## 30 December 2013

### 5 Ways to Pwn Your Math Homework With Google Search

I couldn't finish my homework because I didn't have graph paper.
I couldn't finish my homework because I didn't have my graphing calculator.
I couldn't finish my homework because I didn't have my calculator.
I couldn't finish my homework because I don't know how to use my calculator.
I couldn't finish my homework because I don't know how to convert units.
I couldn't finish my homework because I didn't have any examples.
You've only got to teach math for a few weeks before you've heard every one of those excuses. No one answer is going to be good enough for the kid that goes through all of those, but you can use a simple Google search to perform many necessary tasks to "pwn" your homework and save time.

All of these tips work simply by typing in the search box on Google.com, or using the "omnibox" on browsers like Chrome and Firefox.

1. Calculate.
Typing in calculations such as -1*-3 pulls up an onscreen scientific calculator that gives you an answer and allows you to continue with my calculations.

2. Find and print graph paper.
Your teacher does it this way often, too. :)

3. Graph equations and trace for points.
No need to even go to a graphing calculator app or website. Trace along the line to find intercepts, coordinates, and other key features.

4. Convert units.
You may still need to show your work (especially if you're in a lesson on the topic), but this will at least check your work.

5. Solve systems by graphing multiple equations at once.
Separate with a comma. Trace along the line to the intersection and approximate the coordinates.

BONUS: Find a video tutorial without going to YouTube.
Many graph or calculation searches will also bring up relevant video results that you can play from the search screen.

For more info, all of the documentation about the Google calculator and grapher can be found here.

## 29 December 2013

### Don't Give Up on Manipulatives!

Literally out of my daughter's mouth -

"Yay! I get to learn my shapes!"

I have a pretty cool app on my iPad for ages 2-8 called Agnitus which the kids play from time to time that has practice in colors, shapes, foods, and more. I like it because it has many free games, sends you progress updates on your kids' learning, but I think sometimes my daughter messes up on purpose. :)

This ad on YouTube even claims its great for the kid who wants to touch everything, which certainly describes my boy.

My kids loves their Kindle time as much as the next, but their kinesthetic learning styles demand tactile experiences that a tablet (as much as it improves the mouse) cannot provide as well as tangible, spatial things.
 Montessori Wooden Shape Board, Fraction Sorter on Amazon
I'm often quick to disdain physical manipulatives because they're low-tech, take up space, and often expensive, but I'm its important to remember that (especially with young learners) many kids need learning experiences to be as concrete as possible. Although the fraction blocks above still just represent other things, the kids enjoy puzzle toys like this.

I don't want to condone educational hoarding, but don't throw out the old manipulatives with the bath water when you get that iPad cart.

## 26 December 2013

### Getting Google Forms to your Students

I've seen (and done) several trainings and presentations on the power of using Google Forms for rubrics, quizzes, and other assessment, but how to get said Forms to your STUDENTS is an important aspect of the workflow that often gets overlooked or de-emphasized in the course of the training.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?
You can have the greatest Google form/survey in the world, but if you cannot get it yo your audience/students, the form is worthless. When you're using Forms within your Google Apps domain (with other teachers/staff at your school/district), it can be as simple as emailing the live form to everyone on that domain, but the access gets more complicated when students will be using their own Google accounts (or none at all).

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
The solution you choose to send your students your Google Forms will mostly depend on your set-up, but most often you'll have several of these at your disposal.

WITH STUDENT GOOGLE ACCOUNTS ON YOUR GOOGLE APPS
1. Set up an contact group with your students' Google accounts for each class (done in Gmail or Contacts). Compose an email to the classes you want to submit responses (type the name of that class in the address field) and link to the live form or embed the form in the email with HTML.
2. Create a doc with a link to the live form and share the document with the classes/students you want to submit responses
3. Take the link to the live form and shorten it with a service like bit.ly or tinyurl.com. Put the shortened link on your white/chalk/SMART/Promethean board or projector.

WITHOUT STUDENT GOOGLE APPS ACCOUNTS
1. Set up an contact group with your students' Google accounts for each class (done in Gmail or Contacts). You'll need to ask them for their Google account first. Some may need to set up accounts. Compose an email to the classes you want to submit responses (type the name of that class in the address field) and link to the live form or embed the form in the email with HTML.
2. Create a doc with a link to the live form and share the document with the classes/students you want to submit responses
3. Take the link to the live form and shorten it with a service like bit.ly or tinyurl.com. Put the shortened link on your white/chalk/SMART/Promethean board or projector.
4. Take the link to the live form and post it to your class website
5. Embed the live form on your class website (Process simplified if you use Google Sites)

ON (SHARED) iPADS
I advise against any solution where you email the link to the STUDENTS because I think you lose more time than on a tower/notebook waiting for students to login to email.

1. Create a doc with a link to the live form and put the doc in shared folder on Drive accessible by the default account for your cart.
2. Take the link to the live form and shorten it with a service like bit.ly or tinyurl.com. Put the shortened link on your white/chalk/SMART/Promethean board or projector.
3. Take the link to the live form and post it to your class website
4. Embed the live form on your class website (Process simplified if you use Google Sites)

ON 1:1 iPADS OR BYOD
1. Create a doc with a link to the live form and put the doc in shared folder on Drive accessible by all the students in your class. You'll need to share the folder with their personal Google accounts.
2. Take the link to the live form and shorten it with a service like bit.ly or tinyurl.com. Put the shortened link on your white/chalk/SMART/Promethean board or projector.
3. Take the link to the live form and post it to your class website
4. Embed the live form on your class website (Process simplified if you use Google Sites)

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH OPTION IS BEST FOR ME?
I have an iPad cart in my room from which students access Drive from a shared account, and I will often use several of these options for one Form. Which solution is best for me usually depends on if I want students to have access to the form from home (on their own accounts) or if we'll just be using it in class). My best advice is to not fall in love with any ONE application.