Monday, December 12, 2016

Google Drawings: Student Landing Page (Googliloo)


Snowy day!

Today was an e-learning day for the students of MSD of Steuben County. We had quite the winter blast on Sunday as was predicted as we sent all students home with a school issued Chromebook. I went out several times with my snowblower to clean the driveway in phases in case waiting till the snow stopped falling would be too much for my little Toro to handle. It probably would have been fine, but better safe than sorry. 



The following day many school districts, like mine, called an e-learning day. MSD of Steuben isn't quite ready to launch an e-learning day the morning of severe weather as some districts are. The day is probably coming in the next few years as I'm continuing to provide training opportunities to learn/refine virtual learning options. My goal is to train teachers to provide learning experiences that are just as beneficial as the experiences students have while in the physical classroom. 

What can I say? I'm cheap...

Upon the announcement of our virtual learning day, I also received another notice. As I kicked on my Amazon Music and slipped on my headphones to help me focus while I work, I got a notice from Symbaloo stating that I'm exceeding the traffic permitted on a free account. They kindly recommended that I purchase a pro account. I understand that they have to make money. I understand that they are a business, but I'm cheap, and I know exactly why I'm generating too much traffic...all of the kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade students in the school district are accessing my Symbaloo pages as their landing page. 

Unfortunately for Symbaloo, I'm willing to do some extra work so I do not have to pay for a service that is merely a collection of links for students to access. Since I'm very much a fan of Google for Education, I look to 'Googlify' everything I possibly can  so that issues like this don't happen again. Google seems pretty committed to the education world by offering all their goodness for free to schools. Therefore, I'm pretty committed to replacing much of what the web has to offer by using Google products. So I'm proud to introduce my "Googliloo" using Google Drawings. 

Google Drawings works amazingly well as a landing page for students and functions much the same as Symbaloo when embedded in your website or Google Site. Especially in the new version of Google Sites. You create your drawing, create a page to insert it on your Google Site and select it from your Drive. Do a little resizing and you are pretty well on your way. Need to update it? No problem. As soon as you update your Google Drawing, it is updated for your students to use as well. No extra buttons. Where the trick lies is knowing a good workflow for using Google Drawings to accomplish this task. 

I embedded a video below to demonstrate the workflow with Google Drawings as a landing page in Google Sites. I know that the video is quite lengthy, but I go through some workflow tips on resizing and grouping items for changes in sizing and positioning on the canvas. I also go through some steps on the embedding on the new version of Google Sites (Click here for more information about Google Sites). As a bonus, I also explain how to quickly get it to your students' devices using the Share to Classroom extension and the settings students need to go through to make it work as their home button on their Chrome browser. 

It is worth your time to take a look, but keep in mind that the final steps of placing it as a home button are exclusive to school districts that have the home button enabled in the Google Admin Console. If you don't see a house icon right beside your Omnibox on your student devices, ask your tech department to add it! It makes it simple for students to be able to click on the house whenever they feel lost on the Internet. 

Here is how to get rolling with a Googliloo: 


If you want to see an example of a Googliloo, check out mine I made for my Google resource page. I'm still working on it, but it is slowly coming along. Click here! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mystery Cards Template

The Best Ideas...

The best ideas come when you least expect it. Awhile back I was visiting with Mrs. Antos and her 3rd grade class from Pleasant Lake Elementary, she wanted her students to work in Google Slides to create Mystery Cards in relation to the plot of the story. It was the first time students had experienced Google Slides; it took them roughly 30-45 minutes to build the template without any clues created. All things considered, they were able to accomplish much in a short period of time!

The idea behind Mystery Cards is that they give three clues to an important event in the text. The next card had the answer to the clues as well as a short explanation. The fun part of doing it in Google Slides vs. on note cards like her original activity suggested is the vast number of images available that students can access. It also makes for a great presentation for students to share in front of the class to introduce a book. What a great way to build and exciting reading culture and learn a bit about the student's understanding of a text! If time does not lend itself to students giving a presentation, these slides could easily be stored on a Class Google Site. Imagine the wealth of information if you had a collection of these about various texts/topics organized on a Google Site. If a student is stuck as a reader, send them to your class collection and let them see if they can find a text that peaks their interest.

An After Thought...

After visiting Mrs. Antos, it got me thinking much about building these templates for students or even having one of your students that needs a little extra challenge to get the job done. Yes, her students needed to have some exposure to Google Slides, but if time does not permit one could easily build the template for the students in advance so that the students can focus more on the text and less on the technology. 

If you would like a copy of my mystery cards template, feel free to make yourself a copy in my slides presentation here: 


Editing the Master

I've written quite a bit over the last year on the topic of 'hyperdocs' because teachers can organize learning experiences all within the products that Google offers. (In contrast to using a learning management system that is not transferable and could disappear at any moment.) Teachers can easily lay out learning experiences that are for solo work or collaborative via Google Docs. They can accomplish the same experience via Google Slides. They can even be made 'indestructible' by using Google Drawings in conjunction with Google Slides. But if the teacher wants to make the template quickly, editing the master in Google Slides in the way to go. It allows the teacher to create elements that the students can and cannot manipulate within the slide. It is also easier to wrap your mind around in comparison to building it first in Google Drawings and setting it as a background in Google Slides. 

As of late, I've been training teachers quite a bit with the workshops I've been running for MSD of Steuben. It is a great way to distribute e-learning/virtual learning materials on the Chromebook in case there are students that have limited Internet access at home. This would ensure that learning materials are easily accessible offline without an abundance of extra steps as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides can all be synced to the device for offline use. I've also been training teachers to edit the master in my Google Make and Take workshop. Here, teachers are creating graphic organizers and other learning resources that they have ready to import into any learning experience at any time all via Google Slides and Google Classroom. 

If you want to get a feel for how to create one of these templates, I created one for the Mystery Cards template that I made that is linked above. Now you can have an idea of how to build and create your very own templates all through Google Slides!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Reading Recs


Running Records

So much value can be placed on the time that you spend with students doing a running record. You really get to know each student's strengths and weaknesses. Teachers truly understand the individual needs when they take the time to listen to the student read and ask them questions about the text. What's the biggest problem with doing running records? Time! 

