Gamify your classroom with Google Forms

Gamification and badges in education have been ideas floating around for a few years now. Some educators have jumped on the band wagon only to abandon the concept soon after. Often, one of the obstacles to effective implementation is proper technological support (1). The good news is Google Forms is a relatively simple (and free!) tool to help implement gamification elements into education.

What are “badges” & “gamificationGamification and badges in education using Google Forms“?

Badges in education and the idea of gamification is one way teachers can help motivate students in the classroom and help students keep track of effort and achievement.

Gamification can be defined as:

the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

Source: https://badgeville.com/wiki/Gamification

The idea is much like the concept behind the Scouts movement – achieve something, earn a badge. Many popular video games also use a badge system, and many of our students enjoy and understand this way of measuring achievement. So it makes sense to use a badges systems in the classroom.

To find out more about using badges in the classroom, have a look at this article:

http://www.edudemic.com/guides/the-teachers-guide-to-badges-in-education/

Automating gamification & badges in education on a (very!) limited budget

Gamification and badges in the learning environment has been of interest to me for sometime. However, within the learning environment I have been working with, the concept would be very labour intensive to implement and track. While playing around with Google Forms, an idea came to me – surely Google Apps script could be used in a self-marking quiz to send a badge to a supplied email address if a certain score was achieved in the quiz?

So I wrote an algorithm and found some potential providers on Fiverr.com. I contacted them to outline what I wanted. Within hours I had settled with the wonderful Riyafaahf who provided me exactly what I wanted in less than a day.

And below you’ll be able to grab the code and instructions for yourself.

Automating badges in Google Forms

How it works

The student completes a self-marking quiz in Google forms and provides an email address. If the student achieves a certain mark, they will receive a badge via email.

Here is a simple, sample quiz for you to try out and see how it works (don’t worry, I won’t ever use your email address for anything else):

https://goo.gl/forms/9CPFp5Kc4VJFQlV92

What you will need

  • Access to Google Forms (either through Google Drive or G Suite for Education)
  • Student email addresses (they do not have to be Gmail)
  • An image for your badge (this will be emailed to the student should they achieve a certain score) saved to your Google Drive
  • The code on this page
  • The file ID for your Google Sheet where quiz responses will be collected and the file ID of the badge file  (don’t worry, getting these is easy – see the video if you’re not sure)
  • Devices for students to respond to the form (works well across most platforms including smart phones and tablets)

Planning

It might be a good idea to start off with a smaller topic area with a few quizzes (and badges). This allows you to test the waters and the technology. Your badges with be based on the required student outcomes.

It might also be a good idea to think about what you would like students to do with the badges they collect. One simple idea is having each student create a simple eportfolio in Google Slides to save their badges in.

Tips for setting up your quiz in Google Form

Watch video tutorial for visual step-by-step instructions.

You need to save your Google Form as a self-marking quiz and make sure the responses are being collected into a Google Sheet.

  • Make sure you are collecting email addresses. This can be done by asking for an email address in the quiz (use data validation to ensure the address provided appears valid) or selecting the option to collect email addresses in a  G Suite for Education school.
  • Mark all questions as “required”.
  • Select “Make this a quiz” in the form settings.
  • Go through each question and add your points and select the correct answer.

Adding the “Send badge” code

Watch video tutorial for visual step-by-step instructions.

This adds the badge ‘magic’ – sending the badge to the student’s email once they submit their responses.

Below is the code, ready for you to insert your information. You will need to copy it, paste it into your Google Form Script Editor and replace the variable information with your information.

If your browser does not select the code automatically, select all the code from line 1 to line 21 and copy it.

Send badge for Google Forms quiz
 
function onSubmit(e) {
  var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.openById(e.source.getDestinationId()).getSheets()[0];
  //var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.openById("REPLACEwithGoogleSheetsFileID").getSheets()[0];
  var lastRow = sheet.getLastRow();
  var score = sheet.getRange(lastRow, 3).getValue();
  var email = sheet.getRange(lastRow, 2).getValue();
  var subject = "REPLACE with Email Subject";
  if(score>7){
    var body = "REPLACE with Your Email Message.";
    var id ="REPLACEwithYourBadgeFileID";
    var fileBlob = DriveApp.getFileById(id).getBlob();
    GmailApp.sendEmail(email, subject, body, {
      attachments: [fileBlob]
    });
  }else{
    var url = "https://goo.gl/forms/REPLACEwithYourFormURL"
    var body = "Good try at the quiz. Have another try to improve your score and earn your solar system expert badge. You can access the quiz at "+ url;
    GmailApp.sendEmail(email, subject, body);
    
