Visualizing Our Understanding: Graphic Organizers

“The use of graphic organizers,” says the El Campo ISD’s Intervention Warehouse website, “is a powerful tool that is easy to integrate into daily instruction.” The ECISD site then goes on to share access to several sources for graphic organizers for visualizing learning.
Graphic organizers are teaching and learning tools; when they’re integrated into classroom experiences, students are better able to understand new material. Creating a strong visual picture, graphic organizers support students by enabling them to literally see connections and relationships between facts, information, and terms.
Source: Teaching Graphic Organizers
As a writer, I often skipped “outlining” and note-taking as ways to organize my writing and notes. Instead, I created graphic organizers to capture ideas and map out my writing. When taking notes, I captured powerful research concepts using a graphic organizer rather than laboriously writing out page after page of notes This approach helped me build a gestalt of the ideas presented.
yED Graph Editor

The Problem with Graphic Organizers

Imagine that when someone says to you, “Could you read this technical text and summarize it?” you could ask yourself, “Well, which graphic organizer should I select?” Then, after some deliberation, you would pick the appropriate graphic organizer and use that one. You wouldn’t be limited to the default spider web graphic organizer with a main concept in the middle.
Instead, you would just use the right one for each task. Unfortunately, that has always been my problem with graphic organizers. Although I know there are different types (e.g. Problem-Solution, Fishbone, Time Order, etc.) for various functions, I never knew which one to rely on when I was growing up. To this day, I still rely on the easiest graphic organizer, the spider web with main topic in the middle and ideas radiating out from the center. Drawing graphic organizers by hand, though, can be cumbersome since mistakes are tough to correct.

Solutions for Visualizing Our Learning

“To know” goes the old constructivist saying, “is to know how to make.” When teachers pre-print graphic organizers for their students, they inadvertently do several negative things. Those things include:
  • Modeling the use of a graphic organizer appropriate to a text and thus
  • Removing the responsibility and ownership of selecting the correct graphic organizer appropriate to a text from the learner
Obviously, if students have less of a say in exactly what graphic organizer to use and when, their long-term use of this tool may suffer. This is because graphic organizers are visual representations of what we store in our brains. This can lead to challenges in comprehension. That’s pretty profound, isn’t it? That’s why it is so important to get students to create their own graphic organizers.
Let’s explore three tools you can use to create graphic organizers via digital devices.

Hand-Drawn Graphic Organizers with OneNote

If you’re not familiar with OneNote, it is a phenomenal mobile app that makes digital ink a reality for those with touch-screen computers or Surface Pro/Android/iPad tablets. With digital ink (that is the ability to draw on the tablet screen with a stylus or fingertip), students are able to finally create graphic organizers that are representative of their own visualizations.

Computer/Browser-Based Tools

If you have access to a Windows, Mac, or Chromebook, then tools abound for creating graphic organizers. Here are my top two favorite no-cost (free!) tools, but there are many more available, also known as “mind-mapping tools.”
  • Looking for an easy to use, browser-based diagramming or graphic organizer creator? Look no further than! It works in your browser, but allows you to save to whatever cloud storage system you prefer, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive.
  • yED Graph Editor: yEd can be installed on your computer (Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux) and works fantastically well. You can create graphic organizers using its simple layout. It also scales up to meet the needs of grade 9-12 and adult learners.


I still remember my first copy of Inspiration graphic organizer software. I was amazed at what I could create to represent my understanding of a process, a concept, or a text. Learning how to use graphic organizers, short of learning to read/write and use technology, remains one of the best lessons my high school teacher taught me. How are you teaching your students to use graphic organizers?

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

The Power of Yet! for Hackers and Phishers #yetpower

“Why did he click on that email attachment?” asked one technology director I spoke with recently. The click led to a ransomware attack that expanded to the business department’s server, resulting in frantic data-saving actions.  For many technology directors, the problem is not the phishing or the ransomware. The real problem is their lack of influence to bring about change in the organization. Consider this problem in light of a common occurrence in education today.

