Monday, April 8, 2019

Designs On Digital Learning: Week Of 4.8.19-4.12.19

Welcome to the Week Of April 8th in Digital Learning In North Reading. As we move into spring we have a several exciting topics this week. I will include important links and notes in the video description.

Parent University Update
Parent University on April 6th Clips from the Sessions on Social Media and the 1:1 Learning Program will be available on the blog in the coming week.

April Tech Buzz Professional Development Week Of April 8th

On April 10th Jim Sgroi will will provide a professional development session on the use UDL strategies to move away from traditional presentations from 2:30-3:30 in the Media Center classroom at the MS/HS. On April 11th Chris Lindsay will be doing a training on QR codes in the classroom at 3:15 at the Batchelder school and also on April 11th Kathy Dasho will have her session on the use of video in the classroom for teachers from 2:30-3:30 in room 110 at the high school. Please consult this link for all upcoming sessions.

Digital Learning Work In Elementary Schools This Week

Hood Digital Learning
       5th Grade will be creating instructional videos to teach 4th graders about figurative language using WeVideo.
        First Graders will be creating Earth Day Celebration Videos to teach others how we can protect our planet.
       Fourth graders will be creating Book Trailers using iMovie

Batch Digital Learning
       Grade 1 - Mammal Research Project - Students will be using PebbleGo for research, coming to the Makerspace to create a habitat for their mammal and creating an eBook using Book Creator for a culminating project.
       Grade 2 - Biography Project - Students are using Google Docs and iPad apps like ChatterKids, PicCollage, and Seesaw to showcase what they have learned about an important figure in history.
       Grade 3 - Pilgrim Project - Students are creating the scenery and script for a stop motion animation about their voyage on the Mayflower or their life in Plymouth.
       Grade 4 - Students are completing a Scratch practice project and will then use Scratch to program characters to share what they've learned about a National Park.
       Grade 5 - Explorers Project - Students completed online research using the library databases and are now using the information to create interactive maps using Google Tour Builder

Little Digital Learning

       Fifth grade students will be beginning computer based MCAS testing on April 9th.
       Fourth grade students will be working on building their moon bases as a part of their FIRST Lego league Mission Moon robotics teams. 
       Grade 3 is completing a Makerspace challenge that follows up on their most recent unit, Forces In Our Environment.
        Mrs. Reed's class and Ms. Barrett's class will be participating in a live SKYPE call with world renowned scientist and conservationist, Jane Goodall.

North Reading Public Schools Receives Citation For Participation In First STEM Week
 This week the NRPS received a citation from the Governor's office for our STEM event during the STEM Week In October. The North Reading Public Schools “STEAM Night” event was a huge success and collaboration of STEAM focused curriculum areas. We look forward to putting on a similar event in the coming fall.

Donation of Robotics Tables To High School Robotics Program
The Digital Learning and Entrepreneurship department was the recent recipient of 3 robotics building tables which can be used in the Robotics courses to support building robotics. A large thank you to the Reading/North Reading Chamber of Commerce for this donations and the work of Lisa Eagan who has been a great collaborator with the schools.

#STEAMCS Chat on Twitter   4/10/19
On Wednesday night I will be hosting a Twitter chat on STEAM and Computer Science topics. Please use the #STEAMCS hashtag to follow along or participate. It is a great opportunity to share resources, learning experiences and stay connected with the most relevant conversations in education.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Designs On Digital Learning Week Of 4.1.19-4.5.19 Spring Into Spring

Week Of 4.1.19-4.5.19
Welcome to “Designs On Digital Learning” for the week of April 1st. Please follow @digitalhornets on Twitter and click subscribe to get our updates on Youtube.

Welcome to the Week Of April 1st in Digital Learning In North Reading. As we move into spring we have a several exciting topics this week. I will include important links and notes in the video description.

Preparation for Parent University
This week we are finalizing preparations for Parent University on Saturday. I am presenting a session which provides a detailed overview of the 1:1 program and other Digital Learning presentations will include Website Design and Development with Kathy Dasho and an Elementary presentation on Digital Learning by Christine Lindsay. Superintendent Bernard does a fantastic job with this event and it is a must see and attend! Register here:

April 29th MAPLE Learning Tour
We are currently in preparation for our upcoming learning tour in which we will be sharing North Readings work with personalized learning across a range of MS and HS classrooms. This tour will feature our work with our 1:1 program as well as our work expanding personalized learning strategies and STEAM program development.

