QR code fun with Google Chrome

What are QR codes & why should you care?

QR code is short for ‘quick response’ code. It is a type of bar code that can be scanned by a smartphone or Scanning QR codes using Google Chrome on iOStablet that has the required app installed needed to interpret the QR code. QR codes are being used for:

  • manufacturing
  • tracking items
  • promotions and advertising
  • product labelling

QR codes in education have been on the fringes of ’emerging’ technology for a while. There are some educators who swear by them and use them in interesting ways to create engaging and effective learning experiences. Now, Google have added a feature to the Chrome app on iOS allowing users to scan QR codes without needing an extra app! This is great for users of G Suite for Education and educators operating in a locked down tech environment that does not allow you to add apps to iPads or iPods.

The great news is QR code technology and ideas are not hard to understand and there are plenty of resources and ideas to have you up and running today. All you need is an iPad, iPod or iPhone and an updated version of Chrome (plus a teeny pit of prep/printing).

Note: other operating systems can also scan QR codes but you will need a separate app that will scan the code.

Using QR codes in the classroom

The good news is many educators have shared their ideas and resources on using QR codes in the classroom so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Below is a Pinterest board of resources to get you started.

One of my favourite QR code activities is the scavenger hunt. It can be used across many subject areas and gets students up and moving.

Scanning QR codes using Google Chrome (iOS)

If you have an up-to-date version of the Chrome app on your iOS device (iPad, iPod or iPhone) you have everything you need to start scanning QR codes – no separate apps needed.

There are 2 ways of accessing the QR code scanning feature in Chrome:

  • 3D touch of the Chrome icon (newer devices)
  • Using spotlight search and searching for ‘QR’

The short video below takes you through step-by-step on using both of these methods.

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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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Digital student workbooks with Google Slides

There are lots of different ways to use Google Create digital student workbooks with Google SlidesDrive apps in the classroom. Google Slides offers many possibilities. One way of using Google Slides in the classroom is developing digital student workbooks that include different types of activities. You can take a static, paper based, black and white worksheet or workbook and make it interactive and colourful, incorporating different ways of engaging with information and demonstrating understanding.

Items you can include in your digital workbook include:

  • words and images (I know, obvious)
  • multimedia including YouTube videos
  • links to other resources
  • short answer activities
  • drag and drop activities
  • extended response activities
  • links to a quiz in Google Forms
  • links to a Google Classroom
  • collaborative activities
  • student portfolio

The ability to create drag and drop activities is particularly appealing. Below is a short video tutorial showing you how to create drag and drop activities in your workbook that prevent student from accidentally moving the wrong elements on the page. This is done by using the “Slide > Background image” feature of Google Slides.

Advantages of digital workbooks with Google Slides

  • Free!
  • Reduce paper.
  • Easy to distribute via your preferred method. For example, email, Google Drive sharing, Google Classroom.
  • Does not require G Suite for Education (just Google Drive).
  • Can differentiate by developing different versions for students aiming to achieve at different levels.
  • Ability to incorporate different learning activities.

Free sample digital workbook

Below is a link to the sample workbook shown in the video. Feel free to make a copy for yourself and use it as you like:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1z9sfkNXCYxebr1Fe8U1A7dtuGIDzuD7RATBXnixgXuw

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Student-centred learning environments with G Suite for Education

Like many educators around the globe, last weIdeal student learning environmentekend I had the opportunity to participate in Google’s virtual “Education on Air: It takes a teacher” conference. There were options to “attend” the event in Australia and New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the Americas. I chose the Australian event (being Australian) and it was refreshing the hear presenters speaking my “language” educationally.

However, whilst the contexts were Australian, the key messages were universal.

3 key take-aways from Education on Air

  • technology is not a cure for ineffective educational systems and poor pedagogy
  • the importance of student voice
  • balancing consistency with flexibility and meeting learner needs

Essentially it is about moving towards the ideal, learner-centred environment that combines student ownership, personalised learning, mastery based learning and positive relationships between peers and educators. The focus of the sessions was how G Suite for Education was being used by educators to help achieve this.

Below I have outlined ideas from 3 of the sessions I found most useful, along with the videos of the sessions.

Meeting the needs of 21st Century learners – Google Classrooms, Learner Agency and Universal Design for Learning

“Rather than finding a digital educational cure, [Dr. Kentaro Toyama] came to understand…technology’s ‘Law of Amplification’: technology could help education where it’s already doing well, but it does little for mediocre educational systems.”

Dr Kentaro Toyama in Time Magazine.

This session was presented by Claire Amos, Deputy Principal,  Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

This school is unique as it is a “greenfield”, planned school. Twelve months was spent on research, the designed space and pedagogy, including technology.

The mandate was rethinking what secondary education is and expecting teachers in particular to let go of their preconceptions. The key tool for their blended learning solution is G Suite for Education and, in particular, Google Classroom.

The schools approach to curriculum has 3 components:

  1. Learning hubs – “home room on steroids”. Idea of “learning coach”, the students’ “important adult” at school.
  2. Learning projects – two thirds of every Wednesday focused on long term projects. Tend to be community based – “we not me”.
  3. Learning modules – both stand alone and integrated subjects. Working with colleagues across curriculum areas.

Hobsonville Point Secondary School have kindly made available their E-Learning Best Practice Guide which is available here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SRFj3JYLUabd2pjHNSRVVRQMyAycQJCJTTZnp9o0WlI/edit

While many of us do not have the luxury of a 1-on-1 or a purpose designed school, the ideas can be implemented in most learning environments that have access to some technology.

