Digital Classroom How-Tos

EdTECH monthly WEBINAR april 2020

This webinar gives an overview of all of the publisher tools that are available. We also go into detail on some of the most relevant How To’s that teachers are relying on due to remote learning including:

  • How to create, edit or remove discussion prompts in Pearson Realize
  • How to assign and manage discussion prompts in Pearson Realize
  • How to utilize the dashboard and navigation for McGraw-Hill My Math
  • How to create and manage learning groups in HMH

Read the transcript below:


Good morning and hello everyone. Thank you for joining me for today’s EdTech Tuesday webinar. My name is Lacey Woolfrey and I am the teacher support manager at EdTech Solutions and this webinar today will be a screen sharing so we’re not doing any type of video for this webinar today so sit back and enjoy. I hope you learn something. What the series of webinars is designed for is to help busy teachers master the strategies for teaching in a digital environment. And in the current state of education today that is especially relevant being that everyone has pretty much gone to remote learning and teaching so this is really a critical aspect of remote learning. So, I hope you learn something today and I appreciate that you’re here. If throughout the webinar or you do have any questions please feel free to type them in the chat box or raise your hand and I’m happy to get to questions as we go or if there’s time at the end address some of those as well.

So at EdTech Solutions we are really passionate about empowering digital education and what we aim for is to inspire teachers to inspire greatness in their students. And as with all of our teacher training webinars there are really three main goals for today’s session. The first one is to increase the level of comfort with technology, it is ever changing especially right now and it can definitely be overwhelming. So, whether you’re a first year teacher or you’ve been in the classroom for decades if you are a new to digital learning I want you to be able to take a deep breath, have an open mind, and pick at least one thing from this training today to become a champion for.

This brings me to the second goal of today is excitement. So learning something new can bring with it a lot of emotions, frustration, stress, fear, curiosity, and hopefully out of today’s training some excitement as well. Teaching in the digital age can include a lot to be excited about. There are really so many amazing tools that can enhance the learning environment for your students and add to your tool belt as a dynamic instructor.

And the third goal for today is to take this new level of comfort and excitement and really create an innovative classroom environment digitally. Really embrace that technology and the additional resources that it provides to you and to your students as well. And ever important today with the lack of face to face interaction technology can really be used to bridge that gap. It can be used to encourage peer to peer learning and really empower students to develop their own ideas while also focusing on real world application.

Before jumping into today’s topic I just want you to take a moment and reflect on whether or not you are getting the most out of your current digital platform. Many schools adopt exciting online classroom environments only to find out that there’s not enough time to learn all of the tools and everything that’s available within those platforms. They get frustrated and they simply revert back to using the digital book as a replacement for the print books. And really what this comes down to is teachers aren’t fully accessing all the dynamic resources that are available in the top publisher platforms.

Some of the most common publishers that we work with at EdTech with the schools and teachers that we support include Pearson, McGraw Hill, HMH, Cengage, TCI and BFW. They really offer some fantastic training resources that are often overlooked. So, this webinar is going to give an overview of all of the publisher tools that are available and then go into some detail on some of the most relevant how tos that teachers are relying on due to remote learning including creating student discussion groups, online assessments, and also the ability to create recommended groups based on scores within your platform. And then all of the training links that are discussed today are available in one convenient location at

So I will be sharing my screen to walk you through many of these helpful tutorials. So this is, we’ve got a lot of great resources here. We’ve got specific for teachers an environment where there’s professional development, information about today’s webinar, monthly webinar and then our digital platform support. This is designed to add some convenience for teachers because many times schools and even individual teachers are working with several different publishers and platforms so this has all of the digital platforms in one spot, easy to access.

And for the first how to we’re going to check out Pearson, one of the most common platforms that our schools use are Realize and so all of Pearson’s platforms are available here. For the purpose of today’s webinar we are going to take a look at Pearson Realize.

As you can see here there are many resources available for teachers from getting started with using Pearson as well as creating classroom environments, building a class, adding students, managing those students. For this example I am going to take a look and walk you through discussion prompts. This is again a great way to get students interacting with each other even though they may not be face to face.

