Google Forms & Sheets – Olympic Scoring – Part 2

In Part 1 we talked about the broad strokes of creating a scoring system for my school’s Olympics games. We talked about the services to utilize, how it was basically set up and what skills I used to make everything talk together to accomplish our goal.

This post is all about Google Forms. This is the easiest part of the whole shebang. We willl make a form that lets you pick an event and based on that choice will take you to the event to enter their score or time.

You just need to think about who needs access to the form, how easy will it be for them to fill it out and all that good stuff. When I talked to the organizer of the event he said that he was going to be the only one using the form. This makes a lot of sense for a couple of reasons.

  1. All the events are outside and our campus does not have outdoor WiFi set up. Staff may not want to use their personal data for a school event.
  2. Since he will be the only one entering the form, this is smart as it will cut down on mistakes or duplicate entries.
  3. Some of our events deal with water and some staff may feel a little uncomfortable using their smartphone where there is a chance it could get doused.

So he and the IT team will be the only people with access to the form and the spreadsheet. Again, the fewer people who have access the better. Less chance of any screw ups or unwanted changes to the form or accidental deletion of formulas.

Making the Form

Obviously having a Google account is necessary here. Your school does not need to be a G Suite school but it does help when it comes to sharing it with other staff members.

To start a new form head on over to https://forms.google.com and sign in. Once there click on the plus symbol in the bottom right hand corner to create a new Google Form.

Once you get in, you will find it is pretty straightforward.

I suggest making all your questions either multiple choice or from a dropdown menu.

DO NOT LET THEM TYPE IN THE EVENT OR COUNTRY

Allowing people to do this will break your form GUARANTEED! People will accidentally misspell the country, abbreviate it or not type the whole name. All of these variations will make tracking the data impossible.

By making all questions multiple choices you eliminate this nightmare situation. They must select a choice provided. This will make all the Google Sheet work possible.

Sections

Rather than have all the questions on one page I decided to make a section for each event. A section is probably what you would imagine. It is a separate section that holds only certain questions. That way the organizer doesn’t have to scroll and scroll and scroll to find the event he needs to enter.

Instead, he clicks on the event (which is question 1) then the form goes to that section for that question. This is known as branching.

So here is what my form looks like right now.

Now I want to make a new section. This is very easy. Just click the new section icon on the toolbar next to the question editor.

Now that the section has been created here is what it will look like.

Response validation

Now I want the person entering the form to enter a number for the event. I want that to be an integer (not words) and I want some limitations. I don’t want someone to enter in a negative number or say 3 minutes and 62 seconds. 😦 That just doesn’t work for me.

Luckily Google Forms has something called Response Validation. This can let you put some restrictions on what is inputted into the fields.

Google Forms is pretty smart. For me it automatically knew I wanted a number and went ahead and added the data validation, but if it doesn’t here is how you enable it. Click the three buttons icon in the bottom right hand corner of the question.

Then select Response validation.

A new area will be added to the bottom of your question.

Now that it is there I can set some restrictions. For minutes I will make it a number between 1–30 (I know that is the limit for each event).

Where it says Number and Between – those are drop down menus and can be changed.

Now I will add another question to ask for how many seconds it took.

OK that section is done. If you have only races (most of our events are races) then you can just duplicate each the section to how many events you have. Doing this is very easy just go to the top of that particular section, click the three dots and select Duplicate section option

Branching

This is very easy. Now that the sections have been duplicated it is time to do the branching. Basically in section one, depending on what event the person filling out the form answers, we want them to go to that section and skip all the other sections. It sounds complicated but is super simple.

Let’s go to the very top in section 1. Now to enable this feature click the three dots in bottom right hand corner of that section. Then select Go to section based on answer.

Now the multiple choice question will change a little. It will add drop down next to each question. This is a drop down menu and you simply select the section you want it to go to.

Now go to each section and at the very bottom change it to Submit form. This will make sure that the form submits after that section is complete and you can start the process over again.

