Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chrome - QR-Code Extension

I a big fan of the Google Chrome Browser, there are a ton of amazing extensions and apps that you can use with students.  I've blogged about quite a few of them - Read & Write for Google Docs, Kaizena,  and on EdCeptional #42.  Here's a new one that just for creating and reading QR Codes.

The QR Code Extension is designed to allow you to quickly create QR codes for downloading and sharing.  Once you are on a page, just click the icon in your extension bar (to the right of the address bar) and it will show you the QR Code.  Click "Edit This QR Code" to find options for downloading and sharing.

The other option is not one I've seen in an extension.  Click the "Scan a QR Code" and it allows you to use your webcam to decode a QR Code.  So if you've ever been sitting and wanted to use a code, this is the extension for you!!  It's a great option for students, I've always advocated for using QR Codes for long URL's and this would help do that without a special program.  Just print out QR Codes for your students and let them scan using the extension.

You can try out The QR Code Extension here!



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Monday, August 18, 2014

QR Codes for Vocabulary



Matt Bergman, at Learn, Lead, Grow, shared a great post on ways to use QR Codes to teach and retain vocabulary.  I love the ideas of engaging students with technology to teach this skill.  Check out all his ideas at his blog:

3 Ways to Use QR Codes to Make Word Walls Assessable to ALL Students #UDL



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Friday, August 15, 2014

Google Classroom for SPED


Google Classroom is a new offering for districts who use Google Apps for Education (GAFE).  Classroom is a combination of Edmodo and Doctupus; part social network and part document manager.  Once Classroom is enabled you are able to create classes and invite your students to join.  Google creates a folder in your Drive, a place for you to upload and/or create documents to share with those students.  From the main Classroom page you have options for posting Announcements or create assignments.  Assignments can be linked to a Drive Document, Youtube video, weblink or you can attach a file.  Students can then complete the work and turn it in via Classroom.  When using Google Docs you have the option to allow students to view the document, edit one document or it will create a separate document for each student.

For self-contained teachers this immediately solves issues with distributing and collecting Google Doc files.  It's also a place for students to communicate questions with their classmates or you.  While the interface is limited and the themes are pretty basic, I think the potential for this product is astounding.

From my new perspective of a push-in support teacher, I see this as a way to push out modified assignments to students.  Part of our new reading curriculum involves discussion guides and we, as a special education team, are considering modifying them so they are Google Docs.  This would give me a way to push out specific docs, to specific students easily.  I also think giving students a place they can post questions might be useful, especially students who may not want to speak up in class.  I can see it as a way for those students to contact me when we are not together in class.

I'm going to continue to give it a try, and see if there are other ways it can be utilized.  I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on using Google Classroom.  This week Google opened it all users with GAFE account, but there is one caveat.  You and your students must be on the same domain.  This is actually a problem in my district, my email ends in "d57.org" and our students are "students.d57.org" so I cannot create a Classroom unless I have a different login.  This is frustrating, but Google is aware and hopefully they will fix it in the near future.



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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Embrace the Shake




It's been almost 5 months since I've actually sat down and written for this blog.  It's also been over 6 years since I put down my first post.  Over the past 6 years I've shared a lot of information, but it's also been a place for me to reflect.  Something I've missed the past year.  It's interesting, the reason I'm writing this post is because of a video I watched recently.  I'm a fan of TEDTalks and a colleague shared this one with me:

Phil Hansen:  Embrace the Shake

Within the first 2 minutes, I realized that this talk made sense to me.  I had difficulties in my new position and I gave up this blog.  I gave up something that has connected me to so many others and so many experiences.  I'm hoping that this year I can, as Phil says, embrace the shake.  I am starting another new position.  I'll continue in my role in Assistive Technology, but now I'll be (for the first time ever) in a resource special education position.  I've never done anything but self-contained, and while this was something I never thought I would do, I'm looking forward to it.  Whether it's the challenge or just the change I am going in with a lot of new ideas.

I don't know exactly how this will change this blog, but I do know that I am going to keep posting my ideas.  I'll be sharing my thoughts and hopefully getting some feedback!  Take a few minutes and watch Phil, maybe it will inspire you to embrace the shake



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