All posts by Jacob Komissar

Google Forms

Google Forms is one of Google’s most useful tools. It allows the quick and easy creation of questionnaires that can be used for any purpose. By default, the responses are recorded in a Google spreadsheet, allowing easy access and sharing.
There are many options for different types of open-ended questions and multiple-choice questions, so Google forms can be used for homework assignments and take-home quizzes, allowing teachers to conserve paper and review students’ answers before class begins.

"How fun has STAT been?" "10/10"

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Google Comments

Comments point to the text they comment on.

When using Google Classroom, a teacher can give students writing assignments online in the form of a Google Doc. Once the student turns it in, the teacher can then view and edit it.

This introduces the chance for the teacher to use Google Docs’ commenting function to comment on their students’ work, letting them know how they can improve their work. Returning the work to the students allows the students to reply to the comments and make changes, making the writing process more interactive.

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Feed the World with Knowledge, Literally

Freerice.com is a website that allows users to answer multiple-choice questions on various topics and levels. Each correct answer donates 10 grains of rice to those who need it.

FreeRice.png

The lack of focus of the questions is a downside, making it less useful for high schoolers, but some of the categories are ideal for elementary schoolers. The math subjects in particular make for good practice, and telling students that their work feeds the hungry can be a strong motivation for them to work harder.

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Online Research for K-8 Students

In high school, I was asked to do my first research project. I’d never done much research before, besides googling things I wanted to know, so when I was presented with a list of databases to look through for good sources, I had no idea how to start.

This video is a tutorial for using the Minuteman Library Network‘s online databases for research at a elementary and middle school level, so younger students can get a head start with learning how to find reliable information on the internet.

The voice in the video is provided by Cheska Komissar, who volunteered her services because I am not known for my clarity of speech.

Links:

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Audible Audiobooks

As most English teachers know, a good number of students don’t read their books. The best way to help with this would be to teach children to love reading, but that type of approach is of little use in high school, when the students’ thoughts about reading are long-since set in stone.

But the problem might not be in the books, but in the actual act of reading. Perhaps some students don’t read because they read slowly or need to focus intently to comprehend the reading. Some students might not read simply because they don’t like sitting down and staring at paper. So why do they have to read at all?

Why not listen?

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Introducing Learning Management Systems

MultiLMSpng

Websites can be incredibly useful resources for education. Unfortunately, this requires that teachers make effective use of websites, which many do not. One of the biggest reasons for this problem is most likely that many teachers lack technological literacy, at least to the degree required to integrate the internet into their teaching process. Luckily, there are systems already online just for this purpose: Learning Management Systems (LMSs).

Online LMSs like Edmodo and Schoology are services made exactly for the purpose of allowing teachers to use the internet to organize their classes. These websites serve to create an online component to any course by allowing teachers to put their assignments on the internet and allowing students to view them from anywhere.

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Smartpens for Classroom Use

Some teachers hand out notes. Some teachers use powerpoints. Other teachers use fill-in-the-blank style packets, sometimes alongside powerpoints.

Then there are teachers who don’t do anything that could help the note-taking process. These teachers give lectures, and expect the students to learn the content, regardless of whether or not they can take notes. In these teachers’ classes, by the time you finish writing down the first sentence of the lecture, the teacher has said three more.

Usually, students in these classes end up not taking notes, relying instead on their memories alone to learn everything they have to.

Allow me to introduce smartpens, or rather a specific brand of smartpens: Livescribe.

A picture of Livescribe's Sky Smartpen.
Livescribe’s Sky Smartpen

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Goo.gl(e)

Have you ever had to deal with one of these?

An image of a very, very long URL.
Click for details. 

Some teachers use the internet in their assignments, especially when it comes to projects and research. Many of those teachers just copy the URL they want their students to go to directly from the address bar to a worksheet. Unfortunately, this means that the students have to type in those unwieldy links (often tens of random characters long) into their own computers to do their homework. While this system is convenient for the teachers, it creates a huge obstacle for the students.

Enter goo.gl. Continue reading

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