Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September is Library Card Sign Up Month!

You can do so much with a public library card without even going to the library.  Did you you know you can borrow e-books from the library?  They’re free!  They’re convenient!  They’re available on any device!

Like many public libraries in 2016, the Montgomery House Public Library uses Overdrive, a company who hosts digital content for your use and enjoyment.  To access millions of titles from thousands of libraries, all you need is a library card.

Sign up for (or renew) your library card today - CLICK HERE!

With your public library card, you can download the e-books you’d like to read -- for free!  In case you’re not convinced, these are some perks:
  • They’re free
  • You can use them on any device - phone, tablet, computer
  • The due dates are automatic - you don't have to remember to return it, so no fines!
  • They’re free
  • Audio versions are available
  • ALL genres and levels available (children's, non-fiction, and more)
  • They’re free

Theresa created a video tutorial to walk you through the process of selecting a borrowing a book online.  Watch below!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Quick Tips for Google Docs

The other day I was teaching a lesson and telling students to make a new Google Slides set by clicking the red button in Google Drive, but all of their buttons were blue. It can be frustrating how much and how many updates there are to online programs, especially Google. Google updates more than 600 times a year, so almost twice a day. These are usually small changes that we don’t even notice or when we do, they are easy to just say, “Oh, ok, got it.”

Here are some additions or changes that you may have missed but which could be useful to you.

What it is - Expiration dates

How it works - You can share a document to a student, coworker, or outside collaborator but share it for a limited amount of time. To do this, follow these steps:

How you could use it - If you don’t want students to have access to an assessment the following year, you can set the expiration date to the end of the year. If you want input from coworkers or other collaborators, but want to close out opportunities for input to a certain deadline, you could set the expiration date to that deadline. If you want students to work on an assignment, but don’t plan to grade it right away, you can make the expiration date the deadline for the assignment so they can’t make further changes.

If you have other ideas for how to use this, please let me know!

What it is - Share a link that automatically makes a copy

How it works - When a user clicks on the link you provide them, instead of taking them to your original document, it prompts them to make a copy in their own drive.

To use this, follow these steps:

So the address might look like this to begin with:

And then you will replace where it says edit to copy:

And then hit enter and the screen will look like this:

When you share this link, the person who receives it will see the same option. This allows them to edit a new version for themselves instead of editing your original, or making them go through the steps to make their own copy.

How you could use it - Have students make a copy, then share it back to you to fill out a worksheet. Share a template that you would like coworkers or collaborators to complete.

Do you have more ideas for how it could be used? Send them my way?

These tips could be something that saves you a few steps in the future, so try them out! As always, if you have questions, you can email me or stop by!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Use Your Noodle Tools

Noodle Tools, in their own words, “is a responsive, user-friendly research management platform with baked-in wisdom accumulated over years, and proven track record across thousands of schools and universities.  Since 2013, we have been teaching students to organize and manage their own research and resources.  This year, the Noodle Tools team rolled out a few updates, so it seemed like a perfect time to share with you.

Why pay for Noodle Tools?  Why not just use EasyBib?
When Google Docs added the EasyBib citation feature, I asked this very question.  Damon Abilock, one of the creators, clarified for me:

“EasyBib is simply an auto-cite mechanism, [which is] tempting in theory, but in reality does not work well… Resulting citations are completely dependent on how the author constructed the content.  EasyBib is wrong more often than it is right, and students assume that something generated for them is correct.  In addition, Noodle Tools prompts the student to think about what the content actually is.”

How can I access Noodle Tools?
In the high school, we use a paid subscription.  There are two ways to get there:
  1. When you’re in Google Drive or Gmail, click the waffle menu at the top right.  Scroll to the bottom of the list, and choose the Noodle Tools app.
  1. Go to the district website, click on Students > High School Students > Noodle Tools.
In the middle school, teachers and students use Noodle Tools Express.  The biggest difference here is that while students can still create citations, they cannot store their research and resources.  It is an excellent bridge between middle and high school research projects.

What are the benefits of Noodle Tools?
Besides critical thinking, communication, and collaboration...

Noodle Tools is for more than language arts and social studies.   Any project requiring research requires proper citations!  Please let us know if you would like more information about Noodle Tools, how it works, and/or how to use it with your students.