capacitive sensors which detect anything which is conductive or has a dielectric different than that of air. In order for a stylus to “trigger” the sensors on a capacitive touchscreen such as iPad 2, the stylus needs to have decent surface area touching the screen to be effective. Since I am looking to have students use the stylus for handwriting on the iPad 2, the fine-point stylus bundle of 30 I had ordered from iThrough did not work on the devices and had to be shipped back. Unfortunately, this item did state it was compatible with any iDevice, but this was not the case.
From my knowledge, stylus pens which will be effective on the iPad usually have a rounded rubber end in order to make enough contact with the surface of the iPad screen to be effective. Anything too fine will be ignored by the iPad assuming that it is erroneous or accidental contact with the screen.
According to reviews, stylus pens by Ten One Design, Griffin Stylus, Targus Stylus, Adonit Jot, Adonit Jot Pro, Wacom Bamboo Stylus, & RadTech Styloid Plus+ are pretty good on the iPad 2. Hopefully, I’ll get a bundle of 30 WORKING stylus pens to allow me to give my own feedback. Until then, do your homework before jumping on a good deal!
Access Your Desktop/Laptop Remotely With Apple iPad or Android Tablets!
For the past 5 years, I have been a daily user of a SMART Board in my classroom for delivering lessons in an interactive manner. After creating most of my content in Microsoft Word and using the SMART Screen Capture feature to import into SMART Notebook, I have recently been preparing all of my lessons, worksheets, and assessments directly in SMART Notebook due to the interactive and user-friendly nature of the program.
New TLLP Apple iPad Program + New School = Need for Change
Only this school year when I began at the newly built Tecumseh Vista Academy K-12 school did I ever need to start searching for other alternatives. With construction still in progress and technology hard to come by, I was just happy to land an LCD Projector in my classroom. For the first few weeks of school, I was using a Wii-Remote and IR-pen to create an IWB alternative to get me by. Unfortunately, my Wii-Board setup just wasn’t precise enough to keep me satisfied. The Wii-Remote and IR-pen setup actually caused me more frustration and left students disengaged from the lesson due to all of the interruptions and issues with the setup.
Through some research, I came across the Splashtop 2 – Remote Desktop app on sale for $6.99 (regular $19.99) which not only blows the Wii-Board setup out of the water, I don’t see a need for my school to ever purchase the SMART Board we had originally planned for my mathematics classroom. This app allows you to remotely access your computer through WiFi and access all of its’ features – hence the name, Remote Desktop.
Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop Allows Teachers to Roam the Classroom
This app allows teachers accustomed to using an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) like a SMART Board to leave the small 10 square-foot area at the front of the class that they have been restricted to and move around the class freely with your Apple iPad or Android tablet IWB-replacement as they teach. Especially in my Tap Into Teen Minds 1:1 Apple iPad classroom, I quickly noticed a huge difference during my lessons. Not only could I roam about the classroom (I often pace as I teach), but my ability to be in all areas of the classroom promoted more students being on task and allowed me to assess through observation as students worked through course content.
Update: Mon Oct 22, 2012 – I now rarely teach from the front of the classroom. Typically, I am presenting from all areas of the classroom and increasing my rapport with each student everyday.
Remote Access to Your Computer With Splashtop Provides Huge Cost Savings!
As most know, Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) like the SMART Board require a hefty investment. While you will still require a computer and projector, the actual interactive whiteboard portion of your classroom setup can cost upwards of $2,000 when all is said and done. With Splashtop 2 – Remote Desktop, you can eliminate the need for an interactive whiteboard and replace it with an Apple iPad 2 for $399 with the Apple educator discount and add the Splashtop app for $6.99. I know your principal will appreciate you trying to outfit three classrooms with an iPad + Splashtop interactive setup for the cost of one SMART Board Interactive Whiteboard!
Tap Into Teen Minds YouTube Review of Splashtop Remote Desktop
Click the screenshot below to be taken to the article:
Check out this great article by Rupert Murdoch on Technology in Education… Click on the screenshot below to link to his article: