Google Drive freebie: scientific method digital workbook

It seems everybody loves a freebie! The Google Slides free writing jFREE Google Drive scientific method digital workbook for STEMournal with picture prompts from a few weeks back has been a big hit. Hopefully it’s being used, shared and modified in classrooms around the world.

For this freebie, I thought I’d move beyond language arts and in to STEM (science technology engineering maths). Once again using Google Slides, I have created an interactive, digital workbook based on the scientific method. I like the flexibility of layout in Google Slides which is why it’s probably my most used app.

STEM activities lend themselves to multimedia, as do Google Slides. The workbook has been set up to encourage the inclusion of multimedia. This can either be audio, video and images found online or those created by students as they research and complete their experiment.

The digital workbook can be used as a digitised version of a traditional workbook or can be used as the springboard for a hyperdoc. A hyperdoc is a:

…carefully crafted digital lesson plan…[that is a] visually engaging and packaged learning experience…[for students to] create, collaborate, think critically and connect.

http://hyperdocs.co/about_hyperdocs

I highly recommend the above website for more ideas on utilising hyperdocs in the Google Classroom and for lots more great freebies!

What’s included in the FREE digital workbook

  • Created in Google Slides so you can create your own copy to modify and share
  • An interactive menu to navigate the workbook
  • A slide for each of the following areas:
    • Problem
    • Background research
    • Hypothesis
    • Health and safety
    • Experiment
    • Results
    • Conclusion
  • Instructions on what to include in each section
  • Links to more detailed explanations in the speaker’s notes
  • Placeholders for multimedia and links

The screenshot below illustrates the typical structure of each slide:

FREE Scientific method digital workbook screenshot

Scientific method digital workbook screenshot

Accessing the FREE digital workbook

The link below to the template is VIEW ONLY. This means you will need to create a copy IN YOUR OWN GOOGLE DRIVE to be able to edit the file and share the file with your students. To do this use the following menu path:

File > Make a copy…

FREE Google Slides scientific method digital workbook:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Z8g3bqRH7hSZ4h8BTHPvfX8Fcj2_4ILEQyHSIPZlEO4/edit?usp=sharing

Ideas for using the workbook in the classroom

  • Can be used with any STEM activity.
  • Best suited to middle to high school students but can be adapted to all ability and age levels  – for example, for student requiring more support, create and add your own mini-YouTube video explanation.
  • Can be used individually or as part of collaborative projects.
  • Can be used across platforms including Chromebooks, iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. (Not all features available on all platforms).
  • Use with Google Slides tablet and smartphone apps so students can capture video and photos of their own work into the digital workbook.
  • Take photos of experiment setups using Google Slides  on tablet or smartphone and label using the desktop version (including on Chromebooks).
  • Encourage students to personalise the workbooks to match their own style.
  • Record results data in Google Sheets and insert charts into the Results page.
  • Use the Doctopus add-in to create a copy of the workbook for each student.
  • Provide teacher or peer feedback using comments.
  • Distribute the workbook to students via Google Classroom.
  • Can support science fair projects.
  • Can be used as evidence of learning as part of project based learning (PBL).
  • Embed finished workbooks in your school website to share with parents, carers and the community.

References

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_scientific_method.shtml

https://18670-presscdn-pagely.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/scientific-method-graphic-organizer.pdf?sfvrsn=0

http://barnett.nebo.edu/sites/barnett.nebo.edu/files/Scientific%20Method%20Graphic%20Organizer.pdf

 

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FREE Google Drive templates: writing journals

One of the most popular posts on this blog in one which shared a number of free Google Drive templates. Clearly, many educators around the world are lookiFREE Google Drive writing journal templateng for easy-to-use and flexible resources to use in the Google classroom. So I thought to myself – why not offer more free templates!?!

I did a search on Teachers Pay Teachers to see what the best sellers were. Many were around reading and writing. Whilst I wouldn’t claim that the freebie I created is of the same rigour or quality as those best sellers, I thought a writing journal with picture prompts would be a handy resource for many educators using Google Drive.

There is both a blank template and a template with picture prompts. These have been created using Google Slides because of the flexibility of the layout options.

The links below to the templates are VIEW ONLY. This means you will need to create a copy IN YOUR OWN GOOGLE DRIVE to be able to edit the file and share the file with your students. To do this use the following menu path:

File > Make a copy…

FREE Google Slides writing journal template with picture prompts:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nPbXAvzE0FM5NS_YWV1P5oM_2a_ettoYG3bNpajlz_E

FREE Google Slides writing journal template with blank layouts:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Hivyjx7bRqPnFyOnUsGLEHakzVkc-63pNimr9tSSUiE

These templates are in US Letter size as the overwhelming majority of users of my other templates are based in the USA. This does not mean they cannot be printed on A4 paper as most printers do a good job of scaling between US Letter and A4. It is based on the ebook template I created a while ago – click here to find out more about using Google Slides to create ebooks and to get the template.

