Thursday, August 22, 2013

Shirts and Ties and the New School Year

(This post is mostly just for fun). 

If it's not here yet, the new school year will be here soon for most of us. And for many of us that means new school clothes. If you're a tie-wearing member of the faculty here's a fun and helpful infographic on how to match your tie to your shirt. I know that there have been times when I could have definitely used this instead just getting the matched set that I see at the store or relying on one of my friendly colleagues to say, "that tie does not go with that shirt."

H/T to Cool Infographics.

Helpful New Poll Everywhere Features

Poll Everywhere is one of the services that I often recommend to use to gather feedback from students. This week some helpful new features were added to Poll Everywhere.

The new Poll Everywhere features that teachers will find useful are a countdown timer, live updating word clouds, participant grouping, and integration with the Canvas LMS.

Applications for Education
Poll Everywhere is an excellent tool for gathering feedback from students through their mobile devices. The countdown timer could be great for keeping kids on task. The live updating word clouds could be a fun way for students to see the most popular responses to a prompt.

Participant grouping could be useful when you have students working in groups on jigsaw activities. Distribute three or four different articles for your students to read. Then have students submit keywords or short summaries through the Poll Everywhere open-response that displays a live-updating word cloud.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

15 Things You Can Do With Edmodo & How To Get Started

This morning on Twitter Steven Anderson shared a link to Edmodo's getting started guide. That guide provides a short run-down of the steps to creating your Edmodo account with your students. Included in the guide are links to additional resources like Edmodo's archived instructional webinars.

Shortly after ReTweeting Steven's link I received a text message from a friend who was wondering what she can do with Edmodo and why she might want to try it this year. That request got me to pull up the following list of things that teachers and students can do with Edmodo.

Here are fifteen things teachers and students can do with Edmodo.
1. Post assignments for students. Edmodo allows teachers to attach files to assignment announcements. If there is a file your students need in order to complete an assignment, they can access it at the same place they view the announcement. Less clicking is good.

2. Create digital libraries. Students and teachers can create digital libraries for housing their important files. No need to keep track of USB drives because you can access your files from any Internet-connected computer.

3. Post messages on the "wall." This allows students to ask questions of each other and their teacher. Teachers, of course, can post messages for all students to read.

4. Create learning groups. Teachers can create groups of their students according to the courses they teach or create groups of students who are supposed to be working together.

5.  Post polls for students. Use the polls to gather informal feedback on a question like, "do you feel prepared for next week's quiz?"

6. Post a quiz for students to take. You can attach links and files to each question and answer choice. This allows you to post a document and ask students to read and respond to it. Quizzes can be in multiple choice, true/ false, fill in the blank, or short answer form. You can allow students to see their scores immediately or you can disable that option.

7. Connect with other teachers. Join discussion groups to share ideas about lesson plans, teaching strategies, and project development. Discuss tools and content that you use. In some cases you can find webinars like this one from Buck Institute for Education about project based learning.

8. Create a calendar of events and assignments.

9. Access Edmodo through the free Android and iPhone apps.

10. Turn in assignments. Students can upload assignments for their teachers to view and grade. Teachers can annotate the assignments directly in Edmodo.

11. Create parent accounts. Teachers can create parent accounts. Parent accounts allow parents to see their children's assignments and grades. Teachers can also send alerts to parents about school events, missed assignments, and other important messages through Edmodo.

12. Generate printable class rosters. If you're going to have a substitute teacher in your classroom who needs a printed roster, you can print one from your Edmodo account.

13. Embed Wallwisher into your Edmodo wall to host a brainstorming session.

14. Embed videos, images, and audio clips into your wall to spark a class discussion online.

15. Use the Google Chrome extension or browser bookmarklet to quickly add content to your Edmodo library. Anytime you find something on the web, click the Edmodo extension or bookmarklet to save it in your Edmodo library.

Russell Stannard offers a 45 minute complete overview of how to use Edmodo. That video is embedded below.

Inspire Students to Read and Travel With The Global Bookshelf

The Global Bookshelf is a book search and recommendation engine that was started by my friend Gillian Duffy. The purpose of The Global Bookshelf is to help people find travel stories. The books you'll find aren't travel guides, they're travel stories that could inspire you to visit a new place and experience a new culture. You can browse The Global Bookshelf by region, genre, and book format (Kindle, PDF, physical book).

Applications for Education
Gillian is very keen to have others add their book reviews to The Global Bookshelf. If you have high school students who have read some travel narratives, consider having them write a review to share on The Global Bookshelf. This is a great way to provide an authentic audience for your students' work.

Of course, The Global Bookshelf is good place for your students to find books that they may enjoy reading. Maybe they'll read a story that sets them off to explore the world.

By Request - A Primer on Creative Commons

This morning on Twitter I was asked for a suggestion for a primer on Creative Commons. My first thought was this resource from Common Craft that I shared last year. Then I went to to see what they had for materials to use to introduce people to the concepts of Creative Commons.

On there is a gallery of sixteen videos and slideshows that explain what Creative Commons licensing is, how to use it, and practical examples of Creative Commons licensing in use. I've embedded one of the videos below.