Increase Student Engagement with Piazza

Piazza

Do you strive to be a better teacher?  Are you looking for an easier way to communicate with your students or respond  more quickly to their questions?  Piazza may be the tool that can help you achieve these goals.

Piazza is a social learning platform that is used by over 50,000 professors in 2,000 schools and 90 countries.  Piazza was designed as a tool for students to ask questions and receive answers.  Students have the ability to ask questions privately, to the entire class or to groups.  Many instructors require all questions to go through Piazza instead of individual emails to the instructor.  This format allows all students to benefit from the question and answer.

Piazza’s wiki style format enables collaboration in one place.  Anyone in the class can respond to questions and the instructor has the ability to ensure that the responses are correct.  Piazza allows students to ask questions anonymously, which provides our quiet students the opportunity to submit questions within a safe environment.  The questions and answers are community edited, but there are separate student and instructor edited submissions.  The wiki style format allows the user to see only the high quality question and answer instead of reading through a long thread of submissions.  The questions and responses occur in a real time environment, which allows students to submit questions through Piazza during a class lecture.  The faculty response can even occur during the class session.

Some great features of Piazza’s “free” question and answer platform are:

  • Rich, group edited question and answers
  • All questions in one workflow space
  • Free iOS and Android Piazza mobile apps
  • Integrates with every major Learning Management System
  • Highly customizable real time online polls
  • Detailed participation statistics
  • Instructors can endorse answers to keep the class on track
  • Increase student collaboration

You can view a short video Piazza demonstration at the following link:  https://youtu.be/2jLSiN8E18w

What are you waiting for?  Get started for free at https://piazza.com/

 

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Google Keep – Another Great Tool from Google!

Over the years, several of the TeachingAndLearningToolbox blogs have highlighted some great Google tools for use in the classroom or to improve productivity.  Google Keep is another wonderful tool you can add to your Google Suite toolbox.

Google Keep is a free, simple and effective productivity and collaboration tool for both students and instructors. If you want to be more organized, productive and collaborative, Google Keep captures your notes and ideas, provides a collaborative sharing resource and offers a great To Do List feature.

Google Keep is available for your computer on the web or as a download through the Android or iOS mobile store apps. Google Keep also integrates with Google Docs [January 2016, Google Drive Blog, now Google Docs], which is helpful when collaborating.  Additionally, if you download the Google Keep Chrome Extension on your computer, you can save webpages, images, quotes, URLs, text, and your notes with a single click.

Google Keep is visually appealing.  It uses a sticky note, color coding format for listing projects, notes and activities.  The sticky note feature also lets you pin your most important tasks at the top of your screen or device, so they are not overlooked.  Google Keep’s note feature allows you to include text, lists, images, and audio. Voice recordings are automatically transcribed to text, which meets ADA compliance requirements, and text notes can be easily converted to checklists.

Need to pick something up for class?  Add a location-based reminder to your To Do List activity.  This feature sends a message to your mobile device when you are in the location area, saving time and consolidating trips.

Google Keep is similar to Evernote [March 2106, Evernote Blog], although not as robust.   Google Keep allows you to collaborate and share notes with others, which makes it a great tool for students to use for group projects.  It is easy to share, simply add individuals as collaborators.  Google Keep allows group members to see changes happen in real time, which makes it easy for everyone to track completed and outstanding project tasks. Google Keep also allows notes with images to be annotated, which is another great feature.  Evernote is still probably the best option if you want to organize your notes in files and notebooks, attach external files, or utilize work chat, but for Google Suite users, Google Keep may be just the tool you and your students need.

To review some of the other great Google Suite tools we have previously shared, click on the following links:

Google Slides Q&A (April 2018) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/engaging-students-with-google-slides-qa/

Google Hangouts (May 2016) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/google-hangouts/

Google Forms (April 2016) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/google-forms/

To learn more about getting started with Google Keep, visit https://www.google.com/keep/.

