AAS inTECHgration

digital strategies for teaching and learning

JumpRope 2.0

JumpRope has now opened up a preview of JumpRope 2.0 that is ready for use by teachers. Even though the look is all new, they have aimed to make it easy to navigate for those of us familiar with what they are calling JumpRope Legacy view. Mainly they aimed to provide a faster experience with a more modern interface.

New features include:

  • the ability for teachers to nickname classes
  • the ability to add, edit, and copy assessments within the gradebook tab
  • a more convenient quick lookup to see an overview of your students
  • web friendly (non-Flash) so that it can be used on phones and tablets
  • contextual help, readily accessible

Please watch this tour of the new layout and a few new features.

G Suite Updates

Email team members from within your Team Drive.

The majority of AAS is now using Google Team Drives to keep teams organized and to maintain secure files. Now when you are working in the Team Drive, you will not need to switch to Outlook or elsewhere to message your team. You can email team members from within the Team Drive.

Email team members from within Team Drive (image from https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com)

New ways to comment on PDFs, Microsoft files, and images in Google Drive

If you share an image, a PDF, or a Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint in Google Drive, you can now comment on these files and reply to others’ comments as well. You simply click on the file in Drive, highlight the text or area you wish to comment on, and then add your comment. You can also click on others’ comments to reply in line.

This could be used for team collaboration or perhaps for student groups to annotate or converse about an image or document.

Provide quick feedback on the most popular file formats, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF files, in the Drive preview pane. (image from https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com)

More intelligent organization and search in Shared with me.

The Shared with me view of Google Drive can be overwhelming or confusing. I think of it as a river flowing past. I can stand on a bridge above it, fish out useful items, and add them to My Drive to organize them.

Soon Shared with me will be organized by artificial intelligence that aims to predict the people and files you are most likely to search for. This machine learning should improve the more you use it.

Intelligent organization in Shared with me (image from https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com)

See who has viewed files you own or edit.

Under the Tools menu in G Suite apps, you will find Activity dashboard. This pop-up will show you when others have viewed the file. This is not meant to replace Version history, which allows you to see all changes made by other editors on the file. (Did you know that you can also name specific versions? No need to save drafts as separate documents.)

The Activity dashboard will help you decide how and when you might need to follow up with someone who needed to view the Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. Only editors of the file will see the viewers, and there will be some limitations based on how widely/publicly a file is shared.

Activity dashboard (image from https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com/)

Find more details here.

Twitter: Fantastic PD & PLN

Many educators around the world have created a Twitter  account (it’s free) at a PD session or conference at some point. But often we forget about it or say that we are too busy to spend time sifting through streams of information for useful ideas.

The truth is that Twitter, like any social network, can be a major time drain. However, a few key strategies can help you ease into it and start to make it worth the time and effort.

Curate your PLN

Really, Twitter allows you to curate and collect only information that you will find useful. And MANY, MANY educators use it regularly to learn and to share their learning.

A good way to get started is to follow a few teachers, education professionals, gurus in your subject/specialty, and organizations related to the subject you teach. Follow a few colleagues from AAS too. During PD days, tweet some of the thoughts that strike you, photos/videos of the images/scenes that inspire you, and the ideas you want to revisit or think about further. When you attend a conference or PD session, watch for posted hashtags or twitter IDs of presenters. Or look up any presenters and see if they are on Twitter. Here are some starters:

For Admin: Lead Up NowEric Sheninger, George Couros, Dan McCabeMike Crowley, Arnie Bieber

For Elementary: Kath Murdoch, Anne van Dam, Maria PopovaDonalyn Miller, Margie Myers-Culver, Amanda McCloskey

For Math: Dan Meyer, Dr. Math E Matics, Alice Keeler

For Science: Google Science Fair, The Association for Science Educators

For English: Jim Burke, Penny Kittle, NCTE, Poetry FoundationGrammar Girl

For Social Studies: Data Is Beautiful, vox.com, The Economist, Nick Dennis

For Art: Google Arts&Culture, Nicki Hambleton, The Art of Education

For EVERYONE: Edutopia, Eduporium, Mindshift, Common Sense EducationASCD, IBO, IB PYP, IB DP, Google for Education

And if you are seeing irrelevant posts in your Twitter feed, simply unfollow those people or organizations.