Tech Buzz Professional Development
Sessions For April
The first week of April will feature a session from Sam Anthony at the Hood School on Digitizing the Daily 5. A session in which Sam will be providing resources and tools to support student engagement in core subject areas with digital tools. This will be on April 1st.  Helen Kelley will be holding a Makerspace 1 session at the Little School on April 3rd in which she will support the creation of maker-space lessons and resources. These sessions are always open to teachers from all schools to attend and please sign up in My Learning Plan.

Computer Based MCAS Testing At The High School
Last week the high school 10th graders were part of a highly successful computer based testing experience. The Digital Learning team and High School Staff and Administration have a lot to be proud of as we implemented this new testing requirement seamlessly within the school. Many thanks to all that supported this project.

Tech Alliance Student Tech Program
Students are working on developing a “Stair Climbing” robot project and will look forward to presenting their project at an upcoming technology conference in the fall. Students are also exploring the Unity Game Programming Engine to create their own games. Keep an eye out for videos exploring these topics in the near future.

Digital Learning Blog
The March post to the Digital Learning blog was made by Christine Lindsay at the Batchelder School who has written about the implementation of the 3D printer at the school Makerspace and some of the students projects they have worked on. Find the article here:

Monday, March 25, 2019

3D Printing at The L.D. Batchelder School

With the help of the Batch BPO, we were so excited to add a 3D printer to the Batch Makerspace (Imagination Studio) last year. Students have been thrilled about this addition to the space and they love walking by and seeing their original creations coming to life on the 3D printer.

This winter all fourth graders at The Batch had the opportunity to design an original keychain/bag tag to be printed on the 3D printer. They started by learning the features of Tinkercad, an online 3D design and modeling tool. This was a great way for students to apply what they have learned about three-dimensional shapes during math instruction.

Once they were comfortable manipulating and joining shapes, students applied these newly honed skills to their original creation. As you can see from the picture below, students impressed us with their creativity and their designing skills.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Classroom Management in a 1:1 Environment

As many of you know, our 9th grade students will be receiving Chromebooks on January 24th and 25th as part of the district’s ongoing 1:1 initiative. In preparation for this event, the Digital Learning Team will not only continue to support teacher experiences with the 1:1 program, but we will also provide support through instructional coaching and the use of digital tools as well as offering Tech buzz Professional Development in relation to these devices and Personalized Learning. We would also like to take this opportunity to discuss the influence this will have on the classroom environment and recommend some tips and tricks in order to help maintain and promote efficient classroom management.

Although you may be familiar with Chromebooks in the classroom already through the use of carts or the library, once the students have their own devices, you may want to take the time to remind them of the acceptable use policy. This will set the tone in regards to teacher expectations of device use in the classroom. Once a well defined classroom policy and procedure have been established, it will help with managing the student’s accountability more consistently and lower the risk of misuse because they will know what is expected of them and more importantly, they will know the consequences if misuse occurs. Policies can range from which websites students are allowed to use during class to making sure their devices are ready for class use (ie. batteries are fully charged). Whatever the rules are, teachers should write them with the intention of enforcing them. Consistency with the rules will foster good student device practices.

Movement is another strategy teachers can utilize to help support and sustain student accountability. Circulating around the classroom or work area enables the teacher to better monitor their students when using their devices and it will often keep them on task as they know they are being observed at any time. When students are working with their devices in groups, try to cluster the desks together in a way where their screens are always facing out and not to a wall. This will allow teachers to monitor the device screens more conveniently as they are moving around.

When it comes to devices in the classroom, I think Julie Davis says it best, “Being a strict disciplinarian regarding technology does not mean you aren't a fun or good teacher. It means that expectations are there. Be honest with your students, discuss with them why you have the rules you have. Have them dialogue with you about ways that might help them be less distracted. Remember that you have a responsibility for teaching them good digital citizenship skills. Every moment is a teachable moment, every teacher should be teaching their students how to harness and expand the power in their hands in productive ways (Davis, 2015).”

If you would like more information in regards to strategies for a 1:1 environment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Digital Learning Team.

