Monday, January 9, 2017

Launching Innovation in Schools - An edX Course

Launching Innovation in Schools is a free edX course that is starting next week. It grabbed my attention because one of the instructors is Dr. Justin Reich who I had the opportunity to work with six summers ago at an event. This six week course is designed for teacher-leaders and school administrators. The course is designed to help you launch an instructional improvement initiative in your school. An emphasis is placed on fostering collaboration and building partnerships with stakeholders in your school. Learn more about the course in the introductory video below.

How to Quickly Access Ten Google Sheets Templates for Teachers

Flippity is a great resource for G Suite users that I have been sharing with readers for a couple of years now. Flippity provides teachers with handy Google Sheets templates for creating things like quiz games, audio flashcards, and progress trackers. Recently, Flippity released a Google Sheets Add-on that makes all of their templates available with just a couple of clicks in any of your Google Sheets. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to install and use Flippity's Google Sheets Add-on.

Thanks to Eileen Fernandez-Parker for the inspiration for this post.

Track Progress Toward Goals With This Google Sheets Template

This morning I received an email from a subscriber to the Practical Ed Tech newsletter. She had read my tip of the week about using Google Keep to set goal reminders, but she needed something that would be easier to manage with a large group of students. My suggestion was to try Flippity's Progress Indicator template for Google Sheets. The template makes it easy to create a progress chart that will update whenever you update the data in your spreadsheet. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to use Flippity's Progress Indicator template.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Otus - A Good LMS Option for Small Schools

During the weekend I received an email from a teacher who was looking for an LMS recommendation for his small, private school. The school has less than 200 students and a limited budget. Otus was the first LMS that came to my mind.

Otus is designed to be a complete LMS (learning management system) for teachers. In addition to the gradebook you have options for sharing assignments and delivering quizzes directly to your students' inboxes. Otus provides teachers with a library of instructional resources (videos, texts, interactive review activities) that they can share with their students. Third-party resource providers are integrated into the Otus LMS. A couple of notable third party applications are Khan Academy and OpenEd. OpenEd offers thousands of math and language arts practice assessments aligned to Common Core standards. Otus is free for individual teachers to use. Otus can also be purchased for district-wide implementation which includes additional reporting tools for administrators.

Storyboard That Offers Lesson Plans for Every Month

Creating a storyboard can be a good way to outline a story, to illustrate your own ideas, or to analyze problems. Storyboard That offers dozens of lesson plans for topics in language arts and history. You will find lesson plans developed around famous literary works like The Outsiders and The Red Badge of Courage. You will also find lesson plans for topics in history like the American Civil War, branches of U.S. government, and World War II.

Recently, Storyboard That published a calendar of free lesson plans. For every month of the year Storyboard That has a lesson plan related to a holiday or theme of the month. This month's lesson plan is about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last fall Storyboard That sponsored a webinar that I hosted called Telling Stories and Solving Problems with storyboards. The recording of that webinar is embedded below.

Storyboard That also owns the popular Photos for Class and Quick Rubric websites. At the end of the webinar we took a quick look at those tools too.

The slides used in the webinar are embedded below.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on