What should I tweet?

First, you don’t need to tweet at all if you don’t want to. You can simply watch/listen/read to what others are saying/posting. It can be useful to retweet ideas, links, and sources that you want to collect and revisit at some point. In this way Twitter can be a microblog of thoughts and resources that you agree with and want to explore further. It doesn’t matter if you have followers. You can simply use Twitter to feed your own professional development.


Using hashtags(#) is a way to sift through Twitter to find out what people are saying about a topic and to join in if you want to. Inserting a hashtag into your tweets also will connect you to others having an asynchronous conversation. The great thing about #hashtags is that you don’t need to know some official list. You can make them up as you go. However, you will see common hashtags in others’ posts and then start to use them.

Here are some frequently used education hashtags: #pyp, #pypchat, #ibdp, #edtech, #edchat, #pbl, #UbD, #engchat, #scichat, #mathchat, #litchat.

To make tweeting at AAS more coherent,
we should use common hashtags:



AASMoscow Tweets List

Another possibility is to create a Twitter List based on a group or topic you would like to follow. I have created a public list called AASMoscow Tweets, containing connections to the AAS faculty who I know are at least occasional tweeters. You can subscribe to this list to follow the ideas and postings of other AAS faculty.

If you don’t see yourself on this list, please tweet to me @PaulJCarpenter so I can add you. And remember to use @AAS_Moscow when referring to AAS.


TweetDeck and other similar tools allow you to focus only on following specific streams. It allows you to follow a certain hashtag or a certain list of people, such as the AASMoscow Tweets list.


The Great Suspender

Are you someone who has lots and lots of tabs open in Chrome? Do you often have trouble with things loading at the speed that you would like them too? Then, The Great Suspender extension might be for you!

This extension will put your tabs to sleep when you are not using them. This frees up valuable bandwidth and processing speed.

As you can see in the image, this extension has only a few settings to play with so you do have a bit of customization if you want it. You can choose the number of minutes/hours the extension waits until it suspends tabs; you can set it to suspend when you are on battery;  it also allows you to choose the type of tab to be suspended (pinned or not).

screenshot-40If you like this extension for its usability, here are a few more of my favorites!

Crafty Text: This allows you to put a small bit of text (like a link or directions) over the top of what is on your screen. screenshot-41

Permanent Clipboard: Do you find yourself typing the same comment over and over when giving electronic feedback to students? Try Permanent Clipboard! It allows you to create a bank of comment statements and then insert them into your feedback with a simple right click of the mouse.

RSS Feed Reader: Do you have several blogs you follow? This simple RSS Feed Reader may be for you! It allows you to quickly see if there are any new posts on the blogs you read as well as quickly jump to the post in the blog.

And remember, when using Chrome, you should see your name in the upper right. If you don’t, sign in. This guarantees that your extensions (and bookmarks, passwords, and more) will be saved and available on any device when you log into Chrome again.

Google Classroom Parent/Guardian Email Summaries

Parents/guardians can receive a daily or weekly email summary of their student’s class details. It consolidates information from all classes into one message, and it is automated so that teachers do not have to send it manually.

The email will include:

  • Missing work—Work that’s late at the time the email was sent
  • Upcoming work—Work that’s due today and tomorrow (for daily emails) or work that’s due in the upcoming week (for weekly emails)
  • Class activity—Announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers

Teachers need to do two things: 

  1. After you have created all of your classes, in the People section of Classroom, the teacher must activate the Guardian Email Summaries. Parent email addresses will be added for you.
  2. Use Google Classroom often! Make announcements, post assignments, pose questions, and check to see that student work is turned in.

