Saturday, February 24, 2018

ClassPulse - Gather Feedback from Students

ClassPulse is a new entry into the crowded market of polling and messaging apps for schools. I learned about the app through Audrey Watters' weekly round-up of education news and then I gave the app a try on my Android phone.

Audrey described the ClassPulse as "another classroom feedback tool" and that's exactly what it is. It has the core features found in every other app like it. You can create classrooms that your students join through an assigned join code. Once students have joined your classroom you can start posting messages for them to read and you can post poll questions for them to vote on. Like most other classroom feedback tools, ClassPulse gives you the option to let students post anonymous feedback.

In my testing of ClassPulse I found it easy to set-up a classroom and to post messages for students to reply to. However, when it came to setting-up polls I ran into a little snag that was only resolved by quitting the app and trying again. That snag was that when I tapped on the "poll" option ClassPulse didn't recognize my classroom as being created and instead prompted me to create another classroom. That little annoyance was resolved by quitting the app.

Applications for Education
Feedback tools like ClassPulse have been around for years. They're useful for getting some feedback from your students about how a lesson is going for them, they're understanding of a topic, or just what they would like you to review with them.

If you haven't tried a classroom feedback/ polling tool or you're looking to try a new one, ClassPulse could be for you. That said, there are other tools like it that are bit more developed. Poll Everywhere, Remind, and even Google Classroom have similar capabilities.

Science, Wikispaces, and Timelines - The Week in Review

Good morning from the almost completely renovated Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Paris, Maine. If you have followed my week-in-review posts since last fall you know that I have been converting some space in a barn into office space. I'm in the home stretch now as I just have bit more painting to finish up. In fact, I'll be doing that right after I finish writing this post.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. If You Teach Science, You Need Science Netlinks
2. Wikispaces is Closing - Here Are Some Alternatives
3. 10 Good Resources for Math Teachers and Students
4. How to Use Flipgrid - A Guide for Getting Started
5. Pixabay Now Has an Office Plug-in
6. Three Tools for Combining Maps With Timelines
7. The Built-in Google Docs Features Starter Pack

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I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Click here to book me today.

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Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
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Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
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Friday, February 23, 2018

How to Find and Install PowerPoint Add-ins

In the last couple of months I've featured a handful of Google Slides Add-ons that provide additional features for your Google Slides account. PowerPoint users have a similar option to add features through the use of PowerPoint Add-ins. In my video embedded below I demonstrate how to find and install PowerPoint Add-ins. In this video I feature the Pixabay Add-in that provides access to thousands of images that are in the public domain.

ClassTag Adds New Ways to Communicate With Parents

ClassTag is a free service for communicating with parents about what's going on in your classroom. ClassTag lets you send email, push, and SMS/text announcements to parents from one streamlined dashboard on your computer. ClassTag also provides teachers with free tools for scheduling conferences, events, and for coordinating parent volunteers. You can take a tour of the service in my video here.

Recently, ClassTag added two new features to its free service. First, there's a new feature called Child Stories. In Child Story you can post updates about individual students that only their parents can see. Second, videos that you post now appear inline as opposed to as attached files. Inline display is much like what you see in Facebook or Twitter.

Common Craft Explains Flipped Classrooms

The flipped classroom concept, in the right setting, can be an effective way to maximize classroom time. Perhaps you've tried it yourself and have been looking for a way to explain it to parents or colleagues. Common Craft recently released a good video that could help you do just that.

Flipped Classroom Explained by Common Craft teaches the fundamental ideas behind the flipped classroom model. Thankfully, the video also addresses why the flipped classroom model is not appropriate for all students.


Tools for Creating Flipped Classroom Lessons
If you're ready to try your hand at making flipped lessons, here are a few tools to get you started.

TESTeach (formerly known as Blendspace) makes it easy for teachers to organize and share educational materials in a visually pleasing format. On TESTeach you arrange videos, links, images, and files around any topic of your choosing. TESTeach has built-in search tools so that you do not have to leave your TESTeach account in order to locate resources. When you share a set of TESTeach materials with your students they can give you feedback to show that they understand the materials or they can ask questions about the materials. You can also see if your students actually looked at all of the materials that you have shared with them. Using TESTeach can be a good way to create and deliver flipped lessons.

EDPuzzle is a popular tool for adding your voice and text questions to educational videos. On EDpuzzle you can search for educational videos and or upload your own videos to use as the basis of your lesson. EDpuzzle has an online classroom component that you can use to assign videos to students and track their progress through your video lessons. Within EDPuzzle's editor you can select portions of videos for students to watch. EDPuzzle offers the option to share your videos to Google Classroom.

MoocNote is a free tool for adding timestamped comments, questions, and links to videos. To do this on MoocNote you simply paste a link to a YouTube video into the MoocNote editor. Once the video is imported you can start to add your comments, questions, and links. The link features is particularly useful for providing students with additional resources for learning about the topics covered in your shared videos. MoocNote allows you to organize playlists (MoocNote calls them courses) of videos according to topics that you identify. MoocNote could be a good tool for high school teachers who want to organize playlists of videos for their students and add some clarifying information to those videos. You could also have students use MoocNote to annotate videos to demonstrate an understanding of the topic at hand.

Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft.