Monday, August 29, 2016

First Days

As the first days of school approach, we aim to set the tone for our classes and to get to know our students. Many have shared ideas about ways to approach these initial days.

  • Shaelynn Farnsworh, an educational blogger with a focus on literacy, shares these ideas Kicking Off Back to School With Camera Fun. As a camera buff, I illustrate one of her ideas, creating a 6 Word Memoir alongside a personal photo. 

November Learning, an organization founded by famed educator Alan November, provides these videos of educators offering their ideas found on this website page,  "First 5 Days of School."

Voxer for Professional Development

For the last few years, I have been an avid user of the Voxer app. When I mentioned the app to new users, they often want to know more. Here I explain some of its uses for professional development and integration with students.

Professional Development

The app offers the ability to send text, audio, images, videos messages to a single user or a group. If you have an interest in a special area, such as English Language Arts or the Flipped Classroom, you can join a group with others with the same interest and pose questions and learn of suggestions others offer. Planning on attending a conference or presenting at one, you can start a Voxer group to coordinate plans.

Here is a screen capture of just a few of the Voxer groups I have joined.

Integration with Students

In lieu of sending class emails or individual emails, Voxer can be used to send messages regarding course work. A class chat group can be set up with all class members. Once that is done, messages can be shared back and forth with all members in the class or separately to individuals by side voxing them. If a student has a question about an assignment, they can post it to the class chat or send it individually to the instructor.

Some Recommended Setting

  • I turn off alerts and just check the app regularly throughout the day for new messages. 
  • I prefer to have the audio message set to use the start and stop option instead of using the default option which requires holding down the audio button the whole time while audio recording a message.
  • For long audio messages spoken slowly, I will sometimes use the option to listen at a faster speed, usually setting the speed to 2X. This is done by hitting the speed button at the bottom of the screen when listening to a message.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Livestreaming For Building Your Professional Learning Network

At the end of July, EdCamp Global ran a series of professional learning events. Given the series was all online, the Periscope app was an excellent way to bring the sessions to a live, interactive audience.

Here's a sampling of some of the sessions offered via the app, and you'll be able to see the broadcast via the Twitter tweet in which they are embedded. Be sure to hit the volume icon in the lower corner to turn on the sound while watching.

What suggestions do others have for offering online professional development? What tools do you think work best for reaching a global audience during the EdCamp Global and similar events?