Looking back on my teaching experience, I spent a lot of class time pulling individuals back to check their reading performance. Often times, it would take me a week or more of my reading block in order to get through my whole class. As long as you had already established a solid reading culture within the walls of your classroom, the process is pretty smooth. If you have resistant readers, it takes even longer as the teacher may need to do some crowd control from time to time.

So how do we get passed the issue of time constraint? There are some options, but I highly recommend that the teacher of record be the one doing the running records for all the students for a couple reasons. The first I've already mentioned as the time spent with individuals is extremely informative in the growth of individual readers. The second is that people are not perfect. There are inconsistencies between which person is performing the running record as there will be some gray areas from time to time. So a great solution is SAS Curriculum Pathways Reading Recs. 

Reading Recs!

With Reading Recs, the teacher can create a digital classroom, assign passages accordingly, and capture a recording of the student's performance. The teacher can essentially perform a running record at any time and not have to deal with the schedule restraints or the occasional behavior problems that may arise every now and then. While the teacher listens to the recording, the running record symbols are built in for easy access and will automatically pause the audio when marking an error. This makes for a very convenient format for gathering student data!

I created a series of videos on using Reading Recs. I broke it into five viewing sections because the length of the video as a whole was too long and I wanted teachers to be able to find the piece of information they needed quickly. I broke it down into how to create classes, student accounts, and assessments as three separate videos. These are very short, but I also did it on purpose for convenience. I also have a video for what the students will experience. Teachers, feel free to use the fourth video in the playlist the demonstrates the student side so that they know what to expect while completing a Reading Rec. The last video is what the teacher will see and how to respond when students have completed their assignments.



A Couple Issues...

As an educator, I understand the value of a face-to-face conference with students. Students need that personal connection and need to hear straight from you. However, this provides a great, free alternative if you are experiencing time constraints or want to do some additional checks with students between official running records. 

I also understand that there are a lot of digital resources that teachers are already using. Some of these resources might be superior to Reading Recs. However, this one is free. I have heard from many of my teachers that Raz-Kids has the same opportunity for teachers and students. Not all of the schools in my district have Raz-Kids subscriptions. So if you are looking for a free option that anyone can use, give Reading Recs a try. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Nationwide is on Your Side


Lunch with Lance

I love lunch. Yes, I have a deep appreciation for food, but that's not why I'm discussion my love for lunch. I try to spend the lunch hours hanging around the teacher's lounge due to how precious that time is. Teachers frequently ask questions about technical issues they are having or ways to better implement the tools they are currently using. It is such a valuable time for teachers to learn a new tool, tip, or trick that will in some way benefit them and their class. I have no actual data to prove the benefit of being available during lunch in comparison to holding before or after school training sessions, but I do believe it is of more value due to the fact that teachers visit in shifts. I can personalize the learning experience at a much better level than having a sit-n-get session.

Lunch is also of value as the most important ingredient in driving change is to make connections with people. Gaining trust is vital to the process of building a culture of growth. It is interesting to me because this truth is exactly the same with my fourth graders from six years ago. I don't proclaim to be an expert in building a great culture, but I understand its value and want to strive to get better. I certainly have had great examples in the importance of culture. I think of Heather Green, principal at Rome City Elementary, when I was at East Noble School Corporation. She made connections with teachers very quickly and gained their trust merely by listening to people. My transition to the MSD of Steuben County was no different. I quickly built a connection with Ann Rice, principal at Angola Middle School, and have been amazed by how connected her staff is to her. She invests time into people. Great leaders connect with people in ways that make them want to improve. I'm so grateful for these examples. 

Nationwide Vocabulary

So what does this have to do with the Nationwide jingle? I created a 'Nationwide Vocabulary' Google Slides Template due to these lunch-n-learn sessions. It seems like the best ideas come from my conversations I have with staff as I learn about specific classroom needs. My lunch sessions aren't always about technology. I tend to gather technology ideas when the discussion is seemingly unrelated.

Not long ago, I was sitting in the lounge at Carlin Park Elementary; we were discussing the horrible performance by the Indianapolis Colts as of late. Every Colts fan that is perturbed by the 2016-2017 Colts will eventually connect the conversation to the Peyton Manning era. Somehow (my memory doesn't serve me very well here) the conversation shifted from Peyton Manning to a discussion about vocabulary instruction. That's when I had an epiphany and Nationwide Vocabulary is born. 

Vocabulary instruction must go beyond words and definitions. I think back to the era when I had a list of words and looked them up in the dictionary. How much did that really benefit me? I didn't even learn what the word meant as I copied the dictionary. (Even less beneficial today as students can merely copy and paste the answer straight from dictionary.com.) Students need to work with words in a way that will cause them to go beyond memorizing a definition and knowing the word meaning at the most basic level. Can a student synthesize new meaning and ideas with the vocabulary words? My Nationwide Vocabulary template forces the student to know the definition, but they must change it to fit the tune of Peyton Manning singing, "Chicken parm' you taste so good." If the student can manipulate the definition to meet the turn of the Nationwide jingle, they have to really understand what the word means.

When I brought home my great idea to my wife, she of course wanted an example. I had referenced my idea as an 'epiphany' of some sort. So she naturally wanted an example: 


The Template

You can find my slides below. When the students are in edit mode in Google Slides, they can click the plus to add a new slide and it should automatically give them a new slide so that the students can add a new word to the template. You can download your own copy to your Google Drive by clicking here. 




I've been thinking a lot lately about hyperdoc templates that teachers can use to better utilize the Chromebook. Creating hyperdocs makes workflow so much easier for teachers and Google Classroom. There are a lot of learning experiences that are on paper or on the Internet that can be duplicated through Google Docs or Slides that would be much more time efficient for students and teachers. I will continue to be a listener in the teacher's lounge and scrounge up some more fun activities that I can Googlify. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Three Reasons Why Teachers Should Blog

Ignite!

Ever see or participate in an "ignite" presentation? To say that it is stressful is an understatement. I've done my fair share of presenting in front of my peers or at various conferences, but the amount of time it takes to prepare for an ignite speech is a bit shocking considering that it only lasts a grand total of five minutes. The presenter gets a total of 20 slides that last 15 seconds each. Did I mention that the slides move automatically? 