Hi, I’m Tracy and I’d like to show you how to create, edit or remove discussion prompts in Pearson Realize. Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool that will allow your students to actively participate without feeling anxious about speaking in front of other students? With discussion prompts on Pearson Realize you do. You can easily use discussion prompts to discuss key concepts, encourage critical thinking and allow students to learn from each other.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create, edit and remove a discussion prompt. But before we begin keep in mind the prompts are not available to all districts and teachers. If you do have access to prompts I’ll show you had to create one in 60 seconds or less. Select classes from the Pearson Realize homepage then find the class you want to create a discussion prompt for and select discuss below the class name. Another way to do this is to select discuss at the top of the class page. On the active discussions page click the create a prompt button to create a new discussion prompt. You’re almost there. Enter a prompt title and select a prompt color. You can use prompt colors to organize your prompts by topic, grade, discussion type and so on. Enter the prompt text and then click save prompt. The system will save the discussion prompt and you will be taken to the my prompts page.

You can quickly edit a prompt too. To edit a discussion prompt go back to my prompts, find the prompt you’d like to edit and click edit prompt. When you are done editing the prompt click save prompt. To remove a discussion prompt go back to my prompts, find the prompt you’d like to remove and click remove then you’re all set. Discussion prompts are a great way for you to interact with your students and they give them the ability to share and learn from each other it’s a win win. That’s it for this tutorial. Thanks for watching and don’t forget to check out for more helpful resources.

All right. So that is setting up the discussion groups. The next tutorial that I’ll walk you through is going to be managing those discussion groups and really how to best utilize those within the classroom.

“Hi, I’m Tracy and I am going to show you how to assign and manage discussion prompts in Pearson Realize. If you want to learn how to create, edit or remove discussion prompts before you dig into this topic refer to the create, edit or remove discussion prompts tutorial before viewing this one. Before we begin just a quick reminder that prompts are not available to all districts and teachers.

So you want to assign a discussion prompt to your class or students? First, let’s navigate to the class to which you want to assign the discussion prompt. On the classes page you can select discuss under the class name or select the class and then click the discuss tab on the top. You will be taken to the active discussion page. Keep in mind that until you assign a discussion prompt it is considered inactive and won’t show up on the active discussion section.

To view an unassigned discussion prompt you have created for this class select my prompts. Click assign below the discussion prompt you want to assign. In the create an assignment box enter a title, start date, due date, and optionally add instructions. Enter the name of the class, group or student you want to assign to by using smart search. Click assign to finish. Once you’ve assigned a discussion it appears in both the active discussions list and your assignments list. Students can now participate in the discussion by posting comments and responses. Remember, only assigned and active discussions will appear in the active discussion section.

Now that you have assigned a discussion prompt you and your students can actively participate, share ideas and ask and answer questions. To participate and view the progress of the discussion select the assignment from the assignments page and then select view discussion. You can also select discuss from the class page if the assignment is still active then select the discussion you want to view. At the top of the page under the discussion title you’ll see a list of all active participants. At the top you’ll see the discussion prompt. Underneath you’ll be able to see all comments made by you and your students. To review a specific student’s comments use the drop down menu to select that student’s name. That student’s comments will be highlighted in white. If for some reason you would like to hide a student’s comment select hide comment, to unhide a comment select hidden comments at the top and then select unhide comment.

If you hide a student’s comment it will be hidden from all participants even the comment owner. Another thing to remember is that you will not be able to edit comments after the assignment due date has passed. Posting a comment is very simple and allows you to easily participate with your students. Just click post a comment to start. Type your comment in the text box that appears. You can format your text by using the format options located above the text area. You can also add an attachment from your PC, Google drive or Microsoft One drive to your comment just click the add attachment option at the bottom of the text area, navigate to your file and click attach.

There are some file type and size restrictions to attachments which you can see here. Once you upload the file, you can see the name of the file at the bottom and choose to replace or remove it if you change your mind. When you are done, select post my comment. Your students will be able to see your comment as soon as you post it. They will also be able to instantly download any attachments that you added. Once you have posted your comment you’ll be able to edit or remove the comment and download or remove any attachment. You’ll only be able to do this while the assignment is still active. Once the assignment deadline has passed you’ll only be able to remove your comments.

