Flippity is a little tool that does big things. In just a few steps teachers can take information from a Google Spreadsheet and convert it into a set of flashcards, a quiz show, or an online quiz with a certificate.

Flippity account is not required (nor is it an option), however creators must have access to Google Apps. Viewers can access the final product through a direct link or QR code, beyond a browser nothing else is needed. Since no data is collected by the developer, students are able to be the creators as well as users of these study tools.

This generates digital flashcards, similar to Quizlet. While there are differences in features, a big standout is the ability to add images and videos as card content.
  1. Make a copy of the template (different template for each presentation type, available through the Flippity.net).
  2. Replace the sample content with your own.
  3. Include images or videos by inserting a direct link to the content (unique address for an image or YouTube URL).
  4. Further format slides by using simple HTML (bold, italics, underline, super/subscript, etc.) It is also possible to further customize cards by selecting card or text colors.
  5. Share: direct link, QR code, card data as a list, Twitter, Google plus, Facebook, Pinterest.
  6. Follow the instructions on the website to publish your flashcards.
  7. Create a printable quiz based on the data: fill in the blank or matching, number of questions, choose prompt type, and question order

Quiz Show
This is my personal favorite... create a Jeopardy style quiz show to increase the excitement in content review or test preparation.
  1. Make a copy of the template (different template for each presentation type, available through the Flippity.net).
  2. Replace the sample content with your own (6 categories, 5 questions each).
  3. Include images or videos by following the pattern in the template.
  4. Follow the instructions on the website to publish your quiz show.
  5. Playing the game opens the board full screen, making it just right for interactive board use.
  6. Add or deduct points for up to 6 teams for each question. It is also possible to play without any teams.

Online Quiz with Certificate
This is an interesting way to check student understanding and give them a "certificate" to prove it.
  1. Make a copy of the template (different template for each presentation type, available through the Flippity.net).
  2. Replace the sample content with your own (multiple choice).
  3. Include images or videos by following the pattern in the template.
  4. Enter your information into the Options tab, which will allow you to receive notification of each certificate.
  5. Follow the instructions on the website to publish your quiz.

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RefSeek is an academic search engine designed specifically for students and researchers:
RefSeek searches more than one billion documents, including web pages, books, encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers.
RefSeek's unique approach offers students comprehensive subject coverage without the information overload of a general search engine—increasing the visibility of academic information and compelling ideas that are often lost in a muddle of sponsored links and commercial results.

There are three ways to access information using RefSeek: web search, document search, and directory of sources/tools. The developers provide Search Tips to help researchers achieve a useful result set.

The default results are a custom Google web search. Researchers can quickly try the same search on Ask.com, Bing, or Yahoo. The search results are presented in a clean and consistent format: webpage title in blue (link), 25 word summary in black, visible url in green. While Wikipedia is often the top result, it is followed by many credible, reliable, and school friendly sites. As with any web search, researchers must evaluate each individual source to ensure it meets their information needs (and teacher requirements).

Similar to web search, this limits the results to documents. Most documents will preview in the search screen allowing for quick and efficient evaluation. Researchers can switch between web and documents without losing search terms. Teachers will find this useful in locating handouts on specific topics.

Through the Directory information seekers can locate specific resources and tools. This goes beyond the usual AlmanacsEncyclopedias, DictionariesNews, and Quotations, making RefSeek an excellent tool for teachers looking to create pathfinders or resource lists for their students. Also included:

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Quizlet for Content Review and Typing Practice

Quizlet is a great tool for practicing vocabulary, key events, important dates, formulas, and anything else that requires some memorization to learn.

Free accounts are supported by advertising in the sidebar. Teachers can upgrade for an annual fee to remove ads for their students and utilize additional features. Google Apps schools will appreciate the simple and quick account creation and/or login through the familiar "login with Google" button.

Once your account is created, it is relatively easy to create a new set or to find, copy, and modify an existing set to meet your classroom needs.

Keep it simple for your students, make it easy for them to access the sets you create:

  • Share a direct link to the Flashcards through email, learning management system, or on the class website or wiki.. 
  • Embed the set or a specific game on the class website or wiki. 
  • Place sets in folders, organized by unit, topic, or section. Post a direct link to the folder, allowing students to study concepts in managed portions. 

(Note: Sets must be made public so students do not need a Quizlet account to view the flashcards or play the games.)

As students explore the set they will not only practice the vocabulary and concepts, they will also utilize basic computer skills (web navigation, typing, drag/drop). Quizlet tracks student progress in each session (not saved or sent to teacher), allowing students to quickly see their strengths and weaknesses. The sample links below lead to a set created to help 4th graders prepare for a test on electricity and magnetism.