At the Indiana Connected Educator's Conference, I had the opportunity to give my first ignite session. I suppose it is very fitting that I'm going to blog about my topic: Teachers Should Blog. There are a number of reasons that I run through as to why that is, but it all roots from my own experience as a teacher. I had a website. It was terrible to use, but it is what I had available. I attempted to make the most of it and genuinely made an effort to engage students and parents with it. I would update it frequently with pictures/videos of learning experiences taking place in class. I would make homework help videos and post them to assist with mathematics. I even had students helping me with making math videos and updating the homework list on my site. I put a lot of time and effort into my teacher website as it was my main source of communication with parents.

What I found over time was that it didn't meet my needs. Websites are intended to be more static. You may update bits and pieces of information from time to time, but websites are intended to stay fairly consistent. What I truly needed was a blog. I needed a chronological record of learning experiences.

Here are three reasons you should have a blog:

1.  Be Informative

The chronological nature of a blog allows eliminates the problems that exist within a traditional website. Teachers need to have a continual flow of information that parents can count on week after week. This is much like your weekly newsletter you are more than likely already creating. What types of information do you include on it? Classroom learning experiences, upcoming events, and other various classroom needs. These pieces of information can all be covered within the confines of a blog. 

What do you avoid by discontinuing a newsletter and moving into blog format? Students/parents losing your newsletter. Your readers merely need to subscribe to your blog so that they can receive email updates letting them know that you have updated information. Also, it is quite simple to push out to forms of social media. Teachers do not have time to utilize Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. What if you pushed out news via your blog but use social media as a means of distribution? 

I know what your next question is before you can even ask it. You're going to ask about your parents that do not have Internet access. Surely you still need a newsletter to send home in paper format. The solution is quite simple: PrintFriendly. (Click for more information) Find out which parents need a paper copy and create printer friendly versions of your blog posts just for those individuals.

2. Share Your Story

There is a lot of negative information floating around about educators. How much of it is actually true? Eyewitnesses are key. Being transparent about the learning experiences you are providing for your students will build rapport with your stakeholders, students, and even your colleagues. It is essential that you are the one telling your story. By doing so, the teacher can reduce the amount of fiction floating around and build support from parents. Who wouldn't want to see a quick blurb of what is happening inside the walls of their child's classroom?

As I said previously, eyewitnesses are key. So if you are feeling like a blog is something you cannot maintain, make it a class project. Have students get involved by making it a continual writing project. Students love the idea of being able to contribute to a class blog. They go home and share with their parents what they wrote. In turn, you get traffic building up to your blog as they also share these experiences with extended family.

3. Refine Your Craft

Teaching is an art form. It is something you never truly perfect as there are always things that can be changed and new challenges arise. When I look back at my teaching experience, I have only my memory on which I can rely because I was constantly updating my website. Those experiences are no longer recorded. Ultimately, a blog allows you to store your memories so that you can bring them back and relive a teaching experience. What better way to refine your teaching craft than to be able to revisit the experience that you or your previous students recorded? It will give you the opportunity to reflect on what worked and what didn't. How is your class different this year than last year? How can you better meet the needs of individuals? 

When I visit my blog, I can visually see growth. I can see where I once was and where I am going as a teaching professional. I have five years of information built up that helps me recall my experience in educational technology. The greatest value of a blog isn't so much in the nature of it as a communication tool or the opportunity to share your story. The greatest value comes from the opportunity to reflect upon my work. 

I'm Talking to You

I understand the reluctance to have a blog. Many teachers believe they do not have anything to offer. Teachers are busy people with a long list of responsibilities. I'm not suggesting you tack one more thing on your list. It is about replacing. Replace your newsletter. Replace your traditional site that you hate to update because it takes too much time. Blogging is easy because it is about sharing the passion you have for this profession. Be proud of what you accomplish with students. 

Want to get started? Blogger is a great place for teachers to have a blog. It is easy to use! Click here to see all my tutorials and suggestions on using Blogger. 

My Ignite Speech


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Custom Color with Colorzilla


What is Colorzilla?

To put it simply, Colorzilla lets you select colors from images or any website so that you can match the exact color. Well...not necessarily does it let you select the color, but it allows you to select the hex code necessary to match a color. Not sure what I mean? Look at my banner above. Notice how the colors of the text match the colors emitting from Godzilla's mouth and back. Colorzilla is digital eyedropper that allows you to grab any color on your display so that you can match it accurately. 

I love using Google Slides and Google Drawings. I use at least one of the two on a daily basis. Those that know me best are aware that I'm not satisfied with prepackaged themes. I prefer to customize and display information to my liking. Colorzilla works perfectly with the Google suite of apps as Colorzilla automatically copies the hexcode to your clipboard when you capture a color from your display. You can then easily select a custom color in Google Slides or Drawings where you can paste it in. 


Classroom Application

As an advocate for creative uses of technology, Colorzilla is a natural fit for students. Any time they want to express their learning utilizing the digital tools available to them, they will want to match colors precisely to images or clip-art they import. This is applicable to any presentation, poster, advertisement, or report they create. This is also applicable to you as the teacher as you build templates with color coded boxes or shapes. You can be sure that you will match colors exactly by using Colorzilla.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Indestructible Graphic Organizer




Frayer Model

Ann Rice, principal of Angola Middle School, sent out an article to her staff about vocabulary instruction that caught my attention. It provided great information in regard to what we have students do with vocabulary. Because of the ease of access to information with a class set of Chromebooks, having students lookup definitions isn't an effective way to immerse students in the key terms of your unit of study. In fact, I don't know that it was very effective in my school days because I recall copying the dictionary or the glossary of my textbook word for word. In short, we need students interacting with vocabulary in a manner that will engage a student's mind. 

The article offered a couple technology resources. One resource I had never utilized before; The Academic Word Finder. This is a great free resource as teachers can copy and paste a digital text, select a grade level, and it will determine which words are grade level appropriate. This allows the teacher to quickly sift through any text and create vocabulary discussions/activities based upon the resource. 

The second was a PDF version of the Frayer Model. If you aren't familiar with the Frayer model, it requests more than just the definition of a word. It could include an image or illustration of the word (my favorite), examples, or even non-examples of the word. Regardless...it is in PDF format. PDFs are okay, but usually annotating a PDF is not the smoothest experience for students. Also, the workflow for my teachers in Google Classroom isn't great as the teach would need to download and upload each student copy to give quality feedback. So I contemplated on how to "Googlify" graphic organizers so that the workflow in Google Classroom would be a smooth experience. 

