Google Sites Just Got Really Good

Eric Curts from Control Alt Achieve wrote:

“Out of all the major Google tools, most people would agree that Google Sites has been the most overdue for an update. Yes, it is one of my favorite programs, and I have used it extensively to design websites, and I have created loads of training videos and guides for it. Still though, when compared to most modern web design tools, Google Sites has fallen far behind its competition.”

I recently asked a colleague to draw their experience using the old Google Sites for student ePo​rtfolios. It looked something like this…

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 10.29.53 AM





Meet the new Google Sites.

Now, the new Google Sites provides more successful solutions in a way-friendlier interface than anything else I have used before.​ ​

You can create a new website in minutes!

Sites can be a great tool for students to demonstrate their learning, build a portfolio, collaborate with peers, share their writings, and create a positive digital footprint, especially if the school is using Google Apps for Education.

Here is my new Site I built to teach how to integrate technology within the classroom.

I am looking forward to seeing the educational impact a new version of Sites can have on teaching and learning at school.

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Don’t Worry Befunky (CollageMaker)

Making collages is easier than ever using BeFunky CollageMaker.

BeFunky Collage

Here is how to get started.


Sign-up with BeFunky CollageMaker. You will need to sign-up for this free creation tool. Click link below:

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 2.31.03 PM


Create your photo collage. 


You have many options for saving your collage including Google Drive.

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[Infographic] How to Be a Google Power User

google power user

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Using Multiple Choice Questions Aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy

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Multiple choice questions (MCQ), when designed with good structure and strategies, can provide an in-depth evaluation of a student’s knowledge and understanding.  

According to Is This a Trick Question? A Short Guide to Writing Effective Test Questions

“…almost any well-defined cognitive objective can be tested fairly in a multiple choice format.”

From the article, Multiple-Choice Questions Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy:

“Well crafted and standards aligned multiple choice questions deliver powerful data. This data helps teachers identify areas of student weakness, and give students meaningful feedback. By integrating multiple choice questions into the formative assessment mix, hard data points of student learning can be easily tracked and acted upon.”

MCQ types:

  • Question / Right answer
  • Incomplete statement (cloze reading)
  • Best answer

Additionally, Assessment Literacy and Program Evaluation Consultant, Natalie Bolton, recommended using MCQ for low stakes rapid classroom feedback and formative assessments. MCQ can generate qualitative data that can be used  to create charts and diagrams for data analysis.

It’s not all pie in the sky though. It can be challenging to write those good questions. To prevent confusion don’t interpret “higher thinking skills” with “difficulty” or “complicated”:

  • use data or pictures to go beyond recall
  • use multiple choice to get at skill questions




Multiple Choice Item Bank and Quiz Builder 

Self Graded Quizzes Using Google Forms

Using Google Forms and Flubaroo to Create a Quiz

Is This a Trick Question: A Short Guide to Writing Effective Test Questions

Multiple Choice and Bloom’s Taxonomy

Creating Multiple Choice Questions Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy in e-Learning

Multiple-Choice Questions Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy

How To Write Multiple-Choice Questions Based On The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

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ISTE Standards and “I Can Statements” for Students (2016)


“The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. ” [excerpt from ISTE]

Click here to access the standards for students.

To help unpack the new standards and view the indicators, click here.

1. Empowered Learner

Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.

“I can use technology to set goals, work towards achieving them and demonstrate my learning.”

  • I can set goals for my learning and reflect on my learning.
  • I can connect with other learners to help me learn.
  • I can improve my work by asking others to give their opinion.
  • I can fix problems on different types of technology.

2. Digital Citizen

Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

“I can understand the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of living, learning, and working in an interconnected digital world.”

  • I can create an online version of myself and understand it lasts forever.
  • I can follow the rules when I’m online.
  • I can share my own ideas and ask others if I can share their ideas.
  • I can only tell safe sites my information.

3. Knowledge Constructor

Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.

“I can critically select, evaluate and synthesize digital responses into a collection that reflects my learning & builds my knowledge.”

  • I can plan how to research for school and for fun.
  • I can decide if a website if a good source to use for research.
  • I can make connections and conclusions to the information that I find using different tools.
  • I can learn and find answers to real world problems.

4. Innovative Designer

Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.

“I can use a design process to solve problems by creating new and imaginative solutions using a variety of digital tools.”

  • I can use a design process to decide how to solve a problem.
  • I can use a design process to select different tools to plan how to solve problems.
  • I can use a design process to learn from my mistakes and create new designs from what I have learned.
  • I can use a design process to work to solve problems that may not always have an answer.

5. Computational Thinker

Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.

“I can identify authentic problems, work with data and use a step-by- steps process to automate solutions.”

  • I can use repetitive technology to help me solve problems.
  • I can collect, understand and show information.
  • I can break down problems into smaller parts to solve big problems.
  • I can understand how using formulas and machines help solve different problems.

6. Creative Communicator

Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

I can communicate effectively and express myself creatively using different tools, styles, formats & digital media.”

