Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to Use ClassDojo's New Class Story Feature

Earlier this month ClassDojo released a new feature called Class Story. Class Story allows you to post pictures, text, and links for parents and students to see within the ClassDojo apps and website. The feature is intended to help you keep parents informed about what's happening in your classroom. You can use Class Story on your iOS or Android device. You can also use it in the web browser on your laptop. In the video embedded below I provide a short demonstration of Class Story.

Applications for Education
Using Class Story is a good middle ground between being a full-fledged blog and a simple SMS update delivery system. Posting to Class Story could be a good way to share highlights of classroom activities and or reminders about upcoming events.

Two Easy Ways to Gather Feedback During Slide Presentations

Earlier this week I received an email from someone who was looking for way that students could respond to prompts during a slide presentation without the teacher having to keep a separate window open all the time. Two options immediately came to mind. My first suggestion was to try ParticiPoll. My second suggestion was to try using the commenting feature in Google Slides.

ParticiPoll is a service that you can use to add interactive polls to your PowerPoint presentations. Your polls are created and delivered within your PowerPoint slides. Once you've added ParticiPoll to your PowerPoint you can create as many polls as you like. Each poll can have up to six response options. The best aspect of ParticiPoll is that you don't have to leave your slidedeck at all in order to administer the poll and see the results of your poll. Your audience can respond to your ParticiPoll poll through their cell phones, tablets, or laptops. To respond they simply go to the URL for your poll and choose a response. When you want to display the poll results you just click to the next element in your PowerPoint slidedeck and the results are displayed for all to see. All polls are anonymous. - Free Audience Polling for PowerPoint from ParticiPoll on Vimeo.

If you're a Google Slides user, you could share your slides with your students before you begin your presentation (Google Classroom makes it easier than ever to do this). As you're presenting ask students to submit their questions for you as comments on the slides. It's not the ideal solution, but I've done it and it works.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Easy Way to Create Strong, Complex Passwords

Yesterday, I wrote a short post about protecting your passwords and online accounts. In that post I shared that you can use Wolfram Alpha as a random password generator. This afternoon I was asked for clarification on how that works. The video embedded below demonstrates how to use Wolfram Alpha to random generate strong, complex passwords.

The next time you need to create a strong password try Wolfram Alpha.

YouCanBook.Me -Streamline Meeting Scheduling

YouCanBook.Me is a meeting scheduling tool that integrates with your Google Calendar. YouCanBook.Me allows people to book fixed blocks of time in your calendar. You identify the times in your calendar that you are available to meet. Then when someone needs to schedule a meeting with you, you send him or her a link to your booking calendar. Visitors to your calendar click a block and enter their email addresses to reserve a block of your time. When a block of time is reserved you receive an email alert and the other person receives a confirmation email.

Applications for Education
YouCanBook.Me could be a great tool to use when you are trying to coordinate meeting times with parents. Rather than going back and forth in an email exchange to decide on a meeting time, just send the link to your YouCanBook.Me calendar and let parents choose times that works for them.

YouCanBook.Me is also a good option for scheduling office hours meetings with students.

4 Ways Visual Literacy is Being Taught in Classrooms to Empower Learning

This is a guest post from Guy Kawasaki. Guy is the product evangelist for Canva, a service that I regularly use.

How to Use Visual Content In Your Classroom

Visual content is a powerful tool. As children, we learn to recognize visual cues before we learn to speak or write. We’re wired to rely on these cues to understand the world and to use visual content to communicate our thoughts and feelings.

Teachers can integrate graphic design into their classrooms to facilitate instruction and to prepare students for success. Here are four ways teachers are using visual content already. Try them and discover how visual content can positively impact teaching and learning.

1. Visual content nurtures creativity
Visually-oriented, creative learning spaces increase the creativity of students. Simple to-do lists are out, and signs that include positive reinforcement are in. Projects spaces with visual work sprawled across walls delight, inspire, and encourage your students.

You can empower your students to create their own positive affirmations by creating inspirational posters from templates in Canva. Hands on design allows them to connect with the message and understand the power of using visuals to inspire others.
Design posters to nurture a positive learning environment.

2. Visual content enhances critical thinking and communication
Schools are adding drawing and design skills to curricula in order to enable students to think critically. When designing, students have to ask themselves these questions:
  • What am I trying to communicate?
  • How can I communicate this effectively?
  • How does graphic design affect my audience?
Internalizing these questions prepares students to communicate with a level of visual sophistication that will carry them through the visually-dependent world of education and beyond.

Infographics is an example of a powerful modern way to enhance critical thinking and communication. Canva’s library of infographic templates gives students the confidence to start designing while putting to the test their critical thinking skills. Use one of our tailored lesson plans to guide your class through the process.
Enhance critical thinking skills with infographic design.

3. Visual content helps students retain information
Visual content help students retrieve and remember information. It breaks through the noise--for example, consider the difference between immigration statistics and one picture of a dead Syrian baby. Visual memory prompts are powerful and help you empower students to increase their capacity to absorb knowledge.
Choose from Canva’s library of templates to get your students started.

You can choose from a range of Canva’s templates to find creative applications of traditional math, science and language concepts. Here are three free, downloadable lesson plans to get your started.
4. Visual content helps students visualize success
You may help your students achieve success by visualizing success. Top performers know the importance of picturing themselves succeeding. It’s a powerful technique that people use in schools, sports, and business. This can apply to your students too.
Make positive visualization a daily ritual.
Here’s an idea for your classroom: make positive visualization a daily ritual by prompting students to create graphics that describe their goals and ambitions. You can take it one step further by asking them to share their graphics on social media, an action that encourages engagement and accountability.

Start using visual content in your classroom right now
Visual learning has fast become ingrained into school curricula all over the world. Want to learn how to you promote visual literacy in your classroom? Some of the world’s leading educators have created Canva’s free suite of free lesson plans. These resources are ready for you to download right now. All of us at Canva hope you can use them to inspire the next generation of successful students.