Combine Google Classroom and BookWidgets to superpower your digital classroom! In this episode, Kasey chats with Educational Technologist and BookWidgets expert, Sheryl Place. Sheryl shares the magic of BookWidgets, and how teachers can create engaging online activities that take worksheets from static to dynamic.
Sheryl comes to the podcast with over 38 years of teaching experience. She recently retired from Miami Dade and now works for BookWidgets as an Educational Technology Specialist. This means she helps teachers to integrate BookWidgets with Google Classroom and other Learning Management Systems. Sheryl also teaches internationally through an online school.
Episode 145: Google Classroom + BookWidgets = Superpowered Digital Classroom interview with Sheryl Place
Google Classroom + BookWidgets = Superpowered Digital Classroom
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This podcast and blog post is sponsored by BookWidgets. With BookWidgets, all teachers from all courses can create interactive exercises and auto-graded assignments with over 30 different question types. Teachers can easily integrate BookWidgets inside their trusted learning environment (Google Classroom, Teams, Canvas, Schoology, and more). The integration allows you to follow student progress in realtime when student are working on a BookWidgets assignment. This way, you can quickly guide your students in the right direction when they need help. Go to bookwidgets.com and start for free!
Learning from Others
Sheryl loves to highlight the concept of learning together and learning from each other. Technology has opened the door for teachers everywhere to connect and collaborate with each other. Our teacher community becomes as large or small as we make it. Sheryl loves when other educators reach out to ask questions so her new job mentoring through BookWidgets is the perfect fit.
The simple definition of BookWidgets that Sheryl explains is that it transforms a traditional learning environment into one that is an interactive hybrid, remote, face-to-face learning experience.
The Digital Struggle Solution
Many educators share similar struggles in today’s educational setting with more emphasis on utilizing digital options for students. Three of the most popular issues include digital content creation, digital lesson sharing, and grading or monitoring student work.
BookWidgets is designed to solve these problems for educators. They provide customizable templates for student assessment and learning activities. Whether that be an exit ticket type assessment or a reading comprehension exercise with text and questions, BookWidgets provides over 40 template options.
The BookWidgets app will work on many different devices; phones, tablets, Chromebooks, and others allowing teachers to use what they already have access to. It can also integrate with any of the Learning Management Systems like Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, and more.
Most likely the best part about using BookWidgets for assessments is that about 90% of the question types are automatically graded! That means saving lots of time, but it’s also possible to make adjustments as needed.
Sheryl also points out a neat feature that allows teachers to filter only incorrect answers. This allows teachers to quickly see the trends in missing information and focus on what was not fully grasped.
Not a Digital Worksheet
Even before teachers were plunged into the world of remote learning and needing to create digital content for students, Kasey was often asked how to scan a worksheet into Google Classroom. In podcast episode 18 she shares why this is not necessarily best practice for any classroom. When we substitute technology for paper we often miss out on the opportunity to include the power behind the tech tool.
Kasey shares three important questions to ask when choosing the right learning option for your students.
- Will this help the learning stick?
- Is this worksheet better than a hands-on activity (if that’s an option)?
- Is it better than a discussion or engaging students in new ways?
Sheryl explains a great example of how in the past teachers may have shared a paper copy of an image with questions about it. Transform that using the BookWidgets Hot Spot. This allows you to take an image, perhaps a piece of artwork, and embed links to other learning materials.
More specifically, rather than giving students a paper copy of a plot diagram and then defining each of the points make it interactive with BookWidgets. Students can click on links to video or audio examples of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Another point Sheryl makes about utilizing an activity such as this versus needing to raise their hand in a classroom allows for quieter or less confident students to share more openly.
How to Get Started with BookWidgets
The first place to visit is the website, BookWidgets.com. There is a free trial for the first month. After that month it’s possible to choose a monthly plan or annual plan. Of course connecting with BookWidgets to ask about any specials, especially for buildings or districts, is also a great place to start.
Teachers will need to add the BookWidgets Chrome extension, but then all assigning and grading happens in Google Classroom.
Another great advantage of using the widget extension is that you are able to live monitor students. Perhaps a student may be stuck on a question or maybe they are distracted which has slowed them down. Rather than needing to speak directly to a student out loud for the room to hear, teachers are able to message students to provide assistance or make adjustments.
Go check it out for yourself with that free one-month trial.
About Sheryl Place
Sheryl Place, is currently working as an Educational Technology Specialist for BookWidgets helping educators transform the traditional learning environment to an interactive hybrid learning environment: This comprehensive approach by BookWidgets allows users to transform paper activities into engaging digital interactive activities that work on all devices. Teaching, building capacity and infusing technology into classroom lessons and teaching is what she loves.
Prior to joining BookWidgets, Sheryl was a veteran teacher who spent her entire 38-year career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, in Miami, Florida – the 4th largest district in the United States. She knows and understands the joys and struggles of the classroom. Mrs. Place is also an experienced virtual school instructor having worked for Miami-Dade Virtual School, National High School, Golden Key access in Shanghai, China and facilitating instruction for Florida Virtual School.
Sheryl began teaching in 1983 after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in French Education from Michigan State University. Mrs. Place continued to grow professionally receiving a scholarship from the University of Miami where she earned a Master’s Degree in TESOL in 1992. She then transitioned to teaching high school grades 9-12 instructing classes in French, Latin and ESOL.
Outside of the classroom, Sheryl enjoys running, mentoring and exploring National Parks.
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