Davis, Julie. “Classroom Management Tips for the Technology Rich Classroom.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 19 Feb. 2015,

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

December Digital Learning at the E.E Little School

Computer Science Education week is an annual program designed to inspire students to take an interest in computer science.  The students at the E.E Little School participated in an Hour of Code.  Each grade level had the opportunity to learn to code through games and activities on the Hour of Code website.  Students and families also worked together to complete a bingo card of at home coding activities. 

Digital citizenship is a theme that is revisited in every project that we do throughout the year, but each fall we spend some time reviewing how to be a good citizen in school, our community and online.  Each grade level focuses on a unique activity.  Grade 5 students used the knowledge that they learned from k-4 to make citizenship bookmarks for the younger students.  Students must research, plan and create a bookmark using Google tools.  The completed bookmarks are then displayed and voted upon.  The winning bookmarks are printed and used by the Little School students each week when they visit the library.  

Our #Getintobooks activity is in full swing at the Little School.  Students are discovering creative ways to put themselves into a book.  This experience is allowing them to discover new books in the library, use digital photography skills such as green screening and forced perspective as well as summarizing stories to share on Twitter. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Batchelder 5th Grade Digital Learning Classes & WIDA ACCESS For ELL Testing Preparation

Michael Callahan - K12 Digital Learning Specialist Blog Update


For those of you who don’t know me yet, I am Michael Callahan, one of the District’s K12 Digital Learning Specialists. I began my K12 career with North Reading Public Schools last year after a number of years supporting Higher Education institutions in Educational Technology roles. With a successful last year, I am excited to see what this year brings . Already the last few months have been full of excitement and have been a great time for new initiatives and planning for the future.

 Let’s take a look at what’s been happening so far:

Batchelder 5th Grade Digital Learning Classes:
Let’s Put Together Computers! 

In October, the Batchelder’s 5th grade students learned how to put together all the major parts of a desktop computer. They were given mice, monitors, keyboards, power cords and USB cables. As a class, we learned about the different pieces, how everything connected, and some of the common areas for major trouble. This was an excellent learning opportunity for the students, as most are all familiar with how to use a desktop computer, but not necessarily how things connect and interact. Even the co-teachers were excited for the students and the value of the lesson; “I thought the idea and practicality of today's DL lesson was great! I wish someone had taught me all of that stuff a long time ago” said Lori Johnson, fifth grade teacher.

Fall Makerspace Challenge 

Batchelder students participated in the Fall Makerspace Challenge. Created by Ms. Nancy Boudreau, first grade teacher, students took the role of farmers trying to get their giant pumpkins into their trucks and trailers for the fair. In this challenge, students had to design and build a machine or system to raise the pumpkin safely off the ground and up to a specific height. It was truly amazing to see all the different ideas among the classes and how groups would approach the task from completely different angles but ultimately came out successful. These types of challenges push the students to think in a variety of different ways as well as allow students to use a variety of skills including executive functioning, analytical thinking, communication, time management, collaboration, and design skills.

 Image provided by Mrs. Borek.

District Wide Initiatives: 

WIDA ACCESS For ELL Testing Preparation 

With district wide testing beginning in January, the last few months have been full of planning and development. Our top priority in supporting our students as they begin testing has been ensuring a smooth and seamless experience. That means organizing and coordinating a number of district technologies, as well as collaborating with a number of district staff including Barbara Fitzgerald, District ELL Coordinator, Daniel Downs, Director of Digital Learning, Nicholas Langford, Network Administrator, and Nan Cook, Data Manager, to ensure our students have exactly what they need.

I am extremely excited to see where this year takes me in support of our students. All the projects, Makerspace Challenges, and district initiatives we support make my role as a K-12 Digital Learning Specialist a varied and ever changing role that I enjoy and find rewarding.

Thank you,
Michael Callahan

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The L.D. Batchelder Imagination Studio

Chris Lindsay
Digital Learning Specialist, L.D. Batchelder School, North Reading Public Schools

The L.D. Batchelder School's Makerspace (named The Imagination Studio by a fifth grade student) officially opened in the fall of 2017. This initiative was spearheaded by a team of Batch teachers, who are passionate about the maker movement and bringing additional engineering challenges to our students. They, along with all the faculty members, feel it is so important to prepare children for their future careers by giving them additional opportunities to think outside the box, to work as a team, and to experience the engineering design process, as they attempt to solve real world problems. We are so appreciative of the Batch BPO for funding many items, such as the 3D printer, in this space.