Claire identified that, for their students, the key is a balance between consistency in delivery (students know what to expect and how to access what they need) and student voice and student choice (multiple modes of engagement and expression). Google Classroom is the tool which helps meet these needs.

Below is a video of the session.

 Xavier High School – From DER to Freedom

This session was presented by Ben ThomasTwitterg, Learning and Digital Pedagogy Coordinator, Xavier High School Albury.

(“DER” stands for “Digital Education Revolution”, a now defunct government program in Australia.)

This school’s approach was to leverage available funding and create a medium term plan to benefit the school and students with specific, measurable goals.

The school transitioned from Win PCs provided under a government funded program to Chromebooks after an extensive trial. The affordability of Chromebooks vs PCs meant they could go to a 1-to-1 environment and could update the hardware every 2 years. This means they could maximise access to G Suite tools. Because not all students have access to Internet at home, it is important that the G Suite tools were available offline on the Chromebooks.

The school’s goal was to improve literacy and numeracy using technology tools, in particular Chromebooks and G Suite for Education. Data supports that this has happened although time did not permit an explanation of exactly what technology helped achieve this.

G Suite is also used for organisation at the school, e.g., substitution lessons and teacher absences.

Below is a video of the session.

Using Google in the Student Engagement context

This session was presented by Ian Thomson, Director of IT and Timothy French, Director of Student Engagement at Amaroo School.

The school is a public school in ACT (Canberra). The school offers Years 6-10, and has 1000 students. The specific case study presented looked at the use of G Suite as part of a student welfare solution. The school has a diverse student base and needs.

The school has a  “student tech team”. This team development a Google Site as a student engagement site. The aim of the site was to provide an opportunity for students to empower themselves and access what they need for their wellbeing and education. Students designed, proto-typed, tested and refined the site. An important note is that students built it but they cannot access the data.

The advantage of using G Suite to help manage student welfare – engagement, pastoral care and behaviour is it is something students already use and are familiar with. The school is using G Suite to:

– to communicate opportunities to all students.
– reach more students.
– empower students.
– allow communication from parents.
– staff resources to help with student welfare.
– access welfare services.
– triage tool, predominately for mental health.

Some students may be more likely to engage with services through technology in the first instance.

The idea can easily be implemented in any school and personalised to fit the needs it’s students.

Below is the video to the full session.

 

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Flip your classroom using G Suite for Education

One popular current trend in education is the concFlipped classrooms with G Suite for Educationept of the flipped classroom. The flipped classroom can be defined as:

… a pedagogical model in which the typical
lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.

https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf

Below is an infographic with some tips on ‘how to flip a classroom’ along with potential benefits to flipping your classroom. Of course, G Suite for Education provides excellent technological tools to assist in blended learning and flipped classrooms. Some ideas:

  • Share content including video through Google Slides, Google Collections, Google Sites and Google Classroom
  • Evaluate learning using quizzes in Google Forms
  • Create learning communities using Google+ and Google Hangouts.

One of the advantages of using G Suite for Education to flip your classroom is its cross platform compatibility – whether iOS, Apple, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome OS (and possibly dome others I may have missed!)

However, it is important to be conscious of the ‘digital divide’ – some students may not have access to the Internet at home which means they cannot prepare for class under a flipped model. An alternative is ‘flipping’ within the classroom. For examples, stations where students alternate between watching a video and taking a quizz online, a group discussion with their teacher,  applying new skills and knowledge and working on a longer-term project.

However you blend, the G Suite for Education toolkit is a terrific asset.

Here are some other posts that can help with blended learning ideas:

4 Google Apps tools to blend your classroom today: http://googleappsaction.com/?p=286

Creating mini-lessons using Google Slides in 6 easy steps: http://googleappsaction.com/?p=292

FlipClass_2b
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

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Create blank PDFs in Google Classroom

Another month and another handy fLearn how to create blank PDFs in Google Classroom for iOS and Androideature update in Google Classroom. This feature was first released for Android and is now also available for iOS. Students can create blank PDFs and submit them as part of an assignment in Google Classroom. Students can annotate their blank PDFs freehand using pen, marker and highlighter tools as well as a text tool. (At the time of writing, this feature was not available for the web/Chrome OS versions of Google Classroom).

There are many useful applications for these blank PDFs in Google Classroom. Students can now draw, draft or design directly within Google Classroom. The zoom in and out feature can make it easier for students with poor handwriting to write information (particularly useful for mathematics). Students can use either their fingers or a stylus.

The short video below show how the tool can be used from a student’s perspective.

 

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Google Classroom basics: cheat sheet for teachers

OnFREE Google Classroom basics: cheat sheet for teacherse of the most powerful features of G Suite for Education (formerly Google Apps for Education) is the Google Classroom app. Google Classroom is ONLY available with G Suite for Education. Google Classroom is also free and integrates beautifully with other Google apps such as Google Drive and Google Calendar. The mobile apps are also excellent and have the additional advantage of allowing annotation of documents.

There are previous posts specifically on the benefits and features of Google Classroom. You can access those here:

http://googleappsaction.com/?cat=38

Below is a link to a 4-page ‘cheat sheet’ created to get teachers up and running with Google Classroom quickly and without hassle. It is in Google Doc format so you will be able to create a copy for yourself and you can edit the copy if you wish. The cheat sheet can be accessed electronically or printed if preferred.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OG8Vf0M7hTcfHvQgZInbeFblIz6PGW5unp4e_nahUgU/edit?usp=sharing

To create a copy of the cheat sheet:

In order to edit the cheat sheet, you will need to make a copy to your own Google Drive.

  • Click on the link provide. It will be ‘View only’.
  • From the ‘File’ menu select ‘Make a copy…’
  • Follow the prompts to name and save your file

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