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Integrating Data Analytics Into Your Accounting Courses

Are you looking for an easy way to integrate data analytics into your accounting curriculum?  Programs like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI combined with free educator resources provided by the Big Four Accounting Firms can aid in this task.  The Big Four Accounting Firms have developed data sets, projects that utilize Tableau and Power BI and a variety of class assignments and cases.  Educators can start with exercises that have students analyze data visualization results.  This allows students to develop critical thinking skills when analyzing trends from the provided data.  After students master the interpretation of the data visualization sets, they gain a more wholistic approach to utilizing the data sets.  The resources provided by Microsoft Power BI, Tableau and the Big Four Accounting Firms allow first-time users with simple step by step resources.

 

Power BI - 3

Business intelligence encompasses the strategies and technologies used for data analysis of business information and Microsoft Power BI is a tool which allows non-technical users the ability to assemble, analyze and share data.  Many individuals who currently use Excel have discovered Power BI to be a natural fit.   The interfaces of Excel and Power BI are very similar and simple visuals are easy to create and import.  Power BI is a natural migration for analyzing data sets when they become too large for Excel’s capabilities.  In addition, many extra analysis tools are available in Power BI compared to Excel.  Power BI allows users to create relationships between data sources and create various visualizations.

Review the following links to learn how Power BI can fit your data analytic needs:

Power BI Introduction Video:  https://youtu.be/_OOyJfszJXY

Power BI Frequently Asked Questions:

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-frequently-asked-questions/

Getting Started with Power BI:

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-service-get-started/

PowerBI VideoTutorial Playlist:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1N57mwBHtN0JFoKSR0n-tBkUJHeMP2cP

The best part is that you can get started for free today with the Power BI single user version, which includes 1GB of storage.  Create your free account at:  https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/

 

Tableau logo

You don’t have to be an expert to try Tableau.  To help you get started, Tableau provides free ready-made curriculum materials, including lecture notes, student handouts, and assignments.  Visit the Tableau Instructor Resource Page at https://community.tableau.com/community/teachers/overview

Benefits of Utilizing Tableau:

  • Free Instructor and Student Tableau Software
  • Free Start Up and Training Materials
  • Free Curriculum Materials
  • Free Learning Resources
  • Free Tutorial and On Demand Training Videos
  • Basic and Advanced Functionality for any Field of Study
  • Network Community for Tableau Academic Users
  • Allows for Cloud Based Document Sharing for Students and Instructors
  • Basic and Advanced Functionality for any Field of Study

Get started today with Tableau by completing the simple license request process at https://www.tableau.com/academic

 

Big Four Accounting Firm Resource Links

Deloitte  Deloitte – https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/solutions/educator-resources.html#

EY  EY – https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwiJ8duEg5ThAhWyZd8KHUFkBkIQFjAAegQICRAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ey.com%2FPublication%2FvwLUAssets%2FEY_Academic_Resource_Center%2F%24FILE%2FEYARC-brochure.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1rfm6VonL418WH8-Tm0d9m

KPMG  KPMG – https://www.kpmguniversityconnection.com/search

PWC  PWC – https://www.pwc.com/us/en/careers/university-relations/data-and-analytics-case-studies.html

 

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Doodly: Create engaging videos as easy as 1-2-3!

Happy New Year!  Markus and I hope you find some great technology tools to add to your toolbox in 2019!

This month’s technology tip is Doodly, a unique video creator.  Most of the time, Markus and I write about free technology, but this month I wanted to share a technology tool “deal” that could put a unique, eye-catching, engaging video creator into your teaching toolbox.

Doodly is a technology tool that allows you to easily create professional looking videos from simple visual sketches.  Best of all you do not have to have any drawing ability.  If you want to create video’s that are different, grab students’ attention and help simplify explaining difficult topics, Doodly may be the technology tool for you.