During the current school year every K-5 student will have the opportunity to experience at least three different challenges in The Imagination Studio during their weekly Digital Learning time. The first challenge took place in October. Ms. Nancy Boudreau, first grade teacher, came up with a real world problem relating to giant pumpkin contests. The challenge was to design a lift for the farmers to get their giant pumpkins to the fair. Here are two designs created by 2nd and 3rd grade students:

This was not an easy challenge. Teams needed to use the design thinking process, as they brainstormed with their partner. They developed a prototype, tested this prototype and made improvements to their design. The classroom teachers and I were so impressed with the creativity and the perseverance that the students demonstrated. With every challenge, students are becoming more confident and capable and we look forward to seeing their original designs during the winter and spring challenges.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mrs. Jolibert's Academic Biology class investigating how glucose is used to make energy during cellular respiration through clay modeling.

Mrs. Jolibert's Academic Biology class investigating how glucose is used to make energy during cellular respiration through clay modeling. #Science #FutureReady #SkillsForTomorrow

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Best Google Search Tips and Tricks

Dan Grabham and Libby Plummer | 1 November 2018 
GOOGLE 10 best VPN services for use in the UK - How to get more from Google 

Google has come a long way since it was first founded back in 1998 and has become a byword for internet searches. But, beyond chucking a couple of words into the main search box, do you really know how to get the best out of it? We've done some research and put together a few tips on how to get Google to do even more of the work for you.

Google search basics 
If you've got no intention of spending hours studying the ins and outs of every search option on Google then don't worry. As long as you know the basics, then you should be able to save yourself a lot of time without having to delve too deeply.

Even if you're not the world's best speller, it doesn't matter as clever old Google will do the hard work for you. If you don't spell a word correctly, Google will automatically switch to the most common spelling for the jumble of letter that you've typed in.

Web history 
For many, the idea of anyone having access to their search history may well be enough to bring them out in a cold sweat and cause them to hit the 'delete history' option at the first available opportunity. But, unless you have anything truly incriminating on your browser cache, it's wise not to be too hasty. Giving Google access to your web history means that Google will spot trends in your web history and offer tailored results according to what you searched for and which sites you've visited before. This will also help you to find any good websites that you've previously stumbled upon but are now unable to find again. If in doubt, keep in general - As with many things in life, the best advice is to keep things simple. If you're looking for a stationery shop that you know of, but you're not exactly sure what's it's called, then you're better off just typing stationery shop and the town or road name, rather than trying to guess at the name. Chances are this will bring up what you're looking for or give you a list of shops in that area and you can go from there, whereas misspelling (or 'misremembering') the name of the shop might not get you very far.

Web-friendly words 
Try to use web-friendly words where possible, by thinking about how the information you're looking for would be written on the web. If you use a word that's correct but not the most commonly used term for what you're looking for then you might not get as many results as you'd expect. So, searching for fish and chip shop in your area is likely to get you more results than if you typed in takeaway cod, while searching for celebrity gossip will get you better results than typing in news about famous people.

Keep it short
Start off using as few words as possible, then add words to refine your search if need be. If you add more words than you need to, then your results may prove to be too narrow and you might miss what you're looking for. No punctuation needed - If the use of apostrophes and commas isn't your strong point, then don't panic; Google doesn't recognise punctionation marks so even if you do type them in, they'll be ignored. Similarly, the search function isn't case sensitive so there's no need to worry about whether you should be using upper or lower case letters.

Get Fast Facts Moving on from the basics brings us to Fast Facts - a very useful aspect of the Google search offering but possibly the least well known. The idea is that you can type certain search criteria into the box and the results will be displayed instantly at the top of the page, as well as all the usual pages below which you can click through to if you choose.

Conversions - Google will convert pretty much any unit of measurement - all you need to do is type in the unit and measurement, such as 5 km to miles, saving you from having to search for a conversion site and type the info in there.

Stock information - You can also search for real-time stock information using ticker symbols - such as APPL for Apple - and click through to Google Finance for more detailed information.