Note: This blog entry originally published by TCEA TechNotes blog. Read other awesome blog entries by the TCEA team online at

Knowing vs Doing

What is Known:
  • Hackers, phishers, and scammers want our personally-identifiable information. They can sell it for $10 or more on the darknet, where illegal transactions happen (think “Silk Road“).
  • Bad people send out emails to educators. These emails appear legitimate. They invite district staff to surrender their username and password and then send decrypted sensitive data and/or ransomware that use staff’s machines as a beachhead to infect the rest of the network.
  • Staff know NOT to fall for these traps, but do so anyways.
What is Done:
In spite of knowing these things, staff continue to click on phishing links where they happily share their username and password via an insecure website, send copies of confidential documents to complete strangers, or click on ransomware that encrypts their computer, then spreads to everyone else’s. These actions by a few individual wreak havoc on the whole network, and small districts especially are overwhelmed.

The Traditional Response

The traditional response involves disciplining staff, even terminating them in severe data breaches. They should have known better, right? Oh, but wait, your district does not have a safeguarding sensitive data policy in place (many districts do not, which is why I offer this one as a start). It involves buying and issuing hardware (e.g. Chromebooks, iPads, Macbooks) that malware (e.g. ransomware) can’t work its dark magic on (YET…you just know hackers subscribe to growth mindset, right?).
It means locking down Windows computers with Active Directory policies, Deep Freeze so that technicians don’t have to spend a lot of time fixing user errors. This has been standard practice for years. Here’s a roundup of advice that should help districts who want to keep closing the gate after the livestock has made its getaway. That is, mopping up the mess after someone has been hacked, phished, taken.

TCEA’s Roundup of Ideas for Safeguarding Sensitive Data

But what if there was another approach, employing motivation, influence, and authority?

A Fresh Approach: Influence

In their book, Influencers, the authors suggest identifying vital action(s) that can be taken. These vital actions consist of the desired behavior(s) that must change. Rather than try to change twelve or more behaviors staff exhibit, focus on one or two that will have the greatest results. For example, try encourage adoption of this behavior:
Assume emails with attachments are suspect, so verify the source of the email. This can be as easy as sending a new email to the person who contacted you and asking, “Did you send me a file attachment that says, “burnbabyburn.exe?” Wait, you can even get more done. Walk over to the person who sent you the email attachment and ask them “Did you send me a file I didn’t ask for?” Or just call them or text them on your mobile phone. This ONE behavior change would stop 99% of the issues technology departments complain about (e.g. ransomware, viruses, malware as attachments, AND sending sensitive data to complete strangers).

Changing behavior

When seeking to change behavior, the authors of Influencers recommend recognizing that there are six sources of influence. Often, we take into account only the first two when trying to bring about change:

Source 1 – Personal Motivation

Make the undesirable, desirable.
Example – Do you really care if your computers gets infected with malware and you lose data? It’s not that big a deal, after all. A technician will come fix it eventually and most of your work is done on paper anyways. Instead, you must passionately care about protecting your data and that of your students. If someone tried to take one of your students hostage, you wouldn’t be so passive.

Source 2 – Personal Ability

Surpass your limits.
Example – Do you have the skills and knowledge to know when you’ve encountered an email that is intended to do you and yours harm? You probably have an idea that you shouldn’t click on bad emails. Learn what you need to be better on guard.

Source 3 – Social Motivation

Harness peer pressure.
Example – Do others on your team or your department really care about email and email attachments? Maybe they go through their spam folder looking for problematic emails because they need a break? What if everyone on your team was motivated to help each other NOT open spam emails with attachments or to practice the desired behavior?

Source 4 – Social Ability

Find strength in numbers.
Example – Who could you speak to in the district who could help you obtain the knowledge or resources you need? Maybe there’s a SafeSchools or EduHero eCourse you can take or a free ebook you can read.

Source 5 – Structural Motivation

Design rewards and accountability.
Example – When you check your email, are there a ton of emails waiting for you, so that you despair about getting through all of them and just click on anything? Maybe you can adopt Inbox Zero strategies so that email isn’t so overwhelming. Avoid sharing your confidential data (username and password) anywhere online since it can be so easily taken.

Source 6 – Structural Ability

Change the environment.
Example – Maybe your district could adopt a different communications medium that isn’t susceptible to malware email attachments, like Slack or Microsoft Yammer or Teams.


While this has been a lighthearted attempt to address the challenges end users face every day, it is important to realize that changing ONE behavior can result in significant change. When you go about changing it, realize that asking people to do the right thing and training them is not going to get it done. Unleash all sources of influence to bring about the change you want.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Minecraft: Education Edition Tutorial Videos

Are you a Minecraft: Education Edition digital native? If so, do we have a treat for you! Take a look at this new video series focusing on introductory videos to everyday tasks in the popular program. These short videos walk you through some common tasks, such as changing a skin, finding materials in creative mode, as well as using the compass and map and mastering the teleport command.

