Friday, September 22, 2017

ClassTag Helps You Streamline Communication and Reach More Parents

From SMS to email to old fashioned paper notes there are plenty of ways to send classroom updates to parents. There is one service that covers all three options in a streamlined manner for you. That service is ClassTag. ClassTag lets you send on-demand (anytime you choose) and weekly summaries to parents. Weekly summaries can include notes from you, pictures, event dates, and any other information that you want to share with parents.

The neat thing about ClassTag is that it automatically records for you who hasn't read your updates. With that information you can resend a weekly summary or print a copy of the summary to send home with your students.

Earlier this month ClassTag published a video featuring a first-grade teacher who is using ClassTag. Take a few minutes to watch the video and learn how ClassTag could help you reach more parents this year.

Advertising and What YouTube Knows About You

We've all had the annoying experience of going to show a YouTube video in a classroom or to a friend only to have an advertisement play for five, ten, or thirty seconds before you can actually watch the video. How does YouTube know which ads to show to you? That's partly based on your viewing habits and the channels to which you subscribe. It's also partly based on what advertisers are willing to pay to appear on a video. That process happens in less than a second. Learn more about YouTube advertising and how much a video earns by watching the following CGP Grey video.


Applications for Education
Many students happily click from one video to the next (YouTube says that average user watches 40 minutes of video per day on a mobile phone) without thinking about the digital footprint that is left behind. Ask your students to think about the advertisements they see and how they get there. Then show them CGP Grey's video. They might be surprised by what YouTube knows about them.

You can avoid much of the video viewing habits tracking by watching YouTube without signing into your Google account and by using an incognito browser window.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

XtraMath Now With Google Sign-on and Support for Another Language

XtraMath is a free service designed to help you help your students master the building blocks of solving mathematics problems. I've reviewed the service before and every time I do someone replies with a positive note about the service. One of the things that makes XtraMath popular is its support for multiple languages. Recently, XtraMath added support for another language. This time they added Korean. That brings the total of supported languages up to eight. Those eight languages are Korean, English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and American Sign Language.

This week XtraMath added the option for teachers and students to sign-on by using their Google Accounts.

XtraMath Quick Guide: Student sign-in with Google from XtraMath on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
XtraMath does not remove the need for students to learn directly from teachers and parents. The service provides an online environment in which students complete practice activities that are recorded and shared with teachers and parents. The purpose of XtraMath is to help teachers and parents monitor the progress that their students are making and prepare lessons that meet students where they are.

WebRoom - Free Online Conferencing With Virtual Whiteboard

WebRoom is a free service for hosting online meetings. WebRoom doesn't require you to download any software and you don't need to register in order to use it. To launch a meeting on WebRoom you simply enter your name and email address. Your meeting room launches as soon as you finish entering your email address. Once your room is open you can invite people to join by sending them emails from within WebRoom.

WebRoom lets you use your webcam if you want people to see your face during the meeting. A whiteboard space is provided. You can draw on the whiteboard or upload a file to share and discuss on the whiteboard. A text chat space is provided in each WebRoom meeting. It is possible to share your screen with other meeting participants. However, to share your screen you will need to install the WebRoom Chrome extension.

Applications for Education
WebRoom has the potential to be an excellent tool for hosting online help sessions for your students. The whiteboard makes WebRoom a fantastic choice for helping students with math problems because you can use it to show steps in solving a problem while talking to your students at the same time.

Stitcht - Make Videos With Friends

Stitcht is a free iOS app that lets you create a video from a combination of video clips captured by your friends. To make a video on Stitcht you simply start a project then invite others to add their video clips to the project. Stitcht will then combine the shared clips into one video that you can play back and publish.

Applications for Education
Stitcht could be a good app to use to have students create a highlight reel of a shared event like a field trip or a pep rally. It could also be a good app for parents who want to collaborate to make a highlight reel of a shared event. I could see my local athletics booster club using the app to make a video of the highlights from a football game.

Unfortunately, Stitcht is only available for iOS at this time. Hopefully, an Android app will be added soon.