Make a spreadsheet

Last step. Click on Responses tab at the very top of the Google Form. Then click on the Google Sheet icon. This will create a Google Sheet where all the data is stored.

That’s it. It seems like a lot of work but it is really not too difficult especially if you have experience with Google Forms.

Next post will be Part 3 – Google Sheets – Setting up the event

Posted in Google Apps, Helpful Tips, Patrick Cauley, tutorial | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Google Forms & Sheets – Olympic Scoring – Part 1

What is with me and “multiple part” posts?

OK and just a fair warning this series is going to get a little technical with formulas and linking multiple worksheets together to get a scoreboard of sorts for an “Olympic” event our school is putting on. I’ll do my best to break this down and try to help you connect the dots but if you need some help reach out to me and I will be happy to assist

This first post is just the background info and some basics that you should know or need to learn about Google Forms & Sheets before going forward. so let’s dig in.

Olympics

A lot of schools do this and call it different names. I’ve heard it called field day, activity day, royal rumble and so on. Basically it is a day where the school breaks into teams and performs events, either head to head or individually and then at the end of the day a winner is awarded based on their performance.

So this part in itself is busy enough and has a lot of moving pieces and it takes a certain person with good organizational and leadership skills to pull this off. My hat is off to those people.

At the beginning of the year those people came to the IT department and asked for a way to automatically calculate points for each event. What was happening was that calculating and organizing the results was taking too long at the end of the day, and, well, when you have an event like this, 30 minutes of downtime can spiral out of control real quick, so they needed a better solution and we have created that.

Our set up is pretty simple. We have 15 countries (teams) and 15 events. That means that each team will do each event individually. So we need to be able to capture those results and have a real time calculation of these events. The team that performs best at an event is awarded 15 points. Likewise the team that performs the worst is awarded 1 point.

Google Forms

The solution is Google Forms. I’ve made a very simple Google Form. The first page asks what event is being scored.

Then the second page asks for the country (team) name and how they performed.

 

We will get into making the form itself on the next post but even if you have never used Google Forms before then you should have no problem figuring this out. It is pretty simple.

For those who do not know, the results of a Google Form can be saved onto a Google Sheet. Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program (like Excel). Here is my example I worked on to give you an idea of what a spreadsheet looks like.

Google Sheets

This is where the real magic happens. To put it simply all the results from the Google Form are saved on a Google Sheet. All the heavy lifting is done here through a variety of different Google Sheets functions.

So I have four different types of worksheets. A worksheet is a different spreadsheet within the same file. So in the picture below you can see seven of the worksheets in this file.

Here are the four different worksheet types I use.
1. Responses – This one worksheet is where all the form submissions are saved. They are sorted by time but really you will not be touching this data much at all.
2. Event types – I made a worksheet for each event. This data is fed from the Responses worksheet. So in total I made 15 total events but really it is a lot of copying so not a bunch of work. Each event will house all the results for each country in that event
3. Country totals – I made a worksheet for each team. This will house (you probably guessed it) all the results for that particular country. Again, I made 15 worksheets of this type but again, it was a lot of duplication so not a bunch of work
4. Totals – This last type is just one sheet. It shows all the point totals for each team and then ranks them.

Skills

  • When researching this I saw a number of examples but many had people inputting their own scores directly into a spreadsheet which helps a little but was not enough of a time saver for us. I saw others that wrote their script for Google Sheets. This is a bit beyond me at the moment so I decided to try and build my own (which I did) and here are the skills I used to build it.
  • Google Forms
    • How to create a form that “branches.” This is very basic and took very little time to learn (15 minutes)
  • Google Sheets Functions – Functions are commands that tell the sheet to do various tasks like add a column of numbers, look up other cells and report them back into another cell and so on.
    • Named ranges – This is very simple. You select a range of cells and then you can name that range. So when you want the data from cell A1 to cell D30, you can highlight all that data and name it. Then you no longer need to type out that range over and over again. This is especially helpful when working with multiple sheets (15–30 minutes)
    • Query – This pulls and filters data from the Responses worksheet onto a new worksheet. It is one function per sheet and updates automatically when a form is submitted. This is a little tricky but definitely learnable to someone with little spreadsheet experience (1–2 hours).
    • Vlookup – I learned Vlookup when teaching Excel. It basically looks for a reference number in one column and then reports back a value in a different cell. Confused – so was I. This takes a good a little while to learn if you’ve never done it before (1–1.5 hours)
    • Small and Large – These functions lets you “order” by smallest or the largest. It is very easy to learn (30 minutes).
    • Sum – Super duper simple. This will add the numbers up in a variety of cells automatically. It is usually one of the easiest and first functions most people learn.