Calculator - Number crunchers can also use Google to work out maths equations by typing them into the box - Google can cope with anything from simple sums like 2+2 to more complicated equations. It's also easy to convert currency by just typing 10 dollars in british pounds, or whatever it is you want to convert.

Dictionary - Possibly the most useful Fast Fact option is the dictionary function. Rather than digging out your copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, you can simply add define: in front of any word in the search box and Google will automatically tell you the definition.

Track packages - You can also track parcels from UPS and FedEx by typing the tracking number into Google.

Advanced Google Search tricks
There are lots of extra parameters that you can use in the search box to narrow down your search. It's worth taking the time to see what's available as it could end up saving you a lot of time in the long run.

Filetype - If you're after a specific document then it's worth knowing that you can search for PDFs, PPTs, or XLS files, by adding filetype: and the 3-letter file abbreviation after the title - for example searching for Declaration of Independence filetype:pdf will find you a handy, printable document of one of US history's most important documents, saving you a trip to the local library or the National Archives.

Missing words or letters - If you're searching for something that you don't know all the words for then Google will help you to fill in the blanks. All you need to do is use an asterisk (*) in place of any missing words or letters and the search engine will find the answer for you - a godsend for working out pesky song lyrics and completing especially challenging crosswords.

Exact quotes - If you do know exactly the words you're looking for then putting them within quote marks will refine the search. For example typing a direct quote from a book "it was a bright cold day in april, and the clocks were striking thirteen" will only bring up pages where it's written exactly the same, missing out sites where it's misquoted. However, there is a danger of being too precise and accidentally excluding relevant results. For example, if you type "george orwell", then your results may miss out pages where the author is referred to by just his surname.

Related sites - If you find a website that you like, then typing related: followed by the website URL should locate some relevant sites for you, saving you from repeatedly googling the same thing over and over. You can also search something within a specific site, or type of site, which is good news as many site's own search functions are very clunky. To do this, just type site: followed by the type of site (such as .org .biz) or the site name. For example, site: org or site: followed by your search term.

Highlight essential words - Google will usually ignore words like 'and', but if they're essential to your seach then you can highlight them by putting a + sign in front of them. Using + and - signs, you can also highlight specific words that you do or don't want to feature in your results. For example, you could search for a recipe for chicken caesar salad without anchovies by typing caesar salad recipe +chicken -anchovies.

Search within a range - You can look for numbers within a certain range by putting ... between amounts, for example, Samsung Blu-ray player £100...£150. This is particularly handy if you're on a limited budget and you don't want to waste time searching through items that are way too expensive. You can also just type £100... to look for anything above that amount with no top limit. Words meaning the same thing - You can include synonyms in your search results by placing the ~ sign in front of your search term. For example, best Christmas ~gifts will return results for presents and tokens as well as 'gifts'.

Filter your image search - You probably already know that you can also search for images, but trawling through millions of pictures can be tedious. Google lets you refine your search. As well as filtering by colour and image size, you can also whittle the selection down by only including photos including certain elements such as faces.

Instant results - Google Instant is the feature that brings up possible results while you're still typing your query. Fill your schedule with nearby events - Simply search for [events near me] or for a specific event type ([dog meetup], perhaps?) and you’ll see listings for local activities from around the web.

Movie Showtimes and Tickets - When you’re in the mood for a movie, Search brings together showtimes, cinema locations, and ratings all in one place.

Recipe Search - If you’re looking for a recipe in a pinch, just search on mobile for whatever you’re craving (say, chicken parmesan) and you’ll see a carousel of recipe suggestions.

Live sports scores - For everyone from the fervent fantasy football aficionado to the casual fan, Search makes it easy to stay up on the latest scores. Type in the name of your favourite team or league, and get relevant real-time scores and recaps from recent games.

Styling and shopping help from Google Images - When you're exploring style ideas or browsing for your next buy with Google Images, images of products that are available to purchase are marked with "product" in the Google app on Android and in your mobile browser. These include price, reviews and availability, making it easier and faster to visually research and shop.

Find your next job - Now available in more than 100 countries around the world, you can search for jobs right on Google. For example, you can search for [jobs near me] or [retail jobs] to get relevant positions that match your skills. Jobs come directly from employers and career sites across the web, and you can save jobs, map your potential commute and click through to a third party website to apply.

