Webinar: Integrating Canvas with Hapara Workspace and Dashboard

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by Randy Fairfield, 10/30/19

Do you use Canvas in your school? Have you ever wondered how Canvas and Hapara can be used together? Check out this half hour webinar I led on 10/28/19 that’s full of a lot tips, tricks, and creative ideas!


Teaching Digital Organization With Hapara Dashboard/Sharing

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by Randy Fairfield, 10/9/19

The school I work at has implemented a new course called “S3: Strategies and Skills for Success.” With the visibility of students’ Google Drives I had from the Sharing tab in Hapara, I could see that many students at our school really struggled with digital organization in their Google Drives! I created this short five minute video to help my students learn how they can use the Google Drive folders created by Hapara to help them get more organized. Feel free to use this video if you’d like!


Building Meaningful Relationships in a Digital Classroom

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by Randy Fairfield, 3/28/17

As technology becomes increasingly prevalent in our schools, workplaces, and everyday lives, many educators feel the pressure to make the shift to a more digital classroom. The threat of automation is a workplace reality in many sectors, and it is more important than ever for teachers and students to learn to leverage technology to add value to their work.

Does technology hurt relationships?

One of the biggest concerns expressed by educators over the influx of devices in classrooms is that something is being lost—particularly, that students are losing the ability to communicate and collaborate with their teachers, and with one another, face-to-face.

Consider the following piece of spoken word poetry by Prince EA:

It’s true that, if not used intentionally, technology can add a cold and disconnecting element to our classrooms. However, it’s also possible for technology to be used to add value to our relationships and bring teachers and students closer to together.

Watch how Ms. Kornowski uses Google Forms to connect with students:

Using tech for good in a digital classroom

When you consider both Prince EA’s spoken word poetry and the example from Ms. Kornowski, it’s clear that the problem is not so much the technology itself, but how we use it. Both you and your students can learn to use technology to better communicate and collaborate in the digital classroom.

If your school has adopted Hapara and Google Suite for Education, then you and your students have a bevy of tools at your disposal that can be used to improve communication and collaboration.

Consider the following example of a Hapara Workspace that does just that:

Hapara Workspace

Hapara Workspace

In Hapara Workspace, both teachers and students have the ability to collaborate by adding resource cards to support student learning. Students can add a card while they are in class or out of class. You can then use the resources they add as a jumping off point for discussions about whether or not the resources are relevant, helpful, or credible.

Teachers and students can also use Workspace cards to link to other collaborative tools like Google Hangouts. This allows students to collaborate via video chat while working on a group project outside of school. A teacher could also conduct class from home on a day when school is closed due to inclement weather.

Hapara Highlights Activity Viewer

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Hapara Highlights provides teachers with visibility into what students are looking at online. This could help or hurt teacher-student relationships. If you’re using Highlights in your digital classroom, the following tips will help you ensure it contributes to a positive classroom culture that is conducive to healthy communication and collaboration:

Be upfront and transparent with students. Show students what kind of visibility you have into their Chromebook usage, and let them know that you trust them to make good decisions too! This proactive and positive approach will solve the vast majority of issues you may run into in a digital classroom.

Start Highlights tracking at the beginning of the class period, and use the Activity Viewer to check it again at the end. If a student or two is having a hard time following your classroom expectations, even after you’ve taken positive and proactive steps, you can use the Activity Viewer at the end of the class period to identify those students and pull them aside for the one-on-one conversation they need about digital citizenship.

Technology doesn’t have to be cold. There are many ways to use it to connect with students and support their learning!


Hapara Certified Champion Educator Program

The Hapara Certified Champion Educator Program is run by Hapara, and I can tell you from my own experience that going through the program was super helpful! Registering for the HCCE Program through MisterEdTech gets you one-on-one coaching support from Randy as you go through the coursework—and, if you’re an educator in Washington State, you can get STEM and TPEP clock hours too! Details here:

Date: Educators must apply to the Hapara Champion Educator Program by 3/19/18. If accepted, the program runs for four weeks beginning on 4/9/18.
Cost: $69 to MisterEdTech + $10 to Hapara + $40 for clock hours
Clock Hours: 20 STEM and TPEP Clock Hours (WA State only)
Course Overview: click here
Program Details: click here
Steps to Sign Up:
1. Apply to the Hapara Champion Educator Program by 3/19/18.
2. If accepted, pay $10 program fee to Hapara
3. Optional. For clock hours and coaching support, submit $69 payment to MisterEdTech via PayPal or credit card
4. Optional. Register for clock hours on pdEnroller.

Using Flipgrid and HyperDocs with Hapara Workspace

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by Randy Fairfield, 2/14/18

Ever since last spring, Flipgrid started showing up all over my Twitter feed. Prior to #FlipgridFever, it seemed like every other tweet I saw had something or other to do with HyperDocs. So what is it about Flipgrid and HyperDocs that educators find so appealing? I think the draw is that they can be used to empower students by providing them with voice and choice in the classroom which, in turn, leads to increased engagement. For teachers already using Hapara, where do tools like Flipgrid and HyperDocs fit in?

With Flipgrid, teachers add a grid (basically a class) and post some topics or questions. Students then click on a link to get to the grid and reply to the topics or questions with short video clips that are shared to the grid. If a teacher has students who are not yet comfortable with speaking up in front of the rest of the class, Flipgrid can be used as a scaffold to make sure that all student voices get heard. So, what is the best way to lead the students into Flipgrid?

