Mar 03

94. Manage Forms Electronically with Chalk Schools

Chalk schools logo

Do you wish there was a more effective way to send out and collect permission forms or parent signatures?  Now there is, and it’s free!  Chalk Schools allows educators a simple way to distribute, receive, track, and organize digital paperwork.  According to Chalk’s website, 28% of K-12 spending in the US “is wasted on repetitive administrative tasks.”  Paper copies can get expensive, it takes time to use the copy machine, and paper copies can easily be lost or destroyed.  Chalk aims to save schools time and money spent sending out, collecting, and filing paper copies of forms.

Here’s how it works:

1.  Educators upload an existing form, and use Chalk’s drag & drop editor to add “request boxes” to the form.
Chalk Drag and Drop Editor
2.  After the form is saved, it can be distributed with a link that can be emailed or put on your class or school website.

Chalk Sample form

3.  Parents or students fill out the form and click the submit button.
Chalk Form Preview
4.  Educators receive the forms which can be viewed individually or in a list as a spreadsheet.

Chalk spreadsheet

Here’s a video that gives an example of how to request a signature:

Chalk Schools is still in Beta, so check it out and contact the company if you have suggestions or questions.  They will be glad you did!

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Feb 27

93. Text Selected Students with Remind101 – New Features!

Remind101 logo 2013 on-light

I first posted about Remind101 in 2011 (see that post here).  My most recent post about Remind101 is from the beginning of the school year.  Since then, the company has continued to grow at an incredible rate (they now have over 10 million users).  Along with this amazing growth, the company has continued to add new features and improve the look and feel of the site and apps.  Here’s what’s new…

Send Messages to a Selected Few:

Now teachers can send a message to a group of (three or more) students in their class.  This could come in handy when just a few students are missing an assignment, or you want to message only the absent students from your class.

Remind101 send to few
Watch a short instructional video here.

Enhancements to Subscribers Lists:

Now your subscribers list is updated in real time!  Teachers can verify that students have opted-in right away.  Teachers can also edit subscribers’ names, which is really handy if you’re wanting to sort by last name or fix capitalization errors that drive many of us educators crazy!

Remind101 has also made improvements to its UI (User Interface) that make it even slicker than ever!

Remind101 cellphone screenshot

Future Features:

According to this TechCrunch article, Remind101 plans to “give teachers the ability to poll families for feedback and sign paperwork.”  Sending RSVPs and the ability to send home forms or images via text would add another layer of awesomeness to an already great communication tool.

Remind101 app logo

If you haven’t gotten the Remind101 app yet, you can get it on your mobile device here:

Apple iOS App on iTunes

Android App on Google Play

If you use Remind101 already, how do you use it to communicate with parents or students?  How effective has it been?  My blog is awaiting your comments.  Thanks!

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Feb 24

92. Check for Student Understanding with Geddit

A common practice for great teachers is to periodically check for student understanding throughout a lesson.  If students are lost or need more time to process the information, the teacher should slow down or go back a step before proceeding.  A few methods for getting student feedback during a lesson are thumbs up/down, stand up/sit down, raise hands, verbal feedback, or even short quizzes.  Problems with these methods are that there are no in-between options for students (yes/no only) and they are difficult to count or track with precision.

Geddit Logo

Geddit seeks to provide an intuitive solution to this problem with an audience response system that allows students to “check in” with any internet connected device during a lesson being taught in class.  Here are all the choices students have:

Geddit Check In

Geddit-check-in-poster (click to download)

Students can also answer quiz questions (multiple choice, open, or poll), or tap the hand which means “waiting for attention”.  Geddit is ideal for large 1:1 (student to device ratio) classrooms with diverse populations of learners.  Checking for understanding with Geddit can help teachers focus their attention on every student so that the quiet or shy students can have an equal voice in the classroom and not fall through the cracks.

Here’s a video demo that shows how teachers and students can create accounts and use Geddit in the classroom:

Geddit has a Student App for iOS.  Geddit here! 

Geddit App iOS

Geddit’s teacher dashboard is color coded, and auto-sorted so that it is quick and easy to check which students need additional support.  Take a look at the graphic below:

Geddit at a glance

Geddit_Flyer  (click to download)

Have you used Geddit in your classroom?  If so, please explain how it worked for you in the comments.  Thanks!

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Feb 20

91. Customize Any Video Lesson with EDpuzzle


Do you use videos in your classroom?  If so, you’re going to love EDpuzzle.

EDpuzzle is a very simple and FREE tool.  It is great for blended learning environments or if you have a flipped classroom.  The cropping tool allows you to cut out unnecessary content that your students don’t need.  The voice embedding tool is perfect for translating videos in dual or foreign language classes.  And the ability to add multiple choice or open-ended questions allows you to assess student comprehension throughout a video.  You can also add comments to annotate the video!  Here’s how it works:

  1. Take your favorite video from YouTube, Khan Academy, LearnZillion, TED, etc. or upload your own video.EDpuzzle search videos

  2. Customize it by cropping, embedding your voice, or adding quiz questions.  EDpuzzle customize videos

  3. Assign videos and track student progress.  EDpuzzle student progress

For my video production class, when a team of students complete a video project (or the morning announcements), I use EDpuzzle to provide feedback.  Students watch the video they produced and read or listen to the teacher comments throughout.  At the end they are required to reflect on the project.

EdPuzzle example

Student Projects

Another option with EDpuzzle is to assign students a project where they can select or upload a video and customize it in the same ways that are described above.  The teacher can provide feedback on, reassign, or save for later any student-curated videos.

EDpuzzle is a new tool that has been continuously adding new features since its inception last fall.  It’s already a robust tool that can be used in a variety of ways that should not be overlooked.  Try it today!  Here’s the link to the Google Chrome web app.

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