  • I can choose the right program to show my work.
  • I can create new works or seek permission to recreate old work.
  • I can explain hard ideas by using different ways to show that I understand.
  • I can create work for a certain group of people.

7. Global Collaborator

Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

“I can broaden my perspective, understand others and work effectively in teams using different tools.”

  • I can connect with other learners using different programs to learn.
  • I can connect with other learners to see different sides of a problem.
  • I can help a team in different ways to solve a problem.
  • I can work on a team to solve a problem and create a solution.
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Copy and Paste Like a Pro: Plain Text Formating and Encoding

Have you ever copied some text from a web page or a Google document and then wanted to paste it as simple text into another application (like PowerSchool) without getting all the formatting from the original source?

It can be frustrating.

Simple copying-and-pasting of formatted text often inserts extra “unwanted characters” into the final product. For example, what might be a command to “use bold text” in one program could insert curly braces {} or $ into the receiving program.

Here are two tools which will help you copy and paste like a pro.

Mac OS X

TextEdit allows users to change fonts, sizes, colors, and more. Simply, you can copy text styling from one place to another.

Top 10 TextEdit Secrets

Microsoft Windows 10

Notepad offers the simple solution to paste any text that you want to strip formatting into. Copy and paste, format using Notepad’s version and you’ll only have the text without extra formatting like colors or alternative fonts.

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Cite Your Sources in Google Docs Using ‘Explore’ & EasyBib Add-on

Are doing a research report using Google Docs and need to cite your sources?

Try using the EasyBib Bibliography add-on.

Search for books, journals, and websites and format your citations using MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and over 7K other styles, to create your Work Cited page all within your document. Learn more >

In your Google Doc, click Add-ons.

Select EasyBib add-on. 

Allow EasyBib access to your Google Docs.

Now your are ready to research.  

Click on Tools, select ‘Explore’ and the search window will pop up.

Choose your Topic (ALA, MLA, Chicago), Bibliography or Citation.

Enter your search topic.

From Add-on, select EasyBib Bibliography Creator > Manage Bibliography

Choose Cite Source Style: MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.

Example: I am citing information from the site Dog Breed Information and Pictures. 

In the footer the source will be automatically sited with the proper attribution.

You can do an image search in Tools > Explore too.

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Making Sense of NGSS with Paul Anderson

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The American Community School-Amman was fortunate to host education consultant, accomplished keynote speaker and Youtuber, Paul Anderson.

Paul met with teachers, students and admin about ways to best apply the Next Generation Science Standards while using best pedagogical practices in the classroom.

As the EdTech learning coach, I was invited to take part in a full-day workshop. Being a non-science teacher, I was most compelled by the pedagogy applications that Anderson recommended. Trying to be an active participate, I jotted down some take-aways.

“The best way to learn science is to DO science.”

“Culling the content is important–and just as important–is doing the practice.”

“Inquiry is key.”

“Inquiry equals practice.”

“The best learning happens when students are doing the practices.”


[teacher voice] “On your model, I noticed…”

“Apply the CER model–Claim, Evidence and Reasoning”

For example:

Question: Is air matter?

Claim: Yes, air is matter.

Evidence [relevant observations]: Models, diagrams labeled with ideas and concepts proving air is matter. Envision drawings on white boards.

Reasoning [connect evidence to claim]: The mass of the balloon increased when the air was added…Since matter must have both mass and volume…

Using me as a non-sciency guy, Paul posed a phenomena to demonstrate to other science teachers how to hook students with inquiry to make the magic of learning happen. I (hesitantly) obliged–and I am glad I did. Thanks, Paul!

So the big question:

What’s in the bubble of boiling water?

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Printing Made Easier Using Command ‘Print Using System Dialog’

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When printing a file from the internet or Google Docs on a Mac device to a networked printer, sometimes the ‘pipes’ get clogged up and your print command doesn’t quite work. You may even get the notice that the printer is “not connected.”

Before you pull out the bat (or your hair), try this trick.

Print Using System Dialog

Step 1 : File Print


Step 2 : Click on Print using system dialog


Step 3 : The print window will pop up. Sometimes the window is condensed. You can expand window by clicking on Show Details in order to program print preferences.


Step 4 : Be sure to select the destination printer and choose your settings, as needed.


Extra Credit

For those inclined to really tech out, create your own Print Using System Dialog when using Google Chrome:

Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts. Once there, select Application Shortcuts and add a new shortcut for Google Chrome. Make sure the Menu Title reads Print Using System Dialog… exactly, and give it the standard print shortcut (⌘P).

Happy printing!

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NWEA MAP: Understanding Student Progress Reports









During parent teacher conferences at ACS-Amman, Tracy Ramberg and I co-presented a parent workshop about understanding the Measures of Academic (MAP) Progress Student Progress Report, which is administered twice per year at ACS-Amman.

Below is the Google Slide presentation and video recording:

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