Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Jumpstart Your Classroom Blog In My New Course

Throughout the spring and summer I offered a five week course on using blogs and social media in schools. Over the last few weeks I've had requests to offer the course again. But school is starting soon and many of us are pressed for time so I decided to offer a three part version of the course. Classroom Blog Jumpstart is a three night event (August 17,18, and 19) in which I'll cover how to set-up a blog, features many people overlook in their blogs, picking the best blog platform for your situation, and share strategies for engaging students and parents through blogging.

Does this sound like a course you could use? Click here to register or read on for more information.

Whether you’ve never tried using a blog in your classroom or you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work out like you hoped, this course is for you.

Blogging isn’t new and it isn’t as flashy as say iPads in the classroom, but it is a very valuable activity for students, teachers, and school leaders. In fact, I think that too often it is under-utilized by teachers. One cause that under-utilization is due in part to not having a clear strategy for implementation. Another reason for under-utilization of blogs is a lack of understanding of just how many ways blogs can be used by students, teachers, and school leaders. I developed this course to address all of those issues and help teachers develop a better understanding of the many ways they can use blogs in their classrooms.

In this three night event you will learn:
*How to use Blogger and KidBlog. Dive into features many people overlook.
*Determine which blogging platform is best for you and your students.
*Learn valuable strategies for engaging students and parents through blogging.

This three night event is happening on August 17, 18, and 19 at 7pm Eastern Time.
Click here to register today!

***********All sessions are recorded.************

I usually charge $97 for a course like this one. As a back-to-school promotion it costs only $65 if you register before August 10th. Use the discount code “backtoschool” to receive the discount.

Space is limited. Click here to register today!

About the costs and my decision to advertise these opportunities on my blog:
Sometimes when I advertise one of these webinars I get messages from people who are upset that I am advertising it here and or that I am charging for it. I understand why some people feel that way. I thought long and hard about how to offer these opportunities. In fact, I thought about it and talked about it with trusted advisors for a year before offering the first webinar series. The purpose of this blog and my goal for years has always been to help people use free technology in their classrooms. The tools and strategies featured in my webinars and at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp are free to use. However, my time for teaching isn't free. Further, I pay licensing fees to GoToTraining and to Wistia for hosting all of the media content of the courses.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

5 Posts to Jumpstart Your Classroom Blog

The arrival of August always makes me think about the first few weeks of school. Using their blogs more consistently is one of the things that many teachers will be doing as the new school year begins. It can be a challenge to get parents to check classroom blogs consistently. One of the ways that you can get them into the habit is to provide them with information that they will find valuable. Here are five things you can blog about early in the school year to provide value to your students' parents when they visit your classroom blog.

1. How to supervise your child's web use at home.
2. Privacy settings on school-provided laptops/ Chromebooks/ iPads/ tablets. Consider adding a PDF of screenshots illustrating those settings.
3. Tasty and healthy snacks to send to school with your child (Pinterest is a great source for ideas, just make sure you give proper attribution).
4. How to talk to kids about bullying.
5. A glossary of Tween/ teen slang vocabulary.

My upcoming course, Classroom Blog Jumpstart, will cover topics like this one and many more. The course begins on August 17th.  Click here to learn more about the course. 

How to Create Diigo Groups

A couple of weeks ago Diigo introduced the option to play videos within Diigo groups. Since then I have had a couple of folks ask about creating groups within Diigo. The video embedded below provides an overview of how to create a Diigo group.

Applications for Education
Diigo groups provide a good place to share resources with students and have them share with you and each other. Diigo groups can be private. I ask students to add notes to the links that they share in a group. Those notes should provide the rest of the group with an explanation of why the link is useful.

For more information about Diigo take a look at Beth Holland's post on using the Diigo Outliner tool. Click here for a tutorial on using Diigo in Firefox.

WixED Teaches You How to Build a Website...on Wix

Wix is a popular DIY website creation tool. They claim to have more than 63 million registered users (source: CrunchBase). To help those 63 million users and anyone else who wants to build a website, last month Wix launched WixEd.

WixEd is a free online course all about building and maintain a website through Wix. The course has three sections, but first section is the only section teachers will need. The other two sections are about ecommerce and business development through websites. Each section of the course is comprised of a series of short videos followed by "homework" assignments.

Applications for Education
WixEd is clearly focused on business customers, but some teachers may find it helpful as they try to create classroom websites.

Put a Planetarium in Your Web Browser

Planetarium by Neave Interactive is a website on which you can specify your current location and it will show you a map of the night sky based upon your location and the date. You can also use Planetarium without specifying your location and instead explore the night sky from any place on Earth. For Google Chrome users, Planetarium offers a Chrome Web App that you can add to your browser.

Applications for Education
Planetarium could be an excellent website and Chrome App to use in lessons about astronomy. Students can compare the constellations they see at home with those of people in other parts of the world at the same time. When students place their cursors over a star in the virtual planetarium they can see the star's name and the name of constellation that it belongs to.