Friday, April 7, 2017

ClassDojo Messenger Now Offers Scheduling

ClassDojo users may have recently noticed a new option within ClassDojo Messenger. You can now schedule messages to be sent at a later time. This convenient option will let you set a schedule for homework reminders, encouraging notes, or school event reminders to be sent out at intervals of your choosing.

Over the last couple of years ClassDojo has become much more than the behavior and attendance tracker that it started out as. Messenger and Class Stories in ClassDojo can help you improve the frequency and consistency of your communication with your students' parents.

An Easy Way to Create and Play Jeopardy-style Games

Earlier this week I shared news about the updated Jeopardy Rocks platform that is now called Factile. Factile lets you create Jeopardy-style game boards to use in your classroom. Factile also has a gallery of games that you can use if you don't have the time to build a game from scratch. In the following video I demonstrate how to create and play games in Factile.

How to Create Appointment Slots in Google Calendar

Whether you're looking for a way to let students schedule office hours with you or you're trying to streamline scheduling meetings with parents, Google Calendar provides a convenient solution in the form of appointment slots. In the following video I demonstrate how to create appointment slots in Google Calendar.

This coming Tuesday I will be covering topics like this one and many others in Keeping Track With Google Keep & Calendar.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Q&A from Practical Ed Tech Live

Earlier today I hosted the second installment of Practical Ed Tech Live. Just like last week I answered the questions that were submitted to me during the previous week. I'm also open to answering questions submitted on the fly. Embedded below you will see the recording of the session followed by text of the questions that I answered live.

Practical Ed Tech Live Questions for April 6, 2017

Question 1
I love your weekly newsletters and have had the opportunity to try and share some of the resources you've shared. So...thanks! I have a quick question. You shared how to add sound to Google Slides. Is there a way to add music as background throughout a slide presentation? I have a teacher who is having her students create a slideshow about the Great Depression and would like music to play as students' work is being presented. Is that even possible?

Question 2
I loved your post about using Formative! I followed your example about inserting a Google Drawing and it worked perfectly. The drawback is the drawing has to be downloaded to be inserted and we are becoming a Chromebook campus...alas no downloading. Is there a way to insert the drawing without downloading it?

Question 3
During one of your Google Forms videos you had a student account so that you could join the class. How did you get that? I tried clicking join and typing in the ID and it wouldn't take it...

Question 4
I thought it would be fun to do a class Kahoot-style game Sunday night to have some fun and end on a positive note as well as relieve some of their last-minute anxiety. My thought was that they would see the questions, all choose their answer (like in Kahoot) and then I could pause and give feedback or just control when we move on to the next question. So they are all taking it at the same time, but we are all doing it from our own homes and I am still controlling it. (I was going to email them the room ID number and they would have until 7:00 pm to log in... that sort of thing) Well in Kahoot of course, students can't see the question. Socrative doesn't seem to fit the bill either so I am coming to you as you have reviewed many of the on-line games. Is there one that we could play at the same time like this where students see the questions and are all taking it at the same time?

Question 5
Richard, is there a way to show locations on Google Calendar in the week view? Locations like different buildings in a school? I don't want to have make different calendars per location because I know that could get too complicated.

Question 6
I'm following your very interesting blog since some months. I'd like to ask you about the tool your are using for creating this type of tutorial video: What is the name and where can I find it? Thank you very much for your help, have a good day,

Question 7
Hey Richard, I am a teacher. I would like to know if there is a program for creating state maps in the US that will be able to show location of cities by using place markers? Not all cities, but designated ones in addition to showing major cities. This will be for a project involving travel and finding destinations using GPS google maps. Can you suggest one for me?

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.