Tuesday, March 10, 2020

How to Use Watch2Gether to Host Live Online Discussion About Shared Videos

As I wrote on Saturday, Watch2gether is a nice tool to use to have students share observations, ask questions, and answer questions while watching video clips in your classroom or as part of a flipped lesson they're completing at home. The service is free to use and doesn't require registration in order for you or your students to use it. In the following video I demonstrate how to host live online discussions about videos through Watch2Gether.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Three Free Webinars About Transitioning to Teaching Online

In my previous post I mentioned Rushton Hurley's Emergencies and Switching to Online Learning. Later this week Rushton is going to host three free webinars on the topic. The webinars are Wednesday at 4pm ET and 7pm ET and then again on Friday at 4pm ET. You can register for the webinars here.

In describing the webinars Rushton wrote, "This program is not a simple collection of web-based tech tools, but rather one which will focus on how to help prepare your team in this difficult time."

Rushton will be using Zoom to host the webinars so this is a good opportunity to see Zoom in action from the viewer/ student perspective. I demonstrated the presenter's perspective in this video.

Two More Guides to Transitioning to Online Instruction

Last week and again this morning I published my top tips and tools for teaching remotely if your school closes due to COVID-19 outbreak. And as I mentioned on my podcast, Larry Ferlazzo has a good list of resources going too. Now there are two more guides that I'd like to draw your attention to.

Rushton Hurley is the founder of Next Vista for Learning, a video sharing site that I've featured dozens (hundreds?) of times over the years on this blog and in my workshops. Before focusing on Next Vista Rushton was the principal of an online school in Texas. He has published Emergencies and Switching to Online Learning. In that guide Rushton outlines how to try to maintain continuity in making the switch to online classrooms and recommends a series of free and low-cost tools to make the switch. What I like about his guide is that many of the tools he mentions are ones that are already popular in classrooms, he just does a good job of framing their use in context of making a quick transition to online classrooms. (One quick logistical note about Rushton's guide, the links for each section of the guide are in the upper-right corner of the guide's landing page. They might not jump out at you if you're on a tablet or phone).

Kathleen Morris at The Edublogger (an Edublogs blog) has assembled an extensive guide to teaching online. What I like about Kathleen's guide is that she specifically addresses the needs of elementary school students and teachers whereas Rushton and I didn't do that in our guides. Kathleen's guide also provides some great tips on how to structure the school day if you have to move to teaching online.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

5 Topics for Student Podcasts

Podcasting can be a great way to get students to record their own thoughts and to record conversations with other people like classmates or community members. Just like a writing assignment it can be hard for students to decide what to podcast about. Here's a handful of suggestions to get started.

  • Book review. Rather than writing a book report, have students record their thoughts about books they've recently read.
  • DIY or Q&A podcast. Students are knowledgeable about lots of things. Ask them to share their knowledge about a favorite topic.
  • Conversations in a second language. This can be a good way for students to practice a second language with a partner.
  • School news. Students can record school announcements. Let them add to it with commentary about neat things happening in your school community.
  • Conversations about community. Instead of the traditional "interview your parents about their lives" journalism assignment, have students talk to a few people about important moments in the history of their local communities. 

If you want to learn how to start a podcast and get more ideas for using podcasts in your classroom, join me on Tuesday at 7pm ET for Classroom Podcasting 101

How to Host an Online Meeting With Zoom

In my recent post titled Tips and Tools for Teaching Remotely I mentioned using Zoom to host online classes if Google Hangouts Meet or Microsoft Teams aren't available to you. I've used Zoom's free plan for about five years and it has been more than adequate for one-on-one and small group meetings. Zoom's free plan lets you have up to 100 people in a meeting for up to 40 minutes.

One of my favorite features of Zoom is that you set your account to default to recording all meetings as soon as they start. That way you don't forget to record the meeting. The meeting recording will save on computer. The recording can be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or any file sharing service that you like to use to distribute files to your students.

In the following video I demonstrate how to schedule and host online meetings with Zoom.