Note: This blog entry originally published by TCEA TechNotes blog. Read other awesome blog entries by the TCEA team online at


The Three Little Pigs

One of my favorite activities involves asking participants to narrate their own Three Little Pigs story using Microsoft Office Mix. One fun activity involves building straw, stick, and brick houses. In this Minecraft video series, you will learn what you need to know to re-create this famous story.

Video Series

  1. Changing a Skin (2:00)
  2. Finding materials in creative mode (2:24)
  3. Compass Map Teleportation (4:08)
  4. Survival and Finding Materials (0:57)
  5. Smelting and Torches (1:05)
  6. Building a Straw House (1:33)
  7. Building a Stick House (2:19)
  8. Building a Brick House (4:59)
  9. Make/Spawn a Wolf and Pig (3:17)
Note: Notice a young voice? I’d like to thank James E. Guhlin (@jguhlin) for his work creating these video tutorials. You can follow his regular Minecraft video creations here.
These videos are intended for teachers to learn some of the simple things they need to know to get started and offer an easy entry that scaffolds your efforts. Need more support?

Register for Minecraft Professional Learningthreelittlepigs

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Connect then Engage with @Flipgrid Video #msftedu

Technologies that connect us, engage. One example of this is Flipgrid, a free video discussion board service. With Flipgrid, you can create grids with topics on them and have workshop participants or students respond to the topics with recorded videos. Several workshops ago, I decided to begin using Flipgrid as a regular part of the learning. Some of the applications of the tool included:

  • Ask participants to introduce themselves and/or each other.
  • Watch videos about a topic and then share a summary or take-away.
  • Summarize an article they have read.

Free Online Flipgrid Course

The Microsoft Education Community offers a free course, Amplifying Student Voice, that features FlipGrid uses. In that course, the developers imagine Flipgrid as being more than just a communication tool in your classroom:
For students, Flipgrid provides a safe space to connect with their peers, share their voice on relevant course topics, and add to the collective knowledge of the classroom. For teachers, you can see firsthand as your students develop confidence, reasoning skills, respect of diverse opinions, and understanding through reflection. Moreover, as Flipgrid videos are asynchronous, you can conveniently connect your students with classrooms around the world by sharing your grids with other educators. Their students add their voices to the grid building an active community of shared knowledge.
You can watch videos embedded in the course, as well as view content, without completing the course (but then you wouldn’t earn the badge!):

Introducing FlipGrid for Professional Development

Introducing Flipgrid to others has been easy. I point out how to access the Flipgrid topic I’ve set up for the process, either on a laptop and mobile device (e.g. tablet or smartphone). I start with a quick demonstration, often recording the video prompt in front of the class. Then I invite participants to work in groups of two to three to record their responses. Some even go out into the hall. After they have completed their video responses, we share a few to the whole group. Who would not be engaged by their own face and voice as they connect with others?

FlipGrid in the Classroom

“Seeing and hearing students’ video responses can make discourse fun; the site allows personalities and ideas to shine in 90-second clips,” says Polly Conway, Commonsense Media reviewer. “Design is colorful, clean, and intuitive.” Curious about how participants in my workshops would describe Flipgrid in their classroom, I asked them to share some reflections. “How would Flipgrid be helpful?”
  • In computer programming, students could use it to demonstrate how the code works and the output.
  • Formative assessment tool.
  • Quick check for understanding.
  • Have students work on a collaborative group project and then share their collective or individual video reflection on each task.
  • It is a great resource to use with the teachers we coach so they can reflect on their practices.
  • English Language Learners (ELL) students can experience opportunities to develop their language and practice language mastery.
  • Flipgrid in elementary would be a strong resource for reading responses.
Listen to this Voxercast (audio recorded using the free Voxer app). It features two TCEA Microsoft Innovative Educators (MIE), Jocelyn Crew (Lyford CISD) and Jodi-Beth Moreno (Education Service Center, Region 1) sharing about Flipgrid.

Flipgrid Resources

Others have been exploring Flipgrid for classroom use. Consider these examples:
If you’re interested in exploring FlipGrid or other video annotation solutions? Check out this blog entry on Video-based Active Learning.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Create Lessons with #FREE Interactive #Math and #Science Simulations @flipgrid #msftedu

Note: This blog entry was originally published at’s TechNotes blog. Read it there along with tons of other great articles!

