Saturday, 26 April 2014

Improving Feedback and Student Self-Analysis

With thanks to Colleen Lee-Hayes and her blog, I discovered the Google Docs Add-On "TextHelp Study Skills" and thought it could be useful in a lot of subject areas.

TextHelp Study Skills

Use this add-on to Google Docs to highlight key information that can then be grouped, sorted, and exported into a new Google Doc for later use. 

Ideas for Student Use in the Classroom:
  • In Language classes, students could use the different colour to identify required language components in assignments.
  • In Geography, History, Civics, Social Science classes, students could use a colour to identify the facts that they've included in their assignment.
  • In English, students could identify quotations used in their essays.  (Use a different colour for each book if doing a comparative essay or, one colour for quotations from the novel and another colour for quotations from secondary sources.)
  • Students could use the "Collect Highlights" feature to collate the highlighted information into an overview document that they could then share with their teacher.  
  • For study purposes, students could highlight their notes and then export their highlights to create a page of key facts / ideas / etc to study.

Ideas for Teacher Use in the Classroom

  • Teachers could also use the tool to provide visual feedback --> highlight the error and provide students with a legend identifying what each colour means.  Students can quickly see where, what type, and how many errors they are making.
  • If teachers are the ones using the tool, we could use the "Collect" option and then go over some sample errors with the class quickly and easily.

Setting It Up:
  • The first time, students add this "add-on" to Google Docs by opening a Google Doc, clicking on "Add-Ons" (in the File / Edit / View / etc menu of the Document) and then "Get Add-Ons" and then searching for "TextHelp Study Skills."
  • Alternatively, you could provide the above link to students to authorize.
  • Once they've added the program, for future documents, they simply need to click on "Add-Ons" and then click on TextHelp Study Skills --> Show Highlighting Tools.

I'd love to hear your ideas of how you see this tool being used effectively in your classroom!

Dipping My Toes Into the Waters of Education Blogs

While I am a big fan of social media and sharing my learning in small Twitter bursts, I've been hesitant to dip my toes into the waters of education blogs.  A lot of this stems from fear and a sense of . . . not inferiority . . . but, I don't know - "averageness" may be the word.  Who am I to share my ideas?  What makes me worthy of adding my thoughts to the ocean of amazing thoughts and ideas that are out there?

It was these same fears that held me back from presenting at conferences such as OMLTA and OHASSTA.  But, with a little push from some friends and colleagues, I presented at both conferences and I realized that we're all in the same boat - we all have something to offer and there is always someone who can learn from those offerings.  And, we all have something to learn.

So, here I go again.  My goal for this blog is to share ideas for teaching French, History, and (my new challenge this year) Geography as well as ways of incorporating technology into the classroom and into our professional practice.

I hope you find something useful here and that you will offer ideas and feedback to help me in my learning journey.