Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Google Search Tips You Should Use In Your Classroom

I had an amazing time at Alan November's BLC15 in Boston this summer. I had an opportunity to learn from Mr. November while participating in one of his four-hour sessions. Even though he shared a lot of information, he was adamant that teachers encourage their students to learn from around the world. Teachers should let students assess ideas and situations from all over the world, not just our version. An example he gave was from a high school literature teacher who wanted her students to get different perspectives of Romeo and Juliet. The students were asked to find 6 power points from 6 different countries and to create a mix-up of those 6 slides defending their new version of Romeo and Juliet. By changing the assessment, this teacher opened up many different opportunities for her students to get unique perspectives for the same assignment. If you were to give this same exercise to your students, how long would it take them to get what they needed? Take some time to teach yourself and your students Google search tips that will help you both get to the right information quickly. Find a graphic and video to help you get started.

Get a copy here: https://goo.gl/3QzZrS

Here is a short video example of a file type search and a country code search.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Customize your Google Site Header

Customizing Your Google Site Headers

When you create a Google Site, it is fairly simple to customize a header for it.  I use CANVA for just about everything - site headers included.  Here is a screencast of how I quickly create a header for my Google Site.

Once you have created your header, you will need to go to your site settings and click on Edit Site Layout.  Watch the screencast below to guide you on what to do next.

The whole process is quick and easy once you have your header created.  I love the fact that Sites allows for easy customization.  What are some of the other ways you customize your Google Sites?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

iPadPaloozaSTX 2015

iPadPalooza South Texas was a one day event that was held at  McAllen High School in McAllen, Texas. This learning festival was a celebration of the cultural shift that iPads and other technology have brought about in education and the world.  This event focused on creativity, social collaboration, engagement and the compelling ways schools have integrated technology into their classrooms. The local cultural theme for this year was: DAY OF THE TECH (DAY OF THE DEAD.)  iPadPalooza South Texas collaborated with the origInal iPadPalooza that started in Austin Texas.  The Godfather of iPadPalooza, Carl Hooker,  was a keynote at this event; as well as, Todd Nesloney and Felix Jacomino.  All three keynotes were dynamic and inspirational.

There were a multitude of sessions offered utilizing different platforms like iTunes U, iPad Apps, Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office.  McAllen ISD wants its teachers and students to feel comfortable with any platform they choose.  iPadPaloozaSTX was fortunate to offer a variety of sessions.

The hard working committee and I never imagined the feedback would be so positive.  We had a little over 500 educators participate in iPadPaloozaSTX.  There were presenters from Dallas, Houston, Austin, Navasota, Miami, Edinburg and McAllen.  Locally raised Aaron Stephens sang blues music for our participants and McAllen High School's Pop Music group sang a variety of pop music.  There were also 6 local food trucks that served a variety of food from tacos to BBQ.  Participant feedback mentioned the ambiance and local flavor was a definite highlight of this tech festival.

Another wonderful addition to iPadPaloozaSTX was Katherine Torrini, a graphic recorder.  She brought magic to our festival.  Take a peek at her amazing work.   

We used a local start up company, QLUE, to assist with our AppMazing Race.  Participants had such a great time with this scavenger hunt that forced them to use a variety of apps and online tools to participate.  There were over 30 teams that participated with a group from Los Fresnos winning iWatches.

My instructional technology specialists, Rosie Fluegel, Raquel Cantu, Daniel Galeana, and Gonzalo Sandoval worked tirelessly for the last 8 months to make everything a success.  Other committee members also helped make iPadPaloozaSTX a success, you can find out about them here: committee.  Our closing survey gave us a wealth of knowledge on how we can make next year even better.  Participants want longer sessions that are more hands on, shade when waiting for food truck orders, and for us to be an annual festival.  The Rio Grande Valley culture allowed us to be bright and fun! 


We even had LoTECHeria where participants looked for Bingo cards on twitter to get BINGO! The winner received an iWATCH.

I can't leave without thanking ALL my wonderful SPONSORS who gave us wonderful prizes to share with our educators!  They all ROCK!

Next year, iPadPaloozaSTX  will be held August 4th and 5th of 2016.  We are working on a killer line up of keynotes and have already added a student film festival to take place.  As I sit back and reflect on the whole festival, I feel blessed.  We all worked extremely hard and it paid off.  If you are looking for a unique tech learning festival, join us next year for  iPadPaloozaSTX16!