Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Google Classroom as a Fitness Tracker


Over the years, finding ways to organically integrate edtech into PE classes has been a struggle. There are apps kids can use with their phones, but accessibility is still an issue as we cannot require all students to enable location services and other settings. This past year, I collaborated with my friend and colleague Sara Vega (legendary PE Teacher and Soccer Coach) on a way to use Google Classroom to help track fitness. We came up with the idea of building a "Class Shell" full of template posts that she would reuse each time she wanted students to check in and record some fitness data.

A "Class Shell" does not have students enrolled. It is a Google Classroom with assignment templates. Each teacher only needs to reuse the template posts in their Google Classrooms that contain students. Below are some screenshots of our PE Fitness Activity Shell. We built three categories: BMI, Cardiovascular Fitness, Flexibility and Muscular Strength.

Notice the "X's". Those are place markers for dates. Each post is Google Classroom Question where students will enter a number of reps or time for the respective fitness activities. 

In this system, after building the templates in the Shell, open their Google Classrooms that contain students and Reuse post.

Next, choose the template to reuse.

With the reused template post, change out the "X's" for the corresponding date of the post.

Because the instructions are always the same, there is no need to change the instructions. Add your point value, set due date and topic, and click Ask.

For students, it may be easier for them to log their fitness reps or times using their phones. When in the gym or on the track, a computer, tablet or Chromebook could be problematic, but not impossible. Below is a screenshot of what it looks like using the Google Classroom mobile app.

In this example, the student entered an astounding 157 push-ups. 

On the teacher's end, like with any Google Classroom assignment, you can see the students who have turned in and not turned in in real time.

When you open the assignment, you will see at a glance the students who've turned in their reps/times and quickly give them credit or points. 

For students to monitor their progress, they can easily go back into Google Classroom, open previous submissions and see how they've grown from week to week or month to month. This system is obviously not as accurate as a fitness tracker app, but a simple, easy way to help students monitor fitness using a free tool in which they are already familiar. How might you use this hack or with which PE teachers might you share this idea? If you have any feedback or suggestions on how to improve this, please let me know. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Help Curb Plagiarism by Disabling Copy in Google Docs


An often heard pain point is how students have become too good at copying and pasting. This leads to blatant plagiarism. As educators, we are looking to get students to analyze and synthesize content in order to generate thoughts, opinions, claims and cite textual evidence. Too often, students will try to cut corners by copying and pasting content and claiming it as their own. 

Google Docs, hiding in plain sight, has a feature that allows you to disable copying on a document you own. For example, if you have an article you want students to read, synthesize and analyze, you could copy and paste the text onto a Google Doc. Be sure to cite the source and or give credit to the author. Once on a Google Doc, click the Share button in the top right corner.

In the pop up that appears, click the Settings gear icon.

From there, uncheck the box titled "Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print and copy". Then click the back arrow.

Be sure to set your permissions so students can view the document and click Done.

Below is a screenshot of what it looks like on the student end of this type of document after copying permissions have been disabled. A student could try to highlight text, but they will not be able to copy it from the Edit tab or by right clicking. Keyboard commands for copying are also disabled.

Disabling the ability to copy in Google Docs makes your documents truly View Only. How might you use this feature? If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@techcoachjuarez.com.