Need to model complex math and science concepts for your students? Use any of the 130 award-winning PhET math and science interactive simulations. Available for grades three through adult learners, these are  open educational resources (OERs), which means they are free to use. Each simulation will work on any device, making it perfect for 1:1 and BYOD classrooms, as well as those with only teacher projection.
Image Source:

Explore Simulations

Each PhET lesson (e.g. Balloons and Static Electricity simulation) comes replete with resources. Included are a video primer, lesson ideas, and teacher-submitted activities. Watch this video for an overview. A main goal of PhET is to assist students in becoming scientists. As learner-in-chief in their classroom, teachers ask questions (combine them with Quizziz or Kahoot for quick assessment) to highlight key concepts and spur deeper inquiry.

Measure Learning with Office Mix

Combine PhET and Office Mix to further support student learning.  Explore a friction simulation. This can help students see what factors affect friction. Students can then respond to multiple choice questions which are placed in a Powerpoint slide show using Office Mix.
Did you know? You can learn how to blend technology into instruction. Schedule an online or face-to-face professional learning session with TCEA’s Microsoft Innovative Education (MIE) Certified Trainers and Experts.

Support Open Inquiry

Another approach involves using a student-centered strategy called POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning). Students work in small groups with individual roles or in cooperative learning groups if the learning needs to be scaffolded. POGIL activities focus on core concepts. They encourage a deep understanding of course material and develop higher-order thinking skills. Find out more | See it in Action

Engage in Video-Based Reflection

Deepen reflective interactions focused on a simulation with video. Use to pose video questions  about a simulation’s key concepts. Students respond via their mobile device’s built-in video camera.


These approaches and technologies are so easy, you can get going quickly. Select your interactive simulation and scaffold the inquiry with POGIL. Then, assess learning with Office Mix, Quizizz/Kahoot, and Flipgrid. Your students will be thrilled you made the effort!

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Looking for a way to engage students with video and video creation? The Apple iPad’s rich ecology of video editing apps empowers students to be directors of fantasy and science-fiction flicks by using special effects. Educators like TCEA member Lauren Houser (@lauren_houser) have also taken advantage of Do Ink’s Green Screen app (see example) to create amazing vidoes. But you can also combine green screen with movie FX apps to get startling results.

This blog entry originally published at TCEA TechNotes – Read other awesome writing there!

Lesson Connections

When writing a story, students often want to take their tale to the next level. One approach involves converting it into a movie script. Then they can record that script as a movie to be shared. Imagine your students creating a story, converting it to a script, then making a movie replete with special effects. The apps below will make illustrating a movie possible. Students can shoot their video, whether they rely on clay animation, action figures, or real people. Younger students can be introduced to digital graphics/animation aligned to TEKS Chapter 126.25, as well as TEKS Chapter 110.31 English Language Arts.

Effects Apps

Here are several apps that enable you and/or your students to add special effects to photos and videos. All apps include in-app purchases to expand the range of effects available to you. Save these enhanced clips and/or photos to your iPad’s Photo Gallery, then drop them into another app (e.g. iMovie, Tellagami).
  1. Action Movie: This incredibly easy to use app assists in adding Hollywood FX to iPhone and iPad movies that you record. And you can share your creation as a video or animated GIF. (View example of videoView animated GIF.)
  2. FxGuru: Add horror, sci-fi, or action effects to a video you record. Available for Android, too. (View example)
  3. Super Power FX: Enable your students to add super power effects to their clips. You are able to “shoot fireballs from your hands, lasers from your eyes, or control the elements, teleport, and more!” (View example)
  4. Extreme Movie FX: Snap a picture, select the effect you want to apply to it, then save the still image to your Photo Gallery. From there, you can import the picture into a movie app like iMovie or Videorama. There are various effects you can apply, including shark attacks, UFO attacks, and more. Some effects are free, but others require in-app purchases. (View example)
  5. Videorama: Unlike other apps, this one allows you to combine photos and videos, add effects, adjust the speed of the video, and more. It’s less about the effects and more about video editing. Combine clips you create in other apps in Videorama. Easily add text, music, and transition effects to your video.(View example)
  6. Prisma: Although less about action adventure and more about art, this app allows you to apply nine different styles to videos, as well as photos. The astounding result resembles a work of art. (View example)

Teach the Language of Sound and Images

“If students aren’t taught the language of sound and images,” points out George Lucas, “shouldn’t they be considered as illiterate as if they left college without being able to read or write?” With these apps and imagination, you can enable students to engage in scripting and digital graphics/animation at a younger age. The sooner they begin, the better they will be. After all, who doesn’t have a budding filmmaker in their family?