  }
}

 

To paste the code into your form:

  • Go to your Google Form
  • Click on the 3 dots at the top right of the screen
  • Select select <> Script Editor…
  • File > New > Project
  • Paste the code
  • Give your project a name
  • Replace variable information as required (see table below)
  • Click on Resources > Current Project’s Triggers
  • Click to add a new trigger. The triggers should look as follows (should be the default):
    Google Apps Script triggers screen shot
  • Review and authorise permissions

You will need to change all or some of the following information for the variables (depending on how your form and spreadsheet are set up). The table below should help you work out what you need to replace.

Line numberVariable to replaceWhat to replace it with
03REPLACEwithGoogleSheetsFileIDThe ID of the Google Sheet collecting your form information
053Column number in the Google Sheet that contains the quiz score
062Column number in the Google Sheet that contains the email address of the student
07REPLACE with Email SubjectReplace with the text for the subject of the email the student will receieve
087Replace with the minimum score a student should achieve to receive the badge
09REPLACE with Your Email Message.Replace with the text for the email message body for students who achieve the badge
10REPLACEwithYourBadgeFileIDReplace with the ID of your badge file in Google Drive
16https://goo.gl/forms/REPLACEwithYourFormURLReplace with the URL of your Google Form
17Good try at the quiz. Have another try to improve your score and earn your solar system expert badge. You can access the quiz atReplace with the message you would like students to receive who DO NOT achieve the badge.

Test your form

Watch video tutorial for visual step-by-step instructions.

Make sure you test your form before you unleash it on your students. Use the preview button to respond to the form. Check to make sure you get the badge when you answer the right number of questions correctly and you DON’T get the badge when don’t get enough questions right.

Sharing your form

Watch video tutorial for visual step-by-step instructions.

Once you’ve tested your quiz and everything is working okay, you are ready to share! You can email a link or provide a written link. I find the Google Forms URL shortener pretty clunky so I usually use bit.ly and create a custom, easy to understand URL.

Video tutorial: Automating gamification in education with Google Forms

Other helpful resources

12 free badge images:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/12-Free-Badge-Images-for-Classroom-Gamification-2954231

Over 120 editable badge images (paid resource):

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/120-badges-and-images-for-gamification-in-the-classroom-2954139

 

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Google Apps for Education and Universal Design for Learning

I recently had the opportunity to attend an excellent workshop presented by Leanne Woodley from AIS NSW on Universal GAfE and UDL: supporting inclusionDesign for Learning (UDL). UDL has inspired me to look at inclusion in a different way. It is a step beyond differentiation as it may be typically implemented which I discussed in the context of Google Classroom in a previous post.  Within the UDL framework learning is designed to be inclusive rather than making adjustments as an after thought.

According to National Centre on Universal Design for Learning:

Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.

http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl

Here is a short video giving an overview of UDL:

So where does Google Apps for Education fit in to all this? UDL does not require technology to be implemented. However, technology can be a very powerful tool. It embeds digital literacy into learning which is a relevant 21st century skill, with relevance being part of the UDL guidelines. For some students, it also allows them to use skills and technologies they are already comfortable with. Building on existing student knowledge is also within the UDL guidelines.

I am looking forward to implementing UDL within my classes. In the meantime, I have put together a table of three GAfE tools and how they may work to support UDL. I plan to add to this as my experience with UDL grows.

UDL & Google Apps for Education

Google Apps toolMultiple means of engagementMultiple means of representationMultiple means of action and expression
Google DriveEncourage students to collaborate on projects created in Google Drive.


Invite opportunities for self reflection using Google Forms.


Use comments feature to provide feedback that encourages perseverance, focuses on development of efficacy and self-awareness.

Use Google Forms to check for background knowledge.

Access Google Drive through choice of device.


Encourage planning using choice of Google Drive option and provide feedback through comments.


Assertive technologies that can be used with Google Drive include using mouth stylus on touch devices or option to use voice to text for typing.