The Indestructible Graphic Organizer

There are several ways this could have been accomplished, and I admit that I probably took the long way to doing so. I could have easily taken a screenshot of the Frayer Model and inserted it as the background in a Google Slides presentation. That would have been by far the easiest route, but I like to use color. Visually appealing activities make a difference. Differentiating by color allows you to give better directions as well as help students differentiate between the pieces of information. To do this, I go through the process of utilizing Google Drawings for the background. Once your template is created, you can download it and insert it into the background of your Google Slides. The students can't move the pieces of your graphic organizer! Here is where you can download your own copy.



In Hindsight...

I realized after I made this video and template, that all the same tasks could have been accomplished through changing the slide master in Google Slides. The difference is that making it via Google Drawings makes it slightly more secure. A student could easily enter the slide master and change the format of the entire deck. If you don't want to bother with the extra steps, skip Google Drawings and jump right into the slide master settings. This will save you a few minutes of your time. It would also allow you to make easier adjustments to the activity if an aspect of your template does not work well for your class. 

I will be sure to create a tutorial for editing the slide master in the near future...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

MSDSC Communities


The Power of Choice

There has been a movement in education over the power of choice. Some call it "Genius Hour" or "twenty percent time" depending on which book/article you have read on the subject. It all came from a concept Google implemented with their employees. They have a block of time where they can explore and create freely on a project. It is powerful to give people choice. 

I was a firm believer in the power of choice in the mid to late 2000s when I was still teaching fourth grade. Many teachers in my school were implementing the workshop model. It always amazed me when I would get a new student from another school district that looked at me in shock when I told them they could read or write about whatever they wanted. I just wanted evidence of their growth as I conferred with them or read their blog. Suddenly reading and writing became more meaningful to the student. Instead of me dictating what they had to do, I was delivering content and strategies in the midst of their own interest. The students had choice in what they read or wrote. I merely pulled the skills from their work.

The podcast that inspired this post is by Tom Whitby on the #EdChat radio show titled: What Makes Professional Development Useful? It really drove me to thinking about a different approach to providing learning opportunities. I do try to differentiate and personalize learning experiences, but through this podcast I realized that I am still trying to drive much of it instead of allowing others to take on a leadership role. I need to allow people to work together toward a common goal. I need to provide more choice. I need to provide more opportunity to lead discussion and drive change.

MSDSC Communities

What I'm going to implement is the idea that teachers would be able to create a topic of interest that they want to pursue in their career. The assumption will be that since I'm the one launching this opportunity, it must be technology oriented. That's not the case at all! A form, linked for my staff here, has been sent to all MSDSC teachers that would be interested in a collaborative online space (Google Plus Community) to share research, plan, and implement awesome adventures in their classroom. In this space, they can share links to resources, videos, images, and bounce ideas off of one another. Collaboration with convenience.

I'm going to include the possibility of earning professional growth points in this endeavor. Teachers can apply for professional growth points by filling out a reflection form and returning it back to me. This requires that they implement their learning experience to the classroom as evidence is required. Of course, part of that requirement is that they share their reflection with their group. This allows for further critiquing and discussion from peers. Who better to get ideas from than the experts right within our own reach? (Listen to some great thoughts about teacher leaders in this podcast.)



Final Thoughts...

My hope is that MSDSC Communities will provide teachers with the convenience and collaboration they crave. For those of you that are teachers, please give your input on the topic. Do you think this will be an effective way to grow professionally? To those of you that are in similar positions as myself, have you ever attempted something like this before? What worked? What didn't? I'm looking for feedback!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chrome App Builder


Streamlined...

The Metropolitan School District of Steuben County is a full 1:1 Chromebook program. It has been quite a transition this year as kindergarten through second-grade students had iPads the previous year. The main difficulty of the process has been the streamlined user experience with the iPad. As far as availability of content for young learners is concerned, the iPad still reigns supreme. So one of my tasks has been thinking of ways that I can streamline the experience on a Chromebook as much as possible for my k-2 folks via the Google Admin Console. 

One idea I have tried is utilizing Symbaloo as a starting page for each grade level. I do this by adding a startup page in the Device Management settings. I also turned on the "home button" so that students can get back to the page at any time by tapping on it. (Believe it or not, the home button is off by default.) I add items to the Symbaloo pages items per teacher request, but I am noticing that this also causes confusion between what is available as a Chrome App and what is available on Symbaloo. So the big question is: Can you make websites that are not in the Chrome Webstore appear as apps on a Chromebook? 

Chrome App Builder

After doing some research, I found that indeed I can make websites appear as apps. I did this through some guides I had found from Google. It took a lot of time and effort to roll out one app for students, so I found a shortcut with the Chrome App Builder. This tool does all of the coding for you. The only additional thing you'll have to add to it is your own custom icon. 

So what does this mean for teachers? Not much unless you have access to the Google Admin Console or have access to developer mode on your Chromebook. This post is primarily for those that have the ability to push out content to Chromebooks. So this is to let teachers know that it is possible. 

What does this mean for Google Admins? You can push out custom website apps through your domain, and some time can be saved with the Chrome App Builder.

Here is what you will need:
  1. Access to the Google Admin Console
  2. An image editor for custom sized icons (Google Drawings)
  3. Chrome App Builder
  4. Developer mode in Chrome
  5. A Developer Dashboard account
I apologize for the length of this video, but there are quite a few steps. I attempted to cut out as much as possible. 



Streamlining the Process Even More

This is quite a bit of work if you need to create several apps. It isn't my full-time job to maintain our Chrome Devices. I still need to train teachers and students and find and develop resources for them. So my idea is to recruit the High Tech Hornets (Angola High School student tech team), to create the app, and download the packaged app ready to go. That way all I have to do is upload it to the Developer Dashboard and push out as a Domain App in the Google Admin Console. Sounds like a great job for the High Tech Hornets!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hyperdoc Slides





The Cart Before the Horse...

Ever get a few steps ahead of yourself? Sure, teachers do it all the time. We often jump into a new activity and miss a few steps here an there that were essential to the learning experience. We backtrack and learn from those experiences and adjust accordingly the next time we try the activity. Well, I did just that. 

