Friday, June 17, 2016

Google Classroom Partners

A few weeks ago I talked to you about some of Google's new partners. One of my favorites was, you can read more about that here.  I've been checking back to the Google Partner website that lists all of their new classroom partners and each week there are more and more awesome website that have partnered with google.

Today I've been looking at one of the newest partners, Actively Learn. When I first started to explore this website, I will tell you the truth, I wasn't that impressed. It seemed to be another website with a small database of free reading sources, and an even bigger resource off paid resources, but the more I began to dig around the more I began to like Actively Learn. 
When you first get logged on, and you can one click log on with Google, you are first taken to the workspace. This is where you can add assignments, upload your own content and collaborate with other teachers. Basically, this seems to be where you will prepare all of your lessons before you push them out to students. 

Actively Learn has provided a sample document for you to play around with. On this document there is a short tutorial video to show you how to use the website tools. You are able to highlight any part of the text that you wish, add comments, questions and even videos. This could be a great way for you to differentiate texts for students in your classroom. By previewing a text before assigning it to students you will be able to identify the most difficult parts of the text and provide additional information in the form of videos and pictures. 

You will also be able to add questions throughout the text to assess students understanding. I love that you are able to choose between short answer,  multiple choice and a poll. Another great feature of this website is that you can assign the common core standards to your questions, so your students, parents and even principal will know exactly what is being assessed. 

And finally, the BEST part (at least to me) is that you are able to upload internet articles, Google Docs, PDFs and even create quizzes. My school bought us subscriptions to Scholastic Story Works (you can read more about how I use that resource here) and I struggled how to use this resource with Google Classroom because my students were unable to annotate the text as they read in the way that I wanted them to. Now, Actively Learn has solved my problem! 

Since Storyworks allows you to save the articles and stories as PDFs to your computer, you can now upload them to Actively Learn and students can add notes, which in turn allows them to annotate while they are reading. You can even organize your thoughts with categories such as thoughts, main idea, text structure and so on. 

One last AMAZING perk about this resource is that students are able to highlight text and have it read to them (WOW!) and even translated into another language. 

Even though there are some wonderful pros for Actively Learn, there are also some cons. I did not see anywhere to import your Google Classroom roster, it looks like students have to sign up for Actively Learn using a code similar to Google Classroom. Also, there are some free resources already uploaded to the website, but a lot of the great rescues look to be paid. 

Overall, Actively Learn seems to be a great addition to my Google Classroom toolkit. I'm sure there are many more uses for this website that I haven't uncovered yet. Have you found any great websites to use with Google Classroom? I would LOVE to hear about them. 

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