Wednesday, April 5, 2017

5 Considerations in BYOD Schools

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environments are becoming increasingly more common in schools. For teachers and students BYOD can be a good thing as it allows students to work with a computer, tablet, or phone with which they are familiar. On the other hand, BYOD can be frustrating to teachers and students if school leadership hasn't thought through all of the implications and ramifications of BYOD. Here are five questions to consider in BYOD environments.

1. Can you find apps and sites suitable for all students' devices?
When every student uses the same school-provided computer or tablet you don't have to worry about this question too much because you simply pick a site or app that works on one device and you're all set. In a BYOD environment you will have a variety of operating systems, versions of operating systems, and display sizes. For BYOD environments I always try to find web apps that are coded in HTML5 so that I have the best chance of the app or site working on all devices.

2. Can your network handle the number of devices that will be added to it?
This is a question for the IT department to answer. Once you allow students to add their devices to your wireless network you're going to have a massive uptick in traffic. Are you prepared? Along the same line, are you ready to support helping students figure out how to add a myriad of devices to your network.

3. Are you going BYOD to save money by not providing computers to students?
If so, you're missing the point of BYOD. Using BYOD as a reason to not provide students with computers creates an unequal environment for students. BYOD should be a supplement, not a replacement for a 1:1 program.

4. How are your students going to share files and or print files?
As a classroom teacher who will be collecting assignments from students think about the way in which you want to collect those assignments. In a Google Apps for Education environment you might use Google Classroom or Google Drive. In other settings you might need to create a Dropbox or Box folder to which students submit files. If it's printed work that you need, are your students going to be able to connect to a network printer or will you have to do all of the printing from a school-issued computer? If you're not sure, ask a member of your IT staff before those printed assignments are due.

5. How will you handle inappropriate use of mobile phones?
In the 8th grade I got in trouble for reading a Field & Stream article that I had stuffed inside my Algebra textbook. My point being that students texting in class is a classroom management issue, it's not the fault of the device being present in the classroom any more than Field & Stream was to blame for me not paying attention to my Algebra teacher, Mr. Dorsey.

These topics and many others will be covered at the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp this July. Early registration discounts are available now. Register by the end of April to save $50.

From Blog to Job - A Teacherpreneur Jumpstart

On a regular basis I'm asked for advice about how to make money through blogs and social media. The first thing to know is that it takes a lot of consistent work. Just like trying to improve your fitness, you have to make time to work on it every day. If you're interested in learning how to earn some income from your blog and you're ready to work on it every day, my new online course is for you. In From Blog to Job - A Teacherpreneur Jumpstart I'll share everything that I've learned from earning an income through my blog for the last eight years. I'll even share the $500,000 mistake that I narrowly avoided.

In this four week course I’ll give you the blueprints for developing an online presence through which you can earn money.
  • You’ll learn how to avoid “running out of ideas” for blog posts, podcasts, and videos. 
  • You’ll see how to create engaging content. 
  • You’ll learn why social media is important, but I’d still rather have 1,000 email subscribers than 10,000 Twitter followers.
All the questions that you’ve always wanted to ask about making money through blogs and social media will be answered for you in this four week course.
  • Where should I host my blog/ my podcast/ my videos? 
  • How much should I charge for advertising, for speaking, for consultation? 
  • How do people know I’m available? 
  • Should I create an LLC? 
  • What if everyone hates me?

The course meets on April 6, 13, 20, and 27 at 7pm EDT.

Cyberbullying Explained by Common Craft

Lee and Sachi at Common Craft have released a new video that tackles a topic that every student, teacher, and parent should understand; cyberbullying. By watching Cyberbullying Explained by Common Craft viewers can learn how what cyberbullying is, how it happens, and the actions that students and adults can take to stop cyberbullying.

Applications for Education
I appreciate that the video includes a brief explanation of the effects of cyberbullying on students who are bullied online. The video also encourages students to be supportive of those bullied without using retaliatory behavior towards the bully.

Disclosure: Common Craft videos can be viewed online for review purposes, downloading or displaying them in your classroom requires a subscription. I have an in-kind business relationship with Common Craft. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

12 Lessons from 12,000 Blog Posts

It occurred to me the other day as I was watching the Red Sox home opener that over the course of the last ten years I've written and published more than 12,000 blog posts across this blog and a few others that I maintain. When I realized that I took out my notebook and jotted down twelve lessons that I've learned through the course of publishing 12,000 blog posts.

1. You've got to have a purpose.

2. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme.

3. Everyone's a critic.

4. Comparisons are silly. (In the image of my notebook you'll see that I wrote "everyone is lying" in parentheses. What I really mean is that everyone tends to show only the best parts of themselves online, it's much like online dating sites).

5. Share a lot, but don't give it all away.

6. Ask for what you want.

7. Protect your property.

8. Focus your time.

9. Ads suck, but there's money to be made.

10. Keep tinkering.

11. It's not about you.

12. Stay the course...until you need to change course.

If you're interested in learning how all of these lessons can help you, check out my course From Blog to Job - A Teacherpreneur Jumpstart

12 Tools for Creating Videos on Chromebooks - A PDF Handout

Making videos is one of my favorite digital media projects to do with students and teachers. Chromebook users aren't able to access iMovie, Final Cut, and some of the full-fledged video production tools that you'll find for desktops. But that doesn't mean there aren't some good alternative options available. In the handout embedded below I highlight twelve good options for creating videos on Chromebooks.

Please note that if your school blocks you won't be able to see the PDF.

You can learn lots of ways to use Chromebooks in your classroom during the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp this July. Register this month and you'll save $50 on the registration cost.

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