When I think of things to post or create for my teachers, it usually comes from training or mere conversations in the hallway. I then write the idea as a draft on my blog so that I can remember to work on it later. Earlier in the summer I held some training sessions on the topic of hyperdocs. While planning for those training sessions, I had created a resource on different ways to create hyperdocs in Google Slides. Of course, I wrote it as a draft and it has sat in my list of drafts since June. Whoops! I recently posted about "The Indestructible Hyperdoc" using Google Slides and Google Drawings. That's when I realized that I hadn't shared my hyperdocs in Slides resource to those that were not able to participate in my summer training. Now it is officially shared at the bottom of this post. I hope you find it to be helpful.

Why Hyperdocs in Slides?

Using a Slides presentation as a hyperdoc provides some advantages over a Google Doc. Most of it pertains to the fact that items are easily manevuered using drag-and-drop. It also gives a distinct space for students to respond as you can give each student a slide to start the building process. In my Slides presentation below, I demonstrate three different ways to utilize Slides as a hyperdoc. 
  1. Interactive - Teachers can create an interactive slideshow so that users can click on graphics, text, or shapes to lead to other pieces of information throughout the slide presentation. It is non-linear. The Slides are not intended for students to respond, but to consume information by choice. It is much like when a student visits a website full of links, videos, and text resource. The difference is that the teacher designed it and Slides are much easier to create than a website. A great example of this type of hyperdoc is my slides presentation below or this ABC activity (not created by me).
  2. Response - Teachers can also create linear learning experiences including video, text, and directions with space for student response. In Google Classroom, you would set up the slides as each student getting a copy so that they can not only receive the content, but insert their own response. Here is a great example of one covering biomes
  3. Collaborative - When creating collaborative experiences for students, Google reigns supreme. If you provide these opportunities within a Google Doc, setting up a table is necessary to reduce the amount of conflict over space. In a Slides presentation, each student can have their own slide. This works great for the teacher as all responses are in one slide deck. Teachers can assign sets of slides to groups of students or assign a slide for each student individually. Allow students to use the comment feature (ctrl+alt+m) to highlight responses on their peer's slides. I have a template linked in my interactive slide deck below. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Comic Slips Revisited!



What's a Comic Slip?

It is a comic, it is an exit slip, it is a comic slip! I created a post earlier in 2016 about the idea behind the comic slip. I love the idea of gathering data at the end of a lesson. It allows you to measure student learning and comfort level on a topic or skill. This allows the teacher to create differentiated/personalized learning experiences for students and also provides valuable data for teacher reflection. What better way to find out how well a lesson went than to have students fill out a quick thought about the learning experience?

I've had the opportunity to present the concept of Comic Slips to teachers numerous times both within my district and at area conferences. Usually when presenting to teachers, I spend more time focusing on Google Drawings than on the comic portion as I want teachers to know all the functions and features of Google Drawings so that it can be used for much more than just a quick comic builder. However, when I visit a class, it is very much focused on the comic process. There is a lot a person can do with Google Drawings. Keeping a specific focus one project at a time works much better for young minds.

Comic Slips Revisited?

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Mrs. Davis' fourth grade. She attended one of my comic slips training sessions over the summer.. Mrs. Davis wanted to get her students all set up and rolling so she could create a fun opportunity for students to share their learning. So now that I've had a few opportunities to actually demonstrate my idea to a few classes, here are my tips:


  1. Create a single folder for their comics in Google Drive. We name our folder "my comics" so that it would be easily identifiable. Do this first so that students can save their pictures directly to the folder on their Chromebooks.
  2. Have students create three pictures with www.webcamtoy.com. I specifically have the students find the "comic book" filter when they use this site and they take a picture demonstrating three different modes of learning:
    • "I got it!" A happy face and a thumb up.
    • "So-so" A facial expression that shows they kind of understand, but need more help.
    • "No way!" A sad face with a thumb pointing down.
  3. Make an assignment for them in Google Classroom to "create" a Google Drawing. You want an exit slip to be fast. So have them create it straight from Google classroom instead of them creating the drawing from Drive and uploading it. 
  4. Show the students how to upload one of their pictures straight from Drive, add a speech bubble, and customize the text and speech bubble just a little. There are so many options in Google Drawings, that students could spend forever adjusting and editing.
  5. Show students that they merely need to close out of their Google Drawing tab to return to classroom. The "turn in" button should be there waiting for them. No additional uploads are necessary.
  6. Set up a second assignment for an actual comic slip run. The goal of exit slips is to get information from students without taking a ton of class time. It isn't a full reflection. So I set the time limit for this example on what they learned about creating a comic slip to just five minutes. Out of 25 students, 22 were able to create a drawing, upload their image, annotate it, and turn it into classroom. That isn't too bad for a group of fourth graders that had never used Google Drawings prior to my visit. 

The Results

Mrs. Davis is ready to launch a comic slip whenever she wants quick feedback on a lesson. All she needs to do is create the assignment in Google Classroom and they will do the rest. No need to revisit Webcamtoy to take new pictures. They will use the ones they have saved in their Google Drive folder. 

Check out the fun we had in my video below:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Digital Citizenship Week


What is Digital Citizenship?

Digital citizenship, in a nutshell, is character education for the digital realm. It is imperative that we make an effort to educate students on digital safety. Ultimately, responsible use of technology in the early years will translate to a better Internet for tomorrow. Will problems still exist? Yes, people will still make mistakes. But imagine what the Internet will be like if we don't make an honest effort to educate students on the best uses of technology?

This year one of my focuses will be on how digital citizenship should be intertwined in the everyday experience of the student. Looking for these teachable moments will provide great opportunities to fit digital citizenship into a natural part of the school day. To get things kicked off and rolling, next week is offically digital citizenship week! 


Digital Citizenship Week

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has declared that next week is #digcit (digital citizenship) week. They have kindly laid out resources grouped by grade level so that teachers can easily implement as they please. Each day has a different focus:

  • Monday - Focus on Digital Citizenship
  • Tuesday - Digital Citizenship is a Team Effort
  • Wednesday - Your Digital Identity
  • Thursday - Be Upstanding
  • Friday - Rights, Remixes, and Responsibilities
They recommend reserving 45 minutes of your time for each lesson to dedicate toward digital citizenship. You may or may not have enough opportunity give of your instructional time each day depending on your schedule. With that said, give the amount of time that you can afford to give. Some focus on digital citizenship is better than nothing as it will give you opportunities to revisit the topics naturally in the day-to-day routine. These resources will provide your students with the scaffolding they need to understand the importance of being an upstanding digital citizen. 

