Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Remind Adds Chat to Their Mobile Messaging Platform

Last fall (in the Northern Hemisphere) Remind added a response system to their popular mobile messaging service. That response system only allowed students and parents to reply with digital stamps to express that they received and understood messages. Today, Remind introduced a chat option for teachers who use Remind.

Remind chat will allow students and parents to reply with text to a teacher's messages. Just as Remind has always done, the real phone numbers of both parties is hidden.

When I first heard about Remind chat a couple of weeks ago (Remind gave me early access to it) I was leery of it because I was concerned that students and parents would be messaging teachers at all hours of the day and expecting rapid responses. Remind alleviated that concern when I saw the "office hours" setting in the Remind chat service. "Office hours" allows teachers to specify when they will allow them to state when they will be available for messaging. Teachers can also pause or stop chat exchanges at any time.

Applications for Education
Remind's new chat feature is being rolled out slowly. You can request access for it beginning today by entering your Remind class code here. The chat feature is one that Remind says has been requested by a lot of teachers. The feature should make it easier for you to quickly bring clarity to a message that a student or parent didn't initially understand. Before using the new chat feature I would set office hours and clear guidelines for the kind of conversations that you will have with students and parents through the Remind chat feature.

How to Use Strikeapp.com to Manage Tasks

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about a couple of sites that students can use to keep track of tasks. One of those sites was StrikeApp.com. There have been a few questions asked about it on the FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page so to answer those questions I recorded the short video that you see embedded below.

Applications for Education
One of the things that I like about StrikeApp.com is that students don't have to register on the site in order to use it. They simply start creating lists and each list is assigned a URL that they can share with you, their parents, or their classmates.

Monday, March 2, 2015

"Shared With Me" Returns to Google Drive

If you have been using the new (relatively new) Google Drive interface for the last year you might have been missing the "shared with me" section. When the new Google Drive interface was pushed out last year "shared with me" became "incoming." Today, the Google Apps Update blog announced that "shared with me" is being returned to Google Drive.

This isn't a huge update, but it is a convenient one for those of us who have used Google Drive for a long time and preferred "shared with me" to the "incoming" label. "Shared with me" might make it easier for new Google Drive users to differentiate between things they've created and things that other created and invited them to join.

A Google Map of Freshwater Biomes

My Reading Mapped is a good source of Google Maps depicting patterns and historical events. This afternoon the Google Earth Blog posted a list of some of the new maps added to My Reading Mapped. One of the maps that stood out to me was this map of freshwater biomes around the world.

Google Map of Freshwater Biomes contains roughly fifty placemarks scattered across all seven continents. Clicking a placemark will open a short piece of text about the biome that the placemark represents. Many of the placemarks include references to Wikipedia while others utilize other sources.

Applications for Education
On My Reading Mapped you can download a copy of the Google Map of Freshwater Biomes. The information in many of the placemarks is brief so I might download it and ask students to modify it to include more information, perhaps in the form of videos, to the placemarks in the map.

MyStudyLife a Student Planner for All Platforms - Updated for Better Scheduling

In January I wrote a short review of the student planner service MyStudyLife after I met with their lead developer at BETT 2015. There he gave me a preview of some features that they have now made live for all users.

MyStudyLife now supports rotation or block school scheduling. Now when you create a calendar in MyStudyLife you can set a class rotation that will automatically be applied to your calendar and account for holidays and other days on which classes aren't held. Click here to view screenshots of these features and read MyStudyLife's description of how the scheduling feature works.

My Study Life allows students to organize tasks according to their course schedules. When students start using the app they have to enter their courses. After entering their courses into My Study Life students can start to enter tasks into each course. Each task is assigned a due date. Students' My Study Life homepage shows them the tasks that have due dates approaching.

MyStudyLife is available to use in your web browser, as an Android app, as an iPad app, and as a Windows 8 app.

Applications for Education
Whether or not a planner helps a student is usually determined by whether or not the student gets in the habit of using it. My Study Life could be an excellent service for students to get into the habit of using to keep track of their assignments.