Option to collate resources/ideas in Google Drive using 'Save to Drive' extension.
Google ClassroomClearly outline goals and objectives and encourage students to revisit these.


Encourage students to ask questions in the stream or privately.


Allow students to work at their pace.


Offer choices in how students engage e.g., PC, tablet, smart phone.


Provide varied sources of information.


Encourage active participation.


Option to use provided template(s).


Set assessments with option to complete at different levels of complexity.


Use announcements and email reminders to support predictability.


Provide resources in different formats, e.g., fact sheets, Prezi, YouTube video, podcast.


Use question and discussion feature to highlight 'big ideas'.


Use questions and discussions to clarify information.


Ensure access to pre-requisite/background information is available.

Accept evidence of learning in different formats including Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Drawings, scanned file, photos, audio and video.


Use discussion feature to assist focus and direction.


Google+ / HangoutsEncourage students to participate in discussions around the design of classroom activities and academic tasks using synchronous and asynchronous social media tools in the Google+ suite.


Encourage collaboration within small groups and the whole class.


Opportunities to communicate to real audiences.

Use Google Collections to represent ideas in different formats.


Present information/ideas using Google Hangouts On Air and allow students to access recorded session at any time.

Option to collate resources/ideas using Google Collections.

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4 Google Apps tools to blend your classroom today!

Blended learning is not a new concept. It’s been around for a while. Better and more affordable softwarEasy blended learning with Google Appse solutions and improved internet access means more educational institutions are implementing blended learning solutions. Blended and elearning isn’t ‘good’ just because it is digital; it needs to meet student needs and learning goals.

Even on a budget and with limited resources, any educator can look at implementing some level of blended learning. Blended learning can help create a more individualised and flexible learning environment. Free Google Apps put blended learning solutions within everyone’s reach, whether or not you’re in a Google Apps for Education (GaFE) school. And you don’t need to be an IT expert to use them. You also don’t need to have the latest and greatest hardware and operating systems to use Google Apps.

Here I’ve collected four Google Apps that are easy for beginners to start using as part of a blended learn environment. I’ve included some ideas on how you can use them and links to resources to get you started.

But before that, maybe we should talk about…..

…what is blended learning, anyway?

1. Google Classroom

Only available as part of Google Apps for Education
Available on iOS, Android, Chromebook and full Chrome browser (Windows, Linux, Mac)

Okay, this one might be a no-brainer but no discussion about Google Apps and blended learning would be complete without including Google Classroom.

Google Classroom is described as:

…a free web-based platform…[that] makes it easy to create classes, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized. Teachers can quickly see who has or hasn’t completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback and grades right in Classroom.

https://support.google.com/edu/classroom/answer/6020279?hl=en

Google Classroom is a very strong ally in creating a blended learning environment. As well as distributing, monitoring and marking assignments, you can share resources, post a quick question to the class and view results (great for checking understanding), and create and monitor discussions. The great thing is it allows you to share any clarifying questions or comments with the whole classroom.

Once you understand the basics, Google Classroom can be a useful tool to help you implement and manage differentiation.

It is very easy to create your first class and assignment and to have students join, especially if you have your class setup in Google Groups.

Look at the post Google Classroom Goodies for more on using Google Classroom – from the basics to pro tips.

How to access Google Classroom

Log into your GAfE account.

Go to the following website:

http://classroom.google.com

2. Google Sites

Available free with any Google account, including Google Apps for Education
Editing functionality best with full Chrome browser (Windows, Linux, Mac)
View Google Sites on any device using Chrome Browser

As great as Google Classroom is, if you try and cram too much content in, it can become cluttered and unwieldy. If you want to share content, Google Sites is a great way to do it. It is easy to create a simple site even if you’ve never created a website before.

Google Sites is described as:

… a structured wiki- and Web page-creation tool… People can work together on a Site to add file attachments, information from other Google applications.

It is a great way to keep all relevant content related to a class in one place and makes it easy for students to stay up-to-date. You can easily organise different topics or modules into different ‘levels’ on your Google Site and develop it as you go. It also allows students to work at their own pace, provides opportunities for you as the teacher to include formative assessments and to easily make available extension tasks for students who need to be challenged.

