Thursday, May 5, 2016

How to Add Custom Avatars to ClassDojo

In my previous post I shared the news about ClassDojo's new feedback option. In that post I referenced my YouTube channel having some ClassDojo tutorials. The most popular of those tutorials is How To Use Custom Avatars in ClassDojo. The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Using custom avatars in ClassDojo can provide you with two things. First, it can help you learn students' names at the beginning of the year by matching their faces to their names whenever you open ClassDojo. Second, it gives students a sense that they are individuals and not a faceless avatar in your digital classroom.

ClassDojo Introduces a New Feedback Option

ClassDojo is a popular tool for giving students feedback on class participation, behavior, and for keeping parents informed about classroom news. The feedback mechanism for teachers is to award points to students. Today, ClassDojo introduced a new "no points" feedback option. This option allows teachers to confirm that students did something, but doesn't assign a point value to it. This option could be good for keeping track of things like who took a turn as line leader during the week. ClassDojo published a lengthy post on the rationale for adding this new feedback option. I encourage you to read it.

ClassDojo can be used for more than just giving feedback to students. The ClassDojo Class Story feature provides a good way to keep parents informed of the good work that students are doing in your classroom. Watch the following video from my YouTube channel to learn how ClassDojo Class Story works.

Stackup - Create & Track Reading Goals for You and Your Students

Stackup is a new service that aims to help you give students credit for time spent reading quality articles online. On Stackup you can create reading challenges for your students. A challenge could be something like "read international news for 60 minutes this week." After creating the challenge you invite students to join it. Students can join by entering a challenge code on Stackup or you can invite them by email.

To get credit for reading quality articles students have to use the Stackup Chrome extension. When it is enabled the extension tracks how much time students spend on a relevant webpage and how many relevant webpages they've read. In their Stackup dashboards students can see their progress toward completing a challenge and they can share their reading data with you.

Applications for Education
Stackup could be a good tool for high school students to use to prove that they have read content related to topic that they're studying in your classroom. I think the best use of Stackup would be in a social studies class in which students need to follow current events for classroom discussion.

Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp - Only 7 Tickets Left

Leading the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp has been the highlight of my summer for the last three years. This year I am leading two versions of the event. The Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp and the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp. There are some people coming for the third year in row!

The Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp will be held on July 11-12 in Portland, Maine. Only seven tickets remain for this hands-on professional development opportunity.

The BYOD Camp is for people who work in schools that have BYOD programs and 1:1 laptop programs (Mac or Windows), iPads, Android tablets, Windows tablets, or who have shared computers in a classroom or lab setting. The two day workshop is based on my framework of Discovery, Discussion, and Demonstration. The first day is focused helping students use technology to discover and discuss. Day two is focused on demonstrating knowledge by creating new digital content including podcasts, videos, and other multimedia productions. Abbreviated outlines of both days are available on the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp page.

Only 7 tickets remain for the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp. Group discounts are available, please email me for details.

The Chromebook Camp sold out on Tuesday. Please email me to be put on the waiting list. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to Use the New Q&A and Laser Pointer Features of Google Slides @googledocs

This afternoon Google added two fantastic new features to Google Slides. First, Google Slides now has a Q&A feature that lets your audience submit questions to you. Second, Google Slides now has a built-in laser pointer that you can use to call attention to parts of your slides. I've already received some questions about how to use these new features so I made the following short video.

Applications for Education
The new Q&A feature in Google Slides promises to be a great way to collect questions and comments from students during a presentation by you or their classmates. The nice thing about the Q&A feature is that you can turn it off at any time. You can also let students vote for the questions and comments that they like the most.

Learn how to get the most out of Google Apps in my online course Getting Going With GAFE. The next class begins on Monday. You can earn three graduate credits through the class.