Jul 28

97. School-wide Video Announcements with iPads

Effective communication is vital in creating a cohesive school environment.  This is one area I saw a great opportunity for improvement at my school this past year.  School-wide announcements were occasional, random and delivered via an old PA system where voices usually sound muffled and scratchy.  I think some of the speakers are blown, have bad connections, or the orators speak with too much force into the microphone.  Whatever the case, many of the PA announcements are nothing more than incoherent ramblings heard throughout the school.

At the end of the 2013 school year, I suggested that our school have student-made video announcements that would air once a week.  I offered to teach such a class using the tools we had available: iPads.  Admin gave me the green light, and it turned out to have a huge impact on at my school.  Here are some videos where I talk about the class:

Which apps do I use?  (Click to view in iTunes)

Storage, Word Processing, Note Taking, Sharing – Google Drive, Docs and Sheets


Photo/Video Transfer – PhotoWiFi or ImageTransfer

image transfer Logophoto transfer app

Editing – Pinnacle Studio

Pinnacle Studio app

Reflection – EdPuzzle (not an iPad app, but a perfect tool for embedding feedback and reflection right into the videos)


I’ll be sharing some group management and other tips in the posts to come.  Thanks for reading!

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2014/07/97-school-wide-video-announcements-with-ipads/

Jul 23

96. Share Classes and Students in ClassDojo

ClassDojo, the positive reinforcement e-tool for classrooms, recently announced that classes and students can be shared.  This is really helpful for educators who team teach the same group of students.  It is also great for students with multiple classes with different teachers, such as in middle and high school.  The benefit of sharing students is that student behaviors can be viewed and tracked throughout the entire school day.  Instead of only having access to data from students while in your class, you could view student behavioral data from other classes throughout the day as well.  Teachers can collaborate in order to better effect student achievement through shared classroom management strategies.

In your dashboard of classes, there’s a settings arrow in the top right corner of each class icon.  When clicked, there is an option to share.  This is how it looks when opened:

Screenshot of Teacher connections

According to ClassDojo’s website, there are several capabilities connected teachers will have.

Connected teachers will be able to:

  • Give points under their name
  • View student reports
  • Reset point bubbles
  • Use ClassDojo Messaging with all connected parents
  • Add, edit, and delete students
  • …and everything else you can do with your class!

Connected teachers will not be able to:

  • Send ClassDojo Messages under your name
  • Connect other teachers to your class

Here’s a video showing how it works:

ClassDojo has an active Teacher Community Forum with lots of great tips, advice, and tutorials.  Check it out here:  http://community.classdojo.com/

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2014/07/96-share-classes-and-students-in-classdojo/

Jul 22

95. Five Writing Tools to Inspire Creativity

Guestpost by Melissa Burns

Melissa is a student of journalism. She is passionate about digital technologies and tries to implement them in the sphere of education. Recently she has started working on development TutorsClass and believes it will become a great platform.


Even talented writers have troubles finishing the work they started. There are too many ideas in their heads, and it is sometimes impossible to fit them into a single piece of writing, whether it is an online article, blog post, academic paper, or an entire novel.

If only you could launch the word processor of your choice and start typing from dusk till dawn, you would be much happier with your achievements. However, being productive doesn’t come easily if you don’t find the right tools that will help you organize your ideas. The following list of tools is mandatory for all contemporary writers who want to reach their greatest potential:

1. Kiwix

The Internet is your biggest distraction, but it’s also something you need for your writing projects. What happens when your connection goes down and you desperately need to find information to support your discussion? Don’t worry; you can always use Kiwix and save yourself from such disasters. With this program, you can have the entire Wikipedia whenever you need. Everything will be stored on a DVD, USB flash or your computer, so you won’t need the Internet to get the information you are looking for. This is also a tool that can help you stay focused on your writing, since you can turn the Internet off and devote yourself to the work. Kiwix will provide you with the information you need, but you won’t get distracted by the urge to check what’s new on Tumblr while writing.

2. TreeSheets

All writers need to take notes. With a mind as busy as yours, you cannot limit your creativity flow within a single document and end up with a logical text that won’t lose your reader’s attention. TreeSheets functions like a spreadsheet where you can insert a lot of data in the form of text, images, and other types of content. You can elaborate each list with further information and add extra dimension to your ideas. When you stay organized like this, it will be easy to keep track of your ideas and combine them into an amazing piece of writing.

3. Sigil

If you are working on an eBook, then you need the best editor that holds all features you could possibly need. Sigil is an entirely free editor that works on multiple platforms. When you gain the needed experience with e-book formatting, you can easily fine tune your projects with the EPUB code.  With Sigil, you will be able to update the formatting and text, create a table of contents in the most convenient manner and make your eBooks look as clean as possible.

4. TheSage

All writers have habit words, and their common usage dilutes the text and makes it less impressive for the reader. TheSage is one of the most extensive dictionaries available online. The tool will provide you with a definition of the word you are looking up and a guide to pronunciation, but that’s not what you will benefit the most from. TheSage will also give you synonyms, hyponyms, hypernyms, and meronyms of the words you using too commonly when writing.

5. EssayEagles

If you want to become the best writer you could possibly be, then you have to base your works not only on creativity, but on knowledge and verifiable information as well. When you are writing on a topic that you don’t know much about, then your content may seem silly to a reader who has deeper insight into the matter. You can save yourself from such embarrassment with the use of EssayEagles. At this website, you can hire professional assistance of writers with graduate degrees in all fields of study. If, for example, you are writing a short story associated to architecture, you can hire an expert who will provide you with the right resources and make sure that your content is logically grounded.  In addition, you can also hire professional services of editing and proofreading at a very affordable price.  The right online tools will make you a better writer!

Even when you face an obstacle during the writing process or you are too distracted to complete your daily limit, you shouldn’t give up because there are tools that can help you achieve any goal you set. It doesn’t matter what type of content you are working on; the resources we listed above are valuable for all writers who want to discover a more effective use of modern technology.

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2014/07/95-five-writing-tools-to-inspire-creativity/

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!

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2014/03/94-manage-forms-electronically-with-chalk-schools/

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