Monday, April 29, 2013

Wonderville - Collections of Digital Materials for K-5, not to be confused with, is a new site that is organizing educational videos, ebooks, pictures, and quiz sets into pre-packaged lessons for K-5 students. Teachers can register on the site for free to find these materials arranged by grade level and content area.

The TechCrunch article that I read about Wonderville made it sound like it was packed with features, but when I created my account and signed into it I couldn't get some of those features to work. The marketing for Wonderville mentions that materials in the galleries are aligned to Common Core standards, but I didn't see standards mentioned when I registered and signed into my Wonderville account. The service also has a "schedule" for teachers' classes but I couldn't get the schedule in my account to do anything other than show me the materials that Wonderville suggested. Finally, Wonderville allows you to send messages to your class. The problem with that is that students have to request to join your class which seems like a lot of extra work that could be saved by simply creating accounts for your students.

There appears to be an option to award badges to students in Wonderville. I couldn't figure out how to actually award those badges.

Applications for Education
Until all of the features of Wonderville are working (perhaps I missed a few things, but I spent nearly an hour trying to make them work which should be adequate to understand how a service's features work) it's just another place to find videos and related web resources aligned to subject areas.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Webinar Course - Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders

Blogging isn’t new and it isn’t as flashy as say iPads in the classroom, but it is a very valuable activity for students, teachers, and school leaders. In fact, I think that too often it is under-utilized by teachers and school leaders. One cause of that under-utilization is due in part to not having a clear strategy for implementation. Another reason for under-utilization of blogs is a lack of understanding of just how many ways blogs can be used by students, teachers, and school leaders. Of all the presentations that I give and workshops that I run every year blogging is my favorite topic. Blogging is also the topic that I receive the most questions about in emails every week. To help teachers and school leaders develop an understanding of the many ways they can use blogs and to help them develop a strategy for implementation, I’ve developed a new Practical Ed Tech webinar series.

Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders is a three hour, two 90 minute parts, webinar series in which you will discover the many ways that blogs can be used in school and through which you will develop a strategy for using blogs in your school. Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders will also cover the nuts and bolts of how to create, develop, and maintain a blog on Blogger and on WordPress-based platforms like Kidblog and Edublogs. And because we’re talking about blogging in the context of schools, we’ll take a look at common questions about privacy and digital footprints.

Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders is a three hour course divided into two 90 minute sessions. Enrollment in the course is limited to twenty-five people. The course does cost $87 per person. Downloadable recordings of each webinar will be available to all participants. Between each meeting participants will be able to participant in a discussion forum to ask questions and exchange ideas. Click here to register today. The course meets May 6 and May 13 at 7pm to 8:30pm EST.

FAQs About Practical Ed Tech Webinars
Q1. What type of computer and or software do I need in order to participate?
    • A1. You will need a Windows or Mac computer. GoToTraining is Java based. GoToTraining currently supports Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. GoToTraining currently supports Mac OSX

Q2. If I miss a webinar or I am late to a webinar can I watch a recording of it?
  • A2. Yes, all webinars are recorded and those recordings are available within 18 hours of the completion of each live webinar.

Q3. Can I pay for a webinar using a check or purchase order from my school?
  • A3. Yes, but there is an additional $15 fee for invoicing and purchase order processing.

Q4. I have a bunch of teachers from my school that I want to enroll, how can I do that?

  • A4. If you have ten or more teachers from your school or district that you want to enroll there are a few benefits made available to you. First, we can schedule a webinar series just for you at a time that works best for you. Second, rather than registering each person individually you can just send me a list of those people and their email address and I’ll enroll them for you which will save you an hour or more of time. Third, if you are registering ten or more from the same school or district and you’re paying with a check or purchase order I’ll waive the purchase order processing fee which saves you a minimum of $150.  

A Nice Cheat Sheet for Gmail Shortcuts

If you rely on Gmail for personal or professional use (including Google Apps for Education email messages) take a look at this nice little guide to Gmail shortcuts. These shortcuts, highlighted on one page, could save a few minutes or more the next time that you face a backlog of email messages.

Applications for Education
Download this guide, print it, and display in your classroom, computer lab, or library as a quick reference for you and your student.

H/T to Life Hacker.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Quick Round-up of New Google Drive Features

This week Google Drive received a few new updates. One of them is fairly obvious if you collaborated on a document this week. The others were not as obvious, but are none-the-less significant.

Now if when you collaborate on a Google Document you will see the Google+  profile picture of your collaborators. Click the image to learn more about the person. The chat feature of Google Documents is tied to the Google+ integration. Click the new chat icon to start a group chat with your collaborators. It's important to note that if you have anonymous collaborators (which can happen if you share a document using the "anyone with link" option) they appear as animal avatars. If you're working in a Google Apps for Education school that has not enabled Google+ you won't see this new feature either.

We've been able to use Google Drive offline for a while now. There are two new aspects of this to note. First, now you can use Google Drawings offline. Second, Google Drive will now automatically synchronize all files that are supported for offline use. You do have to have offline access enabled in order for these two new features to work. Click here for directions on how to enable offline access for Google Drive and remember that you have to enable it on each computer that you plan to use offline.

To keep up with all of the new features of Google Drive as they're announced, follow Google Drive on Google+.

Week In Review - Deep In the Heart of Texas

Good morning from Maine where I'm home after a week of presenting at conferences in South Dakota and Texas. Thank you to all who came out to attend one of my workshops or keynotes. It's truly a privilege to get to work with so many teachers, librarians, and school leaders. I very much appreciate the kind people who go out of their way to come say hello when I'm out at a conference. And it's because of all of you that read this blog and share links from it that I'm able to speak at so many events throughout the course of the year. Thank you.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. VideoNotes - A Great Tool for Taking Notes While Watching Academic Videos
2. gClassfolders Version 2 Improves Google Drive File Management
3. How to Add Voice Comments to Google Documents
4. 5 Ways to Blow the Top Off of Rubrics
5. Lots of Answers to Common Google Apps Privacy & Security Questions
6. 5 Sites Students Can Explore to Learn About Career Options
7. Persistence - The Key to Successful Classroom Blogging

Would you like to relax and learn with me this summer?
10 Seats are available for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

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