Here’s what parents/guardians will see:

Parents will receive instructions for subscribing from AAS soon. They can always choose to unsubscribe if they do not wish to receive so much information.

If you want more information, check out the links below.

Outlook mobile app


Because we are often moving around classrooms, traveling throughout the building, or maybe even working from home, having access to our AAS email, calendar, and files on the go is often handy, perhaps even essential.

Most of us have some kind of mail app set up to get our school mail on mobile phones and/or iPads/tablets, and this might be working well for you.

But if you aren’t already using it, consider trying the Outlook app because it offers a few helpful possibilities that you might not yet know about.

Wired.com calls Outlook “The Future of Email” and TheVerge.com claims Outlook is “The best email app for the iPhone.”

Email/Calendar/Files/People all in one place!

On my iPhone, I once used the Mail app, and I liked the swipe to delete and the automatic connections with the Calendar and Contacts apps. However, I had to open/close these apps to maneuver back and forth between them.

In Outlook, all of these functions are tied into the same app, and you can simply tab between them at the bottom of the screen.

Email messages in Outlook are sorted into 2 streams — Focused(generally all messages from @aas.ru addresses) and Other(messages from external addresses, and therefore probably not pressing items), which makes it easier to stay focused on the people you need to collaborate with and respond to more regularly.

The Files section gives you quick access to the documents that people have shared through attachments.

The Calendar integration is particularly convenient. When you receive a calendar invitation, you can RSVP from within the email. And when you need to propose meeting times with others, you can very easily send some options for when you are available — all without leaving this app.

Additionally, you can set the swipe left and swipe right to Archive, Mark as Read, Delete, Schedule(to arrive again later), Move(to a folder), or Flag messages. Your mail folders and rules and other various settings from Outlook on the desktop or laptop also carry over.

BTW, if you don’t have Outlook(and other Office apps) on your own laptop.

Work life / Personal life separation


We can easily get overwhelmed with messages and information, so I generally like to keep my AAS email, calendar, etc. separate from my personal stuff. By using this separate app only for work, I am better able to make a clean break if I am not working at night or when I need to focus on other things. My mail and my calendars are not overlapping and are not competing for my attention.




Google Forms

Google Forms provide an easy-to-use tool for gathering information, for organizing data, and for assessing students and providing feedback. Lately, more and more people at AAS have been using them, so I wanted to highlight the variety of uses and some of their benefits here.

Plus, recent updates to Forms make them look more professional and also offer very convenient ways to instantly visualize data and interpret responses, even without going to the accompanying spreadsheet.

Speaking of spreadsheets, first you should understand the way Google Forms work. Here are the basic steps and a couple important details for AAS use.

  1. You create a Form. You have a choice of whether to require AAS user login. This can be useful to limit use to only students and faculty at school. However, if you want to open up the form for others outside AAS, do not choose this. Also, plan your questions and craft them to get exactly the types of information and data you want to collect. You can add images, videos, and many types of questions. You can also organize the form into multiple pages with headers. If the form is a quiz for student assessment, you can enable a password and/or turn it on and off to keep it relatively secure and control who takes it and when they can access it.
  2. You send the Form and users complete it. A Form can be completed on any device with web access – any desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone = BYOD-friendly. The responses and data that users enter can be kept just in the form or can be sent to a Google Sheet(similar to Excel). Later you can also reuse a form by attaching it to a new Sheet.
  3. You easily organize and analyze the data. This allows you to make informed decisions. If you have collected written responses from people, reading them in a spreadsheet is not easy. However, a few Add-Ons for Google Sheets allow you to easily produce Google Docs or PDFs with the information from each Form user submission.
    • Save As Doc – This creates a Google Doc from each Form entry and saves them in your Drive. It is very easy to use but has limitations to the look of the Doc.
    • autoCrat – This one allows you to create a custom template — such as a achievement certificate, a special document with a letterhead and custom text, or a feedback rubric. It generates a Google Doc or a PDF from each form entry, which is saved and can also be emailed to whoever you designate.
    • Flubaroo – This allows teachers to use Forms as assessments — quizzes or tests. It processes the Form responses on the spreadsheet compared to an answer key you enter; then it produces a sheet with the grades. You can also mark written short answers or even paragraphs and provide comments. You can even share results and feedback with students in a variety ways with Flubaroo. More updates and additions are continually being made.