Now take these times with a grain of salt. You may be pretty good with Sheets and these times may be 0 minutes for you. Also understand I am not an expert here. I had some basic knowledge, a goal and determination and I was able to learn how to create this. I am sure there are more efficient and better ways to do this and I look forward to learning those.

Part 2 of this post will be setting up the Google Form. It’ll be out tomorrow or Wednesday. So look out for that.

Posted in Google Apps, Helpful Tips, Patrick Cauley, tutorial | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Chrome Extension – Kami

Here is another extension that I like a lot in Chrome. Now Chrome can view PDF’s and I have never really like the way they handle it. Check out the picture below to see what I mean.

The image is not quite large enough for me to easily read and there is no way to highlight, add text, you know mark it up. Also there are no thumbnails to quickly navigate or quickly scan what is going on in that document.

I get it, Chrome is making it a service and I can download it to my computer and open it up with Preview and do all that good stuff. Then I think No! This is 2018 and there should be a way to do this within my browser of choice. So off to searching I went and have found Kami.

Now Kami the good news here is that Kami does work with other browsers. It will work with Chrome (of course), Firefox, Edge and Safari. This is very good so if you are not a Chrome user you can still take advantage of all that Kami has to offer.

Installation and Use

Installation is as easy as any other browser extension. To use Kami it is dead simple. You may need to sign in or create account. Since it uses the Google API signing through Google makes it very easy.

Now Find a PDF file online and click the link to open it. Kami should automatically open it up in your browser. Here is what it looks like.

As you can see there is a lot more going on. The big scene steeler is the toolbar on the far left hand side. This thing will let you highlight, strike through, leave a comment and a textbox, shape and a few more neat little tools. Heck you can even use text to speech (though that is a paid feature). I’ve taken a quick screenshot of all the tools expanded.

Using Kami is pretty intuitive and straight forward. Now if you want to save the PDF (which if you want your annotations to stick) you have quite a few choices.

I believe it automatically saves all changes in Kami’s own servers. As you can see you are also able to save it directly to Google Drive which works pretty well.

Now there are times when saving just isn’t enough. There are times that you need to export (download) it to your computer. I was very happy to find that rather than just download it gives you some options. Check out the image below to see what you can do.

I really, really like that you can download an unmarked up copy. A lot of services and programs have it that when up a PDF that is it. If you want an original you have to go download it again from its original source. I think this is great for planning. You can show an original and then show the concept or the marked up version. Great feature!

There is a sharing feature but you have to upload it to Kami’s servers first. This isn’t a real feature that I or my school would use too often since we would be handling all the sharing through Google Drive. It is nice to know that if a school does not use G Suite they have do have options to easily

Kami even has thumbnail view! Oh man this is so nice. Just click this little icon and bam! Thumbnails.

Options

I won’t go into all of them because I honestly didn’t have that much time trying it out but check out all those options!

The most important options that do stand out to me is the ability to split and merge PDF documents. Now take this with a grain of salt people. If a PDF is protected it may not be able to perform this task so keep that in mind.

When you click that option it will open a new window where you must upload your PDF to Kami and then you can split or merge multiple PDF files.

Price

When you sign up you are on the Basic plan which is free, but a teacher or you can get Kami for your entire domain.

The teacher plan comes with 150 licenses! That’s a lot for $99 a year. If you break that up it comes to 0.66¢ per student. Not bad at all and you do get a lot of good features for that price. But I am still plenty happy with the basic. The only tool I wish they would throw in is the ability to add text to a PDF.

