Sunday, March 30, 2014

#Stoodle in 140 Words or Less



Stoodle is a real-time collaborative virtual whiteboard available online or on the iPad. Create your own classroom without a username or password and share it through a URL.  

Just like your standard virtual whiteboards, you are able to write text, draw, and upload pictures. You can create as many different pages as you would like.

What makes it unique is its ability to provide students and teachers with real-time communication through text chat or voice conferencing, which makes it a perfect tool for tutoring, reviewing, or Q & A. 

Need to revisit your board? No worries! You can access your classroom later by revisiting the same link that you shared. Whether it is a teacher offering office hours, students collaborating on a project, or creating an interactive lesson, Stoodle has so much potential in the classroom. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Eliminating the Communication Barrier with Parents: Class Dojo Messaging

I have been a big fan of Class Dojo for some time now because of its easy to use behavior management system, which makes it easy to communicate student behavior to parents and administrators. I love the fact that you can use it across multiple platforms.

Class Dojo just announced a new feature called ClassDojo Messaging, which enables  teachers  and  parents  to  easily  communicate two different ways:

  • Teachers can send parents private, “Direct Messages," updating them on their child's progress!
  • Teachers can send an entire group of parents a “Broadcast”  message to communicate class events!

One of the most frustrating parts of being a teacher is reaching parents! We often play phone tag and leave messages that are never returned. We send out email messages and find out that we had the wrong email address. We send notes home and they never get returned.

This new Class Dojo feature makes communication between parents and teachers easier and effortless, while eliminating the need to share personal contact information like cell phone numbers. Have you ever wondered if a parent got your message? Class Dojo Messaging even provides read receipts!

To learn more, check out: www.classdojo.com/messaging

Monday, March 17, 2014

Quiz Socket: An Elementary and Secondary Friendly Real-Time Quiz Tool


Are you stretched for time and want a way to informally assess students without the hassle? Are you looking for simple ways to gather feedback from your students? Are you an elementary school teacher who would love to use technology, but find NearPod and Socrative too complicated for your students?

Quiz Socket creates real-time multiple choice quizzes that can be used across multiple devices. It's free and easy to use.  Best of all, there is no username or password to enter or remember.

How Can I Use It? 

  • Simply visit www.quizsocket.com and choose Create Quiz
  • You will be taken to a dashboard-like screen. Near the bottom of the screen you will see a Quiz ID. Give students this code so that they can join your quiz. 
  • Click Create a New Question to create your first multiple choice question (the only option at this time). Students will only see multiple choice letters A through D on their screen, so you will have to choose the way you will share the question and possible answers with students. Some teachers choose to say answers verbally or share questions on a PowerPoint slide. 
  • As soon as students answer, Quiz Socket will generate real-time results, which only the teacher can see. When you are ready to move on to the next question, choose Create a New Question. 
  • What if you want to refer back to previous questions? You will still be able to revisit the data for each question on the dashboard on your screen. 

Why Not? 


If you have never assessed students like this before, this may be the perfect tool to start. It only provides students with multiple choice options at this time; therefore, it will not be too complicated for the non-tech savvy teacher to use. Even in its simplicity, this tool is very engaging!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Increasing Engagement with Goals and Edmodo #UDL

The affective part of the brain is responsible for our motivation and why we care about certain topics. It is necessary to hook students into what they are learning. I like to think of engagement as the glue that holds together instruction.

Over the past few weeks, my students have been working on a major project. After spending the past several months studying entrepreneurship, they will be pitching their original business ideas to our very own version of Shark Tank. This is a project that involves a lot of motivation and time.

Motivation is a very important ingredient in any classroom - especially one that is full of juniors and seniors during this time of year. As the weather gets nicer and the college acceptance letters come in, the motivation levels seem to decrease. How do you keep these students motivated on task?

Recently I have decided to use Edmodo as a platform to break our major project into manageable tasks. This keeps students focused, motivated, and accountable. At the beginning of the day, students reply to a message asking for the names of their group members and a specific goal they will accomplish today. For example, they may create a product survey on a Google Form or create slide 5 of their PowerPoint.

As students complete their assignments, I begin coaching them and discussing their goals. We make adjustments if goals are unrealistic or not challenging enough. At the end of class, students revisit their goals and respond with what they accomplished. This gives me a chance to compare what they wrote with what they actually did.

It's a great way of keeping kids accountable, teach them how to set goals, and increasing their motivation to complete a task. Our brains are naturally goal oriented. We tend to accomplish more when goals are written down, yet only 10% of Americans actually write them down! This is a simple way of helping our students be more productive and effective.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sharing the Web Through Stich.It: Going at Your Own Pace (Part 2)

It is important to give students opportunities to learn at their own pace, due to the fact that all students learn differently. The other day in class, I had my students analyze the power of advertising on intended audiences. I decided to "stich" together several commercials from YouTube, which my students would watch in succession, as they analyzed the commercials. It gave students the chance to watch a commercial several times if they needed to.

My students loved this because they were in control of their learning! This is very important when you are trying to motivate seniors, who already have their college acceptance letters! It is also perfect for middle and elementary school classrooms.

Stich.it makes the perfect tool to "stich" together different websites, video clips, and pictures about a particular topic, so that students can learn at their own pace. Instead of having students navigate through hyperlink after hyperlink, there is only one URL to share. It is like being able to develop your own self-paced online course without the Learning Management System component.

Many elementary school teachers tell me that they would love to have their students use technology more often; however, it takes so much time! Stich.it reduces the amount of time students need to spend trying to access websites. Once you have accessed your Stich.it URL, you just have to click Previous or Next!

Check out this sample Stich.It for an idea of how it works! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sharing the Web Through Stich.It: How it Works (Part 1)





Over a year ago, I had mentioned a site that I found called Stich.it, which allows you to pair multiple links together in a “stich.” Once you have paired all of your links together, you are given a unique URL to share with others.  It gives you the ability to share a series of webpages, pictures, YouTube  links, into a shareable experience that Stich.it calls a “micro web.” If you want to see a “stich” in action, check out this cool example!

Today I would like to focus on how do you use this cool web tool? First of all, there is no need for a username! This is great for those of you who hate trying to remember all of those passwords!

  • Step 1: Copy and paste the URL’s you would like to share into Stich.It. Leave a space or create a new line for your next link!
  • Step 2: Click the Stich.It button at the bottom of the screen. This will create your “micro web” experience called a “stich.”
  • Step 3: A unique URL will be generated, so that you can share with the world. Underneath the URL is a place for you to name your stich.
  • Step 4: You will see all of your stiches listed at the bottom of your screen. You can annotate each page, so that users can get a description of the page or directions.
  • Step 5: Share with the world!




Sharing is even easier with the Bookmarklet, which functions very much like Pinterest’s one. Check this out for more information.


Over the next few posts, I will share some ideas on how to use it! Stay tuned!