As well as embedding other Google apps and YouTube videos, you can also embed other media into your Google Sites. I often include Prezis and Zaption videos, allowing me to use and curate existing content rather than having to create everything from scratch. You can also include the Google Classroom calendar on the site to help students keep track of due dates or a quiz using Google Forms.

Google Sites are also a great way for students to present evidence of learning and portfolios of work. Just like Google Drive apps, Google Sites can be collaborative.

And you don’t have to know anything about web design to use Google Sites. Try the Beginner’s guide to creating a site if you’d like some direction.

Not sure where to start? Create a page with a YouTube video and a Google Form with a few questions to check for understanding. Instant (well nearly) online mini-class!

Web design purists like to criticise the limitations and quirks of Google Sites but I have found no quicker or easier way to create websites as I need them.

How to access Google Sites

Login to your Google account.

Go to the following website:

http://sites.google.com

3. Google Slides

Available free with any Google account, including Google Apps for Education
Editing functionality best with full Chrome browser (Windows, Linux, Mac)
Apps with fewer features available for iOS and Android

Ahhhh, Google Slides. One of my (almost) daily go-tos. So versatile, so easy to use and a great way to introduce blended learning practices.

Google describes Google Slides as:

… an online presentations app that allows you to show off your work in a visual way.

Google Slides can be used as part of a blended learning solution in several ways:

Google Slides can be embedded into a website or blog (like the one above in this post). They are easy to use and easily allow the insertion of links, videos, diagrams, etc.

Google Slides is part of the Google Drive suite.

4. Google Forms

Available free with any Google account, including Google Apps for Education
Editing functionality best with full Chrome browser (Windows, Linux, Mac)
View Google Forms on any device using Chrome Browser

Google Forms offer a lot of possibilities, from the basic to the complex. The great thing is you don’t have to be a guru to get started with Google Forms which is the reason I selected it as part of my easy-to-use blended tools list.

According to Google:

You can plan events, make a survey or poll, give students a quiz, or collect other information in an easy, streamlined way with Google Forms. You can create a form from Google Drive or from an existing spreadsheet that can record the responses to your form.

Google Forms is so easy to use that you could set up your first short quiz in 5 minutes even if you’ve never used Google Forms before. Your students answer the questions and these are saved in a Google Sheet for you to review the answers. If you are part of a GAfE school, you’ll now exactly who has (and hasn’t!) taken the quiz.

Take it to the next level and add images and YouTube videos and have students answer questions based on those.

You can even create self-grading quizzes with a free add-on called Flubaroo. Another use for Google Forms is creating branched learning scenarios where students are directed to, for example, a video or link depending on their quiz responses.

However you choose to use Google Forms, part of its power is that you can quickly and easily check student understanding, apply any required intervention and keep track of progress and student development.

Of course, this would be part of a wider blended learning and assessment process.

Google Forms is part of the Google Drive suite.

So what are you waiting for? There’s no excuse to not start blending today!

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Creating mini-lessons using Google Slides in 6 easy steps

Google Slides is one of my everyday go-to tools in Google Apps for Education (GAfE) and Create interactive mini lessons using Google Slides Google Drive. It is so versatile and easy to use. As an educator, it makes it easy to put together and distribute information and content. It is also a great app for students to show evidence of learning or to curate a portfolio.

One way to use Google Slides is to create mini-lessons that students can go through at their own pace. They are also useful in ‘flipped classrooms’ and other blended learning approaches.

Mini-lessons are presentations that contain content that students need to know and include some sort of navigation, like a menu, and, ideally, some sort of activity, like a quiz, for students to complete to check for understanding.

Below is a sample mini-lesson designed for illustrative purposes and below that are the 6 easy steps to creating your very own mini-lesson as well as a video tutorial. The content in this mini-lesson has been copied from Wikipedia (not recommended!)

6 Easy steps to create a mini-lesson

1. Create your Google Slides presentation

Login to Google Drive and create a new Google Slides presentation.

2. Write your content

Don’t forget to leave a menu slide so you can go back and create your menu links when you have completed your content.

As well as text, you can include images, videos and links to external content.

As this is intended as a mini-lesson designed to be consumed by an individual rather than a presentation, you can include a lot more text than you normally would in a presentation but be careful about making it look too crowded.

3. Create your menu

Once you have completed your content, go back to your blank menu page and add buttons for links to the different topics in your mini-lesson.

