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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tozzl - Create a Multifaceted Message Board

Tozzl is a message board platform that I just learned about this afternoon when its lead developer emailed me. My initial thought was, "I don't know that the world needs another message board tool." But as I explored it a bit I changed my mind.

Tozzl allows you to quickly create private, password-protected message boards as well as public boards. To get started visit Tozzl and select "create a new Tozzl." Then you can name your message board and set a privacy password (optional). Tozzl assigns a new, unique URL to each message board. On your message board you can add sections for chat, file sharing, to-do lists, and YouTube videos. You can also import the feed of a Twitter hashtag. In my demo board available here you will see that I imported #NCTIES15.

Applications for Education
The many facets of Tozzl open it up to a bunch of possible classroom uses. You could use it simply as a backchannel tool in which students ask questions through the course of a lesson. You could have students use it as a project management tool when they're working in groups. Tozzl message boards also have the potential to be used for simply distributing digital handouts and videos to your students.

75 Practical Ed Tech Tips Videos

A few months ago I started to create how-to videos on a more regular basis. I've been adding those videos to a YouTube playlist that I call Practical Ed Tech Tips. This morning I added the 75th video to that playlist. The video covers a wide range of topics including storyboarding, audio recording tools, blogging tools and tips, and a whole lot more. The playlist is embedded below.


I also have a playlist of 39 Google Tutorials available on YouTube.

Wikispaces/ TES Gets Into the "Teachers Pay Teachers" Game

Last year Wikispaces was acquired by TES Global based in England. One of the services that TES offers is a marketplace for teachers to sell materials to other teachers. On the Wikispaces blog I just read that TES is expanding that marketplace to include teachers in the United States. If you want to get into the TES Resources marketplace, you can apply here.

I've never tried selling lesson plans, printables, or other similar materials, but I know that some people have made a nice supplementary income on the Teachers Pay Teachers platform. For teachers that are inclined to sell materials, the new TES Resources platform could provide a good place to earn a little supplementary income.

Remind Adds Chat to Their Mobile Messaging Platform

Last fall (in the Northern Hemisphere) Remind added a response system to their popular mobile messaging service. That response system only allowed students and parents to reply with digital stamps to express that they received and understood messages. Today, Remind introduced a chat option for teachers who use Remind.

Remind chat will allow students and parents to reply with text to a teacher's messages. Just as Remind has always done, the real phone numbers of both parties is hidden.

When I first heard about Remind chat a couple of weeks ago (Remind gave me early access to it) I was leery of it because I was concerned that students and parents would be messaging teachers at all hours of the day and expecting rapid responses. Remind alleviated that concern when I saw the "office hours" setting in the Remind chat service. "Office hours" allows teachers to specify when they will allow them to state when they will be available for messaging. Teachers can also pause or stop chat exchanges at any time.

Applications for Education
Remind's new chat feature is being rolled out slowly. You can request access for it beginning today by entering your Remind class code here. The chat feature is one that Remind says has been requested by a lot of teachers. The feature should make it easier for you to quickly bring clarity to a message that a student or parent didn't initially understand. Before using the new chat feature I would set office hours and clear guidelines for the kind of conversations that you will have with students and parents through the Remind chat feature.

How to Use Strikeapp.com to Manage Tasks

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about a couple of sites that students can use to keep track of tasks. One of those sites was StrikeApp.com. There have been a few questions asked about it on the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page so to answer those questions I recorded the short video that you see embedded below.


Applications for Education
One of the things that I like about StrikeApp.com is that students don't have to register on the site in order to use it. They simply start creating lists and each list is assigned a URL that they can share with you, their parents, or their classmates.

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