Calculate the tip and split the bill - You can use Google to calculate your tip when you’re in a restaurant. Simply search for [tip calculator], enter the cost of your meal, and the percentage you want to tip. You can even ask Google to help you split the bill evenly with your friends.

Convert cash - If you’re heading out on a trip, here’s a tool that makes a ton of cents - you can get real-time currency conversions right on Google. Search for something like [£500 in euros] and you’ll get a box with the current exchange rate and an interactive graph of change over time.

Quick access to appointments, flights and more - Search can help you find information about your upcoming plans in a snap. If you’re logged into your Google account, searching for “my trips” or “my appointments” will show you (and only you!) relevant results about upcoming flights, hotel reservations and your schedule from Gmail and Google Calendar.

Get the numbers about your food - You can search for nutritional information and find out the number of calories in your everyday foods. For example, you can ask “how much fat is there in chocolate cake?” and Google will break down the nutritional stats for you.

Ask complex multi-part questions - You can ask Google “compositional queries” that require us to solve the first piece of the question before addressing the second part. For example, if you search [when were the members of NSYNC born], you will (feel old and) see the birthdates of Justin, JC, Chris, Lance and Joey.

Search with an image - Upload a photo to Google Images to find the same or similar photos on the web. Click on the camera icon in Google Image search and Google will also tell you the origin and other details about the photo.

Advanced Search - If all of these tricks still don’t get you what you need, you can use Advanced Search to specify terms you want to exclude or only find pages that are in the languages, regions, sites, or file formats you want.
The best Google UK Search Easter eggs

Flip a coin - (query [flip a coin]) - Google flips a coin for you

Pacman - (query [pacman]) - Play the Pacman Doodle

Roll a dice - (query [roll a dice]) - Google rolls a dice for you

Barrel Roll - (query [do a barrel roll]) - browser does a flip

Zerg Rush - (query [zerg rush]) - play the game, click the dots before they destroy results

Once in a blue moon - (query [once in a blue moon]) - formula for the frequency with which a blue moon occurs

Askew - (query [askew])

Results are tilted - (also works for [tilt])

Atari Breakout in Image Search - (query [atari breakout]) - play Breakout it in Image Search

Google Gravity - (query [google gravity] into search bar and then “I’m feeling lucky”)

See what Google looked like in 1998 - (query [google in 1998])

Blink HTML - (query [blink html]) - the words blink

Bletchley Park - (query [bletchley park]) - the name of the place appears as a series of letters as a nod to this being the location of British codebreakers

Conway’s Game of Life - (query [Conway's Game of Life] - yields a life simulation. Conway's Game of Life is a zero-player game that uses a set of rules to evolve from its initial state.
Google's Game of Life evolves to spell Google (if you watch it for a while)

Solitaire - (query [solitaire]) - play computer favourite Solitaire

Tic Tac Toe - (query [tic tac toe]) - play Tic Tac Toe

Snake - (query [play snake]) - play the classic mobile game Snake

Animal Sounds - (query [animal sounds]) - play different animal sounds

Spin a Dreidel - (query [spin a dreidel]) - spin a dreidel in the homepage

Spinner - (query [spinner]) - spin a number wheel

Fidget Spinner - (query [fidget spinner]) - spin a fidget spinner

I’m Feeling Curious - (query [i’m feeling curious]) - find out the answer to a random question

Color Picker - (query [color picker]) - find the details of an exact colour

Random Number Generator - (query [random number generator]) - generate a random number

Breathing Exercise - (query [breathing exercise]) - regulate your breathing

Internet Speed Test - (query [internet speed test]) - find out how fast your internet is

Festivus pole - (query [festivus]) - pole appears on the left hand side of the screen

Is Google down? - (query [is Google down?]) - Google will tell you if it’s down

I’m a teapot - leads you to a short and stout error page

Marquee HTML - (query [marquee HTML]) - the results bar will scroll

Anagram - (we say “did you mean: nag a ram”) Define Anagram - (we say “did you mean: nerd fame again”) What is the answer to life the universe and everything? - (we say “answer is “42”) Number of Horns on a Unicorn - (we say “answer is 1”) What is the loneliest number - (we say “answer is 1”)

How to Insert Symbols into Google Docs and Slides 

BRADY GAVIN @bradyjgavin NOVEMBER 13, 2018, 3:00PM EDT 

You can insert special characters in your documents and presentations without having to remember all those Alt-codes by using Google Docs and Slides easy-to-use character insertion tool. It offers a myriad of symbols, characters, symbols, languages, and more. Here’s how you can insert special characters into your documents. Note: You can’t insert characters directly into Google Sheets, but you can copy and paste them into a cell on the spreadsheet.

