The 8-Bit Instructor: Summer PL (EP040)

Download the episode here.

Episode 40

This week, I talk about tips for summer PL and some different ideas for what you could do. Plus, news and updates as well as a great Google Classroom tip.

News & Updates

  • Essay questions are now called Free Response
  • Premium Updates
    • Math keyboard in beta in Show Your Work
    • Students see the same score threshold as teachers
    • File uploads of less than 100 MB available for all question types
    • Drag and drop into questions
  • All Users
    • When adding an image, you can draw now
    • Improvements for students to see what assignments still need to be completed (blue button)
    • Improved audio player everywhere
  • Import and create student accounts from Google Classroom and Clever

Treasure Chest: Rich Text Formatting in Google Classroom

  • Use bold, underline, and italics in Google Classroom to draw students’ attention to key information

Boss Battle: Summer PL

Some thoughts about Summer PL:

  1. Don’t feel obligated to do PL
  2. It doesn’t have to be a “class”
  3. Find something you’ve been wanted to learn or try
  4. Make it low-stakes; enjoy your learning
  5. Go deeper with something you already know

Some places to get started with some summer PL for ed tech:

  1. Google level 1 & 2 certification
    1. Get started here
  2. Adobe Creative Educator
    1. Get started here
  3. Edpuzzle for some shorter PL
    1. Get started here
  4. Flipgrid
    1. Get started here
  5. Screencastify (2 levels)
    1. Get started here

Bonus: EMC2 Learning

Good reads:

  1. Stop Talking, Start Influencing” by Jared Cooney Horvath
    1. Great for improving your day-to-day teaching to help student learning
  2. 10 Things Schools Get Wrong: And How We Can Get Them Right” by Jared Cooney Horvath and David Bott
    1. For when you wonder, “Why do we do this?”
    2. Research about grades, homework, mindset, 21st century skills, computers, and more
  3. Adding some activities in class?
    1. Edrenaline Rush” by John Meehan
    2. Boredom Busters” by Katie Powell
  4. For those of you wanting to layer gamification over your class
    1. Explore like a Pirate” by Michael Matera
    2. Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards” by Yu-Kai Chou
  5. Labor-based Grading” by Asao Inoue
    1. For a different look at making grading equitable
    2. Bonus: Asao’s blog book about Anti-racist teaching

Crew Members’ Board (#8BitCrew)

QOTW: What’s an idea you have for summer PL?

Use #8BitCrew on Twitter, tag me @comicsocks, or post longer stories in the comments section here.

Get connected

Check out my Google Classroom Udemy course.


Music by David Fesliyan (

  • Intro/Outro: “Retro Platforming”
  • Boss Battle: “Boss Battle Rock”
  • Crew Member’s Board: “Pirate Dance”
  • Wrap up: “Game Over” by Patrick de Arteaga

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links to products or services. I may receive commissions or bonuses from your actions on such links.

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