Thursday, August 21, 2014

ClassCharts Seeks Schools for Case Study

ClassCharts is an excellent tool for creating online seating charts, behavior charts, and behavior reports. Individual teachers can use ClassCharts for free. Whole school implementations require a licensing fee. But this year ClassCharts is giving away licenses to schools that use PowerSchool and are willing to participate in a case study. This PDF provides more details on the free whole-school offering and case study.

ClassCharts allows you to create online seating charts for each of your classes. Through those seating charts you can record attendance, give virtual kudos to students, and record negative and positive behaviors. The information that you record in ClassCharts can be shared with parents and students through special log-ins that you supply to them.

ClassCharts offers a couple of features that I really like. These features make it different from other online behavior chart services. The first feature that stands-out to me is the option to upload pictures of students to your seating charts instead of just relying on cartoon avatars. The second feature that I love is the option to invite other teachers to collaborate on the tracking of student behaviors. For example, I can invite a teaching assistant who provides support to a special education students in my classroom to record behavior information when she is working with those students. I can also invite other teachers on my team to view and document behaviors about students so that we can discuss that information during team meetings.

The latest feature added to ClassCharts is also its most-promising feature. That feature is the use of artificial intelligence to create seating charts based on recorded behaviors and interactions of students. ClassCharts refers to this feature as "influences." The influences feature will show you the effects of placing two or more students next to each other in your classroom. The information provided through "influences" is based on the behaviors you record for individual students. ClassCharts "influences" will show you if a student's behavior and performance improves or declines based on who they are seated near.

Videos to Help You Get Started Sending Text Message Reminders Through Remind (101)

Remind, formerly Remind 101, is a great tool for sending important reminders to students and their parents. Through Remind students and their parents can sign-up to received text messages on their mobile devices. You send the messages from your computer or mobile device without students or parents seeing your personal cell phone number. Last week I introduced Remind to a bunch of teachers in Delta, Colorado and they loved it. If you would like to give Remind a try this year, the following five videos will show you what you need to know to get started.

Remind's full collection of tutorial videos is available here.

How to Use to Display PDFs in Blog Posts

From time to time I create PDFs to use in blog posts. Sometimes I do that because a PDF provides a better view of the content I'm sharing (see this post containing a chart for an example) and other times I display PDFs to make it easier for folks to print my information as I did with this post about ed tech tools that were updated this summer. I use to display PDFs in blog posts. Watch the video below to learn how to embed PDFs into your blog posts (I use Blogger in the demo, but the process is essentially the same for Kidblog users too).

There are three reasons why I choose Box over Google Drive or Scribd. First, the document viewer looks and functions much better than Google Drive does when it comes to PDFs. In fact, if you have a large file like my A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In School Google Drive won't display a preview of it, it just displays a download link. The second reason that I chose to use Box is that Box will email me a weekly update about the usage of my shared files. I can also log-in whenever I want to see the current usage statistics about my shared files. Finally, I have learned that many schools block Scribd.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Use Google Drive to Share Videos Privately

Google Drive is full of options that often go overlooked. One of those options is privately sharing videos. To share videos through Google Drive upload them to your Google Drive account, preview them, then share by using the sharing options at the top of the preview screen. The sharing options allow you specify who can access the video. The screenshots below outline the process. (Click the images to view them in full size).

Step 1: Upload your video to Google Drive.

Step 2: Select you uploaded video.

Step 3: Click the share button.

Step 4: Choose your sharing options.

The Public Domain Review - A Good Place to Find Public Domain Media

The Public Domain Review is a website that features collections of images, books, essays, audio recordings, and films that are in the public domain. Choose any of the collections to search for materials according to date, style, genre, and rights. Directions for downloading and saving media is included along with each collection of media.

As you might guess, nearly all of what I found in the collections on The Public Domain Review is content of a historical nature. The collections include short descriptions that explain the significance of the media you're accessing.

Applications for Education
The Public Domain Review could be a great place to find historical media to use in history lessons, literature lessons, and art history lessons. If you're looking for colorful imagery to use as filler or backgrounds in slide presentations, the collections on The Public Domain Review are probably not your best bet. In that case, I would look to Pixabay for images that are in the public domain.