Around the World in 30 Minutes

This spring, many PSD middle and high school students were afforded an innovative experience through Google Pioneer Expeditions. The immersive virtual realiIMG_0280ty (VR) technology creates a memorable experience to connect kids to their learning.

At Poudre High School, Jen Musci’s English students experienced the world of Syrian Refugee children. These students, having no first-hand experience with civil war, were shocked by what they saw. Students discussed the living conditions, education, even the facial expressions of the people they saw. Afterward, they completed an essay on the crisis in Syria, using their VR experience as a source of information.

IMG_0339At Boltz Middle School, science teachers Ashley Rakiecki and Kathleen Scandary used Google Pioneer Expeditions to observe animal adaptations in the rain forests of Borneo. There were lots of “ooohs” and “aaahhhs” when students spotted a python lurking in the leaves. Students were tasked with finding other creatures hiding in the landscape, camouflaged by their adaptations.

Many experts predict that virtual reality is on it’s way to becoming a prominent feature in many modern classrooms. With the ability to be fully immersed in the content, students are better able to understand and retain what they are learningIMG_0384. VR creates a deeper, more meaningful lesson than an article or a video can provide; the students feel like they are there. Teachers have limitless ability to bolster their curriculum with these enriching VR experiences.

French students at Rocky Mountain High School toured the Palace of Versaille without ever leaving their seats. “Imagine how much money it cost to build this place,” one student exclaimed, peering up at a crystal chandelier through the Google Cardboard viewer. For many students, this is a learning experience that could not have happened without this revolutionary VR technology.
While Google Pioneer Expeditions wraps up the nationwide tour of their product, here in PSD, the EdTech team has begun gathering other VR tools. PSD TV has collaborated with EdTech to create 360video using GoPro cameras (look for them on YouTube soon!) iPods and POWIS viewers are available for checkout to teachers to use with students. Contact EdTech to learn more about the possibilities!


Where to Find Resources

#innedco #edtech #techtips

Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of all the technology resources PSD has to offer.  In this screencast, we show where some commonly used resources can be found on the Poudre School District website.

Getting to Know You(r Students!)

#web20 #techtips #edtech

The beginning of the school year can be an exciting and busy time! Here are some fun ways to use  web-based tech tools to get to know your students.

Use Google presentations to create a student “expo”:

In one of our previous blog posts, we discussed how to use Google presentations to create an “Amazing Race“.  You can do a similar activity with your students to start off the year.  Head to Google Drive and create a new presentation.  The Topic could be anything, for example, “what did you do last summer?”, “Where did you go?”, or even better “What are you excited about for the school year?” We do some teacher trainings here at PSD Tech and have created a similar presentation.  Check it out here.

techexpo   You can set the sharing permissions on the presentation by pressing the blue “Share” button in the upper right.  It’s often easier to share the presentation’s link (or shorten the URL) with students rather than entering each student’s email address.

Next, create instructions for the students on the first slide.  After that, it’s a snap!  Students create one or more slides in the presentation and they (or the teacher) can share it out with the class.  Students can embed text, pictures, links, and videos!

Of course, there are other tech tools available for you to use.  The folks over at Socrative also have a great blog.  Check out their post on playing “Guess Who?” using the Socrative web app.

Not sure about Socrative?  Check out our post on using “Laptops as Clickers

You could also create an editable class wiki using Google Sites (or BlackBoard) to do something similar to the above activities.

Have a great school year!

New Functionality Added to Google Forms

#web20 #google #googleapps

A couple of months ago, Google added some functionality to the Forms section of Google Apps. These changes have recently been added to anyone with a Google EDU account. Users can now add images and dates/times to their forms. Check out this screencast to see the new changes!

Embed Presentations

#edtech #web20 #edchat #googleapps #elearning

Do you have presentations or class notes that you’ve created in PowerPoint or Google Presentations?  Would you like these notes to be available to your students anywhere?  You can use embed codes to upload your class notes to your class wiki or BlackBoard Page.

In this blog post, I will guide you through how to upload a PowerPoint presentation to Google Presentations and embed it into your class’ BlackBoard page.

The first step is uploading your PP into Google Presentations.  Once you’ve logged in to Google Drive, click the red “up arrow” in the upper-left part of the screen.


Next, select “files” and navigate to your PP presentation.

Once your file is uploaded, open the presentation and go to “file>publish to web“.pub2web

A menu will come up with a variety of options.  Pick the options that work best for you and your class.  About halfway down the menu, there is an “embed code”.  Copy this code (press Ctrl + c or right click).  Now, navigate to your class’ Blackboard page.

Click the content button where you would like to add your presentation.  Under the “Build Content” tab, select “Blank Page”.  Add your title to and click the “Toggle HTML Source Mode” button (it looks like this: <>).  With HTML enabled, past the Embed code that you copied earlier. Paste the code after the <div> tags and you’re good to go!  Your students now have access to their class notes from your BlackBoard page.

