The Techie Teacher®

Easy Way to Create Chatbots Using Google Forms

Friday, May 25, 2018 / Leave a Comment

Easy Way to Create Chatbots Using Google Forms

Easy Way to Create Chatbots Using Google Forms with Fobi.io

Fobi.io is a free tool that will allow you or older students to easily make chatbots using Google Forms, no coding required. Basically, a chatbot is computer software that interacts with humans via a chat interface. They have become very popular amongst businesses the past few years. Perhaps you have interacted with a chatbot in Facebook messenger? I engage quite frequently with Zulily's chatbot 😂To learn more about chatbots check out The Complete Beginner's Guide to Chatbots. That's where I discovered Fobi.io!

Fobi.io's privacy policy states that their service does not address anyone under the age of 13. So unfortunately our elementary kiddos would not be able to create their own chatbot. However, keep reading..you might still find a use for this! Perhaps your class could create a chatbot together to add to your class blog/website.

Fobi.io creates the most simplistic kind of chatbots since they are scripted.  All you need is a Google account! You can easily create your own chatbot with this tool if you are familiar with how to create multiple choice or short answer questions in Google Forms. Here is an example of one I made to go along with a unit on simple machines:



Once my question and answer choices were added, I copied the url to the form (it doesn't have to be the url to a live form). See purple arrow above. I then pasted it into Fobi.io.



When I clicked Create bot, I was brought to the form below in which I had to add a Bot response for each answer choice. Ex. Sorry that is incorrect or You're exactly right!


After I added my responses to each answer choice on the three questions I included in my Google Form, I clicked Save Bot which took me to this screen:


You can share your bot via email, social media, a link or embed into your blog/website! Give my bot a try below or click HERE:



Click HERE for an example of another chatbot that includes only short answer questions.

Classroom Connection

Aside from creating basic review questions and writing various types of sentences (statements, questions & exclamations), wouldn't it be fun to create a Character or Famous Historical Figure Chatbot? Students would be challenged to think of questions and responses from the point of view of a character in a story or historical figure. Elementary teachers could have students submit their individual ideas via a Google Form or brainstorm on a virtual collaboration board and then the class could work together (the teacher could create the Google Form in his/her account) to create a character chatbot to send to another class. With digital breakouts and escape rooms becoming increasingly popular in the classroom, having students interact with a chatbot would be another creative way for them to earn their clues. It would also make a great addition to any mystery unit! How else could Fobi.io be used in the classroom? Let us know in the comments below!

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Integrating Videos as an Engagement Tool for Students and Teachers

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 / Leave a Comment

Integrating Videos as an Engagement Tool for Students and Teachers

Integrating Videos as an Engagement Tool for Students and Teachers: sponsored post by study.com

This is a sponsored post by Study.com

Since the exponential growth of mobile devices and other technologies, students from ages five to sixteen have spent six hours or more per day in front of a screen, including TVs, tablets, smartphones, and computers. Experts have different opinions on how much screen time is helpful or harmful for children, and how much should be allowed at various stages of development. One thing the experts agree on, however, is that as much of that screen time as possible should be spent on high-quality, educational content.

Today’s young students are accustomed to viewing video content anywhere and anytime. In fact, most elementary school students are younger than the iPhone and have grown up watching videos on their (or their parents’) smartphones and tablets. Incorporating videos into the elementary school classroom is a natural extension of this visual component of modern culture, especially for the “YouTube generation.” More specifically, teachers can make use of videos as highly engaging tools to improve instruction and capture student interest, in addition to using other traditional teaching methods. Teachers can also use videos to further their own professional development and training, which will in turn benefit their students.

Finding and Incorporating the Best Video Content in the Elementary School Classroom

For teachers concerned about finding appropriate educational content or feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of options, Study.com is a provider of high quality educational multimedia content that comes with a robust set of tools for teachers to use in and out of the classroom. Study.com videos make elementary school classrooms more interactive by using animation and visuals to help students better understand the concepts that are being taught. The database has over 15,000+ videos in subjects ranging from math to social studies to English language arts.

Elementary school students often have a shorter attention span than older students, so chunking material and varying instruction techniques by using engaging videos may help them stay focused. To this end, most of Study.com’s videos last 5 – 8 minutes—long enough to explore a topic in some depth, but short enough so as not to overwhelm young students with too much information at once. In addition, videos are particularly helpful for audiovisual learners who might not respond as well to lectures, textbooks, or group work.