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Touch the Future with Free Coding Resources

By 2020, the Internet of Things will include approximately two billion objects. Each of those devices will need to be told what to do through programming. Who better to do the job than our own Texas students?
The educational focus for the future must be to introduce non-programming teachers to the freely available grade 6-8 curriculum that they can use to support learners who tackle coding for mobile devices. One course is Creative Coding through Games and Apps (CCGA), provided by Microsoft.
Coding, and computational thinking in general, is one of the most in-demand skills in today’s job market. But not so long ago, learning to code was mostly out of reach for late-middle school and secondary students. Coding wasn’t taught in the typical classroom, and educators – unless they had a computer science background – weren’t equipped to teach it. After all, coding can seem difficult to the beginner. But Microsoft has changed all of that.

Rich Curriculum, Free Coding Tool, Device Agnostic

This year, December 5-11, The Hour of Code will take place. To deepen student learning relevant to this event, Microsoft has developed a comprehensive curriculum for grade 6-8 students and their teachers. This rich curriculum relies on Touch Develop, a coding tool that works on all devices, such as Android and iOS phones and tablets, Chromebooks, and Windows, Macintosh, and GNU/Linux desktops/laptop computers. Microsoft Touch Develop is a powerful and engaging coding tool that lets students create fun games and real-world apps easily. Find out more online  here and here.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Chrome Add-Ons: Accent Marks and More

Did you know that the Texas TEKS (§128.14. Spanish Language Arts and Reading, Grade 3) require students to learn all about adding accent marks to words in Spanish? Here are some of the expectations for students:
Write with increased accuracy using accent marks, including:
(i) Words that have a prosodic or orthographic accent on the last syllable (palabras agudas) (e.g., feliz, canción); and
(ii) Words that have a prosodic or orthographic accent on the second-to-last syllable (palabras graves) (e.g., casa, árbol);
Yet once you figure out the rules for adding accent marks, how do you do it on a device like a Chromebook? In the old days, on a Windows computer, you could type a special alt-code combination to get the accent mark. On Macs, you can use the key combination Option-e then press the letter that needs the accent mark. On a Chromebook, you can use the Google Input Tools Chrome add-on to get the job done!
Once the add-on is installed in your Chrome browser, follow these instructions (read more at Typing Spanish Characters and Accent Marks):
Using the Spanish keyboard (Spanish Keyboard Icon)
The Spanish keyboard is almost the same as an English keyboard, except with a few additional shortcuts:
  • To type an accented character, type an apostrophe (‘) followed by the letter. For example, to get á, type (‘) and then (a).
  • To type ñ, tap the semicolon (;) key.
  • To type ¡, tap the equal sign (=) key.
  • To type ¿, hold down shift and tap the equal sign (=) key.
You can also click the corresponding key on the virtual keyboard that appears.
Watch this video that walks you through the process.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Lessons from Chromebook Educators

Note: This blog entry originally published at TCEA’s TechNotes blog.

“Figure out which toys your friends can play with,” I remember my Mom saying to me before a sleepover with classmates. “And put the ones you don’t want to see damaged, lost, or stolen away.” It’s advice that I took to heart and shared with my own children before they had friends over. Here’s some advice you may want to consider before deploying Chromebooks in schools…or, consider leaving your “best practices” in the comments.

Best Practice #1 – Establish procedures before issuing Chromebooks.