Flubaroo to Grade a Google Form

#edtech #web20 #edchat #google  #elearning

A few weeks ago,  we posted about using Google Forms.  Google Forms are a great way to collect information without the need for paper.  Teachers can use Google Forms to give students formative or summative assessments.  The benefit is that the information is automatically organized into a spreadsheet.  Another added benefit to Google Forms are “Scripts”.  One such script, called Flubaroo, will automatically grade a spreadsheet form for you with only a few simple inputs.

To get Flubaroo, head to a Google Form spreadsheet that’s open and navigate to Insert>Script.

insert script

Next, you’ll want to do a search for “Flubaroo” in the search bar and click “install”

searchflubarooOnce installed, you will notice that “Flubaroo” is now a menu item.


For Flubaroo to work, it needs a reference row or a “key”.  This can be one of the    rows in your spreadsheet.  Teachers will often take their own test so that it populates the first row of the test.  From that point forward, they have an easy way to grade the test/quiz.

After the quiz is graded, there will be a new tab at the bottom (similar to Microsoft Excel) called “Grades”.  Flubaroo automatically creates a spreadsheet with total correct/incorrect, % out of 100, and many other useful pieces of information.  If the teacher has the student input their email address as one of the row items, the teacher can immediately send the student their grade and feedback.

With a little work up front, using Google Forms with Flubaroo can save a lot of time for teachers.

Be sure to check out for more information.

“Amazing Race” with Google Presentations

#edtech #web20 #edchat #google #elearning #googleapps

Looking for new and creative ways to use Google apps?  Google Presentation is similar to Microsoft PowerPoint in form and function, with one key difference;  Google Presentations allow users to collaborate and create in real-time.

This opens up a whole new realm of possibility for you and your students across content areas.  Google Presentations are available under the “Create” button in Google Drive.


The “Amazing Race” uses Google Presentations,  Google Forms, and Google Docs in a creative way.  Students are given a research topic (such as famous scientists or countries in Africa)  and a slide in the presentation.  They then research their topic and create a slide with facts and clues about their topic.  After an entire class worth of students creates individual slides, the teacher has an entire presentation made.  From there, the teacher creates a Google Form based on slide number.  Students look at other students’ slides in the presentation, investigate the facts and clues, and fill out their answer in the Google Form.  The students usually work in pairs and have to collaborate on their answers via a Google Doc (they aren’t allowed to talk during the “race”).

If this all sounds a little complex, check out our extended video podcast by clicking the link below.

Amazing Race with Google

The first 7:25 of the video goes over a description and a real example of it being used in a PSD classroom.  In the rest of the video, Ben Johnson goes over a detailed explanation of how to create this fun and engaging activity for your classroom.

The “Amazing Race” utilizes many Google apps and is a fun and engaging way to integrate 21st century skills into your classroom.

Google Fusion Tables

#edtech #web20 #edchat #google #elearning

Have your students create custom intensity maps with the new Google Fusion Tables.  Check out the screencast “how to” from our own Ben Johnson!

How to make a “Google Fusion Table”

Check out another video of Google fusion tables in action!

Google Fusion Tables in Action

“Survey Says” Use Google Forms

#edtech #web20 #edchat #google #elearning

Happy New Year!  This month we’re going to be looking at some of the many tools that educators have available via Google.
School administrators, party planning teams, or department heads often need feedback on a particular issue.  It can be difficult to gather all that information within meetings due to time constraints or absences.  As an easy way to gather this information, consider using Google Forms.

Head to and select “Drive” from the top menu bar.  Sign in using your google account (or create one)

driveformsYou will see a blank “Untitled Form”.  You can create your questions (check the “question type” pull-down menu) and change the theme from this page.  You can also add more questions by clicking the “Add idem” button in the upper-left portion of the page.

click the image to go to the actual form and take the survey!

As you work on your Form, you will notice a link at the bottom of your page where you can view your form as it would appear to whomever you share it with. That is the link that you can use to share the form with others (feel free to shorten it with or Tinyurl!)

The results will be exported as a spreadsheet which will be viewable from your Google Drive account under “My Drive”.  Here’s how it looks:


As people take the quiz or survey, the information gets populated within the spreadsheet.  There is quite a bit you can do from here as well.  By clicking the menu “Form>Edit Form” you can go back to editing your form.  There’s also an awesome data analysis tool available by clicking “Form>Show summary of responses”.

You can also send the form via email from this page.  The form will automatically be embedded in the email, increasing the chance that it will actually be completed.

There are a myriad of other uses for Google Forms.  Many PSD teachers use Google Forms in their classrooms as an invaluable assessment tool.  Here, we have only scratched the surface so go play and see what you can discover!

Google Earth – Travelling in Time

#cotlf #edtech #sschat Help your students see how much the world has changed with Google Earth’s historical feature! Just click on the clock icon on the top tool bar, and you’ll be able to see images of the area at different points in time.

The number of historical images varies by location, so visit a few different places! Check out Loveland’s Centerra Mall below (images from 1999, 2005, & 2011):