Bear in mind that assigned discussions are not like your regular assignments. First students don’t have a turn in option, discussions are automatically turned in at midnight in the student’s time zone on the due date. Second, once the due date has passed you can score the assignment. So let’s look a little closer at an assigned discussion. In the assignments tab of your class select the assigned discussion. The assignment status panel will appear with more details. Check out the managing assignments tutorial on for a more in depth look at this panel.

Select view student status to go to the student status page. You’ll see the progress each student has made for that assignment. Students’ assignments won’t be marked complete until after the due date. If you select the student’s name and discuss in the dropdown panel, you’ll be taken to the discussion page. All of the students’ comments will be highlighted in white so they are easy to see. If you choose to score the discussion you’ll have to wait until after the due date. Once the due date has passed select score and enter the score for each student. Then select save, wallah.

Now you’re a pro at assigning and managing discussion prompts. They’re a great way to discuss key concepts, encourage critical thinking and reflect on students’ learning experiences. Thanks for watching this tutorial. Check out”

All right. So that is a couple of examples of the Pearson tutorials that are available and next we’ll take a look at McGraw Hill. And these platforms include ConnectEd, Connect, Redbird, Impact, Inspire, and a few more of those are the most common that the schools that we work with use. And this link takes you directly to the McGraw Hill training site so teachers can click here and select the program that they are using. We’ve got several using Alex, Redbird. For this example today we’re going to take a look at My Math and we’ll be doing a dashboard and navigation overview.

“This tutorial provides a guide to your program home screen. The home screen is what you see when you first log in. You can access any of the screens in the program by accessing the McGraw Hill education dropdown menu in the upper left corner of the screen and selecting the screen name. You can get back to the home screen by clicking the program title in the upper left corner of the screen or selecting home from the drop down menu. The current chapter and lesson for the selected class display at the top of the screen. The chapter and lesson correspond to your current class schedule. To open the selected chapter and lesson click the dropdown menu and click lesson plan. To open the lesson presentation click the presentation button and click launch presentation. Click the student lesson button to open the student ebook for that chapter and lesson.

Access the lesson resources in the resources section on the right side of the home screen. Use the scroll bar to move through the carousel to access the different resource categories available. Click a resource icon, this will open the resource library and you can view all the resources that belong to that category in the program. The today’s calendar tab displays the scheduled lesson plans, assignments due and other scheduled events based on today’s program calendar.

Click the calendar to view a different days information. Select a different class from the class dropdown menu to display today’s calendar for that class. To show the information for a different lesson from the home screen. Select the arrow next to the chapter and lesson name to display the chapter and lesson menu. Select the chapter and lesson name to display that lesson’s home screen information. Click the McGraw Hill education menu in the upper left corner of the screen to access different parts of the program. Here you can quickly access your notebook, your planner, your class information, and national and state standards covered in the course. The program search is located in the upper right corner of the screen. You can quickly search the entire program for a specific term or concept. This concludes our guide to your program home screen. Be sure to view other tutorials for more information about this and other screens.”

All right. So that is the overview of the dashboard. There are other tutorials regarding class management, setting up your grade book, creating a new class, adding and editing students. There are also assessments that can be added and customized here. For the next example for today’s webinar we will be going through discussions again, an important part of engaging students during this time of remote learning.

“You can view current class discussions on the my discussions page. You can access my discussions screen by clicking the McGraw Hill education dropdown menu in the upper left corner of the screen and selecting my discussions. The discussions page for the current class appears. Discussions are enabled on the my discussions page. Click the disable button to disabled discussions for the selected class. If you disable class discussions the my discussions link does not appear on your student’s menus. Current discussion topics are listed on the left side of the screen. When someone adds a new comment to a topic the comments icon appears next to the topic title. The topics are arranged by start date with the latest on top. Click the show active button to display current active discussions. Click the show all button to show expired discussions as well.

