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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Month in Review - #Masonshome

Good evening from Maine where the sun is setting on the month of March. The highlight of the month for me was bringing home a new family member. Three weeks ago I adopted Mason from Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. He's a nine year old German Shepherd and Golden Retriever mix and he is an awesome marshmallow of a dog.

In other news, this month the first registrations for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps came in. One month is left to grab your seat at the discounted rate. As you think about your summer PD plans, please take a look at the in-person and online workshops I'm hosting throughout the spring and summer.

Here are the most popular posts of March, 2016:
1. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
2. Three Helpful Google Docs Updates Released This Week
3. Travel the Iditarod Race in Google Street View
4. My Favorite Internet Search Tips for Teachers & Students
5. More Than 40 Alternatives to YouTube
6. 3 Tips for Using YouTube Videos In Your Classroom
7. 5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently
8. Six Tools for Creating Videos on Chromebooks
9. Five Tools for Sharing Portions of Videos
10. Three Tools Students Can Use to Add Annotations to Videos

Professional Development Opportunities!
There will be two Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps this year. There will be one tailored to schools that have 1:1 Chromebook programs and one for everyone else. Both Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps will be held in July. You can learn more about them here. Discounted early registration is available now. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp has sold out every year for the last three years.

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Cloudschool is a great online LMS and course creation tool. 
Google Forms in the Classroom is a good book on all things Google Forms. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.

OpenDNS Family Shield - A Good Option for Home Network Monitoring

Family Shield, powered by OpenDNS, is a service that can be used to filter the content accessed by anyone on your home network. Family Shield is designed to filter adult websites, proxy and anonymizer websites, and phishing websites. Step-by-step directions are provided for setting-up Family Shield on your home computer(s) and router(s).

Applications for Education
While I generally prefer to emphasize education about the Internet over blocking access to the Internet  I also understand that a lot of parents would still prefer to have a way to restrict the content their children can access from home. If you're asked by a parent for advice on Internet filtering at home, consider referring that person to Family Shield.

Three Things to Consider Before Flipping Your Classroom

Flipping your classroom with video lessons can be a good thing in the right situation. Before you decide to completely flip your classroom there are a few things that you should consider.

1. Do the majority of your students complete their homework assignments on time on a consistent basis? If not, there may be a larger issue of student engagement and motivation to investigate. Furthermore, if you flip the classroom and students come to class having not watched the video lessons, how do you spend your classroom time the next day? Do you let students watch the videos in class? Do you reteach the lesson that they should have watched for homework?

2. Do all of your students have access to the web at home? If not, how are you going to address that? Will you distribute copies of your video files to students before they leave your classroom? Do you all of your students have computers or tablets to use at home? If the answer is "no" to one or all of these questions, are you setting up an inequitable learning environment?

3. Do you have time to create quality videos? If not, will you create some and then source the rest of from the web?

For the record, I'm not against flipping the classroom in the right situation. I just don't want to rush into a model that might not be the best solution for all situations.