In his TED Talk 'Let's use video to reinvent education,'  Salman Khan discusses how video can be part of the flipped classroom model, enabling students to learn at their own pace and work through educational content in their own way. For the youngest students who may not have the maturity for this kind of learning or require more guidance, videos can serve to help flip lessons rather than classrooms, which becomes a tool in the learning process rather than a cornerstone of it.

Using Video Content Outside of the Classroom

While much of the school day may be dedicated to group work and other projects that must be completed in person, students’ after school programs and homework assignments can also incorporate videos for students to watch on their own. In addition to videos for supplemental learning, Study.com offers a plethora of online lessons as well as built-in assessment tools like gamified quizzes for students to complete. Teachers can assign at-home lessons and analyze the results of student assessments, enabling them to determine students’ strengths and weaknesses and tweak lesson plans accordingly.

In addition, when educational videos are brought into the home, parents can also engage more deeply with their young child’s education and can help with homework more easily. Study.com videos also offer on-the-go access for phones and tablets, catering to the busy lifestyles of students, parents, and teachers.

Using Video Content for Elementary Teachers’ Professional Development

Videos aren’t just for elementary students—video instruction can be helpful for teachers, too! Almost all teachers are required to take some form of teacher certification exam, and Study.com aims to provide the most robust preparation materials to help them succeed. Video lessons related to certification exams are great for both aspiring teachers aiming to get their credential and current teachers who are looking to expand their certifications to new grade-levels, subjects, and more. Study.com offers preparation materials for national exams like Praxis, as well as state-specific exams like FTCE, TExES, and more.

Want to learn more about how you can use videos in your classroom? Sign up for a free trial at Study.com today!






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How to Use Toony Tool to Create Educational Cartoons, Posters or Memes

Friday, May 18, 2018 / Leave a Comment

How to Use Toony Tool to Create Educational Cartoons, Posters or Memes

How to Use Toony Tool to Create Educational Cartoons, Posters or Memes for classroom projects. This free web tool will work on Chromebooks, laptops, computers or iPads!

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The Best QR Code Scanner for Chromebook Users

Saturday, May 12, 2018 / Leave a Comment

The Best QR Code Scanner for Chromebook Users

The Best QR Code Scanner/Reader for Chromebook and Computer Users

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Create a Brochure in Google Slides™ for Next Year's Class

Friday, May 4, 2018 / Leave a Comment

Create a Brochure in Google Slides™ for Next Year's Class

Create a brochure in Google Slides for next year's class makes a fun end of the year activity that can be completed on Chromebooks, laptops, computers or ipads. Come grab a FREE digital template!
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Create Digital Jigsaw Puzzles with Jigsaw Planet

Saturday, April 28, 2018 / 4 comments

Create Digital Jigsaw Puzzles with Jigsaw Planet

Create Digital Jigsaw Puzzles with Jigsaw Planet that can be used on any device with a web browser. Great for Digital Breakout clues, anticipatory sets for classroom lessons, special announcements and so much more!

Jigsaw Planet is a website that has been around for years which contains digital jigsaw puzzles that can be assembled using any device with a web browser. It also has the capability to upload any image and create a digital puzzle for someone else to solve. I wrote about this tool back in 2013 but wanted to revisit it after receiving a question on my Facebook page the other day asking if there was a way to create a digital puzzle from a photo. Why YES there is☝and it is E-A-S-Y to do.

Below is an example of a Jigsaw Planet puzzle (I made an easy one just for you😉). This image is one a student designed of the Water Cycle in Google Drawing using my Digital Directed Drawing of The Water Cycle Activity that I uploaded to Jigsaw Planet. You can embed these puzzles on any blog or website! Go ahead, piece it together! You will notice that the pieces will click in place when you have successfully connected two together.




IMPORTANT: The Terms of Service states that users must be 13 years or older to use Jigsaw Planet. I reached out to Jigsaw Planet to ask about classroom use and they said it was fine as long as students are supervised. For elementary teachers, this tool would be better suited to use to create digital puzzles for students to put together. Students could always create the image that the teacher turns into a puzzle but they cannot create an account and upload a picture of their choice unless they have parental permission. (Educators can also create puzzles without an account). Even when these puzzles are embedded into a blog or website, students can access the Jigsaw Planet website with one click on the puzzle piece icon in the bottom toolbar. There are a few questionable puzzles posted on Jigsaw Planet that we wouldn't want students to run into.

How to Create Your Own Digital Jigsaw

Head to Jigsaw Planet and upload a photo or image you want to turn into a digital puzzle.