  • Cards: Digital flashcards that will help students learning key terms and definitions. Students are given the option to turn audio on/off; begin with terms, definitions, or a mix; shuffle the order; and play the set (cards.
  • Learn: Students are prompted with the definition and must recall and type the term (spelling counts). Students may select the option to see terms first or hear an electronic voice read the definition. A scoreboard appears on the left showing the number of terms left as well as correct/incorrect responses.
  • Speller: Type what you hear. An electronic voice readers the term, students type it into the box. This checks both spelling and typing.
  • Test: Divides content into written, matching, multiple choice, and true/false. Students can customize by selecting question choice, beginning prompt (term, definition, or both), and limit the number of terms.
  • Scatter: Words and definitions are scattered across the screen. Students must drag corresponding items onto each other to make them disappear.
  • Race: Definitions race across the screen, students must accurately type the term to "destroy" the definition.
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Coggle is a freemium, easy to use, visual organization tool that allows individuals and teams to make visually appealing outlines, brainstorms, and mindmaps. For a low annual fee, supporters receive early access to new features.

The only way to sign up is by connecting through a Google Apps account. Google Apps for Education protocols regarding sharing do not carry over to this tool, schools will want to keep some oversight of student activity.

Creating a Coggle is as simple as clicking and typing, allowing users to focus more on their thoughts than the documentation process.

Something to be aware of: Grabbing branches to move or reorganize can sometimes be difficult, especially at the outside branches.

Invite collaborators using their email addresses (or Google Apps for Education login). Shared Coggles appear in the list, however there is no immediate indicator that the file is shared (clicking the share button reveals the profile images and names of collaborators).

There are several ways creations can be shared or exported:
  • Download as a PDF, image file (PNG), plain text outline, or an .mm file (FreeMind).
  • Share through a direct link (read only access).
  • Generate embed code to post to a website or wiki.
  • Share on Facebook or Twitter.

Google Drive
An interesting feature is the ability to organize Coggles that you own in Google Drive. This places them directly in My Drive, not a product created folder. Coggle files can be shared through Drive, however: the recipient must connect Coggle and Drive, and the the sender must allow Edit access.

GTSD staff are invited to contact Mrs. Bond for assistance in integrating this or other information tools in their classrooms.
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Quick Tip: Google Docs Bullet Characters

On the surface it appears as though there are limited options in Google Docs for bullets:

It is possible to change the character, add a prefix/suffix, and change the color:

Learn more at the Format bulleted and numbered lists page on the Google Help site.
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Digital Learning Day 2015

Today is Digital Learning Day, a day to consciously review how technology fits within our classrooms and learning environments. Although I am fully entrenched in supporting PARCC, I don't want my colleagues to miss out on the fun of this day!

(click to view full size PDF)

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NowComment is one of those tools that solves a problem you didn't realize you had. NowComment allows digital discussion of a document, allowing participants to directly connect their comments to specific points within the text. While this is possible through a shared Google Drive document, NowComment takes this a step further with easy to read threaded discussions and other useful features.

Accounts are free for both students and teachers. GAFE schools can use the "log in with Google" button to both create accounts and sign in.

Teachers (or students) can upload a document and invite a conversation directly associated with the content. Supported documents include MS Word, and MS Excel, and PDF (text will be extracted). Images can be uploaded, but text will not be converted. You can also copy/paste text from a website, document, or type text into a simple text editor.

Once uploaded, documents can be shared publicly, with a group, or with individuals.  Teachers will find it easy to share documents for student discussion through teacher created groups. Participants can follow the emailed link or look for the document in their library. GAFE students without Gmail access will still be able to access assignments; all shared documents appear in the user's library.

A single-click on a sentence brings readers to a highlighted section in the discussion pane. To quickly join the discussion, readers double-click on a sentence to open the new conversation box. They can choose to connect their comment to the sentence, paragraph, or document. Shorter comments (up to 255 characters) are required, lengthier comments are supported through an additional field.

Additional features
There are so many! Features are clearly labeled and explained, support is available through the Help section.
  • Browse the NowComment for Educational Use page for an overview, testimonials, and support documents.
  • A great feature for teachers is the ability to set minimum/maximum comments, access start and end dates, comment start and end dates, and hide comments until a specific date/time.
  • For teachers who see multiple sections or prefer to divide the class in small groups, there is an option to create a copy of an uploaded document to post to multiple classes or groups.
  • Prior to sharing, teachers can enable or disable a collection of highlighting tools. Users click the highlight tool, select the appropriate topic (important, unclear, agree, disagree), then click the sentence to highlight.
  • Through Download and Export Options, teachers can quickly see how many comments were made by each participant. 
  • There are two viewing options: 2 Pane shows the source text on the left and discussion on the right; Combined places comments after the associated paragraphs. The Combine view may be useful for teachers to saved as an archive of class work.

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