How to use the writing journal in your classroom

You can be as structured as you like when using the writing journal. However, depending on your students, it may be helpful to just allow students to write without too many restrictions and conditions. Sometimes, too many rules can discourage students.

  • Use the Doctopus add-in to create a copy of the picture prompt writing journal for each student and have regular free writing sessions.
  • Distribute the template to students via Google Classroom.
  • Use the prompts to encourage students to explore a specific literary element that is being taught in class. For example, genre, adjectives, hyperbole, etc.
  • Provide teacher or peer feedback using comments.
  • A great way to document development in writing skills.
  • Encourage student ownership by having each student contribute a prompt in the blank template and then share with the class as their writing journal.
  • Customise and include other writing prompts, for example, YouTube videos, links to news items, etc.
  • Select each students’ best work, combine into one ebook and distribute as a PDF.
  • Can be used across platforms including Chromebooks, iOS and Android tablets and smartphones.
  • Can be adapted to be used in any language classrooms to develop written language schools.

 

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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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Google Drive freebies: fun, flexible templates

One thing I love as much as Google Apps for Education is freebies. And when those freebies are coGoogle Drive freebies - fun, flexible templates for the classroommbined with Google Apps – oh, happy days! I like freebies so much I’ve dedicated much of one of my Pinterest boards, The Thrifty Teacher, to free educational resources that are engaging and easy to use.

So I decided to create and share three flexible, fun and easy to use templates. I’ve used these type of templates in the past so I have put them together to offer both electronic and printable options. I always find this kind of flexibility helpful as it means I have options depending on my students and the environment we’ll be in. And sharing the files with you means you can adapt them to suit the needs of you and your class.

These templates were designed to be used with the full version of Google Slides. However, I have tried them with the latest version of the Google Slides app on the iPad and they seemed to work well.  I would expect the same would be the case with the Android apps. The mobile versions have the advantage of easily taking photos to add into the templates.

To use the templates, click on the links provided. This will open the document. From here, you will need to save the file to your Drive from the “File” menu so you can use it as want.

Fakebook status template

Inspired by Facebook, this authentic looking template allows students to create a “status” update and add an image.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1s9wa_d9VuSc_YblguKjBCfESHEx9ER7MzCBA1PJrdHM/edit?usp=sharing

Newspaper template

Create your own headlines with this newspaper template.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dczUwblNGRHH3fuJfvHRrsgpCF1l0qflJoJHY6YH0ps

Text message template

This template allows for a short “text” exchange between, well, anyone you like! You can shrink or enlarge it based on your student needs and how you will be using it. Duplicate the slide to have an extended text exchange.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1X41FQhUKg0ggvlEwNHynuqmZM2YeQn3pO51RxN9UrDc

Side note: aaagghhh, Google Template Gallery!!

I tried to upload the templates to the Template Gallery. This has always been a hit-and-miss endeavour. This time it proved to be a…. miss! Hours after attempting to submit the templates to the Gallery, I am still being advised that my templates will be visible in the template gallery “in a moment”. Maybe they mean a Saturn moment 😉

So the links I have shared are directly from my Google Drive.

Applications for education

  • Suitable for most age groups and skill levels.
  • Can be used with many curriculum areas including History, Literature Studies, Creative Writing and Languages.
  • Customise the templates to suit your needs and the needs of your students.
  • For electronic versions of the documents, distribute using Classroom, Gmail or Google Drive.

More free Google Drive templates for educational use

http://googleappsaction.com/?p=174

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6 tips for creating student made ebooks in Google Apps

I have long been a fan of the ebook and have often created and distributed them to support my training and teachingLearning how to self-publish ebooks in Google Slides - googleappsaction.com activities. I have also at different times published and sold ebooks (look me up on the iBooks store!). Google Apps for Education makes it easy for both students and teachers to create attractive ebooks that can be shared in a number of formats.

Here are 6 tips to help you (or your class) create your first ebook using Google Apps for Education. These techniques are just as useful to anyone looking to self-publish an ebook, including general users of the free Google Drive and Google Apps for Work users.