Overall I am happy with Kami and I think if you look at PDFs in your browser I highly encourage you to try it out.

Posted in chromebook, Helpful Tips, Patrick Cauley, Review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Episode 152 – PHEASANTS!

Tony and Patrick are back! After a quick go around about pheasants on Tony’s campus they get going talking about some exciting ed tech talk.

As always subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

  1. Amazon WorkSpaces
    1. https://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/
    2. Pricing – https://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/pricing/
  2. Don’t buy Nintendo Labo – by Patrick
    1. https://itbabble.com/2018/04/19/dont-buy-nintendo-labo/
    2. Too costly
    3. One time use
    4. Alternatives?
  3. Computer Science, Programming, and Coding Standards by Grade Level by Tony DePrato
    1. https://itbabble.com/2018/04/20/computer-science-programming-and-coding-standards-by-grade-level/
    2. ISTE – NETS- https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students
  4. iPads vs. Chromebooks: Part 1 – 2018 by Patrick
    1. https://itbabble.com/2018/04/20/ipads-vs-chromebooks-part-1-2018/
    2. Following the data
    3. Discussing with stakeholders
  5. Apple Classroom update
    1. We are rolling the newer version next year
    2. It’s nice

Download this episode HERE!

https://itbabble.podomatic.com/enclosure/2018-04-23T14_36_24-07_00.mp3″
Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Computer Science, Programming, and Coding Standards by Grade Level

By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato

A while back I took the ISTE NETS Standards and decided to create a grade level based layout for what students should be able to do at different grade levels.

As the students continue to progress through their education, the grade level view expands gradually. The idea is that they keep repeating activities and meeting these standards.

Here is what the current design looks like:

Years  3 & 4:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.

Year 5:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments

Year 6:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system

Year 7:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system
  • Using a modern, high-level programming language, construct correctly functioning programs involving simple and structured data types; compound boolean expressions; and sequential, conditional, and iterative control structures

Year 8:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system
  • Using a modern, high-level programming language, construct correctly functioning programs involving simple and structured data types; compound boolean expressions; and sequential, conditional, and iterative control structures
  • Design and test algorithms and programming solutions to problems in different contexts (textual, numeric, graphic,
    etc.) using advanced data structures

Years 9 & 10:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain
    various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system
  • Using a modern, high-level programming language, construct correctly functioning programs involving simple and structured data types; compound boolean expressions; and sequential, conditional, and iterative control structures
  • Design and test algorithms and programming solutions to problems in different contexts (textual, numeric, graphic, etc.) using advanced data structures
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the operation of computer networks and mobile computing devices
  • Demonstrate knowledge of two or more programming paradigms

Years 11 & 12:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain
    various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system
  • Using a modern, high-level programming language, construct correctly functioning programs involving simple and structured data types; compound boolean expressions; and sequential, conditional, and iterative control structures
  • Design and test algorithms and programming solutions to problems in different contexts (textual, numeric, graphic, etc.) using advanced data structures
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the operation of computer networks and mobile computing devices
  • Demonstrate knowledge of two or more programming paradigms
  • Analyze algorithms by considering complexity, efficiency, aesthetics, and correctness
  • Demonstrate an understanding of static and dynamic data structures

Over the next few weeks, I will be connecting the standards at each grade level to the types of activities and lessons that facilitate them.

Posted in Educational Technology, programming, STEM/STEAM, Tech Integration, Tony DePrato | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

iPads vs Chromebooks: Part 1 – 2018

I thought I would put the year on the title of this post just to give it some search relevance. I don’t know how many posts I’ve seen that are 3–4 years old and while some of the arguments are still relevant others are not. This short series will detail this school’s thinking, surveys, conversations and decisions. This is not an article that is saying one device over another … period! No, that kind of simplistic thinking usually does not benefit schools. Instead we will go through the process of how we evaluate the effectiveness of our devices and what decisions we make based on data and anecdotal observations.