Setting ground rules can certainly help you avoid trouble and heartache down the line. The advice is definitely worth taking when it comes to inviting students and staff to use any kind of device, even durable Chromebooks, in your classroom, library, or school. TCEA member Erin Laughlin (@MrsErinLaughlin) recommends that you consider your responses to questions like the ones below:
  • How will students be issued Chromebooks?
  • How should students be advised to transport Chromebooks?
  • What happens when there is a substitute teacher in the room? Will students be permitted to take advantage of the Chromebook?
  • What should be done when a Chromebook suffers damage?
In response to the last question, one teacher in Fairfield ISD during their Eagle Leadership Academy,pointed out that damage had occurred to a school-owned Chromebook issued to a student. “What did you do?” I asked, wondering if the student was to be forced to reimburse the district or forced to replace the device. “We made sure it wasn’t malicious and then just worked to get it fixed or replaced. No action was taken since this was an accident.” Erin also suggests having rules like these in place:
  • No food or drinks should be in sight when Chromebooks are out.
  • Carry Chromebooks with two hands at all times.
  • Do not get a Chromebook if teacher is out of the room.
  • Nothing should be on the desk except the Chromebook unless told otherwise.
  • Students should only be on websites assigned or approved by teacher.
  • Have students and parents sign a statement saying they will abide by the rules.
  • Have reasonable consequences for students who aren’t following the rules (taking away the Chromebook should be your last resort).
As you might imagine, some common-sense suggestions include assigning a student to be in charge of the Chromebooks, ensuring monitoring of issuance and receipt of devices by class members. Also, consider including a Google Form to let students report how a Chromebook was damaged. Another point to consider is to be sure to label your class Chromebooks so they will be easy to locate in case they leave your classroom. Finally, Kim from Fairfield ISD suggests that the teacher and students get in the habit of plugging in Chromebooks correctly so they are charged for the next group.

Best Practice #2 – Teach Chromebook basics along with digital citizenship.

“You can’t issue students devices until they’ve had digital citizenship lessons required by eRate.” And, of course, digital citizenship lessons also ensure that you can discuss important issues about caring for other people’s equipment. In my experience, students often take great care of equipment issued to them when there is a culture of care cultivated in the school as a whole. Keys aren’t ripped off keyboards in classrooms where the teacher makes every effort to care for his/her technology and assigns students the jobs of cable management, removing dust from devices, and cleaning keyboards/screens. Yet every device brings its own challenges, and Chromebooks are no different. Providing an overview of Chromebook and Google Apps tips ensure that students feel confident in using new technologies, rather than frustrated.

Best Practice #3 – Promote collaboration.

“My two favorite tools for a 1-to-1 classroom,” I shared at the recent Tots and Technology Conferences that took place in Galveston and Frisco this past summer, “include and” Each of these provides critical tools that you need as a teacher to share your screen and presentations with students, as well as collect their work. Nearpod serves as a presentation and eyeball management tool for you, pushing your screen out to all student Chromebooks. Seesaw serves as a digital portfolio that collects students’ digital and physical work in one virtual space that is easily shared but manageable.
ChromebookNote: Scan the QR code shown right using the Seesaw app on your device of choice to get Seesaw Plus for free for 30 days!
Let’s quickly explore some other top tips for promoting collaboration:
  • Quiz tools: Other ways to engage students include quizzing tools like and Quizizz allows students to login with their Google account, and all completed assignments are reported and available in Google Classroom.
  • Easy video assessment: Use tools like EdPuzzle and/or FlipGrid to take already existing videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, etc. or put your own online, then add your voice and questions to create an interactive video lesson. You’ll be able to see how many times your students watch your interactive video lessons, how many times they attempt a question, and the responses given.
  • Share web links with Google Tones: Facilitate the sharing of complex uniform resource locators (URLs) using Google Tone.
  • Take screenshots or record video screencasts: Use tools like the Nimbus Screenshot/Screencast extension for Google Chrome to quickly capture your screen for a flipped lesson or explanation.
  • Use Google Classroom to create a virtual classroom presence for students, blending in Google Calendar and YouTube videos to facilitate online learning.
  • Use badges in your classroom: TCEA member Joe Camacho (@CamachoEdTech) recommends setting up and issuing badges to celebrate student learning and sharing. Students can learn Google Apps tools such as Sites, Classroom, Forms, Docs, Drawings, and Slides, as well as other tools in use like DocHub, Flubaroo, Edpuzzle, Kahoot, Quizizz, creating screencasts, and Padlet.
Another neat tip for promoting collaboration and sharing comes from Erin Laughlin again. She suggests creating a “shark tank” in your classroom, having older students create products that are evaluated by younger students serving as “the sharks.” Older students pitch their solution to a problem using Google Hangouts, bridging the distance between their classroom at one campus and another. Of course, this activity can also be done at even greater distances. If that is of interest, consider the Connecting for a Cause website, where students create a Google Sites web presence that represents their cause.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