Here are the resources the IDOE has provided for Indiana teachers: 





#APRIDE #DigCit!

MSDSC teachers, take pictures and tweet them out to share how your class is learning what it means to be a digital citizen. Sending out pictures of great things happening in your classroom is an awesome way to demonstrate and model proper use of social media. (It would be a great use of your iPad as well.) Don't forget the hashtags #APRIDE and #DigCit.  

Don't have a Twitter account? Send them to me via email and I would happily do it for you. Give a little description to share what your class is learning and I will tweet away. 

Need More Resources?

The IDOE also has a Google Plus Community you can join where educators across the state of Indiana share ideas and resources of how to best integrate digital citizenship into your curriculum. You can visit that community by clicking here

You can also visit the direct post by Michelle Green on the IDOE blog where she initiated the movement for a week to celebrate digital citizenship. Click here to view

Common Sense Media provides a wide range of activities and resources. They have lesson, videos, and learning experiences laid out for teachers that are ready to implement. 

NetSmartz is another great site with lots of resources to utilize. It comes with teaching resources, presentations, and implementation guides specifically for teachers. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Indestructible Hyperdoc


What's a Hyperdoc?

I've written several posts on hyperdocs varying in content and purpose. In a nutshell, the purpose of a hyperdoc is merely to provide learning space. It might be an organized collaborative space or a document chock full of links, graphics, and resources to guide a learning experience. Either way, the real advantage of a hyperdoc is to buy the teacher time to collaborate with students and personalize learning. Students work through learning experiences as the teacher meets with individuals or small groups. This is much like the reader's workshop model I utilized in my classroom. Students worked in small groups on a text, independently on their own text, or were writing about their reading through a notebook or our class blog. In the meantime, I was conferencing and meeting students in the trenches of their work. In the end, the teacher will have a collection of responses that give a wealth of information about the students' discussions or level of knowledge on the topic that adds to the conferences the teacher held during class. In the end, the student may have opportunities to further explore and expand their understanding on the specific content taught or branch off into other related skills.

So enough about hyperdocs in general, how do you make one indestructible? For this project, you'll need a Chrome tab for Google Slides and one for Google Drawings. You're going to make a custom background for your Google Slides hyperdoc.

The Indestructible Hyperdoc

I've used Google Drawings for custom backgrounds in Google Slides in the past. I like the idea of having my own unique Google Slides template according to my liking. Honestly, it wasn't until I attended the EdTech in the Bend conference that I saw it being used to set a template for a hyperdoc. I attended a session by Andy Wallace about non-traditional assessment. Basically, it was about using Google Slides as a collaborative experience for students to respond creatively. What I hadn't thought of before was creating the directions for each slide in the background so that it could not be manipulated. A common question I get about hyperdocs is how to keep students from changing what is already there. A custom background isn't full proof as the background  of the slide deck can be changed, but it would keep items from being moved around so easily. 

This method would work really well for lower elementary classrooms. Then students have clear expectations laid out by the teacher as it can be color coded and the integrity not changed. Using color cues are a great way to set clear expectations for students. 




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Google Classroom Guardian Summaries



Guardian Summaries are Here!

I'm very excited about the opportunity to connect family members with Google Classroom. It has been a major piece missing since Classroom debuted. Parents were reliant on students to open their classroom and decipher the information teachers put in there. To a person that has never seen/used Classroom, it could seem pretty overwhelming. If you look at the example above, you can see that Guardian Summaries will provide an overview of all classroom activity.

With Guardian Summaries, caretakers can choose to get a daily or weekly summary of their child's classes. It arrives in their email so no account setup/password is required. Teachers merely attach a guardian's email address to the students and an alert will be sent to them to confirm the address. Once the parent is attached to a student, other classes will automatically add the same email address. 

Not so Fast!

This is not yet available for teachers in MSD of Steuben County. The tech director, Chantell Manahan, and myself decided that it would be best to inform parents first before they start receiving email requests to connect to their child through Google Classroom. We will first develop a plan of action for informing parents and then open the opportunity to launch to parents. We have the ability to turn Guardian Summaries on at any time. 

Getting Started

In the following video, I demonstrate how to get started with Guardian Summaries. Please keep in mind that you do not want to automatically launch it for every class. If you do, every single classroom will have Guardian Summaries running. Many teachers utilize Google Classroom as a collaborative space for students to work in groups. Some small group activities probably do not require a summary for parents. 




Guardian Tutorial

I put together a video showing parents what to expect when Guardian Summaries is launched in my school district. I attempted to make it as general as possible in case other school districts would like to utilize it. I hope you find it to be helpful. 


Google Classroom: Handwrite Feedback



A Little Something for Your iPad

This year is the first time that the Metropolitan School District of Steuben County is going to be a full Chromebook 1:1 technology district. In the past, we had a combination of iPads and Chromebooks. As our fleet of iPads have aged, we've come to the point that we were ready to make a switch. So what do we do with all of our old iPads? Put one in the hands of all our teachers. 

For many of our teachers, this is the first experience they have had with an iPad in a classroom setting. So the question I'm getting is how can a single iPad be beneficial to a classroom? I have a few ideas listed on a previous post in April of 2016. If you'd like to see it, click here. One item that is not on that list is the new launch in the Google Classroom app for Android and iOS devices. Users can now give handwritten feedback on assignments. 

Why Give Feedback on an iPad?

Do you prefer handwriting over typing? Do you like to quickly mark a page with your red pen and move on to the next assignment? The new feedback feature in the Google Classroom app for iPad might be your answer. When students turn in their Google Docs assignment, the app creates a PDF copy of the existing doc and allows you to mark on the copy. The teacher can assign the grade and move on to the next student. This is great as the original document is never disrupted. The student merely has a PDF copy of the teacher's remarks. 

I recommend every teacher at least try it once. See if it is a time efficient way for you to give feedback to your students. View my video below and download the iPad app (click here) to get started. 


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Google Classroom Topics


Let's Get Organized!

My biggest beef with Google Classroom for quite some time has been the organization of it. Teachers have been at the mercy of "the stream" since it debuted. Last year, teachers rejoiced when they could finally move items to the top of their stream of assignments, announcements and questions. It wasn't enough though because the teacher still had to scroll through all those materials to find the resource they wanted to bring to the top. With all of Google's expertise in search, it always surprised me that there wasn't a way to categorize those posts. Well, the time has come!



