Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two Online PD Opportunities With Me Starting Soon

Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer online professional development opportunities. Next week I'm starting a new section of Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders, that course begins on August 19th. On August 27th Ken Halla and I will kick-off Teaching History on the Web.

About Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders:
Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is designed to help teachers and school leaders develop an understanding of the many ways they can use blogs and social media (Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and more) to enhance communication between school and home. After learning about how each of the tools works we’ll dive into developing strategies for implementation.

Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is a three week webinar series during which teachers and school administrators will learn the how to choose the best blogging platform for their situations, how to set-up a blog for classroom and school-wide use, and learn about strategies on how to manage blogs in classroom and school-wide settings. Participants will also learn how to avoid the mistakes that often lead to blogging endeavors being abandoned. After establishing blogs we’ll jump into using social networks like Twitter, Google+, and Instagram to reach out to parents, students, and other members of school communities.

Blogs and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders will meet at 7pm Eastern Time on August 19, 26, and September 2. All sessions are recorded for participants to watch as many times as they like.

About Teaching History on the Web:
In Teaching History on the Web we will take you through the process of developing engaging, web-based history lesson plans. This course features three interactive online meetings along with a discussion forum in which you can further interact with me, Ken, and your classmates.

Find and use flipped videos
Create your own flipped videos
Learn how to develop a Google Plus community for professional development and instructional purposes.
Develop an online Professional Learning Community.
Learn how to draw virtual maps.
Learn how to locate and help students locate online primary resources.
Find and use virtual tours on the Internet
Find and use flipped videos
Create your own flipped videos

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

PDF - A Round-up of Summer Updates to Google Apps, Drive, Maps, and G+

Last week I published a post about the updates to Google Apps, Drive, Maps, and Google+. Since then there have been more update, most notably Google Classroom opened to all GAFE users. If you're looking for a list of updates to print and share with teachers at your school, take a look at the PDF that I have put together. The PDF is embedded below (hosted by Box.com) and you can download it here.


If you're viewing this in RSS or email you may need to visit the blog directly to see the PDF.

Remind (formerly Remind 101) Adds Voice Options Starting August 28th

Remind (formerly known as Remind 101) has added a couple of helpful new features to their free text messaging service. First, you can now use the mobile apps to send structured feedback. According to the press release that was sent to me you can now use Remind to send questions or quizzes, track attendance for trips, gather votes or collect stars from your classes.

The second significant update coming to Remind on August 28th will allow you record and send personalized voice greetings to students and their parents. Make sure you update the app on August 28th to take advantage of this option.

Readers outside of the United States and Canada will be happy to know that Remind can be used outside of North America. The Remind app can be used to message through wi-fi, but not through SMS. This feature was released a few weeks ago.

Applications for Education
Text messages are opened and read much faster than emails or voicemails and Remind capitalizes on the pattern by allowing you to send text messages to students and their parents. The service is an opt-in service so students and parents only receive messages from you if they want to. Remind also protects privacy by masking the real cell phone numbers of all parties involved in the messaging.

Clarification at 8:27pm: I originally published this post at 5:47pm on the basis of a press release from Nectar PR, Remind's PR firm. The information they gave me did not indicate that the features listed above wouldn't be available until August 28th. I should have done a better job of verifying that the voice update was live right now. My apologies for any confusion. 

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.