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Monday, August 26, 2013

Two Easy Tools Teachers Can Use to Coordinate Parent Volunteers

The beginning of the new school year is a time when some parents like to get involved and volunteer their time in schools. This is great, but it does require some scheduling. I was recently asked for some recommendations for services that teachers can use to coordinate sign-up lists for parent volunteers. Here are two tools that are easy to use.

SignUp Genius is a free and easy way to create and organize online sign-up forms for all kinds of group activities. SignUp Genius creates a simple webpage on which people can sign-up for activities that you've specified. You can make your sign-up sheet public or private. Once you've created your sign-up list visitors to your list can sign-up for the activities you've specified. You can monitor the sign-up list as it is filled and visitors can quickly see which slots are already taken. SignUp Genius provides a myriad of themes and styles for your sign-up sheets.

Volunteer Spot is a scheduling service that teachers, coaches, and others and use to coordinate volunteers. Volunteer Spot gives you the ability to post calendars and sign-up sheets online. When potential volunteers visitor your calendar they can see the days and times at which volunteers are needed. When the quota for volunteers for a particular time or day is reached, Volunteer Spot won't allow any more sign-ups.

ExamTime Adds Groups for Resource Sharing

ExamTime is a service that middle school, high school, and college students can use to prepare for tests. When I tried the service earlier this year it offered users options to create flashcards, mind maps, and practice quizzes to help them study. Today, ExamTime added the option to create online groups to share study materials. Groups allow teachers and students to share learning resources to group members and to host discussions.


Applications for Education
One of the aspects of ExamTime that can benefit students is the option to create mind maps to map out the concepts that they are studying. There are a lot of services that offer mind mapping but many allow students to create mind maps and practice quizzes in the same place. With the new group discussion option in ExamTime students can share mind maps and discuss them as a review activity.

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