Topics

I'm very excited that Google Classroom now has "topics" added to the stream. Now teachers can essentially group posts with a single tag. This is great if you have several items in relation to one topic or study. Students and teachers can then easily trounce through only those items with the associated tag. Setting up topics is easy. Here is how to get started:


Need More Assistance?

If you need more assistance with Google Classroom, look no further. Click here to visit my Google Classroom Guide

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Google Cast for Education

What Teachers Need...

Eight years ago I was still teaching fourth grade and was getting a brand new building. I remember how excited I was because of how amazing it would be that I would have a projector that I didn't have to share with other teachers and wheel in on a cart. I was even more surprised when we were going to receive a tablet PC that would work completely wire-free. It completely changed my style of teaching:
  1. I no longer taught with my back turned to the board. 
  2. I experienced less interruption because I could better locate myself in proximity to a student that needed to refocus. (I rarely had to stop a lesson because I had my laptop in my hands.) 
  3. I could pull up an unlimited amount of content at any moment. 
For the last couple years, Apple TV has given iPad teachers the same experiences I had several years ago. Now that all of my teachers are going to be utilizing Chromebooks in the classroom, what options do teachers have? 

What is Google Cast for Education?


In June of 2016, Google announced the launch of Google Cast for Education. It allows teachers to make their Chrome device a place for students to cast their presentations, Chrome tabs, or entire desktops. The teacher merely needs to download the Chrome App and launch it. The teacher will need to grant either request or presentation access to the students. This can be accomplished through Google Classroom or by individually selecting students by their email address. Teachers can also cast to their device via another Chrome device. 

Google Cast is not a seamless process as of yet. I've found it to be buggy from time to time. I do see a lot of potential for the future of Chrome devices. I foresee students being able to cast their presentations and screens anytime they want to share their learning experiences straight from their own Chromebook. I foresee teachers being able to travel around the classroom while teaching with fewer disruptions. I'm excited for the possibilities it may hold. 

See It in Action

Feel free to check out my video of the process. I go through the launch of the app and a student device connecting to Google Cast for Education. I also demonstrate how to connect a presentation, tab, and the entire desktop of the student device. I hope you find this video to be a valuable resource. 


Friday, July 29, 2016

Welcome to the New Google Sites!


Early Release!

Toward the end of June, MSD of Steuben County gained access to the early release of the New Google Sites. It is a very exciting opportunity as our teachers can start to get a feel for how to implement it as a key communication tool and implementation in the classroom. Due to the upcoming changes, I've already canceled a training I had planned for a blogging template I had created using Google Sites. Now that there is a new version, I ultimately decided that it was a matter of time until that training would be obsolete. So I'm excited to present the new version of Google Sites to the administrative team on Monday, August 1st and teachers Thursday, August 4th. 

MSDSC was also planning on utilizing Google Sites for school websites. That plan is now on hold as the transition takes place. So for now, teachers and administrators get to test and get familiar with the new format as we prepare to make the transition along with Google. 

What's in the New Version?

 I'm excited with this new version as it is much more user-friendly. Not that the old Google Sites was difficult, but some items were difficult to locate and operate. The new version features drag-n-drop objects and easily manipulated embedded items. What always made Google Sites great is the ability to embed items from Google Drive. This still remains, but even easier as users do not have to determine numerical dimensions. Embedded items (docs, slides, videos, etc) can be resized just like an image in a Google Doc with dots around the corners and edges. What is especially awesome is the collaborative nature of the new version. There is no need for saving as users can edit the site simultaneously with other users just like items in Google Drive. The site is essentially a living document with the appearance of a simple website. 

Want to get started?

At the moment, the new Google Sites can be accessed via the address: http://sites.google.com/new. I've provided tutorials via an interactive Google Slides presentation so that you can pick and choose what aspect you need. I hope you find this resource useful!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Google Classroom Guide


Chromebooks Required

Throughout this summer, I kicked off a training series for my staff that I titled "Chromebooks Required." Mainly because we are shifting completely to the Chromebook for students vs. a mix of devices. We are excited for this focus on all that Google has to offer our students. There certainly be some growing pains as many of our teachers transfer technology integration from the iPad to the Chromebook. 

Part of my training has been on the topic of Google Classroom. It has been a basic orientation of how to connect students as well as how to utilize the various methods of communication as well as how to utilize other tools to enhance the experience with Google Classroom (Share to classroom, Doc Hub, Orange Slice Rubric, etc.) Google Classroom is much more than an assignment creator. I also have been holding training sessions on the topic of hyperdocs which is much more about lesson format and how to more efficiently create learning experiences via Google Docs and Classroom. Providing organized learning experiences can streamline the process for students so that there is less focus on problem solving on the device and more time for learning the content and collaborative response. Overall, teachers have walked away better equipped on how to efficiently and effectively distribute and receive learning content. 

Google Classroom Guide

Creating a traditional Google Slides presentation to teach Google Classroom is a painful process. It works much better to work straight from Google Classroom and just demonstrate on the aspects while having teachers try it simultaneously. I created a slides presentation anyway, but it is not in the traditional sense. It is an interactive presentation so that users can pinpoint and find the specific resource they need. You'll notice that there is a picture of my Bitmoji face that will take you back to the menu of options. It is designed that way so that you can quickly navigate. I hope you don't find it disturbing. :) I especially hope you find this resource helpful. 



Updates...

Google changes their products often. If you notice that my content it outdated, please feel free to let me know. I'd be happy to get the new material updated as soon as possible. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Google Forms Quizzes!



Can I Have It Auto-Grade?

I frequently get the question about how to create quizzes that will be automatically graded.  If you already have a quiz you are planning on using, you might as well take advantage of it being fully automated, right? It saves a great amount of time if you are planning on administering a quick quiz all based on multiple choice or true and false. 

Toward the end of June, Google launched the ability to create graded quizzes via Google Forms. Using a Google Sheets add-on (Flubaroo) is no longer necessary to accomplish this task. Teachers can quickly make a quiz, set the correct answers, and instantly have all the results within their Google Form. If you are wanting something quick and extremely user-friendly, this is the route to go. If you are wanting to have more control over point values and weighted grades, Flubaroo is much more feature-rich as it has been in existence much longer. Both tools are great, I recommend trying them both. Why not? They are both free. 