Doodly allows users to create drawings on various backgrounds, including whiteboard, blackboard, greenboard and glassboard canvases.  There are numerous doodle images available in the standard software. For a slight one-time upgrade fee ($97) to the Enterprise version, you can add thousands of more images to your Doodly library.

To get started, simply select your image, then drag and drop it onto your Doodly canvas.  Perhaps you want to add your own images?  Doodly allows you to upload .jpg images, including those you draw yourself.  Whatever images you choose to add to your canvas, Doodly can draw them for you. Doodly also has a large selection of drawing hands to choose from (male, female and various ethnicities), so you can customize your video’s hand image, or you can choose the “no hand” drawing option.

Do you want to add music to your video?  Doodly provides royalty free music tracks that are easy to add.  You can also record your own custom voiceover audio directly within the video creator or upload your voiceover from another recording source.  Whichever audio option you choose, it is simple to sync and/or edit audio with your doodle sketch.  Once you have created your Doodly video, save it in an mp4 format, then upload it for sharing to YouTube or another video web hosting source.

Doodly works on both PCs and Macs. After your online purchase you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to get started.  Best of all, Doodly can be downloaded to as many computers as you like, making it convenient to use with multiple devices, in multiple locations.

While Doodly is simple and intuitive to use, it also has helpful support and idea options including FAQ’s, tutorial videos, a help desk and a Facebook user group.

Normally. Markus and I pass over technology tools that aren’t free or don’t offer a free trial; however, Doodly’s limited time Facebook special offer (a one-time $67 fee, no annual renewal, free updates and a 30-day money-back guarantee), was too good to pass up.  Doodly is a great technology tool to kick off the new year!

Note:  Doodly normally retails for $480 per year; therefore, if you are interested in learning more about this dynamic video creator tool and the limited time Facebook discount offer, click on the following link. https://www.doodly.com/special-one-time-price-fb.php?fbclid=IwAR2Lzq0VzryOF1Z9Xd-UEjv_XUbN64xqcGr3tmqlxty5YyuTo1KurDZsmnI

*Doodly’s regular website (www.doodly.com) does not offer this limited time savings option.

© 2019 TeachingAndLearningToolbox.com

 

2018 Year End Review

Toolbox

As our semester and 2018 come to a close, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout the year.  A great resolution for 2019 is to integrate one of these tools into your classroom environment.

Slackhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/

Flipgridhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/02/

Microsoft Teamshttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/03/

Google Slides Q&Ahttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/

Office Lenshttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/05/

Recap https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/recap/

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Yearhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/lets-get-ready-for-the-new-academic-year/

Peergrade https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/peer-evaluations-made-easy/

Poll Everywhere Competitionshttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/poll-everywhere-update-poll-everywhere-competitions-now-available/

Microsoft Whiteboardhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/microsoft-whiteboard/

Todoisthttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/todoist/

We look forward to exploring more teaching and learning technology tools in 2019.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Todoist

Todoist - logo - 2

Do you have several classes or projects to keep track of?  Do you have too many due dates to remember without a list?  Have you ever missed a deadline because you forgot something was due?  Todoist could be the tool to help you organize all your tasks.  Todoist is a “free” to-do list app that works from almost any device.

Todoist allows you to easily organize and prioritize your tasks so you know what is due next.  Todoist allows you to set up Projects, Labels and Filters, which provides a great visual display of all your upcoming tasks.  Personally, I set up a Project for each course that I teach and then list each individual task and due dates related to the course.  In addition, I set up Projects for all committees, organizational and personal tasks.  Furthermore, Todoist allows you to set up recurring weekly, monthly and semester due dates.  Watch the following video and see how quickly and easily Todoist can get you more organized: https://youtu.be/8ZKq0r-g87M

What are you waiting for?  Download the “free” Todoist app today or visit https://todoist.com/ to learn more about the many features of Todoist.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard:  A Collaborative Learning Experience