To make your buttons clickable go to:

Insert > Link… > Slides in this presentation > Select the slide to link to

See the video tutorial for a demonstration.

4. Add your “return to menu” button

Create your return to menu button using shapes or inserting an image into one of your content slides. Insert the link to your menu slide:

Insert > Link… > Slides in this presentation > Select the slide to link to

Copy your button to the other content slides

Note: ideally, you would add the return to menu button in the slide layout in slide master view. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, when you view the presentation normally, the link is not clickable.

See the video tutorial for a demonstration.

5. (optional) Add a link to the student activity

For example, this could be a link to a quiz created in a Google Form.

See the video tutorial for a demonstration.

6. Distribute your mini-lesson

Test your mini-lesson first to make sure all the links are doing the right thing.

There are different ways you can distribute your mini-lesson. These include:

  • Use the “Share” option to email a link recipients
  • Use the “Publish to the web” options to embed the presentation in, for example, a blog or Google Site

See the video tutorial for a demonstration.

Video tutorial: Creating interactive mini-lessons in Google Slides

 

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Differentiation without tears: Speech-to-text in Google Docs

Differentiation in the classroom can be challenging. In theory, technology shouDifferentiation without tears: speech to text in Google Docsld make it easier but that’s not always the case. I remember in the not-so-distant past struggling with expensive dictation software and an expensive head-set with a reluctant writer without great success. We were expected to spend hours to train the software to understand him and it felt like we were both getting no-where fast! Instead of empowered, he ended up frustrated and the situation ended up an assistive technology fail.

Fast forward five years and, now, all you need is an iPad and Google Docs (part of Google Drive/Google Apps for Education) and you’re set! No voice training required! No expensive headset! (Although I suspect using a microphone would work even better).

This video demonstrates how easy it is to dictate into Google Docs on the iPad using the built in speech recognition. I recorded it with a wicked cold and no headset connected to the iPad. See the results yourself:

 

Educational applications

Using voice command dictation on Android or iOS with Google Apps for Education is great for reluctant, struggling and non-writers, e.g., students who may be diagnosed with a learning disability, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD/ADHD, or those with physical or sensory disabilities that impact writing. Depending on student needs it can be an easily implemented assitive technology solution.

This allows for a strengths based approach to learning, focusing on what they can do (talk!) vs what they might not do as well.

For a list of voice commands for Android and iOS see:

http://www.howtogeek.com/177387/use-voice-dictation-to-save-time-on-android-iphone-and-ipad

For more on how Google Apps for Education can help facilitate differentiation in the classroom, click here to see an earlier post.

By the way, that reluctant writer became an excellent typist and, not only that, found out he was quite a talented story teller.

 

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Mash-up madness using YouTube Creator Studio

Did you know you can create YouTube videos without recording a single thing? YouTube Creator Studio makes is easy to create your own video using other people’s content – and it’s all above board!! YouTube collects content that creators have indicated they are happy to share under a Creative Commons license. Using the Create > Video Editor options, you can then create your own mash-up of this content.

The tool itself is pretty easy to use but, as with most things, practice makes perfect. I’ve created a video tutorial (see below), to step you through the basics. You don’t need special software or plugins installed – it all works online. You’ll also find a handy cheat sheet here.

This is a great way for educators to create content. Better still, it’s a great way for students to create content and exploring the creation of digital texts. Young people are huge consumers of YouTube videos. A 2014 survey showed that YouTube starts were more popular with US teenagers than ‘mainstream’ celebrities. Not only that, being a YouTuber can be a legitimate career option.

Some students may be shy creating their own videos. YouTube Creator Studios means they can test the water without having to get in front of a camera! Perfect for students who may be a little camera shy.

Once created, you can further refine your video using the editing tools including adding annotations and applying enhancements. You can also go back to your project in the video editor and add or change the content.

Here are links to videos I have created using the Creator Studio editor and Creative Commons content:

The Eiffel Tower: facts figures and a bird’s eye view! (This is the video created as part of the tutorial)

Baby kangaroos doing cute things

Before you start….

