New Look: Google Forms

Google Forms has been a solid foundation in Google Drive for many people. While new themes, question branching and collaboration features have been added, a new look was recently rolled out to everyone.
When I went to create a new Form in Google Drive, I had the option across the top to Try the new Google Forms. 
Question menu:
 Themes and Settings:

Viewing Form responses is now built right in


Are you being understood?

Or do you feel like this student in their first week of Princeton Public School's new Spanish Immersion Program?
We all want to understand and connect what you know to what I already know to create something wonderful. Are you selling your new idea to students or staff in a way that makes them want to buy?

I have been asking myself that question more lately as we talk with our staff about what instructional technology looks like in the future. Basic needs still need to be met: Food, shelter, clothing, Internet. Transitioning from teaching with limited access - shared carts of iPads or Chromebooks - to reliable daily access to digital tools requires a strategic plan to connect what a teacher already knows about... teaching, to the possibilities that technology opens for students to innovate and create new meanings.

Daniel Pink's To Sell is Human outlines the intense challenges that everyone works through whether you are selling a product, service or just an idea for dinner to your significant other.  There will be individuals who aren't ready to buy your idea or need it to look different before they will entertain what you are proposing. Advice from Pink's stories point to personal relationships as one of the keys to selling an effective idea or product. If you happened to be interested in this topic a few - or many - decades ago, your pocket edition of How to Win Friends and Influence People is still relevant. Too bad that turning what we know about motivation and leadership into practice is not as easy as reading a book. Ever worried about how your work life would be asked to change when your principal or boss went to a conference about X and came back to make X happen? What creative methods do you use to sell new ideas or products across your organization as whole? How long did it take?


Middle School Principal taking the lead on Twitter

From the Middle Schools weekly Principal update on 5/22/2015
Twitter/School Web page - Thanks for checking out our school homepage.  We have a Twitter feed that I try to update daily.  Thanks for your help with that.  I have been trying to show and tell all of the great teaching and learning going on at our school.  Set up a Twitter account and follow us.  If you need help see your tech coach or me.  Takes less than 10 min.  You can follow a ton of cool educational links, sports, subjects, hobbies.  You don't have to tweet you can just follow and learn what others are saying and doing.  Encourage your students to follow our website.  You can even use Twitter as a formative assessment, yes you can.  
A principal is already in classrooms and looking for ways to highlight what is happening and communicate with the world outside of school. Armed with an iPhone, Principal Dan Voce supports community and collaboration within the school by posting a few photos a week.

Dan started the year off with a goal to update staff and families through the school website on a weekly basis. That goal melded into simply embedding his Twitter feed on the front of the school website (see isd477.org/schools/middle-school ). The information is current and authentic to what is happening in-the-moment in his building.

Follow Dan Voce, teachers and students at Princeton Middle School on Twitter @Middle_ISD477


DIY EdTech for your gym

Short story: Two teachers at North Elementary in Princeton, MN, sat down to find a way to model physical learning activities for their students. Armed with iPad 2s and a projector on a cart, they soon grew to rely on using digital content and video as a part of their daily classes. Not to mention the website they put together

One problem: Remember that projector on a cart and the iPad 2 plugged in with a cable? Yeah, a lot of moving objects fly around a school gym filled with 3-5th graders. As you can imagine, classroom management is fairly difficult with a 4' cord tethering you and your iPad to a corner of the gym.

Solution: Sure, you can buy projectors that mount on the ceiling, or that are powerful enough to go from one side of the gym to another, but the cost of specialized projectors and mounting lead us to a different approach...

Locally-fabricated projector cage made out of metal and carbon fiber

An ultra short-throw projector with an Apple TV taped next to it. 

The wooden tray next to the projector is an old existing sound system they tied the Apple TV into. 

Meets the very basic needs for our gym teachers to be able to model and provide feedback more efficiently in our gym.
(Technicians and custodians involved in the installation chose the first YouTube video)