Create a Form Quiz




Thoughts about Assessment

Though I get the question about automatically grading quizzes/tests often, I also get a lot of questions regarding students cheating. Yes, Google Forms makes it extremely easy to digitize and automate your test, but ultimately multiple choice and true/false questions make it easy for students to cheat. If your question is easy to Google, then it is easy to cheat. So how do we get around the issue of cheating?

I think back to my freshman year of college and there was one type of test I hated the most; the blue-book exam. It was painfully difficult because I had one massive question to cover a ton of information. These tests were painful to complete in comparison to multiple choice, but it forced me to demonstrate what I really knew. It was completely focused on my thought process about the information I took in from the class. 

What if teachers focused on the process more than a right or wrong answers? For example, what if math teachers had students create a video explaining how they solved a problem? You could use a fancy Orange Slice Rubric to hit on multiple facets of the problem-solving process instead of grading a ten to twenty question test. This would eliminate the issue of cheating as the teacher would be able to hear the student verbalize his/her understanding of the problem. 

So you have to decide what is more important to you as the teacher. Is the convenience of having a quiz automatically graded worth the stronger possibility of cheating, or is the amount of time grading a learning process worth making a test "Google-proof?"

Friday, July 8, 2016

My Experience with ISTE and COPPA

ISTE 2016

ISTE 2016 was awesome. The Denver Convention Center is probably my favorite location out of the four ISTE conferences I've attended. The building is easy to navigate and in a great place, downtown Denver. I walked away from ISTE with some great ideas of how to supplement teacher training as well as a taste of the new features Google is offering schools this academic year. I'm excited for the new version of Sites to be launched, Android apps on Chromebooks, as well as some new features within Google Classroom that will certainly make the lives of teachers much simpler. Many of these features will be discussed in future posts. This post is focused on an issue that seems to be regularly ignored within the realm of educational technology. We're talking about the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

What's the Big Deal?

Schools need to follow the rules. That's the simple answer as to why I'm writing this post. We as educators have a responsibility to the community and to students to maintain a high level of  integrity when it comes to legal matters. Online services need to address how they maintain personal information of users under the age of 13 and how they go about protecting the rights of children. Most websites avoid the issue altogether and slap a blanketed protection in their terms of service and privacy policy documents that state that no one under the age of 13 is to utilize their services by any means. However, some services are targeted towards users that are under the age of 13. In those cases, parent permission is required for the creation of accounts. Usually, this process is as simple as gaining that parent permission and having the documentation on hand (see SeeSaw's Terms of Service).

There are some instances where the teacher must jump through some hoops in order for students to gain access to a site legally. Take Scratch for example. In this scenario, Scratch requires that students have a parent create their account as a parent email address is to be used to confirm account creation. This is an interesting topic altogether as teachers have openly admitted in Scratch forums to not have followed through with Scratch's terms and have gone ahead and created accounts for students.
One loophole that I wonder is a possibility is if parents sign off stating that the teacher can utilize his/her teacher email address in order to verify the Scratch account? It makes sense as the parent is fully aware that they are granting permission for the teacher to create the account with the understanding that they can still do the account creation on their own accord. This idea is something I should explore with Scratch's input.

What's COPPA have to do with ISTE?

ISTE is a huge organization. They produce the best of the best as far as ed tech goes. What I do not understand is why there are so many presentations promoting the use of products for elementary students that clearly state in their terms of service and/or privacy policy that users under the age of 13 cannot use it. I"ll give you a couple examples:

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark was originally introduced as Adobe Voice. I was extremely excited when it launched as it made making photo slideshows with audio super simple to use on iOS devices. The downside? It clearly states that users must be over the age of 13 to use Adobe products. I even recall requesting to Adobe to address this issue and change their legal documentation to make their products usable for users under 13. I don't know how you can get around this clearly stated sentence in their terms of service documentation: 

As I was traveling around poster sessions, I was surprised by the number of elementary teachers promoting the use of Adobe Spark. I shouldn't say I was surprised by the number of teachers having their students use it as it is a great resource, but what surprises me is the fact that ISTE allowed them to do a presentation on it. These teachers are unknowingly promoting illegal activities in their classrooms. If you were to question them on the terms of service of these products, I guarantee you'd get a blank stare. (I know because I asked a few of them.) Wouldn't you think that ISTE would be aware of this issue as they go through the presentation selection process?

Blogger

I'm a huge fan of Google Apps for Education (GAFE)! That is very evident as I'm a Google Educator Level I and II, Google Certified Trainer, and a Certified Google Apps Administrator. I do struggle with their terms of service. Blogger is part of Google, right? Students can use their GAFE accounts to create a Blogger blog freely, right? This is where it gets a bit confusing because the answer is no.

Google Apps for Education only includes what they call the "Core Services." The Core Services only include Calendar, Contacts, Groups for Business, Drive, Hangouts/Talk, Gmail, Sites, and Vault. All other Google services are considered "Additional Services" and the school district is responsible for turning them on and off according to who can legally access them (users over 13 enter a personal agreement not protected by GAFE).  The Core Services are the only ones that Google discontinues data mining for advertising purposes within a school district. So if a student creates a Blogger blog, their information is susceptible to the data mining process. If a user is under the age of 13, they cannot legally agree to those terms of service. 

So what did I see at ISTE? Fourth-grade teachers telling other teachers how their students can use their GAFE accounts to create their own Blogger blogs for the purpose of writing about their reading. Great idea! I did the same thing six years ago in the classroom, but not with Blogger. I'm sure that the teachers were doing it completely out of ignorance of COPPA and Google's additional services. However, should ISTE be ignorant/ignoring the issue? ISTE ultimately allowed these individuals to present. 

I certainly wish Blogger were part of the core services. If you are a teacher of students over the age of 13, please use it! Blogger is a great platform for students to communicate their learning to a global audience. 

How do we get better?

I truly do not expect teachers to be checking the legal documentation to make sure their students can use certain products. Especially since the legal documentation changes from time to time. What I do expect is for teachers to be at least aware of it. I don't mind checking to see if students can use various products as it seems to have become one of my roles in my school district. Teachers can ask me to do the investigation for them. 

The ISTE presentation selection committee should certainly be aware of the issue. We cannot have presentations that promote schools participating in online activities that are not COPPA compliant. I want to know why this is apparently being ignored?