Yesterday I shared Today’s Meet, an online site that allows presenters and participants to interact and ask questions in a live chat room environment. However, what if you need to chat live with someone not in the room? Zoho Meeting might be just the solution! The free version of Zoho Meeting makes it simple for you to set up a meeting and interact with one other participant. Paid versions allow for five to one hundred participants to meet at a time. What a great method for holding a parent conference when parents cannot make it into the building or to bring a student who has been absent up to speed! Further,Zoho Meeting allows you to share your desktop, chat via instant message, and use audio all in a secure environment. The ability to collaborate is a much more effective method of communicating than simply sending links to documents or speaking over the phone. So the next time you need to speak to someone and would also like them to see what you have to share, invite them to a Zoho Meeting on the Internet!
Today’s Meet is a free site that allows users to create a temporary chat room and invite others to join. Why would you want to create a chat room, you ask? Well, imagine you are presenting to a group of 15 eager teachers who want to learn everything they can about Google Docs. You have just one hour to present as this is a free seminar designed to give just a brief overview of what can be accomplished with Google Docs. You are covering material and demonstrating the possibilities as quickly as you can, but the teachers have so many questions! You are glad to answer each one, but are secretly thinking to yourself I am never going to get through all of this!
Is there a solution? You bet! You could have created a temporary chat room at Today’s Meet and invited the group members to join the room. Then, as you are presenting, they could be conversing with one another, sharing their thoughts, asking questions, and perhaps even giving one another answers. This doesn’t mean that you won’t stop during your presentation to answer questions at all, but as you let the members know ahead of time you will be printing out a transcript of the Today’s Meet session and getting back to them with answers, they feel free just to type their questions while paying close attention to what you have to say!
Today’s Meet is also valuable during your presentation. Simply project the chat page on the screen, pause every so often to read and answer a few questions, and then continue on. With Today’s Meet, your presentation goes off without a hitch and your problem is solved!
Do you create assignments and assessments using Google Forms? Do you have a file full of digital entries to grade? Would you like a free, easy way to grade those assignments in just a few minutes, AND have a spreadsheet of results sent directly to your inbox? Enter, Flubaroo! Flubaroo is a free Google Sheets add-on that quickly grades multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank assignments in conjunction with Google in just a matter of minutes. Simply create a new assignment or quiz in Google Forms, create an answer sheet, and post the assignment for students. As questions are answered and submitted, Google pages will automatically post responses into a new spreadsheet. When you are ready to grade, open the spreadsheet, choose Flubaroo from the add-ons menu, and select grade assignment. Flubaroo will ask you a series of questions and grade the assignments in a matter of minutes! A new page named "grades" is created supplying you with all of the information you need to post and analyze your students' performance on the assignment. It's like having your own personal secretary!
Subtext is an eReader App designed for iPad. SubText Rreader app is the perfect solution for students reading, collaborating, and sharing in the classroom. Teachers create classrooms and monitor students progress. Collaborative tools allow groups to work together in real time.
When surfing the Internet do you ever come across articles or videos you wish you could save to read later? Enter Pocket! Simply open a free account and install the Pocket Widget to your browser. Then, with the click of a mouse, websites, videos, and images are saved in your personal queue for access any time. Saved items sync automatically to all mobile devices with the handy app. Editable tags and labels make searching and favoriting items in your queue seamless. There are even options to share items you've saved to your favorite social media sites. Pocket is a great way to save the things you find while you surf and to find them again when you have more time to devote to reading.
My brother lives in Anchorage, Alaska. While speaking to one another he told me it is warmer where he is than in Pennsylvania! Wanting to prove him wrong I took advantage of a neat little Google Tip for searching the weather. I simply typed "weather anchorage AK" in the Google search bar and up popped an informational weather box with the high and low temperatures for the next week. I am sorry to say I couldn't prove him wrong. We will only reach a high temperature of 32°today while he is basking in the mid forties. The Google weather feature comes in handy if you are heading to another city or making plans for a vacation to someplace warmer. Try it out the next time you need to know the weather where you are headed!
Have you tried Google Voice Search? It is the latest, best way to search for an answer without having to do any typing. The app is available for Apple and Android. When you need a question answered, simply tap or click the microphone on the Google search bar, speak clearly and ask your question! Want to know if there are pizza restaurants in the area? Just ask! Want to know how tall the Sears Building is in Chicago? Just ask! Want to know what a llama eats? Just ask! Google will answer you back and direct you to related sites that will further help you with your search. Finding an answer to what you need to know has never been easier!
Are you looking for a great source for writing prompts and inspiration? Head to Always Write by Corbett Harrison. Formerly housed at Writing Fix, the Daily Writing Prompt Generator is there for you when your own creative juices aren't flowing. Each and every time you click for a writing prompt a new choice appears in the window. If students have access to their own devices with web-browsing capability, they can head to the web site and click the prompt for themselves! Whether writing in an actual notebook or digitially, your students are never at a loss for a new writing idea!
In addition to the prompt generator Always Write is full of ideas for the writing classroom. Everything a teacher needs to get started using writing workshop, writing notebooks, reading workshop, and mentor texts in their own classroom is available. Samples of the author's own notebooks and writing are there for inspiration and clarification. If you have not checked out Always Write you should head there and give it a try. You won't be sorry!
Where is the first place students will head when they are assigned a project that involves research? I am willing to bet that you answered, "Google!" The ability to quickly find information pertaining to a topic is one reason Google is so popular. Students know they can search for just about any topic by simply typing in a few words. It doesn't even have to be spelled correctly! However, as soon as the hits appear problems can begin. In terms of readability for the student, the initial list of links can be fairly hit or miss. If a link has too many words or not enough pictures and interaction, they'll quickly close them and try others. Sites that are difficult to read quickly cause frustation and lead to hands in the air and cries of "I can't find anything." There is a simple way students can narrow their choices down, however, so they view only sites and articles that are closer to their own reading level.
After completing the initial search, by choosing <search tools>, <all results>, and <reading level>, a graphic appears showing the percentage of hits that are written at a basic, intermediate, or advanced reading level. Clicking on the word for the desired level eliminates all other articles that are too easy or too hard for the student to read.
Changing the Reading Level still won't make researching a completely independent exercise, but it will allow for differentiation during the process and further aid the students in being successful. Give it a try next you assign a research project in class!
It has been a long week here in Pennsylvania. We missed school on Monday due to snow. Tuesday night we had a horrendous ice storm and schools were closed again Wednesday and Thursday. Today we are operating on a delay with five of our thirteen school operating on generators. Generators mean no phone service and no Wifi. What is a technology teacher to do?
Today will be the perfect day for discussion. Talking about how we can accomplish tasks such as communicating with classmates and conducting research without the use of phones or computers. This is the perfect opportunity to break into groups to create lists of alternatives to using technology and fostering teamwork. It should be fun as most of my students were born with iPads and iPhones in their hands. If I light some candles and break out the ink pots we could really take a trip back in time! I will update later with some photos of the results!