Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to Have Students Practice Presentation Skills While Teaching You About Technology

Today, at the New Teacher Academy at Boston College I answered some questions from teachers worried about students discovering more about technology than they could discover. The solution that I proposed is to have your students practice their presentation skills by showing off a "hidden feature" of their iPads, laptops, Chromebooks, or Android devices.

At the beginning of the school year when students receive devices from the school or bring their own devices to school for the first time, ask them to give a two or three minute presentation about their favorite hidden feature of their devices. Don't have them make slides. Have them hook-up to projector to give a short demonstration and explanation. Ask them to share what they like about their favorite hidden features and why those hidden features could have value to other students.

A tip for making this exercise comfortable for all of the students; resist the urge to let the demonstrations become a competition. This activity isn't about determining which students know the best "hidden features" it's about giving students practice speaking in front of their classmates while helping you their classmates learn about iPads, laptops, Chromebooks, or Android devices.

ClassDojo Launches Stand-alone Mobile Messaging Apps for iOS and Android

Earlier this year ClassDojo added a messaging service to their free mobile apps. This week ClassDojo launched stand-alone messaging apps for iOS and Android. The ClassDojo Messenger apps are purely for messaging and don't include the other elements of ClassDojo.

Applications for Education
It appears that the purpose of the Messenger app is to make communication between teachers, parents, and students as streamlined as possible. Otherwise, I'm not sure why you would need Messenger when the original ClassDojo apps still have the messaging option included in them. ClassDojo's messaging service, like that of Remind and similar messaging services, hides the personal contact information of the teacher and the of the parents. Parents have to opt-in to receive messages from the teacher.

100+ Tips for New Teachers

This morning I am speaking at the Catholic Schools Foundation's New Teacher conference at Boston College. Some of the best advice for new teachers comes from experienced teachers. A couple of times over the last few years I've asked readers of this blog to contribute to Google Presentations to share their best tips for new teachers. Those presentations are embedded below.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Persuasion Map Helps Students Formulate Persuasive Essays

Developing persuasive writing skills is a process that students start in elementary school and continue to develop through high school and beyond. Read Write Think offers a good interactive guide that can help students craft a good persuasive essay. The Persuasion Map asks students to start with a thesis statement before walking them through developing support for that thesis. Students can print their persuasion maps or email them to you.

Applications for Education
Using Read Write Think's Persuasion Map won't replace the need for your instruction, but it could be helpful to students who need a little assistance after your lesson. RWT offers a number of lesson plans that incorporate the Persuasion Map. You can find those lessons here.

The Sounds of Google Maps Street View

Google Maps Street View provides students with a great opportunity to view the places that they learn about in geography lessons. Amplifon has undertaken an attempt to give students the chance to hear what it sounds like to visit a place. Sounds of Street View currently features three Street View locations with sounds matched to them. Hopefully, the gallery of sounds expands soon. If you cannot wait for the gallery to expand, you can attempt to create your own Sounds of Street View.


Amplifon – Sounds of Street View from Amplifon UK on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Sounds of Street View has the potential to be a good source of virtual tours to use with students. A similar resource that you may want to consider is the Nature Sound Map. In some cases the sound recordings combined with Street View imagery could give students a more complete picture of what it is like to be at ground level in a place.

H/T to Google Maps Mania.