  • Check age restrictions for using YouTube (these are different across the world by are generally minimum 13 years of age)
  • Check school policies to see if you need parent permission
  • Make sure your organisational firewall does not block YouTube
  • If you are using Google Apps for Education (GAFE), make sure your students can access Google+/YouTube
  • Explicitly teach appropriate online behaviour, including protecting students’ privacy
  • Decide if you want the videos to be public (anyone can find them online) or unlisted (you can share the videos via links)
  • At the time of writing, I don’t think this is available on mobile platforms. It works fine on Windows, Mac, Linux and, yes!, Chromebooks.

Tips and hints

  • You can’t record narration with the editor (annoying!) You do have the option of downloading video, where you can than record narration using your computer, and then re-uploading the video. This is a little cumbersome so I would say it was more advanced. In some ways, the limitations are good because they force you to be creative!
  • It can be easy to waste time endlessly clicking through content to find the perfect video. Set time limits and model effective search and editing techniques to help avoid this.
  • You can assign projects to groups or individuals, depending on available equipment.

Applications for education

  • Create video mini-documentaries instead of reports, essays, presentations, etc.
  • Get creative and create a fictional short-film.
  • Have a mini-movie festival smack down! Decide on a theme and give each team 20 minutes to create a 30 to 60 second movie. Then have fun showing all the finished projects.
  • As well as the obvious literacy and digital skills, this is great for developing skills for working with time.
  • (For Australian vocational contexts) Great for creating digital texts as part of General Certificate in Education for Adults (CGEA) qualifications.

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Collaborating for success with Google Apps

One of the great things about the Google Drive apps is how well the collaboration features have been integrated into the software. You can just share a document, login and go. I haven’t made extensive use of Google Drive’s collaborative features but I have tried them on occasion in both adult and high school education settings and it has been successful (after students get over the initial flip out of seeing someone edit a document at the same time as them!)

The activities that I have encouraged collaboration via Google Drive have been fairly structured which may be one reason why they worked well. This week, I saw this post by April Smith that got me thinking I should be encouraging MORE collaboration, perhaps using LESS STRUCTURED activities. The post suggested collaboration could be more successful if a clear and simple framework was provided to students about what effective collaboration looks like.

Using April’s idea, I created the following poster to briefly outline what collaboration success might look like. (This was created using Google Draw – click on the image and it will take you to the document on Google Drive where you can choose to create a copy for yourself and edit as you like).

I also created the below Google Slides presentation to help flesh out the ideas in the poster and also to capture the specific functionality available in Google Apps to facilitate successful collaboration. Once again, if you would like to copy and adapt the presentation for your own use, I have shared it with you. Just click on the little cog icon near the presentation navigation, select Open Editor and it will take you to Google Slides where you can make a copy of the presentation for yourself.

Applications for education

  • Discuss the framework in the poster and the presentation with students before embarking on a project requiring collaboration using Google Apps.
  • Delete the detailed information in the presentation and brainstorm with students how they can use interpersonal skills and Google Apps for Education tools to collaborate effectively. They might come up with even better ideas!
  • Make sure students know where to find and how the use the GAFE tools for collaboration.
  • Don’t forget the importance of modelling; collaborate WITH students to show them how it’s done!

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Responsive elearning made easy using Google Forms

Google Forms is an incredibly versatile and powerful tool. Google Forms has made it simple (not to mention free!) for anyone to create a simple, online form. These days, surveys created in Google Forms are almost ubiquitous, used by individuals and big companies alike.

Over time, Google Forms have improved and evolved. Now you can add videos and images. You can even set-up a form to go to particular sections based on responses provided. And that’s where the branched elearning scenarios come in to it.

A branched scenario throws up a challenge to the student and gives the student choices. This leads to consequences based on the choices made. These ‘3cs of scenario building’ are outlined in the below illustration and explained in the video at the end. Google Forms lets you build these scenarios by moving users through the form based on their responses rather than in a straight line.

Branched scenario

Is Google Forms the most elegant and sophisticated of the elearning scenario building tools? Well, no, but it’s easy to use and quick to learn and the price for Google Apps for Education users is perfect (free!)

Tips and tricks

  • Mathematical concepts can be hard to express properly in Google Forms (as per my example in the video). In hindsight, I should have created the 3 different options in a drawing and cross referenced them in the question.
  • Plan out out scenario and organise all your media (images, video, text, etc) before putting it to together in Google Forms. It will make the process quicker and more efficient.
  • Make sure you test your form before you unleash it (even get a friend to test it for you). You want to make sure your branching works or you could create confusion.
  • Responses will be saved to a Google Spreadsheet. In a GAFE domain, students can login and you can check using the responses spreadsheet how they went, how long it took, etc.