Let’s start with some background information. If someone ever asks you what your school uses or what another school should use – get some information first. Fit for a device is important. The school I work for is a small private school that has around 400 students. We are preschool through grade 8 and are broken into 3 divisions.
* Early childhood (preschool, prekindergarten, kindergarten)
* Lower school (grades 1–4)
* Middle school (grades 5–8)

We currently have 1 computer lab with about thirty 21.5″ iMacs. They are older (about 5 years old) but still functioning well despite some expected slow downs. We have three MacBook Air carts for teachers in lower school and middle school to check out. We also have an iPad cart. Each cart has about 22–24 devices respectively.

Each lower school classroom has 7 iPads for student use. The classes are about 20 students each, give or take 1–2. The middle school is 1:1 iPads. Depending on the grade level determines which iPad they have. The older the student, the older the iPad. Students keep their iPads through all four years and at the end of the 8th grade we give it to them as their own personal iPad. This is subsidized by a technology fee that families pay each year. That’s the background info. If you have questions put them in the comments below.

Discussing Chromebooks

When I started this position, Chromebooks was a discussion that came up quite frequently. While clearing out an old IT closet the IT team and myself found 2 older but totally working Acer Chromebooks. We spoke with the lower school principal and asked if she thought that this would be a good addition to the third and fourth grade team. We only had two mind you but she agreed. She thought it would be a good way to allow students to try them out and to get some authentic feedback.

That was back in September of 2017. The third grade team didn’t really use it too much for whatever reason. The fourth grade team reported back that students choose the Chromebook first before an iPad. I pressed them for a reason and they had not inquired. Their thoughts was that they do a lot of work in Google Docs and the addition of a keyboard and trackpad makes working in that environment much easier than a touch screen.

Also during budget time (October-November) the lower school principal asked if we could have 20 Chromebooks for the third and fourth grade classes. When I asked why she said it gives the students choices and increase more technology opportunities for more students. If a student wants to record video, than the iPad is the clear choice. If a person wants to type a report, then the Chromebook is the clear choice. These choices give the class flexibility and having more devices can allow more opportunities for these students.

We had room in the budget and so it was added. These classrooms will not be relinquishing their iPads, the Chromebooks will be added to their classroom’s technology offerings.

Chromebooks in 1:1 environments

As I mentioned earlier, this has been a question. In fact the division head in middle school wanted to evaluate the program itself. Well myself and another teacher put together a short survey and I’ll share some of the results with you. Keep in mind we are a small school and we only have 17 total respondents for the survey.

The survey itself was broken into 4 parts:
1. The effectiveness of the 1:1 program
2. iPad Use and Management
3. Chromebooks
4. Final section with over arching questions

Here are the questions for each (I would embed the form but WordPress.com will not allow it). When the question references a scale – 1 is the worse and 4 is the best.

Section 1 – Effectiveness of the 1:1 Program

  • On a scale of 1–4 – Do you feel the 1:1 program is effective?
  • (Optional) – Can you give an example that supports your answer above?
  • On a scale of 1–4 – Does students having a device enhance the teaching and learning process?
  • (Optional) – Can you give an example that supports your answer above?
  • On a scale of 1–4 – Do you think the iPad is the most effective device for our middle school students?
  • (Optional) – Can you give an example that further explains your answer above?

Section 2 – iPad Use and Management

  • On a scale of 1–4 – Does the iPad do everything you need it to do?
  • Can you give examples that support your answer above?
  • How often do your students use the iPad in your class for educational purposes?
    • Every day
    • Every week
    • Every month
    • Couple of times a trimeseter
    • Few times throughout the year
    • Rarely or never
  • On a scale of 1–4 – Do you feel that it is easy to plan lessons that utilize the iPad?
  • How do you and/or your students utilize the iPad in your class?
  • On a scale of 1–4 – When it comes to classroom management, how easy is it to manage what students do on an iPad
  • What general apps do you commonly use with your students? (Tick all that apply)
    • Evernote
    • Flipgrid
    • Google Drive
    • Google Docs
    • Google Sheets
    • Google Slides
    • Gmail
    • Kahoot!
    • Keynote
    • Notability
    • Numbers
    • Prezi
  • What other apps do you use in your classroom that may be more specific to your subject? (Please just list them, no need for a description)