Finally, here is list of current uses of Forms here at AAS!

collecting and organizing information

  • PTO Enhancement Grant Applications – This Form is set up with autoCrat to automagically produce and save a PDF and share it with specific members of the PTO.
  • Move / Renovation Requests for the Housing Committee – This also uses autoCrat to save a Google Doc version of each Form submission into a folder that is shared with all the committee members.
  • Sign up for study rooms and extra help before examsMatt Groves, Joe Kahn, and Paul Lennon have used this recently. It is easy to share the info with other teachers and students and to check whether all students completed the Form.


  • Map and Geography quiz in Grade 7 Humanities – With Flubaroo, the marking of the quiz is quite quick and easy. This quiz included a map image, a variety of question types that are automatically graded, and short response questions that teachers mark manually. Amey Law is leading the way here!
  • Scientific Inquiry Rubric – This Science Department work-in-progress will allow teachers to assess students’ lab work and collect data longitudinally as they progress from lab to lab, from year to year.
  • Walk-through form for MS Admin to provide teachers with feedback and gather appraisal data – If an administrator drops by a classroom and takes some notes on an iPad or laptop, they are probably using a Form to collect that info. autoCrat then sends it to a Google Doc, which is filed in Drive and can be shared with the teacher to add his/her reflection as well. These notes can then provide a good starting point for feedback and further conversations for PD.
  • Student Intervention tracking in the HS admin/counselors/GLLs – When teachers are concerned about a student’s behavior or academic standing in class, they employ different strategies to help the student. These efforts are documented through the Form so that other teachers and counselors can be informed and further assistance for students can be determined. Some formulas and set-up in the accompanying spreadsheet makes the data easily searchable by student, by teacher, and by grade level.

visualizing data and responses

  • Time Management Survey of Grade 11 students – Katrina Senour wanted to quickly find out how students think about and employ time management strategies. The data is readily available for her to understand the student responses. image sample:

Please contact Devin or Paul if you want to try out any of these uses of Google Forms!

Hour(WEEK) of Code

Monday-Friday, December 7-11

Coding, aka computer programming, is increasingly recognized as a vital skill for students to acquire. College/University grads with coding ability find more success in the job market. And it is a substantial element of our effort to ensure that students are not simply consumers of products/knowledge/tech; they should be PRODUCERS!

So for the last handful of years, code.org and many others have promoted hour of code events to expose students and teachers to the possibilities of learning computer languages.

Besides learning to manipulate objects and interactions on a screen, coding offers tremendous benefits for learning that applies to many aspects of life:

  • logic
  • design thinking
  • persistence
  • creativity
  • collaboration

During our week of code, look for posters with QR codes linking to a variety of coding activities, games, and tutorials for all ages and levels of experience.

On Thursday, a CODE ZONE will be set up in the student lounge/hall of flags. Large screens will allow students or teachers to connect, try it out, and show everyone their learning and skills. Devin and Paul will be there with classes and as helpers throughout the day. You can stop by on your own, send students who are finished with other work, or bring your entire class.

In your own classroom, you can set aside a bit of time for students to code with any of these starter projects:

STAR WARS: Build your own galaxy(Blockly, JavaScript)

MINECRAFT Hour of Code(Blockly, JavaScript)

FROZEN: Draw with angles(Blockly, JavaScript)


Animate your name(HTML, JavaScript)

Make a website about YOU(HTML)

Build your own galaxy(HTML, CSS)

Most of these sites require either no login at all or can be connected easily via school Google accounts.

Please join us to help reach the goal of everyone at AAS participating in at least one HOUR OF CODE this week!!!

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