How to Insert Special Characters into Google Docs and Slides

Inserting symbols into your file is a straightforward process that you can perform in several ways. Whether you want some silly emojis, arrows, or a different language’s scripts you can achieve this by manually selecting a category, typing in the search bar, or by drawing what you’re looking for.

The first thing you’ll need to do is open up a new Google Docs or Slides file to get started. Alternatively, if you’re using the latest version of Chrome, you can type “” or “” into a new tab’s address bar.
In your document, open the “Insert” menu and then click the “Special Characters” command.

Manually Search for Symbols 

If you don’t have a particular character in mind (or you’re not sure how to search for what you do have in mind), you can use the drop-down menus to browse through the plethora of available symbols.

Click the second drop-down menu to choose a category. You can choose from symbols, punctuation, emojis, different language’s scripts, and even different whitespace characters. There are a lot, so be prepared to spend some time browsing.

Next, click on the other drop-down menu to refine the characters even further.

Once you’ve chosen the categories, all you need to do is click the character you want to insert it into your file.

Use the Search Bar

If you know what you’re looking for you can use the search bar located to the right of the pop-up window. You can search by keyword, description, or by Unicode value–if you know it.

Using the search bar can prove a bit troublesome as searching for an emoji with a smile didn’t produce the intended results. This is because it uses the word to match the description of the character.

If you search “Smiling” instead, you get more results. Still, searching for a symbol is usually faster than browsing all the menus to find one manually.

Draw a Your Character to Search

Finally, if both your attempts to find the correct character or symbol have turned up dry, you can try the draw feature that lets you sketch whatever you want.
Start drawing/writing in the box to the right of the window, and similar characters will appear in the pane to the left.

You don’t have to draw it all in one stroke, and you can keep adding to your drawing if it requires multiple gestures. Once you’re done, click the arrow in the bottom right corner to reset the box and start drawing the next one.

 If you regularly use any these characters, you’ll find them first drop-down menu under “Recent Characters.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Building a Mindset for STEAM

Let's fast forward to an education in the year 2025. Most of what we currently consider modern day education will be even more infused with virtual learning experiences for students and a higher dependency on a student’s ability to translate their understandings through digital formats and blended learning both online and in person. The experiences which will separate students from each other will be their willingness to build, create and design their futures based on their hands-on experiences. Opportunities and capabilities for students to show what you know and understand has been quickly enhanced by the use of technology. STEAM learning is the common term which encapsulates the subject areas related to Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts and Math.

I am passionate about STEAM education because it supports student’s natural innate desire to connect their understandings across disciplines and also encourages educators to collaborate outside their safe zone. Whenever you can bring educators together around a common theme or topic, amazing things can happen. STEAM learning drives student engagement and watching students experience authentic learning in areas like robotics, programming, scientific inquiry and analysis of data is an encouraging direction of how education is shifting to provide more tangible real-world skills in these areas.

In my own opinion educators are the most inspired when they recognize that learning is not measured just solely by a test but it when all students have enabled the opportunity to demonstrate a unique part of their own learning and experience. Empowering students to synthesize subject areas, connect concepts and explore the freedom to express themselves keeps the excitement for learning alive.

Technology’s role has completely shifted how all of our core subject area learning happens. It reflects not only what's happening in the real world in science labs, engineering, and design processes, but also in the skills of communicating, collaborating and thinking critically. Technology enhances our ability to communicate across the world and to bring together unique skill-set that can create new products and experiences. These Innovations are part of the new economy and STEAM represents the opportunity for cross-curriculum collaboration and communication around the topics driving education today.

As the world continually gets smaller and the demand to provide students the core skills, opportunities, and understandings that will give them an essential groundwork for the future job market it is extremely important that a school culture and curriculum support the changes evident in the real world.