Are you looking for ways to make your classroom or synchronous online lectures and activities more engaging?  Try Microsoft Whiteboard!  Microsoft Whiteboard is a new virtual, collaborative whiteboard app that can help increase student engagement and participation.  Microsoft Whiteboard is a free app that works with both Windows and iOS.  It allows users to collaborate in real time, using a virtual canvas.  Similar to the traditional classroom whiteboard, instructors project information for students to view; however, the Microsoft Whiteboard app also allows students to interact with the board from their mobile device or computer in real-time.   Also, unlike the traditional classroom whiteboard, instructors don’t need to erase information anymore.  Microsoft Whiteboard saves board annotations automatically to the cloud.  This means students don’t have to write everything down or take pictures of the board.  They can simply retrieve the information on their device during or after class as needed.

Microsoft Whiteboards can be annotated with a pen, keyboard or by touch.  Tools include sticky notes which can be annotated and stacked, and drawing tools such as a ruler and ink to shape feature.  Ink to shape takes your freehand drawings and immediately gives them a professional look.   You can also easily insert pictures or ink to table charts.  Microsoft Whiteboard also makes it easy to resize or copy content within or from your board as well as switch between boards.  Finally, Microsoft Whiteboard’s bird’s eye view option, allows you to zoom out or zoom in on displayed content as needed.  This can be particularly helpful when working with numbers, such as financial statements.

The collaborative nature of Microsoft Whiteboard makes it a useful technology tool for classroom brainstorming activities, mind-mapping, group work-out problems or integrating collaborative approaches to problem-solving and decision-making activities.  Best of all, Microsoft Whiteboard is easy to use.  Just download the appropriate app (Windows or iOS), then set up or sign in with a Microsoft account (Outlook, Hotmail, Live, Xbox, Office 365).  To start a collaborative, interactive session, simply select the “Invite” button, then write or type the invitee’s name or generate a link to share with the class.

To learn more about Microsoft Whiteboard, watch the overview video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG91PYYPDto.  Then visit https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-whiteboard/digital-whiteboard-app to get started with your free account.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Poll Everywhere Update: Poll Everywhere Competitions Now Available

Poll Everywhere Competitions-1

As we have previously written (August 2015), Poll Everywhere provides “free” polling to educators, which allows you to poll up to 40 students at one time.  It only takes a few minutes to set up a poll and students can respond to your poll in numerous ways, including by texting from their cell phones.  But now you have the capability to create Student Competitions within Poll Everywhere.  When you create multiple choice questions in Poll Everywhere, you now have the option for the students to play for points.  You determine the number of questions to include in the Competition and the students respond from their devices.  Points are earned for correct answers and for how quickly they submit their answer.  The leaderboard is updated after each question, which creates competitiveness and excitement in the classroom.  You can have students compete individually or in teams.  Typically, Cathy and I prefer utilizing a team environment within the classroom, which avoids having students being left out if they do not have a device with them to submit their answer.

This is a great way to introduce gamification into your curriculum.  Cathy and I use Poll Everywhere for first day of class activities, in-class exam reviews, homework responses and ethic case responses (to name a few).  Poll Everywhere has increased student engagement and classroom attendance within our courses.

For more information on how to use this “free” resource, go to the link below and watch the “Introducing Poll Everywhere Competitions” video for a quick demonstration:  https://www.polleverywhere.com/competitions

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Peer Evaluations Made Easy!

Peer Evaluations Made Easy!

Do you use individual or group projects in your courses?  Do you incorporate peer and self-evaluations?  Are you looking for an easier way to manage the evaluation process?  Then Peergrade may be just the solution!

Peer evaluations are a great way to engage students in the learning process but are often difficult to manage and produce less than helpful feedback. Peergrade is an online application that can simplify and improve the peer evaluation process.  It can also reinforce valuable workplace skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and constructive feedback.

