Ed Tech

10 innovative Google lessons from the EduOnAir Conference

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Looking for innovative ways to integrate Google Apps in your classroom? Look no further. Here are 10 lessons. (Screenshot via Mike Petty’s Education on Air session)

Technology isn’t the genius in education, but it can be the catalyst for amazing things.

It was a given that the Education on Air Conference, put on by Google for Education, would produce a long list of great ideas and tools that can be leveraged for impressive learning experiences.

Right after the conference happened on May 8 and 9, I shared 10 key takeaways from the conference.

Now that I’ve had some time to enjoy and digest more of the great sessions from dozens of passionate educators all over the world, I’ve found some gems I have to share.

Here are 10 lessons shared by others in their Education on Air sessions, with all the videos of the conference sessions embedded to the side:

1. “Real life” comic strips with photos, Google Drawings and Google Slides (Mike Petty) — Mike shared my favorite idea of the entire online conference with my favorite Google tool. The concept: Take photos of students using a webcam and add them to a Google Drawing. Add speech bubbles to the photos. Then save those images and add each one to a different slide in a Google Slides presentation. Here’s Mike’s Google Site about Comics with Google Tools and Creativity Games for examples and more details.

2. Comic competitions (Mike Petty) — Make a game out of the “real life” comic strips concept. Take a photo to which students can add speech bubbles. Add it to a Drawing and share it with students. The competition is to create the most creative speech bubbles/captions for that photo. Mike has ideas for adding those images to a Google Slides presentation and labeling them for easy voting in the presentation slides of his website.

3. Digital posters (Allison Mollica) — Google Drawings gives students a blank canvas to make all sorts of creations. By adding text, images, shapes and more, students can create eye-catching digital posters — complete with clickable links — to share with others.

4. Writer’s conference schedule (Marek Beck) — If your students need to schedule a time to meet with you to discuss their writing, the Form Limiter add-on can help. Create a form in Google Forms and it will gather the data you’ll need (name, class, time, etc.) in a Google Sheet. Form Limiter will stop accepting responses when specific Google Sheet spots are filled. No double-booking!

5. Personalized guidance via e-mail (Natalie O’Neil) — Do your students (or teacher participants in professional development) need answers fine-tuned to their unique needs? Create a Google Form to let them choose the type of feedback they need, collecting their answers in a Google Sheet. Then, the Form Mule add-on can customize the e-mail response they get based on their answers.

6. Color matches for killer presentations (Amy Mayer) — If students create presentations (or designs or documents, for that matter), the look of their work can really stand out if the color scheme is just right. Color Pick Eye Dropper can help students pull the right colors from anything they find on the web.

EXTRA GOOGLE INSIGHT — The button in Google Chrome that opens up all the menus is three lines. But that button has been referred to as many things, including a hamburger and pancakes. Amy Mayer clears it up for us, though — it HAS to be hot dogs! Why? The three lines look like three hot dogs, but sometimes the menu button in Google tools looks like three dots. The three dots are … are you ready for it? … the ENDS of the hot dogs. So, now you know … they’re hot dogs!

7. Collaborative YouTube video project (Lucie deLaBruere) — Bring lots of people, ideas and viewpoints together in one video. Have students create a short video clip to answer a specific question (i.e. what’s the future of textbooks?) or perform a specific task (i.e. give birthday wishes). Those clips can be emailed to the teacher (keep them short so they don’t bog email down!). The teacher can download them all and add them to a YouTube video to share. See more about this idea in Lucie’s blog post.

8. Themes, storylines and mystery (James Sanders) — What can add some pizzazz to some bland content? Zombies, of course! James encourages teachers to do what television and the movies do — put some storytelling and suspense into instruction. For his session, called “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse with Google Apps for EDU,” he suggests a few Google tools-related activities:

  • In a Google Sheet: list 15 things you should carry in a zombie apocalypse
  • In MyMaps: pin locations for shelter and supplies
  • In a Google Drawing: design the layout of shelter
  • In YouTube: find videos that inspire you as you lose hope in humanity

9. Street view treks (Rich Kiker) — Utilize the technology in Google Earth’s street view to take unique voyages in remote and interesting parts of the world. Walk the paths Jane Goodall walked in Gombe, Tanzania, to research wildlife. In a street view trek, you can go to Gombe, move around in it, explore the forest, view photos and info, see a day in the life of a chimpanzee, and more. And that’s only one street view trek … there are plenty more!

10. Learning menus/choice boards (Fanny Passeport) — These menus and boards aren’t a new concept. Fanny proposed two ideas that caught my interest. One was to put learning menus/choice boards in a Google Document with hyperlinks to content, making them more dynamic than their paper counterparts. The second was to leave a space open for students to choose their own ideas, and give them more and more free choice as they progress.

[reminder]Which idea are you most likely to use? Was there another idea you saw in an Education on Air session that caught your eye?[/reminder]

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