Ditch That Textbook’s Best of 2017

2017 has come and gone, and it was a busy year! Here’s are the posts that were most popular with my readers for 2017. (Public domain image via Pixabay.com)

And just like that, 2017 is in the books.

Technology in classrooms has seen some great changes. For instance, “Flipgrid Fever” (flipgrid.com) has really taken off. Students have really shown their voice by recording short Flipgrid videos and sharing them with their classmates and the world.

In some ways, though, a lot has stayed the same. G Suite and Google Classroom (as well as Microsoft Office 365) have remained fixtures in many classes.

It seems like 2017’s focus has been less on “What are the new tools?” and more on “How can we improve learning with these tools?”

Last year saw several new projects with Ditch That Textbook that came to fruition in 2017:

  • I co-authored a new book — Ditch That Homework — with Alice Keeler. It’s all about strategies you can use immediately in class to reduce your reliance on homework — possibly ditching it all together.
  • This was the second year for the Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit, a free online conference for teachers. As this post is published, it’s still underway and has already blown 2016 away in terms of participants, video views and Twitter activity (#DitchSummit).
  • The Google Teacher Tribe podcast went on the air in 2017, and we’re 36 episodes into it. It regularly ranks in the top 10 of K-12 podcasts on iTunes and has hit the No. 1 spot.
  • Ditch That Conference was born, hosting about 75 people in person from three states and hundreds virtually from all over the world.

In 2017, I was at 54 schools, school districts and events in 15 different states and one new country — Australia! I presented at the TeachTechPlay conference in Melbourne, Australia, in April. (In fact, here’s a picture (to the right) of my wife, Melanie, and I at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia!)

Eighteen presentations were in my home state of Indiana. Second place was Texas with nine, followed by California and Illinois with four and Ohio, Michigan and Arkansas with three.

And 2018 is just days away! I’m just as excited and dedicated now as ever to provide you with great blog posts, videos and content. Plus, I have several new projects in the works, so stay tuned!

This is my fifth “best of” post (here’s 2016, here’s 2015here’s 2014, and here’s 2013).

The United States was tops again for readers in 2017, with Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom following up. This was the same last year, too. India took the No. 5 spot, jumping ahead of New Zealand, and South Africa made the top 10 list!

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for … the most popular posts of 2017 from Ditch That Textbook:

10. 20 practical ways to use Google Forms in class, school — Google Forms is great as a survey tool, but it can do even more than that. This post offers ways to handle procedural tasks, assessment and learning/creating in class with Google Forms.

9. 20 useful ways to use Padlet in class now — Padlet (padlet.com) is like a digital bulletin board that lets students collaboratively tack digital notes to it. It’s a great place for gathering ideas and sharing them. This post has 20 ways you can start using it.

8. Catch the Flipgrid fever! 15+ ways to use Flipgrid in your class — Flipgrid (flipgrid.com) is a great video response tool, letting students respond to a prompt with a short video clip. They can then watch each other’s video responses and respond to them. Guest blogger Karly Moura provides tons of ways to start using Flipgrid immediately.

7. 10 Google Slides activities to add awesome to classes –Google Slides may be my favorite of all of the Google apps in G Suite. Students can collaborate in it. They can create some pretty cool products. It allows for all sorts of creativity. Here are eight “outside of the box” ideas with Google Slides.

6. 8 interactive Google Slides activities for classroom excitement — See No. 4 above. It was written last year … the one above it (No. 7) was written two years ago. All of the ideas are still current though!

5. 15 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own — Graphic organizers are great for helping students work through their thinking. They’re easy to make, and they get students working (and thinking!) on their own. In this post, you can copy lots of graphic organizers I’ve created to customize and assign them to your students!

4. Game show classroom: Comparing Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live and Quizalize — There are lots of these fun formative assessment tools that can make class feel like a game show. In this post, we look at four of them and compare them — similarities and differences.

3. 20 video project ideas to engage students — This post has been one of my most popular ones for the past three years. It’s popular through Google searches for video project ideas. If you’re looking for some ideas, check it out!

2. The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide + tips and tricks! — Google Classroom is still a powerful tool that teachers want more and more details about. This post gives you the basics if you’re just getting started.

1. 10 add-ons to Google Classroom you MUST try — This is a compilation of Google Chrome extensions and Google Sheets add-ons that work very nicely with Google Classroom and G Suite. They were created by my Ditch That Homework co-author, Alice Keeler. It’s amazing what can be done when these add-ons are incorporated!

What topics would you like to see covered in blog posts in 2017? Let me know in a comment below!

For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links:

Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

 DateEvent / Event DetailsCity / More Info
+ 01/26/2018
Erie 1 BOCESWest Seneca, NY
  Register to attend
+ 01/29/2018
Jackson R-2 School DistrictJackson, MO
+ 02/02/2018
California League of Schools (DBC)Monterey, CA
+ 02/07/2018
Ditch That Homework Workshop (Region 8 ESC)Fort Wayne, IN
 Venue:The Summit
1025 W. Rudisill Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46807
Public Event
+ 02/08/2018
Ditch That Homework WorkshopMishawaka, IN
 Venue:Northern Indiana Educational Service Center (NIESC)
56535 Magnetic Drive
Mishawaka, IN 46545
Public Event
+ 03/01/2018
Kids ROELoves Park, IL
  Register to attend
+ 03/07/2018
Delaware Association of School Admin 
+ 03/16/2018
Lake Shore Central SchoolAngola, NY
+ 03/30/2018
Taylorville CUSDTaylorville, IL
+ 06/04/2018
Granbury ISDGranbury, TX
+ 06/13/2018
InnEdCoKeystone, CO
  Register to attend
+ 06/21/2018
Barr-Reeve Jr/Sr High School- Washington Community SchoolsWashington, IN
+ 08/09/2018
St. Joseph Grade SchoolSouth Bend, IN
+ 08/15/2018
St. Anthony de Padua Catholic SchoolSouth Bend, IN
+ 10/03/2018
Orrick R-XI / I-70 Excellence in Education ConferenceKansas City, MO