Section 3 – Chromebooks

  • On a scale of 1–4 – How familiar are you with Chromebooks?
  • On a scale of 1–4 – Do you think Chromebooks would be a more effective device than an iPad for our middle school students?
  • Please explain your answer above with some details.
  • Yes/No – Do you know of any Chromebook Apps that you and/or your students could use in your class?
  • (Optional question) – If you know of these apps or extensions could you please list them below? Again, no need for a description just their name.

Section 4 – Final section

  • Yes/No – Should we continue the 1:1 program in the middle school?
  • What device would be best for the 1:1 program?
    • iPads
    • Chromebooks
    • Windows S
    • We should not have a 1:1 program in middle school
  • (Optional question) – Is there anything else that you would like to share or have an issue or concerning the 1:1 program?

So that’s the survey and as you can see some of the questions give teachers time to write out some of their responses. I will share a few of them but I will share all the results from the quantitative questions in graph form.

Written responses

From the data it looks like Chromebooks are the clear winner here. However it is not so black and white. When going through the written responses it is quite clear that there are some specific apps and some specific ways that teachers use the iPads in their classrooms that show that they may not be so ready to jump into Chromebooks.

One teacher wrote about whether the iPad was the right device for a 1:1 program:

I was forced to choose yes or no, but without more information on the benefits and disadvantages of other options it is really difficult to make an informed answer.

Another teacher wrote about iPads:

It doesn’t type well. It’s invaluable for my Tempest unit, where I teach using the Tempest app on their i-pad. That IS the text for that unit.

There are other responses that ring similar to the ones above, so while I feel the middle school staff is leaning towards Chromebooks more conversations with the staff, parents and students as well.

More reporting will come soon!

Posted in chromebook, iPad, Patrick Cauley | 2 Comments

Don’t buy Nintendo Labo

I’ve been meaning to write this ever since I heard about this product. First, let’s get something out of the way. I like to game. I am not a huge gamer but I really enjoy the time I get to plop down and dive headfirst into a video game. I think the idea of Nintendo Labo is awesome! If I had a Switch I may even be tempted to go ahead and purchase this.

I am talking from a school perspective. At first blush this may seem to tick a lot of boxes.
* STEAM related? CHECK
* Hands on? CHECK
* Engaging? CHECK
* Pretty darn fun? CHECK

I can see a lot of schools and outspoken teachers clamoring to purchase this. So I hate to rain on people’s parade but get your umbrellas ready.

Cost

Here is what you need and the costs associated with them:
* Nintendo Switch – $300
* Nintendo Labo Variety Kit – $70

Now consider how many game consoles you need to purchase. Now how many kits do you need to buy? That’s the big one. I picked the Variety Kit and not the Robot kit($80) because you could probably pair students up and have them build these interactive controllers. In the Variety Kit you get 5 different projects:
* RC Cars
* Fishing Rod
* House
* Motorbike
* Piano

Use

I can see groups of two tackling these projects in a class and they’re not terribly bulky, but if you do the math (and I know you did) that gives you an engaging and varied activity for 10 students. I guess you could stretch it to three but still that’s 15 students. Certainly most classes are larger than that. Then after they’re done you get to play the games.

Well with probably only one Switch in the room that means a lot of people standing around watching others explore their games and what they can do. Even if a teacher dedicates two whole classes over two days that probably gives you anywhere from 1–2.5 hours of game play with 20+ students. Then what? Do they sit on shelves and are used when students have free time? Do students get to take them home at some point?

Re-use

Now comes the real problem. Maybe your school has the money to buy enough Switches and Kits. Maybe you have small classes and can dedicate enough time to getting kids ample playtime with these tools. Maybe you can solve these problems.