1. Why create ebooks, anyway?

Ebooks can fulfil a number of purposes including:

  1. Creating an eportfolio of a student’s work (or a number of students’ work).
  2. Using students to ‘crowd source’ the creation of resources and text books, created for the target audience by the target audience.
  3. Can be used by students of all ability levels.
  4. Developing relevant 21st century skills.
  5. Easily show evidence of learning to a wide audience (including parents) in an environmentally friendly way.
  6. Create your own text books and resources that you can easily update and distribute.

2. What app should I use?

The app that will provide you with maximum flexibility in terms of presentation and layout is Google Slides, particularly if you are combining text and images.

This is not the perfect book publishing solution but allows for a lot of flexibility and creativity without a steep learning curve.

3. What size should my ebook be?

There is no ‘standard’ ebook size. It’s probably a good idea, though, to set-up the pages in portrait orientation and in you standard printer size, i.e., A4 or Letter depending on what part of the world you are in.

Paper sizeDimensions (cm)Dimensions (inches)
A421 x 29.78.3 x 11.7
Letter21.59 x 27.948.5 x 11

Here is a short tutorial showing you how to change the page size in Google Slides.

4. How can I make sure my ebook looks good?

Do your homework. Investigate websites, books, ebooks, posters, etc, that you like the look of and use them as inspiration for your style, fonts and layouts.

There are also lots of online tools to help you select colour schemes that look good together and even give you the hexadecimal colour code to be able to put in your colour choosers in Google Slides.

Whilst you can have multiple page layouts within your ebook (for example, 1 large picture, 1 large column text, 2 smaller pictures with 2 even columns of text, 1 smaller picture with 2 uneven columns of text, etc) use the same basic elements throughout:

  • 1 font style for page headings
  • 1 font style for subheadings
  • 1 font style for your body text
  • 3 to 5 colours for your colour scheme
  • Make sure your inside covers are blank and you have the ‘half page title‘ to make your book look authentic.

Below is a video on how to easily create page layouts for your ebook in Google Slides (note: all images used are either my own photos or public domain imaged from Pixabay):

5. What platform should I use to create my ebook?

Although you can create your ebook on mobile versions of Google Slides (e.g., iPads or Android tablets) you will get the most flexibility and creativity using the full version through Google Chrome (e.g., Windows, Linux, Mac and Chromebook).

That doesn’t mean you can’t ‘mix and match’ devices. For example, do most of your editing using a Windows computer but use the iPad version to take photos and add them straight into the pages of your ebook.

Click here to access a free ebook template I created in Google Slides. To use it, from the FILE menu select MAKE A COPY...

6. In what format should I distribute my ebook?

The great thing is, you don’t have to stick to just one format!

  • Share the actual Google Slides file (view only)
  • Embed the Google Slides file into a website or blog (File > Publish to the web… > Embed)
  • Save the file as a PDF to easily view on most devices and platforms (File > Download as > PDF document)

PDF results in the most attractive ebook (I don’t know why, try it for yourself and see!) and, depending on the size, can be emailed or made available to download from a website or blog.

More resources

Student-Made E-Books: A Beautiful Way to Demonstrate Learning:

http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/student-e-books/

How to Create an Ebook with Google Slides:

http://www.shakeuplearning.com/blog/how-to-create-an-ebook-with-google-slides/

Free, high quality public domain images:

https://pixabay.com/

 

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Google My Maps rules!

Recently, I had the privilege of presenting a school project at the AIS NSW STEM Symposium with two Google My Maps, more than just geography!of my wonderful Year 10 students at the University of NSW in Sydney. Our project is called ‘Journeys through Wombool’. This project is an interactive map of our local river incorporating cultural, historical, geographical and ecological perspectives. It links to Australian and NSW Stage 5 curriculum outcomes in Science, Geography and History.

Originally I was planning to use augmented reality to place virtual Easter eggs in different locations. Unfortunately, the technology seemed buggy and difficult to access and the conventions of geo-caching and geo-tagging did not seem to support what I was hoping we could do.

Luckily, Google introduced My Maps to the Drive apps. Problem solved! As a Google Apps for Education school, My Maps was easy to access and for students and staff to collaborate on a single project. My Maps allowed us to incorporate information and multimedia and attach it to a geographical location. We could do this by roughly finding a location on the map or by using exact coordinates when we had them. The technology was simple to use, freeing us to concentrate on the content and exploration.

The presentation below gives an overview of the project:

I hope that our students can continue to add to the map over coming years as we explore more of the Macquarie River. One delegate at the Symposium suggested we create an ‘open’ version for the whole community. An idea worth exploring…

Below is our project. Click on a point on the map for information and media. One of my favourite elements is the Tracker Riley Bike Track: Soundscape.

