Classroom Google search

Do you want to save some time?


When I’m not traveling during my summer vacation I always try to set a goal for those 6 weeks off school. Priority is always NO RUSH but for whatever reason I also need some input. In the past it was reading as many books as possible or improving my Italian and this summer I decided to inquire into Google and Google Apps in Education. It is fascinating.

My deeper interest in Google started already beginning of this century (Wikipedia says Google search exist already since 1997) when I applied for a job at Google in Hamburg, Germany. I didn’t get the job but I have been even more curious since then.

Photo Credit: m-c via Compfight cc

I guess that most of the people use Google for searching and for emailing. During my Google Apps In Education course (GAFE – highly recommended) I learned a lot about how to search deeper effectively. Do you want to know whether you are a good searcher? Check out: a google a day.

My main outcomes for me as a teacher are:

I want to be a able to search deeply and effectively.

The course definitely made me aware of what effective and detailed search is possible. Because of the huge and growing amount of information it becomes more important then ever. But not only the search is important, it’s also the results we need to know how to read and understand. Regarding the results, the following questions come in my mind when I think about teaching:

What are the main different file types?
What is an URL and what is the meaning of the different endings like .gov, etc.?What does an URL tells me about the result?
What is specific vocabulary used within the search results?
What are the criteria for a reliable website?

I want to be aware of the not so obvious skills students need in order to be able to search deeply.

  • There are certain skills involved students need to learn:
  • Skimming (f.e. the search result)
  • Scanning (f.e. the result preview)
  • Predicting information they might find deeper on the website
Staying focused, not to get lost on the Internet
Decision making

(  and

I want to model good research skills more often in class.

It can happen with the whole class/group or individual students. It helped me a lot that Dan Russell verbalized each single step during his lessons ( As a teacher I think we need to be aware of our steps and speak them out aloud in front of the students. Modeling in lessons should happen naturally. It’s not a lesson you teach during a certain unit or lesson it’s something which happens all the time.

Jeff Utecht actually got me thinking about:

What is the difference between finding stuff on the Internet and searching on a deeper leaver?

I think that’s what’s the future generations need! Deeper searching skills.

Where to start? Here are some links:

I definitely want to save some time! Life is too short! And you?

Classroom Connectivism New Media literacies

Is it difficult to create an app?

Create your own app
App created by a 1st grade student

Beginning of March 2013 I set myself several goals regarding educational technology. I had started the Coetail Course beginning of February and realized that there is so much out there to explore. 2013 will be my year of getting into educational technology. So far I’m not disappointed at all. Opposite is the case: It’s learning without ending. It’s inspiring, exciting and enriching. Some things I already tried in school.

One goal from March was:

I played a little bit here and there with different Google Apps but I felt that is not enough to get an overview. Therefore I signed up for the Gafe Class – Google Apps For Education Online Course.

If you know Jeff you can imagine that he recommends us to use Chrome. I got introduced to Chrome couple of years ago. A friend (Ben @ombd – I highly appreciate his tips) of mine said: Nobody is using Firefox anymore. Chrome is the new browser, faster and securer. It seems to be a Battle of the best browsers: IE vs. Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Safari.

I discovered the Chrome Web Store a while ago and they are indeed awesome. You get any imaginable application which is integrated in Chrome and allows you a faster access as well as additional functionalities. The apps are also a never ending story. I can get lost in that store. Exciting and dangerous at the same time. Here just a quick overview what I use for my productivity online. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten a lot of chances to use Google Apps with my students yet. In future …

I am using so far:

  • Google Drive, Gmail, Gmail Offline
  • AdBlock – Blocks advertisements on all websites.
  • Evernote Web – Usually I use Evernote which is installed on my computer. Evernote Web is useful, but gives me only access to synchronized notebooks which makes sense.
  • Evernote Web Clipper – This app allows me to save a website (whole page, an article, just the URL or as pdf) directly into Evernote.
  • Tweetdeck – best tool to organize Twitter.
  • Feedly – RSS Reader – best tool to get all news of blogs and websites
  • Readium – Allows me to read eBooks (epub) in the browser.

With/for the students:

  • Timer – timer countdown, alarm clock, stopwatch
  • YouTube
  • iSpeech – For my students who have difficulties with reading. Text is read aloud for them.
  • Evernote Clearly – Converts articles on the web into a easy, readable and printable look.
  • Connected Mind – Tool to create a mind map. Haven’t had a chance with the students yet though.

Check out the Chrome Web Store! What apps are using using for teaching and learning! Thx.

Classroom iPads

Oral assessment with the iPads

My goal for the school year 2012/13 is:

“How can I integrate the usage of the iPads for teaching and learning language as well as for deeper differentiation and assessment in the classroom?”

I love technology and wanted to get more knowledge about differentiation and assessment. Thinking about the last 6-9 month … I can’t believe what a great learning journey I did and I’m still doing. I’m in the lucky position to have 6 iPads and over the past year I tried lots of ideas to assess and differentiate.

Here one example for especially oral assessment – formative and summative.

In the context of the unit Once upon an Imagination in Grade 1 the parents, the students, and myself were using technology in different ways.

Our big picture was to create a world map with Google Maps that shows fairy tales / stories from different countries of the world:

Google MapsScreenshot of Google Maps “Märchen aus aller Welt”

Märchen aus aller Welt
(Feel free to leave a comment for the students. It will make them happy!)

I kindly asked the parents of Grade 1, colleagues and a friend in Malaysia (Thx Etienne @VisserYa) to record a fairy tale from their family backgrounds and in their language. The parents could choose how to record it but I offered them to use Vocaroo – very easy and intuitive to use! I used Dropbox to save all the recordings.

My language focus for German on the one hand was to model two strategies how to take notes and therefore not to forget what I just heard. For the listening part the students used the iPads, for the note taking part the students used just paper. On the other hand the students wanted to record their own chosen fairy tale / story to share it on Google Maps. For recording they used a voice recorder, in this case Audio Memos, but any other voice recorder works as good as this one because we just need basic features.

The following things are the advantages I observed of using a voice recorder:

  • The voice recorder allows to save and share their stories.
  • The students, especially as a second or additional language learner, listen to their own voices and can improve their pronunciation.
  • The students build their confidence by recording by themselves instead of speaking in front of the whole class.
  • Listening to their own stories made them very critical with themselves and they really wanted to get the story right.
  • After recording the students could share their stories with each other and  retell the story if necessary.
  • Listening to others give the students the possibility to develop their listening skills.

There are probably even more good reasons …