When a discussion expires students can not add new comments and it will no longer appear with active discussions. Select the title to view that discussion. The original question or topic appears at the top along with any resources you attached with the discussion located below. Click the create new topic button to start a new discussion. If you want to approve any student comments before the rest of the class sees them click the on button under set moderation for discussion topic. If moderation is off, all comments will be approved automatically. Select the start date for the discussion and the date the discussion will expire. When the discussion expires the class will not be able to add new comments to it. You can select which students will be able to participate in this discussion or select the whole class. Give the topic a title and write your question or topic to get the discussion started.

You can add any program resources that will add to the discussion by clicking the attach button. Click the create button to post the topic. The new topic appears at the top of your topics list. Once you post the topic it will be immediately visible on your students’ discussion screens. You can create a new posting at the top of the discussion. Click the add resources button to attach any program resource file to your posting. When you click the post button it immediately appears as part of the current discussion. Your name on your postings will appear in blue. Click the edit button to make any changes to a posting or click the delete button to remove it.

The teacher, as discussion moderator, is also able to edit or delete students postings. To respond directly to a posting and a discussion click the comment button. Your comment appears directly beneath the posting you are responding to. You can remove postings that have already been posted to the discussion thread with the delete button. If you delete a posting it will also remove all the comments associated with it. To edit a current topic, select edit topic from the tools menu.

Make your changes to the topic page and click the update button. Your saved changes will be visible immediately. To delete an entire discussion select the discussion thread to be deleted and select delete topic from the tools menu. Select the okay button to confirm you want to delete it. The discussion thread will be deleted. Once a discussion is deleted the class will no longer be able to see the deleted topic or any comments made on it. To lock a discussion select the discussion thread and select lock topic from the tools menu. A lock icon appears next to a locked discussion. When a discussion is locked the students will be able to see it but they will not be able to make new comments.

Select unlock topic from the tools menu to unlock the topic and remove the locked icon. Click the print button to print the entire discussion thread. This creates a PDF version of the discussion thread that you can print. This concludes our guide to my discussions. Be sure to view the other tutorials for more information about this and other screens.”

All right. Moving on to the HMH “Ed: Your Friend in Learning” and for this one there is a handy search feature if there’s something specific that you are looking for. They’ve also got this great guide specific to learning at home and supporting teachers during this time of remote learning. For this example, we will be taking a look at group creation and this option right here is allow Ed to recommend groups and we’ll do a brief overview here.

“Grouping students based on assignment performance just got easier. Ed, your friend in learning will sort your students into three groups based off of their scores on a single graded assignment. Each group has the same number of students unless your class has an uneven number of students, in that case more students are placed in the higher performing group. You can always make adjustments to these default groupings. Begin on the assignments tab, find the graded assignment you would like to use to create a group. Click on the assignment to open the assignment details page.

In the upper right corner of the page click view report. This opens the data and reports tab and displays the report for this assignment. Again, in the upper right corner of the page click recommend groups. The create groups page opens with all students already placed in one of three groups. You will need to name the group in the description of groups fields. You have the flexibility of customizing each individual group. Click on the group name to make it unique. You can delete groups by clicking on the ellipse next to the group name and selecting delete. You can drag and drop students between groups or add an additional group by clicking on the ad groups button. Once you have finished customizing your group click save and done. You will return to the data and reports tab that displays the report that was used to create the group. Click on the groups tab and you see your new group card is visible and ready to use.”

All right. So those are three of the common publishers that are used. There are additional resources by clicking on the Cengage, TCI and BFW links that will take you to options where you can search for different tutorials or how tos, anything specific to that platform so I encourage you to take advantage of all of those.

And I know you’re all very busy, I appreciate you taking the time to attend today’s webinar. So this series again occurs monthly, the third Tuesday of each month and can be found on Please take a look, visit us to subscribe to the series and access recorded webinars from prior months as well. And we’ve also got a compiled digital platform training resources along with the professional development courses for teachers so a lot of great tools and resources we have available for teachers. We appreciate you so much and are here to help. So please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you during this time.

This concludes our EdTech Tuesday webinar, Digital Classroom How To’s. Again I know your time is valuable. I really appreciate you joining me today. A watch in your email for a survey about today’s webinar. Any feedback is always appreciated as well as suggestions for future webinars. Thank you so much. I hope you have a great rest of your day.

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