Well, in Hapara Workplace, teachers can create a card in the Resources or Evidence column and include a link to the Flipgrid they’ve created for their students. Workspace gives a nice jumping off point for students to get to Flipgrid, and linking from Workspace also helps students see their Flipgrid responses in the larger context of a learning cycle that includes standards as well as a rubric for how their Flipgrid response can be assessed.

HyperDocs isn’t really a tool per say—really, it’s more of an idea; and the idea is this: teachers can facilitate learning by engaging students in the 5E’s (engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate) by providing them with links on a Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets file to all kinds of different online resources. Since teachers using Hapara Workspace can already post a variety of links to their Workspace, should they be using HyperDocs as well? Really, the answer to that question really depends on how the teacher feels the content they are linking to can best be organized to meet the needs of their students. If there’s just a few links, posting them to Workspace as resource cards would be sufficient; but as the list of resources grows, organizing them in a HyperDoc and then linking to the HyperDoc from a Workspace card might be the better option.

If you’re excited about starting to use HyperDocs and Flipgrid in your classroom as a way to give students voice and choice in your classroom, a great place to start is to consider your students’ interests. You can grab a free copy of a Google Form with a Student Interest Inventory on my website, see what your students are interested in, and then start creating some Flipgrids and/or HyperDocs that take your students’ interests into account!


Tips and Tricks for Providing Formative Feedback in Your Digital Classroom

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by Randy Fairfield, 1/8/18

Providing quick and meaningful feedback is one of the most important strategies teachers can leverage to propel student learning. One of the most powerful examples of the role that constructive criticism can play as a feedback tool in improving student outcomes can be seen here in “Austin’s Butterfly.”

It’s easy to be enamored by the transformation of the butterfly, but think for just a moment about how Ron Berger used the example of Austin’s Butterfly to build a classroom culture of learning, based on the giving and receiving of critique. Students must be in a place where they truly understand what it means to have a growth mindset towards failure before they are ready to receive and grow from formative feedback—yet far too often, we as educators are quick to apply the red pen without doing the necessary work of framing the way students receive our feedback.

Another fantastic video for helping students understand what a growth mindset looks like is Audri’s Rube Goldberg Monster Trap video. If you’re feeling like your feedback is falling on deaf ears, hit the reset button and show these videos to your students at the start of next semester!

But you might be wondering—what are some effective twenty-first century formative feedback strategies that do not involve butterflies and monster traps? I’m glad you asked! If you are fortunate enough to work in a school that has adopted the G Suite for Education and Hapara, here are some ways you can provide students with helpful and timely feedback:

Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets Comments:
You may already know that you can highlight and comment on learners’ work in Docs, Slides and Sheets, but did you know that students will get an email notification if you type the “+” button in the comments and add the student’s email address? This is a great way to make sure your students receive your feedback in a timely manner.

Suggesting Mode:
Sometimes a comment is useful for giving students feedback that is just vague enough that they need to figure out their mistake for themselves. But, when that kind of feedback is not enough Suggesting Mode allows you to explicitly show your students what they ought to do to move forward.

Video Feedback
With the Screencastify Chrome Extension, teachers can quickly and easily take a video of what their screens look like and include a voice-over as they review student work. Once the teacher is done recording, the video goes straight to Google Drive, and the teacher can quickly share the feedback with the student by adding a direct link to the video as a comment inside the Doc, Slide or Sheet the teacher is reviewing.

Hapara Dashboard
While Dashboard itself is not a feedback tool, it is incredibly helpful in providing teachers with a quick and easy way to access students’ files in Google Drive. Instead of spending time looking for files, teachers can spend their time giving students meaningful feedback on their work!

Hapara Highlights
Highlights provides similar visibility into student work and can be used to see what browser tabs students currently have open. If a student or group of students are working in Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets, the teacher can jump into the mix and provide real-time feedback using some of the methods shown above!

Highlights also has its own feedback tools built in and enables teachers to send messages to students that appear right in their Chrome browsers. Whether you notice a student is struggling, off task, or you just want to offer some encouragement, Highlights messages can be used to send in the moment feedback that students can incorporate into their learning.

Want to learn more about providing timely, effective digital feedback? Sign up for my live webinar next Tuesday (1/16/18) at 4:00 PM PST / 7:00 PM EST!


Hapara Certified Champion Trainer, First Cohort

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by Randy Fairfield, 3/30/17

When I first saw what Hapara had to offer, me knee-jerk reaction was that it seemed like little more than big brother, but for school. However, since the school district I work for adopted the program, I decided to go ahead and give Hapara a second glace. Boy am I glad that I did!

Going through the certified educator and trainer coursework was a lot of work, but it was good work. What I found was that Hapara could be used as a powerful tool to facilitate a number of best practices. Yes, teachers can use the Highlights feature to play big brother. However, showing them how to use the tool to facilitate conversations about digital citizenship instead can lead to really positive outcomes for kids.

If you’re interested in learning more about Hapara and becoming certified yourself, check out the “get certified” section of their website. If you’re so inclined, you can click here to see the profiles of the other fine educators that made through the first cohort of trainers with me!


How to Create Interactive AVID eBinders Using Hapara and the Google Suite

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by Randy Fairfield, 3/22/17

If you’re an AVID school that’s gone or is going 1:1 and is using Hapara and Google Apps for Education, check out this brief tutorial I created on how you could create eBinders at your school! Having eBinders either replace or supplement traditional binders can be a great way to teach students the digital organizational skills they will need to be successful in a 21st-century economy.