Peergrade allows the instructor to create an online assignment link that includes a grading rubric. Students can then upload their assignments before the due date.  Once the assignment link closes, the submitted assignments are randomly and automatically distributed for review to other students in the class.  Assigned reviewers provide anonymous feedback based on the grading rubric.  The instructor knows who the reviewers are, but their classmates do not.  To ensure the quality of the feedback and improve the learning experience, students rate the feedback they received.  This allows the reviewers and the instructor to know if the feedback provided was helpful or not.  Self-evaluations and instructor evaluations are also possible.  Markus and I both use peer, instructor and self-evaluations in our courses.  Peergrade just helps to streamline the process.

Peergrade is fully customizable for individual or group submissions.  It also has an easy rubric creator if you need this type of assistance.  Additionally, Peergrade includes pedagogical assistance features for instructors, including tutorials, videos, research articles and personal assistance.  Best of all, Peergrade provides data driven insight into the effectiveness of your assignments, rubrics and student learning.

Peergrade has a free version of the application which allows the instructor to implement it in an unlimited number of classes and assignments.  Peergrade can also accept any type of uploaded file that the instructor allows.  Limitations of the free version involve the file size.  The free version is restricted to 50 MG per file. Paid versions of the application are also available for individual instructors and institutions.  The institutional option easily integrates with most Learning Management Systems (LMS).

If you are looking for a better way to involve your students in creating fair and useful evaluations for your projects or assignments, consider Peergrade.  To learn more about how to get started with Peergrade or to set up your free account, visit https://www.peergrade.io/ and watch the brief video.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Year!

Toolbox

It’s time to start preparing for the new academic year!  This is a great time to reflect and utilize technology that can help organize yourself and your classroom for the upcoming year.   Where should you start?  Cathy and I think that this is the perfect time to share how we stay organized and to recap some of our favorite and most useful technology tools.

To maintain easy access to our documents from anywhere or any device, Cathy and I utilize Dropbox for document cloud storage.  In addition, Dropbox allows us to easily share documents with anyone.  Other cloud storage services that we recommend are Google Drive (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/google-drive/), Microsoft One Drive and Apple iCloud.

In addition, a great note taking app is a must have for increasing productivity.  Both Notability (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/notability/) and Evernote (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/evernote/) are tools that we utilize on a weekly basis.  Additional note taking tools that we recommend are GoodNotes, Notes Plus, Noteshelf and Apple Notes.

Furthermore, Cathy and I utilize technology to convert our typical classroom into an interactive whiteboard environment.  Doceri (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/doceri/) allows our hand held devices to project images through the classroom overhead projector and to record our lectures.  Additional whiteboard and/or lecture capture technology that we recommend are Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe, Notability, Splashtop, Scoodle Jam, Camtasia, Tegrity and Snagit https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/snagit/.

Cathy and I integrate many group team activities into our course curriculum.  Some of the technologies that we use to support the group workflow and grading are:  Slack https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/slack/ and Microsoft Teams https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/microsoft-teams/.  Another technology option to consider for team communication is Group Me.

If you are looking for technologies to introduce data analytics into your curriculum, Tableau https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/tableau/ and PowerBI https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/microsoft-power-bi/ are very user friendly tools.

Finally, Cathy and I try to utilize technology to engage our students outside of our classroom lectures.  Some effective technology tools that we use to accomplish student engagement are: Kahoot Challenge https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/kahoot-update-now-available-create-out-of-class-assignments-with-kahoot-challenge/, Flipgrid https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/flipgrid/, Google Slides https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/engaging-students-with-google-slides-qa/, Recap https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/recap/.

We hope that you take this opportunity to discover at least one technology that can help you become more organized throughout the upcoming year.  We recommend checking with your institution to see if they currently provide any of these technologies at little or no cost to faculty.  Many technologies provide similar benefits, therefore, we identified several tools within each organizational category listed above.  We suggest utilizing tools that compliment your teaching style and that can be acquired for the least amount of resources.  Good luck and have a great academic year.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox