Friday, August 22, 2014

Tackk Lessons - Lesson Plans Featured on Tackk - Digital Portfolios and More

Tackk is a free service that was originally designed for creating simple webpages, but has morphed into a good tool creating digital portfolios and assignment portfolios. This summer Tackk Edu was created to showcase examples of using Tackk to create and distribute assignments to students. Visit Tackk Edu to see science, math, social studies, art, and language arts lesson plans that utilize Tackk.

To create a Tackk page you do not need to register for an account, but unregistered Tackk pages expire after seven days. If you register for the service your Tackk pages stay up indefinitely. I recommend registering for a free Tackk account before creating your first page. Creating a Tackk page is a simple matter of uploading an image then adding text in the customizable fields above and below your images. Tackk pages can also accommodate videos, audio files, and maps.

Tackk is currently running contest for schools. The My Rockin Summer contest will award $1,000 to the school that creates the best gallery of Tackks about summer vacation.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Use Real Pictures in ClassDojo Profiles

ClassDojo has been on a roll with new feature releases this summer. The latest update allows you to customize student profiles and your own profile by adding real pictures. Now instead of just using the cartoon avatars you can use headshots in your ClassDojo profiles and rosters.

Applications for Education
Using real pictures in ClassDojo profiles is a good complement to the new option to share classes and reports between teachers and administrators within a school building. Having real pictures in the profiles when you share classes and reports could help your colleagues recognize which students you're referring in your reports.

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.