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Google Drive templates – because sharing is caring

Another great feature of Google Drive is the template gallery. In a Google Apps for Google Drive templatesEducation (#gafe) or Google Apps for Business environment, you can choose to share any of your Drive creations (from the core apps) as templates within your own domain only or share them with the whole world.

That also means you have free templates available for use from around the world! Some are great and some are…well, it’s nice for people to share, anyway! Here I’m sharing some of my own templates and some templates that I have found useful. Download them, modify them, use them, enjoy them!

Social media image templates

These are templates I created to the correct image sizes (at the time of creation) to fit the respective social media platform requirements. Use for your own purposes or with students as class assignments to create ‘fake’ social media images (can be used with any subject).

Twitter image template: http://bit.ly/1I2acdX

Pinterest image template: http://bit.ly/1VheQik

Google Collections cover photo: http://bit.ly/1MBuPSn

Infographic template: http://bit.ly/1MdWSJC

Written project templates

These can be used across grade levels and subjects. I find a great way to distribute them to students in a GAFE environment is to save the template on my Drive and then use Google Classroom to distribute.

Basic interactive poster: http://bit.ly/1IbOskc

Picture book template: http://bit.ly/storybook123

Fake book (in the style of Facebook): http://bit.ly/1SvibpP (not one of mine but one both my students and I have enjoyed using)

Timeline: http://bit.ly/1RH3d4X (not one of mine, nice and simple and easy to use)

Presentation templates

Can be used for any type of presentation.

Index card, retro look: http://bit.ly/1Lksb68 (this one is created by Google)

Bold, minimalist designed for few words: http://bit.ly/1IbPAnR

Ancient stone: http://bit.ly/1CJENkC

Design templates

Design-a-cap template: http://bit.ly/1JueICZ (preview will only show part of the template)

Design-a-t-shirt template: http://bit.ly/1GyzDCG (preview will only show part of the template)

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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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Create a comic in 3 minutes or less with Google Slides (with bonus puppies!)

Who needs paid-for comic making apps or subscription services to online comic creators? With any smart device, installed with the Google Comics with bonus puppiesSlides app, you can now quickly and easily create your own comics on the go! You will need the latest version of the Google Slides mobile app, which now allows you to add your own pictures and photos.

Still not convinced? Have a look at the short video below where I demonstrate exactly how to do it on an iPad Mini in less than 3 minutes (it will work similarly on an iPhone or Android tablet or phone). Thanks to Mike Petty who gave me the idea during a presentation he made during a Google Education on Air session.

The tutorial co-stars my puppy, Spike, who patiently slept the whole afternoon while I made the video.

Applications for education

  • Create a single cell or a whole comic book
  • Great for BYOD/BYOT environments because the app is free in both iOS and Android
  • Can also work with Chromebooks (portable devices make taking pictures easier)
  • Great for creativity and literacy
  • Can also be applied to other subjects, e.g., for history, provide a series of pictures around a historic event in a Google Slides document and have the students create a comic
  • Use instead of posters, narratives, etc.
  • Encourage collaborations in pairs, small groups or even the whole class
  • For greater scaffolding, provide the pictures and had students add the captions

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Picture books made easy with Google Slides

Who doesn’t love a picture book?

Growing up, the range of story books my generation had available to us was limited compared to today. Amongst my favourites as a child were Where the Wild Things Are and The Rainbow Serpent. Oh, and of course, there were the amazing Dr Seuss books.

One of my favourites from my son’s younger years is Stanley Paste. I love the illustrations and the story always makes me cry!

Of course, the range these days is immense and so diverse. I love this list of the best picture books of 2013. Some of them look amazing.

And, these days, we have so many options to create our own story books. And not only that, we can even publish them, digitally or on paper. Picture books are a great way to encourage students of all ages to express themselves and to collaborate. Personalised story books are potentially a great way to encourage reluctant writers and readers.

As a GAfE user, I decided to create a picture book template using Google Slides and made it available on the Google Drive template gallery. The dimensions are industry standard 8×11 size. The template comes with instructions but…. stories don’t need to come with rules!

Research story book design, experiment with fonts, colours, backgrounds. Try clip art, photos, drawings (both digital and hand drawn). Just jump in and create!

Below is a preview of the template. To find it, click on the link below:

https://drive.google.com/templates?q=picture+book&type=presentations&sort=hottest&view=public

Like the template? I’d love to hear how you put it into action. Use the comments below or contact me using the link to the right.

Story Book Template Preview; click to find on Google Drive template page.

A preview of the picture book template created using Google Slides.

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