My favorite feature about this tool is the ability to make your jigsaws various levels of difficulty. For younger students you can have fewer pieces to manipulate. You can also change the shape of the pieces. The puzzle embedded above has 20 pieces.

Classroom Connection

A few ways I could see this being used in the classroom include but aren't limited to:

😊Digital Breakout Clues
😊Reveal a top secret mission for students
😊Anticipatory Set: Have students guess what your next unit of study might be after assembling the puzzle (Ex. A picture of a desert or pyramids for Ancient Egypt)
😊Answer to a Challenge Question of the Day
😊Special Announcements
😊Anything to build excitement!

Simple, easy to use and no login required! Embed on your class blog/website or share with a link. Other sharing options are available like email and social media.

Other Similar Digital Jigsaw Puzzle Creators

👉EPuzzle

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Easy to Use Tools for Creating AUDIO QR Codes

Friday, April 20, 2018 / Leave a Comment

Easy to Use Tools for Creating AUDIO QR Codes

Easy to use tools for creating audio QR codes for the classroom using Chromebooks, laptops, computers, iPads and other tablets.

What is the easiest way to create AUDIO QR Codes? is a question I hear often. If you have ever wondered how to do this, here are a few easy to use tools I highly recommend:

Vocaroo

Perhaps the most well-known and intuitive tool for creating audio recordings that will also generate a QR Code is Vocaroo. It is a web-based tool that requires you to record on a Chromebook, laptop or computer but can be played back on any device including iPads and other tablets. It is important to note that the QR codes will expire after a few months. An alternative is to download the recording right from Vocaroo as an mp3, upload the mp3 to Google Drive or Dropbox and then turn that link into a QR code using a site like QR Stuff or the Chrome extension Quick QR Code Generator.

Cloud QR Generator App





The Cloud QR Generator App ($3.99) for iOS is one of my favorites! You can also find it in the Google Play store by clicking HERE ($3.49). This app will create all kinds of different QR codes, one of which is audio QR codes!



Here is a Facebook Live I did awhile ago about these two tools if you would like to see the steps to take to make these audio QR codes (fast forward to 0:38):


Seesaw

For those of you who use Seesaw, I highly recommend using the audio recording feature that is built into Notes that can be turned into a QR code right within the platform. Andrew Leiser created this wonderful video tutorial to show you exactly how to accomplish this:

Other Methods

When working with teachers who do not use Seesaw, Vocaroo and Cloud QR Generator are my go-tos because very few steps are involved in creating the QR codes. But I would like to mention that there are other methods if you are up for it! Depending on what kind of device you and your students have access to will depend on the tools you use.

You can always have students record their voice using a computer program like Audacity or apps like Voice Memos or Voice Recorder. These tools will allow you to record audio and save it as a mp3 file. You would then need to upload the mp3 to Google Drive or Dropbox and then turn that link into a QR code using a site like QR Stuff or a Chrome extension like Quick QR Code Generator (same thing as I mentioned above for Vocaroo if you wanted the QR code to last longer than a few months).

Ideas for Using AUDIO QR Codes in the Classroom

  • Teacher records directions to leave at a center
  • Give differentiated spellings tests
  • Create an audio library (an adult can record themselves reading books-paste the QR codes on the inside cover of the book)
  • Book reviews
  • Students read their writing and attach a QR code for others to listen to
  • Fluency practice (students can paste codes in a notebook and go back to listen to their earlier recordings to see how they have improved as a reader.)
  • Students talk about their drawings and attach a QR code for an interactive display
How else could we use audio QR codes in the classroom? Let me know in the comments below!

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Augmented Reality in the Elementary Classroom

Sunday, April 15, 2018 / Leave a Comment

Augmented Reality in the Elementary Classroom

Effective ways educators can use Augmented Reality in the Elementary Classroom

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Make Scheduling Quick and Easy with Doodle

Thursday, April 12, 2018 / Leave a Comment

Make Scheduling Quick and Easy with Doodle

Come learn how you can make scheduling events and meetings quick and easy using the digital tool, Doodle.

Doodle is a digital tool that will allow you to create and send polls when scheduling meetings, get togethers, events, etc.. It simplifies the scheduling process by aggregating common dates that users submit through their poll responses. For instance, here are the results from a poll I sent to some friends when trying to schedule a get-together. I love the visual graphic that allows me to quickly see that April 26th works best for everyone.


Pricing

☝There is a free plan (what I use). However, if you are interested in a more robust scheduler they do have paid plans with many incredible features:

How does it work?