Applications for education

Branched scenarios are great for checking students’ skills and knowledge. You can provide instant feedback, as well as instant support if there is a skills or knowledge gap.

To find out more and see step-by-step how to set up a branched scenario in Google Forms, watch the video below.

References

http://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/build-branched-e-learning-scenarios-in-three-simple-steps/

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Spinnin’ around with Google Photo Sphere

No more 2-D photos in digital school projects! With Photo Sphere, students can embed three dimensional ‘tours’ of places or even create their own (warning, there are privacy considerations if students create their own – more on this below).

Imagine: exploring underwater at the Great Barrier Reef or the surreal experience of being surrounded by a spectacular expanse of ancient baobab trees in Madagascar. These virtual mini-excursions are available through the Google Views community (part of Google Maps)  and made possible with Photo Sphere.

What is Photo Sphere?

Photo Sphere: 360° panoramic images

Up, down, and all around. Create immersive 360 degree photo spheres, just like you see in Street View.

Photospheres can be created on Android devices with compatible camera apps and on iOS devices (although an iPhone app, you can install it on an iPad but I suspect you would get better results on the iPhone).

Once you create your photosphere you can:

  • publish it to Google Maps and Views (there is an approval process and you will be notified once your sphere is approved)
  • share it with selected circles on Google+ (or share it publicly)
  • share it on Facebook
  • once it’s published to Google Maps, embed it in a website, blog, etc
  • save to Google Drive (I suspect this is an Android option as I can’t find it on iOS)

Below is a sphere I created on a recent excursion to Goonoo Forest in Dubbo, NSW, Australia. This was part of a wider investigation of the native Malleefowl whose numbers are in critical decline locally.

How I would improve for next time

  • Keep the camera closer to me
  • Make sure no people get caught in the shot (can you see the part ghost person)
  • Use my iPhone instead of iPad

Applications for education

If privacy is an issue:

  • For older students, where Google+ is enabled in Google Apps for Education, have the students share their own photosphere to limited circles with explanation, narrative, etc
  • Teacher publishes student created photosphere to Google Maps and Views
  • (Once published) As a class, create a title and description for the photosphere in Google Views
  • (Once published) Students embed photosphere in their own project (e.g., Google Sites or Blogger) with limited access within a Google Apps for Education domain (e.g., class only) and adds their own commentary, narrative, etc

If privacy is not an issue*:

  • Have students create and publish their own photospheres and, once published, create their own title and description in Google Views
  • Share on Google+ (either within a GAFE domain or across wider circles)
  • Embed in blog or website.

Here is post from Justin K. Reeves with another idea on how to use Photo Sphere in the classroom:

http://blog.wsd.net/jreeve/google-cardboard-and-photospheres/

* Of course, students should have a good understanding of digital citizenship and follow principles on how to stay safe online. E.g., maybe have a discussion about why you would not create and publish a photospehere of your own bedroom.

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Differentiation using Google Classroom

When I first heard about Google Classroom last year I was excited. Was this going to be a free LMS that integrated with the already excellent Google Apps for Education (GAfE) suite? Would it be bigger and better that Moodle or Edmodo? How would it integrate with Google Drive and Google Sites?

When Google Classroom finally hit the cloud, I admit that I felt it was a bit of an anti-climax. It was so simple with limited functionality. It didn’t take me long to realise the simplicity was actually a huge advantage, and I got excited all over again. It was so easy to create a class and enrol students, set an assessment, create a template to share with students automatically, provide links to resources, keep track of student progress and accept submissions. Better yet, since it’s initial introduction, it is now available as an app for Android and iOS as well as being browser based.

I still think of myself as something of a beginner when it comes to Google Classroom. I’m looking forward to further experimenting with its application in both high school and adult learning educational environments. I do believe that it is potentially a tremendous tool to support differentiation, particularity in mixed ability environments. Here is an infographic I have put together based on my experiences, outlining some ideas on how Google Classroom might be utilised to support differentiation.

DiffAndGoogleClassroom

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