The more I teach, the less technology I use. Don't get me wrong, I love using technology as a strategic partner when designing lessons. However, with each new year in the classroom,, I find myself choosing only few tools but working hard to amplify their impact in creative ways.
Minus Schoology, the LMS leveraged at my school, this year I only (pretty much) used YouTube, GoogleDrive and Blogger. Ironically, I feel this year was the best teaching year I have had to date. Specifically, two "Hacks" if you will, one associated with GoogleDrive, and the other with Blogger, proved to be very successful.
Hack #1: Blogger Post via Email
This hack allows you to create a blog post by sending an email. Any text, images or video attached to the email becomes embedded in the blog post. The subject of the email becomes the title. The email address you create is a way for YOU to post to YOUR blog and is meant to be private. H O W E V E R, if you share the email address for that blog with your students, you can create a means for all your students to post to one blog via email. A class picture splash page, field trip documentation, white board images and presentations, etc. The options are endless! Below is a screencast tutorial.
Hack #2: Pre-Filled GoogleForm Question
This hack allows you to create a GoogleForm with aspects of the a text box pre-filled to prompt the user. I have been using this feature, which is new to the recently updated GoogleForms, to create response templates to help scaffold AP FRQs, video or reading summaries, substitute assignments, etc. Essentially, anything students are submitting that I, as the teacher, would like to either be very structured or could benefit from a template that could be introduced early then gradually released as students gain fluency. Below is a screencast tutorial.