At the moment, my favorite presentation to do at conferences is the Assistive Tech Toolbox for G-Suite. This is primarily because I am learning disabled adult and my disability is a real piece of business for me every day.
This morning I got very frustrated because I had a schedule emailed to me as an attachment. As I was looking at the dates, time slots and numbers I knew I was going to miss something. For most people looking at a schedule/agenda doesn't generate anxiety. But for me it does, it’s the worst. I often ask my husband Peter to check what I am reading to make sure I have not omitted anything or changed times in my head. (I have a knack for this). This is what happens when you have a reading disability and executive dysfunction paired together in a nasty little couplet.
Do you know what it is like to have second guess what you’re reading every time? I do. No matter how many times I read I am almost always missing something. The sad thing is I can triple check what I am reading but unless I read out loud or have something read to me, I will insert words that aren’t there or skip others. Often, I simply can not trust my eyes.
I would love to say that I have moved on and accepted myself and the wonderful things that are assets about how my mind functions, but there are still times that I will cry out of frustration because yet again I missed some important detail that was buried in text.
A few years ago I would not even mention my learning disability among my colleagues because I was still ashamed that I was so different. It was the Special Ed teachers that I was working with that convinced me to be brave, and openly discuss my struggles and how I modify with technology. It was Jeff Heil’s keynote in Capital Region 2016 that asked “What If ?” And my first thought was “What if Special Ed students openly discussed their struggles?” My next thought was, “How could you ask them to, when you do not?” That was the birth of my GAFE-ing Special Ed presentation which has now taken on many iterations.
That is why I am starting the #AssistLearning Hashtag to brand my posts that are Instructional Assistive Technology for Special Education students. Assistive Technology is extremely broad, my little niche is in Instructional Assistive Technology. My main objective is to use my experience as both an learning disabled student and an Instructional Technology Specialist to empower students and teachers with new tools and hacks to make learning more accessible.
Technology gave me my voice, it’s time to pay that forward.
Oh, and my hack for calendar management? I use Youcanbook.me to manage calendars in 5 different locations that all feed my Google Calendar entitled-"Cronk's Work Schedule". Every time I get involved in heavy scheduling, I will mess it up. Hence, all my calendars are automated around my parameters, they send reminders and follow ups and will also remove an appointment if it has been cancelled. I find the less I am manually scheduling, the smaller margin for error.
How to embed videos directly from your Google Drive! So easy, this is a great option for teachers who may have Youtube blocked for students. Now you can download and save videos to your Google Drive so your students can access them. Big shout out to +email@example.com who woke me up to the duplicate slide technique.
Big News From Google Classroom!
Springhurst CST Referral Form Update
Thanks for your feedback, you can now submit and go back to edit your changes! Click link for a video overview.
This awesome little extension is fantastic for teachers who are reviewing papers for plagiarism and to get a sense of the workflow of the document. Click link for a video overview.
Crafty Text & Crafty Cursor
Two of my all time favorite extensions. To get any extensions we need to go to the Chrome Web Store. Click on the link to see a quick overview.
Ditch That Text Book Online Conference
This online conference is having an encore showing Jan 12-18! There are 6 amazing speakers, definitely worth checking out!
Who is Jenn Cronk?
If have not had the pleasure of meeting you, here is a little information about me.
New Updates to G- Suite
Google Apps has now changed its name to G - Suite. Still the same great tools, repackaged with a new name. Click on the link to read more.
Connected Classrooms Workshop
Have you been wondering how to get in touch with classrooms around the world? The connected classrooms (Google + Community) Workshop is filled with teachers who are also using Google apps and want work, collaborate, debate and Hangout with other classes around the world. Click on the link to join.
Signing into Chrome
Here is a quick screencast on how to sign into the Chrome Browser, which is essential if we want our preferences, bookmarks and extensions to follow us. This is also a very important step for our students who are often jockeying between school and personal accounts.
New Google Sites
Google site has been updated and now he's showing off it's fancier redesign. This very quick video just goes over some of the highlights.
Just a very brief overview how you can use the screencastify extension. (one of my favorites!) I have used this to leave great feedback for students without having to leave a lot of texts. This is also a great tool when you want to start flipping some of your instruction, or for students to record themselves speaking in Target languages, or even having a synchronous communication with students from around the world in different time zones.
Thanks to Jaime Casap for posting this article on Facebook. I know this statement very well, remember hearing over and over from my colleagues "We don't need to teach kids computers, they know how to do everything". As a computer teacher, I found this not only insulting but incredibly inaccurate. The assumption is that our student's who are otherwise known as "digital natives" will automatically know how to function efficiently and productively in this technology infused world with any given device. Furthermore I just recently heard a speaker state "We don't teach kids to use pencils, technology is just a tool, like pencils."
I need to disagree with all of this faulty reasoning. Actually, we do teach students to use pens and pencils. This skill is developed in kindergarten. As a former Kindergarten teacher I can assert that we spend quite a bit of time developing the proper tripod pencil hold, and building muscles in the hands. We teachers need to help our students become efficient and productive writers, otherwise their hands will tire and their writing will suffer. After-all we must develop the 'manual grit' needed to keep up with the writing required by today's tests!
Technology is the same. There are so many assumptions put on our children that the smartphone in their pocket immediately qualifies them as digitally literate. This article from Ed Surge discusses a survey that was recently measured Adult Competencies (PIAAC) for 2012/2014. What the study illustrates is that the U.S. ranks among the lowest out of countries measured when asked about performing simple technological tasks such as sorting email.
The strange dichotomy for the U.S. is that we have a technology rich society, but many local districts do not have a "computer teacher" in their schools. We have required computer testing, yet some states don't even have a tenure area protecting computer teachers. Academic teachers are expected to follow and understand the SAMR model, yet in many districts there is no one to guide them. Districts may have a computer lab, but no teacher, no expert whose responsibility is to provide guidance for colleagues, prepare students and spearhead the new trends.
Some basic things I taught my students:
I can't say enough about this extension! I have been playing with it for a couple days and I am amazed at its ease of use and functionality. This is a paid extension but the cost is not restrictive.
I am a technology leader, professional developer, teacher, parent and proud owner of an IEP. Let's talk about some fabulous learning experiences.