  • Go to doodle.com and create a free account
  • Click the blue +Create Doodle button
  • Enter your poll title, the location of your event and any details
  • Click on all of the options for possible dates (you can even add different times)

  • Click Finish
  • A link will then be available that you can copy and send out via text, email or post in your school's LMS. There is even an option to email it out straight from the website.




Disclaimer: My husband was the one who told ME about this tool a few months ago. Since then I have started using it for all kinds of events. I promised I would give him credit for introducing me to Doodle. 😂Meet Tim Smith...
Sorry ladies, this hunk is taken😉

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Digital Tool for Increasing Focus and Boosting Productivity

Sunday, April 8, 2018 / Leave a Comment

Digital Tool for Increasing Focus and Boosting Productivity

Digital Tool for Increasing Focus and Boosting Productivity: Works on Chromebooks, laptops, computers, iPads, Android devices and also comes as a Chrome extension. Educators are using this for independent working time and testing in the classroom.

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Using The Fabulous Friend Machine to Help Teach Characterization

Friday, April 6, 2018 / 5 comments

Using The Fabulous Friend Machine to Help Teach Characterization

I have once again teamed up with the fabulous Reading Crew Bloggers to kick off spring with a mentor text blog hop and giveaway! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post for a chance to win a mini iPad or one of several gift cards! We will be choosing 8 different winners.

Using the book The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland to teach characterization. This story is a great lesson for the digital citizenship topics of online safety.

The Book

The book I chose to feature in our springtime book hop is one from my technology-themed picture books list: The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland (Amazon affiliate link).


Not only do I love using this book to help reinforce digital citizenship concepts like online safety and stranger danger but it can also be used to introduce the reading skill of characterization.

It is about a friendly chicken named Popcorn who finds a digital device (which she refers to as the Fabulous Friend Machine) in the barn and attempts to make some new friends online. Unfortunately her "new friends" don't turn out to be friendly at all...

UPDATE! Since I wrote this post The Fabulous Friend Machine has become unavailable on Amazon (go figure!). Hopefully it will make a come back. I was able to find it on Book Depository with free delivery world wide

The Skill

Characterization refers to the way the author conveys information about a character. Sometimes authors are direct when describing a character by telling a reader exactly what a character is like: Ex. "Popcorn was, quite simply, the friendliest chicken at Fiddlesticks Farm." Other times authors are indirect when showing what a character is like which leaves the reader needing to look for clues: Ex. "The wolves didn't want to eat double-fudge chocolate cake. They wanted to eat chicken!" 

The Activity

Click HERE to download my freebie of printables and jpeg images to go along with this story. You will find the three posters displayed above in this download as well. This UNPLUGGED activity makes a great, educational lesson for technology teachers when computers are being used for testing or when the wifi is down. However, I have also included jpeg images of the printables for teachers who would rather use them in Google Slides, PowerPoint, Seesaw, Classkick, PicCollage, etc. (Directions for how to do this are not included)

PRE-READING

Hand out the characterization sheet that comes in the free download:


Introduce (or review with) students the concept of characterization. Have them look at the sheet and  identify the characters they will encounter when reading the story (the pictures should help). As a class, make predictions about the characters' personalities. 

DURING READING

Using the same sheet mentioned above, have students jot down anything they notice about the characters as you read the story.

  • physical characteristics
  • facial expressions
  • body language
  • things they say
  • things they do
  • adjectives used to describe them

AFTER READING

If you would like students to take a deeper dive into characterization, have them fill out the chart for each character. They could do this in small groups or partners to get a conversation going. If you upload these to Google Slides, students could work collaboratively.

Enter to WIN an iPad Mini & Gift Cards:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the other posts and grab more FREEBIES!


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Classroom Cribs: Episode 1

Thursday, March 29, 2018 / 2 comments

Did you ever watch the MTV Cribs television show that featured tours of celebrities' homes? Well, here is our version of MTV Cribs that we are calling CLASSROOM CRIBS in which second grade teacher, Mary Ledford, takes me on a tour of some AMAZING elementary classrooms to check out their various setups. Everything from flexible seating options, technology storage and adorable displays are highlighted. I was blown away!

Did you ever watch the MTV Cribs television show that featured tours of celebrities' homes? Well, here is our version of MTV Cribs that we are calling CLASSROOM CRIBS in which second grade teacher, Mary Ledford, takes me on a tour of some AMAZING elementary classrooms to check out their various setups. Everything from flexible seating options, technology storage and adorable displays are highlighted. I was blown away!

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