2.22.2016

Share the Google Classroom Calendar With Parents

If you use Google Classroom you probably have parents who want to be able to see what assignments their child is or has been working on. And if you don't know any other way, the response is typically to have them check after their child has logged in. Maybe they do this with their child physically logging in or maybe they login themselves with their child's login credentials. The first solution is inconvenient for the parent since the child must be present for the parent to see assignments and posts. The second solution allows parents to work on and complete assignments acting as their child, which we do not want.

There is another solution, however, that can allow parents access to assignment details without having to login in at all; share the Google Classroom calendar. When you create a class in Google Classroom a calendar corresponding to that class is created in your Google calendars. Like any of your Google calendars, the calendar associated with any of your classes in Google Classroom can be shared publicly simply by sharing its' URL. This link can be emailed to parents, sent out via communication apps like Remind, or embedded in a classroom website using tools like Google Sites. When visiting the classroom calendar, parents will see what assignments are due and when, as well as being able to see the assignment details. Assignment events are automatically created when the assignment is created in Google Classroom so no additional effort is required on behalf of the teacher to keep calendars up-to-date. Here's how to do it.

2.16.2016

SAMR: The Power of Asking "What If?"

I am not going to spend time explaining what SAMR is and what it means. Many others have done that before me. If you'd like to learn the basics of SAMR you can read Kathy Schrock's explanation of SAMR. Or, if you're more of an "original source" type of person you can read about it from Dr. Ruben Puentedura himself.

In order to better understand why the SAMR model is important for schools teaching technology to their students, I think it is important to understand that technology isn't developed so it can be used in schools. Technology is developed so that it can be used for either personal, business, or government use. Schools typically only adopt technology after it has already been widely available to the public for some time.

When new technologies are developed, however, the SAMR model seems like a relevant lens through which to interpret innovation in the private sector.

2.08.2016

From Apples to Androids

Apple IIC
Apple IIC
When I was a child my father left the house one Saturday morning and returned several hours later with what would be our family's first computer, an Apple IIC. Being the third boy out of four, I knew that my place in the pecking order would mean limited time on the computer. And I was right. My oldest brother got to spend the most amount of time on the computer. So much so that his vast knowledge of and experience with computers would shape his professional life. And, if he is to be believed, get him an FBI file before graduating high school. I would, occasionally, get to play on the computer. But nothing so significant as to hook me for life. Not then, anyway.

I would first have the opportunity to use computers in school once I got to middle school. From Oregon Trail to typing tutors to Logo. Still, none of these opportunities really sparked an interest in technology within me. They did, however, engage my problem solving skills in ways that traditional educational activities had rarely done. And this was not insignificant. By the time I graduated from middle school, I had already decided that I would pursue becoming a Mathematics teacher as a career. This decision was no doubt influenced by my interest in problem solving.