The kits (to my knowledge and if I’m wrong please let me know in the comments) cannot really be unfolded and reused. I supposed you could do that but we are talking about cardboard here. Often times taking something apart carefully can even more difficult that putting it together.

At any rate that’s why schools should pass. If you have a fairly small group of students and don’t mind buying more kits every year that perhaps consider it, but it seems a pretty costly investment for a small group of students.

Posted in Opinion, Patrick Cauley | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Episode 151 – iPads are a bore

 

Tony and Patrick are back after spring break! What better way to return than with a great podcast. Check out the talking points below and be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

  1. Apple’s education event
    1. New iPad
    2. New software
    3. Does this make the iPad relevant in education again?
    4. https://apple.slashdot.org/story/18/04/02/1825236/no-more-intel-inside-apple-plans-to-use-its-own-custom-built-chips-in-mac
  2. Kaizena Chrome extension
    1. https://kaizena.com/
    2. https://itbabble.com/2018/03/28/kaizena-update-resolve-comments/
    3. Feedback
  3. Tech Support Problems, Apathy, & Solutions by Tony DePrato
    1. https://itbabble.com/2018/04/02/tech-support-problems-apathy-solutions/
    2. What is your system?
    3. Google Script
  4. Solutions vs. Support
    1. Purchasing technology that you can service vs having to pay for service
    2. Example: Sound solutions in a classroom

As always you can download the episode here!

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tech Support Problems, Apathy, & Solutions

By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato

Recently I was reading a Technology Directors’ forum, and noticed that a few very well established schools were explicitly looking for people to assist them in improving their technology support system (Help Desk, Help Tickets, etc.)

Reflecting on how I design and implement such systems, I began to wonder if these schools have looked at the core foundation issues that cause problems in systems that support a variety of tech-ecosystems and networks.

Why Does Anyone Need Tech Support in 2018?

The question may seem obvious, but this question should be asked every year: Who actually needs support and why?

Why do teachers need someone to come to the classroom to help them? Is the equipment old and/or inconsistent? Is the classroom design too complicated? Does the classroom equipment not work well with the teacher’s issued device(s)? Are students unable to use or manage their devices? Are the deployed software and services too difficult to master?

For example, if a school is running Google Apps for Education or Office 365 for Education, is the school running these newer solutions using and old model? That would cause many problems for end users. End users would be trying to follow an internal plan, that conflicts with the external supplier’s solution. Google and Microsoft are external suppliers, and they do have  recommended implementation plans. In this case, the school has created a problem that will now need support.

The truth is, tech support and training are not the same thing. Asking support staff to execute tasks that an employee is required to do is a massive use of support time. The support staff is not the end user. Meaning, the support staff person is not a teacher. This means they will be very mechanical about explaining how things work, but possibly not very practical. Many issues are strictly job related, and require training from peers, not IT support staff.

The goal of anyone who is planning technology support, or facilities support, should be to eliminate the need for support. Expanding support around problems, will simply make those problems worse. Problems need to be eliminated to reduce the need for regular support.

 

Read More at The International Educator

Posted in Google Apps, Helpful Tips, TIEONLINE, Tony DePrato | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Use Drupal? Patch it now

Use Drupal? Patch it now

Drupal is a popular and free open source CMS that a number of schools use. For the average person it is not too difficult to set up and run and since you can assign roles and permissions to different people you can allow for a bunch of people to contribute to the school website without them accidentally tripping, changing or deleting each other’s content.

That being said there are times when immediate action must be taken to secure the Drupal site and that is happening now. I saw this on Slashdot yesterday and it says there is an exploit.

Patching Drupal is usually pretty easy and there are a bunch of websites out there to help you. In fact from Drupal’s homepage you can read the details about it, which Drupal versions have the vulnerability, the file to patch it and how to patch it.

You can read that here.

I like Drupal and have used it in the past. It’s nowhere as pretty or easy to use as FinalSite but it is pretty impressive with what functionality you can get out of it with a little bit of work.

Drupal on my friends!

Posted in Helpful Tips, Patrick Cauley | Tagged , | Leave a comment