Wednesday, January 23, 2019

JotForm Offers a Great Way to Collect Registrations for Summer Camps and Field Trips

Summer might feel far away right now, but those of us who organize summer camps and summer field trips are already getting into full planning mode for the summer. If you have organized any kind of camp, field trip, or summer workshop you might have used Google Forms or good old fashioned paper forms to collect registration information. This year there is a better way to collect and organize registration information. That way is to use JotForm to organize camp registrations.

What is JotForm?
JotForm is a service for creating great-looking and highly-functional forms for collecting information from form visitors. You can embed your JotForm forms into an existing webpage or you can simply direct people to the URL for your stand-alone JotForm form. JotForm offers dozens of design themes that you can apply to your forms. In the gallery of themes you'll find designs that like this one that are perfect for summer camp registrations. And if you're making the switch from using Google Forms to using JotForm, you can import your Google Forms' information directly into a theme in JotForm.

Features of JotForm not Found in Google Forms
JotForm has a lot of features that make it a great tool for creating registration forms. Some of those features include the option to have personalized confirmation notices sent to registrants without the need for a third-party add-on, the option to collect signatures in forms, and the option to collect payments directly through your forms. Those features are all available in the free version of JotForms. Those who choose to upgrade can create HIPAA-compliant forms which can be used to collect important information like food allergies in your registration forms.

If you're interested in using JotForm to create registration forms for summer camps and similar activities, you will want to check out this guide on how to start a camp.

How to Use JotForm?
Whether you're creating a form for summer camp registrations, creating a form for a field trip, or creating a form to make an interest survey, JotForm is equally easy to use. Watch my video tutorial or read on for detailed directions on how to use JotForm to create forms.

To get started you will need to create a free JotForm account. Once you have created your account click the "create form" button and choose whether you want all questions to be on one page or if you want to have respondents answer one question per page in an index card style. Once you have selected a layout you can choose to use a template, build a form from scratch, or import questions from an existing form even if that form was made with another service including Google Forms.

If you choose to build a form from scratch rather than use a template you will have to drag question types onto a blank form canvas. You can add open response questions, multiple choice questions (single selection and multiple selection), and questions that require a response in the form of a file upload. There is also a star rating question format. Additionally, you can add pictures, charts, block text to forms that you design in JotForm.

After you have added all of your questions you can customize the color and font scheme of your form. You can apply any colors to your form that you can think of. The text options are almost as plentiful as the color options. And if you really want to customize your form's look, you can open the advanced editor where you'll find options for text alignment, background images, and object spacing. There's even an option for adding custom CSS.

After you have added all of your questions and settled on the design of your JotForm form you can preview it to see how it will look to visitors. If you like the way it looks, you're ready to publish it. You can share your JotForm forms by emailing or posting your form's URL online. JotForm forms can also be embedded into your existing web pages. Those are options are typical of every online form-builder. What makes JotForm different is that it contains an option to download your form as a fillable PDF!

Responses to your JotForm form are found through your JotForm dashboard. To see responses simply select your form then click "submissions." You can see all submissions in a spreadsheet format or you can view them as individual PDFs that you can download, print, or email. And speaking of PDFs, JotForm has an excellent guide to editing PDFs.

Disclosure: JotForm is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

How to Change Google Classroom Notification Settings

Earlier today a subscriber to my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter asked me if it was possible to change the frequency of Google Classroom notification emails. Yes is the answer to that question.

Here's how to change Google Classroom notification settings:
1. Sign into Google Classroom.
2. In the upper, left corner of the screen click on the "hamburger" or "three line menu."
3. At the bottom of the menu select "settings."
4. Notifications options will appear in the settings menu.
5. Choose your global settings and choose your class-by-class notification options.

A video of this process is included below.

Click here to read more about Google Classroom notification settings including how to change notification settings in the Google Classroom mobile apps.

Lego Launches Their 2019 Master Educator Program

Lego Education is one of the vendors whose stands that I always enjoy visiting at big education conference like the BETT Show (I'll be there later this week). They always have neat hands-on displays (they never let me take them home though) and people who are passionate about using Legos in education. If you're a teacher in the U.S. who also passionate about using Legos in your classroom, you're a candidate for Lego Education's 2019 Master Educator Program.

Lego Education's Master Educator Program is open to K-12 teachers in the United States. The program is an ambassador program that gives participants access to a community of other teachers who are passionate about using Legos in their classrooms. The program appears to include some specialized online PD opportunities. And, of course, participants get a digital badge and the right to say they are Lego Master Educators. In exchange for all of this three or four times a year participants have to give Lego feedback on their education products and initiatives. Participants are also expected to promote Lego Education whenever they can. If you're interested in becoming a Lego Education Master Educator, you can apply here.

On a related note, before engaging in a brand ambassador program I recommend considering reading Examining the New Phenomenon of Teachers as Brand Ambassadors.

Vizor 360 is Now Free for All - Create Interactive 360 Imagery

Vizor offers great tools for creating interactive 360 imagery. I've previously covered their Patches program for creating animated VR because that was the free service that they offered. Now their core product Vizor 360 is available for free too.

Vizor 360 lets you upload a series of pictures and then stitch them together. After you have stitched your pictures together to create a 360 image you can then add interactive elements to it. Those interactive elements can be links to websites, audio, and additional text and image overlays. A completed project can be viewed and interacted with in a web browser and or a VR headset.

Applications for Education
Vizor 360 could be a great tool for students to use to create interactive imagery of places that they have visited as part of a class or school field trip. Adding interactive elements to the imagery enables students to link to Google Docs they've created about the imagery and or to include audio of themselves talking about the imagery.

You Can Now Publish Entire Book Creator Libraries

Book Creator, one of my favorite tools for creating multimedia ebooks, has announced a new publishing option that many teachers have requested. Book Creator now lets teachers publish entire libraries of their students' books. This library publishing option is in addition to the option to publish individual books.

Publishing an entire library of student-created Book Creator books could be a good way to showcase an entire class' work in one place. If you're building a portfolio of your class' work on a class website or blog, putting the Book Creator library into that website will make it easier for visitors to see contributions from all students in one place. Libraries, like individual books, can be password protected.

Detailed directions for Book Creator library publishing can be found here. In short, you'll find the library publishing option in your teacher dashboard in the new library settings cog.

Here's a short overview of how to create an ebook on Book Creator.